We all remember – at least those of us old enough and interested in such matters – when our dear President Clinton told this nation in 1992 that “it is all about the economy [stupid]“ and I agree – I often say if one can not feed their family, pay the rent and such, than political nuances are not going to be of any concern to them. Equally important to this great nation and even relevant to most things economic is our United States Constitution. Not just for those of us studying law or addicted to things like the latest Supreme Court decision [look I willingly admit to reading in entirety the SCOTUS legal decisions for fun - I know - you are thinking how boring!!!]. Do not fool yourself my friends – this nation is only viable as long as it adheres to laws and not the dictates of each citizen’s personal passions or prejudices. Yes, as a Jew, I am fully aware of other nations that morphed their jurisprudence into an evil bastardized form to prosecute “legally” my people … the Nuremberg Race Laws are a horrific example of exactly how a legal system was perverted to do great harm. Vigilance must be constant – legal formats tweaked and changed but this does not equal allowing individual prerogatives to rule the courts of our great land. No, no, no – never should we be victims of a few self interest ideals in decisions of legal matters or rights of our citizens. The conversation today needs – make that requires – a committed and well informed involvement by each of us to assure all of us remain REALLY protected under the law. Here again, is why laws are an economic issue – one needs to be concerned that the old joke “the best justice money can buy” is not a U.S.A. reality. Lady Justice may be blindfolded but she has never been without insight. REAL justice must not be a mere academic treatise but a living and well tended to discipline. Let us examine the current present day concerns that face our legislatures and judges – you must not turn away for all of us are affected by the ruling laws in this country. I believe the extremist from all political sides are a REAL threat to modern judiciary – the imperative exist for attentive participation in relationship to all things legal. Do not fret, I will lead you down the path toward your rightful voice on such matters or at least peek your interest [I hope and pray].
Just this week Justices Sotomayer and Breyer rebuked a lawyer for racially charged “pernicious” language in a case concerning a Texas man’s drug possession conviction – this stands out specifically in relationship to my topic in that the Court declined to hear the case and yet found it necessary and warranted to admonish the prosecutor for allowing prejudicial evidence as a determinant factor. Paramount to our fair and balanced judiciary is to establish that while one may be guilty of a crime, they are not to be found guilty on account of unconstitutional factors. Justice Sotomayer was adamant that “substituting racial stereotypes for [REAL] evidence” was not to be tolerated in our Courts. Any stereotypes or the predetermined judgments about an accused individual actually nullifies the REAL power of our laws … one is always left wondering if someone is REALLY guilty or in fact, found to be on circumstantial evidence when bias exist. Him or her today could very well mean you or me tomorrow if only our fellow citizens or lawmakers preconceived notions of one or another group among us is to facilitate prosecutorial efforts. Here we are at that proverbial “slippery slope” scenario – a steep and often quick slide down to the horror chamber of unequal and REALLY unfair court room dictates. What is called enforcement discretion – that which allows law enforcement and prosecutors to selectively decide on what is or not to be proceeded against is in need of constant oversight. We all have prejudices, we all have preconceived ideas and notions about others but what we all do not have is the ability to enforce and proceed legally against other citizens – hence the absolutely necessitous attitude toward those with such life altering responsibilities. Most do their work with “due diligence” but when a few become a threat to the very structure of our constitutionally established laws, all effort must be taken to seize the reigns in order to pull back the attempts that might very well destroy our nation’s legal system.
My heart and mind were gladdened by the amicus brief of 75 prominent GOP members - including President George W. Bush – filed this week to the Supreme Court in support of the constitutionality to allow gay Americans to have the equal right to marry under our civil laws. I and those like minded will defend all religions to do as their conscious see fit in this realm – no one will be forced to marry anyone in their faith but all must be allowed civil matrimonial equality. As the highest court in this land will review that legal matter during this year’s session, the Republicans who signed that legal brief are stating that despite rather conservative ideas about matters important to our country, they feel that the constitution is not the place to decide the right or wrong of that which all citizens are legally entitled. What is confusing to some is why moral issues like civil rights are the purview of courts and legislation but not who can or cannot be allowed to marry. It is really quite simple – the former is a REAL delineation from our Founders desire to have all equal under the law and the latter exactly the opposite.
I see our United States Constitution as a sort of secular bible – our jointly held and guiding life in America legal manual. I am the benefactor of my wise Father who paraphrased often Blackstone’s formulation stating that “better ten guilty men go free, then one innocent fellow be punished or imprisoned“. This mandate broadens to civil areas as well criminal under our United States legal system and we must be attentive guardians in perpetuity or lose our way. To allow personal prejudices to get in between our national community and those laws that govern us all would be not only destructive but a reactionary nightmare. Neither liberalism nor conservative constructs should be our ultimate defining national template – we absolutely must adhere to the REAL ideals of our Founders – that is to hold fast to the promise of REAL and complete equality. No matter your status, your background or your self perceived place in the American mosaic – you and I are the REAL gatekeepers of that most magnificent of human documents, The United States Of America Constitution!!!
P.S. Someone asked me what I would do if after finishing law school, etc. I somehow managed to be nominated & confirmed to sit on the Supreme Court … well I first suggested I could never get past the confirmation hearings, as I would never tolerate being so disrespected. However, should I make it to SCOTUS – my first task I explained would be to go to a REALLY good tailor. My attorney friend obviously was confused – why a tailor he wanted to know. I explained to have my robe shorten, tightened & neck lowered … still confusing my legal buddy, I further explained because I want to be known as the “babe justice“. Why I was asked, as I am such a confirmed feminist & wouldn’t that be antithetical to such a life philosophy. Not at all I insisted because you use what you have – all of it I told my pal – to get REAL justice for ALL. Well there will REALLY be more about that and other REAL life facts in my end 2013 memoir, Heiress Mommy … A Modern Super Woman Life!