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Does Common Sense exist in our judicial system?
Common sense is something that is desperately needed in our judicial system but along with that comes the need for qualified and impartial individuals who will know the law and how to apply it. Thousands of cases are being processed or scheduled on the dockets in our judicial system and applying the requirements of the law is not always consistent. The definition of common sense from the free Merriam Webster dictionary is the ability to think and behave in a reasonable way and make good decisions. Whether being reasonable and making good decisions to ensure justice is accomplished in all cases is left up to us the public to determine.
The laws in place in each of the states vary and those on the bench in each state must understand the laws as they apply to the cases before them. In addition they must also understand any federal laws which address situations on which they must rule. Some cases are trials by jury and in these cases jurors must understand the requirements of the law and possible decisions which can be made. This kind of direction comes from the judge on the bench.
Increasing a common sense approach in our judicial system and applying it to cases is not a difficult process. The system is not the problem but the individuals in the system. Too often cases or decisions are made by judges and sometimes federal judges where a different decision is made on the same issue. Granted some of the details may be different but the topic is the same. This causes confusion in the court system and creates more cases which in some cases wind up at the Supreme Court if they choose to take them.
Getting back to qualifications to be a judge there is the need to not only know what the law states but understand the language of the law as it may apply to cases before them. Many cases are settled by a judge not a jury and common sense needs to become common in the decisions being made within our judicial system. Being appointed a judge as happens at least in the federal court system should not have the appearance of having a particular viewpoint on issues which may come before the court. Individuals should not be appointed based on their party affiliation but their knowledge of the law and its requirements not how they have interpreted the law.
Many issues are decided within our judicial system and often decisions by courts are overturned by higher courts. In some cases decisions made are interpretations by a judge or what appears to be legislating from the bench. Courts should not be making decisions which amount
to legislating from the bench but applying the requirements as they are written. There are both liberal and conservative decisions made within our judicial system and this is reflective of individual opinions that are either elected or appointed to their positions as a judge. There should neither be a liberal decision or a conservative decision.
The concept of common sense in decisions made by our justice system is lacking to say the least. There are good individuals within our court system who are well respected and there are those who are not well respected or at least dislike decisions they make. We as individual within our judicial system have a right to appeal decisions made when it is felt based on the evidence and our understanding of the law that it was wrong the wrong decision. Within some laws there are guidelines or opportunities where judges have opportunities to apply common sense based on the circumstances in specific cases.
Our judicial system is not just about judges ignoring common sense it is also about lawyers who fight for their respective position/responsibilities. We as citizens want our system of justice to exhibit integrity principles in every aspect from lawyers, juries and judges. Common sense if the individuals who are part of the judicial system even know what that is need to work together to ensure justice is accomplished in every aspect. Common sense should also enter the picture when prosecutors make decisions to prosecute individuals for crimes which individuals are accused. We all know cases are brought before a judge and sometimes a jury which should never reach that level. It is true prosecutors and district attorneys have a responsibility to the public in enforcing the law but there are cases where common sense criteria needs to be applied to cases which are being considered for action through the court system.
The lack of common sense in our justice system can also be attributed to political ambitions as cases sometimes propels individuals to the point they may run for political office. The fact that I am focusing on the principles of common sense does not mean that it does not exist only that it needs to exist and be exhibited more than it has.