Updated: Apr 23, 2021
With the word 'justice' in nearly every paragraph, its meaning, at least in an authoritative dictionary sense, appears under constant assault. Folks are using pencils with erasers to conform the word to their purposes.
For many, the search for justice is simply an old-world notion that includes unnecessary ideas such as the 'rule of law.' Maybe that silly judicial notion was useful before everyone had a smartphone with cameras making us all expert bystanders. Believing our lyin-eyes incapable of lying, we know exactly what happened and immediately conclude guilt and innocence suspending with the basic tenet of 'innocent until proven guilty.' With no 'rule of law' and believing our lyin-eyes, we can suspend with long expensive trials and go straight to the 'hangin.'
Perhaps carefully choreographed, as the trial of Mr. Chauvin was concluding, politicians strolled to the streets to deliver their devined and only true and righteous conclusion to the trial. "Guilty, or people... take to the streets!" Even the president couldn't hold back before declaring guilt as if the trial a mere formality. They knew the unsequestered jury could hear them. Of course, there are political considerations to calculate.
But exercising true justice requires a jury of peers untilted by an outsider’s political lust and the mob just outside the courtroom door. As a former member of a jury and selected as its foreperson, I can tell you that finding justice is a complicated process where many considerations enter the calculation. Human nature might suggest the biggest thumb on the scale is for the juror to do what the community demands of them. To block out all the noise is as difficult as ignoring all prejudices- nye impossible.
To the many who pine for a 'new normal,' who believe our judicial system is systemically racist and should be dismantled, consider, for a moment, its replacement. Anarchy? Lawlessness? Mob justice?
It was James Bovard who said it well, "The vision that the founding fathers had of rule of law and equality before the law and no one above the law, that is a very viable vision, but instead of that, we have quasi mob rule."
Heather Mc Donald wrote a great essay titled 'The Troubled Rule of Law.' Read it here.