Thursday, August 16, 2007
Realism, Iraq and the Bush Doctrine
In Mackubins Thomas Owens’ article, Realism,
Nonetheless, the wide-ranging criticism on the Bush Doctrine, even from the ranks of the traditional realists is due to the possibility of an anti-hegemonic balancing act by other states in response to its exercise of military might. Nothing of this sort has occurred in the last few years of American occupation in
In all of these, a discussion now of the much maligned theory of neo-conservatism is paramount in discussing the flaws of realism in assessing the problems in
Judicial Review in the UK
One of the most important facets of constitutionalism is the concept of judicial review, as it is the procedure that determines the legality or illegality of the decision-making process utilized by persons given delegated authority by parliament, among others. In states with written constitutions and well-entrenched concepts of constitutional supremacy, judicial review is accorded much power and reverence as it can invalidate even acts of its own parliament or legislature. It is not so in the
There are two steps in procedure of judicial review – the permission stage and the substantive hearing stage. There are also time restrictions such as the need for the complaint to be filed within three months after the grounds for claiming judicial review arose, notwithstanding the importance of possessing sufficient locus standi to pursue the case at hand. The remedies then that are available to claimants are in the form of petitions for mandamus, certiorari and prohibition which can all compel the public bodies complained by injured parties to follow the orders of the court when a favorable decision is given.
However, Acts of Parliament sometimes incorporates ouster clauses to shield delegated authority from the purview of judicial review. This practice has always been held as objectionable to the rule of law and usurps the powers of the courts, erroneously premised on the point that judicial review inconveniences government. Nonetheless, even if such ouster clauses exist, the courts are not precluded from exercising their authority of review. One of the more recent controversies on this is on the immigration system, with critics asserting that illegal immigrants shall abuse the law with their applications for review on their cases. Fortunately this part of the bill was struck down.
On the other hand, the most important requisite for judicial review is the possession of locus standi by the injured parties, and the test has always been the necessity of a claimant having sufficient interest in the resolution of the controversy. The claims may be asserted when individual rights are affected, notwithstanding the capacity of groups to assert the claims of its individual members. In the permission stage, the court may already strike down a claim if it is shown that clearly, no sufficient interest lies, but the court may also do so during substantive hearing if the court is not conclusively convinced that the requisite standing is present. In recent cases, standing was liberally construed in favor of persons or groups that do not exactly possess sufficient interest but were merely asserting a public right, such as a taxpayer’s suit, among others, because the merits of the cases were seen as far more important a consideration than a conclusive determination of the standing of claimants.
Parliamentary Supremacy in the UK
Parliamentary Supremacy has three main elements - Parliament can make any law whatsoever and no body or court of law can question an Act of Parliament, no Parliament can bind either itself or its successors, and no limit can be placed on the territorial extent of Acts of Parliament. The first of these elements is more popularly known as the Enrolled Bill doctrine. It simply states that all the judiciary can ever do insofar as statutes of Parliament are concerned is to parse through the Parliamentary Roll and nothing more, as the judiciary must afford fundamental respect and conclusiveness over the acts of Parliament, especially the process by which statutes were passed. The second main element is better known as the implied repeal rule which simply states that subsequent Parliaments can expressly or impliedly repeal previous statutes made by present and past Parliaments as subsequent parliaments possess the same powers and authority of all prior parliaments in existence. More so, the implied repeal rule also shows that past Parliaments cannot restrain future parliaments from exercising their authority of legislation. The last main element is known as the territorial extent doctrine which asserts that parliament can enact statutes that are outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United Kindom, such as the High-jacking Act of 1982, in which hi-jacking is punished even if it be committed outside the territorial jurisdiction and sovereignty of the
However, the Manner and Form Thesis has come to challenge this traditional view of parliamentary supremacy, as some limitations on this exist, such as when the law require a certain procedure in order that previously enacted statutes may be changed. One good example of this is the requirement of a referendum among the people of
On the other hand, a further challenge to the Supremacy of Parliament has been the legal effects of the European Community Law which is incorporated in to the UK legal system through the European Communities Act 1972, and asserted in case law through Mccarthys v Smith (1979) 3 All ER 325 that views that Treaty above as not only an aid in statutory construction and legal implementation but as having the force of law which must be given priority over and above national laws. Of important note are the Factortame cases which gave the distinction as what kinds of repeals parliament can make insofar as treaties are concerned. It was shown in these cases that parliament cannot simply impliedly repeal acts which tend to conflict with the international treaty signed by the
In all of these, confusion does exist as to which approach must be used insofar as parliamentary supremacy is concerned. The Factortame cases, though, are the most plausible and realistic in application as it clearly categorizes the kinds of statutes which may only be expressly or impliedly repealed, unlike in the traditional view that all statutes may be impliedly repealed even without qualifications. This distinction is very important because it recognizes a hierarchy of law that exists in the UK legal system.
