One thing my job has that most don’t is public scrutiny. Any member of the public can come by, sit down, and watch me work. My actions are reviewed by higher authorities where both affirmances and reversals are in the public record for anyone to look up. The more noteworthy cases get reported in the newspapers and on the Internet, as well as on radio and television at times.
It comes with the job. Rather than fear the scrutiny as Napoleon seemed to, I see the merits of robust reporting.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy though. My responsibility is to do my job right regardless of the desires or expectations of those interested in the case. For people who read news reports about my cases, some of my decisions are unpopular while others meet with general approval. As a federal judge told me soon after I took the bench in 1995, “You can’t worry about opinions and criticism. Just do what’s right.”
That’s good advice, yet I’m glad for the scrutiny from the public and the press. It keeps me vigilant over my work, and while popilar opinion cannot dictate my decisions it does keep me vigilant to do what’s right.