Justice’s Alimentary Imperative

William Hogarth, "The Judges"

William Hogarth, “The Judges”

Fun Friday

Well, maybe not fun, but thought provoking. Something Alexander Pope said 300 years ago has now been proved to be true. It’s his comment about judges and juries in Rape of the Lock.

In a couplet that is simultaneously witty and cold-blooded, Pope writes,

      Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray;
The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,
And wretches hang that jury-men may dine . . .

Now flash forward to this item in a New Republic profile on the remarkable Ezra Klein, who authors the Washington Post’s “Wonkblog”:

“Did you read that New York Times Magazine article on decision fatigue?” he asked me, unwrapping his sandwich. “They ran this experiment where the judges would get hungry, and if you came up to the judge right before lunch, you never got parole; if you came up right after, you always got parole. The numbers were unbelievable! So now I’ve become more respectful of the way my stomach runs my brain.”

Moral: eat a good breakfast and don’t skip meals.

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