March 17th, 2011 16:41 EST
Words Becoming Laws
There`s a long-standing and ongoing wrestling match between Congress and the Courts regarding whose job it is to define what the words mean that are enacted into law by Congress. How often do we hear some elected official complaining that a judge has distorted the intent of Congress by imposing his or her own will and misinterpreting one of the laws they passed? What we never see in all the rhetoric on this subject is . . . you guessed it . . . the truth.
What`s overlooked is the general inability of Congress, and often its unwillingness, to write clear statutory language in the first place. Good lawyers everywhere, trying to advise their clients, or acting as Judges trying to determine legislative intent and valid constitutionality, will tell you the preeminent issue facing them lies in the vague and often contradictory language we see in the laws that our Congress enacts. On occasion, such as in the most recent Healthcare legislation, this vagueness is quite purposeful, if not by sheer laziness then ostensibly to stymie judicial upset and allow implementation by appointed panels of bureaucrats charged with determining Congressional intent by publishing regulations which may or may not be what Congress told the people it was enacting or what is constitutionally acceptable.
Our main interest as businesspersons or individuals is how Congress` words are implemented. Until some lawyer or judge or bureaucrat tells us what we need to consider doing or not doing, these statutes are mere words on paper. At the point of implementation we may rebel or give thanks, but if the words are not absolutely clear as they apply to us we are left at the mercy of one of those lawyers, judges, or, worse yet, appointed bureaucrats with an agenda.
So . . . the next time you hear Senators from either Party complain about Judges making their own law and thereby usurping the role of Congress, tell them to write and pass laws that are clear and precise and it won`t be necessary for the Courts to do their job for them.
By Jay Lillie
A New York lawyer who has spent time working with the White House and on Capitol Hill in several administrations, Lillie specializes in international and financial transactions representing American, European and Japanese clients in over 40 countries. Throughout his career Lillie has met and dealt with his share of brilliant minds and rascals amid serious conflicts of culture and self-preservation. Lillie is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Wharton.
Lillie`s first novel, Havana Passage, was released in 2005, and was followed by Pacific Rebound in 2008 and Justice in 2010. The scenes portrayed in these stories come out of his journeys around the globe doing deals for various clients, including Havana where he accompanied other lawyers in the Person to Person visit over 10 days in 2003. Lillie has appeared on national television and dozens of radio shows with lively discussions on foreign affairs, and international stars, charlatans and demigods, some of whom you might meet in his novels.
For more information on the author, please visit www.jaylillie.com. To purchase a copy of Justice please visit or www.amazon.com , www.borders.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.