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In your September 12 [Hot Type] column entitled "A First Amendment Showdown," you stated that "Thanks largely to [federal appellate judge Richard] Posner, the Seventh Circuit is notoriously unwelcoming of amicus briefs," and that Judge Posner warned that the circuit's judges have little time for "extraneous reading" and therefore won't grant "rote permission" to file amicus briefs.

It is little wonder that Judge Posner doesn't feel that he has time to read learned briefs from experts on First Amendment issues. According to his biography on the University of Chicago Law School Web site, he has written and published at least 12 books since his appointment in 1981 as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Researching, writing, and promoting his books certainly occupies much of the time that would otherwise go to such "extraneous reading."

It is ironic that Judge Posner believes that journalists' commercial interest in writing a book can compromise and even destroy their reporters' privilege, but doesn't seem to recognize that his commercial interest in publishing books might compromise his role as a member of the federal judiciary.

Austin Mayor

Glen Ellyn

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