History informs us of many instances of the political bias of judges. To quote from Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register, 1814: ‘Hume tells us, that Judge Jeffries, whom he calls ‘the bloody’, spread the western counties over with gallowses, and gibbets, and mangled carcases … Russell and the gallant Sidney were told that they had been found guilty by a Jury of their country; but the Parliament, at a subsequent period, declared the verdict to be corrupt and infamous, and reversed the acts of attainder, grounded upon that verdict. Numerous other instances might be produced from our own history’.
History informs us of a continuous suspicion of a political bias of judges, as the following extracts from ‘The Mirror of Parliament’, 1838, 1841, suggest:
‘At the assizes, nothing is more common than to hear the counsel and solicitors, in such cases, asking each other what are the politics and opinions of the judge, and what sort of people are likely to form the jury; clearly proving that it is, at least, as much to these as to the pure merits of the case they look for the verdict. I should be the last to deny to the judges of Westminster Hall the possession of a high character; but still I must say that, whenever in their official duties they come in contact with politics, then I look to the opinion of the people at large on the judgments pronounced by those judges relating to political matters’.
‘I speak with the greatest respect of the judges of the present day; but it cannot be disputed that, in past times, some of the most eminent and learned judges who ever sat in the courts manifested a political bias on the judgment-seat. There is no doubt that Lord Mansfield, who was a man of great learning and the most splendid talents, often manifested his political bias while presiding in his court. The same imputation has been thrown out against another very learned chief justice, — namely, Lord Kenyon, — and even more recently, against judges in our courts. Whether these charges be made justly or not, the public fasten on them; and I say we should act wisely in keeping apart from judges anything which is calculated to give rise to such imputations‘.
We should act wisely in keeping apart from judges anything which is calculated to give rise to such imputations.
Would judges be asked to quash the results of a General Election?
Save judges from decisions which have profound political consequences; for even angels would be suspected of bias.
lenin nightingale 2016