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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Political Justice?

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I think most people, with the possible exception of the bat-s^%$ crazy left, can now acknowledge that what happened with Bret Kavanaugh was pure politics and had little-to-nothing to do with justice.  Accusers are now being referred for bringing false accusations and the Senate panel has determined there is no corroboration which means that that even Ms. Blasey-Ford was victimized as much by her own false memories and those that manipulated them as she was by her presumed, but unknown, attacker.  It should be apparent that politics and justice are often not good bedfellows.  This is why our judicial system is designed to be apolitical, much as that seems to be escaping us in recent decades.

Things can be really bad when they get more personal. We have graphic evidence of what can happen to “justice” when a media/political frenzy takes hold.  In the McMartin Preschool cases, even our independent justice system was manipulated and lives were ruined.  This is why we are supposed to demand evidence in seeking justice, but anymore it seems that accusation is sufficient.  This is particularly true in cases involving spousal or child abuse.   The biggest problem is that even accusation withdrawn can have massive consequences decades later.

A truly fact-based and independent judicial system is impossible, save for the character of the people involved, which means everyone in the nation-state.  As I have said so many times in the past, the cure for the ills that face our nation lie not in more government, but in better people.  The Bible tells us:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Yet we seem to live in a world without humility and where we love winning more than anything and therefore justice is done only when convenient.  If more people cared what the Lord required of us, perhaps we could not point to so many pertinent examples of where justice has been so deeply perverted.  But, that is a job for the church, not government.

Worst of all, if it is this easy to lay my hands of three cases of justice perverted by the petty and the political, how many more cases must there be where there were never a media splash?  Simple cases where wives who wanted a better divorce settlement threw out false accusations?  I wonder how many ex-husbands find themselves not only financially strapped, but perhaps imprisoned, because an accusation of abuse was both punitive and retributive?  People learn from these high profile situations and follow their examples.  As the host often says, “That which gets rewarded gets repeated.”

I do believe our nation is turning a corner, that we are returning to a time when we might once again love justice more than winning.  But in doing so we have to do more than simply move forward.  If we truly are turning a corner can we allow all those low- and no-profile cases of injustice stand?  If we do love justice should we not also be vigilant for past injustice and do our best to correct it?

As a practical matter that is very hard to accomplish.  New science has allowed for exoneration in many cases, and demonstrated that there are many false convictions.  But still too many cases reside in the gray area where the only evidence is the testimony of the accuser and the accused.  The problem is that a paucity of evidence in conviction also means a paucity of evidence for exoneration.  This is why corroboration is so important.  But as long as prosecutors feel that the accusation, even in the absence of corroboration, is sufficient to warrant a trial juries will be manipulated, capitalizing on a natural and human perception of females and children as “underdogs,” and men will unjustly land in prison.

It is likely the grand jury system needs serious review and perhaps an overhaul.  But further, what about a citizen review of convictions achieved?  Most prosecutors offices have a review systems, but anybody who has been involved in a malpractice case knows that lawyers typically cover for other lawyers mistakes.  It really ought to be a well-trained citizen review.  And perhaps with investigatory powers since there can be so many open questions in cases like this.

Even in cases where exoneration is achieved, restitution is currently a virtual impossibility.  We do not allow the government to be held accountable, and litigation against accusers is both emotionally unhealthy and usually trying to tap a dry hole.  I truly think that as a society we should be willing to offer restitution in some substantial way to those falsely convicted and exonerated.

I am sure there are many other ideas out there for those that know the judicial system better than I.  But I keep coming back to the fact that as a nation we have lost our love of justice. Or perhaps it is better to say that our idea of justice has been so severely perverted that it has become unjust.  But regardless of how you look at it, we are a nation sorely in need of a deep and abiding recommitment to the idea of justice.  That can only come when we once again learn to love kindness and do what the Lord requires.


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