Judges’ … minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependant upon any man or body of men.

—John Adams. Thoughts on Government, 1776.

The judiciary must be independent of the executive and legislative branches; it must be non-political and its members unencumbered by distracting or conflicting commitments. To this end the Constitution should prohibit judges from:

  1. serving in the executive branch (in the past, concurrently, or in the future);
  2. serving in the legislative branch (in the past, concurrently, or in the future);
  3. giving public speeches;
  4. authoring articles, letters to the editor, blogs, etc;
  5. giving television interviews;
  6. running a business;
  7. serving as directors of companies;
  8. sitting on a synod, board of trustees, etc;
  9. being the officeholder of any clubs, etc;
  10. supporting or belonging to a political party;
  11. making investments likely to give rise to dispute or conflict of interest.

Judges should be relieved of as many administrative obligations in relation to the courts as possible. The sole focus of a judge’s employment should be on hearing cases, researching the law, and writing judgments.

Judges should be well-paid in order to attract highly intelligent people and compensate for the extensive restrictions involved in pursuing a judicial career.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove