Poll finds judges believe they should speak out against threats to judicial independence

A survey of hundreds of judges nationally found that the overwhelming percentage believe judges, who are often reticent to comment publicly for fear of having their objectivity questioned, should speak out against attacks on judicial independence.

The unscientific poll was taken earlier this month by The National Judicial College, the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely attended school for judges. The College emailed the survey question to its more than 12,000 alumni nationally.

The NJC conducted a similar poll seven months earlier and found that more than 90 percent of  alumni who responded felt judicial independence was being threatened.

Judicial independence is the concept that judges decide cases and interpret the law free from outside influences, such as an expectation of monetary gain, or allegiance to or fear of retribution from a political party or figure.

In the new survey, respondents said it is essential to confront the threats posed by the legislative and executive branches. Some alumni who left comments mentioned President Trump specifically.

Read a full summary of the results, including judges’ comments here.

Each month the NJC emails a one-question survey to more than 12,000 judges nationally who have attended its courses for new and experienced judges. The poll often asks their opinion on an issue of the day.

Contact: Anna-Leigh Firth, Communications/Marketing Intern

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Created more than a half-century ago at the recommendation of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, The National Judicial College remains the only educational institution in the United States that teaches courtroom skills to judges of all types from all over the country, Indian Country and abroad. Judges served by this nonprofit and nonpartisan institution decide more than 95 percent of the cases in the United States

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