March 25, 2004

The Honorable Sylvia Pressler
Presiding Judge for Administration
Appellate Division, Superior Court of New Jersey

I am truly delighted and most honored to have been invited to deliver this year's Chief Justice Weintraub lecture at the Rutgers Law School, especially so because of my feelings about both Justice Weintraub and Rutgers Law School - reverence for Justice Weintraub and profound gratitude to the Law School.

I came to the Law School right out of college almost fifty years ago, and I am deeply indebted to it for an extraordinary legal education and the support and encouragement of its faculty at the beginning of and throughout my legal career. The Ballantine Mansion and its stable on Washington Street, at which I began my legal studies, were a far cry from the magnificent edifice we are in today. But what a remarkable institution it then was! The faculty combined the experience and wisdom of professors like Gerry Moran, Lewis Tyree, Arthur Lewis and William Hawkland of UCC fame with a coterie of brilliant and gifted young men [there weren't any women then - an omission since corrected], many of whom began their teaching careers at the same time I became a student - Clyde Ferguson, Al Blumrosen, Saul Mendlovitz, and, of course, there was Willard Heckel, who held it all together. And together, each in his way, they infused us with passion, inspired us with a sense of mission, and opened our hearts and minds to the infinite possibilities of the law in the creation of a just society. It was an exciting and formative time, and in it lay the strong and sturdy roots of today's law school.

Although this isn't meant to be a talk about the progress of women in the law, I cannot help but reflect that when I was a student, our class started with five women, of whom only two were left by Thanksgiving. Today, women comprise half the student body. I was the first and for a considerable time the only woman appellate law clerk in New Jersey. Today our Chief Justice is a woman as are two Associate Justices, a retired Associate Justice, and ten Appellate Division judges. When I joined the Bergen County Bar Association, I was instructed that its few women members did not attend its annual dinner - I went anyway. But even that bar association, to say nothing of the State Bar Association, has now been led by a woman president. There was then a grand total of five women practicing law in Bergen County. Now there are hundreds and there are women partners in every major law firm in New Jersey. And when I was first appointed to the bench in 1973, I joined four other women judges throughout the state. Now there are women judges in every county and every court, assignment judges, presiding judges and chancery judges too. So although the younger women assert, and with considerable merit, that there is not yet full equality in the profession, from where I sit, it looks to me, after forty years, as if we really have reached the promised land.

On a more personal note of my Rutgers Law School days, let me recall Morris Schnitzer, a great lawyer, who taught us New Jersey Practice. We were then barely a decade beyond the adoption of the 1947 New Jersey Constitution and its Judicial Article, which created the framework of what is generally regarded, for good reason, as the outstanding state court system in the nation. The world was very new then, and Morris made us understand how remarkable and magnificent that achievement was, both as a matter of historical perspective and then current reality. And he not only taught us the court rules, but more importantly, the procedural due process concerns that drive them and their proper function in the quest for substantial justice on the merits.

I am in Morris's debt for having given me the opportunities that started my career. It was he who persuaded Milton Conford, then presiding judge of Part B of the Appellate Division, one of its two parts, to take a chance on a woman law clerk. My association with Milton Conford, who became my teacher, mentor and very dear friend, from that time on and until his death some thirty years later, was the keystone of my professional life, highlighted by the year, his last on the bench, that we sat together as colleagues on Part B, joined by Judge Michael Patrick King. Pat King and I were his rambunctious children, but Milton dealt with us patiently, instructively, and lovingly.

We had a wonderful time. During that term, we had an obscenity case, and Milton was determined to protect Pat and me from the corrupting influence of that pornographic movie, so he insisted that he would watch it at home because he had an eight-millimeter projector and then would tell us about it. He called a few days later to report that he had watched about ninety percent of the film, that it had absolutely no redeeming quality at all, and that he had sent it back to the prosecutor. I suggested that perhaps the redeeming quality had been in the last ten percent. And he, being as conscientious as I was mischievous, agreed that he had made an unforgivable error by not having watched it until the very end. He said he would call the prosecutor immediately to have the evidence returned to him -- and then, his voice pregnant with infinite chagrin and resignation, he said "But when I ask for it back, he'll think I'm just a dirty old man." But he got it back anyway -- and the last ten percent was, as we knew it would be, just more of the same.

