The United States Constitution contains a tripartite system of checks and balances in which the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary have specific roles.
In summary, the Legislature enacts the laws. The Executive – the President – enforces the laws. Meanwhile, the Judiciary interprets the laws.
The founding fathers of the United States viewed the Judiciary as the weakest of the three. They believed that because judges have “no influence over either sword or purse [they] may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment.”
The founders also anticipated little interaction between the President and the Judiciary. Yet events have increasingly challenged this notion in recent years.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2017 presidential inauguration, the courts and the executive have increasingly clashed. US Federal judges have blocked Trump’s attempts to restrict immigration, ban transexuals from serving in the US military, and end the DACA program.
Trump’s attempts to repeal other Obama-era regulations, such as environmental protections, have also come to grief in the federal courts. What has become of the founding fathers’ vision for the judiciary?
Trumped in the courts
US District Judge Wendy Beetlestone will address this question at the University of Liverpool’s Annual Law School and Alumni Association Lecture. Her lecture, entitled “The United States Federal Judiciary: The Weakest Branch of Government? Or What?”, will examine how the founders’ expectations have stood the test of time. It will also look at points of tension between the Executive branch and the courts, from the inception of the United States through to the present day.
Judge Beetlestone was nominated to the role of District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Barack Obama in 2014. Her jurisdiction covers everything from constitutional challenges and federal statutes, to drug and gun crime, organised crime, and complex fraud. Most recently, Judge Beetlestone blocked a controversial change to women’s reproductive healthcare rights by the Trump administration.
Attendance at this event is free but places are limited. If you would like to attend, please register and book your tickets here.
The event will take place at:
13 March 2018
18:00 – 20:00
Lecture Theatre A
Central Teaching Hub
Off Brownlow Hill
University of Liverpool
Original image by Pixabay.