The rule of mercenary law

From the Washington’s Voz newspaper.

As the Senate prepares for the confirmation hearings of John G. Roberts Jr. for the Supreme Court, many questions surface, not just about the nominee’s views, past, ideology and judicial philosophy, but about the essence of law and justice, and, shall we dare say, the U.S. judicial system in particular.

Is there any solid foundation for the law? Is there anything immutable about what justice is and what its basis are?

These issues may seem farfetched in the context of Supreme Court nomination and confirmation, but they are, indeed, what’s behind the whole debate. The White House has denied disclosure of some of the nominee’s records and has not committed to disclose even his tax returns. This allows one to believe that those non-disclosed documents may hinder the nominee’s ability to be confirmed.

But what’s more surprising here is the way pundits left and right have said that it would be unfair to judge Roberts’ record, true feelings, judicial philosophy and food preferences by looking at his defense of the positions of the senior Bush administration or his tenure as lawyer for the Reagan administration, because those weren’t his positions or views but those of his clients. So, essentially, he was or may have been defending some views with which he on a personal and professional level disagrees.

Certainly the over 60% of the American people that considers Roe vs. Wade settled law and want it to remain so, would very much expect and hope that Mr. Roberts would be so willing to ignore his personal views on the issue and respect the wishes of his client: the American people. But we have already seen Attorney General Alberto González paving the way to an overturn of the law, by explaining that the Supreme Court does not need to abide by precedent.

But, back to the generalities. It’s surprising that we are so used to justice been made according to the amount of money one has to afford the best lawyer, that we don’t even clinch when we hear about someone who may have defended positions in which he did not believe.

Or what’s even worst, that he and his supporters are willing to say he did not support those positions just to get him confirmed. Notice, though, that they won’t go into details as to which positions he wholeheartedly supported and which he “just worked there.”

Some are fighting for the right of pharmacists to not dispense some prescriptions drugs if they have moral objections to them, but it’s all well and good to have a Supreme Court nominee who would defend the positions of his clients, even when they contradict his values and moral beliefs.

We have gone a bit too far giving money precedence over the law… How farther are we willing to go?


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