Rule of Law or does the End Justify the Means? - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Rule of Law or does the End Justify the Means?

So I'm watching the raw feed from Springfield (its on 5.2 and 7.2 broadcast) and listening to the prosecutor I start to wonder about this.

We have a Governor who's defense seems to be that 'my intentions were Honorable', therefore the procedural lapses don't matter.

We have an ex US President and Vice President who basically followed the same creed, albeit for different reasons on a vastly different scale (and not for apparent personal benefit).

So the question to discuss is:

Is the Rule of Law absolute
, or is it OK to abandon it to meet desirable ends?

Please discuss.

Let's keep it on topic, I'm not concerned with political viewpoints/positions on the actions taken by these men - or even their specific actions in this discussion, but rather the discussion as to when, if ever, the Rule of Law can be abandoned by our elected/appointed officials, or by our Government.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beac83 View Post
when, if ever, the Rule of Law can be abandoned by our elected/appointed officials, or by our Government.

nothing to discuss...the answer should be NO to the question posed by you. Period.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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I'm posting the question because more and more I hear comments that indicate that at least some of the public feel the Rule of Law is not absolute. I wanted to get an understanding of how folks here feel about it.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Note to Mods - Perhaps this is best moved to World News and Politics. Move as you feel appropriate. Thanks

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:37 PM
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I think the process for the rule of law should stand absolute, but our system also has human intervention and discretion looped in for those times where it's a gray area.

For example: You are speeding speeding traveling 66 in a 65.. but the human is looped in (luckily) to let it go at the time of infraction and also to return a 'not guilty' verdict if it goes that far....or they could (depending on the circumstances) hold true and return 'Guilty'.

I don't think the process should ever be abandoned.... but rulings WITHIN that process can vary depending on all of the surrounding circumstances.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:41 PM
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remember we have judges who interprit the law

We'r all good loving people here....aren't we?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:46 PM
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Laws should be absolute.


Remeber NIXON ? He thought he was above the law .



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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:47 PM
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Rule of Law is absolute. If you're talking American Law, then its absolute. However, the court system determines the start and end points to many laws and also takes into consideration rulings on previous examples ('case law'.)

No one is ever above the law, and our system of Checks and Balances is our means to ensure equity in the different branches of government. Its not perfect, but without it, we'd have either a theocracy (Almighty Lord King Bush...) or some other, even less regulated system of government.

We elect people to be our LEADERS, not necessarily to do what they think is right, but rather, what they think is right for the people. Unfortunately, Blago was an elected leader, but hardly a leader in any sense of the word otherwise. His impeachment trial should reveal some more interesting details about his cosmic sense of self-worth...
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
I don't think the process should ever be abandoned.... but rulings WITHIN that process can vary depending on all of the surrounding circumstances.
+1 to this.

There are circumstances which laws 'need' to be broken. The only unfortunate part of that is people take advantage of it.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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To add fuel to the discussion:

Reagan/Bush pursued an Arms for Hostages deal with the Iranians as well as the support of the Nicaraguan Contras, both in direct opposition to laws passed in Congress (one over Presidential veto).

The most recent ex President engaged in illegal surveillance of American Citizens, authorized interrogation techniques forbidden in US by law and internationally by treaty.

Our Illinois Governor has repeatedly taken actions to end-run the Legislature, certainly violating the intent and spirit of the law, if not the letter. (the Flu Vaccine is one case I can easily point at.)

In some cases, the courts ruled that these were improper acts, but no one was prosecuted. In others, courts refused to take on the case. In yet others, no court action was ever initiated.

So is there value in the Rule of Law if it's selectively enforced?

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beac83 View Post
To add fuel to the discussion:

Reagan/Bush pursued an Arms for Hostages deal with the Iranians as well as the support of the Nicaraguan Contras, both in direct opposition to laws passed in Congress (one over Presidential veto).

The most recent ex President engaged in illegal surveillance of American Citizens, authorized interrogation techniques forbidden in US by law and internationally by treaty.

Our Illinois Governor has repeatedly taken actions to end-run the Legislature, certainly violating the intent and spirit of the law, if not the letter. (the Flu Vaccine is one case I can easily point at.)

In some cases, the courts ruled that these were improper acts, but no one was prosecuted. In others, courts refused to take on the case. In yet others, no court action was ever initiated.

So is there value in the Rule of Law if it's selectively enforced?
This is what the voting booth is for. Elect a new State's Attorney, a new Sheriff, a new Governor, a new Mayor, Councilperson, School Board member, President, Senator, Representative, whatever needs cleaning up... If you think they are all crooks then roll up your sleeves and get involved and run for the position yourself.

*THAT* is the beauty of our system and the price that makes the few bad apples to bend it to their own devices worth putting up with (because they can get caught and nailed if the right new people are put into power at the appropriate levels).

Everyone Exaggerates

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so when does an action go from a "minor" infraction that waits for an election to deal with, and when does it constitute such a serious act that an official is impeached?

Remember, we impeached Clinton for having sex and then lying about it, but not Reagan and G Bush for Iran-Contra, nor GW Bush for actions pre-patriot act.

Where is that line?

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Last edited by beac83; 01-26-2009 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Corrected to properly indicate the crime he was impeached for.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beac83 View Post
Remember, we impeached Clinton for having sex
Perjury and he was acquited, I get your point though.

I guess there was more push from the law makers and their constituants to go after President Clinton.

I think some of the actions agains persons in such high positions might be moot, as the next president in most instances will pardon them.

As far as your original questions/topic, the answer is "it depends" and you can only hope that people in the position of authority make the right decisions.

Greg

Last edited by gsd656; 01-26-2009 at 05:27 PM.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beac83 View Post
Ok, so when does an action go from a "minor" infraction that waits for an election to deal with, and when does it constitute such a serious act that an official is impeached?

Remember, we impeached Clinton for having sex, but not Reagan and G Bush for Iran-Contra, nor GW Bush for actions pre-patriot act.

Where is that line?

point of order: he was impeached for perjury. (also disbarred for the same)

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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I stand corrected. Original post edited.

But where is the line?

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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beac83 View Post
I stand corrected. Original post edited.

But where is the line?
The line is drawn by the humans at those appropriate positions to make the call. That's how the system works.

The patrol officer decides whether or not to cite you.
The state's attorney or DA decides whether or not to prosecute the case.
The judge (or grand jury) decides whether or not there is merit to the case and it should proceed or if it should be dismissed.
The defendant decides whether or not to put up a fight.
The judge or jury decides if you are guilty or not.

The legislators decide whether or not something is an impeachable offense.

Human are all over the process, and the appropriate ones at the appropriate times make the decision.

Everyone Exaggerates

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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 06:19 PM
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That is kind of the beauty of our system is that it is not absolute. Everyone can do the right thing on their part and it could still be opposite than the initial charge.

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