The Judicial Wing of Government

Two points on an article about the RI judiciary’s declining to answer the governor’s request for further budget cuts:

Overall, the courts brought in $25.2 million in fines in 2009, he said, $23 million of which went into the state’s general fund.

This is entirely the wrong mindset for the judiciary. It isn’t meant to be a revenue-garnering function, and making it such grievously distorts its role as a guarantor of justice.

Unlike other state agencies, the judiciary does not answer to the governor regarding budget matters. The General Assembly, at the urging of then-Chief Justice Frank J. Williams, five years ago passed a last-minute budget article that dictated that the governor must pass along the judiciary’s budget request to the state lawmakers without changes.

This factor also does grievous harm to the judiciary’s function in Rhode Island government. Budgeting is an executive function (remember separation of powers?), which a representative democracy prudently places in the hands of an elected official.

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
14 years ago

Something that has always struck me during State of the Union messages. The members of Congress stand, clap, hoot and holler. The members of the Supreme Court do not stand, they are a co-equal branch of government.
The next time the RI equivalent is televised, I will watch the Supreme Court. I agree that becoming a revenue source, distorts your purpose.

14 years ago

As someone who has experienced firsthand the RI Judiciary in action, I can state unequivocally that there is no justice in this state. Only sled delusional political hacks masquerading as judges. The Rule of Law. Forget it!
The politically connected are able to exert undue influence on the Judiciary and the poor are subject to arbitrary and capricious “justice”.
The State is a Joke from the General Assembly to the Supreme Court to the Executive branch.
It’s over people. RI is a lost cause.
Merry Christmas…..

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