18 May 2006

There are worse places to be a judge.

While American judges, always wary of protecting judicial independence and of their own security after an Illinois federal judge's family was murdered by a dissatisfied litigant, are rightfully concerned, there are worse places to be a judge.

Turkey is one of them. A gunman burst into the Turkey's highest administrative court, killing one judge and wounding four others, in retaliation for a controversial ruling limiting the right of a female teacher to wear an Islamic head scarf which had been criticized by Turkey's prime minister.

Turkey, like most civil law countries, distinguishes between private law courts, which handle matters like automobile accident, business disputes, and street crime, and public law courts, which handle disputes with the government. Thus, issues which in the United States would be civil rights and church-state issues, are handled in the administrative courts, and the chief administrative court handles many of the higher profile cases which in the United States would be handled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

No comments: