The Judicial Branch: America's Newest Political Pawn?

The Takeaway

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

The American judiciary likes to refer to its sister branches, the executive and legislative branches of government, as the political ones. But that philosophy—emblematic of the founders' intent—seems to be growing further and further from reality.

Politics and other issues of the American social fabric do play a role in judicial decision making. And if judges vote according to a legislative agenda, don't they become the longer arms of the legislature?

Over the weekend, within minutes of announcing the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle came out with statements. Many in the GOP are arguing that President Obama should not appoint another justice because it is his final year in office, while Democrats say that the president has a constitutional responsibility to fill the seat.

Has the independence of the black robe lost its free spirit?

Here to weigh in is Justice Barbara Pariente, a Florida Supreme Court Justice.

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • How the judiciary does or doesn't live up to the vision established by America's founding fathers.
  • How legislative and executive politics have influenced the court system in recent years. 
  • How judicial nominations and elections could be compromising justice in America.