Gov. LePage’s attempt to publicly browbeat long-serving Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Joseph Jabar into early retirement with one of his standard-issue nastygrams threatens the foundation of our democracy.

Maine is lucky to have an independent judiciary. Our judges are appointed, not elected. Detached from day-to-day political pressures, they are not required to curry favors, raise money or consider the impact of legal decision making on their re-election chances.

Removing the judiciary from the political circus that dominates our news cycle was not an accident. The separation of powers anchors our democracy and protects the rule of law from tyranny. It allows, for example, a Republican-appointed federal judge in Virginia to strike down our Republican president’s travel ban as unconstitutional – without fear of political retribution. Politicians who attack judges out of spite, or in an attempt to influence, undermine the judiciary’s independence and the rule of law.

By treating Justice Jabar like another political punching bag, LePage has again shown us how little he knows about democracy. Maine’s most litigious governor never hesitates to rely on our courts and the rule of law to protect himself. He needs to show the same respect that he receives.

Ben Donahue

South Portland

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