About that time, we were guests at a party Milton gave at his home. Suddenly the lights went out and one of the guests offered to change the fuse. After a bit, the lights came back on, and the guest returned from the basement holding in his handkerchief a piece of twisted molten black metal. Milton looked at him admiringly and asked him how he had known which fuse to change. Brilliant as he was, elementary physics was beyond him. The following week, we heard oral argument in a personal injury case involving a plaintiff who had been caught during a lightning storm in an accidental electrical arcing from one juncture box to another. The plaintiff's lawyer looked at me archly and then at Milton and Pat, and said quite pointedly to them, "I'm sure at least two members of the panel will understand how this accident happened." Imagine anyone saying that today! And Pat peered down at him and answered "You're absolutely right, Judge Pressler and I understand it perfectly." Milton didn't disagree.

Although Milton didn't teach us any quantum mechanics, his lessons in jurisprudence and the craft of appellate judging were fundamental, invaluable and enduring. And in one of those coincidences of perfect symmetry, I have the most gratifying pleasure of sharing my last year on the bench with one of my former law clerks, Judge Lorraine Parker, who managed to get most of my fifty law clerks together for dinner earlier this week, and seeing them all, from alpha to omega, these wonderful and accomplished men and women with each of whom I shared a memorable year, was an incomparable joy.

But back to Morris Schnitzer and my debt to him. Shortly after the adoption of the first set of court rules under the l947 constitution, Morris, together with another lawyer, Julius Wildstein, undertook their truly monumental treatise entitled Schnitzer and Wildstein's New Jersey Rules Service. Unfortunately, it was never completed - it only went from R. 4:1-1, scope of the rules, to what is now R. 4:38, consolidation and severance for trial - but as far as it went, it rivaled any scholarly legal work ever produced in this country. I understand that Gann Publishers has reprinted it, and I heartily commend it for inclusion in every New Jersey law library. In 1961, Morris and Julie decided to publish a supplement to the rules they had already covered, and as they were occupied in going forward, they cast about for someone to do the update. Morris remembered me, his former student, and I was retained for that project. As a result of that endeavor, Morris recommended me to Al Clapp, who was overseeing the work on the 1969 rules revision, and I was ultimately appointed by Chief Justice Weintraub as Reporter for the revision. And I have been mired in the rules ever since.

And that brings me to Chief Justice Weintraub, who gives his name to this annual lecture series. He was a great Chief Justice, the second after the legendary Arthur Vanderbilt, and he presided over a great Supreme Court. I argued many cases before that Court and I also had the enormous privilege of working with the Chief Justice directly on the rules revision. I came to know him pretty well, and my profound awe and admiration of the man and jurist were unbounded - I have long since forgiven him for his restrictive Fourth Amendment views - in my mind the one imperfection that proved, in the end, his humanity.

He had a clarity of vision and a penetrating intellect I have never seen in anyone else. His opinions are miracles of expository precision - he could explain in a paragraph or two the most complex propositions and reduce the most abstruse and difficult cases to complete comprehensibility, making their resolutions seem absolutely inevitable, all in plain and simple and elegant language. And his aim was always the advancement of a progressive jurisprudence in the service of the legitimate demands of public policy, an aim he consistently realized. Read a Weintraub opinion and weep! The best advice I was ever able to give to my incoming law clerks as well as to new judges of the Appellate Division is to spend a day reading Weintraub opinions.

But even beyond his jurisprudential pre-eminence was his exercise of control over the judicial system and his conviction about the scope of his responsibility and power to do so. Chief Justice Weintraub was by no means a cynic, but he was the least naive person I ever knew. He always knew exactly what he was looking at and what to do about it, and he did it surely and promptly.

I had several personal and illuminating experiences which, in their small way, illustrate Chief Justice Weintraub's view of what the office of Chief Justice was about. One was a litigation matter. In 1968, not long after the race riots of the previous year, I had become the city attorney for Englewood, appointed by a newly elected council majority whose campaign platform had been the tearing down of the slums of Englewood's black ghetto and the construction of low and moderate income relocation housing. That election was won by seventeen votes, and the Council majority was well aware that that program, which it immediately undertook, would cause their defeat when next they ran in two years time. There may never have been a governing body like that and may never be again. A nonprofit housing sponsor had already been created, and successful grant applications were made both to the state HFA and the federal FHA, which, in those Lyndon Johnson years, required initial relocation housing to be outside the slum area. It was that requirement, relocation out of the ghetto, that had so deeply polarized the city. There was consequently a great sense of urgency to complete the planning stage of the project and get a shovel in the ground within that two-year time span, particularly since its first six months were consumed by election contest litigation.

