OPINION

A troubling effort to politicize courts

GOP party leaders have threatened to puncture a protective shield that keeps politics outside the courthouse.

, The National Law Journal

   | 10 Comments

GOP party leaders have threatened to puncture a protective shield that keeps politics outside the courthouse.

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What's being said

  • Don Evanson

    The selection of judges belongs with the citizens, to best serve the avoidance of an "imperial" judiciary.



    Contested judicial elections, and not retention elections, best control that drift towards imperialism.



    It commands a fair amount of judicial hubris for the judiciary to be promoting anything else.

  • Justine F.

    I'm sorry, but this is a LOT like the pot calling the kettle black ...and I use this racially insensitive and politically incorrect turn of phrase intentionally.

    That's because justices across the nation have increasingly either become too engrossed in their own personal agendas/beliefs to reasonably equate matters before them with the Letters of the Law; OR have deprecated rational precedence in to silly and superfluous opinions and judgements.

    In other words, the overall QUALITY of our nation's judges is on a serious decline.

    It doesn't really help when the nation's President sets the stage for such negative partisan efforts by refusing to work across the aisle himself. Heck -why mince words,,Obama not only set this stage, he set it on FIRE. (Ex: Obamacare rammed thru Congress.)

    We reap what we sow; and currently what's being collectively felt are the results of a poorly sown judicial field.

  • Tom

    Amen Darren Mckinney. Remember the apolitical threat of FDR to pack the SCOTUS.

  • Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

    When, since Marbury v. Madison, has politics ever been successfully kept outside the courthouse? For at least many decades, the plaintiffs' bar exercised primary, if not exclusive, influence over judicial elections and nominations. But now that corporate defendants and their political allies have more recently worked to counter that influence, suddenly judges and other purported "nonpartisans" see the impartiality of our courts at "profound risk." Please.

  • Michael

    Is this a news story, or merely an editorial opinion?
    The judicial elitists want nothing to do with messy democratic political choices of the occupants of the judicial branches of government. They argue that the quality of justice is better when it is doled out by individuals appointed to their positions for life by a small elite group of--politicians! They assume that the people are too craven or just too ignorant to choose wise and just judges on their own.
    The truth is that lifetime appointees to the bench provide no better quality of decision-making than individuals who have to face re-elections. Lifetime tenure creates a judiciary that is disconnected from and that places itself high above the mere peons (both parties and attorneys) whose cases come before them. The infection of robe-itis quickly takes hold in such individuals because there is nothing to counter-balance the inflation of ego that arises with them as they "ascend" to the bench. If you need examples, just look at the federal judiciary. The logic and justice apparent in their decisions is certainly no higher, no more uniform, (and in many cases far below) that which is evident in elected state judges' decisions.

  • Saints

    I am not a lawyer. I have been smacked around by the legal system from issues ranging from jaywalking to custody of my children. I did not like the decisions but I live to fight another day and work to change those things that I perceive to be impediments to a fair and impartial judicial system. I do not blame the justices that were involved in the case, nor my lawyers. The politicization of our courts, whether right or left, for lack of a better definition, makes our system a mockery. I was always told that laws and procedures that seem fair and just are followed by the citizens but when the laws and processes are unjust people will not follow the law, i.e., prohibition, OJ and the like. Are we moving to legal system where the best money buys the best advertisements?

  • Saints

    I am not a lawyer. I have been smacked around by the legal system from issues ranging from jaywalking to custody of my children. I did not like the decisions but I live to fight another day and work to change those things that I perceive to be impediments to a fair and impartial judicial system. I do not blame the justices that were involved in the case, nor my lawyers. The politicization of our courts, whether right or left, for lack of a better definition, makes our system a mockery. I was always told that laws and procedures that seem fair and just are followed by the citizens but when the laws and processes are unjust people will not follow the law, i.e., prohibition, OJ and the like. Are we moving to legal system where the best money buys the best advertisements?

  • Tom

    At the core of the public discontent (and it is public) is whether courts "follow the law" or are "making the law." Until the judiciary can convince the public it is apolitical (a heavy burden) this movement will continue to gain momentum.

  • Michael

    This is idiocy your "honors". So the "evil" Republicans are trying to politicize the courts? And you think that life tenure for your Exalted Selves would improve the quality of justice??

    I think that making you guys untouchable makes you corrupt, arrogant, and like anyone who is not accountable to anyone for his/her job, entitlement junkies.

    Courts where judges face reelection tend to be more creative, harder working, and more responsive to the people.

  • Colin E. Flora

    In Chief Justice Shepard's home state of Indiana, such a challenge is beginning to take rise against Justice Steven David as well.

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