Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Reparations Lawsuit Dismissed

A Chicago court dismissed a slavery reparations case. It's not surprising, but there were a couple of things I didn't like about the way the whole thing went down. For instance, the Judge gave the following convoluted reasoning as part of his basis for dismissing the case:

But he [the Judge] said longstanding doctrine in matters involving political questions "bars the court from deciding the issue of slavery reparations, an issue that has been historically and constitutionally committed to the legislative and executive branches of our government."

What, exactly, does this mean, in English? That because the issue of slavery reparations in America is a political issue the Judge's court is 'barred' from deciding the issue? WTF? So, I guess the recent Miranda decision is not political either? C'mon judge - damn.

There's also this reason, which may be perfectly valid - and if it is perfectly valid, then I'd be perfectly pissed:

And he [the Judge] said the suit alleged no specific connection between the plaintiffs and the companies named as defendants.

Now, if the plaintiffs submitted this complaint without making a strong evidence-based cause/effect link, then how could they ever expect to win the case? Better, how could they expect it to not get thrown out immediately? The Judge has said that there was no link, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.

What, then, would be the point of filing a lawsuit of such shoddy quality? To gain some attention? Sure, I guess that could work. But why not put some effort into it - get some civil rights and other groups behind you - put some money into building a real case, and then take it to the courts? I mean, wouldn't that make a whole lot more sense? Obviously I don't understand this whole comingling of politics/law thing yet, because there are obviously some other dynamics going on here that I am wholly unaware of. Either that, or the judge got it wrong, or the plaintiffs and their lawyer are wasting my and everybody else's time.

No comments: