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Independent Courts & Fair Judges
As Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell stated, "the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change."
The fairness and independence of this most important instrument must be preserved. Fair courts and independent judges help ensure the protection of vital rights and freedoms.
"It is imperative that we have an independent and impartial judicial branch. The work of Alliance for Justice, and their formation of Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary, is essential to achieving this goal by ensuring that the interests of the nation's Hispanic community are considered during the selection and nominations process."
-Congressman Charles Gonzalez, D-TexasSupport AFJ»
Family and medical leave. A living wage. Clean air. Keeping your medical records private. The right to live together as a family. In addition to high-profile issues like choice and civil rights, the federal courts decide issues that impact the most basic features of our daily lives.
The U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and the District Courts all exercise tremendous influence over the everyday lives of Americans. Although the Supreme Court has the discretion to review all cases going through the federal system, in practice, the federal appellate courts are the courts of last resort for the vast majority of federal cases. With a much reduced Supreme Court docket, the federal courts of appeal have become the final decision-makers on many important, enduring issues.
Ultra-conservatives have a keen understanding of the impact of federal judicial nominations – lifelong appointments – and have actively worked to appoint judges sympathetic to their ideology, and now 10 of the 13 circuits and the Supreme Court are majority Republican appointed.
These conservatives employ a lexicon that masks their true agenda. While leveling charges of "activism" and "legislating from the bench" at those judges with whom they disagree, they tout their own with phrases like "strict constructionist." They say "liberal" judges "legislate from the bench," while conservative judges merely interpret the law. The reality is that the progress of recent decades has been rolled back in recent rulings demonstrating the belief that it is within the purview of the courts to dictate intensely personal decisions, relationships and beliefs. The legacy of decisions restricting rights will impact society long after the balance of power in other branches of government has shifted.
It is not enough to keep these judges off of the bench. We must also work to advance a positive vision of the law, a vision of the law that champions fairness, justice and equality for all.