The Founders designed the Constitution to "establish justice," meaning equal justice for all. This principle assumes the Right for every resident of the United States to be protected as to life, liberty, and property and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…." This statement from the Declaration of Independence tells us that Thomas Jefferson and the other men who signed this document believed that God created all men equal and that governments were established to insure equal justice for everyone.
W. Cleon Skousen explained how government establishes and protects justice: "When a government protects the rights of its people and provides an adequate remedy for those whose rights have been violated, then that government is providing equal justice for all.
"Justice requires an opportunity and a place to complain of an injury as well as the machinery to provide a remedy. For the accused, justice requires the opportunity to hear and understand the charge, cross-examine those who are making the charge, have a fair and speedy trial, and have an opportunity to repair the wrong if found guilty" (The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p 239).
The Founders were aware of injustices heaped upon citizens by Rome, Athens, Carthage, Great Britain and other nations, and they desired to establish a republican form of government to control all the previously known evils. The Founders also believed that the moral sense of justice was a part of every human being born upon earth. Thomas Jefferson said, "Man was created for social intercourse, but social intercourse cannot be maintained without a sense of justice; then man must have been created with a sense of justice" (The Making of America, p 240).
I too believe that each child is born with a moral sense of justice. Even little children have been heard to say, "That's not fair!" As an evidence lesson for teaching this principle to your family, try an experiment that demonstrates injustice. A possible injustice would be putting one or more children in time out without doing anything to deserve it and then reward another child with a treat. I'm sure you will hear cries of "That's not fair!" or variations of it. Another suggestion for an evidence lesson would be to hold a mock court with members of the family serving as judge, jury, plaintiff and defendant. This idea came from a memory of when my own children were growing up. On different occasions, a young person would feel that my decision was unfair and would call for a trial in a family court. As I remember, the experience provided an opportunity for real discussion and learning for everyone involved.
Thomas Jefferson reminded us, "When one undertakes to administer justice, it must be with an even hand and by rule; what is done for one must be done for everyone in equal degree" (The Making of America, p 241). For judgment to be true justice, it must be fair. It must be administered equally and exactly to all.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
This is my all-time most read post. This record tells me that many people are interested in equal justice.ReplyDelete
You should make this in format with all the other parts of the preambles meanings. It would make this much easier.ReplyDelete
This is an excellent description of 'justice' as our Founding Fathers applied it at that time. It did take a huge learning curve to establish that Native Americans were human(see Standing Bear/Ponca Tribe), as well as women, people of all colors~ the original document covered white males. I am pleased that we have reached a measurable unit of improvement(but we still have a long way to go).ReplyDelete