Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Focus on American Judicial System 

The American justice system was established on the basis of serving all subjects in equal measure. Equality before the law means all will be treated justly without making any distinctions whatsoever. In paper form the law may apply to all equally though, it could be used to serve the interests of others. The term “the law is king” has been there for many years. Likewise, the fight against injustice has been there for some time. According to Hudson (2010), it is the responsibility of the courts to interpret the law and according to Scalia (1989) courts have the power to make law. However, laws may be distorted and interpreted differently. When a parent allows one child to watch television and denies the other the right to watch television, there will be fury. To avoid such altercations, parents will have to treat all children under their care equally. In effect, the law is meant to serve as a universal protector of all people falling under its jurisdiction or domain.

The American judicial system is far from being perfect because of its subservience to the existing political culture. Judges may be impartial in their pronouncements and as well lean to a political system that they deem favorable to their cause. Interest groups have become so powerful that they have the will to influence the decisions of judges. Greenberg (1986) claims that there has been a lot of dissent from the public regarding the way capital punishment is handled by states. The number of convicts joining death row jumped to 300 per year by 1986 while an estimated 100 prisoners left death row either due to death in prison, executions, or by legal invalidations  (Greenberg, 1986). However, the number of executions has declined in recent years.

Among legal scholars, disappointments exist in the way judges are selected. According to Greene (2005), making unpopular decisions for fear of losing a job has become a commonplace practice among judges in the American judicial system. Potential judges are required to be erudite, reasonable and balanced, and considerate as opposed to being impolite, prejudiced, harsh, and unstable when making critical judgments. The rule of law is fundamental to a democracy though it loses meaning when politicians meddle with the legal system and judges become impartial. The American legal system needs to be overhauled and given a new face.


Greene, N.L. (2005). Perspectives on judicial selection reform: The need to develop a model appointive selection plan for judges in light of experience. Albany Law Review, Vol. 68.

Greenberg, J. (1986). Against the American system of capital punishment Jack. Harvard Law Review (May issue).

Hudson, W. (2010). American democracy in peril. Eight challenges to America's future (6th ed.)           Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Scalia, A. (1989). The rule of law as a law of rules.  The University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 4.

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