The story of that election contest, in which I represented the incumbent, and the loser challenged the validity of the vote of every one of the some three hundred black voters who had registered for the first time that year, having been assured that this was, after all, the north and there was nothing to fear, and all of whom were then subpoenaed, is too long a tale to tell here, it would take a volume of its own, but in retrospect, it was undoubtedly the most difficult, arduous, stressful, and exhilarating litigation I was ever involved in. The trial started a couple of weeks after the election - it's amazing what you can do when you have to without any discovery at all or case management conferences or status conferences. We played to a full house for four weeks, and then the trial judge found that 35 votes had been illegally cast and threw out the election even though the challengers had declined his offer to ask those 35 voters, all of whom had testified, how they had voted. And we, of course, declined that offer as well. The Appellate Division, God bless it, promptly reversed and sustained the election holding that even if the 35 votes had been illegally cast, a proposition we vigorously contested, the challengers had failed to show or attempt to show that those votes had actually changed the outcome of the election. You can read the ringing opinion of Judge Harold Kolovsky, which was nevertheless only the tip of that iceberg, at 101 N.J. Super 168.

But to return to my story. The election was now secure. And after a series of agonizing public hearings, the necessary municipal ordinances and resolutions were adopted. Variances from the board of adjustment and site plan approvals from the Planning Board were required, and both agencies were represented by able and skillful lawyers supportive of the project who ensured the meticulous conduct of the hearings and drafted detailed and unassailable resolutions granting the requested relief. As we were finally all set to go, the community opposition filed five separate actions in lieu of prerogative writs challenging all the municipal and agency action. We were fortunately able to obtain final judgment in the Law Division before time ran out both on the grants and the council's political life. But we all knew that the inevitable appeal would doom the project.

We met - the attorneys for the housing sponsor, the board of adjustment, the planning board and I - to consider what, if anything, we could do. In desperation, there being no other recourse we could think of, I was authorized to draft a letter to the Chief Justice on behalf of all of us to explain our plight, what we were trying to accomplish, the successful conclusion of the trial court proceedings, and the certain loss both of grant money and council support if the appeal process wended its usual way, and to ask for help. I accepted that commission with considerable trepidation - it seemed so audacious, so presumptuous, not the kind of thing one did, certainly not in those days. To our utter astonishment and infinite joy, we received a copy of an order signed by the Chief Justice practically by return mail. The order deemed our letter to have been an emergent application, relaxed the 45-day notice of appeal rule, required the notice of appeal, if an appeal was to be taken, to be filed within five days directly with the Supreme Court, set an accelerated briefing schedule, and fixed an early date for oral argument. The eloquent and forceful opinion by Justice Hall, affirming everything and to a substantial degree laying the philosophical groundwork for the first Mt. Laurel decision of a decade later, was issued a couple of weeks after that. De Simone v. Greater Englewood Housing Authority, 56 N.J. 428 [l970].

Nothing like the bold stroke of that extraordinary order had ever happened before, and it came about because of the Chief Justice's perception of how the head of this court system could and should respond to urgent matters of public and judicial concern. The postscript is that the project was built, has been enormously successful, and is the only one of its kind in this state - state financed family relocation housing located out of the ghetto - and it made possible the ensuing massive slum clearance projects and new housing in Englewood.
The other small incident is of a very different kind. Sometime in the 1960s, the Bergen County Bar Association, of which I was a member, had called a special meeting for the undeclared purpose of protesting the appointment of Theodore I. Botter to the Superior Court. He was then first Assistant Attorney General and was regarded as an interloping outsider by that organization, which cloaked its purely parochial opposition by urging the principle that a judicial career should start in the district court or the juvenile and domestic relations court and then progress to the county court before appointment to the Superior Court - those so-called inferior courts are all, of course, long since gone.

The meeting was held in the courtroom of the Assignment Judge, J. Wallace Leyden, who was a pretty formidable character, and he sat, in full judicial regalia, in his usual judge's chair in the center of the bench glowering at the audience. The president of the Association was a lawyer but the vice-president, who was sitting alongside the Assignment Judge, and some of the other officers, members of the board of trustees and committee chairs, were judges. The agenda for the meeting was the consideration of a resolution supporting the concept of judicial progression. There were a number of association members who were thrilled with the prospect of Ted Botter's appointment to the bench - he was extremely able and talented, as would later be proved by his groundbreaking decision in Robinson v. Cahill, the Abbott progenitor, and his many significant Appellate Division opinions thereafter - and we had come to the meeting determined to vote against the resolution.

