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O'Connor assails attacks on judicial independence

[JURIST] Judicial independence has been threatened by legislative and executive branches of government across the country, former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor [OYEZ profile] told a group of 800 judges, lawyers, and others at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference [official website] Friday. On Tuesday, South Dakota voters will vote on a referendum known as the "Jail 4 Judges" initiative, which would establish a grand jury with the power to indict judges based on their official legal determinations. An O'Connor editorial, published in October by the Wall Street Journal, warned of the South Dakota referendum as an example of judicial intimidation [JURIST report].

Earlier this year, both O'Connor and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg [OYEZ profile] said they had received death threats [JURIST report] after Republican politicians criticized judges for citing foreign law or being "activist" in their rulings. US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has acknowledged that the security of judges is becoming a national concern [JURIST report]. O'Connor, the first woman ever on the US Supreme Court, retired in January [JURIST report] after 25 years on the bench. AP has more.

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