Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Idaho Supreme Court--Chief Justice Eismann speaks on steps of Idaho State Capitol

Since this blog is about the goings on with the Idaho Supreme Court, it's not always just about the Court's opinions. Of course, being in Idaho Falls, and not Boise, makes it a bit more difficult to follow the public appearances or speaking engagements the justices may have. However, The Post Register reported today that the Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court spoke to a large rally on the steps if the Idaho Capitol. Among the Chief's comments was a statement that, according to The Post Register, "the greatest threat to liberty is a strong national government."

According to the paper, Eismann's speech concerned 16 specific principles of liberty that he believes are encompassed in the government established by the founders. Notwithstanding the statement about a strong national government constituting a threat to liberty, the Chief Justice's speech did acknowledge that government is essential to the enjoyment of liberties while warning against the curtailing of liberty in the aftermaths of crises.

While I don't try to wax political on the blog, it is interesting to get some insight into the philosophical and political beliefs the various justices have about the constitution, the role of federalism in governing the populace, and how the two systems (federal and state) interact. The insight into the justices provides argumentative angles that attorneys can use in appellate briefing or during oral argument. Of course, the danger is that if you play to one particular justice's sensitivities you might alienate 2 or 3 other justices who have different beliefs about the role of government. It's a delicate balance and issue. However, I think it's rare to receive this kind of insight into the psyche of the sitting Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court.

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