Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Law Is an Ass

Two recent decisions confirm that Charles Dickens' Mr. Bumble was correct in declaring, "The law is a (sic) Ass." In the first case, California's Supreme Court dismissed a suit by workers who were damaged by solvents, only because the majority held stocks in the oil companies. In the second, case a federal appeals court dismissed a suit by four British citizens who claimed torture, abuse, and violations of their religious rights at Guantánamo because "Because the plaintiffs are aliens and were located outside sovereign United States territory at the time their alleged RFRA claim arose, they do not fall with the definition of 'person,'" the court ruled."

This decision is surprising, given the importance of religion in determining personhood. After all, a fertilized egg with only a few cells is considered a person in the United States. Surely these unfortunate creatures are more fully developed persons in a newly formed embryo.

The first case suggests that corporations could immunize themselves from legal actions merely by ensuring that judges had some stock in the companies. On second thought, perhaps many of these corporations are not really persons after all, despite the claim that corporations have all the rights of human persons. However, some of these fictitious persons have relocated their fictitious homes to other lands. If people tortured by the government are not really persons because they are located outside the United States, surely the fictitious persons, who currently rule this country, should not be counted as persons.


Anonymous said...

Judicial decisions like those mentioned are becoming more frequent and are a disturbing indication of the politicalization of the judiciary. Read again some of the written arguments by both Scalia and Thomas and you will find what I think is the beginning of this trend. Certainly there are judges out there, appointed by our increasingly more conservative Chief Executives, who believe in judicial activism if the law is too friendly to the individual. A real person, that is.

Anonymous said...

citations please.

ProGrowthLiberal said...

This CAL case strikes me as one where the judges who held stocks in the defendant company should have recused themselves. I have to wonder if there is some legal action that could be used to remove such jokers from the bench.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...


Another reason why indeed there is a noticeable difference between the political parties and why which one wins the presidency really does matter. After all the horrors of torture and war in Iraq, the other really bad long term effect of Bush being president, especially his victory over Kerry in 2004, has been his appointment of two very reactionary Supreme Court justices.


Anonymous said...

Of course you're right on the point. My dissatisfaction is that our choice is one of the lesser of evils. The Bush administration has simply provided us with a demonstration of catastrophic ineptitude. Could the Bush terms in office have been some draconian plan on the part of those with the serious political power to show Americans how bad a President can be. Now we might even settle for the extremely distasteful Giuliani,
though his chances seem increasingly remote. Is the choice of Romney or McCain better, or just not as bad as Bush? The sadness is in recognizing that neither Clinton, nor Obama, are making seriously progressive promises. Just a little better than the alternatives. After Bush II we've got a long hard way back to equity, but I don't see a clear path being offered by the front runners.

Anonymous said...


You should supply links, but you don't. So here it is.

Anonymous said...

The link doesn't open to whatever exact "page" it is on yahoo news. I'm only getting the search page. What's the title of the article?