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Legislating to the Exception

November 20, 2010

Listening to the radio during the elections, one commentator slammed a candidate for not authoring any bills while he was in office. Good for him, I thought.

The legislative branch is the law writing arm of the US government. Ideally, they write the laws necessary to protect us from each other, but for far too long, they’ve been writing laws to justify their existence. They act as if the House and Senate exist in a vacuum. From the executive branch, maybe they have. We haven’t had a visionary in office since Roosevelt (a vision, not necessarily a good one). Meanwhile, the judicial branch is supposed to interpret laws. LET THEM.

Take, for example, the desired law to ban texting while driving. Makes sense. Seems like a good law. Except it already exists. It’s called “reckless driving.” The legislature has been writing laws to the exceptions. Lawyers try to exploit vague legal language, but by trying to nail everything down (no driving while texting, or reading, or phoning), lawmakers open the door to what wasn’t nailed down (putting on makeup or eating) to be thrown out of court. Reckless driving is anything that makes you reckless. Cop sees you doing something stupid, he pulls you over. Leave it to the judge to interpret the law. “Did knitting while driving make you take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road? Yes? Guilty!”

Look at “hate” crimes. A “hate” murder is to be treated differently than a “regular” murder? Please. If the murderer needs a heavier sentence, the judge should handle that.

Don’t like the way the judge rules? Vote him out at elections.

Let’s simplify our laws. Have our legislators erase laws for awhile, instead of write them. If a law is needed, check to make sure it isn’t already covered.

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