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tv   National Judicial College on Verbal Attacks Against Courts and the Media...  CSPAN  December 15, 2018 12:33am-1:12am EST

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imposing their values on iowa. what will they do to long-established iowa traditions? three of these judges are on the november ballot. but no on retention of supreme court justices. >> we want justice is to protect us. when child molesters sued to stop electronic monitoring, a law that allowed us to track child molesters near schools, supreme court justice robin hudson sided with the predators. hudson cited a child molester's right to privacy. toughe robin hudson, not on child molesters, not fair to victims. >> the most liberal place in tennessee is not a college theus not a big city, it is state supreme court. liberal democrats control lower court and threaten your
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freedoms. they advanced obamacare in tennessee, but you can fight back. vote to replace the tennessee supreme court. find the liberals on your ballot. connie replace judge clark. make your stand. ms. bannon: with that -- [laughter] quite a transition. we have one of the subjects of these very nasty attack ads, justice robin hudson, with us. love for you to tell us a little about this experience of being attacked, and reflect the appropriate and inappropriate ways to talk about judicial issues in the course of justice hudson: i'm
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still sitting on the supreme court of north carolina. it is our duties to speak out and educate the public and encourage respect for those institutions. i am happy tot a, give background about this experience. i was elected to the supreme court of north carolina in 2006. weike these federal judges, have to stand for reelection. i was up for reelection in 2014. inally the biggest challenge a nonpartisan statewide election is to get anybody to pay attention, so that's what i was doing. february is the filing, the filing period, seemingly out of nowhere a third person filed in the race, and when there are
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more than two people that file it becomes a statewide primary. i learned with nine weeks leading to the primary that i had an unexpected, statewide primary. the press starts sniffing around. there was some thinking the third candidate had connections to some think tanks with ties to dark money groups, and they were asking me if there was any possibility of anything going on, and i do nothing of any such thing. we go about ramping up our primary, on the last day before i'm looking at my emailed from one of my campaign people with a link to a video, and it said, have you seen this? it is alwaysd wonderful to see that ad again. [laughter] seemingly out of nowhere on the day early voting started, it ran nonstop in every media outlet around the state and also
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triggered an immediate response and a lot of phone calls and attention by the media, who did a wonderful job of telling the public what was really going on. and it got attention. since it was the first time people heard of a dark money groups spending more than $1 million in a nonpartisan, judicial primary, it got a lot of attention from high-end media , the new york times, washington post, los angeles times, wall street journal, nbc radio as all of the local media all over north carolina, so there was a lot of coverage wish went a lot -- coverage which went along -- went a long way toward educating the public. what we see in these dark money attack ads where they take an actual decision and the terrible photo and distort it to
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make it look like a witch or something, and then distort your decision in order to usually accuse you of somehow siding with criminals. true, andally is not that was not true in people's all right throw it. i came in first in the primary and ultimately won the general election by the widest margin i have ever had, thanks in large part to this very effective response and education effort by the media as well as lawyers in our state. that was heartening to see the , thense of the voters media, the lawyers, and the rest of the public, but we couldn't know that was how it was going to turn out. it was not a pleasant experience even though at the end of the day i was somewhat
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heartened by how it turned out. but i am still bothered by a lot of things about this episode. , thatind of attack attacks a judge for doing their job and writing a decision, and that case it was a dissenting opinion, shows a fundamental about jobtanding as judges. to attack us for doing our job, that is not the way one should approach criticism of our institutions or the rule of law. it is inconsistent with the oath we take as judges to be impartial and follow the law and follow the constitution without regard to public pressure or what is the popular thing to do. it is not our job to do what is popular, is to follow the law. one thing that bothers me a great deal is that this kind of an attack at approach in states, and 38 states at last count had
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where theof election judges do face the voters, it discourages good people from theseg to stand and hold judicial offices in states where they have to face reelection. it happens all over the place, so i think we have a lot of work to do. are spending time working on civics education from kindergarten all the way through retirement, to inform people all around the country of how our andem is supposed to work, the role of the judiciary. that is the backdrop of that episode. [applause] ms. bannon: justice, you were also subject to an orchestrated
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attack in connection with a pretension election. i would love to hear your on that, and what more resources to judges need in the face of these trends? judge: this is a great panel. i have loved listening to you, and seeing such amazing people in this audience. i have been a lawyer and for the 21 of5 years, a judge, those on the state supreme court of florida. and i facing 25 days mandatory retirement. and a florida we achieve constitutional senility at age 70. [laughter] and then i will be free to say , rather than think
