Fairness vs. Justice By: Ciarra Cabo

What is Justice? Justice is conformity to God's character. what is Fairness? Fairness is the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination.
The Historical Foundation
The sources of American Law originated from various law codes
  • Written Law- The first known law code was the law code of Hammurabi (1750 BC). It is a collection of legal decisions rather than an attempt to treat every possible legal contingency.
  • Roman Law- Justinian law code (553 BC). Roman emperor Justinian collected many Roman legal materials from previous centuries and published an organized compilation called the Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law).
  • English Common Law- it was common throughout the whole realm of England. Unlike legal systems of continental Europe that were based on the codified Roman law, the common law was grounded in case law, a body of opinions written by royal judges who, at least in theory, followed the precedents.
  • Sociological law- this meant that society is logical, the people/ society determines what is right and wrong. It is based solely on what society says. This law code changes the way judges interpret the constitution and government.
English Common Law led to the use of Precedents, which are prior authoritative rulings. This practice of rendering judicial decisions on the basis of precedents is called stare decisis The English Common Law also encouraged the development of jury trials.
Blackstone's "Commentaries on the laws of England"

Blackstone's "Commentaries on the Laws of England" becomes the textbook for lawyers. It is based on biblical truth. In the book he states that natural law is your conscience. Blackstone thought that God expressed His law through both creation, a natural law that is given to all men and revealed law contained in the Bible.

The Structure of the courts

The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the system of courts

District Courts

  • This is the first level, it is the trial courts of the federal judiciary system.

1. The first step is to go before a grand jury- this is to present the evidence

2. Trial- If the court convicts a person he/she will go to jail

Circuit Court of Appeals

  • If evidence is wrong or it shouldn't have been there then you can appeal
  • At this level there are 3 judges who listen to what the mistake was
  • If the judges rule in a person's favor then he/she wins the appeal and will have a re-trial at the district level.
  • 15% of cases are appealed and only 4% go to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court

  • At this level there are 9 judges and they only meet from October to June
  • The court decides to listen to a case to change and clarify a precedent
  • The court has the power to decide appeals, appellate jurisdiction
  • Original Jurisdiction: the court's power to be the first to hear a case. The Supreme Court is usually the first to hear about cases where 2 states are arguing against each other.
  • The majority and dissenting opinions set the precedents
Judges- Playing Fair
The Third Branch
  • The Judicial branch runs the court system
  • The courts should be ruling fairly and impartially in every case by looking at the evidence presented and applying the law to everyone in the same way
It has to be Fair
  • In order to peacefully resolve problems and differences there needs to be fair judges.
  • Judges should be deciding cases based on the law, the evidence presented, and precedents
Politics as usual?
  • The courts are NOT influenced by political parties
  • Even in a Judicial Election, the judges are expected to decide cases based on the law, not decide based on what the people think
The Judge

How are judges chosen?

  • In the federal court system, judges are appointed for life through a selection process. This process is called judicial appointment. As everything has a goods and bad side, so does judicial appointment. A pro is that presidents and governors make a selection based in the nominees background, records, and sometimes party affiliation. A con is that it's not democratic, the people do not vote or have a say in this process.
  • Another way judges are chosen is by judicial elections. Judicial elections allows the people to elect a judge they want. The con of judicial election is that elected judges must keep the people's interest, therefore the judge may or may not be influenced by the people and their opinion.
Judges are similar to referees because judges have to be fair, making hard but fair calls, and not letting the "crowd" change their minds. A referee has to closely watch a game and pay attention to anything that goes against the rules. The judge has to do the same in a court case. A judge has to be fair, listen/pay close attention to the evidence, and decide the case based in the laws, precedent, and evidence that was presented.
We, the people, have to trust the process, in that judges will judge fairly. Having a fair trial will lead to justice.
God's standard of justice is His own character. God revealed His divine character in the bible, if any human law does not conform to His character then that law is unjust.
There are many significant Supreme Court Cases that play a huge role in society, but not all of them conform to Gods character.

Significant court cases

Engle v. Vitale

Engle v. Vitale (1962)

Engle v. Vitale was formed by the issue that prayer in public schools violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, it was unconstitutional that it was required for students in public schools to recite a prayer. This is also a case that brings up the idea of separation between government and religion, like the separation of church and state. The court case provided a sneak peek of the liberal thinking of the people. Having that liberal mindset also showed how more problems will occur as people will try to separate religion from any sort of government agency, most likely schools. This Supreme Court case does not fit the definition of justice because prayer is an important part in being a Christian, it is a Christian’s way of speaking to God.

Brown v. Board of Education

Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

This case was based on racial segregation. The court believed that public schools specifically for blacks and whites were unconstitutional and that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The decision on the case allowed for “separate but equal” public education. Brown impacted American society because it stimulated the Civil Rights Movement. This court case led up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Brown v. Board has also helped in black student achievement nationwide. Lastly, the case has also aid in the growth of the black middle class. This case fits the definition of justice because we should love everyone just as we love ourselves, God loves everyone and treats everyone equally.

Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade (1973)

The court case ruled that the right to privacy is broad enough that it also covers a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. Roe v. Wade expanded the right to privacy, making abortion legal nationwide. The court case also prompted the rise of those who were against abortion, arguing for a stop to abortion and a new anti-abortion amendment to the Constitution. As people from both end began to rise it led to two different groups, those who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice. This case does not fit the class definition of justice because it is a sin to murder a human being and a baby is a human being, it is alive from the exact moment of conception.

Texas v. Johnson

Texas v. Johnson (1989)

This Supreme Court case ruled that burning the U.S. flag was a constitutionally protected form of speech in the Constitution. It began when Gregory Johnson lit the American flag on fire in front of Dallas City Hall and was later arrested for violating Texas’s state law. Texas v. Johnson states that government cannot forbid the expression of an idea because one disagrees with it or finds it offensive. It also led to the Flag Protection Act of 1989, which tried to overturn Texas v. Johnson. This court case does fit the definition of justice in a way because burning the American flag is disrespectful, just as if someone were to burn the bible, a church, or the cross of Jesus.

Obergefell v. Hodges

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

This Supreme Court case ruled the protection of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional and same-sex marriage performed out-of-state should be recognized in other states. Obergefell is also a continuation from United States v. Windsor, stating that the Defense of Marriage Act did not stretch to the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. America now supports a wide variety of people and now marriage is not only between a man and women. Ever since 2015 until now there are many people who have been “coming out.” This case does not fit the definition of justice because marriage is specifically only for a man and a woman, God says in the bible, in the book of Genesis as there was Adam and Eve.

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