Does the UK have a Constition?
There are two main approaches to defining a constitution – the concrete definition and the abstract definition. The concrete definition approach refers to a written set of rules a state adopts which defines the roles and functions of government, the rights of the people against the power of the state, among others. This type includes the Constitution of the
Nonetheless, a way out of this debate is to focus more on the purposes of a constitution rather than on its form. Jefferson best articulated these purposes, which includes the allocation and limitation of powers of government, the articulation of moral democratic principles of society and the accordance of government to democratic principles. As such, if these are the benchmarks that we shall use in determining as to whether or not the UK has a constitution, sources of constitutional exist that would show that a constitution does exist in UK such as statutes, common law, conventions, treaties, and even the Royal Prerogative. Concretely, these include Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, Race Relations Act 1976, the landmark case of M v Home Office ( 1 AC 377), among many other laws and cases which subscribe to the Jeffersonian notion of the purposes of constitution.
However, there is still a debate as to whether the sum of all these statutes and sources of constitutional rules taken together can be considered as conclusive enough to say that a constitution exists in UK, especially when one of the fundamental requisites of a constitution is the consent of the people and the establishment of the people of a constitutional government. Prima facie, though, especially with all the statutes that seemingly conform to the Jeffersonian purposes of a constitution, it can somehow be said that the
Michael Collins and the Irish Revolution
This oft-quoted statement is a testament as to how diverse a society’s perception of historical figures can be. Different world leaders, especially revolutionaries are often portrayed in different respects, according to the ideological prism one uses to analyze the life of the world’s greatest men and women. Mao Zedong, for example, will always be remembered by the majority of the Chinese population who lived through the years prior to the 1949 Chinese revolution as the leader of a people’s movement that liberated Chinese society from a semi-feudal and semi-colonial system ruled by bourgeois compradors and big landowners under the auspices of foreign imperialism. He is also remembered by some sections of Chinese society as a ruthless dictator who insisted on an experimental utopian social system that led to the deaths of millions of his people due to hunger and famine. In contemporary history, on the other hand, Arab nationalists and anti-imperialists view the legacy of Saddam Hussein as a triumph of the repudiation of American intrusion into Arab soil, while American conservatives view his reign of terror as one of the most dastardly regimes the world has seen in the last fifty years. Nonetheless, it is this historical ambivalence that the life of Michael Collins as an Irish revolutionary shall be analyzed in this paper, especially on questions as to whether he can be considered a villain or a patriot.
Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary who fervently sought the independence of
On the other hand, it can somehow be said that Collins model of political violence is comparable to the theory of armed struggle by Che Guevara, particularly his foco theory. Che Guevara believed that a single guerilla force, no matter how small, carrying out armed revolution in any country is capable of spreading like wildfire and inspiring the masses to join the revolution. Both of them believed in the necessity of guerilla warfare as the most effective tool at systematically reducing the strength of the enemy, especially an enemy with almost unlimited military resources fighting against a revolutionary movement with meager resources. It must also be said that both revolutionary leaders repudiated the grabbing of political power through an urban insurrection as it opened revolutionary movement and its supporters to the heavy weight of a counter-attack by enemy forces which might be utter detrimental to the revolutionary cause.
