Judicial Obligation of Duty in the Face of Private Preferences
“I want to share John Adams impression of the British soldiers who had been involved in the Boston Massacre. The Boston Massacre happened in 1770. At that point, tensions between British colonists and the Crown were high. British soldiers were stationed in Boston. The Bostonians would taunt the soldiers stationed there. That escalated to mobs forming, more taunting, then violence. It ended with the British soldiers firing into the crowd and killing five people. The soldiers were charged with murder and public pressure was that they be lynched. They could not find counsel to represent the soldiers, until John Adams stepped up. He was a patriot and could not have had a lot of sympathy for the British soldiers. However, he believed that it was vital that the British soldiers received a fair trial. He believed that the American cause for self-government would be harmed if Boston justice was not truly just. So, he agreed to represent the soldiers. He was reviled by many Bostonians for doing so. He faced intense public pressure for his decision to represent the enemy.
“Here is what Adams, himself, had to say about it, ‘I have devoted myself to endless labor and anxiety, if not to infamy and to death, and that for nothing, except what was and ought to be, all in all, a sense of duty.’ John Adams put aside personal preferences. He stood up to public pressure, and he did his duty. Moreover, he did it to the best of his ability. He didn’t do his grudging, minimal best. He did his absolute best. The captain was acquitted, and most of the soldiers were. Those who were not, escaped the death penalty.
“John Adams did this as a lawyer, adhering to duty in the face of a contrary personal or political preference. A judge is even more so obligated. A judge is obligated to apply the law as it is, and not as they wish it would be. They are obliged to follow the law, even when personal preferences cut the other way, or when they will receive great public criticism for doing so.” (Judge Amy Coney Barrett)
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17; ESV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
- Intercede for the 9 current Supreme Court Justices.
- Say, “Our justices will judge with righteous judgement, within the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution. They will judge within the rule of law, and not according to their preference or political persuasion or to avoid public criticism.”
- Pray regarding religious freedom, “So, what does this all mean? If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who then could ever stand against us?” (Romans 8:31; TPT)
- Decree the 1st Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
- Declare these words from the U.S. Declaration of Independence regarding life, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A prayer you can pray:
Lord and Judge of the whole earth, may the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court feel the weight of the obligation of their office. We say they will judge with righteous judgement, within the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution. They will judge within the rule of law, and not according to their preference or political persuasion or to avoid public criticism. Like our founding father, John Adams, they will understand the impact of justice upon those that come before them seeking justice. Decisions based on anything other than the rule of law can destroy the lives of those seeking it. Father, those decisions can be very hard to make emotionally. We are sure John Adams struggled with this. They can be very unpopular, but that is why we have a constitution to guide us. More and more frequently, religious liberty cases are coming to the Court. More and more often, preborn life issues are winding their way to the Supreme Court. Our Constitution protects those precious lives and our liberty as Believers. God, help these men and women to stay true to their office and fulfill their obligation to the U.S. Constitution. Let them not deviate into emotion and any need for affirmation. Thank you, Jesus, amen.
The 9 justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will apply the law as it is and not as they wish it would be!
1 Excerpted from a speech Judge Amy Coney Barrett presented at Hillsdale College in May 2019.