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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

O'Connor Speaks Out on "Judicial Intimidation" and other "Grave Threat[s] to the Independent Judiciary"

Former Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor commented on "The Threat to Judicial Independence" for the Wall Street Journal today. She detailed federal, state and intrajudiciary efforts to "police the judiciary," charging the efforts' proponents with "judicial intimidation" and observing that they "present a grave threat to the independent judiciary." O'Connor noted that criticizing judicial decisions is both proper and a "healthy sign for democracy," but observed that what we're seeing today -- in terms of both vitriolic attacks and anti-courts legislation (all coming from the Right, we note) -- have crossed an important line. O'Connor's commentary was a welcome reminder of why we need an independent judiciary -- and why historical figures from Alexander Hamilton to Adam Smith insisted on one. An independent judiciary, she explained, is vital in "checking the other two branches and protecting minority rights." O'Connor and Associate Supreme Court Justice Breyer will co-host an invitation only conference on the topic of the independent judiciary tomorrow at Georgetown Law Center.

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