Much has been written about so called “common law.” In the current entry for Common Law, Wikipedia writes, “ Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals ( also called case law), rather than through legislative statues or executive branch action.” “A “common law system” is a legal system that gives great precedential weight to common law, on the principal that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions.” “The body of precedent is called “common law” and it binds future decisions.”
What is so common in “common law” these days is that no one, including attorneys, understands the laws that have been written. Even my spell checker “wigged out” on the word “precedential.” I get the gist of what the authors are trying to say but beyond that I would be at the courts mercy had I become subject to so-called “common law.”
For the most part we, as civilians in our daily life, do not have to interpret or base our day to day decisions on the common laws under which we all live. This changes in a heart beat if we either run afoul of the law by committing a crime or if we are sued for our civil real or imagined transgressions.
How many of us common folks speak “legalese?” I certainly do not. I become apoplectic when I am served a summons to appear in court. In helping a friend recently in a civil court case involving custody issues of a minor charge I was reminded of the impossibility of understanding the language in which the Divorce Decree was written. Of course, for $400 per hour, I can hire an interpreter of these so-called “common law,” who then can contact the opposing parties interpreter who in turn charges their client $400 per hour for essentially same job. Of course, the interpreter of “common law” is also a writer of common law so you are nicked even more money to communicate to the other parties through their own writer/interpreter. What a pyramid scheme.
Why can not the laws be written in such a manner that the common man or woman can understand them? Why does it take over 2000 pages of “legalese” to legalized the right of every citizen to have affordable health care? I do not know about you but even Tolstoy’s epic, War and Peace was easier to read. God only wrote 10 commandments. Can you imagine how long his/her laws would be if he/she was an attorney?
I hope you do not think I am writing to misalign attorneys. Who would be the butt of all our jokes if we got rid of them? I guess these days the satirists have plenty of material with the likes of Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh and Palin to lampoon that they do not absolutely need lawyers to kick around.
How about, instead of lobbyists, common men and women wrote the laws of the land? Certainly the over burdened judicial and penal system could take much needed vacations. Even our former President of the United States, George Bush, knew the importance of taking vacations. I would not want someone who was in charge of the nuclear codes to be unrested. I would want them to be fresh and well read-just like Karl Rove told me ex President Bush was. Karl told us that Mr. Bush liked nothing better to do than to snuggle into his easy chair and to read a good book.
Since George Jr. is soon to have a library named in his honor perhaps we should save him some money and pitch in and help by buying ex Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin’s recent book “Going Rogue,” to include in the collection. That is unless her own PAC bought all the remaining copies.