LETTERS: Without an independent judiciary, we are all at risk

SHARE LETTERS: Without an independent judiciary, we are all at risk
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The Illinois Supreme Court. (Photo by Jon Sall)

An independent judiciary is a critical – indeed the most critical – component of our constitutional government and the separation of powers: “Not only is it the duty of a judge to render a righteous judgment, but it is of transcendent importance to the litigants and the public generally that there should not be the slightest suspicion as to his fairness and integrity. Caesar demanded that his wife should not only be virtuous, but beyond suspicion. The people should not exact less from the judiciary, the most powerful branch of our government.”

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As Trump has undertaken to mold a federal judiciary devoid of independence and marked by an ideology inimical to our Constitution, so too have big money interests sought to dictate the makeup of our state courts in jurisdictions such as Illinois where judges are elected. The ethical pitfalls that attend a judicial selection process influenced by money cannot be understated or ignored. If our city, state and nation are deprived of a competent and independent judiciary, we are all at great risk. It is that important.

Your editorial makes the point on the “money issue” but we must not ignore the influence of politics. And we certainly cannot disregard the devastating consequences that will result when ideology is used as the exclusive litmus test for judicial selection.

This epistle ends where it began: The separation of powers and an independent judiciary are critical to our democracy. Judges must be competent and have the freedom to decide cases impartially based on the law and the facts, free of improper influence – whether it be money, politics or ideology.

Robert P. Cummins, former chairman,

Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board

Commendable decision

Despite rising costs and inflation, I commend Northern Illinois University for freezing tuition for the fourth year in a row, enabling more students to afford college education (“Northern Illinois University freezes tuition for 2018-2019, cuts fees, Dec. 11”).

It is an investment worth making. Living in a country that provides many educational opportunities and constantly striving to make higher education affordable, we almost forget about the 263 million kids around the globe that are not receiving their rightful education. Education is a powerful tool to end poverty. Thanks to Rep. Danny Davis for signing two valuable pieces of legislation that aim at educating children and youth — one locally, and one globally. The first is Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017, that supports college education of foster and homeless youth. The second is H.Res 466 that works with the Global Partnership for Education to provide kids with access to quality education, in the poorest countries and countries affected by conflict. I ask Chicagoans to urge their members of Congress to co-sponsor H. Res 466/S.Res 286 and give every child a chance at education.

Sri Jaladi, St. Louis

Keep Fox

I think the Chicago Bears should keep John Fox as coach. Sure he’s got record that would be a death sentence for any other coach, but the “Bears” Have NEVER been about wining; just look at there record the last thirty years.Sure Coach Fox has made mistakes, but does anyone believe the next Coach is going to be any better?Coach Dave Wannstedt always said that he could only play the players that he had.untill the “Bears” get players that are more than fair backups this will go on to the next hundred years

Reinhardt Heydrich, Bridgeport


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