Supreme Court judge lands stellar gig – 2019 Reith Lecturer on BBC Radio 4.
Jonathan Sumption has been described as the cleverest man in England, and who is Obiter to disagree. That shock of white hair really does cover the planet-sized brain of your actual renaissance man. He writes books about the 100 Years War to relax.
Nor is perhaps our most feted Supreme Court judge afraid to speak his mind – with rather mixed results. Back in 2015 he landed in the soup with Guardian types when he was quoted as saying the judiciary could be ‘destroyed very easily’ if the selection of candidates were skewed in favour of women.
Since then Sumption has, perhaps wisely, undertaken just one official speaking engagement in London. But, with retirement from the bench looming, he has now landed yet another stellar gig – 2019 Reith Lecturer on BBC Radio 4. He will argue that ‘politicians have surrendered ground to the courts without always reflecting on the wider implications’.
Sumption doesn’t strike one as the type to go looking for speaking tips, but if he needs a few he could tap another judicial titan. Last November Lord Neuberger warned a City audience that if parliament sat on its hands instead of deciding key issues, then ‘UK judges, not parliament, will make judgements on diplomacy, economics and law… Parliament would be supreme in name only’.
This is a recurring theme.
Buy a wireless if you haven’t got one. Sumption, who won’t be worried about following in the footsteps of such luminaries as the equally clever (on a good day) Stephen Hawking, is certain not to be dull.