Targeting Judges for Following the Law

The Mayor of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Chief Executive targeting a judge for following the law is despicable, and I hope gun voters will have Judge Joseph James’ back come election time. It’s a consequence of having elected judges in Pennsylvania. If Judge James had ruled the other way, we certainly would have done the same. But in this case, the law is unambiguously on our side. Do you remember the judge that threw out the preemption enhancement because it was unconstitutionally attached to a metal theft bill? I don’t. Because the law was plausibly not on our side. The judge had to make a call that’s within the space of the law. In this case, they are looking to throw their weight around and intimidate the judiciary into using political expedience rather than the law to inform their decision making.

To me, this looks like a couple of petty tyrants upset they didn’t get their way.

4 thoughts on “Targeting Judges for Following the Law”

  1. This may be the most cynical thing I’ll ever say but, “laws” are like “rights.” They exist because enough people with enough power say they do.

    Within the past several days we’ve had a thread where I told my own stories relative to “preemption” and how one legal decision after another over almost sixty years has not resolved anything; because the beneficiaries-without-risk of violating those laws are public officials, who long ago established a system wherein they are practically untouchable for violating the law.

    I long ago observed that “the only thing illegal for public officials is to get caught with their hand in the cookie jar, without having shared the cookies with the right people.”

    I think one of the most common examples I have encountered of legal ignorance are people who believe “the law” is what makes sense for their personal situation; or inversely, what seems right for their personal situation will change what the law is.

    1. Either you’re a realist, or I’m cynical too. Probably both.

      I am currently in Texas for an onboarding for an otherwise remote position. As I was flying in, I was thinking along the same lines: the borders of Texas are what they are for two reasons, namely (1) there are enough people, both inside and outside Texas, who want the borders to be what they are, that they are willing to use force against anyone who, through their actions, says Texas borders and laws should be something else, and (2) anyone who might have a vested interest in challenging the borders and laws of Texas aren’t so interested in it that they are willing to fight against the people who respect the boundaries.

      Otherwise, the borders are 100% completely imaginary and arbitrary. This isn’t to say that they are unimportant — they help people to keep the peace among themselves — but because they are imaginary, they can change at any time, too!

      1. He wasn’t always my favorite person, but I think John Lennon said it first: “It’s all in the mind, you know. . .”

  2. “[Laws] exist because enough people with enough power say they do.”

    Just thought I’d append that right now the Ds and Rs are demonstrating that principle at the federal level. Both are putting forth polar-opposite versions of not only the facts, but what the pertinent laws are. Statements of law are being responded to by “howya gonna make me?” The “law” including the constitution is going to be interpreted by, whoever has the chops to make their version stick. (Observe that right on these pages, we have been discussing the prospects for a civil war.)

    Please notice the above is not phrased in any (intentional) way to imply who is right or who is wrong, because right be definition will be defined by having the chops to make it so.

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