President's Message (Jackie Parnell)|
December Meeting Features Proposal to Address Agricultural Lands (Jackie Parnell)
Volunteer for Election
Discussion Group Meets Oct. 21 (Evangeline Funk)
Parlor Game for Civil Liberties (Dorothy Cornell)
Constitutional Amendments Debated (Arlene Ellis)
Phone Company Takeover Bears Watching (Pearl Johnson)
Welcome New Members
Conference on Judicial Independence
View Sovereignty Tapes
Debate History Tapes Available
City Planner at Planning & Zoning Meeting Oct. 26
CONFERENCE ON JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE
On Saturday, November 13 the Hawaii League of Women Voters and its partners will offer a day-long Conference on Judicial Independence. Moderated by Aviam Soifer, Dean of the University of Hawaii School of Law, panels of local and national experts address the effect on judicial independence of limitations by the executive and legislative branches on judicial authority, judicial selection and retention, and media coverage and public opinion
Before discounting judicial independence as just one more boring topic, consider the implications of the following: a proposed federal statute granting power to Congress to reverse U.S. Supreme Court decisions; calls for state legislatures to "crack down" on wayward or activist judges; attempts to "squeeze" the judiciary budget or micro-manage the judiciary through the budgetary process; targeting a judge for political gain; mandatory sentencing which takes away discretion from judges to consider individual circumstances, inadequate or biased media coverage.
The agenda for the November 13 conference flows from the League's July 2003 report, "Judicial Independence in Hawaii," and the Judiciary's study, "Openness in the Courts," based on focus group discussions. Both noted an inadequate understanding of our constitutional form of democracy and a general public distrust and skepticism. Hawaii's judicial system is nationally acclaimed as less susceptible to "politicization" than those where judges are elected; however, it is only as apolitical as the decision-makers in the system or as the public perceives those decision-makers to be.
The League's partners include the Hawaii State Judiciary, Hawaii State Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Judicature Society/Hawaii Branch, Hawaii Women Lawyers, William S. Richardson School of Law, American Association of University Women, Hawaii Justice Foundation, Paralegal Program of Kapiolani Community College, ACLU Hawaii, and Honolulu Community Media Council.
Representatives from numerous organizations, including the League, have been meeting monthly to plan the program. Additionally, as a warm up, some program speakers will participate in Olelo's "You and the Law" on Friday, November 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
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