On that which maketh a good judge

December 27, 2009

Hobbes on the ideal, good judge (in Leviathan, Of Civil Law, para 28):

The things that make a good judge, or good interpreter of the laws, are, first, a right understanding of that principal of law of nature called equity; which depending not on the reading of other men’s writings, but on the goodness of a man’s own natural reason, and meditation, is presumed to be in those most, that have had most leisure, and had the most inclination to meditate thereon. Secondly, contempt of unnecessary riches, and preferments.  Thirdly, to be able in judgment to divest himself of all fear, anger, hatred, love and compassion.  Fourthly, and lastly, patience to hear; diligent attention in hearing; and memory to retain, digest, and apply what he hath heard.

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