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California Law Review



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fiduciary, constitution, supreme court, judges


For centuries, legal theorists and political philosophers have unsuccessfully sought a unified theory of judging able to account for the diverse, and oftentimes conflicting, responsibilities judges possess. This paper reveals how the law governing fiduciary relationships sheds new light on this age-old pursuit, and therefore, on the very nature of the judicial office itself. The paper first explores the routinely overlooked, yet deeply embedded historical provenance of our judges-as-fiduciaries framework in American political thought and in the framing of the U.S. Constitution. It then explains why a fiduciary theory of judging offers important insights into what it means to be a judge in a democracy, while providing practical guidance in resolving a range of controversial legal issues surrounding judicial performance, such as judicial ethics at the Supreme Court, campaign contributions in state judicial elections, and the role of public opinion in constitutional interpretation.

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