Since our class discussion on jury nullification I have had numerous conversations with my peers on the topic. Before reading Paul Butler I knew very little about the practice and have since looked into it further. The majority of the people I have explained the process to tend to like the concept of it. They have said that it “gives a voice to the average citizen” and “gives someone the ability to make a difference.” Despite their opinion’s I tend to disagree with the process and think that it is very undemocratic.
My first problem with it is that I feel it blatantly disregards our government and how it works. We popularly elect congressmen and women as well as senators to create legislation for our country. We are democratic in the sense that everyone that is a citizen has the opportunity to vote for their representative. Because of this we trust these individuals to produce legislation that is fair and just as they represent us. For an average citizen to have the ability to disregard the legislation passed by these individuals is ludicrous to me. A juror’s job is to interpret the law and based on the facts provided by the case come to a verdict. When this process is ignored and a juror disregards the law because they don’t agree with it that isn’t democracy, it’s anarchy.
To me if their is a law that is unjust it should be congress’s job to fix it. The courts job is to interpret what their given, not rewrite it. I think the perfect example of this is the Lilly Ledbetter case. Ledbetter was an employer at a Goodyear in Gadsen, Alabama where she was discriminated against because she was female. She was given documents that showed she was getting paid less than her male co-workers so she sued and the case went all the way up to the supreme court. They ruled that employers cannot be sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 over race or gender pay discrimination if the claims are based on decisions made by the employer 180 days ago or more.
Now before I go any further I wanna clarify that I think this is bullsh*it. Ledbetter in my opinion, should have been compensated the raises she was unfairly denied. But the supreme court did their job and interpreted the law how it was written. At this point it was up to the executive and legislative branches of government to solve this injustice. President Obama later signed a bill called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
To me this is the most democratic way to fight injustice in America. I think the court should be used to bring attention to an injustice in society but I don’t believe the burden of changing it should be on the court since their job is simply to interpret each situation. Basically I believe that if congress simply did their job we wouldn’t have as much burden on the court.