In all of these, though, it must be reiterated that despite the faults and failures of Michael Collins, especially when he capitulated to British forces instead of seeing the Irish revolution to its fruition, his life as an Irish patriot and hero can never be discounted. He lived at a concrete historical moment which challenged him and many other Irishmen to stand up against a mighty empire and determine their own destiny as a people.
- Castaneda, J. (1998). Comandante: The life and death of Ché Guevara. Vintage Publishing.
- Fox, R.M. (1943). The History of the Irish Citizen Army.
: James Duffy & Co. Dublin
- Hopkinson, M. Green Against Green, the Irish Civil War, pp.83-87
- Kostick, Conor & Collins. (2000). The Easter Rising.
: O'Brien Press Dublin
- Townshend, C. (2005). Easter 1916: the Irish rebellion. London: Allen Lane.
The Message of Gore in the Inconvenent Truth
The movie An Inconvenient Truth, can never be as effective as a wake-up call to millions of Americans if it were not for the courage of conviction of its main character – former Vice-President Al Gore. The movie’s message is ultimately tied to the manner by which Gore inspired a national grassroots network of Americans that much can be done, no matter how small nor simple, in the war against global warming. This paper shall examine the lengths Al Gore took to send his message to the people of
Since 2001, Gore has embarked on an educational blitzkrieg of the evil of global warming as to why all governments of the world must come together and act decisively to combat the looming threat not only to mankind but to the existence of life on earth. He lectured in different places – universities, colleges, town halls, theaters – all venues in which Gore can spread the message, inspire people and get them to act together with him in his fight for a better world. He has cut across an entire cross-section of American society in convincing them of the validity of his cause – conservative Christians, liberals, ethnic communities and a host of different diverse groups who otherwise would not have come together unless the fate of humanity is involved. At the center of it all was Al Gore, the defeated presidential aspirant who never lost his spurs despite his tragic loss and even proved to the entire world that a presidential setback can never preclude a good man from serving his people.
Nonetheless, his advocacy is never without intense opposition from an elite section of American society. In a recently concluded congressional hearing, Al Gore was again taken for granted by senior Republican congressmen who obviously had in their objectives the debunking of his premises against global warming by using ad hominem attacks and using argumentation fallacies to bring Al Gore and his advocacy to a corner. They kept on saying that the scientific evidence proving global warming is a fraud, despite the massive evidence presented by international scholars during a meeting in
All of these criticisms and lies never stopped Al Gore from continuing on with his struggle and being true to his mission of education the people on the evils of global warming. His film, The Inconvenient Truth, was even given an Academy Award for being the best documentary of 2006, in recognition of his relentless efforts in molding the minds of the American public. He has been able to create a pressure group to lobby Congress to form policies which would protect the earth from further heating up, and restrict industries from over-producing toxic fumes that would soon enough contribute to the heating process of the earth.
On the other hand, his advocacy of awareness on global warming has also tacitly compelled much of the world to heed his call to lessen carbon emissions and has tacitly given much credence to the global trend of states to phase-out CFCs in industrial, commercial and residential uses, except for products utilized for medicinal purposes, among others. Greater awareness of the issue has even led to the ratification of scores of states of the Kyoto Protocol, save for the
However, there is no better indication that his campaign against global warming has taken the high road than the recently released UN Report on Global Warming which blamed much of the world’s heating on human activities which may seem to possess merely localized effects at first but contains environmental repercussions in a global scale, such as the melting of the ice caps and glaciers. This report underscores the truth of what Al Gore has been saying since his early years as a young statesman. If the world continues to immerse itself in a state of denial on the issue, the effects of the heating of the world has dire consequences, such as changing climate patterns and more environmental disasters.
In all of these, it is clear the movie concretely chronicled how deep Vice-President Gore’s campaign and struggle has become, not only for the American people but to the world. His work has inspired a better understanding of the issue and has even led the international community to stand at attention. Without the political pressure that his campaign and movement created, no scientific study on global warming in the magnitude as the UN Paris report above could ever had come about, especially in the light of counter-assertions by developed states against the veracity of the claims of global heating. With this, the work of the movie and the man is halfway done.
