American Legal System Is Corrupt Beyond Recognition

January 27, 2019 in News by RBN Staff

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By Judge Edith Jones (U.S. Court of App)

American Legal System Is Corrupt Beyond Recognition

By Judge Edith Jones (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit)

To the Federalist Society of Harvard Law School


The American legal system has been corrupted almost beyond recognition. The question of what is morally right is routinely sacrificed to what is politically expedient. The change has come because legal philosophy has descended to nihilism.

The integrity of law, its religious roots, its transcendent quality are disappearing. I saw the movie ‘Chicago’ with Richard Gere the other day. That’s the way the public thinks about lawyers.

The first 100 years of American lawyers were trained on Blackstone, who wrote that: ‘The law of nature dictated by God himself is binding in all counties and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all force and all their authority from this original.’ The Framers created a government of limited power with this understanding of the rule of law – that it was dependent on transcendent religious obligation.

The business about all of the Founding Fathers being deists is “just wrong,” or “way overblown.” They believed in “faith and reason,” and this did not lead to intolerance.

This is not a prescription for intolerance or narrow sectarianism, for unalienable rights were given by God to all our fellow citizens. Having lost sight of the moral and religious foundations of the rule of law, we are vulnerable to the destruction of our freedom, our equality before the law and our self-respect. It is my fervent hope that this new century will experience a revival of the original understanding of the rule of law and its roots.

The answer is a recovery of moral principle, the sine qua non of an orderly society. Post 9/11, many events have been clarified. It is hard to remain a moral relativist when your own people are being killed.

The first contemporary threat to the rule of law comes from within the legal system itself.