Douglas Keith

Douglas Keith is Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law.

Recent Articles

Democracy Unchecked: Trump Spurs State Lawmakers to Curb Judges’ Powers

The president is leading the way for Republican attacks on judicial independence.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump walks out of the Diplomatic Room of the White House A merican democracy relies on a careful balance—legislators pass laws, governors or presidents decide whether or not to sign them, and courts ensure that, whatever the outcome of that legislative process, politicians don’t overstep their authority or encroach on individuals’ rights. Key to this balance is an understanding that, no matter how much a politician disagrees with a court ruling, they respect judges’ independence and don’t try to undermine the public’s faith in the judicial branch. President Trump bucked that norm many times in 2017, repeatedly attacking the “so-called” judges who ruled against his policies. Now state legislators want to follow his lead. In just the last month, legislators in Pennsylvania have boldly (and possibly illegally) refused to comply with a court order, and asked their colleagues to kick five sitting justices, all Democrats, off the Pennsylvania...