Here’s a legislative alert from Common Cause Hawaii concerning a public hearing on pending bills that would politicize the reappointment of judges and eventually threaten the independence of the Judiciary as a whole.
We all agree that our courts should be fair and impartial — but new bills in the Hawaii Senate¹ will require the state Senate to approve judges or justices when they renew their terms.
This is sometimes called “re-retention” and is the opposite of the checks and balances of our system!
This proposal would invite political influence on the Judiciary, undermining public confidence and trust in the fairness and impartiality of the courts.
We can stop it if enough of us speak out. The most important way to help is to submit written testimony (it is easy to do online and takes just a few minutes).
With your help we were able to defeat last year’s proposal to make judges elected positions. Let’s stop this new attempt to influence our courts!
Instructions on how to submit testimony (pick one option):
Click here for tips on how to write testimony.
• Submit 1 testimony for both of these bills (be sure to list both bill numbers) via email. Email your testimony to: JDLtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov
Separation of powers. The Judiciary is 1 of 3 branches of government that, through our system of checks and balances, helps to ensure no one branch wields excessive influence. Re-retention by the Senate would influence our judges and justices, blurring the separation of powers among the 3 branches.
This proposal would invite political influence on the Judiciary undermining public confidence and trust in the fairness and impartiality of the courts.
When a judge faces re-retention, the judge faces retrospective views by the Senate, public, political action committees, special interest groups, and other entities, any of which may have had an interest in a particular result in a particular case. This may result in intense political pressure during the re-retention process.
Mahalo and Imua,
Corie Tanida, executive director
and the Common Cause Hawaii Team
P.S. The committee hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 9am at the Capitol. Please join us if you can at Room 016, Hawaii State Capitol, 415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813. Let me know if you are interested — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org