Statement Regarding the Courts

HARRISBURG (Feb. 14, 2017) – Pennsylvania Bar Association President Sara A. Austin has issued a statement about President Donald J. Trump’s ongoing statements regarding the courts:

“Every American, including the president of our great country, has the right to disagree with judicial decisions, to publicly comment on rulings and to pursue legal means through the courts to overturn them. However, launching attacks that demean judges and making statements meant to undermine the credibility of the courts are strikes against judicial independence.

“We hope, and respectfully request, that disparaging remarks that diminish judges who are charged with ensuring that our laws are followed and that the responsibilities of government are fulfilled are withheld to allow the process that is our legal system to play out.

“The courts and the judges who serve on them are responsible for protecting the rights of all citizens and, when necessary, to make even unpopular decisions regarding the actions of both the executive and legislative branches of government. It is this judicial review that our Founding Fathers put in place to preserve the three co-equal branches; it is this judicial review that ensures that the other branches do not have almost unlimited power.    

“By rule, judges who have been criticized or have come under attack are not permitted to respond publicly. At times, though, it is important for bar associations like ours to make public statements that remind everyone of the role of the courts and the judges who serve in those courts. It is for that reason we issue this statement.”

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association exists to promote justice, professional excellence and respect of the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.