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Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Latest in the Magnificent Garner-Posner Battle

Reviews have been written, books have been authored, lawyers have been hired, and arbitration methods have been invented.

Brian Garner, the Editor in Chief of Black's Law Dictionary, is a coauthor of the book, Reading Law (the other coauthor is somebody named Antonin Scalia). Richard Posner, a judge on the Seventh Circuit and "law demigod," criticized Garner and Scalia in a New Republic article, and followed up on this criticism in his book, Reflections on Judging.

Garner replied by commissioning a report on Posner's criticism from Steven Hirsch, a partner at Keker and Van Nest. In that report (available here), Hirsch wrote that eight out of 12 of Posner's lines of criticism were unwarranted. Garner states that he wanted an objective take on the dispute, and that Hirsch's report provides this perspective.

Posner has just replied to this report. From Legal Times:

“Please convey my congratulations to Bryan Garner on inventing a new form of arbitration,” Posner wrote in an email Saturday to Legal Times. “Two parties have a dispute; one appoints an arbitrator to resolve the dispute; the other disputant is not consulted.”

Posner, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, continued: “How beautifully that simplifies arbitration! No need for the parties to agree on an arbitrator, or for the American Arbitration Association to list possible arbitrators and the disputants cross out the ones they don't like.”
It will be interesting to see how this dispute plays out, and whether the latest version of Black's Law Dictionary will have an updated definition of "arbitration" in light of Posner's recent remarks.

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