BULL STREET - The art of the Con

The Symposium

However, all man’s laws have been smoothed and refined over the years, they are still somewhat helter-skelter and in the United States for example, no one really knows in certain instances what law really applies. This is brought on by two factors, common usage and evolution. There is almost nothing new under the sun when it comes to legal precedent and for the most part, the creation of new law is avoided like the plague. Part of the legal process in American Courts requires attorneys for both sides to present what is effectively an historic look back at the judges had ruled in every previous case since the beginning of time that had an outcome similar to that of their client’s

Interestingly enough, attorneys for both sides are probably more than capable of doing an admirable job in either representing the plaintiff or defendant at the drop of a hat. When push comes to shove, judges really have little to do with the decision making process in highly complicated civil cases which refer to substantive previous contradictory rulings. The judge in these instances is the courtroom enforcer and his clerks who toil in the chambers try to unscramble the closest precedents are the real decision makers in these situations.

Their job is to show the presiding judge chapter and verse regarding which previous case heard in any court came closest to having similar events in their markup. The next question was, how did they rule? If the case closely matches the one at hand, was it later appealed and what was the result? The bottom line is the fact that the higher the court that finally slammed the gavel down on the case, the more binding the law. If the Supreme Court had heard a similar case they would see no reason to regurgitate it once again and it would be sent down with a curt statement informing, probably the appellate court from whence it came that this was the case. Lower court judges are not fond of being overruled and for this reason, more often then not they make sure that their clerks are diligent in dissecting the correct cases.

However, law comes from numerous places in our society and every governing body such as cities, states, counties, parishes and the like are able to put laws onto their books. Massachusetts had a law that had come down through the ages that a man couldn’t kiss his wife on Sunday. It wasn’t worth appealing because nobody paid any attention to it anyway. Moreover, common usage allowed this practice. Common usage came from the Common Law, which started with William the First Duke of Normandy when he conquered England in 1066. William wasn’t from that part of the world and really did not want to change things that dramatically so he sent his courtesans out into the countryside to determine how justice had been meted out in the past and this became the law.

Law evolved as society changed and in the case of England, there were a lot of things that had been put on the books by the time King Richard grabbed the throne. He was a pretty tough hombre and ruled with an iron hand. The people didn’t really like what was going on and rebelled. Richard was forced to either palliate the regulations or lose his head and of course, this is the way new laws come into being. In many respects, the United States was dictated what the law would be when they were a territory of England, but that was not something they were happy with. The founding fathers got together and pieced together a new document which was called the Constitution of the United States of America and that along with the Bill of Rights became the basic law of the land.

However, it was a hard time convincing the thirteen original colonies that they should give up self-government and join the coalition so they too were left with rights that were inalienable to them and differed from other colonies from a social sense. At the time, the colonies were populated in most cases by like minded people and they had different ideas of strange things like “blue laws”, traffic laws and of course their own constitutional issues. The States also had constitutions, which were their basic charters.

 

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