The chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, he was the court-appointed mediator for the Microsoft antitrust case.

He was born in New York City in 1939, graduated with an undergraduate English degree from Yale in 1959, and graduated first in his class from Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1962 he clerked for a year in D.C. with the (liberal) Supreme Court justice William Brennan. In the 1970s he was a law professor at the University of Chicago.

Books that he has written include Economic Analysis of Law (1973), Antitrust Law: An Economic Perspective (1977), The Economics of Justice (1981), Sex and Reason (1992), Aging and Old Age (1995), The Problematics of Moral and Legal (1999), An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton (1999).

Ideologically, Judge Posner is a pragmatist, and often uses economic analysis on the interpretation of law. His judicial philosophy was influenced by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Learned Hand.

Some of Posner's views are regarded as controversial. For example, he believes that in a free market system selling and buying babies are more efficient than the current regime of government-controlled adoption. He also opposes government regulation of business monopolies, and argued that natural monopoly is beneficial for the economy.

Posner opposes the War on Drugs, arguing that criminalizing consensual behavior is economically inefficient, and that it is arbitrary for the government to make some drugs illegal while more dangerous ones (like alcohol and cigarettes) legitimate. However, he also stated that as a sworn judge he would still enforce current laws on drug cases.

Sources: Posner, Richard 1987. "Adoption and Market Theory: The Regulation of the Market in Adoption" BOSTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 67: 59-72.

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