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Violence, political criticism, budget cuts, impeachment, and legislation designed to constrain the judiciary are some of the threats that have existed for judges since the formation of the United States. Recently, several leaders in the legal community have voiced concerns that judicial independence is in jeopardy because these threats could influence judges to make biased decisions. The chorus, led in part by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, is pointing out problems that are non-issues, suggested Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit at the Ola B. Smith Lecture March 19. Thanks to Americans’ recognition of the importance of an independent judiciary, now and throughout history, judicial independence is safe, he said. Pryor’s talk was sponsored by the Student Legal Forum and the Virginia Law Review.

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