Law

On October 2, of 1995, the clerk in the most watched trial in American history read the following verdict.
In the matter of the people of the state of California versus Orenthal James Simpson, case number BA097211. We the jury in the above-controlled action, find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of penal code section 187A a felony, upon Nicole Brown Simpson, a human being, as charged in Count 1 of the information.
She further stated,
The Superior court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, In the matter of the people of the state of California versus Orenthal James Simpson. We the jury in the above entitled action, find the defendant Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of penal code section 187A, a felony upon Ronald Lyle Goldman a human being, as charged in count 2 of the information. We the jury in the above entitled action, further find the special circumstances that the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, has in this case been convicted of at least one crime of murder of the first degree, and one or more crimes of murder of the first and second degree to be not true.
The O.J. Simpson trial was probably one of the most watched criminal trials in American history. It was a trial motivated by race and money, which polarized America by accentuating the differences between individuals in society.
But in retrospect the individual beliefs of Americans, were irrelevant then, and are perhaps even more insignificant now. What is relevant is that twelve jurors who sat in the jury box during the duration of the trial, and based on the evidence presented to them reached a unanimous verdict that O.J. Simpson could be found without guilt.
The purpose of a jury is to give a party, an opportunity to be heard by his peers, in which they will decide whether the party in question can be held culpable. The dilemma in a jury trial is finding a jury who is impartial, individuals who are willing to shed the biases which they have fostered for a life. This is what we call American justice.
In a democracy such as America, we are blessed to coexist in a system which affords every person the same opportunity, but at times in the American justice system it seems that democracy is not always present, and justice does not always prevail because of a lack of a moral basis.
From the annals of law there has always existed a moral code which is used as a basis for legal decision making. Legal justice from its inception has sought to rely on morality as its foundational basis for deciding the law. To understand the law, and the intricacies of its system of operating, one must understand what law is, and how law is formulated. To understand morality in law, an individual must comprehend the basis for which morality is applied to legal principles. The purpose of this research paper is two-fold, it consists of defining what law is, and also more importantly it consists of showing the nexus that exist between morality and law.
Jurisprudence can be defined as the study of law or the system of laws, the science or philosophies of law. In Jurisprudence individuals such as John Locke and Thomas Hobbes sought to describe what is meant by the term law, by using the principles of Natural Law.
John Locke espoused what he felt Natural Law to be, he stated,
The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges everyone, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent. The natural liberty of man is free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of Nature for his rule.
The concept of Natural Law which John Locke espouses is predicated upon the propensities of human nature to determine a system of governing. John Locke states, "Natural law sees humanity as a part of a natural order, and humanity must fit through the observance of law both natural and positive." John Locke believed that an understanding of human nature would elucidate the derivative of law. This nature he espoused was essential in defining what law is, and its applicability in society.
John Locke believed that the law of nature was inherent in each individual that individuals were not compelled to adhere to a system of set rules, but their system of law was dictated by their own desires. He stated in the Second Treatise of Government,
Man being born, as have been proved, with at title to perfect freedom, and uncontrolled enjoyment of all the right and privileges of the law of nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power, not only to preserve his property, that is his life, liberty, and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men; but to judge of and punish the breaches of that law in others, as he is persuaded the offense deserves, even with death itself, in crimes where the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion requires it.
Law according to John Locke can be defined as that which is formulated by an innate standard of ethical behavior that society possesses. John Locke's system of law subscribes to the belief that individuals in society do not need to rely upon a supreme being as their basis for determining law in society, but only need to rely on themselves to establish an ethical basis.
It is widely known that the Natural Law philosophy has imputed its foundation to a basis of morality. But this morality differs from a traditional understanding of morality. Natural Law from John Locke's perspective is derived from his fundamental understanding of what justice should entail. This comprehension is what he deems morality to be. He understands that there would be no law if each individual did not advocate a set of moral precepts which he adheres to. But rather than attribute this basis for morality to a supreme being, John Locke defines morality as that which is developed through the mechanisms of reason. This is how his reasoning of law is defined. This is how law, from his perspective is developed.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary a social contract can be defined as a,
Agreement or covenant by which men are said to have abandoned the ‘state of nature' to form the society in which they now live. The theory of such a contract, assumes that men at first lived in a state of anarchy in which there was no society, no government, and no organized coercion of the individual by the group.---Locke made the social contract the basis of his advocacy of popular sovereignty, the idea that the monarch or government must reflect the will of the people.
