“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine penned in his revolutionary pamphlet, The Crisis, in those early dark days of the American Revolution. Abraham Lincoln likewise warned against America becoming “a house divided against itself” in those dismal days leading up to the American Civil War.
Just as in the late 1960’s, all you seem to be seeing and hearing from Washington these days are disputes between bitter political factions calling themselves Democrats and Republicans. Their conflicts are made even more alarming by the opposite poles of far reaching media outlets relentlessly whipping up fear, distress, and distrust among the American people on a nightly basis. These are indeed trying and divisive times in our America.
In times like these, the Rule of Law is the essential membrane that must be preserved and protected to hold our democracy together. Such was the rationale that caused our Founding Fathers to create The Constitution of the United States. It is the supreme law of our land meant to preserve and protect our liberty, our freedom, from unjust and oppressive power. Reading its preamble speaks volumes.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The heart and soul of our American Republic can be found in its system of laws, as manifested in the workings of its state and federal courts. The cornerstone of our system of laws and court systems is the right to a trial by jury in both criminal and civil cases. It is the only right that is memorialized twice in our Constitution in both the Sixth and Seventh Amendments of our Bill of Rights. It is meant to safeguard our people from the abuse and oppression of both governmental and commercial power.
Its vitality is made manifest through the ministry of trial lawyers in the day to day operations of our Courts of Law. The jurisprudence that results demonstrates to the world that America is a democracy where the Rule of Law is preeminent and its citizens, whether they be rich or be poor, native born or naturalized, democrat or republican, are meant to receive equal justice under law.
So when you hear some sadly unenlightened soul asserting that our political system is rigged, certain media outlets are spreading fake news and certain judges are biased against him, kindly remember that as long as America is governed by the Constitution, preserves the right to a trial by jury, and recognizes that trial lawyers are essential to assuring the blessings of liberty for our ourselves and our posterity, we shall persevere and overcome.
Paul F. Kenney, Trial Lawyer