Camden’s Legal Philosophy

In a letter to James Madison, February 17, 1826, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

… In the selection of our Law Professor, we must be rigorously attentive to his political principles. You will recollect that before the Revolution, Coke Littleton was the universal elementary book of law students, and a sounder Whig never wrote, nor of profounder learning in the orthodox doctrines of the British constitution, or in what were called English liberties. You remember also that our lawyers were then all Whigs. But when his black-letter text, and uncouth. but cunning learning got out of fashion, and the honeyed Mansfieldism of Blackstone became the students’ hornbook, from that moment, that profession (the nursery of our Congress) began to slide into toryism, and nearly all the young brood of lawyers now are of that hue. They suppose themselves, indeed, to be Whigs, because they no longer know what Whigism or republicanism means.

Law, unlike the hard sciences, is a field that not only tolerates corruption, but embraces it. Members of that profession go out of their way to avoid discussing the problem that many court decisions are not just errors, but crimes. Decisions are accepted even when it is obvious that bribery, intimidation, cronyism, bias, or aversion to political pressure induced a decision the judge knew was wrong, and only tried to dress up in twisted rationalizations to cover what he or she did. Yet such corrupt decisions can be and are treated as binding precedents that carry the corruption forward, injuring or ruining the lives of countless people for generations.

-Jon Roland, “Logic of Judges

Fully Informed Jury Movement

There is already a movement and an organization devoted to informing jurors of their power and duty to review the law in a trial. However, its present leadership has adopted the mistaken doctrine that the duty of the jury is to render a verdict based on conscience and a natural sense of justice. That is incorrect. Jurors are judicial officers, just as much as the bench is, even if only for the duration of a trial. The Constitution provides that “… all judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;” It is unconstitutional to have jurors take an oath to “follow the law as given by the judge” or words to that effect. Jurors should take the same oath the bench does, to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States [and of this State]”, or words to the same effect. Their duty is to the governing constitution, not to the presiding officer of the court, who is called “judge”, but shares the duties of judge with the jury when there is one. ….

The Present Divide

We find ourselves in an unstable state of tension between a Mansfieldian judicial establishment that attempts to manipulate trial and grand juries for their own purposes, and juries that have the power, and arguably the duty, to overturn that regime and review the law in a case, who fail to do so only because most of the population today from whom juries are drawn are ignorant or easily manipulated. But in the Age of the Internet the establishment cannot depend on that ignorance or passivity to endure much longer. …

-Jon Roland, “Mansfieldism Reconsidered

Personally, if I were more like Lysander Spooner, Ambrose Bierce, and Thoreau, I might try to change the legal practices of the USA. Instead, I fear I am sliding down the road of Albert Jay Nock – I am fully aware that the government is corrupt, but I fear that reform is impossible.

I am not afire with love for the white race. I love the white race, somewhat. Nor am I afire with a grand, unconditional love for all my fellow creatures. My love for my fellows is sadly conditional. However, I have enough love for the white race to speak honestly about its predicament, and I have enough love for other races to offer them the best ideas of the white race, to do with what they will.