12/14/2021 7 Comments
By: Sarah Jo Reynolds
“We strongly believe that all legal proceedings should be conducted and adjudicated based solely on the United State Constitution, the Arkansas Constitution and the statutory and case law framework of federal and state law, without reference to or influence by any foreign law.” The Republican Party’s latest platform addresses that Constitutional principle of equal and just enforcement of the law, without which the defense of the individual and the American way of life is impossible.
One of the favorite claims of the Left today is that the Constitution can’t possibly be an accurate and effective law of the land if it was written by a room full of old, white men. Progressives often scoff at the language and principles of our Founding documents because the original text would not have assumed equal protection under the law for gender or race.
The Founders were wise enough to understand their own fallibility and their own limits, but that brings us to another proof of their brilliance: the Amendment process. Throughout history, more wise Americans have understood the self-evident nature of our rights and worked to ensure that everyone enjoys the fruit of that liberty. Now, anyone regardless of race, religion, national origin, or age can live equally.
Equal and just enforcement of the law is directly linked to the conservative idea of limited government and the defense of the individual. The Bill of Rights, specifically, is replete with protections of the individual. Those accused of crimes are promised the same legal protection. Throughout criminal proceedings, a citizen is protected from self-incrimination and unreasonable searches and seizures, and they are promised the liberties of a speedy, fair trial, access to counsel, the ability to cross-examine witnesses, among many others. Even after a conviction, criminals are afforded the right to appeal their conviction to a higher court.
Conversely, it is also necessary that the victim of a crime must have a voice through the criminal justice process. The Republican Party supports the incorporation of victims’ rights into the justice system and that they be honored by the judiciary.
The age-old debate between conservative textualists and liberal activist judges weighs heavily upon this intended defense of limited government. Sometimes too often, the Court creates law rather than interprets it, as was seen by decisions like Roe v. Wade (1973). In this case, the Court gave no consideration for the equality of persons under the law, only the persons which they favored. Unfortunately, Lady Justice is often not blind, as she should be. Systemic perjury runs rampant in Court rooms across the nation, and political factors often affect which cases are adjudicated at all.
The prison system in the United States should focus their efforts both on punishment and on rehabilitation if incarcerated persons are to reenter society after serving their time. While many on the Left argue that prisons are overcrowded or even prejudiced, it is true that nearly half of those released from prison after serving time for a violent crime will return to prison. Incarceration, while important for efforts of rehabilitation of the incarcerated, is first and foremost a protection of the community and the preservation of justice for both victim and society at large.
Closely related to the principle of separation of powers, one of the most serious threats to the equal and just enforcement of the law can sometimes be the judiciary itself. In Federalist 78, the Founders stated that the judiciary was to act as an intermediary between the people and their Legislature and to ensure that the elected acted within their Constitutional limitations. Furthermore, Federalist 78 states that any law codified must be consistent with Constitutional principles, and if it isn’t, the Constitution must be preferred. At the same time, the will of the people must be preferred to the will of their representatives.
Our duty to this equal and just enforcement of law is to prevent all injustices from occurring. Republicans everywhere should be encouraging our young conservatives to become attorneys, since our attorneys will become our elected judges. Only through the accountability of our judiciary to uphold the Constitution as supreme and of our legislature to the consent of the governed can equal and just enforcement of the law remain.