Justice should serve an ethical purpose, not be purely the end to justify the means. Justice does not always prevail in the end. The phrase “the end justifies the means,” first originated from Niccolo Machiavelli’s book “The Prince”, and is interpreted to mean, “Doing anything whatsoever that is required to get the result you want, regardless of the methods used. It does not matter whether these methods are legal or illegal, fair or foul, kind or cruel, truth or lies, democratic or dictatorial, good or evil”. President Richard Nixon and Watergate is a good example of this. He thought that his actions would surely justify his means. The Senate Watergate Committee did not see it that way which led to Nixon’s indictment and later resignation as President. In this case justice did prevail in the end. Justice as defined in Wikipedia “is a concept of moral rightness based on ethical, rationality, law, natural law, religion or equity.” More recently justice has taken on a broader and less defined meaning in our nation. In the area of civil rights, justice has not always prevailed. The Civil War only began our struggles for equality and civil rights for all American citizens. This struggle continues to this day.
All individuals born or naturalized in the United States are citizens there of and are guaranteed certain civil rights and liberties. As citizens we have the privilege to vote in community, state and national elections which is our voice in government. We have the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness, with our families, free from oppression. We are free to pursue our livelihoods in our chosen professions. We are free to live in what ever state, city or community of our choosing. The only way these rights may be forfeited are by, willfully surrendering these rights, treason or a felony conviction. When laws are broken a trial and punishment are required and are defined in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Due process of the law is also guaranteed in this amendment. Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person. It balances the power of the law of the land and protects individual persons from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due process violation which offends against the rule of law. In the performance of due process individuals are protected against cruel and unusual punishment in the Eight Amendment of our Constitution. A life long disenfranchisement of an individual’s civil rights after due process of the law has been completed would be considered by most as cruel and unusual. Our Constitution is the supreme law of the land. After due process of the law has been completed, the civil rights of these individuals should be restored to them. Whether our government and courts respect and defend the supreme law of the land, which they are duty-bound to do by oath, is another troubling issue.
States like Florida, Virginia and Kentucky continue to revoke civil rights and withhold them long after due process of the law has been completed. Many ex-felons never have their civil rights restored. About 5.5 million of them are currently disenfranchised in our country with very little hope of regaining their civil rights back. Florida is home to about one fifth of them. Their families suffer the same fate because of lack of opportunity. States are sovereign, this is true, but how can a state take away and withhold these civil rights that are protected in our United States Constitution? Are not these men and women first Americans before they are Floridians, Virginians or Kentuckians? The United States Constitution is the law of the land. It was put in place to protect our civil rights and civil liberties and not to disenfranchise millions. I believe that many states are usurping the authority of our federal government and the authority that is invested in them to protect these rights. Our federal government’s legislative and judicial branches are equally at fault for not upholding and protecting the civil rights of all its citizens after due process. When a law is broken we have a justice system in place that requires due process of the law be served. Due process has a definite meaning and is not left open for interpretation. After due process is served, performed and completed the civil rights of that individual should be restored. When they are not returned then due process has been vacated and this violates the rule of law. This is a major social issue that should concern all Americans. If state law makers can make void parts of our U. S. Constitution without restraint then what will be next? If this is justice we have just been handed a whole new meaning of the word.
In a democracy freedom and independence is equally shared by every individual. Every person has influence in part by his or her own abilities and has equal opportunity to rise by their own merit. When these freedoms and rights are taken away for an indefinite length of time or permanently after due process is complete, the moral obligation of justice has been abridged. Any political leader whose acts of authority continue to enslave or oppress another long after due process of the law has been completed can be described by no other definition than a Tyrant. A bully such as this is unfit to rule over a free society in which they were elected to serve. I reaffirm that justice should serve an ethical purpose and not be purely the end to justify the means. www.aarcr.com