Social media debates on this topic began shortly after the incident in May, then subsided, only to explode into the stratosphere when the story finally went national.
Opinion seems divided into two distinct strands of thought. The first, advocated by those who know the three judges personally, is that everyone deserves another chance. The other, expressed by the Indiana Supreme Court, upholds the existence of a higher bar (pun unintended) for those donning judicial robes.
The cynical way to look at it would be to shrug; all other institutions have become degraded in the last quarter-century, and nowadays nationwide there are more barely qualified judges than flavors of hard seltzer.
Who cares if they drink and carouse? Haven't we all?
Perhaps a less hopeless take is to assert that without a rediscovery of useful core ethics to guide the judiciary, their verdicts are rendered into nonsense.
I'm reminded of the late father of a close friend, who was a banker at a time when banking was local and not a by-product of neoliberal self-immolation. In short, my friend's dad was a banker 24 hours a day, not merely eight. He dressed, thought and lived the job, because if a banker behaved like a rock star out in public, it reduced confidence in the institution guarding one's savings.
I realize the relationship between a banker and his community was more complicated than this, even then. It doesn't change the fact that my friend's father recognized a responsibility, and knew his personal honor was at stake.
Southern Indiana currently is a laughingstock owing to the tale of the strip-club-seeking drunken judges and their ill-advised journey to White Castle. Fortunately for everyone involved, no one died and the ignominy will be short-lived in a nation with the collective attention span of a moth.
Is a suspension and some form of penance enough punishment for these judges? I've no idea.
If their own case came before them, how would they decide it?
3 Indiana Judges Suspended After White Castle Brawl That Left 2 Of Them Wounded, by Laurel Wamsley (NPR)
Back in May, three Indiana judges got into a fight. It was the crescendo of an incident brimming with colorful details: a gaggle of judges drinking the night before a judicial conference, a failed attempt to visit a strip club called the Red Garter, a brawl in the parking lot of an Indianapolis White Castle ...