Anti Judiciary Laws

Anti Judiciary Laws

Two states had proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot which had drastic provisions regarding the judiciary. Colorado’s proposal would have fixed a maximum limit on the term of judges, but was defeated by the voters. South Dakota’s proposed change would have made judges subject to criminal charges or lawsuits by people who believed their legal rights had been violated by judges decisions. If adopted, the law would even apply to decisions made before it was voted on – retroactively. Judges would be held accountable for "any deliberate violation of law, fraud or conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material facts, judicial acts without jurisdiction, blocking of lawful conclusions of a case or any deliberate violation of the constitution." It would create a special citizen’s grand jury to evaluate the complained about conduct. Opponents claimed that this proposed constitutional amendment would allow criminals to sue judges. They also argued that the provision would authorize "jury nullification" in which a juror has the right to ignore a law that they didn’t agree with in voting in any case. The proposed amendment was defeated by a 90% margin, but backers say they will not give up and hope the concept "will spread like wildfire across of the country.".

These proposals were made by proponents who are unhappy with judges. Clearly draconian laws like Scalia_1 these are out of the mainstream of American history. However, I do believe that the conduct of some judges  is contrary to the expected judicial dignity and judicial demeanor. One example is U.S. Supreme court Justice Antonin Scalia. His personal attack upon fellow justices in his dissenting opinions, his conduct towards lawyers presenting their arguments before the court and his remarks in speeches giving his opinions about issues yet to be decided by the court are troublesome to many. Justice Antonin Scalia went duck hunting with Vice President Cheney just three weeks after the Supreme Court decided to review the vice president’s appeal about issues relating to the Administration’s energy task force. He saw nothing wrong with it and said he had no intention of not participating in the appeal. I, along with many others, felt it inappropriate to put it mildly. The justice, however, saw nothing wrong with it, saying "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned." (Luckily, the vice president did not accidently shoot the justice as he did another hunting companion) The justice is very vocal on many subjects which has caused criticism in many quarters. In a talk on capital punishment issues at the University of Chicago Divinity School, he injected the comment: "my views on the subject have nothing to do with how I vote in capital cases." Which reminds me of late dictator Idi Amin’s comment "sometimes people mistake the way I talk for what I am thinking."

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