"Judges ... rule on the basis of law, not public opinion, and they should be totally indifferent to pressures of the times."
by:
Justice Warren E. Burger
(1907-1995) Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1969-1986)
Source:
Christian Science Monitor, 11 February 1987
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Reader comments about this quote:
They should rule on the basis of law. However, judges rule on their own opinion and ignore the law unless they happen to agree with it.
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    The first part of the quote is not true the vast majority of the time, and in the case of the social engineering author, a huge in your face lie. The second half, or the 'should be' is correct.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Good judges yes, sadly King George has stacked the benches with those who rule based upon their personal opinions (and those of the King and his maker, Jester Rove).
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Gotta give this one the thumbs up....judicial dictator ship is a really scary thing...a la "reading into the Constitution things that are not there"--for your folks in Reston, that means not considering the Constitution a "living document" rather than a written one that must be changed before it can be ignored...Hmmm...let me count the ways....privacy = abortion for one. Free speech means never being insulted for another. The separation of Church and State for still another. Maybe we do have a king out there--King Aclu.
     -- Michael, Houston, TX     
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    I agree.Judges should rule on the basis of law.There are 3 points of concern with this statement,though,as it pertains to Reality. 1.Judges who actually do esteem to rule on the basis of law,many time rule on "Their Interpretation" of the law which is Biased in my eyes.2.Some of the "laws" that they rule on are not in the best interest of The People to begin with.Makeing a bad thing-worse.3.Many "judges" make decisions based on their Opinion of a given law,not so much their interpretation of a law. Our Founding Fathers would Vomit if they knew what has become of their dear Repiblic !
     -- Me again     
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    The US Constitution provides for 3 distinct jurisdictions of law -- common law, admiralty/maritime law, and commercial law. In admiralty/maritime law, known as the Law of the Sea, the admiral is king -- he may allow for a trial in any format but he has the final word despite what a jury may decide. Commercial law is the law of contracts, also know as colorable law. In commercial law agreements are enforced between two contracting parties -- the Constitution does not really apply here. It is within the jurisprudence of common law, the Law of the Land, that offenses against one's person or property are tried with a jury of peers. But over the years, most notably during FDR's reign, the common law courts were all but erased and merged with a new admiralty/maritime, commercial court system. In essense, the biggest profits are to be made in practicing commercial law -- not much for a lawyer in a common law court. Look at the flag in a courtroom today -- the yellow fringe on the border indicates an admiralty/maritime court. The lynch pin is the Federal Reserve Note that people now use instead of real money. Using these promissory notes is what obligates us to file in commercial court for anything purchased with these notes. As the US is in a permanent state of bankruptcy to the Fed, we are in essense all corporate merchants subject to the reams and reams of colorable law. There is a HUGE difference between a promise and substance. When you can get your head around that, you will see that 'credit' and 'trust' and 'justice' have been twisted to mean their exact opposites. But what do we know -- just hire a lawyer and pay him from your credit line... 'cause you won't have anything else.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Sometimes the law is just, and sometimes the law is immoral. The same goes for judges, and for people, in general. Judges should not be totally indifferent to public opinion, where this is morally superior to the law.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    David, you are dead wrong. The law is not written to promote personal morality -- that power has NOT been given to any government official. The only folks who have the power to make a moral judgment are the JURORS! That is why it is so important to serve on a jury and make sure your fellow citizens do not get railroaded by the State.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Well said, Archer.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    There seems to be a severe lack of reading comprehension among the judiciary. The Constitution is quite clear. Even I can understand it. Too many judges today are more interested in those mystical penumbra and emanations than they are in the words of the Constitution.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Can anyone point out where I wrote what has been attributed to me? I don't think so. Talk about a severe lack of reading comprehension. I did not write that law is written to promote personal morality. So, read it again and again until you get it.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    Actually, everyone has the power to make moral judgments. This is obviously so, since they do it every day. Even judges do it. That they have, or do not have, the authority to impose these is another issue. But neither has to do with what I wrote initially, which is: Judges should not be totally indifferent to public opinion, where this is morally superior to the law. This relates to the quote, unlike some comments that twist the meaning of what I plainly stated.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    David, you said "Judges should not be totally indifferent to public opinion, where this is morally superior to the law." I said you were dead wrong. Leave it at that if you cannot understand the argument. Just think of Justice as blind, and you might get an idea of the neutrality expected from judges.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Perhaps they need to read the law and yes I think it matters what the public think! Isn't the public WE THE PEOPLE?
     -- BC     
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