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politically-correct terms. the state courts, respectfully, need more support than the federal courts. many is this belief among that state courts get what they ask for because so many state manys have elections, southern states have partisan elections and they are bruising, and they are -- they have gotten worse, not only because of special interests but because of the citizens united decision. a lot of these attacks, we saw iowa, there is out-of-state dark money. supreme court justices,
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three justices, find jurists -- , world the fetid in 2010. that was also the rise of the tea party. so what you have had for at least a decade, but maybe farther back, is systematic attacks in state courts. hadlorida we have, and have instant 1970's, we are a merit retention state. it is known as the missouri plan because it was seen as a less political way to ensure quality less political influence on how state court justices or judges were elected. we were very proud of that system. nonpartisanrly judicial nominating commission,
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and they would presumably send up the most qualified judges or attorneys that applied. i had been through three merit and i knowlections, have written that retention has become so political, because you are on the ballot, but it is yes or no, you don't have anyone running against you. thosegone through the of -- through three of those and was up in 2016 with two of my colleagues. you had to be appointed by either a democrat or republican, we had been appointed by the governor,ratic chilels, --ton andrnor lawton chiles,
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we had all been involved in versus gore, terri schiavo, a lot of whats, were seen as controversial cases where we felt we were doing the through either the law, the constitution, the statutes, so that was the absolute motivation behind it. it wasn't on ethics, impartiality, professionalism. we were attacked and we learned from iowa in 2010 so we did organize. we were fortunate to have many but 2016at helped us, was a presidential election year so there was much more attention on not having president obama reelected, that the money was directed elsewhere.
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now, 2018ccessful but has come and it is six years and all three of us are reaching constitutional senility at the same time. during the time we were justices, we were characterized as democratic politicians. and again that is that labeling that so infuriates me. i do think state court judges need a lot of support, not only groups and the i have been a member of the aba bute i was a young lawyer, when it came to what happened in get, in florida we did not the kind of support i thought we should get from the american bar association, maybe for political reasons.
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i think federal judges also have the ability to look at what is going on and speak in our defense. and what all three of us state have beenices involved since 2012 in the informed voter project. you have seen the display out there. it is our answer to what we can do. thes nice to talk about rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, but when they see and add like that, and usually these ads attack a judge for being a criminal, they are not interested in the criminal aspect, they want business interests protected. it is important to inform the public. that brings me to the media.
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how many remaining journalists and press people are in this audience? very few,. kalb, probably the ones that are going to be on the panel. [laughter] this is where we preach to the does because the media take so often the shortcut, which is this use of labels. the label that is most insidious is being an activist judge. it is a label that is used when justice roberts upheld the affordable care act. they were upholding a law of congress. they called that decision upholding the law and activist decision. it is a label used with no meaning underneath it.
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liberal and conservative have been overused. i grew up in the 1950's and 1960's and i thought a liberal was somebody who defended the individual rights enshrined in against thetion possible overreach by the other two branches. , if you are a liberal that is something where you are against the establishment. these labels don't do it. i think we have to stop labeling. we have to increase our outreach at all levels. we in florida have mandatory civics education, as judges and lawyers we have ulcerative programs -- we have all sorts of programs, but how many words are in a tweet? .4 words and you reach millions of
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saying,and all we are if we are on c-span or whatever, it is a drop in the bucket. so we have to bring our collective voices together to make our case with each other s, so that we have a stake in what each other is doing, and to the and alsopeople, understand there are a lot of organizations that have been tooted for decades undermining the state courts and reshaping the state courts and , and that isourts something we are now seeing the ultimate and product, i believe, both at the highest levels of the supreme court and also at the state court level. [applause] ms. bannon: i want to conclude
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the initial set of questions to you with a two part question. most of the discussion has focused on attacks on individual justices or judges. waysou reflect on other the judiciary as an institution can be subject to attack, and what that means for the separation of powers? and i would love to hear your we on this panel, the people watching at home, what we can do to protect our democracy from attacks on the judiciary. thank you very much, allison. i feel privileged to have this river fight conversation. i can't wait until barbara pariente gets her first amendment rights back.
