John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government said, “where the law ends, tyranny begins.” We humans seem incapable of escaping tyrannical behavior unless governed by the law. So with our natural predisposition for arbitrary dominance, we surrender to the rule of law. Walk into any law library. You will soon discover how desperate society is to be controlled. Only the law can provide fairness throughout society. The problem for many is how to influence the law to ones personal advantage. To that end is the purpose of this discussion.
For a practical example, this writer well discuss Gonzales, Atty. Gen. v Oregon. This case was chosen because it has some implications for the entire country. Secondly, it illustrates the danger of religious influence in government. Equally important is how non lawyers or ordinary people can influence the law.
Some years ago the people of Oregon placed on the ballot for voters to decide whether they wanted the law to allow for doctor assisted euthanasia. On two separate occasions the voters said yes. For approximately eight years Oregon had a law known as “Death with Dignity Act.”
Then in November 2001, Attorney General Ashcroft issued a directive that said if doctors participated in doctor patient assisted suicide they could be criminally prosecuted. In 2019 that directive is the prevailing opinion governing death in most states.
John Ashcroft, a former attorney general is a prime example of what occurs when religion and government mix. He was a government official, who conducted prayer meetings in his office. He did so as a christian fundamentalists with an extreme right wing political religious agenda. Though he is gone, his legacy is very much with us today.
Who as a lawyer should have known that it was legally wrong to bring his religion into the government work place because it violated the highest law of the land. It didn’t matter than and it doesn’t matter today.
The constitutional requirement for the separation of church and state among religious extremists like Ashcroft are dangerous because they think that their religious beliefs supersede constitutional law. They then act upon their right religious extremism, as if it’s the governing law of the land. It was upon such convictions that Ashcroft wrote his directive halting Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act.
That is this writers opinion having observed the behavior of people like Ashcroft who hold extreme religious convictions. Furthermore that’s exactly what’s occurring today. Mostly observable during confirmation hearings to fill supreme court vacancies. As extremists to the right politically, in conjunction with evangelical protestant religious extremists pool their resources with the Federalist Society to bring about the horrors discussed through out the previous five discussions.
People who are not lawyers can impact the courts by filing an Amicus brief which is known as a friend of the court brief. What people need to do is learn how to write such a brief. It requires following a format as established by the court which is learnable. It’s not any more complicated than writing university papers which require a certain standard writing formula.
As an alternative to submitting an Amicus brief there is nothing illegal prohibiting people from writing letters directly to judges stating their personal opinion, as to why a court should rule a certain way on a issue of concern.
Previously in this series this writer discussed the Terry Schiavo incident and how the religious right interfered with the desires of her husband. Death and dying should me a matter between family and their doctor. Religious superstition must be excluded from the process which includes all matters relating to privacy.
Old history never fades with time because it is given new life through simular incidences. Usually from religious and political extremist. Determined then, and today to make choice conform to their religious political perspectives.
This writer is available to teach the technique of writing an Amicus brief. Along with how to style a letter for the court. Also available to discuss personal legal concerns. All discussions protected through clergy privacy relationships.