Regrettably, under Wally Leyden's malevolent eye, only two hands were raised against the resolution, mine and my husband's. There was the proverbial hell to pay. The furious senior partner of our firm assured us both that we had wrecked our legal careers and his as well into the bargain. We both received curt letters the next day from the association president advising us that our membership on the bar committees on which we served would no longer be required. We had become instant non persons.

As it happened, just at that time, Virginia Fenton, a lawyer at Carpenter Bennett, who has since left the state, and I were the first women named to the editorial board of the New Jersey Law Journal - that was in the long ago halcyon days when Aaron and Dick Skinder and Richard Strauss owned and ran the Journal - and the first Friday lunch meeting we attended was at the end of the week of that judicial progression resolution fiasco. The Law Journal then, I don't know if it still does, extended an open invitation to all the judicial alumni of the editorial board to attend the Friday lunch whenever they chose to. On that Friday, both Chief Justice Weintraub and Justice Jacobs came to lunch, in order, they said, to see the girls. That wasn't considered a pejorative forty years ago. During the course of lunch, Justice Weintraub asked me how things were going in Bergen County - so I told him. He listened, asked me a couple of questions, and didn't say much. But the very next Monday morning there was an announcement that the bar associations were the province of the lawyers, that all judges who held official positions in the Bergen County Bar Association, and indeed, any other county bar association, were to resign effective immediately, and that bar association meetings would no longer be held in courtrooms with a judge on the bench. And the Bar President came to our office beseeching my husband and me to resume our committee assignments. And there were no further repercussions. The Chief Justice had again wielded his terrible swift sword to protect the integrity and responsiveness and appropriateness of the judicial system.

There is a postscript to this story, too. Not long after, Wally Leyden finally reached retirement age, and Chief Justice Weintraub appointed Judge Morris Pashman, later Justice Pashman, as Bergen County's new Assignment Judge. Judge Pashman threw open the windows of the courthouse, letting in the light and air for the first time in a very long time - if ever before. He was a magnificent Assignment Judge, he was the very definition of what an Assignment Judge was meant to be, and he brought Bergen County into a golden age that endured throughout his tenure.

Chief Justice Weintraub's early retirement and untimely death were a great great loss to the legal community and the cause of justice. I cherish the opportunity I had to know him and to work under and with him. There are not so many of us left to tell the stories, and soon there will be none. But his legacy will endure.
That was a very long introduction explaining why I am so pleased to be delivering the Weintraub lecture at Rutgers Law School today, but before I leave this reminiscing prologue there is one more thing to be said. As far as I can determine, the United States is the only so-called advanced nation in the world that, regrettably, does not uniformly have some sort of institutionalized merit selection system for its judges. Until something is done about that, I have no doubt that despite its faults, the appointive system remains far preferable to an elected system. It must be very difficult, if possible at all, to maintain judicial independence in an elective system, and we, at least, don't have reappointment to worry about after the first seven years. And we don't have to worry about looking like central casting's idea of a judge either. But the appointment system places an enormous and awesome responsibility on the Governor, who has the power to create, virtually from whole cloth, the independent third branch of government. The Weintraub Court was great because Governor Meyner, who appointed most of its members, was absolutely committed to establishing not only the finest judiciary in the land but also the finest Supreme Court, and in that he succeeded brilliantly. He told me, long after his gubernatorial days were over, that he regarded the creation of the Weintraub court as the outstanding achievement of his administration. This is not the occasion for a diatribe about senatorial courtesy - despite my regrettable expertise on that subject. That issue aside, the responsibility is the Governor's, and we can hope to maintain our pre-eminence and continue to serve the public effectively only by the Governor's most prudent and dedicated exercise of that responsibility. We have an obligation to demand no less.