On the Troop Withdrawal Bill
Recently, both Houses of Congress initiated legislation on the withdrawal of American troops in
The Contextual Backdrop –
The Washington Post editorial gave a balanced analysis of the past few years of American occupation in
The Troop Withdrawal Bill and Public Opinion
The San Jose Mercury News has been very straight forward in its analysis of the conflict between the Bush administration and the Democrat-controlled Houses of Congress, “Congress should continue to call the president's bluff: no withdrawal plan, no new money for the war.” It sternly critiques the tough-guy Iraqi policy of the Bush administration for deviating from the sound military advice of his generals and even the bipartisan Iraqi Study Group to set a definite deadline for troop withdrawal, notwithstanding presenting the solid data in Iraq that legitimizes the growing call to finally pull out the troops, such as the immense loss of American and Iraqi lives, the costly $350 billion military spending, the displacement of millions of Iraqis, and the unrealistic goal of imposing peace and democracy. The editorial above is absolutely correct in asserting that Congress must continue calling the bluff of the President because it ensures that Congress will continue wielding the upper hand in the negotiations on the entire issue of the war, even if the President is the commander-in-chief. The power of the purse of Congress is an all important component in American democracy’s system of checks and balances that even the most powerful man in the world must recognize its authority, especially if he seeks the support of a coequal branch of government for funding his war. By calling the bluff, Congress can decisively pressure the government to accede to its demands of a troop pullout as vetoing the bill would be foolish because it would also mean vetoing the budget appropriations for the war. In this situation, the hands of the President are tied to the demands of Congress which President Bush must diplomatically resolve instead of unilaterally insisting on his plans without Congress approval. More so, the situation in
The Sacramento Bee editorial affirms and further articulates the statement of the San Jose Mercury News on the necessity of Congress’ assertions for a schedule for the withdrawal of the troops as part of the increased military spending on the Iraq war, as the Democrat-led Congress was only reflecting the increasing anti-war sentiments of the American people who decisively voted the Democrats into office. The editorial describes the political stalemate between the President and Congress as the opportunity to force both branches of government to veer away from very extreme demands such as immediate or no troop withdrawals. It also gives the Bush administration a chance of letting Gen. Petraus deliver results in improving the security situation of the Iraqi people and the
Final Call’s editorial, on the other hand, is an outright repudiation of both branches of government in the thick of conflict. It berates President Bush for continuing on with the war based on false intelligence and without consideration for the tremendous toll on US economic resources and American lives. It also castigates the Democrat-led US Congress for not doing enough in ensuring that the US troops in Iraq would go home immediately, asserting that the reason why American voters sent them to Congress is not to extend the war but to end the war as soon as possible. The editorial rejects even the one-year deadline set by the leading Democrats in Congress as it contained numerous loopholes that could even extend the war past the set deadline, and it even surmised that perhaps the basis for the seeming feet-dragging of Democrats on the immediate troop withdrawal has been the insertion of $25 million pork barrel funds for their use in their local districts, notwithstanding the political pressure from Republican counterparts for being weak on the defense of the American people. While this publication appears to toe the radical line of immediate troop withdrawal unlike the centrist-liberal positions of the previous editorials, it nonetheless presents a realistic picture of the current state of American politics today, in the context of how Congress acts especially when pork barrel funds are concerned. In many parliaments and congresses around the world, the congressional pork barrel has always been the source of much corruption and internal arrangements between political parties in securing concessions from each other. It is remarkable that Final Call’s editorial raised this possibility, as insertions of pork barrel provisions into bills of national importance raises questions on the sincerity of congressional leaders in truly responding to the people’s demand to withdraw the troops in
