By Kathleen M. Newman |
Recent events in the news showcase concerns that the President’s remarks undermine the public’s faith in our justice system. In referencing a judge whose decision he did not like, Mr. Trump referred to the judicial officer as a “so called judge” and later claimed that even a “bad high school student” could understand the Justice Department’s legal arguments, implying that the panel of federal judges reviewing the case did not understand the law. The current Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, commented that the President’s remarks were “demoralizing” and “disheartening”.
While most divorces cases settle before a trial, many cases have judicial involvement. In many courts in Minnesota, parties have an initial meeting with a judge, an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC), where the judge explains the way the case will be handled, sets deadlines, and encourages the parties to use mediation or other Alternative Dispute Resolution services to resolve their cases. If the case does not settle, the judge becomes increasingly involved, with motions for temporary relief, conference calls and hearings involving discovery issues and pretrial conferences. It is important that lawyers set an example to their clients of respect for the judge’s decisions, even if the outcome isn’t what the client wants. While we may disagree with the decision, ask that it be reconsidered and even appeal, it undermines the legal process to show disrespect for the judge, criticize their neutrality, or accuse them of bias. This encourages the client to disregard court orders or otherwise act in ways that undermine the legal process.