Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Where the lawyers might have started.

No I'm not a lawyer, but I think I have a feel for the law (and not just because I've successfully defended myself in court, I just always tend to take narrow legal view of things, which has its drawbacks I can assure you. I thoroughly appreciated Lord Hutton's report, which was dry as dust really; not, I think, because the outcome suited me, but because it was so careful and precise. Hutton's errors are there for anyone to find as a consequence of this, though I would consider them negligible).

Mark Steyn's not a lawyer either, and I think he's just too rounded a person to be a legal sort. He can hobnob and talk morality too, and get on with backwoodsmen as well, apparently, as he shmoozes with the high and mighty. But I think that he appreciates the kind of solid framework on which justice is founded.

His take on the Schiavo affair is not arrogant, assuming he knows better than the courts, but he zeros in effortlessly on areas that could have founded a simple and effective case for Terri.

'There seems to be a genuine dispute about her condition -- between those on her husband's side, who say she has ''no consciousness,'' and those on her parents' side, who say she is capable of basic, childlike reactions. If the latter are correct, ending her life is an act of murder. If the former are correct, what difference does it make? If she feels nothing -- if there's no there there -- she has no misery to be put out of. That being so, why not err in favor of the non-irreversible option?'

'Michael Schiavo took a vow to be faithful in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do them part. He's forsaken his wife and been unfaithful to her: She is, de facto, his ex-wife, yet, de jure, he appears to have the right to order her execution. This is preposterous. Suppose his current common-law partner were to fall victim to a disabling accident. Would he also be able to have her terminated? Can he exercise his spousal rights polygamously? The legal deference to Mr. Schiavo's position, to his rights overriding her parents', is at odds with reality.'

'it behooves us to maintain a certain modesty about presuming to speak for others -- even those we know well. Example: ''Driving down there, I remember distinctly thinking that Chris would rather not live than be in this condition.'' That's Barbara Johnson recalling the 1995 accident of her son Christopher Reeve. Her instinct was to pull the plug; his was to live.'

The tragedy is, I think, that we don't have people who speak as simply yet as eloquently as Mark Steyn in positions where they can uphold justice; they're too rounded to fit into the system, preferring maverick roles with some kind of sex appeal (Steyn would laugh, I think, but it is the case that columnists are sexier than lawyers). Then again, the notion of 'due process' which I hear bandied around in all sorts of contexts (take note, BBC), strikes me as little more than playing the system, which doesn't appeal to narrow types like me who prefer the idea that 'due process' refers back to a common pool of experience and wisdom too wide and too rich to make justice a matter of legalism.

The Law really is in the news at the moment, and what's interesting is that the Left, having lost so many battles in the court of public opinion, are deciding to put their undoubted (by themselves) superior intelligence quotient to the test in the narrower arenas of the legal profession. Steyn also has things to say about this (at least, in one instance of it).

At bottom though the reason Leftists run to their mamma courtroom is that they know they have the energy to bore other people into the ground. The trick will be if the Right, in which I would claim a small demesne, has the energy to counteract the overwhelming will to self-justify and express their sacred POV which motivates their opponents.

Google Custom Search