The American Legal System is internationally acclaimed for its liberal attributes. It’s the hallmark of “Live and let live”. However, there have been recent dissentions to this view. These are coming from people who have experienced the flip side of the liberal system. For, though granting personal rights better than most sovereign systems, the US system can be very encroaching to personal peace. Perhaps this is because there is a limit to how much freedom can be granted to citizens, without resulting in anarchy. Or perhaps it is something else altogether.
Case buildup Specific laws within the US system cater to the organization of society. These laws dictate what personal dispositions are permissible within the law, and what are not. The underlying premise for all these laws is that the individual has to have certain standards and principles, in order for the society to be coherent. If every individual belief, perception or affiliation was to be allowed by the legal system, then each person would become the law by himself or herself, and the common reference points which identify a US citizen would disappear.
The society itself would crumble. This fact drives every new law put in place within the US system. So why are there dissentions to the legal system? The divide between a comprehensive legal system and a restrictive one is thin indeed. Sometimes, the divide becomes a matter of perception and context. The mere interpretation of a certain legal clause can determine the fairness of the system. Of course, ambiguities within the legal system are kept at the lowest possible minimum, but they do occur, every once in a while.
This is compounded by the fact that public perceptions and liberties do evolve over time, and the law has to keep up. A lag in this dynamism can have glaring consequences (Herman). A long standing ratification within the US constitution has effectively given the federal system a dual sovereignty. The two power brokers are the State and the National governments. Over time, efforts have been made to eradicate overlapping jurisdiction between the two power bases.
But friction does still occur between the two, and sometimes the loser is the innocent bystander. For example, the State police power has been known to cause considerable inconveniences to personal liberties. In the multicultural society that is America, the system simply can not cater for every unique culture. So the state police do get into frequent arguments over what course of action is for “the greater good”. (Ford) Conclusion On the whole, the American Legal System can not satisfy everybody at all times.
Nor does it have to. By its very build up, it only has to keep the society in check and running to be considered effective. Neither should the legal system be expected to justify its morality or lack of it. Law and morals usually don’t go well together. This is because morals are subjective and inherent to an individual, while laws, especially those governing sovereign bodies, have to transcend individual inclinations, and must remain objective at all times.
The fact that innocent, law abiding citizens do fall victims to it is regrettable, but sometimes unavoidable, if the greater cause of justice is to be pursued. And because of the reality of the US law as a fallible entity, there do exist recourses within it for compensation of such innocent victims. References Ford, Stephen D (1974) The American Legal System: Its dynamics and limits. Herman, Michael: US legal system worse than Russia. Retrieved on 13th December 2008 from http://business. timesonline. co. uk/tol/business/law/article3570695. ece