Excessive Laws and the Self-Interest of Lawmakers, Lawyers, and Judges

1555 Words 7 Pages
Excessive Laws and the Self-Interest of Lawmakers, Lawyers, and Judges

The basis of a civilized society is law. The law allows for standardized treatment of men, the law allows people to plan their futures, the law gives people assurance that wills, contracts, and trusts will be enforced, that certain behavior will be allowed while other behavior (crimes and torts) will be punished, etc.

Five important characteristics of "the law" in a civilized society follow: 1) The law must be of manageable size so the average man can learn the law without a lifetime of study. 2) The law must be simple enough for the average man to grasp and understand. 3) The law must be stable so men can, once they learn the law, live their lives with
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Additionally, mastery of legal jargon is needed to understand the information that is ultimately displayed. Average people have first to learn a mass of legal jargon if they want to understand the laws they live under. Appellant Court judges will readily admit that they write their opinions for practicing lawyers not average people. They do this to show where prior precedents are being upheld and where prior precedents are being changed or clarified. Their opinions only make sense if the reader is already familiar with the earlier opinions by other judges baring on this area of the law. This all sounds well and good until one realizes that these opinions are at least as powerful as legislated law in determining what average people can and can not do. The real effect of these obtuse, carefully crafted opinions written for the practicing lawyer, is to make the law unknowable to the average citizen unless he is prepared to pay a lawyer to study the "law" (court opinions) and then explain it in layman's terms.

Stable & Rarely Changed: Cicero and Aristotle felt that laws should be few in number and seldom changed. Saint Thomas Aquinas went farther saying that change in the law was in and of itself undesirable and that any change to the law requires strong justification. Despite this wonderful advice from these great sages of Western Civilization, in America change is the order of every day: (a) the 44,000 page tax law changes every year as does the

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