In his Federalist Papers written in the form of a persuasive essay, Hamilton chooses to refer to the judicial branch as the “least dangerous” branch of the government because of its specific functions. Thus, according to the author, the judicial branch cannot affect the political rights related to the Constitution in contrast to the executive and legislative branches that can influence these rights by certain actions. In this context, the judicial branch can realize its unique function only through providing judgments, without influencing political rights directly.
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Still, Hamilton also discusses the consequences of the situation when the judiciary is viewed as weaker than the executive and legislative branches. According to the author, the judicial branch cannot influence the other two branches, but it needs to prove justice in judgments, and it cannot threaten liberty in this case. From this perspective, it is critical to guarantee the separation and independence of the branches in order to prevent affecting liberty negatively.
In his paper, Hamilton further develops the idea of the relationship between the three branches accentuating the necessity for the judicial branch to be independent of the executive and legislative branches. Courts and judges should not be dependent on the impacts of the executive and legislative branches because any kind of the union in this case is associated with the interdependence of the branches on each other, and this aspect can potentially affect the judgment. From this point, Hamilton emphasizes the necessity of avoiding the impact of authorities on judges whose decisions should be regulated by the Constitution and laws in the most independent and unbiased manner. Thus, judges are expected to interpret laws, but they cannot be influenced by the legislative body.
According to Hamilton, the major purpose of the judicial branch is to declare the rule of law and exercise the judgments without performing the will or decision. In this context, the purpose of the judicial branch should not be misunderstood and viewed with reference to the purposes of the executive and legislative branches. Judges need to guarantee that all provisions of the Constitution are realized in the most appropriate and efficient manner, and it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that these principles guide and regulate the work of judges even today.
Discussing the process of judicial selection, Hamilton supports the idea that all judges are expected to perform their roles until their conduct is proper with reference to the concepts of fidelity and integrity, thus, during judges’ “good behavior.” Therefore, they should be selected for life-long or permanent terms. Hamilton accentuates the permanency of judges’ offices because they need constantly develop their qualifications, improve knowledge, and know all rules and precedents in order to perform their roles successfully. Furthermore, being appointed to a life-long position, judges are protected from the impact of political pressures and any type of invasions from the authorities. If judges are appointed periodically and for temporary offices, they cannot demonstrate the same depth of knowledge as other judges, and this practice cannot be viewed as effective. Therefore, Hamilton does not support temporary offices and periodical appointments of judges.
As a result, according to Hamilton, the permanency of judicial positions can guarantee that judges have certain characteristics that are important for them to perform their duties. As it was stated earlier, judges need to have the following qualities and skills: they need to demonstrate the knowledge of rules, laws, and precedents; refer to precedents while discussing cases; avoid being influenced by controversies without analyzing the situation properly; and study all these aspects in order to improve their knowledge during the whole life. As a result, Hamilton claims that only the permanency of judicial offices can provide these professionals with particular opportunities and resources to develop their skills and knowledge.