The Federal Bar Association is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious organization of attorneys and judges who share a common interest in the welfare of the federal court system. On February 19, 2020, in response to President Trump’s commentary on Roger Stone case, Attorney General Barr’s personal intervention in the case, and the resignation of the four career prosecutors who were assigned to it, the FBA issued the following statement under the title “Statement on the Rule of Law and an Independent Judiciary:
Statement on the Rule of Law and an Independent Judiciary
Adopted February 19, 2020
Respect for the rule of law and the preservation of an independent judiciary are among the most important principles upon which our Republic was founded. These time-honored principles have guided our constitutional democracy for more than two centuries. In fulfilling the Federal Bar Association’s mission and honoring our members’ commitment to upholding federal law, the Association has a responsibility to defend and protect the rule of law and the independence of our judiciary when these fundamental tenets are at risk.
The stability of our constitutional democracy rests on public confidence in all institutions charged with enforcing our laws, especially the U.S. Department of Justice. The just enforcement of law involves the well-grounded application of facts to the law and not political affiliations, personal interests, or retribution. Furthermore, the preservation of public confidence in the rule of law is associated with the longstanding recognition of the Attorney General of the United States as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and the legal representative of the nation as a whole, not any government official, agency, party or person. Departure from this principle erodes public respect for the fairness of our legal system and equal justice under law.
Attacks on our judiciary pose the same danger. Judicial independence, free of external pressure or political intimidation, lies at the foundation of our constitutional democracy. An independent judiciary must be free of undue influence from the executive and legislative branches and must remain committed to the preservation of the rule of law and the protection of individual rights and liberties. When criticism of judges’ rulings crosses the line into personal attacks or intimidation, public respect for our system of justice is undermined, creating risk to our constitutional bedrock and the preservation of liberty. The Federal Bar Association urges all Americans and elected leaders to remain mindful of these cherished principles.
A link to the Federal Bar Association’s website is here.