In the Christian Science Monitor’s article on the troop withdrawal bill, it highlighted the questions by Republican representative in both Houses of Congress and anti-pork barrel watchdogs on the propriety of add-ons which are non-defense related, to the extent that a Republican congressman branded these non-defense appropriations a form of bribery to secure support from both Democrats and Republicans to join the congressional bandwagon. However, Democrats in Congress have admitted that their legislation is largely symbolic, as they do not posses the numbers to overturn a presidential veto. Such a veto, though, might be counterproductive, as it would also mean the veto of the budget bill in its entirety. On the other hand, the article is unique as it presents another dimension on the political economic factors that determine the decisions of Congress and the President – the swinging public opinion. Both branches of government are also relying on public opinion, as it is the single-most potent instrument in forcing a branch of government to submit, especially when hundreds of thousands of Americans start trooping to the streets demanding an immediate or gradual troop withdrawal. Nonetheless, the Democrats feel that public opinion is on their side on the matter, as evidenced by their win in the polls which was assessed as the stinging repudiation of President Bush’s waning
In all of these, it is clear that the outcome of the decisions of both branches of government and the prospective resolution to the crisis are largely dependent on different factors other than the premises of the Iraq war itself and the party lines that the Democrats and Republicans draw. As stated above, it is also dependent on international support and concern, parochial interests such as the non-defense add-ons through pork barrel, and ultimately, American public opinion on the state of the
- Chaddock, Gail Russell. “Congress puts its marker on
war, but how big?.” Christian Science Monitor. March 26, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0326/p02s01-uspo.html on April 18, 2007. Iraq
- “Congress right to insist on
withdrawal timeline.” Iraq Mercury News. April 12, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_5648673?nclick_check=1 on April 18, 2007. San Jose
- “Democrats in Congress: Wishy-washy or weak?.” Final Call. April 13, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/printer_3373.shtml on April 18, 2007.
- “Stalemate over
strategy isn't a bad thing.” The Iraq Bee. March 25, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.sacbee.com/324/v- print/story/143152.html on April 18, 2007. Sacramento
- ______________. “Lessons of War: The fighting in
enters its fifth year.” Iraq
Gandhi and Leadership
Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent struggle against the British Empire was a result of the political situation in
As can be seen from above, Mahatma Gandhi was clearly faced with almost immense tasks, particularly leading the Indian people in the path to independence, despite the power of the
Nonetheless, his leadership style was still very effective in mobilizing almost a billion people to demand their independence from the
In terms of my own personal leadership style, I accede to the leadership traits of Gandhi, in terms of his clarity of vision and propensity for sacrifice. In any organization, these are very fundamental because these will determine how the followers will appreciate their role in the organization. If the vision and goals are clear, the followers can quantitatively measure, in a given amount of time, the progress of the organization and their individual development as well, relative to the vision and objectives. It ensures that the organization does not operate in limbo, without any purpose or necessity of existence. Gandhi’s propensity for sacrifice can also be incorporated in my leadership style. It is important for followers to see and realize that the leader himself is willing to lay himself on the line in pursuit of the vision and goals of the organization. Such a leadership trait reassures the followers that the leader is serious about the success and development of the organization and dismantles notions that the leader’s only interest is to make his people follow orders and deliver results. However, my leadership style differs with Gandhi insofar as adopting a pragmatic and realistic view on plans and actions. I would accede more, in this regard, to the Leninist maxim of “concrete analysis of concrete conditions”, instead of the Gandhian mode of relying heavily on a notion of non-violence in the face of difficult odds, as I still contend that the success of Gandhi and his movement was also based on external factors (e.g. British losses after World War II) than his non-violence alone. I even surmise that without the world wars and the decline of the
Nonetheless, the above mentioned leadership traits of Gandhi are included in my notion of the ideal leader – clarity of vision and goals, and propensity for sacrifice. In analyzing situations and challenges, and making decisions, it must include the Leninist maxim of “concrete analysis of concrete conditions”, without, of course, prejudicing the principles and objectives inherent in the organization. A leader must always seek to create candor and camaraderie among his followers, to drive home the point that no unseen barrier exists between them. More importantly, the leader must always seek ways of empowering his people and training new second liners, based on the idea that leaders, no matter how great they are, will always have to step down and be replaced by new blood. If possible, the leader must shun micro-managing the affairs of the organization, especially when competent persons have been assigned to ensure the success of projects and goals. However, while being democratic and consultative as possible, the leader must exercise full control of the more important decisions of the organization, based on the notion that his experience and vision will always be beneficial for the future of the organization.
