Lesson from the US in judicial independence–economic times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-editorials/lesson-from-the-us-in-judicial-independence/ET Edit

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US President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election that rendered him a one-term president and gave the presidency to Joe Biden have been terminated by the US Supreme Court. It dismissed a challenge by the Republican attorney general of Texas to the pro-Biden electoral verdict of four battleground states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan. Trump tweeted that the US Supreme Court showed lack of wisdom and courage.

It is small mercy that he did not accuse the court of lack of gratitude: after all, he had put on the Supreme Court bench three of its nine occupants. However, the US Supreme Court was guided, in its decision, by the legality of the challenge rather than by who had raised the challenge and to what end. This shows that judicial independence is alive and well in the US. That serves as an example for other courts in other lands. The process of appointing judges to the Supreme Court is a partisan process in America. Nominees are chosen for their conservative or liberal values, and the Senate confirms the nominees or refuses to, depending on how the nominees’ perspectives align with those of Senate members. The three nominations made by Donald Trump to the Supreme Court had to undergo very public examination of their past conduct as well as their judicial dispositions.

Democrats tried their very best to block each of these conservative appointments. Yet, the judges, appointed in the teeth of opposition by Democrats, have chosen to uphold the electoral process that hands over the presidency from the individual who appointed them to a Democrat. Partisan, the justices might be, but that is to certain value systems and interpretations of the statute these lead to, not to individuals.

This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Economic Times.

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