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Document Type

Symposium Article

Abstract

In the wake of 9/11, the American people showed unwavering faith in justice, fairness, and the rule of law through their steadfast service to the legal system. Yet one of the Bush administration’s first orders in the new “war on terror” was effectively to strip the courts and the juries of their role in the “trials” of our enemies, instead creating streamlined military tribunals. This diminished role of the judiciary is unfortunately just the latest feature in a disturbing trend in the federal district courts, which has seen the process of fact-finding in open court exchanged for a reflective in-chambers review of written submissions, and the trial of actual disputes replaced with “litigation management.” Most shocking is that the diminishment of the traditional American trial has been facilitated by the judiciary’s own institutional policies. Judge William G. Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts makes a plea to all branches of government and the American people to halt the erosion of the judiciary and return to the founding principles of our democracy.

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