Kermit V. Lipez


What do you do when your judicial hero, the author of two important books on appellate judging, was for many years your neighbor, friend, colleague, and mentor? You revel in your good fortune, and you share your admiration for his books. Judge Coffin’s long involvement in the political world contributed significantly to a primary focus of his two books on appellate judging, The Ways of a Judge, published in 1980, and On Appeal, published in 1994. As a political organizer, a candidate for public office, a Congressman, and an administrator in a federal agency, Judge Coffin understood his accountability to constituents, legislative committees, and appointing authorities. Although his life tenure on the Court of Appeals made him immune to the vagaries of election or appointment, Judge Coffin retained a keen awareness of the need to legitimize his work—and the work of all judges—to the public at large.

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