This is the week in which domestic thoughts in Jewish households turn to preparations for the Passover holiday, a joyous time of celebration. I was brought up in an Orthodox family, and when I was a child, my grandfather presided at the Seder table, reading, chanting, and singing the Haggadah, the story of Passover, in Hebrew. In time, the Hebrew words became familiar, but I didn't really know what they all meant. Then I grew up and married and my husband conducts the Passover service in English. So now I understand it. The phrase of the Haggadah that most resonates with me and which often comes to mind is "In every generation our enemies rise up against us." It fits all people everywhere in their own context. And yet, what that phrase so often makes me think of are the words of wisdom of that great philosopher, Walt Kelly - "We have seen the enemy and it is us." Because we don't generally recognize ourselves, or decline to, "us" is the enemy from whom we have the most to fear while, at the same time, is the enemy we always have the capacity to vanquish. There have always been enemies within, and probably always will be, who threaten what we ought to hold most dear, and sometimes, as in this current period of our national life, they evoke grave public concern requiring debate and discussion. But today's critical national issues are not what I'm going to talk about now - tempting as that may be. Rather, I'm going to talk just a bit about what I know best, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court, which I have been privileged to serve for almost three decades, and our own lurking enemy within against which we must vigilantly guard.

The Appellate Division has been steadily growing over the years. When I clerked for Milton Conford there were two parts of four judges each. Now we are thirty-six strong, sitting in eight parts. We dispose of more than 6,000 appeals each term. We each write over a hundred opinions a year, usually four a week for every week in which we sit, we participate in the preparation, conferencing, and oral argument of three or four times that many, and we work on each other's opinions as well, to say nothing of the steady and regular stream of motions and emergent applications and the committee work and other extracurricular duties we are called upon to perform. It has also been my observation over the years that, by and large, the cases continue to get harder. It seems to me that the only cases in which a final judgment eligible for appeal is entered are the most difficult, with the most novel issues, the most intractable lawyers, the most fractious litigants and the longest records. And the number of pro se appellants, some clearly suffering from litigation psychosis, has dramatically increased, and we often get briefs that are illegible, unintelligible, and incomprehensible, requiring clairvoyance, intuition and infinite patience just in order to make out what is being complained of and why. And we don't always succeed.

The workload is staggering. If you were to ask me why we do it, I could only say that that is what we do. What makes it feasible at all is the personal dedication and self-discipline of each of us; our unique collegiality based on our genuine mutual respect; our own appreciation that although we are billed as the intermediate appellate court, we are the final stop for all but a handful of cases; and finally, and most importantly, the continued commitment of all of the Chief Justices, and particularly Chief Justice Poritz, to make the highest quality appointments to the court, for it is only that commitment which enables us to strive for the standards first set by the likes of William Brennan, Joe Weintraub, Nat Jacobs, Jack Francis, Milton Conford, Sydney Goldmann, Al Clapp, Ed Gaulkin, and all the other great pioneers of this court.

I always thought so, but in recent years, having had contact with intermediate appellate courts all over the country, I now know for sure that there is no other court in the nation as productive as ours or that delivers its dispositions more promptly. I am enormously proud of this court and its work product, and although I once described us as a troop of compulsive-obsessive, passive-aggressive, manic depressive paranoids, I value beyond measure my friendships and associations with the hard-working, dedicated, talented, and altogether extraordinary men and women who comprise the Appellate Division, both past and present.

So what, then, am I worried about? I suppose it is a function of the crushing workload. I believe that in order to do our essentially scholarly job right, it is imperative for us to maintain our passion for justice and our sense of outrage when we see patent injustice - and unfortunately we see a lot of it. We must be willing to assume that because another panel of the court once decided an issue, the opinion may not be right or may no longer be right, and because we are not bound by it, we must be willing to re-examine doctrine and to disagree with that opinion. We must proceed from the conviction that if a decision we are reviewing looks okay at first blush, apparently supported by reasonable fact-finding or apparently compelled by precedent, but is just plain wrong in jurisprudential and human terms, it probably is wrong, and we must scrutinize the record, research the law, go back to bedrock principles, and consider the demands of public policy to make sure the case really does come out right. We must reconcile ourselves to the inevitability that our best opinions, produced at greatest effort, will be obliterated if the Supreme Court takes the case and writes its own. And we must always keep in mind that no case is routine to the litigants.
The problem, of course, is that it's pretty hard to keep getting too worked up over any one case when the boxes of new cases keep coming from the Clerk's Office as inexorably as the tides of the ocean. We are all like the miller's daughter in "Rumpelstilskin," who had to transform a box of straw into gold every week. We are all like the sorcerer's apprentice, who can't turn it off, but there's no wizard around the corner eventually to do it for us. We have only our own unremitting diligence to rely on. So the temptation we must resist every day is to slough it off, to take the simple route, and to lay down the flag that each of us is committed to carry. No easy task.