John Locke in attempt to define the nature of Law felt that the purpose of law was to create a system of government which is conducive to harmony in society. And this harmony can only be attained when the interest of the individual, defines the laws which are formulated. His view of what a "right" entails presents an interesting perspective.
His view essentially states,
That individuals should be conceived as the bearers of ‘rights' is a pervasive concept in the United States and over the world. It is not always clear what is meant when someone makes the claim that he has ‘rights', or when he speaks more generally of the existence of ‘human rights'. But there is almost always the implication that the possession of rights has some foundation in the nature of man and that, therefore other individuals and, more importantly, all political institutions have an obligation to take these rights into consideration whenever there is the possibility that they will be infringed upon. Such and obligation, if it is properly to be tied to human nature, presupposes some idea of natural law. This idea is rarely expressed overtly, and it is equally rare that a substantive natural law theory is offered to justify rights claims. This adherence to a vague, unformulated idea of natural law can be credited to John Locke.
Law according to the Natural Rights position of John Locke,
Is limited to the public good of the society, it is a power that hath no other end but preservation, and therefore can never have a right to destroy or designedly to impoverish the subjects...To this end it is that men give up all their natural power to society which they enter into, and the community put the legislative power into such hands as they think fit, with this trust, that they shall be governed by declared laws, or else their peace, quiet, and property will still be at the same uncertainty as it was in the state of nature.
Thomas Hobbes like John Locke was a legal positivist who believed in and advocated the concept of Natural Rights. Hobbes just as Locke believed in a system of governing which elevated the individual man over a supreme being. In his work the Leviathan he states, "Seeing there are no signs, nor fruit of religion, but in man, onely, there is no cause to doubt, but that the seed of Religion, is also onely in Man; and consisted in some peculiar quality, or at least in some eminent degree thereof, not to be found in other living creatures." Hobbes work, in particular the Leviathan can be viewed as largely atheistic. While many legal theorists have stated that Hobbes interposition of religion in his work is an attempt to embrace a Christian perspective of law, and its importance in societal interactions, it is apparent, that this is not the case.
Traditionally in society morality has been viewed as right or wrong, that which is unjust and that which is just. Often times, especially today in our society we witness how easily the lines of demarcation which exists between that which is immoral and that which is moral can easily become obscured. And because of this obscurity, the consequence is an amalgamation of just and unjust principles.
In order to effectively define law, one must delineate what is right and what is wrong. Thomas Hobbes in his denotation of what law is failed to accomplish this. In his work the Leviathan, he states, "For where no Covenant hath preceded, there hath no right been transferred, and every man has right to every thing; and consequently, no action can be unjust". The difficulty with this supposition of law in society lies in it reasoning. How can you define law if you have no basis to establish its precepts and consequently you have no foundation in which to exact justice.
In the Bible it essentially states that, "Every man has sinned and comes short of the glory of God." What is problematic with the concept of natural rights and legal positivists like John Locke and Thomas Hobbes is that it relies upon a system of governing which is based upon the predispositions of man rather than the Supreme Being-God. Human beings in society are propelled by human desires, which are many times evil in its nature. By applying a system of governing based upon the human individual, a dichotomy is created which cannot be reconciled. The dichotomy lies in the fact, that what is evil for one individual may not be evil for another individual.
The purpose of law is to enact a sense of justice and civility. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke attempted to elevate reasons over the statutes of God in their definition of what law is. Atheists are proponents of the view that there is no God, and Thomas Hobbes and John Locke to a certain extent can be viewed as individuals who shared atheistic tenets.
In every man there is a tacit understanding that there is a supreme power which shapes and propels the world we live in. Thomas Hobbes was no exception although he took an atheistic stance for the majority of writings, segments of the Leviathan indicate that he understood how Law is shaped and formed
In his work he states,
But because covenants of mutuall trust, where there is a feare of not performance on either part, are invalid; thought the original of justice be the making of covenants; yet injustice actually there can be none, till the cause of such feare be taken away; while men are in the natural condition of war cannot be done. Therefore before the names of just, and unjust can have place, there must be some coercive power, to compel men equally to the performance of their covenants, by the terror of some punishment, greater than the benefit they expect by the breach of their covenant, and to make good that propriety, which by mutual contract men acquire, in recompense of the universal right they abandon: and such power before the erection of a commonwealth.
While Hobbes belief of Law was largely erroneous his injection of the word covenant is an accurate description of what law is and how it originated.
A covenant according to the Webster's dictionary can be described as a, "Formal binding agreement".
A covenant is analogous to a contract. From a legal perspective a contract can be defined as a," Promise or a set of promises for the breach of which the law gives a remedy, or the performance of which the law recognizes as the duty. The basis of law is predicated upon a contract or covenant.
