Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Judges Go Rogue

I was disappointed to read that once again, appellate justices, in this case for the state of New York, are willing to violate both the letter and the spirit of the law to achieve an anti-gun agenda. You can read about it at the Insurance Journal in an article entitled Court Rules New York Shooting Victim can Sue Gun Maker by Daniel Weissner.

What is so upsetting about this is that once again we see government workers, in this case Judges, who feel perfectly comfortable with treating the law as silly putty, to be molded into whatever suits their desired outcome.  We see Judges who don't mind abrogating the law, about which legislators considered, held hearings and committee meetings, various members of the public had comments, and both houses passed before the bill was signed into law.  These judges have no authority to do that.  Their authority goes only to interpreting the law, not dismissing it, unless the law was passed outside the Constitutional authority of the legislative branch, or is Unconstitutional for some other reason.  But that is not the case.  This is lawlessness, and it needs to stop. 

The law I am discussing here is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The act on its face prevents cities and states from suing manufacturers of firearms for the criminal misuse by someone who happened to acquire their product, whether by purchase, or by stealing it. But beyond firearms, it also protects any other manufacturer from being sued for misuse, or criminal use of its products. Can you imagine if Ford were held responsible for every death due to drunk drivers of its automobiles? If this lawsuit is allowed to go forward, and precedent is set, how many things that we now enjoy would simply be unavailable in the future. I doubt that anyone would be building swimming pools, for instance, because the insurance costs would be prohibitive.  And what about knives or baseball bats: can Craftsman be sued because a screw driver that Sears sold in 1960 was used to murder someone last week?

The judges on this panel show an arrogance that seems to take the breath away.   They have substituted its judgement and wisdom for that of 535 members of Congress acting within their Constitutional authority.  I know that I rail against legislators who don't pass things I think they should, but I don't advocate breaking the law.  But if I don't advocate breaking the law for citizens, even more especially, judges and others who work for the government should respect the law, and their duties under the law.  If a law has been passed within the authority granted to the government by the people, whether someone agrees with it or not, it should be respected.  When someone breaks the law, and is seen to by others, and he is not punished, then the rule of law begins to break down, and soon enough we are in a Hobbesian world.  Our society can not function on that basis. 

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