October 26, 2017

Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: AG Sessions comments criticizing judges

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2017 – The American Bar Association is alarmed by the remarks made Thursday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions about federal judges, accusing those he disagrees with of ruling on policy preference and not the law.

Ironically, Sessions complains that judges are not respecting the separation of powers and the concept of co-equal branches of government while at the same time himself disregarding the constitutional independence of the judicial branch.

Sessions said that “some judges have failed to respect our representatives in Congress and failed to appropriately respect the prerogatives and perspectives of the executive branch.” The judiciary rules on matters based on the laws and the Constitution. Their oath is “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” and not to protect “the prerogatives and perspectives” of the executive branch.

The courts are an important part of the justice system. While criticism of judicial decisions is a constitutionally protected right of every American and embedded in our tradition of free and open discussion about government, judges should not be attacked or diminished by another branch of government just because they do not rule in its favor. Judicial independence is critical to maintaining the rule of law in our nation.

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