On my last post reader lumipuma was surprised to hear I had conceived of my blog’s title as a pun, and wrote this comment:
This blog’s name is a pun? Now I’m slightly perplexed on why you’d want to pervert justice, in addition to just wanting pervert justice.
I had always assumed the verb/noun pun was apparent, but as it is not, Lumipuma deserves a serious answer to what is a serious question.
To “pervert justice” definitely has a negative connotation, but I think it’s a connotation that lefties should reject. The vast majority of court-enforced advances in justice (as opposed to new laws passed by legislatures that then advance justice) have been decried as perversions of justice.
In Canada there’s a famous case now called The “Persons” Case (Edwards v. A.G. of Canada) which, I shit you not, was brought because some people thought “persons” did not include women. When women won, that was decried as a perversion of justice.
Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas is another case, this one from the USA, where the outcome was lambasted by many as a perversion of justice.
Abortion rights cases? I’m sure that all of them, anywhere, that advanced or preserved the right to choose for oneself whether or not to have an abortion have been named perversions of justice.
Abbington Township? Perversion of justice.
In recent decades employers being held accountable for firing people with HIV, queer people, and trans people have all been publicly denounced as perversions of justice. Same-legal-sex marriage is a top contender these days in the perversion-of-justice sweepstakes.
There is no end to the list of cases that right wingers will name perversions of justice if the decision doesn’t go their way.
Now of course people on the left will also sometimes label things perversions of justice, and I imagine that I would agree in many or even possibly most of those cases. But the common thread in cases who become publicly known as perversions of justice (not just labeled that randomly in a conversation in a café where neither of us will ever hear about it) is a decision in which a despised person or group is given better than the majority believe they deserve.
People can, of course, be despised for good reasons. Serial killers, serial rapists. The catholic officials who made sure to give pedophiles repeated access to victims. But I don’t think we should decide what is just or not based on how despicable we find one party in a case. I think that’s what we have done too often. And when the despised are found to have rights and access to legal redress, you will inevitably find someone calling it a perversion of justice.
So while I am not in favor of all perversions of justice, all or nearly all the legal causes that are close to my heart would be bound to be called perversions of justice by the right wing.
So as I work for more justice on issues which require the law to work differently than it has in the past, I am advocating for the justice right-wingers envision to be perverted into a justice I can support.
I am not okay with the status quo. I support the ongoing perversion of justice. As we have done in the case of McIvor v. Canada. As we have done with Reed v. Reed. As we have done with Reno v. Flores and Delgamuukw v. British Columbia. As we have done with R v Morganthaler and Roe v Wade. As we have done with Loving v Virginia and Farmer v Brennan.
I will continue to work to pervert justice in the same way as those famous cases have done.