Impartial Administration of Justice

In keeping with the rule of law, the federal courts provide fair and impartial administration of justice. All persons may “have their day in court” regardless of race, sex, religion, national origin, or socioeconomic means. Disputes are resolved with reasoned decisions made through publicly visible processes and based faithfully on the law; judges can act without fear or favor.

Federal judges maintain and enforce high standards of conduct to ensure fairness and impartiality in the administration of justice and accessibility of court processes. Federal judges strive to treat all persons before the courts with dignity and respect.

The federal judiciary is respected throughout America and the world for its excellence, for the independence of its judges, and for its delivery of equal justice under the law.

Judicial Independence

An independent judiciary makes decisions based on law, not outside influences. Constitutional safeguards help to ensure that the decisions judges render are not influenced by Congress, the President, or public opinion.

The Founders realized that, only by removing the judiciary from the influence of the other branches, could justice be available to those holding both popular and unpopular views. Judges must be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. However, after they take the bench, judges are not dependent on either of the other branches. The Constitution states “[t]he Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”  (U.S. Const. art. III, § 1, cl. 2. ) Judges hold office during good behavior, typically for life. Judges may only be removed from the bench for misbehavior in office, and not simply because their decisions are unpopular. Neither Congress nor the President may not decrease a judge’s salary while the judge serves on the bench. Judges continue to receive their salaries, even when the federal government is operating in the absence of Congressional appopriations (commonly called a “shutdown”).

The judiciary’s independence in its legal decision making and its power to review the acts and actions of the other two branches make it the final protector of our rights and liberties. This is possible because the other branches of our government respect the judiciary’s independence and authority. Our respect for, and willingness to abide by, the rulings of the judiciary distinguish our court system from many others around the world.

Checks and Balances

The Constitution of the United States established three branches of government. The legislative branch (established in Article I) makes the laws. The executive branch (established in Article II) executes the laws made by the legislature. The judicial branch (established in Article III) interprets the established laws and oversees their execution. The Constitution provides each branch with separate powers of governing.

The Separation of Powers enshrined in the U.S. Constitution means the various branches of government share power among them, but at the same time, the powers of one branch can be challenged by another branch. This system of checks and balances allows the three branches of government to work together to govern but does not allow a single branch to become too powerful.