The conventional wisdom is that while the work of the Supreme Court is primarily institutional - the development, amplification and interpretation of legal principle - the work of the intermediate appellate court is largely corrective, corrective of trial court and state administrative agency error in the application of principle. We are, of course, bound by our standard of review, and we are obliged to defer to the trial court's or agency's fact-finding, but only if supported by substantial credible evidence. But you often have to read the whole record to know if that is so, and that can be grueling work that doesn't lead to glory or even a publishable opinion. And while we adhere to the principle that we are bound by supported fact-finding, but not by purely legal determinations, the dichotomy is not that distinct, and what we are obliged to defer to not always that clear.

It is, of course, when the case does not turn only on fact-finding to which settled legal principles apply that we too may be called upon to perform the institutional function, as we do in our published opinions, which represent about ten percent of our cases, and then the job gets even harder. I believe that whether we choose to perform that institutional function must always be determined by the nature of the particular case, its facts, the trial proceedings, the present state of the law, and considerations of public policy rather than by the inclination and willingness of a judge to devote the time and the work required for that endeavor.

While I believe that we are in fact still exercising both our correctional and institutional functions properly, we can continue to do so only by a conscious and continually renewed commitment, personal sacrifice, and self-examination. The system demands a lot from us, perhaps too much. But we are obliged to give it, and our enemy is the ready availability of the easy way out - the short shrift, the too quickly scanned record, the too hastily considered rule affirmance or o.b. affirmance, the too-perfunctory research, and, in my view, the most pernicious of all, the too-ready resort to the harmless error rule.

I worry a lot about the application of the harmless error rule, particularly in the criminal law context. We are instructed to disregard error unless it was of a nature to have been clearly capable of producing an unjust result. That is the formulation of Rule 2:10-2. In practice, we generally define harmless error as error that didn't make a difference, that the verdict would not have been different even the error had not occurred. But I think it clear that the "would have made a difference" determination is, to a significant degree, a subjective one. There are really no standards other than the eye of the beholder, the sensibility of the reader, individual conscience, a perception of fundamental fairness, and a healthy dose of speculation. To be sure, by reason of education, training and experience, we have, to a fairly substantial degree, a common sense of when a remediable difference has been made. But our views and responses are not absolutely congruent, and it is our approach to the cases in the penumbra of our common understanding that I worry about. It is all too easy to say that the error, if error there was, didn't taint the verdict and then affirm the conviction in short order. Doing otherwise takes a lot of thought, a lot of reading, a lot of work, and sometimes, collegial opposition. But when we make the determination of whether or not the error was harmless, we must keep firmly in mind the overarching imperative that the legal process itself and the integrity and legitimacy of the judicial system are infinitely more important than the guilt or innocence of a single defendant, who in any case, can usually be retried if the judgment of conviction is reversed.

It is always painful to see constitutional rights - the right to a fair trial - diluted, by saying, in this case or that, that the prosecutor's overstepping summation or the failure of the court correctly and fully to instruct the jury in a myriad of ways or the admission of incompetent evidence didn't really matter. These errors always matter, if not to the verdict in question, then surely to the system, and there is an inevitable erosion in the quality of justice we render when we choose to disregard them. I fear that contracting the category of per se or presumed prejudice with the concomitantly increased scope of what we are willing to say is disregardable error may well lead to the grant of a license to commit constitutional error whenever it looks like the defendant is, as they say, guilty as hell. We are not, if we do so, ultimately serving the cause of justice because we are not, if we do so, making trial judges and prosecutors do better. And if we were to let that happen, we would have failed in our third function, what we sometimes refer to as the instructive reversal - whether or not we are convinced the error clearly made a difference, if the proposition is nevertheless reasonably debatable or if the error is egregious, we have to be able to say "do it over and do it right, and perhaps next time, when for sure it will matter to everyone, you won't make the same mistake again."

Doing the right thing for the right reason has to be what we're about. That often requires some modicum of moral courage. It often requires us to be aware of the individual baggage we each carry about and not let it get in the way. And it always requires just plain hard work. I think we have been doing pretty well. It is my hope and my expectation that each of us and those who succeed us will remain sufficiently on guard to continue to do so. And I also hope for the generous indulgence of my colleagues, whose forgiveness I ask for having turned my valedictory remarks into a cautionary tale.

I have truly loved being a part of this great endeavor, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to have participated in it, and I will certainly miss it. But I will be watching and, I am sure, applauding.