Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Open Government . . .

Thanks to the O-D for making Open Government an issue and bringing Robert Freeman to the area to raise our consciousness.
In the end, however, Robert Freeman said what matters most in holding government leaders accountable is choices made by individual citizens.

“More important than judicial opinion is the court of public opinion,” said Freeman


Mrs Mecomber said...

That quote is completely wrong, unless I am misreading it. We are a nation of laws, not men. Public opinion does not trump judicial opinion. That's "mob rule" to quote John Adams. We do not have a democracy rule in this country, nor should we have. We are a constitutional republic, where bills go through a rigorous systems before they are made laws. And this is why our founding fathers urged moral and religious men to fill the positions of government so as to protect our liberties and rule justly.

Certainly, the people should be holding government officials accountable, but that is not "public opinion." We should be holding them accountable to the existing laws, should we not?

What SHOULD be said is that judicial opinion should be based on existing law, not on precedent-setting or legislative coup d'etat by judges.

"Holding them accountable" in such as case means not voting for them, or removing them from office if they break the laws or fail to fulfill their oath to protect and defend the laws. If these men usurp the authority and break the laws, they are to be removed from office. If the checks and balances are not working so as to remove corrupters of the law from office (the executive branch shirking his own duties and therefore breaking his oath), the founding fathers called this tyranny.

Silence Dogood said...

Well said Mrs Mecomber.

Anonymous said...

So if that is the case slavery in the south is ok?

Strikeslip said...

As usual, Mrs. M gives something important to ponder and remember. We are a nation of laws and must never allow ourselves to become governed by mob rule. But here are some things to remember.

Courts of law can only deal with those issues that are put before it by others. Courts have no authority to start legal actions or inject themselves into disputes on their own motion. The Courts must rely on the People, or on government prosecutors (ie, the Executive branch) to enforce the laws. If the public opinion is that a law is not important enough to be enforced, it either won't be or the enforcement will be given such a low priority that it might as well not be.

Public opinion determines who populates our Executive and Legislative branches and what policies will be carried out.

Courts interpret laws, either common or statutory. Laws are produced in response to public opinion.

As someone once said, "sunlight is a potent disinfectant."

If the public is kept in the dark on potentially illegal or unfair operations of its government, or usurpation of government power by private interests, those situations may never make it to a court of law to be dealt with -- particularly if a lot of people are benefiting from the wrong doing. Public opinion, however, can make that happen.

Public opinion is not law, and is not one of the three branches of government -- but without it, these things would not exist.

Anonymous said...

Y Mrs. Mecomber is right in technical sense, however I think Mr. Freeman's point was that THE PEOPLE's opinion is and should be the guide.

As usual, neither one of you are "wrong"... Its just that Mrs. M. might not have realized the "spirit" of what Mr. Freeman meant.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Town of New Hartford will get their act together and too, the New Hartford School District Administration in these matters?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, a judicial opinion have more effect on public opinion than mere blog posts.

Look at the situation with the windfarm fiasco for a text book example.