Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Parting Glass

It is a tradition in pubs in Ireland that the final song of the evening is The Parting Glass. 

And all that I’ve done, for want of wit
            To memory now, I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
            Good night, and joy be with you all.

As I look back on a career in the law, capped as a trial court judge for 26 years, there are in fact some things I’ve done, for want of wit, that I can recall – though thankfully, not too many.

I look back on the privilege it has been to serve the people of Minnesota, of the First Judicial District of that State, and especially the people of my home in Sibley County.  I have tried my best to live up to the trust that you have placed in me by judging as best I can, with out fear or favor or the hope or promise of reward – other than that reward that comes with the knowledge that this day, I have done my duty.

When I was appointed to the bench in February, 1988, I knew that there were other candidates that knew the law better than I did.  There were others that had a bit more experience than I did at the time.  In short, there were other candidates that were at least as qualified as I was.  

But it was I that was chosen to wear the black robe and make decisions that have impacted the lives and fortunes of hundreds of people since that day I raised my right hand and took the oath of office.

Harry S Truman said, “There are probably hundreds of people better qualified than I am to be president, but they weren’t elected.”  I surely can relate to that sentiment.  I know there are smarter, more patient and likely better qualified people who could do a better job than I.  (We trust one will be appointed to take my place.)  But, they weren’t chosen to be the judge in Sibley County – I was.

So, I recall the final chorus of that Irish pub-closing song:

But since it fell unto my lot
            That I should rise, and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call
            Good night, and joy be with you all!

Thank you for this opportunity to serve you.  Good night, good bye, and Joy and Justice be with you all. 

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Next Week:  The Party’s Over …