While we've been paying attention to other things, thousands of French lawyers apparently have taken to the streets to protest judicial reforms planned by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The protesting lawyers say the plan will undermine the independence of France's judiciary. Sarkozy wants to eliminate a French institution, the independent examining magistrates called "juges d'instruction." In recent times, the government has increasingly been using the appointment of public prosecutor rather than a juge d'instruction to handle major cases. Compounding the contention over the reforms, a major scandal has broken out over the way the appointed public prosecutor has handled a case involving France's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, the heir to the L'Oreal fortune. For more, see the FP Legal Post story.
Painting: "The Storming of the Bastille", Jean-Pierre Houël (1789)