Throughout the Bible there is unequivocal proof that Law is derived from Biblical precepts, and God's law is the first and foundational law which society was founded. "In the law Books of the Bible we are given the broad principles in the Ten commandments, the specific rules of conduct-both positive and negative-as well as a directive to pursue justice actively". The first description of law and justice can be seen in Genesis. After Adam had disobeyed God and had partook of the tree of knowledge, something he was explicitly told not to do, God stated,
Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you sayin,'you shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to
the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.
This is the first illustration of Law in the Bible and how covenant or a putative contract played an integral part. God commanded Adam to not partake of the tree of knowledge and Adam understood, and a promise was made.
Adam disobeyed this command and justice was exacted, expelling Adam from the Garden of Eden.
According to Alan M. Dershowitz,
The genesis of justice is in the anecdotes of injustice found in the Book of Genesis. There are also examples of justice and nobility. What is remarkable is how the Bible uses stories of injustice to teach about the need for justice. This inspired collection of accounts tells the story of the law development throughout the ages: Lawlessness and injustice provide the impetus for change and improvement. Understanding the complexities of justice-historical and contemporary requires an understanding of the passions of the people of Genesis.
Albeit, that Adam's breach of law, was a breach of Ad Hoc laws it still established a precedent for legality in society. He impinged upon the covenant which he had with God, the corollary of his disobedience was that he was banished into a world of lawlessness.
Covenant as stated previously is an agreement which requires the consent of both parties. Moses's covenant with God and his understanding of his covenant with God is an archetype example of how Biblical foundation has defined and impacted law. In Exodus 32:2 it states:
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together, and said to him, Come make, us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.' So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with and engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!' So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, ‘Tommorow is a feast to the Lord'.Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go get down! For your people whom you have brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go get down! For your people whom you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!' And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!' ‘Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.' Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said, ‘Lord why does your wrath burn hot against Your people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. ‘Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom you swore by Your own self, and said to them, I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever. So the Lord relented from the harm which He said he would do to his people.
Law is a casual relationship which subsists by individuals adhering to the principles that have been established as law. The Biblical anecdote of Moses' defense of the people of Israel elucidates the power of a covenant.
The Children of Israel disobeyed God, when they built an idol for worship instead of placing their trust in the Almighty God. God was justified to become angry when he saw the sin being committed. And consequently God desired to exact a judgment to recompense their actions. But Abraham was cognizant of the covenant that he had with God. He proposed the promises of Abraham, Isaac and Israel to bless and prosper the Israelites, made by God. God understood that he was bound by His covenant. Even though it is unequivocal that God is the supreme power in the world, there would no law if God was to breach the principles of the law he had established.
Just as if an individual breaches his part of a contract and the contract is rendered invalid, the same concept can be applied to the Biblical anecdote of Moses. Moses understood his covenant with God, and as a result the promises made to the Israeli forefathers ultimately came to fruition.
The nexus between Law and Morality is simply put. Before Man was in the universe, there was God. Before any Law was ever formulated by any society, there was God. God established the legal precedent in how this world should be governed, when he set parameters of a covenant, when he covenanted with Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel and many other individuals in the Bible. God's word is the law he is the final authority. From a secular perspective,
The Bible is not a blueprint for liberalism, as some may argue, or for conservatism, as other allege. It provokes, challenge, and confront every orthodoxy: political, religious, social economic, and legal. Simple as they appear they raise the most profound issues of legal philosophy, theology, and Jurispudence.'Whether an individual is atheist, agnostic, or protestant the Bible serves as a basis for how we conduct ourselves in society on a daily basis.
When watching or reading the news, we are daily reminded of the abysmal void which exist in law today. Whether it is the O.J. Simpson case or perhaps the Scott Petersen case it seems that often morality has taken a backseat in law. What many view as moral principles today are in direct contradiction with what the Bible denotes morality to be. This lack of a moral fiber in our nation is the cause of the legal decline which permeates this nation. Too many individuals share the beliefs of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. They seem to think that their intellectual reasoning serves as a superior substition of establishing legal and moral principles.
At the inception of America as a country God and law were synonymous; it defined who we were as a country. There is no democracy without God. Law is based on covenant; we as individual have a covenant to obey the laws of the land. But somehow in this whole process of establishing legality in our society, the most important covenant was forgotten.
Unless an individual acknowledges and accepts Jesus Christ rightful place in his life, and in his state, true democracy c

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Law 7.8 of 10 on the basis of 3836 Review.