Recently a certain politician has called for a certain judge to be "disrobed", meaning that they should lose their position as a judge.

A lot of people have said that this isn't a proper word. they say "disrobed" only means taking one's clothes off. Are they correct?

If it's a wrong word, they aren't the first to make it. I've seen several other examples of this usage.


A judge is the visible representation of the law and, more importantly, of justice.1 He must be first in observing the law scrupulously. Any appearance of criminal violation of the law, in any way or capacity, directly or indirectly, principal or accessing, will warrant the judge to be disrobed.


Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio’s career on the bench is all but over, and it didn’t have to end this way.
Because the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that recommended her removal from the bench on Tuesday has never called for a judge to be disrobed over a DWI.

So, are they using an incorrect term here? If so, then what word should they use?

No discussion of politics, please. This question is just about correct terminology. I wont even identify the politician or the judge, because it isn't relevant to the question.

  • 1
    Side question: is it allowed to post the same question on two or more different SE's? I considered that I might also get an answer in the English Language & Usage SE, but I'm not sure if that would break a rule.
    – Pete
    Feb 26 at 22:38
  • 2
    No, crossposting is generally not allowed under the stack rules.
    – Trish
    Feb 26 at 22:55
  • 1
    The usual way to say 'removing clothes' is 'undressing', but in both cases stripped is used. Feb 27 at 0:08
  • @WeatherVane the fact that "undress" is more common than "disrobe" does not change the fact that they are synonyms.
    – phoog
    Feb 27 at 12:38
  • I suspect they're using "disrobed" by analogy with "defrocked" as it applies to priests. It could be regional or they might just have made it up.
    – phoog
    Feb 27 at 12:39

4 Answers 4


Judges are civil servants, to removing them from office would be dismissal from civil service, or "Entlassung aus dem Beamtenverhältnis". This can happen when they ask for it, change citizenship (civil servants have to be German citizens) and most relevant to the question in cases when they have committed a crime that is punished with jail (and "Entlassung" is mandatory when the punishment is a year jail time or more).

"Entlassung" due to crimes is very rare. If their behaviour is considered unacceptable without being outright crimial, the usual procedure is "Versetzung in den vorzeitigen Ruhestand", i.e. forced early retirement (see as an example the case of a judge who is also an extreme right wing activist - proving criminal intent would be more difficult than pointing out that a person with unconstitutional views cannot represent democratic values and the law). A major difference to "Entlassung" is that in retirement they keep their privileges, most notably their salary/pensions.

  • 1
    Also: membership in a group that is "Gesichert Rechtsextrem" would automatically lead to dissolution of employment.
    – Trish
    Feb 27 at 10:13

"Removal from office" as per s 134 Senior Courts Act 2016.

they say "disrobed" only means taking one's clothes off. Are they correct?

They are if the word is taken literally. But the figurative meaning is quite obvious.

"Removal from office" doesn't literally mean dragging the judge out of their chambers and throwing them on the street either.



s53 of the Constitution Act 1902 provides:

53 Removal from judicial office

(1) No holder of a judicial office can be removed from the office, except as provided by this Part.

(2) The holder of a judicial office can be removed from the office by the Governor, on an address from both Houses of Parliament in the same session, seeking removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

(3) Legislation may lay down additional procedures and requirements to be complied with before a judicial officer may be removed from office.

(4) This section extends to term appointments to a judicial office, but does not apply to the holder of the office at the expiry of such a term.

(5) This section extends to acting appointments to a judicial office, whether made with or without a specific term.


Some appropriate alternatives:

  • 2
    Those may have certain meanings, though. Impeachment = fired by vote of a legislative assembly, recall = fired by vote of the citizens, removal = a judicial council suggested firing and the governor/state supreme court agreed.
    – user71659
    Feb 27 at 4:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .