**Calls on 2016 Graduates to Defend Independent Judicial and Legal System; Shield Institution from Partisan Politics**
(BOSTON) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) addressed graduates at the Boston College Law School commencement ceremony this morning. Shaheen’s remarks to the 2016 graduates centered on the democratic foundation of an independent judiciary and impartial legal system in the United States, which “face clear and present dangers.” Shaheen pointed to the U.S. Senate, whose majority party has refused to vote on President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Merrick Garland, in addition to 20 other nominees who are waiting to serve on federal courts. Shaheen went on to say that refusing to vote on Presidential nominees “threatens to politicize the federal judiciary systemically.”
In her remarks, Shaheen pointed to historic examples of judges and attorneys standing up for the independent judiciary system despite unpopular political opinions: Judge J. Waties Waring, who, as a US District Court in Charleston in the 1940s, proceeded to end segregation first in his courtroom and then, through his rulings, across the country; and Founding Father John Adams, who stepped forward to represent British soldiers after the Boston Massacre, and went on to help create our system of checks and balances and judicial independence. Shaheen also drew attention to Ukraine, where reformers are working to end corruption and create an impartial justice system.
Concluding her commencement speech, Shaheen charged the 2016 graduates to “stand for and defend our independent judiciary and legal system – judges, courts and law enforcement that are above partisan politics and shielded from external influences.”
“It was an honor to speak to the impressive graduates at Boston College Law School this morning,” said Shaheen. “The graduates of BC Law walk away with more than just a diploma; they depart with good values and good hearts instilled in them at this prestigious school. As ‘men and women for others,’ they have been taught to stand for social justice, economic justice, and a system of justice that is worthy of the name. I look forward to seeing their great impact on this country.”
Senator Shaheen’s speech as prepared for delivery is available on Medium.