Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaSome thoughts about the concept of justice...
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content
Some thoughts about the concept of justice... Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Iman Ng, United States Jan 1, 2007
Human Rights , Peace & Conflict , Justice & Punishment   Opinions


What do the law courts of Nigeria and those in the U.S. have in common? For one, the judges are staffed by the executive (or sometimes quasi-military dictatorships) of the government to work in the ruling coalition’s favor; that is not to say that the U.S. law courts share the notoriety and corruption of their Nigerian counterparts. But the example aptly echoes an insightful observation made by Professor Jyl Gentzler of Amherst College regarding the psychology and existence of partiality in administrations of justice, in which it has changed over the years with the advent of technology. The transformation in the judicial process has evolved from village elders denouncing heretics in the ancient times to the highly-touted status it enjoys today. However, since the era of Hammurabi’s Code, one fundamental essence has remained unchanged; justice is not in its purest form as the judges administering on its behalf are not neutral. As a strict interpreter, I view that even the right to decide justice by anybody defiles the concept of justice itself.

When the U.S. Constitution established the Supreme Court in 1788, Alexander Hamilton called it “the least dangerous branch” of the government. In contemporary times, many people tend to view judicial courts with contempt. Justice, in the modern sense, is no longer eponymous with the term “just”. The appointment of justices to the courts by specific political parties, under the influence of a myriad of political ideologies, only exacerbates the impartiality. Perhaps since the inception of democratic governments, men have decide to retain the judiciary as a component of government and a symbol for confidence with the government’s actions. Yet a flaw exists in that justice can only be carried out with “recognition” from legal authorities, which in return can never be deemed “unjust” and declared invalid by any judge. Indeed, history has shown that the three-branch government model has generally worked well; most governments cannot function properly without a judicial system (or least a puppet one set up to appease external pressures), yet the judiciary is not strong enough to run its own “government”.

The main point is that the concept of justice would not materialize without men and their ideas. The concept of justice only survives and prevails through a constant struggle between conflicting ideologies, simultaneously enlarging its capacity to accommodate biased viewpoints without compromising precedents established by past verdicts. Humans are born to be biased; even law codes are sometimes biased from manipulation by law-making authorities in lieu of the judiciary. But viewing justice from a judge’s point of view offers a completely different picture. A “standard” has to be established in order for the most conscientious judges to endure criticisms throughout their careers; that “standard” pertains to the verdict of any court case. To refer to the American legal system, there are different periods within the Supreme Court’s history, such as eras dominated by strict constructionists, liberals, or judges favoring "stare decisis". Justice would be administered in different ways under the broad spectrum of political self-identifications.



You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile
Iman Ng

I was born in Hong Kong on June 13th, 1989. Having lived in this Asian metropolis for 13 years and witnessed its transfer of sovereignty from Britain to the PRC, I developed my critical thinking skills about governance and international relations from these life-changing events.

My educational experience is undoubtedly one of the more interesting aspects of my life. I was brought up in a Cantonese-speaking environment and began my formal English instruction in 1996. After 1997, however, my school ceased using English as the medium of instruction and instituted Mandarin as the former's replacement in situ. I did not learn English formally (though I did study English privately for 4 years) until 2001 when I started my 7th Grade education at a Catholic-Jesuit secondary school.

In April 2002 my family decided to immigrate to the United States, after my father had almost lost his job. It was the only choice my family had, given how woeful the economy had been at that time. With great reluctance we left Hong Kong in July 2002, and settled in Rockville, Maryland, USA, where I have been living ever since.

One of my greatest passions is International Politics. I would like to learn more about the human condition and the state of the world today; we are intrinsically born into this Westphalian state system and there's no way to escape it, given how rampant globalization is and how constantly it is affecting our lives on a daily basis.
You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.