Strait_v1n3_1971-10

THE OWL'S CORNER

JOSEPH H . BUNZEL

capable of handling problems that exist in the streets of our communities" and another one, that "women jurists would give breadth and depth to the bench . . . on which a woman's point of view is not reflected." As if the Supreme court of a State, or any Court for that matter, would be a panel in which all elements of the population must be repre- sented . One judge for labor , and one for manage- ment, one for Catholics and one for Protestants, one for Jews and another for the unbeliever (we hope) , one for the East and one for the West, one for the city and one for the suburb , one for the whites and one for the blacks, one for the rich and one for the poor - or to carry the fantasy to its logical conclusion, perhaps proportionate quotas; seven city and two suburban judges, or nine white and one black, and so on ad aburdum. How do such postulates jibe with the proud boast : one Law for all and no one above and no one below the Law? Can there be respect for and in fact devotion to Law? The best that can be expected is grudging admission that some kind of order is better than e none and heed should be paid to the laws; that some accomrrodation. must be found, and that as many laws as necessary must be passed and in s0me way interpreted and applied. Moreover, the major concern at present, surely not without reason, see!T1$ to center on criminal laws and their enforcement; they are being mul- tiplied instead of reduced. However, they should be a small part of our legal heritage . For we are daily surrounded by a web of legal relationships, con- tracts, institutions and customs which exercise every minute the greatest influence upon all our lives : birth, marriage, adoption, death, inheritance must be legally concluded in addition to all our contrac- tural obligations: economic, medical, political and even theological, to name a few. Nor must we ever forget that a person can just as surely be killed by the laws and their unreason- able or clumsy interpretation or application than by the scalpel of the physician or the bullet of an enemy's gun. Nevertheless, thinking of November 2 and Nov- ember 6, it remains true what was said at the time of. the first demonstrations: that it will be worth- while to work with and within the existing legal A structure just because Law is fixated power, a W' power that can be obtained sometimes simply by waiting, sometimes depending on sheer numbers . For the eventual triumph is not in ephemeral vic- tory but in the eternal struggle for what is right.

LAW, THE STATE & WE

Our satisfaction with the State in which we live depends largely on our definition of its Law. If it is recognized that Law is fixated power , the relation- ship takes on a special meaning. Throughout this column "Law" shall be capitalized when it refers to the sum total of norms and also to the web of social relationships ; however as customarily spelled it will indicate an individual piece of legislation . Unfortunately , American usage does not have the equivalent to German, Italian, Spanish , Russian, distinguishing be- tween e.g. droit (the general) Joi the special norm ; Recht - Gesetz a.s.o. although this semantic discern- ment is of great importance as symptom and for a rationalization of the "feeling" for Law. The idea of the State , moreover, is also made ambiguous in American parlance by the fact that there are 51 entities which claim sovereignity and with it the citizen's loyalty, an almost mythical quality that passes certain laws but prevents the ex- istence and in fact the codification of an American Law. With these ambivalances deeply embedded in our souls, it is not astonishing that our feelings to- ward government, all government, are strangely scintillating and undergo almost daily new changes. Thus, we find on the one side an almost touching trust which, if disturbed, turns into furious con- tempt; on the other hand, a hopeful distrust which, when justified, serves greedy self-interest . Parallel to this split-up of loyalties goes the system of checks and balances and an overlapping tri-partite division of power, so that the individual becomes helpless without reliance on some kind of supernatural force which drives him to rackets or politics or both. Not only three legislatures - federal, state and local - but also three judiciaries make the American system a nightmare of legal insecurity. Moreover, whereas the Federal Supreme Court judges are ap- . pointed by the President, but confirmed by the Senate, the State Supreme Court Justices run for election; they know that they have to serve the in- terests of their electorate as surely as do administra- tors or enforcers of the laws. Recently, a candidate was quoted as saying: that the Supreme Court Jus- tice [of the State] "must be conversant with, and 6

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