Judge Richard Posner: “I’ve Become Less Conservative Since The Republican Party Started Becoming Goofy.”

by Bob Schwartz

Last month, Judge Richard Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago gave an interview to NPR’s Nina Totenberg.

Richard Posner is one of the most widely-respected judges and legal analysts in the country. Brilliant and forthright, he is admired by people across the political spectrum for his integrity, insight and elegant reasoning.

He has traditionally been identified as a conservative and with the Milton Friedman school of economics, but lately he has been reassessing that alignment:

“There’s been a real deterioration in conservative thinking. And that has to lead people to re-examine and modify their thinking….I’ve become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy.”

During the interview, he wondered aloud about what Chief Justice John Roberts must be thinking, having gone from conservative hero to goat because of his vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act:

“All of a sudden you find out that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you, they despise you, they mistreat you, they leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, ‘What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?’”

One of life’s more subtle and hard-to-accept lessons is this: You may think that you are known by the esteemed company you keep, but you do well to pay close attention to the esteemed company you lose.