Oh come on folks! Today here at the blog we were talking about using police and the justice system to solve problems that might be solved differently. I have a concern about using such powerful solutions because they weren’t built for tackling the nuances that exist. If everything ultimately gets handled by our justice system then we are in danger of having a very militaristic system!
This weekend presidential contender Newt Gingrich was saying he’d use US Marshalls to arrest judges that are too radical!
Hey people! Things are getting a little worrisome here! While the President has every right to hope and expect that the laws of the nation are being adhered to, it worries me that Newt thinks that the President also has the right to fix the judicial branch of the government!
I understand his frustration with the circuit courts. But the problem is systemic! The problem is that we make rules that our lower courts decide their cases on, but those cases are built based on legal cases that play out nationwide. Cases get decided locally all the time, but there are higher courts that laywers can ply their cases to if they are disatisfied with the outcome of a trial. If the rules were not clearly written, or if their case doesn’t have a lot of precedents then a higher court judge might order it back to trial, by refining or restating the meaning of the existing laws. This is where “radical” judges come into the picture.
Often we think of the judges on the Supreme Court as the ones who tweak the law of the US through their opinions. But the Supreme Court only takes a limited number of cases! They are charged with looking at the cases from a constitutional perspective. They could use their power to frame a case, but the circuit courts below them have a lot more freedom to use their own personal views.
It gets kind of messy talking about the law. In short, our justice system is not all based on the Constitution! We’ve adapted it over time. Those adaptations have been very helpful in some ways but in others they are rife with their own peculiarties that aren’t testable! But how do we fix it?
I don’t think we fix it by arresting judges! I mean, you’ve got these people you acknowledge have the training to move from lawyer to judge. These folks are either appointed, or elected to the position. If they want to move up the ladder then they can be elected or appointed into higher positions! All along the way they are judged by their own community of judges and scholars. So I’m not saying judges are deities, but they have put a lot of work into getting where they are.
And Newt is going to arrest those he disagrees with if he becomes the next President.
Maybe we should start paying attention to this stuff!