1. Gandhi, M. (1962). Essential Gandhi. Edited by Louis Fischer.
On Banning Cellphones While Driving
At present, mobile phones have become an integral and necessary part of American life, which is almost entirely different more than a decade ago, when mobile phones were still considered a luxury by many Americans. Perhaps one of the best evidence of its necessity for every American has been the experience of September the 11th, when hundreds of mobile phone calls were made, sending messages of love, hope, despair, grief and sadness. On the other hand, the mobile phone industry has already overwhelmingly penetrated the mass market, notwithstanding the seemingly endless production of high-end, high-tech models for the upscale markets. Even in developing countries such as the
There is no better argument for the prohibition of the use of mobile phones while driving a vehicle than the limitless possibility of vehicular accidents while operating a mobile phone, especially on freeways. This possibility of accidents does not involve only the conventional use of mobile phones during driving, such as voice calling and text messaging, but includes all the other added functions of the contemporary mobile phone, including playing its built-in games, taking pictures, choosing mp3 playlists, among others. In the Republic of the
Another decisive argument against the use of cellphones while driving is the spawning of culture of over-reliance to mobile gadgets for a wide array of human activity, to the extent that it breeds delinquency and irresponsibility in the guise of greater efficiency of work and communications. While it is true that the advent of mobile phone communications has revolutionized the way people connect with each other, sometimes it is being used as an excuse of failure to perform duties and responsibilities well. A sad yet relevant example is the shocking Virginia Tech massacre that has moved the world into sorrow. While the killings were occurring, the students had absolute access to electronic gadgets such as laptops and mobile phones to communicate to state security forces and media the grim events that were presently happening in their school. It is true that their calls were very important for the quick response of policemen, but such an over-reliance to the speed at which messages can be sent and processed to government agencies, tacitly overlooked the more important necessity of the school having a comprehensive emergency security plan to prevent atrocities of this magnitude from ever occurring.
On a lighter note, it also breeds delinquency and irresponsibility because mobile phone calls while driving are usually done to reassure colleagues, friends, and family members as to their exact location as of the moment, especially when there are scheduled meetings and appointments. If people were more professional and cordial in keeping commitments and promises, such reassurance might not even be needed anymore, thus, saving the person from the economic costs of a voice call, and the physical risks of accidents.
Most importantly, mobile phone use while driving, in whatever form, prospectively endangers the right to life and property, not only of the driver using the mobile phone but also those who may be inconvenienced as a result of vehicular accident that ensues. As such, the state, in the exercise of its police power, has every right to intervene and prohibit its use and enjoyment to promote the public good and welfare of the majority of its citizens and curtail the social evil of vehicular accidents from frequently occurring in the streets of its jurisdiction. The evils as a result of mobile phone use while driving does not only prejudice human life but the general enjoyment of property as well.
In all of these, there is a recognition that the use of mobile phones per se is greatly beneficial to the majority of the population, save for its use while driving a vehicle as the social evil that results from it is too grave to warrant a lenient position from the state and concerned citizens. The technology of mobile phones continues upgrading as every new model is released to the markets of the world, which must be fully supported and encouraged even by the government. However, for as long as no acceptable security features are presently equipped in current mobile phones to stem the loss of concentration while driving, there is no reason whatsoever to continue allowing its use while driving vehicles.
1. Reyes, C. (2006, August 20). MMDA: Unwelcome do-gooder. The Sunday Times. Retrieved from http://www.manilatimes.net/national/ 2006/aug/20/yehey/top_stories/20060820top4.html on 23 April 2007.
2. Adding Social Value to Your Brand. (2006). SME Community
The Legal Profession and Sustaining Constitutional Challenges
The legal profession is a form of public trust which is given only to those qualified enough to uphold the law and assist in the administration of justice. It is a duty of public service which involves sincerity, integrity and reliability, in which pecuniary considerations are a mere by-product, notwithstanding establishing lawyer-client relationships in the highest degree of fiduciary. The lawyer is an oath-bound servant of society whose conduct is clearly circumscribed by inflexible norms of law and ethics to which the ends of justice are the primary considerations. In rendering legal services to his clients, he must observe utmost fidelity to the cause of his client regardless of his personal beliefs on his client’s guilt or innocence, as even the most guilty of all criminals can still avail of the different protections afforded by the law. Sometimes, though, lawyers are faced with legal complications in providing the most adequate defenses for their clients especially when the latter are found to have deliberately violated the laws of the land. These acts do no include justifying circumstances in criminal prosecutions as these are been deemed lawful when convincingly proven in court. The acts contemplated here are acts which are considered, on its face, patent violations of the law bereft of any legal justification. However, these illegal acts do not preclude the rendering of legal services for the protection of their rights. Among the conditions and circumstances that utterly warrant the defense of illegal acts are those which are challenged based on constitutional issues involving the due process and equal protection clauses, and constitutionally-protected freedoms such as free expression and the right to privacy.
