What is judicial independence, and why is it important?

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The founders of this country recognized that the judicial branch must remain independent to fulfill its mission effectively and impartially. Article III of the Constitution protects certain types of judges by providing that they serve "during good behavior" and by prohibiting reductions of their salaries. The judges who are protected are sometimes called Article III judges. They are Supreme Court justices and judges of the courts of appeals and district courts and the U.S. Court of International Trade. Other federal judges, including bankruptcy judges and magistrate judges, serve for limited terms and are not considered Article III judges. The constitutional protections for Article III judges mean that, once appointed, these judges keep their jobs as long as they wish, unless Congress decides to remove them through a lengthy process called impeachment and conviction, which may also be used to remove the President and other government officials. Only eight federal judges have been ... more
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