Charging into the New Year with a renewed commitment to social justice, the non-profit corporation Appleseed, a group that works for the public interest, signed an amicus brief in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case mentioned above. Appleseed got involved because of its concern about the state of judicial ethics. Justice at Stake asked Alabama Appleseed to enlist the support of other Centers. Viewing this case as an opportunity to improve judicial impartiality and ensure due process for litigants, the national office of Appleseed was soon onboard, joining Centers in Chicago, Massachusetts, and Washington.
Ten other amicus briefs in support of the petitioners were submitted by such institutions as the American Bar Association, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as the one filed by the former state chief justices. The court granted certiorari on November 14, 2008, and will hear oral argument on March 3rd. With fellow amici, Appleseed seeks to ensure equal access to justice – in this case, by insulating the bench from corruptive conflicts of interest. Appleseed Executive Director Betsy Cavendish, said in a statement:
Appleseed and our network of Centers seek to remove structural impediments to justice, and getting involved in this case fits in perfectly with that mission. Quoted in the New York Times, Keith R. Fisher, a lawyer for the ABA, likewise noted Caperton’s bearing on preserving judicial integrity. If the public believes that judges can be bought, that is really poisonous and undermines public confidence in an independent judiciary.
The Supreme Court is being asked in the Caperton case to provide clearer guidance for states to follow when enacting their own laws. You can visit Appleseed’s website (www.appleseednetwork.org) for updates on the case’s progress. It’s good to see Appleseed taking a strong stand in this area of concern. You can view Appleseed’s brief on the Website.
Source: Association Press
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