The Wall Street Journal has a good summary story on the pressures that the Kenyan judiciary has faced since its Supreme Court invalidated the country’s presidential election last month. In the run-up to the new election (scheduled for later this week), judges have faced direct threats, and the court system as a whole has faced substantial indirect threats of “judicial reform” — which everyone seems to understand as a potentially substantial cutoff in funding.
Observers of the American court system often speak of the importance of judicial independence, and rightly so. But for much of the world, third branch independence is a far more existential issue than in the United States. Threats to judicial independence are not an issue of verbal criticism, but rather of physical attacks or the diminution of critical resources. We would do well to pay more attention to these threats worldwide.
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