Our Threatened Freedom

Is Our Judicial System Collapsing? (03:56)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00 Is our judicial system collapsing? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom. An increasingly common problem today is the decay and delay in our judicial system. In many cases where a criminal is caught in the act, a dismissal results, after many delays and postponements of the trial. The reason is that after a period of time, witnesses move away or die, and the charges are dismissed. In civil suits, the matter is even worse. In some of our major cities, it takes almost five years for a civil case to come to trial.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:44 The practical consequences of this are far-reaching. Where money and property are tied up, how many people can afford to wait five years? One retired judge in Los Angeles has said recently that the costs of civil suits are so great that it does not pay to sue unless more than $20,000 is at stake. This means that for most of us, the courts offer no hope in civil cases. In criminal cases, the fact is that a crime committed against us or our property will cost us far more than it will the offender. Very plainly, our legal system is failing to fulfill its purpose. Instead of providing us with courts of justice, it is providing us with roadblocks to justice.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:40 One criminal lawyer, in answer to complaints about continual postponements and delaying tactics, said, “If all we wanted from the system was instant justice, we could all look to Ayatollah Khalkhali or Idi Amin.” Are these the alternatives, the tyranny of arbitrary courts on the one hand and the tyranny of courts which never function on the other? Is there not an alternative of justice fairly and quickly administered?

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:19 One of our problems is the courts themselves have created so many roadblocks and technical exceptions to judicial process that the passage of justice has become an unduly slow and constipated process. In some instances, as much time is spent now in selecting a jury as was once spent on an entire case. Appellate courts reverse decisions on trifling details, and retrials become necessary. The arbitrary reversals by the US Supreme Court result in paralysis in the lower courts, as judges lean backwards to avoid endangering a case by giving the Supreme Court any grounds to overrule them. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees to the accused in all criminal prosecutions “The right to a speedy and public trial.” Today, many of the accused do not want a speedy trial. They gain more by many and long delays. What we need is some kind of guarantee to victims, and to the public, of a speedy trial of all those accused of some kind of crime. The guarantee should work both ways, or else the innocent, and freedom itself, will be penalized. This has been R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder