The United States Constitution is an imperfect document but it contains an impressive array of checks and balances. The rights of citizens are broadly guaranteed on paper but outrageously violated in typical practice. Sam Wright Jr. has suffered through a series of unconstitutional legal battles all the way to the doorway of the Supreme Court but like over ninety percent of those on the threshold he was shut out of the venue of last resort by a procedural excuse.
Statutes and traditions that federal judges use to reduce their workload all run counter to the clause of the First Amendment which promises the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The author calls for the broken system’s repair stating “No judge in this country is free to choose to deny justice.” His story is of great importance to anyone concerned about democracy yet the aesthetics of the text are overwhelmed by bitter frustration and a bumper crop of underlining exclamations and bold print.
Violations of law now considered acceptable practice within the judiciary include unsigned judgments denials of hearings without citation of a reason and the writing of legislation by justices. Since no one is minding the store of citizen rights theft is rampant. The author points out that “…the Government has developed the characteristics of a Tyrant and is destructive to the ends for which it was established.”
Power-grabbing judges don’t fear repercussions for exceeding their authority and perverting expectations of public service as Congress declines in deed the responsibility to remove the incompetent or neglectful from the federal bench. In fact there are no written criteria to evaluate whether judges are performing their duties properly and no specific persons are charged with oversight. The empowered may continually reshape rules to shut out citizens seeking redress of wrongs partly because brain-numbing jargon and Byzantine practices serve as an additional barrier to all but the most committed members of the general public.
Though the author is thoroughly knowledgeable regarding legal process he is not an attorney. He makes an effort to clarify the meanings of legalese but doesn’t make it all the way over that bridge; the readers likely to fully understand all the topics under discussion are lawyers. Even so Wright’s deflected quest for justice is instructive and infuriating even to those not already given over to cynical expectations.
This book opens and closes with a challenge to defend all claims against any interested government official in a public forum. That willingness to air it out adds to Wright’s credibility but the thrown gauntlet will surely not be picked up as evidenced by the sheer number of congressional and civil officeholders who have already stiff-armed his pleas for action. It appears that the American people’s representatives are now able to dispense or withhold whatever outcomes they wish without real limitations. Maybe we should see if Britain has a monarch to spare.
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