ILNews

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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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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