Applying the Law, Even When Wrong

Since we’re already on the topics of self reliance and freedom, it’s a good time to recall a Providence Journal editorial about a New Yorker who is suing everybody conceivable over his fall from Newport’s Cliff Walk. The fellow left the path, apparently required more protection than his own common sense to keep him from falling, and is not embarrassed to admit publicly that he’s the one-in-a-million doofus who couldn’t enjoy the scenery safely.
Which is to say that I agree with the editorial writers, except where they delve into legal process:

Let’s hope the state Supreme Court understands this concept: that personal responsibility has a place even in the modern world, and that others do not deserve to be punished when someone fails to use a reasonable degree of caution.

Actually, I prefer to hope that the law doesn’t require the judges to find in the klutz’s favor, but if it does, we should all prefer that they do so. Such circumstances would be an indication that we, the people, have wandered off the safe path along the treacherous cliff of liberty and ought regain our legislative senses. If we look to the judiciary to pass judgment on when the law, as it exist, applies, then we’ve created an arbitrary system governed by an oligarchy of appointees and litigation is just an expensive roll of the dice.

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Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

“If we look to the judiciary to pass judgment on when the law, as it exist, applies, then we’ve created an arbitrary system governed by an oligarchy of appointees and litigation is just an expensive roll of the dice.”
Justin,
what am I missing here? Are you really suggesting that the judiciary does not have the task of passing “judgement on the when law, as it exists, applies”? That’s their job, no?

thomas Schmeling
thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

uh,..”the when” should be “when the”. But you knew that.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

I think it’s clear, given context, that I’m talking about the court deciding the merits of a case based on extra-legal considerations like the importance of personal responsibility to society. Either the klutz’s case has merit or it doesn’t. I suspect it doesn’t, but I’d prefer that the judiciary not take it upon itself to determine that he should or shouldn’t receive compensation regardless of the law.

thomas Schmeling
thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

“I think it’s clear, given context, that I’m talking about the court deciding the merits of a case based on extra-legal considerations like the importance of personal responsibility to society.”
No. That was not at all clear. Far from it.
“I’d prefer that the judiciary not take it upon itself to determine that he should or shouldn’t receive compensation regardless of the law.”
No judge in her right mind would say that a person should receive compensation “regardless of the law”. But this is a common law country and that means the judges are, absent a statute, responsible for determining what the law IS, regarding such claims. I doubt that you can find any judge that thinks such cases should NOT be decided without weighing questions of social advantage and disadvantage. That includes liberal and conservative judges alike.

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“I prefer to hope that the law doesn’t require the judges to find in the klutz’s favor, but if it does, we should all prefer that they do so.”
Agreed, with an addendum: if the law is on the side of the klutz in such matters, we need to immediately change that law.

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