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briefly, do you believe the proper role of judges should be in a democratic society?
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Judges act interstitially. They fill in the gaps." The role of Supreme Court judges is to apply and sometimes interpret the words of statutes in a manner that is consistent with the intention of the legislature. Judges should not supersede the will of the legislature where the will is clear. With respect to common law, judges should defer to prior judgments on the same issue to provide consistency and predictability in the law, unless there are compelling reasons to not apply stare decisis.
How closely bound do you think judges should be to the "intent" of the framers of the U.S. Constitution? Or, is such intent beyond reasonable discovery?
The intent of the framers of the U.S. Constitution is reasonably discoverable with respect to most provisions. Courts should apply the original intent in order to provide consistency in the law. However, the broad language of the U.S. Constitution, as the Ohio Constitution, is an important reason the Constitution has endured for 210 years.
Justice Holmes once stated that, "The duty of a Supreme Court is not to invoke a personal standard of justice, but to play the game according to the rules." One legal editor commenting on this statement said, "The Supreme Court is not the nation's (or state's) moral conscience." Would you comment on this idea?
The moral authority of the American justice system to which Alexis
de Toqueville referred in the 1830s and to which James Madison referred in The Federalist
Papers comes not from the personal moral conduct of judges, but, rather, from the
institutional role served by the courts in providing a place for the independent,
impartial resolution of disputes in a nation founded on the rule of law.
I am anticipating that the Ohio Courts Futures Commission which I created in June of 1997 will recommend significant changes for the court system that I will assist in implementing.