Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Judicial independence in democratic regimes

It's a tricky issue that's been debated in the USA since before Marbury v Madison: how to balance the independence of judges and the will of the people.

Before 1803, there were those who argued that only Congress (like the British Parliament) could decide what was and was not constitutional. In many states today, judges are elected or voted on after appointment. And the issue of Supreme Court judges was a major topic in the USA's presidential race.

Now the issue has come up in the UK. Watch for the resolution.

Judges could need democratic controls, says UKIP contender
Judges could be "subject to some kind of democratic control" following the High Court's decision to give Parliament a vote on triggering Brexit, a UKIP leadership contender has said.

Suzanne Evans
Suzanne Evans told the BBC that the panel that gave the ruling was "committed to staying in" the EU.

But she added it was important to maintain "judicial independence".

The government says the ruling will not slow down Brexit and Labour says it will not vote to delay proceedings…

Ms Evans said: "I think there's a debate to be had about whether or not judges are subject to some kind of democratic control."

She did not want to undermine "their judicial independence", but added: "I suppose that in this case, we have had a situation where we have judges committed to stay in the European Union...

"I'm questioning the legitimacy of this particular case. We know that the legal profession threw a collective hissy fit when we voted to leave."…

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