Humankind: Judicial Independence (Part 1)

Have our courts – intended by America’s founders to be an independent arbiter of justice – turned into another political battlefield? Are today’s judges mere “politicians in robes”?

This public radio documentary series looks at crucial flashpoints in recent decades: The bruising nomination hearings for new judges like Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas. The Supreme Court halting an election recount to decide by a one-vote margin who becomes president of the United States. Special interest groups on both sides of the political divide spending millions to influence which judges are selected.

In this episode, we reconstruct the wild history of how we got into this dilemma, which has left bitter feelings on all sides. What effect does this have on the functioning of our democracy? Vivid archival audio plus insights by veteran court-watchers: Carl Hulse (NY Times chief Washington correspondent), Leah Ward Sears (first African American woman to serve as a chief justice in the U.S., now retired from the Georgia Supreme Court), Robert Barnes (Washington Post Supreme Court reporter).