Friday, October 07, 2005

Once upon of time there were three branches.

It is appalling to think about Harriet Miers, presidential puppet, crony of the highest order, taking the place of anyone on the Supreme Court. But the thought of her replacing O'Connor is particularly galling. Whether you thought she was right on the issues or not, O'Connor has consistently been a passionate advocate for an independent judiciary. She believes in its importance for the way our government works--and for what it says to the rest of the world about how we govern ourselves. She spoke on the subject in 2003 at the Arab Judicial Forum in Bahrain.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, one of the Framers of the United States Constitution, wrote in The Federalist No. 78 to defend the role of the judiciary in the constitutional structure. He emphasized that "'there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.' … [L]iberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have every thing to fear from its union with either of the other departments." Hamilton's insight transcends the differences between nations' judicial systems. For only with independence can the reality and the appearance of zealous adherence to the Rule of Law be guaranteed to the people.

More recently she has said, "The concept of retaliation against the courts for past federal court decisions is very troublesome."

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