Justice Elena Kagan: Judiciary Plays Important Role in New Democracies

Author: Brian Whitmore – Voice of America

The nine judges of the United States Supreme Court have no armies, no police, and no budgetary authority at their disposal. But nevertheless, for more than two centuries, the court has been the undisputed watchdog of the U.S. Constitution. That role has often forced judges to stand toe-to-toe with powerful American presidents — from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama — striking down laws and executive actions that exceed their constitutional authority.

How did the U.S. Supreme Court establish and preserve its independent role? And are there any lessons that can be derived from this experience for countries struggling to establish the rule of law and independent judiciaries?

In an exclusive interview at RFE/RL’s Prague headquarters, correspondent Brian Whitmore spoke with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan about these issues. Prior to taking her lifetime seat on the Supreme Court in 2010, Kagan served as solicitor-general in the Obama administration and as dean of Harvard Law School.

Read the full interview here.

Lea la entrevista en español aquí.

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