However, I resist being led by the nose. I continually make concerted efforts to educate myself on matters of private and public concern.
Second, I support the letter and spirit of free-speech as in the First Amendment. And, I have had cause to strongly argue against attempts to stifle free speech by pretentious do-gooders. However, no one should be allowed to hide under the cloak of free speech to fling mud wantonly at law-abiding U. S. citizens and nationals. One of the subsisting tenets of the American rule of law, as I understand it, is that criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty, and civil innocent until proven liable. What does not cease to amaze some of us is how even some folks with law degrees argue publicly that, regardless of a subsisting ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction to the contrary, certain citizens are still guilty (or liable) in their own eyes. If that is not recklessness to the nth power, I wonder what is.
One citizen’s right stops where the right of another begins. The same judicature that protects free speech for Americans also protects (and justifiably so) Americans against defamation or slander. Legally, defamation and slander are identical. They harm plaintiff. The difference is that slander is oral and defamation is written (Black’s Law Dictionary, West, 2011).
The issue in the post-mortem case of Michael Jackson (and other similar instances) is whether or not a decedent has any vestigial rights to be protected against defamation or slander. Two perspectives; 1) from the position of what the law is; and 2) from the position of what the law should be. The position of what the law is should be determined by the court system (the judiciary) up to the Supreme Court. The position of what the law should be is a matter for us (“we, the people”) acting through our elected representatives who are expected to responsibly legislate for the people’s yearnings and aspirations.
By proxy (through decedents’ estates), the dead have obligation to pay tax to the U. S. government. By proxy, the dead can sue or be sued. Foreseeably, the estate of the dead may suffer grave damages (no pun intended) from unchecked defamatory acts of others against the dead. The dead are not invariably without survivors, heirs, descendants, assignees and others whose constitutionally protected rights may be breached by how the dead are treated, mistreated, maltreated or ignored.
If the dead continue to carry obligations to the Union, transcending their physicality, the minimum the Union is sensibly and judicially expected to do in return is protect certain rights for the dead and their survivors. 48 states in the Union and 42 senators already recognize the need for this kind of protection, as they demonstrated in the recent, odious desecration of a service man whose only ‘crime’ was making the ultimate sacrifice for his beloved America.
The judiciary, up to the U. S. Supreme Court, would be justified to hold that the law could be an wisenheimer, it is still the law until it is changed. The law must be enforced as is. No problem. What is conveniently ignored is that construction (interpretation) of the law is no exact science; one reason two equally competent Supreme Court Justices might conclude differently on the same case file.
Do judges always recuse themselves from cases in which they may have potential grounds for biasing their rulings? Not really. Is it the law that is the wisenheimer in such cases? No. The law may indeed be a wisenheimer. As laymen, we get that. What we do not get, as responsible lay-citizens, is the judicial or common sense in continuing to be governed by a wisenheimer or an army of them.
The smart choice is for Americans to instigate their elected representatives to legislate wisenheimer-like laws off the books. We can also do more to help our honorable Justices remain honorable in the precedents they set or omit to set. We do not want activist judges operating like politicians-in-drag. Simultaneously, we do not need judges who will shy away from setting legal precedents necessary for strengthening delivery of justice as envisaged by framers of the piece of legislation at issue.
This is the rationale for all men and women of goodwill to rally round efforts to institute and protect the rights of the dead, Michael Jackson and all. Even if for no other reason, do it for selfish ends. Yes, selfish ends! Your own ends! Just in case you forgot for a moment, you too will be dead one day, right? As you lay your bed, you lie on it. If you do not lay your bed now, who knows whether you will even have a bed left to lay when the time comes.
Concerned Anonymous Contributor to Cadeflaw Initiative
Submitted: March 17, 2011
“People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.”
Leave Michael Jackson and the other DECEASED alone.