Political Philosophy for Walter Croskey
The judicial philosophy which I have attempted to bring to my fourteen years of experience as a trial and appellate judge is best reflected in what I understand to be the proper role of the judiciary in our democratic form of government.
The judiciary is the least powerful of the three co-equal branches of government. It does not make the laws or set or implement public policy or social goals. That is the proper function of the people through their elected representatives in the executive and legislative branches. It is the job of the judiciary to ensure that such laws, public policy and social goals are fully, fairly and impartially applied and enforced within the confines and restrictions of the federal and state constitutions. To that end, a good judge must bring the highest level of intelligence, integrity and industry.
In the long run, the real power and authority of the judicial branch rests entirely on the faith and trust which the people have that the judiciary will, on a consistent basis, fairly and impartially carry out its designated function to decide the cases which come before it according to the law without favor and without special considertion to any person, group or political view. It is this public perception and reasonable expectation which gives to judicial decisions their functional legitimacy and common acceptance. It is for this reason that each judge must regard as his or her first responsibility the discharge of the duties of the office in such a way as will ensure the appearance of justice as well as the fact. Put another way, judicial decisions must not only be fair and just in fact, they must be so perceived.
To fail in the discharge of these fundamental and equally important obligations or, through lack of diligence or industry, to allow others by their words or actions to cast doubt on the judiciary's willingness or ability to discharge them, will place at risk the single most critical foundation of any viable democracy: an independent judiciary.
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