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NHCBA sends letters to the Capitol to state concern for Judicial Independence

Wednesday, March 28, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gillian Fattal
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Stephen G. Murphy, Jr. sent the following letter to state representatives and state senators regarding judicial appointments in Connecticut on Monday, March 26, 2018.

To the Honorable Senators and Representatives of the Connecticut General Assembly:

As authorized by my Executive Committee, I am writing to express our views regarding recent developments in confirming sitting judges for continued or elevated positions.

 We recognize that the legislators’ evaluations of sitting judges is becoming increasingly partisan in tone and increasingly focused on political concerns, rather than on a judge's character, integrity, intellectual acumen, and experience. We consider this a dangerous trend that threatens our independent judiciary. 

 We respect the important role that the General Assembly plays in reviewing each judicial nomination. Obviously, the decisions written by a sitting judge are a legitimate part of the considerations that must be evaluated before approving the reappointment of a sitting judge. An analysis of those decisions should bear on the judge’s integrity, intelligence, dedication, and experience, rather than whether the outcome comports with a legislator’s or constituent’s point of view. Judges should be beholden to the rule of law and not advocates for political causes or points of view. A judge’s job is often to make difficult decisions, both with political implications and ones that require an outcome that favors one litigant over another. 

 Not only have partisan politics intruded into the judicial reappointment process, there are also incidents of personal attacks on the character of judges that can only be considered hate speech. I assume that these types of personal attacks would carry no weight in the General Assembly, but failure to speak out against it also tends to undermine and taint the entire process. 

 An independent judiciary is a critical feature of government. Connecticut has a long history of non-partisan judicial nominations. On behalf of the NHCBA, I urge the members of the Connecticut General Assembly to honor that tradition and not let partisan politics and other extraneous issues diminish the judicial confirmation process. 


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