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Judicial Activism

dogparktom
Posts: 112
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8/19/2009 3:54:57 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I would like to have yes/no answers with some supporting reasons on the following question:

Should a judge, in the interest of justice, have the inherent authority to disregard a law (a specific law that indubitably applies in a particular case) if following that specific law would indubitably cause an outrageous and unconscionable result in such particular case?

Thank you.
Floid
Posts: 751
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8/20/2009 10:16:50 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
No they should not have that power. Otherwise we might as well not even have laws to begin with... because they will just disregard laws they do not agree with and instead enforce their views, which is basically the proposition you stated.
JBlake
Posts: 4,634
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8/20/2009 10:44:02 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Yes and no.

In jury trials, it is the role of the jury to determine the facts, and the role of the judge to determine the law. In jury trials, the judge ought to be an impartial automaton whose sole purpose is to apply the law as he interprets it to the case. It is the role of the jury to determine if the law would "cause an outrageous and unconscionable result."

In non-jury trials (appeals court, supreme court) it is absolutely necessary for a judge to consider the spirit of the law as well as the letter of the law.
Rezzealaux
Posts: 2,251
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8/20/2009 10:55:40 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 3:54:57 AM, dogparktom wrote:
Should a judge, in the interest of justice,
Are you suggesting that judges have an interest in anything other than justice? Not that that's wrong, I'd say their interest is in anything BUT justice... but whatever. Interests are completely irrelevant.

have the inherent authority to disregard a law (a specific law that indubitably applies in a particular case)
Isn't their inherent authority based on laws? If they suddenly gain the ability to disregard laws, then they're basically given blank checks to do whatever the hell they wan to do.

if following that specific law would indubitably cause an outrageous and unconscionable result in such particular case?
Could I have an example?
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
JBlake
Posts: 4,634
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8/20/2009 11:27:58 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
One example:

Some violates copyright laws by downloading (though not distributing) music or movies illegally. Following the letter of the law would result in absurdly high fines and absurdly long prison sentences (assuming that they downloaded multiple songs or movies).
Rezzealaux
Posts: 2,251
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8/20/2009 12:32:10 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 11:27:58 AM, JBlake wrote:
One example:

Some violates copyright laws by downloading (though not distributing) music or movies illegally. Following the letter of the law would result in absurdly high fines and absurdly long prison sentences (assuming that they downloaded multiple songs or movies).

Pirate Party!

Should a judge, in the interest of justice, have the inherent authority to disregard a law (a specific law that indubitably applies in a particular case) if following that specific law would indubitably cause an outrageous and unconscionable result in such particular case?

I just remembered, the US Supreme Court has this power.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
jurist24
Posts: 1
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8/25/2009 8:08:44 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
To disregard a law? Or to strike it down? In the first instance, the judge simply does not apply the law to the case. Rather, he may apply a similar law, but one that he has to stretch and bend to make fit the facts.

And, when you say "law", do you mean statute or case law? I just want to narrow the scope of the question before I answer.