In speaking on the rule of law, Ambassador Moreno also had reason to touch on the role of the judiciary. Currently judges in Belize are appointed by the Prime Minister, who also decides on the duration of their appointment. According to Moreno, while he’s comfortable with judges being appointed by the Executive, he is also an advocate for security of tenure, and doesn’t believe that judges should be removed at the whim of the executive.
Carlos Moreno, US Ambassador to Belize
“I think that the most common practice is for the Chief Executive…the Executive of the country to do that. Now some of those appointments are for life, or for a specified term. In California the Governor appoints the judges. I was appointed by three different governors, Republican and Democratic Governors…but for appellate positions it’s subject to being retained by a vote of the people. I was also appointed by President Clinton to a lifetime position, something I liked but I gave up. So that’s a presidential appointment. I’m very comfortable, and I think the best system is where you have the Chief Executive of the country, whether it’s a governor or the president, to be the appointing authority. In a small country, I don’t have any thoughts as to why it should be any different. I support the idea of the President or Governor appointing judges, but I think there should be a certain minimum fixed term, like in California its six years or twelve years for an appellate judgeship, but I think a fixed term is essential, subject to recall by the people at a special election if it’s called for, but I don’t think that a judge can or should be removed at the whim of the executive.”