Justice vs. Fairness By matthew fulton


What is the definition of the word "justice?"

A decision in court that is just conforms to the character of God. What is meant by that? Well, decisions that reflect the nature of God are:

  • Not in conflict with U.S. laws-- Marbury v. Madison (1954)
  • Not able to lead to the obstruction of just punishments-- Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
  • Within a reasonable scope of law-- McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
  • Do not reflect inequality of race-- Brown v. Board of Education
  • Not in opposition to clear Biblical positions

Law according to Blackstone

An understanding of justice is key to the implementation of laws. Laws have as much to do with justice as the courts do, if not more so. They determine the foundational structure of a society and keep it together through instituting just principles, with which they punish evil and reward good accordingly.

According to Sir William Blackstone of England, law can be classified into six types:

-Law as the order of the universe: God formed each part of His original creation with distinct principles that hold it together. These principles cannot be changed.

-Law as a rule of human action: Statutes that command the regulation of one's conduct by exercising reason and free will.

-Law of nature: The essential, unchangeable laws of good and evil. God Himself conforms to these laws, and He has given humans the ability to discover certain ones through reason.

-Revealed law (or divine law): Laws contained within the texts of the Holy Bible. No law should run contrary to revealed law.

-Law of nations: Humans must naturally separate themselves into individual societies, and therefore must make laws to govern inter-societal interactions. These should involve natural law or agreements between parties within the nation.

-Municipal law: The laws established by the state, the highest human authority within a region, which itself must be limited.

The three basic inherent rights of an individual are:

  1. The right of personal security: A person is entitled to their own unrestricted well-being
  2. The right of personal liberty: A person is entitled to the freedom to move about within a society unrestricted except by established law.
  3. Property rights: A person is entitled to the free use and control of his property unrestricted except by the laws of the land.

Blackstone also mentions an assortment of additional principles, such as:

  • The might, wisdom, and goodness of God
  • The purpose and nature of human law: proclaiming and commanding what is right and wrong
  • The fallibility of man's reason apart from God
  • The concept of judicial review: Judges can interpret the laws to determine the intention of the legislative branch.

So what does this all mean in terms of justice?

Basic, foundational human laws should derived from immutable divine principles. This ensures that the laws conform to God's definition of justice. Humans have innate rights that must not be denied to them, as a duty of justice. Judges have the ability to settle matters of justice through interpreting the law.


The Principles of the Court System

The court system in the U.S. is designed to ensure fairness.

The goal of a court is to provide a resolution to a problem. In order to resolve it rightly, judges must make their decisions according to the evidence and the law.

The courts are not responsible to their voters, nor to political parties, nor any other group of people. It is this way so that the decisions of the judges are not based upon a desire to please a certain group.

The courts are not responsible to any party, but they are accountable to the people. In addition to being kept in check by a special rule system, citizens also decide whether elected judges keep their positions. If there was an error in the decision, the complaint can be taken to a higher court.

What, then, is fairness?

Fairness involves two principles:

  1. Decisions based on good grounds: Evidence and law, not mere will or opinion, must be the determining factors.
  2. Pure decisions: They must be uninfluenced by underlying motives.

The definition of fairness is that the outcome of a case in court is both according to solid facts and impartial.

My philosophy on Justice and Fairness

My take: Justice is conforming to the divine principles of God. Fairness is ensuring that decisions are based on facts and are impartial. Fairness does not have to be based upon spiritual truths. Therefore, fair is not always just but just is always fair. Fair is the pursuit of justice, but it does not always look to the right principles.

Created By
Matthew Fulton


Created with images by dbking - "US Supreme Court" • Yale Law Library - "Blackstone Eller 83 v.1 c.2" • WikimediaImages - "bad camberg district court front" • christopher_brown - "The Thinker"

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