Rubens, The Judgment of Paris
The accused stands helpless before the judge.
Pen is poised to determine right from wrong.
In one arbitrary stroke,
Life is suddenly decided.
Do judges have Tao? Dispassionate to the point of cruelty, making distinctions on the basis of arbitrary rules, can they be a part of a humanistic view of Tao? The answer depends on the context. If you are speaking of the Tao of nature-loving hermits, the answer is no. No one has the right to pass judgment on another. If you are speaking of society, however, those who follow Tao accept the necessity of set rules.
Those laws are the Tao of the society. Once you are in the world of people and away from the world of nature, you are immersed in dualistic distinctions. Then concepts such as righteousness and mercy have meaning. Judgment is the process of comparing ideas in order to find agreement or disagreement with the Tao of society. The facts must be thoroughly examined. Judges trust clearly and wisely apply distinctions. that which agrees is the truth.
In the same way, we are all compelled to examine the ongoing circumstances of our lives. That is part of the responsibility of being human. Embracing Tao will not exempt you from the need to render judgments and make decisions. We are both the ultimate judge and the accused. When your final day comes, you yourself must be the examiner. Did you do well? Or did you squander your precious existence? You must decide.
“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” — Paulo Coelho
“We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience.” — Howard Zinn
I’m not much of one for judging others. I tend to go more from my perceptions than my judgments. I can be very judgmental of myself at times, although I’ve pretty much gotten over that. I hate being judged by others. They can never see more than their own side of things, just as I can never see more than my side. But I think others see me as judgmental and critical at times, even when I’m trying not to be that way. I need to work more on my delivery, I guess.
As for judgment in our society right now, I think it’s crucial that we maintain judges who are as impartial as possible. Recent events have shown that impartial judgment is critical in our society right now, as evenly divided as it is by the moralistic side and the more liberal side.
But these are the kind of judges the right wants appointed now:
Justice Owen, along with Justice Janice Rogers Brown of the California Supreme Court, is now at the center of the partisan battle in the Senate over changing the filibuster rules. Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican leader, said Friday that the two state justices, whose confirmations have been blocked by Democrats, would be brought to the Senate floor as part of the fight over changing the rules.
Justice Owen was, by all accounts, a respected but little-known lawyer in Houston in 1994 when she was first elected to the State Supreme Court with Mr. Rove’s support and tutelage. Her experience up to then largely involved obscure legal cases involving pipelines and federal energy regulations.
At the time, Mr. Rove was helping to make over the Texas Supreme Court from a bench populated by Democrats widely viewed as favorable to the plaintiffs’ bar – the lawyers who sue companies – to the business-friendly Republican stronghold it is today.
Ms. Owen would probably never have had a chance to run for the Supreme Court, because everyone considered it a hopeless task to oppose the enormously popular incumbent, Justice Lloyd Doggett. But when a Congressional seat opened up suddenly, Justice Doggett, a Democrat, decided to leave the court and run for the House. Ms. Owen found herself the Republican nominee in a state turning increasingly Republican.
Mr. Rove, who had helped select her as the Republican candidate, helped raise more than $926,000 for her campaign, almost half from lawyers and others who had business before the court, according to Texans for Public Justice, a liberal group in Austin that tracks Texas campaign donations. Mr. Rove’s firm was paid some $247,000 in fees.
Even on the conservative, all-Republican bench that the State Supreme Court had become, Justice Owen occasionally stood out among her colleagues, sometimes in tandem with another justice, Nathan Hecht. In no situation was this more so than in cases involving the interpretation of a state law providing for a teenage girl to obtain an abortion without notifying her parents if she can show a court that she is mature enough to understand the consequences.
In one dissent, Justice Owen said the teenager in the case had not demonstrated that she knew that there were religious objections to abortion and that some women who underwent abortions had experienced severe remorse.
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