By Quinton Lister, legal assistant
As a legal assistant who is relatively wet behind the ears, my thoughts on legal reform will likely seem naïve. With that as a disclaimer, here are my thoughts on legal reform.
Legal reform is needed but some seem to question the efficacy of using the traditional means of legal reform to correct the flaws in the current system. Here is why it is a bad idea to seek reform by non-traditional, “revolutionary” means:
- “Burn it down and start over” thinking could move us farther away from the Constitution which has proven, despite its limitations and flaws, to be the most effective instrument of regulating earthly justice and freedom ever invented yet.
- A completely new justice system would surely suffer from more flaws, weaknesses, and unintended consequences than the current system (a system that appears to me to be fairly well designed but badly administered). It doesn’t seem wise to lose the progress we have made to this point by risking it on a completely new set of problems incident to a completely new and untried system.
Besides, the essence of legal reform lies within individuals themselves. We need good people more than we need good laws. Good people govern themselves and do not need a rule or a statute in order to make progress. They know what is right and wrong and they are willing to change if they know they are wrong or learn that they have been mistaken in their actions. Justice is not mere vengeance. Mercy is not mere leniency. Good citizens behave well regardless of whether laws dictate good behavior.
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