Upon his retirement as Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Hon. Martin E. Johnstone was interviewed by Daniel T. Goyette, Chief Public Defender for Louisville Metro/Jefferson County, KY. Justice Johnstone served over thirty years with distinction in every level of our state's judiciary. The interview is published in the October, 2006 issue of the Louisville Bar Briefs, the newspaper of the Louisville Bar Association, and unfortunately is not available online.
In response to the questions, "What is the greatest challenge facing the state judiciary in Kentucky? What can lawyers do to improve the Court of Justice?" Justice Johnstone replied, "There are many, but perhaps the greatest challenge to Kentucky's judiciary are the attacks on its integrity and independence, and the blind labeling by pundits, bloggers, and other so-called court-watchers of judges being "activists." ... "Recently bloggers have made the judiciary a favorite target with accusations and allegations that are usually without any basis in fact, yet leave the member of the judiciary unable to counter. This barrage of baseless criticism continues a deterioration of the public's opinion about the judiciary and the bar that endangers the constitutional bedrock of our republic. I have suggested over the years that local bar associations and individual lawyers have the ability to help by putting groups together that could respond to these attacks on the judiciary. I hope to see, and be part of, such efforts in the future."
I would suggest that he start a blog as part of that effort! We know to whom his criticism is directed, but most of the dozen or so blawgers in Kentucky, and certainly all listed on this site, are responsible and restrained. Blogs can be an asset to the judicial system, as the Indiana judiciary recognized by its award just this week to the Indiana Law Blog.
And, so long as we require our jurists to be subject to the political process of election, the erosion of the public confidence in our judiciary will continue. That is the issue of constitutional proportions.