Celebrating Our Constitution: The Independence of our Judiciary

Recently, some of our own self serving political gadflies and misinformed citizens appear ready to destroy this delicate balance by attempting to inhibit persons appointed to the judiciary from exercising their obligation of deciding cases fairly and impartially. And why? Not because any of the threatened judges has been accused of wrongdoing or improper conduct sufficient for removal through impeachment or other disciplinary proceeding-but simply because of some highly publicized rulings with which some disagree. To place the judiciary under this standard would be to undermine the advantages and benefits to the public good that result from judges able to serve as buffers against society’s excesses.

Imagine if judges could be removed from the bench simply because some powerful politicians disagree with their decisions? Would the falsely accused have a fair opportunity to vindicate themselves in court? Would the evils of segregation have been challenged? Would ordinary citizens have an impartial forum to seek redress against big business or government? The process of removing judges from office intentionally is difficult, precisely to ensure fair and impartial courts free to make unpopular decisions. For example, in the entire history of our nation, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach only 13 federal judges; only seven have actually been convicted in a trial before the U.S. Senate and removed from office.

Celebrating Our Constitution: The Independence of our Judiciary
Virgin Islands Daily News September 16, 2010
Tom Bolt

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