The due process and the equal protection clauses have been two of the most important protections afforded by the US Constitution to the American people to safeguard them from the unwarranted intrusions of government into the free exercise of their democratic rights. As a result, many previously considered violations of the law were overturned by the US Supreme Court for abridging the due process and equal protection clauses of the constitution, to the extent that entire statutes were declared unconstitutional and taken off the statute books.
In the case of
These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)
Such homosexual acts in the privacy of a person’s home is subsumed in the concept stated above and their autonomy as persons to decide for themselves the concept of their own existence and meaning must be respected by the Court and the law. While convicted in the lower courts for violating the law, they were vindicated by the ruling of the Supreme Court based on their constitutional challenge.
A case that was won based on procedural due process is the case of Tumey v. Ohio in which Tumey was arrested and charged with the unlawful possession of intoxicating liquor at White Oak, another village in Hamilton county, Ohio, on a warrant issued by the mayor of North College Hill. The mayor of the town then proceeded to try and convict Tumey under the existing law. His conviction was challenged based on the pecuniary interest of the mayor in convicting Tumey as he stood to gain from the amount of the costs in each case, in addition to his regular salary, as compensation for hearing such cases. There is, therefore, no way by which the mayor may be paid for his service as judge, if he does not convict those who are brought before him. The US Supreme Court looked favorably on the assertions of Tumey, reversed his conviction, and remanded the case for further trial, due to the utter lack of impartiality in the previous proceedings with the mayor sitting as a judge. This is proof once again that constitutional challenges protect the rights even of persons seen to have deliberately violated the law.
In Lanzetta v. New Jersey, the appellants were indicted and convicted under the New Jersey Statute which prosecutes “any person not engaged in any lawful occupation, known to be a member of any gang consisting of two or more persons, who has been convicted at least three times of being a disorderly person, or who has been convicted of any crime, in this or any other State, is declared to be a gangster. The US Supreme Court declared the statute unconstitutional for being repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment as the word “gang” and “gangster” is vague such that even those who belong to a group whose objective may be legal may unnecessarily be covered. Hence, due to vagueness, there is no sufficient warning to the public as to what exactly is proscribed by the law. The persons in this case, even if found to be true gangsters in a socio-cultural sense, had their convictions reversed simply due to the vagueness of the law.
In the case of In Re Lynch, John Lynch was released from prison that supposedly condemned him for life behind bars as the US Supreme Court found the penalty for this offense of indecent exposure too cruel for such a light offense, relative to more heinous crimes with the same penalty. Lynch was definitely found guilty of his crime, yet the law still afforded him adequate protection despite his offenses when it was challenged based on the constitutional issue of disproportionate punishments which, although not cruel or unusual in its method, it is so disproportionate to the crime for which it is inflicted that it shocks the conscience and offends fundamental notions of human dignity.
In New York Times v. Sullivan, the libel suit of L.B. Sullivan against the New York Times did not earn the affirmation of the US Supreme Court as it held that the interest of the public outweighs the interest of any other individual. While the New York Times might, on its face, erred in accurately reporting the facts of the civil rights demonstration involving Martin Luther King, the newspaper cannot be held for its criticisms of the official conduct of public officials. In this case, the freedom of the press saved the New York Times from settling the multi-million dollar libel suit filed by Sullivan even if the lower courts found them guilty of the offense.
In the famous case of Griswold v.
