A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 09, 2015
Robe-itis

"Robe-itis” (or “black robe-itis") is an affliction suffered by some robed judges. A person can put on a robe and assume a god-like attitude and power, forgetting that he or she is a servant to the law and the facts.

“I don’t have black robe-itis,” Jacob A. Stein said in 1984. The word “robe-itis” mostly closely sounds like “phlebitis,” the inflammation of a vein, usually in the legs.


3 April 1984, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Meese case lawyer is quiet, respected” by Harry F. Rosenthal (AP), pg. 6A, col. 5:
When (Jacob A.—ed.) Stein became president of the District of Columbia Bar Association, friends assumed that the position would become a stepping-stone to a judgeship, as it often has in the past. Not so, he’d always tell them: “I don’t have black robe-itis.”

12 May 1998, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Robe-itis” (editorial), pg. 4A, col. 1:
There’s a judge’s disease called “robe-itis,” and its symptoms of arrogance can sometimes be seen on both sides of the Savannah River.

10 September 1998, The Daily Times (Farmington, NM), “Judge candidates vow clean fight” by Mark Lewis, pg. B7, col. 7:
Forgetting about what is best for the public, which he called “black robe-itis,” led to the eventual resignation of Eastburn, he said

St. Petersburg (FL) Times
The Renke in the robe
A politician’s son, once an unknown commodity in the courtroom, presides with openness and empathy.

By CARY DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
published March 2, 2003
(...)
Maybe it has something to do with Renke’s accommodating, easy-mannered style. He is articulate and prone to philosophical musings, but he is not arrogant. He doesn’t have “robe-itis”—the term used to describe judges who acquire a holier-than-thou attitude. He doesn’t even wear his robe when conducting hearings in his chambers.

Google News Archive
20 January 2004, The Blade (Toledo, OH), “No fix for the courts” (editorial), pg. A6, col. 2:
It’s a condition we’ll call “robe-itis,” and the most potent remedy is the requirement that judges face the voters at regular and reasonable intervals. Elections 10 or 12 years apart hardly qualify as a reasonable interval.

Google Books
Reforming the Juvenile Justice System to Improve Children’s Lives and Public Safety
Hearing before the COmmittee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC: U.S. Goernment Printing Office
2010
Pg. 72:
You know, I may wear a robe, but I like to think I don’t suffer from robe-itis and that I am God-like and that I know everything.

Athens (GA) Banner-Herald
NeSmith: Some judges get ‘robe-itis’
By DINK NESMITH published Sunday, November 27, 2011
(...)
Some judges are afflicted with “robe-itis.” With the robe, they get to do whatever they wish, including getting into hot water with the JQC. TV’s top-rated Judge Judy brands herself as “smart, savvy, opinioned and irrepressible.” Her tart tongue spikes ratings, but the courtroom bench isn’t the place for theatrics and wannabe celebrities.

Salisbury (MD) Independent
State’s Attorney Maciarello among contenders for Circuit Court judgeship
Dec 9th, 2015 · by Susan Canfora
(...)
“There’s an old saying that a judge can’t have ‘black robe-itis.’ It’s important not to have that, not to overinflate that position or to be egotistical.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, December 09, 2015 • Permalink