High Court judge Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor has revealed that “smoke of politics” sometimes enters the courts.
That notwithstanding, he says, he does not support the nomination of apex court judges based on their political leanings.
“In respect of the suggested appointment to the Supreme Court bench based on the three political traditions of Ghana, I have a little problem with that. There is no doubt that from time to time you have the smoke of politics entering the court. In the United States for example appointment to the bench is based on elections, the judge campaigns and he is elected for. He campaigns on the ticket of a political party and yet over the years, they have developed and have had a nice arrangement of seeking a balance and it’s working for them.
“If we were going to appoint Supreme Court judges based on their political leanings what happens to purely career judges who have risen through the ranks as a magistrate judge, Circuit judge, High court and all that, which political association can you tag such a judge with.
“I think the most important aspect in respect of appointment is to have judges who can exercise independent thinking and mind in respect of politically sensitive cases and may be able TO put aside their political leanings even if they have one, and rule according to law,” he noted on Morning Starr Tuesday.
Meanwhile, respected legal practitioner Professor Raymond Atuguba has said judges at the Supreme Court decide political cases according to their political leanings.
According to him, it is pretentious for people to assume that judges do not have political ideologies that may influence them at crucial moments.
“In the Supreme Court, you have to make a balance according to the three political traditions – UP, CPP, NDC – because no matter how much we pretend, in difficult cases with a political twist, a judge cannot, but go deep into the intersis of his heart to seek guidance and once he or she arrives there, you find that you are going towards your political leaning.
” I have just started a research project where I have selected about 100 hundred cases which I call political cases and I’m looking at the judges who sat on it at the Supreme Court, and I’m looking at who appointed them and the pattern is clear, in difficult political cases judges decide according to their political leanings. And this is not just in Ghana, it happens in the US too just that in Ghana we pretend that it doesn’t happen which doesn’t help us. We must acknowledge that deep down in their hearts judges are political. And that is why I respect Justice Dartey-Baah who in a public lecture stated publicly that ‘me I’m UP’. So the solution is not to say it doesn’t happen, the solution is you have three political traditions in the country, parliament must not approve a nomination to the Supreme Court which does not balance the numbers in the court”.