Why do we address federal judges “your honors?”

Sure, by now it’s just a custom; but but this custom had to start somewhere. And I wonder why it goes on, given that federal judges are by no stretch of imagination honest, upstanding, or honorable people.

Could the demand to be called “honorable” be an over-compensation for not being honorable? May be. Or maybe it is a deliberate attempt by the powers-that-be, who know full well that any critical analysis of the existing judicial process would cause a complete disillusionment with it, to build a wall and a moat around federal judiciary’s motivations and rationale so we don’t even think of thinking of critically examining judges’ methods, but rather stand in awe of the federal bench as if it were the new holy of holies? Is it thus done to brainwash us into uncritically accepting as higher wisdom whatever garbage comes from the federal bench, so as to easily control us, and allay the potential discontent by the use, as a clinching argument, of “this is so because a federal judge said it is so?” Is it thus to substitute reason with reverence, and to proactively preclude even a remote possibility of criticism, and by extension, any doubt in the higher wisdom of the rulers?

Creating artificial awe towards fellow-humans is a well-known trick: the deeds (or rather misdeeds) of “your Majesties” and “your Holinesses” fill most pages of history books, showing how dumb, stupid or crooked were the humans that bore them. So, some two and a half centuries ago people on this side of the Atlantic chose to put an end to all this nonsense; venerating “your Majesty” came to a screeching halt. Yet unaccountably, the faith in the judiciary managed to survive. Time has long come to judge the judges by their actions, rather than accord them artificial, unearned respect when in fact, having given themselves the right to act “maliciously and corruptly,” they just do not deserve any.

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