A federal judge has broken a long-established code of silence among judges and court workers, and confessed what self-represented court users in California have asserted for years.
In multiple interviews, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner disclosed that most judges regard self-represented litigants as "kind of trash not worth the time." In court, a self-represented litigant without an attorney is referred to as a "pro per" or "pro se" party. The terms are interchangeable and mean the same thing.
The admission also effectively confirms, and vindicates the charge by court whistleblowers that the California judicial branch operates an illegal two-track system of justice. One for those who can afford to hire a lawyer, and a separate system for those who can't.
"Judge Posner has admitted what no active judge in California will ever admit in public. From the trial courts to the Supreme Court, the poor who can't afford to pay for an attorney and are forced to represent themselves in court are treated as second class citizens," said whistleblower Ulf Carlsson. "California courts are pay-to-play."
ABA Journal: Posner: Most judges regard pro se litigants as 'kind of trash not worth the time.'
Above the Law: The Backstory Behind Judge Richard Posner's Retirement.
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Posner says friction on 7th Circuit bench led to his retirement.
New York Times: An Exit Interview With Richard Posner, Judicial Provocateur
Above the Law: Judge Posner, Uncensored: 'I Don't Really Care What People Think.'