JUSTICE HOLLAND SERVES AS GROUP LEADER AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FAIR AND INDEPENDENT COURTS
Justice Randy J. Holland of the Delaware Supreme Court served as a working group leader at a national conference entitled “Fair and Independent Courts: A Conference on the State of the Judiciary” held at Georgetown University Law Center on September 28-29, 2006. The Conference, which was co-chaired by retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and current Justice Stephen Breyer, was an invitation only event which drew over 250 legal and business luminaries such as U.S. Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, and Clarence Thomas, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffet, and Washington Post Company Chairman and CEO Don Graham.
The conference was designed to address growing concerns about the preservation of federal and state courts’ tradition of independence. The organizers of the conference noted concerns relating to attacks on the independence of the courts as seen in partisan confirmation battles, calls for impeachment or recall following unpopular decisions, and public opinion polls revealing resentment of “judicial activism”.
Expressing concerns about such attacks, Chief Justice Roberts noted that, although judicial independence “is not immunity from criticism, it should not degenerate into attack on individual judges for [a] decision as a means of intimidation, and it should not take the form of institutional retribution – action against the judiciary as a whole – that might inhibit the judges from performing their vital function.”
Working groups, such as that led by Justice Holland, were a crucial part of the conference as participants were responsible for developing a list of solutions for ensuring that the judicial system remains fair and independent. The results of the various working groups will be compiled by the Law Center into formal recommendations for action.