As an incipient young journalist when I walked into a courtroom I felt like I was walking into a cathedral. But it didn’t take long to disavow any such notion. And to realize it was more like walking into a casino.
For in the ‘hallowed’ Halls of Justice the only justice is in the halls… where a cabal of venal, vapid officers of the court stack the deck.
For the most part, especially in Pennsylvania, our ‘elected’ judges — the weakest, yet most protected link in our system of justice — ain’t nuttin’ but law students who mark their own examination papers. And obviously not very well. After all, one of my future-ex-wives and I were married by a judge.
Perhaps I should have asked for a jury.
Then again, perhaps not.
For a jury consists of 12 people of average ignorance whose decisions seem to arrive, surprisingly, like the cherries on a casino slot machine. I mean — as one noted scribe caustically penned – the penalty for laughing in the courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the folks ‘selected’ for their humanly-impossible-impartiality would never hear the evidence.
And as far as voting for judges, the electorate votes – if at all — about as blindly and as ineptly as it places bets on the roulette table. In other words they are sorely uninformed. No doubt because they’ve been too busy watching football. Or the 22nd rerun of a Seinfeld episode.
But enough of this wailing at the wall. Armageddon was yesterday. Today we got problems.
Especially in Pennsylvania. Especially on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court where the less-than-august magnificent-seven judges sit in stained black robes that don’t seem to be able to stay closed. Just again, the other day, as well as in the last couple years, members of this viper pit have been investigated, impeached, kicked-off and suspended from the bench. And it’s for notorious activities they are supposed to be adjudging of the egregious folks in the cases before them.
And what a revoltin’ development this is! For obviously we can’t find anyone to ‘cast the first stone.’ Except, perhaps – and I do mean ‘perhaps’ – the Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ron Castille. He’s a former Marine who lost a leg in Vietnam and served time… as Philadelphia District Attorney.
And he told the Press that in his two decades of experience on this court that ‘no other justice has done as much to bring the Supreme Court into such disrepute.’
Of course he was speaking of suspended Justice Seamus McCaffery. Of whom the Chief Justice poignantly described as ‘sociopathic’… among other pejorative things.
I know that the justice system, like any system designed by human beings, clearly has its flaws. But we’re talking about the highest court in a state where it seems that somebody is always kidnapping justice and hiding it in the vagary of the law. And we can’t pretend this courtroom drama will nicely and neatly wrap-up like a one-hour TV drama.
Or can we?
But that would take some brass balls on the scales of justice. And just remember that a vote of the majority doesn’t make the majority right. Nevertheless, whatever questions I may harbor about Chief Justice Castille, I am now blasting Gideon’s Trumpet. If he had two good legs I would tell him to keep kicking his fellow Justices in the ass with both of them.
Justices need to demonstrate to us constituents that they all have a common conscience and will keenly and publicly lance any canker from their fellow asses. We can’t wait for some drawn out investigation of a Judicial Conduct Committee to creep along – about as fast as they change a rule of chess. And then get around to telling us in some priggish-piggish Latin that it was merely an ‘oops!’ And we should forgive them for their momentary lapse. After all they are only human.
No. They aren’t. And neither are we.
We are ‘all’ only assholes. Just some of us make a better show of it.
Too bad it’s against the law to just shoot them! But that’s just another ‘fortuitous’ problem in a country of laws. However, where does the law end and justice begin? In our American world it seems that legality is more important than justice.
Maybe it’s true. You know: Here you get the law. In the next world you get justice.
Or so they say…
And this is all unfolding in a state with the city of Philadelphia. In case you’ve forgotten, that is where the founding fathers congressed to legally establish a country of laws… to preserve Liberty, Fraternity and Egality.
It is also where there are three law schools out of a total of six in the 25-mile reaches of the metropolitan area. And eight within the borders of a state in the confederation of a country where there are 203 law schools approved by the American Bar Association.
Whatever… They’ve got to be approved by some officiating agency. And it might as well be the ABA… Admittedly I was hoping for something closer to human life.
Soooo… we obviously know what is supposed to be legal. We just don’t seem to be able to grasp our justices – particularly those who can’t seem to escape and rise above the environment that tutored them. You know: You can take a boy like McCaffery out of the duh marines and police department, but successfully ‘selling’ him for election to the state supreme court doesn’t necessarily rotate the crack of his ass into a smile of competence and wisdom.
Or, as Chief Justice Castille put it: ‘What he did borders on criminal conduct.’
And there Castille was just talking about McCaffery’s threat to a fellow Justice. Castille wasn’t including such bad behavior as McCaffery enabling his lawyer-administrator-wife to collect referral fees from law firms, some of which have cases before the Penna. Supreme Court. Or the final straw of receiving and sending, over recent years, hundreds of ‘extremely’ pornographic e-mails — in a state and time when one of the biggest pornographic and sexual scandals in college football history was unfolding.
Then again, what we have here is Pennsylvania. For you foreign readers overseas who need a war, like most Americans, to learn geography, let me simply explain that the state of Pennsylvania is mostly dense.
Its backwoods are fraught with shotguns and deerslayers who worried the gold brushes right off the square shoulders of Russian generals back during the Cold War. As that drunken Russian airforce commander jokingly burped to me in the Kremlin a few years back: “We didn’t fear the U.S. militarily. We worried about your crazy militias. In places like Pennsylvania.”
But of course!
Surrounded by all this pickup-truck firepower is the state capitol. It runs amok with ‘sociopathic’ politicians abandoned by nefarious alien parents who forgot to flush – twice — after pooping them out. Not even anthropomorphic bears would hug these toothless miscreants.
Hmm… And most folks tell me I am giving them too much credit.
And in this mist we have the ‘elected’ State Supremes. The so-called final say. In theory they are supposed to be principled folks who first wrack their moral consciences and uphold duh law – both publicly AND privately.
And, honestly, I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge regardless of their background or life experiences. For in the end all you want is a judge who is thinking about what he or she is doing and is thinking about it in a principled way.
But, also in the end if we don’t maintain our justices, our justices will not maintain us. In other words, an ‘IN-justice’ anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And in matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
Soooo, the magic is in the illusion. And if the public can’t see and feel a justice actually representing and serving fair justice – particularly in the highest most insulated arenas – then they start getting stronger lenses prescribed for their rose-colored glasses.
And then they start seeing the entire system for what it really is – little more than a cozy club solely for the benefit of judges, lawyers and their lackeys; a sort of welfare in the community just for the rich and powerful and well connected.
Hmm… Stop the presses!
I wish I could say that life is fair. It ain’t. But that’s life. What I can say is that we must have a fairer way of selecting our judges and justices. Perhaps more of a combination of the selected and elected systems. But that’s really a conversation after we’ve consumed a lot more brandy, bourbon and beer.
Meanwhile, our legal system – our judicial branch – is in the independent hands of the venal, vapid, vile, vermin we call lawyers. And for now so be it. Because there is really little that can be done when the electorate is much more focused on tits and ass than what really – as well as legally — constitutes rape!
The trouble is there is too much money involved – for all involved. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. And any legal injustice is considered an ordinary injustice when the legal community is so accustomed to a pattern of legal lapses they no longer see their roles in them.
And that’s what a sociopath is. Sociopaths don’t have feelings; they can’t. It’s an antisocial personality disorder characterized by a disregard for the feelings of others. It also involves a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one’s goals.
Hmm… Sounds like most of our resumès, now doesn’t it.
Needless to say, the first duty of society is justice. And if we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: ‘Thou shalt not ration justice’.
It is the same for one as it is for all. Or so it should be. But then again, what do I know? I don’t gamble in casinos.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…