How Blind is Justice?

Wealth is the root of all power.  Mega wealth corrupts absolutely.

Our civil justice system is supposed to be fair to all parties.  This was the foundation of a justice system that equitably rendered civil judgements fairly and impartially (justice is supposed to be blind and render unbiased judgements).  However the way our justice system renders judgements that are not blatantly obvious is to consider the verdict and precedence of previous similar cases.  If a case is not overturned in an appeal then its ruling and arguments can be used as a benchmark for subsequent cases.  That is why law offices and libraries are filled with case studies of thousands of court cases.  The rulings of the Supreme Court are especially powerful in guiding the ruling of a lower court.

To add to more confusion the court systems themselves are far from perfect.  Different states have different laws and justice systems.   Social and political influences can play a role in the turnout of a case.  But one of the most sinister and corrupting influences is money and wealth.  Those people and corporations controlling vast amounts of financial wealth have a huge advantage over the have-nots.  Money can buy the best legal defense for the haves.  No matter how just a case one may have smart and high paid lawyers can find ways of delaying a case until the have-nots simply run out of money to present their case.  A team of very good and experienced lawyers have the expertise to devise legal strategies and technicalities to gain the greatest advantage for their wealthy corporate clients.  Thus large corporations have a huge advantage over the average person trying to redress a wrong in civil courts.  A common strategy is for large corporations to settle out of court so as not to set a precedence that could go against them later and pay the plaintiff off with a token amount of money.  So the cards are stacked up high against the average citizen.

Wealth represents power which corrupts or destroys anything in its way.  Power is self serving to the exclusion and destruction of anything that would oppose it.  The greater the power the closer it is to absolute corruption.  Those who wheel vast amounts of power often believe themselves invincible (God complex).  Large corporations in the U.S. have enormous amounts of wealth so wheel enormous amount of power and resources.  Most have a staff of full time lawyers and advisers expert at destroying their opposition and buying off politicians and judges coming up for elections.  Thus the entire political and judicial systems are out of touch with small business and the little guys like us.  Laws such as the Supreme Courts ruling in favor of Citizens United place more and more power in the hands of large corporations and consequently less and less power in the hands of every day citizens.  Such are the realities of politics and justice today.

Who can afford to fight large corporations when they perpetrate unjust and unsafe actions upon the public?  They already own the best lawyers and politicians in the country.  Even the Supreme Court is predominantly conservative and leans towards big business.  How can the average citizen, even if organized, fight huge multinational corporations with hundreds of billions of dollars of assets?  This is more than David vs. Goliath.  This is more like Godzilla vs. the slow moving sloth.  And Godzilla is increasingly growing larger and stronger while the poor sloth is getting smaller and weaker and the justice system keeps lean more and more towards the all mighty powerful and wealthy.  Who can stand against them any longer?  Even our government has largely been taken over by their powerful lobbies and financial influence.

So what can be done as corporations get larger, more multinational, and more powerful?  As with many other economic, political, health and safety, and social issues which are impacted by these giant conglomerates I see no solutions for bringing more equality between the average citizen and corporations in our judicial system.  Justice’s eyes gaze with increasing favor over these huge corporations.

Similar issues exist in the criminal courts where justice looks down more kindly upon those with wealth than those without.

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One Response to How Blind is Justice?

  1. Pingback: Do American Juries Dispense Justice? | ouR Social Conscience

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