Judges, Justice and Law.
By Hugh Akston
noun 1. a public officer authorized to hear and decide cases in a court of law; a magistrate charged with the administration of justice.
A number of years ago, I was asked to moderate a panel of judges that included a former, very liberal, California Supreme Court justice. At one point, the justice said that his role as a judge was to fight inequality, poverty and racism. --columnist Dennis Prager
I sat as Bailiff on a Courts-Marshal one time. The Military Judge in that case said the justice system is intended to do three things; one, to punish wrong behavior, two, to teach the offender that his behavior is unacceptable in our society and possibly rehabilitate them, and three, to segregate from society those who cannot conform to acceptable behavior. He said nothing about racism, poverty or inequality. I know which Judge knew what he was talking about.
Judges do not, or should not make law. Their job is to administer the law in an equitable manner, the same justice for all men. The only law they should decide is if the law meets the standards of the State and Federal Constitutions. Poverty or wealth is not their concern except as covered by the Eighth Amendment restricting excessive bail, inequality is in the fourteenth amendment: “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” racism is only covered by the fifteenth: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race”
Can Congress pass bad laws? Can the Supreme Court make bad decisions? The answer is yes in both cases. Some laws in the past have been constitutional but still bad. Court decisions have been wrongly held supporting bad laws for many years. One dark example of this was Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The Court decided that separate “but equal” was fine, and so refused to overturn blatantly unconstitutional Jim Crow laws for generations. Also we must consider Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). Chief Justice Taney overturned the Missouri Compromise with its promise of some limitations on slavery, mandating that all African-Americans forever be treated as property.
The Missouri Compromise and the Jim Crow laws were legally passed by Congress and State Legislatures, both were bad laws. Dred Scott and Pleasy were both bad decisions by the Court.
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will go down as one of the ten worst decisions because the Chief Justice was more concerned about the “Courts Reputation” than the job he should have been doing. Bad law and a bad decision.
The courts need to concern themselves with the administration of justice, equitably and fairly regardless of other considerations. Does the Law meet the Constitutional test? If they start there and end there then we will have justice.
Just my thoughts for today