The present case, concerns a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees. And it concerns a law which, in forbidding the use of contraceptives rather than regulating their manufacture or sale, seeks to achieve its goals by means having a maximum destructive impact upon that relationship. Such a law cannot stand in light of the familiar principle, so often applied by this Court, that a "governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms."
Yet again, the US Supreme Court intervened in expunging responsibility from individuals who were found to be in blatant violation of the existing laws of the land.
In all of these, it is patently clear that individuals found to be in deliberate violation of existing laws can still be afforded protection by our system of laws. While many other conditions and exceptions exist to warrant the defense of supposedly erring individuals and groups, the best way of going around the violations of the law is through a sound constitutional challenge before the courts of law, from the lowest courts all the way up to the US Supreme Court. It must be remembered that these are done not only for the sheer obstinacy of defending the cause of the client but also in pursuit of upholding the rule of law, the integrity of the courts and assist in the administration of justice. The duties of the lawyers are not only to prosecute and defend, but also to ensure that justice is done to all those who deserve it.
Lawrencev. Texas, 539 558 (2003) U.S.
- Tumey v.
Ohio, 373 510 (1927) US
- Lanzetta v.
New Jersey, 306 451 (1939) US
- In Re Lynch, 8 Cal 3rd 410 P. 2d (1972)
Times v. Sullivan, 376 US 254 (1964) New York
- Griswold v.
Connecticut, 381 47A (1965) US
Korea, Nuclear Weapons and the Six-Party Talks
Just recently, North Korean President King Jong Il proudly proclaimed the success of his government’s underground testing of their first-ever nuclear weapon in the barren hinterlands of the his reclusive country. Western countries, led by the
The Six-Party Talks
The Six-Party Talks include the Democratic People’s
According to Dr. Edberto Villegas (personal communication, 2007), a political economist of the University of the Philippines specializing of socialist politics, the Six-Party talks was formed not only to stabilize the threat of the DPRK against the United States and South Korea, but to secure the geopolitical interests of the member states as well. Japanese participation in the talks is very important as the DPRK has time and again threatened Japan, due to historic tensions since the Japanese invasion of the Korean peninsula a century ago and continues even up to the present, especially as Japan is now seen as a reliable ally of the United States in enforcing its foreign policies in the region.
North Korean Brinksmanship
In international politics, the DPRK and its leader, Kim Jong Il, has been adjudged the master of nuclear brinksmanship in securing economic and military concessions from world powers, including the United States. As the DPRK knows fully well its geopolitical handicap, it continually breaches international agreements in supposed pursuit and assertion of its national interest and sovereignty, especially when it deliberately withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and insisted on producing nuclear weapons for its defense against perceptions of a conspiracy by the United States forcibly overthrow the Kim Jong Il regime by force. According Villegas (personal communication, 2007), the DPRK fully believes that only by building up its military capability, particularly nuclear power, can the DPRK secure substantial concessions from world powers, consistent with the Maoist maxim of political power emerging from the barrel of a gun. These concessions, however, are not entirely of a military or diplomatic character, but usually in terms of economic aid, as the DPRK continues to battle years of infertile agricultural lands and famine that has led to the deaths and exodus of thousands of North Koreans. As can be seen from the recent nuclear testing in the hinterlands of North Korea, the world, while united in its condemnation of the act, has acceded, to a certain extent, to the demands of the North Korean government such as the release of its $25 million frozen assets in Macau and the delivery of more economic aid from developed nations. Nonetheless, it can be surmised that the actuations of the DPRK and the flaunting of its military might are not exactly aimed at threatening the world, especially
However, in order to fully understand the North Korean nuclear question, the DPRK strategy of Songun politics must be examined. According to Han of the Unification Institute in
Conclusion: The World and the Way Forward
The Korean nuclear question has given the
- Han, Ho-sok. Songun Politics of
North Korea& the Situation on the Korean Peninsula. Songun Politics Study Group. Sept. 8, 2003. Retrieved from http://www.geocities.com/songunpoliticsstudygroup/Songuninterview.htm l on April 17, 2007.
- Six-Party Talks. GlobalSecurity.Org. Retrieved from http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/6-party.htm on April 16, 2007.
- Villegas, Edberto. Email Interview. April 14, 2007.