Judicial System:

The nature of the judicial system is critical to the rule of law. Impartial judges, governed by clear legal rules, committed to enforcing the rules as written, independent of political influence are essential if law is to be a reliable guide to individuals and a constraint on those in power. The process for appointing judges to the courts needs to be removed from the realm of ordinary politics, where attention is focused excessively on a judge’s supposed ideology rather than on demonstrated competence and propriety. It is necessary if legal rules are to be meaningful that judges are committed to applying laws written by others faithfully, and it is fair to ask if nominees to the courts have conducted their professional lives in a manner consistent with an expectation that they would perform the law application task assigned to our judiciary. It is not, however, proper to ask nominees to signal that they would support particular outcomes in certain cases. Judicial activism – the use of a judge’s power to invent novel legal requirements that suit personal policy preferences rather than established legal commands – undermines the rule of law. So does the demand that judges barter implicit promises on future decisions for confirmation votes. In addition to the judges, the rules governing the operation of the courts, the sorts of suits that courts will entertain, and the procedures used all affect the vitality of the rule of law.