From some of the highly-publicized trials of the 1960s—namely the trials of the Chicago Eight, Panther Twenty-One, and Weathermen—we can draw indispensable lessons about the role of the judges in upholding and promoting a fair justice system. The contrast to Judge Julius Hoffman’s notorious injudicious conduct in the Chicago Eight case is the courageous, thoughtful Judge Damon Keith, in the less publicized White Panther case in Detroit in the early 1970s. Judge Keith’s overriding sense of fairness exemplified the best of judicial independence in considering President Nixon’s claims of unilateral executive authority in United States v. Ayers and United States v. U.S. District Court. Judge Keith’s exemplary judicial conduct is an embrace of judicial independence that provides inspiration in current times.

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