Federal courts appoint first Judicial Integrity Officer

Back in January of this year, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed a Workplace Conduct Working Group in response to several public allegations of workplace harassment within the court system. The Working Group made its recommendations in June. Now, the court system had followed up on one of the most significant recommendations by appointing a Judicial Integrity Officer: Jill Langley, formerly the Director of Workplace Relations for the Tenth Circuit.

According to the press release:

One of Langley’s first responsibilities will be to set up a new office that will serve as an independent source of information and referral. This will include answering individuals’ questions, providing guidance on conflict resolution, mediation, and formal complaint options.

The new Judicial Integrity Office also will track and monitor data and any recurring workplace issues to identify trends and conduct systemic analyses and reviews. In addition, Langley will provide training throughout the Judiciary and serve as a resource for workplace conduct staff throughout the court system, including coordination with the Ninth Circuit’s director of workplace relations, the D.C. Circuit’s workplace relations coordinators, and other similar positions in the courts.

 

Three Australian ministers may face contempt charges for criticizing judges

In Australia, the Supreme Court of Victoria has order three government ministers and two journalists to appear before it to explain why they should not face contempt charges for eroding trust in the legal system.  One minister reportedly said that “Labor’s continued appointment of hard-left activist judges has come back to bite Victorians.”  Another allegedly warned that the courts “should not be places for ideological experiments in the face of global and local threats from Islamic extremism.”

The linked article offers as excellent explanation of the two forms of contempt available in Australia.  Although these proceedings are apparently quite rare, they are still shocking to American sensibilities. First Amendment protections and respect for vigorous political speech would make prosecution of this sort unthinkable.

I would welcome any readers more knowledegable than I in Australian jurisprudence (not a high bar) to offer thoughts in the comments.