, Volume 10, Issue 10, pp 2200–2202 | Cite as

Sitting on the Bench

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn

I don’t know many professions where the operative verb in the job description is “to sit,” but one of them is judges. Judges “sit” on the bench, and in sitting up there, for it is an elevated seat in most courtrooms, they bear witness to a steady parading of the worst things human beings do to one another and to themselves. And they are supposed to bear witness dispassionately, wisely, while overseeing and regulating and ruling on the unfolding of all the evidence and narratives marshaled for and against the particular charges levied against the defendant or defendants. The judge creates and maintains the container that ideally allows the jury, if it is a jury trial, to drink in the relevant facts and arguments in a measured, discerning way. Only then is the jury to come to a decision through considered deliberation as peers of the defendant or defendants (in criminal cases) or as peers of the plaintiff and defendant (in civil cases), in other words, as the regular folks that they...


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© Jon Kabat-Zinn 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn
    • 1
  1. 1.WorcesterUSA

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