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Chief Justice speaking on judicial independence

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Judicial independence and accountability are the topics du jour for Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.

The state's top judge was the keynote speaker at an Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum this afternoon. The Center for Free Inquiry at Hanover College hosted the free program, "Politics and the Courts: Judicial Independence and Accountability," at the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum in Indianapolis.

This topic arises as the role of courts in the U.S. has become a focus for criticism, including how the judiciary is often blamed for everything from light sentences for criminals to questionable interpretations of the Constitution.

The seminar examines two themes prevalent in current national debates about the role of the judiciary in a democratic society. Chief Justice Shepard was to discuss the idea that by protecting judges from political pressure, the intrusion of politics can be limited to the resolution of legal and constitutional questions. He also was to talk about how if the judiciary is to play a constructive role, those jurists must be accountable for the decisions they render.

Along with the chief justice's comments, a panel discussion was slated to include professor Charles Geyh with the Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington, and Hanover professor John Ahrens, who've both written about this topic.
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