J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California                                 November 18, 2005
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Judicial Accountability, NOT Unconditional Judicial Immunity
Not Just Above The Law,
But Out-Laws
By Hugh Ammons, hugh.ammons@charter.net
(posted by permission)
Written in response to JNJ 11/14/05
Beware of The Phrase: "Independence of the Judiciary"
Independence… Indeed! 

Independence is indeed the touchstone upon which this nation was founded--Independence from tyranny… from government that fails to provide representation of the governed. 

Our Declaration set forth the foundation for a nation of the people, by the people and for the people. Being an independent people, our founding fathers wisely established a government that not only provided our three independent branches, but provided for an inter-dependence to ensure the required checks and balances.

If one were to claim a touchstone for the judiciary, it should be "impartiality." Our judicial system was meant to be as it has been symbolically portrayed from the beginning -- a balancing of scales, weighing the truth and the law, blindly. It is when the judicial system fulfills this symbolic role that society can expect predictable results. These results are those established by laws enacted by our legislature -- representatives of the people.

The independence of the judicial branch means that the legislative and executive branches will not establish courts, nor will they judge the rightness of laws themselves. Only the judicial branch will wear the robes and sit on the bench. The independence of the branches of government was NEVER provided to place any authority above the law. Judicial independence has become the bane of our society, because it has allowed the judiciary to run amok, removing impartiality and predictability from resulting decisions.

It is an affront to this nation to declare that the judiciary or any other branch or agency of the government has independence as its touchstone. Any branch that claims such independence declares it is NOT subject to constitutional checks and balances. A declaration of independence by the judiciary, in fact, declares that branch to be a foreign government within our own borders --not subject to our laws or its consequences.

The "judicial immunity" derived thereby to protect a branch of government from accountability no longer deceives the public by self-serving rhetoric. This immunity is not required by those who exercise their office with "dignity, wisdom, decency, civility, integrity and restraint;" but only by those whose acts bring the profession into disrepute.

Were the courts accountable to the very laws entrusted to their disposition, then any conflict over the "important work they do" would be justly decided by another officer with "dignity, wisdom, decency, civility, integrity and restraint." If this branch upheld the dignity of its profession, it should feel safe under the scrutiny of a court by its own members. Instead, it has covered itself with immunity for fear that the "work they do" might be revealed if one of its own members actually applied the laws of the land with true impartiality.

Judicial immunity mocks those who serve their profession with good intent and integrity, and makes the group, not just above the law, but as Out-Laws through their claim to independence.

Hugh Ammons

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