Whenever you hear of controversy in the courtroom, you expect it to come from the accused. That’s why it was a surprise for the residents of Texas when a judge was the major talking point of the day. Judge Sarah Eckhart divided opinion when she came to the workplace wearing an unusual cap. The cap can be found on the streets during the Women’s March in Washington. For a judge to have in the courtroom was quite a surprise for the people in Travis County. Some felt that the piece of attire wasn’t appropriate for her, given the power that she bears. However, others thought that she did nothing wrong. Legally speaking, KVUE confirmed that they heard from several county departments that she had not broken any law. Nevertheless, that did not bring an end to the debate.
The side which was unhappy with her actions was adamant that she should be punished accordingly. One Facebook user argued that judges ought to be impartial and avoid politics while at work. There is no problem if she holds a political opinion, but she can do that in her free time. Another went ahead and said that she would not serve in the jury if the judge endorsed a political stand as Eckhart did. If the judge cannot control her thoughts on gender differences, then it would be difficult for a member of the jury to concentrate when called upon to serve. Indeed, that Facebook commenter finished by adding that the judge was unnecessarily causing undue influence on the jury. Women may want equal rights, and that isn’t a problem. However, bringing the fight to public offices isn’t the way forward as it may cause even further divisions between men and women.
While the voices against her action were loud, she received praise from some quarters. One argued that she isn’t even a traditional judge as she is an elected official. In fact, Eckhart supervises the commissioners’ court and is the head of the county government. Consequently, she is a politician and can voice a political opinion if she wants to do so. Not everyone was sympathetic to that fact. One argued that the situation could be very intimidating for a man who appears before her in court. If she is all out with the women’s march inside the courtroom, a man might feel like he won’t be treated fairly. Indeed, it is evident that the majority of those who were not in support of her actions fear that she is incapable of being impartial, especially if the case were to involve a man versus a woman. It is still unclear whether it is legal or not for a person with such power and responsibilities to act as she did. For now, the debate on the morality of it continues to rage.