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THE JUDICIAL BRANCH of the us government

The federal judiciary is a totally separate, self-governing branch of the government. The federal courts often are called the guardians of the Constitution because their rulings protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Through fair and impartial judgments, they determine facts and interpret the law to resolve legal disputes.

The courts do not make the laws. That is the responsibility of the Congress. Nor do the courts have the power to enforce the laws. That is the role of the President and the many executive branch departments and agencies. But the judicial branch has the authority to interpret and decide the constitutionality of federal laws and to resolve other disputes over federal laws.

The framers of the Constitution considered an independent federal judiciary essential to ensure fairness and equal justice to all citizens of the United States. The Constitution they drafted promotes judicial independence in two principal ways. First, federal judges appointed under Article III of the Constitution can serve for life, and they can be removed from office only through impeachment and conviction by Congress of "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors". Second, the Constitution provides that the compensation of Article III federal judges "shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office", which means that neither the President nor Congress can reduce the salaries of most federal judges. These two protections help an independent judiciary to decide cases free from popular passion and political influence.

 

Britains Monarchy

From Alfred the Great, in the ninth century, to Elizabeth II today, 56 very varied men and women have reigned as kings or queens of England. The royal line of Scotland merged with that of England only in the seventeenth century. Some of these sovereigns occupied the throne for no more than a few months or, like Henry VI and Edward IV, disputed its possession with a rival, and not all were formally crowned; others, such as Elizabeth I and Victoria, reigned in splendour for so long that they set the seal of their names on whole periods of history. Some were esteemed as saintly, some were conspicuously sinful, some were feared and strong, others were despised and weak.

The wide differences in personality of these kings and queens are matched by the variety of circumstances in which they reigned. The powers and the functions of a monarch of England have never ceased to evolve, the rules of succession have differed from one period of history to another, and the very extent of the kingdom has changed. So we must not imagine William the Conqueror wrangling with a Parliament, any more than we should imagine George III leading warriors into battle.

In fact, to go back to the beginnings of the British monarchy is to explore a landscape so different from the one in which we now live, that only the similarity of the place names allows us to assume that we are still in the same country. What we now call England was roughly carved up by immigrant Saxon war bands in the fifth and sixth centuries, to make tribal territories and principalities.

The squabbles and struggles of the Saxon principalities were overtaken in the ninth century by the onset of a new wave of invaders, the Viking marauders from Scandinavia, who began at this time to terrorise the coastal regions of all of western Europe.

In their different ways Cnut and William were both interlopers, at least by what have come to be regarded, since the eighteenth century, as the rules of royal succession. However, this fact did not invalidate their kingship in the eyes of their contemporaries. When kings had to rule as well as reign, there were always questions of suitability and acceptability, which could not always be easily settled by the accident of heredity.

The Saxons recognised certain families as royal, but kings succeeded not merely by line of descent, they had to command the support of the leading families, and their claim was strengthened if they could prove that they had been designated for the succession by their predecessors.

It is not possible to point to any one figure in the history of the English monarchy and say, simply, he or she began it all. Nevertheless, the story did receive a tremendous, even a decisive, forward impulse from Alfred of Wessex, King of the English as he styled himself on his coins, and Leader of the Christians as he was called by his devoted biographer Asser. He is the only English ruler to have been popularly accepted as Great, and his position, both in British history as a whole and in the development of the monarchy in particular, is unique.

In a society that was still rebuilding itself after the devastation of a World War, the accession of a young, beautiful Queen with a famous name fuelled high hopes of a new golden age. In the event, the second Elizabethan era can already be seen as a time of renewal. It has not been easy for Britain to accept the loss of her empire, even though this process was carried out for the most part in an atmosphere of goodwill. It has been even harder, in some ways, for Britain to adjust to the harsh realities of late twentieth-century economics. In each case the outcome has shown the strength of a national tradition of dogged pragmatism. Throughout the changes of these years, the continuity represented by the monarchy has acted as an invaluable stabilising factor, reassuring the country and binding together the Commonwealth. And The Queen herself, both personally and in her role as constitutional monarch, has not ceased to grow in the respect and affection of her people, as was plainly seen in the rejoicing that marked Her Majestys Jubilee year of 1977.

The image of royalty in Britain since the Second World War has been much enhanced by its family setting. The marriage of the young Princess Elizabeth to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on 20 November 1947, was a dazzlingly romantic event in its time, and her husband swiftly came to occupy a distinctive and significant place in popular esteem. As royal consort the Duke of Edinburgh has shown a keen and challenging interest in many fields of national life.

 

 

THE LAW IN BRITAIN

The law and the church are powerfully interlocked with the history of Britain. Both judges and bishops sit in the House of Lords, and are honoured with ancient titles. Both are conservative and resistant to any change. They wear horse-hair wigs or nylon wigs and flowing gowns since medieval up to nowadays.

The conservatism of English lawyers is demonstrated in their strict division into solicitors and barristers found only in New Zealand, South Africa, New South Wales and Great Britain. Only solicitors are allowed to deal directly with the public. They perform all routine business, but when they pass the case to the courts they must employ a barrister to plead.

A barrister must have an educational standard and pass the legal examinations conducted by the Council of Legal Education. After that he must become a member of the Inns of Court.When he has already some practice the barrister may apply to the Lord Chancellor for a patent appointing him a Queens Counsel. This procedure is called "taking the silk". The highest judicial appointments are made from barristers, who have become Queens Council. The work of a barrister is controlled by the General Council of the Bar, but disciplinary powers are passed exclusively to the Senate of the Inns of Court.

Solicitors are examined by the Law Society (the professional organisation of solicitors) and they enter into "articles of clerkship" (that is go through the period of training) with a practising solicitor of not less than five years. The term of articles may last 3 or 5 years depending upon the educational qualifications of the student. After that an articled clerk pass the necessary examinations held by the Law Society and begins his professional career. Since that time he becomes a member of the Law Society.

Half the barristers in Britain work in one of the 4 Inns of Court: Grays Inn, Lincolns Inn, the Middle Temple and the Inner Temple. They work in groups of 6 or more in "chambers" with great stone steps and their names written in elegant 13-th century letters. The Inns are privileged and snobbish clubs which are very proud of the prestige. The oldest and the richest is Inner Temple which has produced the largest number of judges. The Middle Temple is less exclusive, across the road Lincolns Inn for Chancery lawyers and Grays Inn the newest of them, which is known for its number of provincial barristers.

The Inns like Oxford colleges have large powers: they are responsible for admission, discipline and promotion. They are a kind of medieval republican oligarchy, the last to be found in Europe. They have much land but nobody knows the real size of their wealth because they never publish the information of their accounts. The Inns are among the most absurd anachronisms in Britain.

 

 

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