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Wither Justice

May 28, 2009

The Republican party has admitted a lack of political will to make a big stink over the Sotomayor nomination– meaning they have ruled out the possibility of mounting a filibuster that would fail –despite the infinite degree of importance they place on the unvarnished interpretation of The Letter Of The Rule Of The Law in judges they themselves did not nominate. Since no one in their right mind wants to delve any further into judicial confirmation politics than what I just have, let us consider for a moment Justice, and question the infatuation with “the letter of the law.” By way of copping-out, this inquiry can best be carried out by block-quoting two giants of intellect who state the case far more eloquently than I could.

Regarding the law:

I stress the man-made aspect of law, because it is so often neglected or emphasized too little. As I said in the earlier piece, laws are devised by particular people, in particular circumstances, with particular friends and interests. … And those people who devise a system of law are members of the ruling class; that is why they are devising the laws, and not others. Thus, law is the specific means by which the ruling class utilizes the power of the State and directs that power to the ends they desire. [Arthur Silber]

If the responsibility of the judiciary is to ensure ‘equal protection under the law,’ even as the legislature is bound by no such requirement to provide equal protection within the law — then whither justice?

Besides, regarding the unvarnished interpretation of the letter of the law:

as you listen to all these folks – conservatives, i suppose – talk about how we need a supreme court justice who does not decide cases based on her own emotions or opinions, but on the letter of the law and the text of the constitution, keep in mind that in virtually every case, you know before the arguments which way which justices will vote. keep in mind that the conservatives vote as a block. keep in mind that the social agendas of the presidents who appointed them are, by and large, reflected in virtually every decision. [Crispin Sartwell]

LOL. What were we talking about?

UPDATE: I’ve published a companion post to this one over at Agitprop.

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4 Comments
  1. May 28, 2009 1:07 PM

    Exactly. Laws are the coded arbitrary whims of the ruling class. But we’ll all do the song-and-dance about precedence and respecting the rule of la-la-la-la until our ears bleed.

    Any luck on recovering the archives?

  2. Montag permalink
    May 28, 2009 1:45 PM

    are judges really supposed to base their decision solely on the letter of the law? or is this idea more of a tradition. is the concept of “checks and balances” perhaps supposed to extend beyond the power to say to lawmakers, “you’ve contradicted yourself, try again.” ?

    archives: we’ve got almost everything back. there is a gap between 11/2006 and 2/2008 of posts which i have still at the old site, and occasionally have a chance to work on transferring them over a little at a time. i did accidentally delete 15 posts the other day which i may have a back-up of somewhere, but will probably never take the time to dredge up. down my own personal memory hole i suppose.

  3. May 29, 2009 2:22 PM

    Verily, hath not Rob Halford demanded that we indeed break the law while standing up in our convertibles?

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