The Right to Petition And Democracy
Americans believe that their rights do not originate with government but are to be "secured" by government. I came across Ken Smith's story in a blog and was surprised with what almost all commentators said about him.1 Ken Smith alleges that federal judges have violated his civil rights by deciding his cases 1) cert denied without opinions, 2) with unpublished opinions, and 3) juries no longer are sole arbiters of law2. Without more, blog commentators said his multiple lawsuits and implied constitutional rights of assassination against judges were rantings of a psychopath which struck me as commentary associated with the Soviet era. I decided, therefore, to look into the matters complained about by Smith.
To begin with, the right to petition3, without limitation to the number of petitions when petitions go unanswered, is more important than the right to vote. When you vote, you drop a ballot in the box and then go home, have a beer, and watch what the politicians and news anchor camp followers say while the political spectacle unfolds. But the right to petition, if it exists at all, means that people can stand up and demand answers from their politicians, bureaucrats and judges. From what follows below, I do not believe that the American judicial system provides people with answers to their petitions. Indeed, it has evolved into the most dangerous part of American government. Lets see how and why.
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