Thursday, October 22, 2009

The “No Standing” Decision

The recent tendency of appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, to accept arguments to the effect that a litigant has “No Standing” to bring the case before the court strikes me as undermining the integrity of the legal system in this country.

Granted, there must be some basis to keep frivolous law suits from clogging the courts but many of these decisions arise in cases where there is clearly a question to be resolved.

This strikes me as the difference between a question of law and a question of justice. As I’ve said before, the law is simply an imperfect attempt to secure justice and therefore must always take a back seat. If a rule of law prevents the administration of justice then it is a bad law and needs to be adjusted or abolished.

Just because the wrong litigant raised the issue shouldn’t provide an excuse for the court not to address the question of justice before it. The last I heard, the manner in which a criminal defendant is brought before the court doesn't prejudice the court’s ability to see justice done.

More often than not this sort of decision strikes me as being applied when the court knows damn well something is wrong but doesn’t wish to do anything about it.

Often this rationale is applied in cases in which religion figures in some way or another. A few years ago I wrote about a court decision which forbid the Indiana legislature from opening with a sectarian Christian payer and predicted they wouldn’t get too far with their intended to appeal to the 7th District Court.

Wrong again, the 7th District decided that the ACLU, which brought the case, had no standing to do so. You will excuse me but that is total horseshit. Clearly opening the legislative session with a sectarian payer shatters the intent of the Establishment Clause and it damn well should have been addressed.

Between political considerations and hiding behind “no standing” decisions, I’m losing all faith in our legal system. We’re no longer being ruled by laws but by partisan politics and private agendas.

Those spinning sounds you hear are Thomas Jefferson and James Madison realizing that the magnificent experiment they engineered is beginning to crumple at the edges because Presidents, Congressmen and Judges no longer have the courage to defend those principles upon which it was founded.

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that the American Republic no longer deserves to be the custodian of the Constitution that gave it birth.

No comments: