In Defense of Political Trials

By Charles F. Abel; Frank H. Marsh et al. | Go to book overview

courts, politics and law must act within well-defined spheres to protect and promote specific values. The dedication to rational or revealed truth and the conclusion that right and wrong, good and bad, can be unreservedly identified helps to create and objectify an integrated social reality that we can all understand as good and satisfying, at least with regards to the two basic needs just identified. For this reason, it is important that our law maintain some rational integrity and that it employ reason to justify its activity. Our social, economic, and political history has simply brought us to the point where we identify the good with reason, and this identification ultimately sustains our society.

The simple fact is that we must provide some way of employing our reason to determine what constitutes a political trial and which political trials are good so that we can maintain the integrity of our courts as institutions reflecting, embodying, and promoting the application of reason to human affairs. Thus, we must now demonstrate a method through which we can analyze specific situations in concrete terms to determine which situations are political trials and which are not. For this we must look to the characteristic uses of political trial in our society, gain a "perspicuous overview" of its uses, and thus gain some insight into the relevant resemblances with which we ought to be concerned. Once this is accomplished we may then go on to employ the same analysis to identify good and bad political trials.


NOTES
1.
The methods of the following analysis are modeled after that in H. R. Van Gunsteren , The Quest for Control: A Critique of the Rational-Central Rule Approach in Public Affairs ( New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1976).
2.
See any number of introductory or advanced texts, e.g., D. Brody, The American Legal System ( Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath Co., 1978), 3-7; H. J. Berman, The Nature and Function of Law (Brooklyn, NY: The Foundation Press, 1958), 20-28; M. P. Goulding, ed., The Nature of Law ( New York: Random House, 1966).
3.
T. Aquinas, "Law as an Ordinance of Reason", in Goulding, The Nature of Law, 12-13.
4.
T. Hobbes, Leviathan ( New York: Washington Square Press, 1964), 188.
5.
See J. Austin, The Province of Jurisprudence Determined, in Goulding, The Nature of Law73-98; H. L. A. Hart, The Concept of Law ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1961); and H. Kelson, General Theory of Law and State ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1945).
6.
For an excellent, detailed account about rules, see "Following a Rule: A Philosophical Analysis", in Van Gunsteren, The Quest for Control, 113-120.
7.
L. Wittgenstein, Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), 34.
9.
For an interesting analysis of law as a process of balancing policies and principles, see R. M. Dworkin, "Is Law a System and Rules?" in R. M. Dworkin, ed., The Philosophy of Law ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), 38-82.

-48-

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In Defense of Political Trials
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter One - The Ubiquitous Political Trial 1
  • Notes 26
  • Chapter Two - Contrasting Theories of the Political Trial 31
  • Notes 48
  • Chapter Three - Defining and Evaluating Political Trials 51
  • Notes 72
  • Chapter Four - Justifying Political Trials 77
  • Notes 98
  • Chapter Five - Political Trials, Science, and Religion: the Proper Relationship Between Church and State 101
  • Notes 120
  • Chapter Six - Political Trials, Science, and Religion: Politics and Medical Science 123
  • Notes 140
  • Cases Cited 143
  • Bibliography 147
  • Index 151
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