Statement on judicial independence by ISBA President Vincent F. Cornelius

Illinois State Bar Association President Vincent F. Cornelius issued the following statement today.

It has been covered extensively by the media that President Trump referred to U.S. District Judge James L. Robart as a "so-called judge." An independent judiciary is the bedrock of American jurisprudence. Every federal judge, including Judge Robart, was nominated by a sitting president of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. Once confirmed, federal judges are granted life tenure so their appointments are not subject to influence by the president who nominated them, the Senate that confirmed them, future presidents, or the ballot.

While reasonable Americans can disagree with a judge's rulings, questioning the legitimacy of a federal judge is inappropriate. In the words of American Bar Association president Linda Klein, "There are no so-called judges in America."  


Posted on February 7, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson
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Member Comments (11)


This needs to be sent to every newspaper in Illinois as a press release from the President of ISBA. Today.
Thank you.

Yet another example of Trump's contempt for the rule of law, along with his racist comment regarding the judge presiding over the Trump "University" fraud case. He is a bully who denigrates any person or institution that dares to disagree with him. Yes, by all means create a press release and send it to every news outlet in the state, as well as the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and USA Today.

I am a forty year member of the ISBA, and this is the first time that I have commented publically on any stand taken by the ISBA. I can only echo and support these comments, and the prior comments of Mr. Keely. Thank you to the ISBA and its president for this statement. Please provide for as wide a distribution as possible.

I think "inappropriate" is inappropriate. It is ignorant, belligerent, and inconsistent with an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Instead of taking Trump to task because of his propensity to express himself in a boorish manner, maybe we should think about the problem when one district court judge can stop a Presidential Order.

Then his or her decision is reviewed by the Court of Appeals in that district.

Let's just suppose instead of trying to keep a campaign promise the outgoing President shared confidential information about something that put the lives of our people in jeopardy. Should the issue of such an Order by the President not be subject to direct review on an expedited basis by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Maybe it would be more productive to think about the remedying the procedure for dealing with an Executive Order. What if the Judge ruled Trump was right. thousands of people would have their lives on hold, or maybe lose their lives. They should have the right to an expedited review by the highest court of the land...not a Judge in the District Court.

While I agree wholeheartedly with the prior comments concerning President Trump's inappropriate (to say the least) comments, I do appreciate your thoughtful comment Leon. It is certainly worthy of further discussion. Thanks.

Great statement, Mr. President.

Calling a judge a "so called judge" is not much of an insult, it is a lazy insult at best. It doesn't even imply he's not a real judge, just that Trump doesn't think much of him. There is no dangerous backlash against judges in this country, so far. And no reason to fear for jdges.

On the other hand, where was Mr. Cornelius when Judge Posner very explicitly questioned the relevance of our Constitution a month or so ago? In fact, where was everybody?

Judges, especially federal judges, can take care of themselves, and kowtowing to them is unseemly, if typical, behaviour for bar associations.

John F. Bramfeld

Wow haven't seen this much outrage from ISBA since that chided Obama for calling out the Supreme Court in his State of the Union address while they sat 15 feet away from him.

Here is the ISBA statement:

Chirp, chirp, chirp. I hear crickets.

We are in for a very long four years of outrage over "Trumpisms" with every liberal with any kind of audience at all pounding the table in disgust over every little thing this President says. I am far more concerned with the masses of people that, largely as a result of all the table thumping, want to upend the Constitution with claims that Trump is "not my President" or is illegitimate. I do not think the Mr. Cornelius is exactly table thumping (some of the commenters are, certainly). However, that this single sentence even merits comment is typical of the current poisonous and politicized environment. Save the outrage for things that matter. For instance, when he or his minions lie about a terrorist attack being a demonstration, or use the powerful agencies of the government, like the IRS, against citizens that disagree with his policies.

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