Judicial independence requires more resources and greater management flexibility...
is the title of an article by John Medlin and Rhoda Billings that appeared in the Summer 2003 issue of the North Carolina State Bar Journal.
Their thesis is this:
An independent judiciary is essential to the proper
functioning of our democracy. Judicial independence requires adequate funding
for the courts. The courts have a constitutional right to adequate funding
and may, in some cases, even compel the appropriation of the funds they need
to function properly. For years the demands on North Carolina's courts
increased dramatically while their needs have been demonstrably under funded.
The effects of this under funding are exacerbated by the detailed purpose and
line item limits placed by the General Assembly on the expenditure of funds
that are appropriated. Fully adequate funding for all the courts' needs
eventually must be achieved. However, as a first step, the Judicial Branch of
Government should be given greater flexibility and have accountability for the
management of the funds that are appropriated.
John Medlin is a retired Chief Executive Officer of Wachovia Corporation. Rhoda Billings is
Professor of Law at Wake Forest University and a former Chief Justice of the
North Carolina Supreme Court. Medlin was chair of the Commission on the
Future of Justice and the Courts in North Carolina, and Billings was a
co-chair. They are members of the North Carolina State Judicial Council.