Supreme Court of India Opinion Cites Laura Little

In a recent Supreme Court of India decision on India's judicial appointment process, the Supreme Court of India relied extensively on scholarship by ALI member Professor Laura Little of Temple University Beasley School of Law. Professor Little is also an Associate Reporter on the Restatement of the Law Third, Conflict of Laws project.

The 4:1 opinion rejected an act and constitutional amendment that would have given politicians control over judicial appointments, similar to the nomination and confirmation process used in the United States. The Court quoted Professor Little’s scholarship on judicial independence, and the “complex problem posed by moral issues of gratitude and loyalty to judges who ‘owe’ their jobs to political benefactors." Professor Little’s article, Loyalty, Gratitude, and the Federal Judiciary, deals with the topic at issue, with reference to appointment of judges.

"This complexity emerges," Professor Little wrote, "to a great degree from the process of nomination and confirmation, which often generates, or at least reinforces, a judge's sense of loyalty and gratitude to her benefactors. … To omit from these concerns the effect of any change on the ultimate quality of judicial decisionmaking would, of course, be a mistake. Thus, in studying any new selection procedure, we must contemplate the procedure's potential for creating and invigorating a judge's feelings of loyalty and gratitude to her benefactors. The foregoing should, therefore, not only shed light on the process of federal court decisionmaking in general, but also give much needed guidance for evaluating proposed changes to judicial selection."

Read full opinion here

Featured Members