"The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided."
by:
Harlan F. Stone
12th Chief Justice U.S. Supreme Court
Source:
1941
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A common law altruism (doctrine that the general welfare of society is the proper goal of an individual's actions) forming the basis of all jurisdictions, local to federal.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Dear Mike, in your philosophic system (if I may call it that) how can LAWS, natural laws that is, ever be on trial. Would it not be simply your RULES that would be subject to this "being on trial". I give it a five and trust in humanity to know what laws and/or rules are best for their societies. I don't think one has existed that allowed for wontant murder for example, all "statist" societies develop sufficient resorces to combat such things.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    If Mike you think it is okay for a jury to nullify natural law why do you think it wrong for Congress or the statist authority to pass rules or laws that may be against natural law. In your value system you seem to place JURIES as somehow being morally superior to LEGISLATORS.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Dear Waffler, thank you for bringing up a point that I might elaborate. Language has been developed around religious, political, etc usage. By way of example: In English, or any other language that I'm aware of, the term government has been an appropriate term because there has always been somebody (monarchy - individual or small group) to rule or or govern over an inferior. When the representative republic was defined in 1776 and 1787, there was no word that described that scenario. Because everyone was aware of, used to, and familiar with the word government it was the term used, though it was not the concept that fit. In the same way, because the monarch or other ruling totalitarian acted as god or in place of god, what ever they said was treated and enforced as though it was law. Rule(s) of the master was the law of god. Rules in that scenario were as or, synonymous with law. That language of the past was used to keep the rabble, slaves and otherwise leasers in their place. De jure American jurisprudence was an anomaly in that it recognized a separation of the source from a defining application. It is again the lack of language that allows the Waffler worlders to fuse all in to one tyrannical chaos. You are correct, natural law cannot be tried but because the limited language does not differentiate between the two, law at times becomes synonymous with rule. Waffler, it is impossible for juries to nullify natural law. Congress can pass rules that are contrary to law. Sovereign jurors are not morally superior to legislators, they are jurisdictionally speaking, superior in authority.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Law is always on trial hence the vigilance of the ACLU, HRC, and other non-governmental agencies. Laws (or better still Common Law as Mike would like me have it) are meaningless when they are abused by tyrants; they have no credence or effect in the world of psychosis - just look at Mao Tse Tung, he was responsible for killing more people than Starlin and Hitler combined. Natural law can only exist in a compassionate world this why Compassion and Empathy are the two most important goals in life. All else is meaningless until these two goals are part of our daily lives.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    People, societies, juries, nullify and/or defien "natural law" all of the time. In fact there is no such thing as natural law in the affairs of men. It only exists in nature, maybe that is why it is called natural. In the affairs of men we have "moral" law and that is subject to change and interpretation. Thus the Aztecs thought it moral and right to slave thousands in one day or daily as a sacrifice to their god. Morality fluctuates and is subject to change.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Morality doesn't change it is absolute our interpretation of morality changes. The form chair is a chair the form doesn't change (Plato said this in case you thought I did). It's like honesty, honesty as a pure form doesn't change its us that makes it deviate.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Forget "natural law" for a minute and let's discuss man made laws passed by the the lovely people in government, local ,state, and federal. Many are for our good, some are just stupid and some are just plain wrong. Asset forfeiture laws are a great example of laws that are wrong. When cops can take private property when no crime was committed, or even if a crime is committed, something is sorely wrong. Many small town police departments are financed with property stolen in this manner. Congress passed these laws and can and should repeal them. All this mischief done on the basis of this horrible so-called war on drugs.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
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    Sure would be nice to hear a judge say this in a courtroom today! I think it should be a 'law' (like the Miranda warning) that judges must instruct the jury with this statement every time. Trial by jury is supposed to protect us from bad laws. You can blame the American Bar Association for all the corruptions to the administration of 'law' in this land -- it has become a circus and another tool for stealing the property and labors of the common people. Lawyers earn their living by suing people, and they are always in need of more...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Re: Morality, RBE has touched upon it. The natural born rights of the individual define 'right' and 'wrong.' What those 'natural born rights' are is debatable. But in America, we have made a Declaration as to what those rights are and fought against those who said otherwise. I do believe Natural Law is a self-correcting 'system' outside of human control. Interestingly, we live in a world in which everything lives off of everything else -- if living things stopped eating other living things, life would end! The respect for the lives of others is the basis of morality. Truth is truth whether we know it or not, but morality is simply the level with which one respects other living things -- even when we are eating them! Morality is defined by what we love. If our morals are not in harmony with the nature of things, Nature will correct us.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Unjust laws are always on trial, striking them down is another matter.
     -- Ron, Salem     
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    If anything needs to be on trial it is the law, and shortly after that those who pass unjust laws need to be on trial as well. Finally, judges who mislead juries in their duties and obligations need to be tried.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion. Arthur C. Clark
     -- RBESRQ     
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