By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Are judges being threatened by politics while trying to make Constitutional decisions? That was part of the discussion today at the National Constitution Center.

The Informed Voters Project of National Association of Women Judges put together the panel discussion to talk about the threat to impartiality from special interest groups who are using social media in attempts to influence judges.

“The judicial branch exists to protect the rights of the minority — someone who may have unpopular views on free speech (or) flag burning,” said Florida Supreme Court judge Barbara Pariente.  “And so, if judges feel they have to put their finger up to the wind to make these decisions, it has a terribly intimidating effect.”

Pariente (second from left in photo) and judges Marsha Ternus (former chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court) and Anna Blackburne-Rigsby (of the DC Court of Appeals) are working to educate the public about the need to keep the emphasis on the laws, and not the court of public opinion.