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Contact: Michael Avitzur
Director of Government Relations

Statement from BBA President Mark D. Smith on Judicial Independence

The independence of the judiciary is a foundational component of our democracy, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is well served by its exemplary judiciary.  The public calls on our judges to make exceedingly difficult decisions every day, and relies on them to do so based not on what is popular but on what is fair and just.

Threats to remove judges because of disagreements on individual rulings, based on their use of discretion within the bounds of the law, undermine the very notions of judicial independence, fairness, and impartiality on which our judiciary is based. We cannot let the passions stirred by individual decisions interfere with our commitment to the rule of law. Political attacks meant to intimidate members of the judiciary will have a chilling effect on the judiciary as a whole, weakening the foundation on which our independent judiciary sits and harming the public’s trust in the institution.

As a bar association, the BBA has a long history of advocating for adequate funding for the judicial system, increased public understanding of the role of the judicial branch, and use of a fair and impartial merit-selection process for judges, all of which support the independence and effectiveness of our judiciary. We will continue to stand up for the principles of judicial independence, fairness, and impartiality whenever they are tested, as we have always done.

The Boston Bar Association traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the nation’s second president. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, serve the community at large and promote diversity and inclusion.