The State of the Onion: Peeling Back the Layers of America’s Ambivalence Toward Judicial Independence
17 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2009
Date Written: 2007
This essay addresses the question of whether the public really wants an independent judiciary. It is a question which implicates two discrete issues: What is an independent judiciary?; and does the public want one? The first issue seemingly invites a protracted disquisition on the meaning of judicial independence, but that would be unnecessarily digressive. For purposes here, it will suffice to isolate from the several facets of judicial independence that scholars have identified, those of central relevance to the public judicial independence debate. With those meanings in hand, I will then turn to the second part of the question and peel back the layers of the public’s views on judicial independence, like an onion, to reveal the nature and extent of the public’s ambivalence.
Keywords: Judicial independence, judicial accountability, judges, rule of law, courts, institutional legitimacy
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