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[laughter] a narrative developed, and what endangers the judiciary is not only a straight on frontal attack on a judge or a decision or a particular judiciary in a as ain state or for me trial prosecutor, i can see an attack coming and respond. and i can enlist others to respond as a surrogate. that what bothers me is that there are so many other ways to minimize and marginalize and start a narrative about the judiciary that begins to undermine it. as judge davis said, zimbabwe wasn't always a. and it starts slowly, absentmindedly, maybe even without willful intent, but it develops as a narrative.
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a full frontal attack for me was when i started arresting and courthouses across the country. asaited to hear a response to why this is wrong. relies one judiciary , andc trust and confidence when a law is passed it is for everyone, not just for citizens, it is for everyone. so arresting and courthouses on so arresting and courthouses on civil war and spy ice to me in danger to the public trust and confidence people have in the judiciary. the public will see that as, go to court, get arrested. solution? do not go to court. in california an increase in failures to report. in californianed i said, if not us, who? shouldn't we be saying something
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about this. no one is saying anything about this. inorcement of a nice warned a courthouse is a policy, it is not a law, it is a policy. letter,d, let's write a so we wrote a letter to attorney general sessions and homeland inurity chief john kelly, strong language, because of these court arrests. judges were afraid to tell me this was happening. i had to read it in the newspaper. so we wrote a strong-worded letter. today, we got the fastest action by federal government everywhere. and about three weeks, a harsh rebuke to my letter, public, nonresponsive, but it pointed out california deserves this because we are a sanctuary state. theoint was to defend judiciary under the separation of powers and what we provide
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for the people. but when i talk about a less frontal attack on the judiciary, i am talking more about situations described here, media i would also say something about the judicial branch budget. legislatures shape your values by giving the judiciary a fund to work with. at the same time the legislature begins to earmark how you can spend that money, begin to tell you what your values are, you can only spend this money on traffic, on computers, a takes away the ability of judges who know the needs of their courts to make consensus decisions. so i found myself as chief going to the legislature saying, we can't have earmarks. we will report how every any is allow the you must
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judiciary to make its own decisions about how money is spent for the rule of law. allow the because legislators have so much on their plate, how can you possibly know? there was a strong effort to take away our freedom as to how judicial money was spent. there were also legislative bills that said, this is going to be the briefing schedule, in statute, under certain areas of law. now i appreciate you are looking for greater efficiency, but it is insidious when it starts to creep up on you in legislation you don't necessarily see as an on the judiciary, when we act on behalf of the committee. instances ofer undermining the judiciary.
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one of them is intra-judiciary fighting. intra-judiciary judge-on-judge attacks. ask, take a branch, do you as a judge think you begun long -- you belong to the legislature, to the executive branch? pick a branch. important as a branch that we are independent from the other two branches of government, so we perform our duty as a check on the other, and when we apply the rule of law we do it independently and we explain ourselves and opinions, so that you are understanding that we tether --
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that we are tethered to the law. have structured criticism over the opinion analysis, i'm not sure what it does to criticize it. but in terms of solutions, we have started a k-12 civic program. we work with the state superintendent of public schools, the secretary of state, we have integrated civics into the curriculum and it is being tested under the history and science framework. we have made the judiciary a major part of civics education taught and tested in k-12 in california. that took about four years. we have partnered with officers.onal
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we have reached hundreds of thousands of children, but we don't stop there. we have reached out to our federal judiciary brethren, joining our resources and creating things like the civics passport, where we have students visit a federal court, a state court, we stamp their passport, they hear from judges, they hear from lawyers. we have partnered with lawyers. we partner with bar associations. when we have a problem our lawyers go out and spread the word and speak on our behalf. judges have always gone into classrooms and always spoke about what we do and why we but nowhe rule of law, we are getting new judges, justices involved. we are live webcasting all our oral arguments.
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we live webcast so much rulemaking. we invite the public for public comment. i do not believe the attacks are going to stop, the undermining end of marginalizing of the branch will ever stop. to speak up, and we have to defend ourselves and reach out and connect with others and build relationships where we can do that together. the beauty of the civics initiative is that we build relationships, so before they demean you publicly they know you. [laughter] , youf there is a demeaning can call someone who knows them. there would be relationship and communication that has never happened. it requires judges to go out into the community and talk about what we do. in california there are far fewer lawyers and courthouses now than there are self-represented litigants.
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a judge's role has taken a different turn. we provide social justice and transitional housing for people in courts who once they are sentenced, we prop them up so they don't fail. judges today have so much more to do in a community, we can explain what we do, and yet this exists,m of us still but hopefully we inoculate the public before they take damaging action against us. but it is the constant undermining you have to be aware of. to be overly sensitive, but sensitive about lanes, and does this affect our ability to enforce the rule of law? [applause] ms. bannon: we have time for a few questions.
