If You Don’t Like Our Courts . . . .

Our legal system is not perfect, and it is rightly criticized when it falls short.  But we too often overlook the genius of the Founding Fathers when they gave us the then-radical idea of separation of powers and an independent judiciary.  Judicial independence is so woven into the national fabric that people rarely think about how remarkable it is.

Seriously, where else can you sue the federal government in federal court and have your case heard by a judge who is paid by the federal government, and still win?  

So, what would life be like without an independent judiciary?  Well, we need only look to China, the most populous nation on Earth.   The top judicial official in China, Chief Justice Zhou Qiang of the Supreme People’s Court of China, recently gave a speech where he denounced constitutional democracy, separation of powers, and the independence of the judiciary.  The Chief Justice said that China should resolutely resist erroneous influence from the West, stating that “we must make clear our stand and dare to show the sword.”

The Chief Justice had been considered a reformer who wanted to improve the judiciary, but observers suspect that he was instructed to toe the party line, literally, since China’s judiciary is subordinate to the ruling Communist Party.  

In this country, our Chief Justice leads a co-equal branch of government that does not and never has reported to the political leadership.  It’s good to remind ourselves of that once in a while so that we don’t take it for granted.  

Posted: 1/20/2017 12:08:36 PM by Editor | with 0 comments

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About This Blog

Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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