Friday, September 26, 2014

Quote of the day

"Think about it," he said. "If you're a judge and you know that your boss can remove you if he doesn't like your decisions, well, human nature tells you that is going to most likely influence the way you make your decisions."

Randy Frye, president of the Association
of Administrative Law Judges,
on Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's

What's this got to do with military justice? Judges in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force all serve without fixed terms of judicial office.

As for those in the U.S. Army and Coast Guard who, by regulation, enjoy three-year fixed terms that are subject to possible renewal, consider this from para 89 of yesterday's decision of the Supreme Court of India in Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, Transferred Case (C) No. 250 of 2006 [shared by Global Military Justice Reform's indefatigable contributor Navdeep Singh]:
Insofar as the validity of Section 8 of the NTT [National Tax Tribunal] Act is concerned, it clearly emerges from a perusal thereof, that a Chairperson/Member is appointed to the NTT, in the first instance, for a duration of 5 years. Such Chairperson/Member is eligible for reappointment, for a further period of 5 years. We have no hesitation to accept the submissions advanced at the hands of the learned counsel for the petitioners, that a provision for reappointment would itself have the effect of undermining the independence of the Chairperson/Members of the NTT. Every Chairperson/Member appointed to the NTT, would be constrained to decide matters, in a manner that would ensure his reappointment in terms of Section 8 of the NTT Act. His decisions may or may not be based on his independent understanding. We are satisfied, that the above provision would undermine the independence and fairness of the Chairperson and Members of the NTT. . . .
Nor is India alone in viewing the renewability of fixed terms of office as compromising judicial independence. Click here (South Africa).

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