31/05: June 8, 2010 Election - Letter to Judges
As part of my research into judicial candidates this year, I crafted a question to email out to the judicial candidates in my area. The letter I came up with read as follows (italicized text was omitted in Mark Ameli's letter, as he was the first I emailed):
As a voter, I was wondering if you could offer me some brief thoughts on what the rule of law means to you, and what responsibility you see individual citizens as having in promoting their own welfare, and the welfare of society, and what kinds of limitations you see to that responsibility.
I had at first considered crafting a letter that asked about thoughts on specific current events, but I had my doubts that such a question would be well received, so I crafted this letter instead, with a question that is fairly obtuse, but which I felt might reveal something about the candidates' ways of thinking about the relationship between the people and the law.
I have thus far received 6 responses, and will update this blog entry if I receive any more. The responses I have received follow, in the order received:
Thank you for your email. You ask a complex and excellent philosophical question. I can try to give you a direct answer, to the extent I understand your somewhat broad question.
The rule of law is the foundation upon which our society is built. As a current judicial officer, it is my job to fairly apply the law, not to create it. Laws are to be created by the legislative branch, and they are to be applied by the judicial branch.
Each citizen has a responsibilty to understand and to obey the law. Unjust laws may be challenged by a citizen by utilizing the legal process, and not by simple anarchy.
Despite its flaws, our legal system works, and I take pride in being a part of it.
Thank you so very much for your inquiry. Please review my statements on my website www.margolin4judge.com. I have essays written on that website in reference to some of my thoughts. In direct reply to your question-An average person in our community, cares as much about safety and children and law and order as any prosecutor might. Having been an attorney for over (20) twenty years my experience in promoting the rule of law for my clients is something I have vast experience in. The rule of law and the welfare of the society, is not just criminal law but all of the federal, state and local laws and rules. As a judge my job is to interpret and enforse these laws. I look forward to doing that once elected to the Superior Court of Los Angeles. Without the watchdog civil and criminal attorneys, chaos is the rule of law. Civil attorneys provide protection from those that would seek to interfere with the laws and rules that protect us all and keep us safe from negligence and fraud. Criminal Attorneys attempt to dole out justice to keep the streets and our society safe from crime only. We all do our part as citizens to follow the law. The enforcement of the laws are up to the Judge and Jury and attorneys representing us all.
Please vote on June 8.
Thank you for your interest in me and my campaign for judge.
Elizabeth A. Moreno
As a judge I am ethically bound to follow legal precedent, which includes the U.S. Constitution and that any changes to the U.S. constitution come in the form of amendments and are a matter for the legislative branch. It is individuals citizens responsibility to affect changes in the law through the legislative branch. Changes in the law through the legislative branch or the majority of the votes cast by citizens should not be contrary to but subject to the parameters of the U.S. Constitution and its amendments. I consider the U. S. Constitution and its subsequent amendments an important document.
Thank you for contacting me. You are actually the second person to ask me that question in the past week. I feel very strongly that judges should not be legislating from the bench. Although I support the right of individuals to attempt to change laws they believe are unjust or outdated (through advocacy and the legislative process), I don't believe that judges, particularly at the trial court level, should be doing so from the bench.
Our government has three distinct branches for a reason. When judges attempt to manipulate laws to reach a particular outcome, their efforts can undermine the structures that we have in place to ensure we reside in a just and equitable society. I have publicly stated that if I am elected, I will follow existing law and precedent, even if a situation arises where I don't agree with it. I would be pleased to have your support and I thank you for caring enough to ask the question.
C. Edward Mack
Thank you so much for your inquiry and interest in the judicial election.
The rule of law is the foundation of our society. It springs directly from our Constitution. Sometimes the rule of law needs adjustments by the legislative branch or by citizen propositions. When laws are unjust and the legislative bodies refuse to act, it is the duty of the citizens to take action. This is the responsibility of every individual citizen. Only when the majority of citizens vote to initiate laws which are clearly contra to our founding Constitution should the p[owers that be take action to try to limit their actions.
I hope this was helpful.
Mark K. Ameli
I apologize for the long delay in responding to your E-Mail. Aside from the tremendously busy schedule, your question was very profound and required some thinking on my part. We all should take responsibility for our own welfare and the welfare of our family. As a part of my community service I have been involved in gang violence prevention and I have studied cultural issues which contribute to gang violence. If all the citizens took more responsibility for their family and their children, we would have much fewer gang members and a lot less gang violence. Therefore, I do believe that personal responsibility is of utmost importance.
Taking responsibility for the welfare of one's society, is a more difficult issue. I was reading somewhere that if you want to find yourself, you should lose yourself in the service to others. I believe that if we serve our community, we will serve ourselves better and we will be happier as a community. This service may take different forms. Some serve through charity and others through civil service. Regardless of your inclination, you may serve your community in many different ways.
I do believe that regardless of what we do, it will have to be done within the framework of the laws of our country and I will ascertain that such laws are complied with to their fullest extent in my courtroom.
Thank you for your question.