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we will turn to some questions from the audience. >> in hindsight, would you have done anything differently? judge robart: [laughter] but i willis no, echo something to of my colleagues up here said. with the benefit of almost two understand how you could decide this differently because of the pressures that are there. i think a real risk is that you don't create a climate in which you are forced to make that decision. you know you took a oath to support the constitution and you are going to do so. i have a question that
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follows up on that question, what i might call the intimidation factor. one panelist mentioned judges are human. in new york after judge baer suppressed evidence president got upset and said maybe he should resign. after that the judges stopped writing decisions on suppression, they only did it orally when the press wasn't there. i wonder how some judges become they don't, because want to be in this media barrel for weeks and weeks. my other question is for elected judges. what is the effect on you, that you have to raise funds, face the voters? does it affect decision-making theyme colleagues because don't want to make controversial
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decisions that might impact either their fundraising or reelection? >> i believe a lot of these intimidation. that had organized the attacks said, even if we don't we will succeed in fear and intimidation, that if you rule this way, you face the danger of removal. "the new york times" did wonderful editorials on impartial justice at risk, talking about that intimidation factor. but many of the studies have been done, the public does money andhe role of
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elections lowers public trust .nd confidence and there is a wonderful report on how to reform state judicial systems, but that depends on having a state legislature to enact those reforms, or a constitutional change. it isis corrosive, corrosive and the other two but the merit selection part is great, that i support what has been advanced as one term and done, one long-term, 20 years. i know life service is great and i have been on the court 21 years. it is enough. [laughter]
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>> i'm from texas originally, and i was talking to steve smith, a state judge in texas today. my state judge friends in texas are concerned because they know the year in which you run for reelection is key. if you run in a presidential election year, all the democrats get swept out in its it is, like -- swept out if it is, like, i trump year. all the republicans will lose or the democrats will lose. in at is normally presidential election year, the whole ticket will go whichever way the presidential election is going to go. all the republican judges in dallas and houston lost because o'rourke did so well in almost knocking off senator cruz.
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so 55 district judges in dallas and houston all lost their reelection campaigns and only tomocrats won because be did so well and took all those democratic judges into office. it's no way to run a railroad, i think, but i am partial because i didn't have to run. the one great thing i heard today is the great job california is doing about civics. civics is good not only for what we are talking about today, but future jurors. i worry about future jurors and if they know enough about the system to be good jurors. taught in not being schools anymore is a real problem in the future of our country, and what california is doing in civics is important to the future of our country. the best thing we heard here today is, can we spread what she
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is talking about? the chief justice had great comments on what they are doing in california on civics education. justice souter, justice o'connor have been pushing that, and i think that is a key to our future. i want to put in a plug for the national association of women judges informed voter project. aser areas have not made much as project, florida has done good work, but our efforts have been to make available speakers and materials to every staff,ith help from our to put on programs that involve civics education, all the way down to kindergarten and all the way up to retirement date -- retirement age.
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solid base of knowledge of how the judiciary works, and it is an absolutely bedrock fundamental. we do see pressures in the states, both in the lead up to elections where there may be attack ads. there is research that judges are less kind and ruling in criminal cases in the year or so leading to a reelection effort. most of us know there is politics involved in the process . and what comes with the territory is that you have to push that aside and deal with a case on its merits. all of us try as hard as we can to do that. until we have a selection method like the one we have been advocating for, one term and done, we are going to have to
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deal with it with our own education efforts with the public and ourselves. we in california tried an experiment in february. we have taken our civics and reached out to the legislature to hold our first ever legislative judicial summit. we have three panels of judges and legislators who are going to come together to talk to each other about how we work and improve it. door ato every leader's the legislature and asked if i could put their name on the ledges -- name on the invitation to show we were convening it together. we don't know how many people will show up, but with our first effort to bring our branches of government to understand each other in a way we don't try to destroy each other. lawyers play an important
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role in all of this, they are key as intermediaries between judiciary and the public. there are efforts going on around the country by lawyers, but it is also the code of conduct that governs in all 50 states. the preamble says lawyers should further the public's confidence in the rule of law, because they depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority. that is part of the obligation .f lawyers as well a ms. bannon: join me


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