Saturday, December 15, 2007

What is Justice, and does it have have anything to do with the Law?

One ancient philosopher defined the law as being the objective manifestation of justice. Meaning in the simplest form, that if the law is not just or does not seek justice, it cannot, and is not law.

In fact any government, whether it be a dictatorship or democracy can enact laws. Thousands of laws are enacted everyday throughout the world. The enactment or pronouncement of a law in of itself means nothing in terms as to whether the law is just.

Before a law can be a true law, in the true sense, it must be based on the principals of justice. If the law is not based on the principals of natural law, the laws of God, it is not true law, but rather enforcement of capricious whims of the government, which enacted it. No true law, if it comports with justice can hurt the innocent, destitute, the disabled or vulnerable. If it does, it is a cruel distortion of the law.

Interesting, many people argue. that even in a democracy, if the people want a law, regardless of the harm, it is the will of the people, and accordingly, it is the law. This is not so, even in a democracy, democratic laws are passed which are evil, and are not true law. This of course was the philosopher of the famous English philosopher John Austin, who was the father of "positivism", a philosophy which has long been discredited by the likes of Adolph Hitler, who enacted, along with the Nazi parliament the "Nuremberg Laws", which legally made Jews and others non-citizens for purposed of German law. This of course was no different than the "laws" in this country, passed by the "democratic legislature" that delegated the African-American to non-citizens.

History has taught us all to often of laws being passed, both in a democracy and dictatorship which are evil. Without just laws there can be no peace and harmony in the world.
All to often we find laws in the United States, which do not reflect in anyway justice. Whether these laws were passed for political expediency, vengeance or retribution, nonetheless they are not just. Mandatory sentencing for one, which do not take into consideration the individual and his or here disabilities, or other factors which could, and should, reduce their period of incarceration. Continuing to build more and more jails, and incarcerating more and more people in this country is not the answer. Especially, when we spend less and less on schools and education, vocational training, medicine and health care, drug rehabilitation programs, and the creation of real jobs.
In New Jersey for example we have "drug free school zones", and "drug free park zones", which mandate mandatory incarceration for defendant's arrested within any of these zones. The problem is that entire cities are one drug free zone. Example, Newark, East Orange, Jersey City, Paterson, Paterson, Camden, and Trenton to name a few. Accordingly, any defendant found to be in possession with intent to distribute in any of these cities will likely do mandatory time. Again, who are the people who live in these cities, most minorities and poor. No wonder they make 70-80 percent of the prison population.

It is no surprise that the fast growing industry in this country is law enforcement. A segment of society that feeds upon itself like a great title wave. More and more unjust laws, more and more cops, and more and more prisons and prisoners. In the State of New Jersey, no different than any other state in the nation, if a politician wants to get elected, or reelected he will introduce another harsh and unjust law.
If we want peace in this country, we must seek justice, and the only way that we can do this is with just and fair laws. As Pope John Paul I declared, "If we want peace we must work for justice."

Passing more unjust laws and putting more and more people in prison is not the answer. It is time that we attempt to reverse this title wave of destruction with laws that are just for all, and heed the words of the ancient philosopher, that a law cannot be called a law, unless it manifests justice for all.

Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
277 North Broad Street
P.O. Box 261
Elizabeth, N.J. 07207
(908) 354-7006

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