One need not study the bible to be familiar with the phrase “Solomonic wisdom.” As defined in the first of Google results: “…reasonableness, or discretion especially under trying circumstances.” Certainly judges ought to aspire to this level. Whether they do is another matter.

But we can easily assess why they don’t. As one of our taglines paraphrases Lord Acton’s Maxim: “POWER TENDS TO CORRUPT. ABSOLUTE JUDICIAL IMMUNITY CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.” We have a very clear level of protection for judges from facing any personal consequence for lousy rulings – Judicial Immunity. As noted in our recent story about Indian judges Heimann, Young, and Vaidik  ,  citing from longstanding Supreme Court precedent:

“Judicial immunity is a well-settled, long-standing legal doctrine…A judge will not be deprived of immunity because the action he took was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of this authority…. Judicial immunity also applies despite any claims that the judges conspired with any non-immune persons.”

The purpose is allow judges unfettered reprieve to use their wisdom as they see fit.

Even when doing so improperly and irreparably destroys those wronged with callous disregard.

Solomon, yes, the ancient Hebrew King, found the formula for making great judges. Consequences.

The Dark Ages biblical commentator, Rashi, points out:

“The judges of this people are not like the judges of other peoples, for if [one of the judges of other nations] gives judgment and sentences a person to death, to lashes, or to strangulation, or perverts judgment and robs him, it means nothing; if, however, I cause a person to pay unjustly, I am liable with my life…”

The missing ingredient to improving judicial performance? Ask Solomon. “I. Am. Liable.”

In honor of our Publisher’s Son’s Birthday.