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So, after the colonists shook their fists at the fancy pants king and told him to put his laws you-know-where, they figured it would be a good idea to come up with their own laws. And that's exactly what they did in 1789 with the United States Constitution. The Constitution was ratified after much debate. The end.
No! There was so much more fighting, of course! Americans have been arguing about what the law should look like since before we even became a country, so no one thought that should stop with the adoption of the constitution! The Founding Fathers knew there would be lots of questions they couldn't answer all at once.
It is a good thing we had a legal system in place. Different sides present their case, and since everyone has something at stake, they do their very best to illuminate every relevant fact so that the decision-maker can make an informed decision. Tempers flare, but at the end of the day, adversaries must come back to the table and there must be a decision. This process is structured to draw out the facts behind the opinions so that the facts from both sides can be analyzed and tested right next to each other. Because a judge must make a decision based on the analysis of competing facts, the general idea is that the side with bad facts will lose.
So here's our chance to look at legal issues in a smart way. Let's offer all the facts we can. Let's find the facts we agree on, let's see how the law applies, and let's see where we can compromise for the sake of competing interests. Of course, we won't always compromise, but when we can't perhaps we can live out the true genius of the Founding Fathers' big idea and keep their conversation of democracy going.
Maybe, in the process, we will understand each other just a little bit better. --Vanessa Hague