“Unlike his opponents and their radical allies, Judge Screnock believes that under no circumstances should judges ever legislate from the bench.”
My Judicial Philosophy
I believe strongly in the rule of law. The role of a judge or justice is to interpret and apply the law, not rewrite the law. Our system of government has at its foundation three co-equal branches – legislative, executive, and judicial. When the constitutionality of a law is questioned, the judiciary serves an important role as a legal check on the actions of the other two branches, and appropriately declares when they have overstepped their lawful authority. When a court is asked to interpret a law, its role is to declare what the law is, based on what the legislative and executive branches have done, and not what the court thinks it should be. Following these principles, the judiciary should never serve as a political check on the actions of the other two branches. It is not the role of a court to veto, or rewrite, laws that it believes are unwise or imprudent.
It is also important that the judicial branch serve as the stable branch of our government. The legislative and executive branches are by their very nature subject to change based on current or popular thinking. The judicial branch provides the foundational stability our system of government requires. One way courts promote stability is by respecting prior judicial decisions – a doctrine called stare decisis – and changing course from settled law only on rare occasions. Another way is by exercising self-restraint and acting only when it is abundantly clear that the court has the lawful authority to do what it is being asked to do.
During my service as a judge I have worked hard to abide by these principles. I will do the same if afforded the privilege to serve on our state’s highest court.