Columbus, Ohio (Feb. 7, 2017) —
The Ohio State Bar Association represents lawyers and judges from all different backgrounds and points of view. In turn, these lawyers represent Ohioans who seek access to justice. Therefore, when the importance of judicial review and the independence of the judiciary is challenged, even by the President of the United States, we feel compelled and uniquely positioned to provide perspective.
When the Constitution was written, the drafters thought it wise to create three co-equal branches of government—the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Each has its unique responsibilities and is charged with maintaining the balance of power in our government. There are no "so-called" branches.
In particular, the courts and the judges who serve there are charged with protecting the rights of citizens to challenge the actions of the other branches of government. Well-meaning people can disagree on individual opinions, but through judicial review, courts have upheld, for example, gun owners' rights, private property rights, the right to be treated equally under the eyes of the law, and the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement. Without judicial review, the legislative and executive branches would have almost unlimited power.
When the judiciary is unfairly attacked, as occurred last weekend when Judge Robart was labeled a "so-called judge," the affected judge is, by rule, unable to respond publicly. It often is incumbent on bar associations, then, to make public statements explaining the role of courts in our government. It is for that reason we issue this statement.
Recognizing the importance of judicial review, we hope all Ohioans will join us in taking this opportunity to further educate ourselves and others about why checks and balances are critical, and on the importance of judicial review by fair and impartial courts. Let us remember that all public officials take an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. We encourage Ohioans to engage in a thoughtful conversation.
For more information, please go to "What You Should Know About the Least Understood Branch."