Law from a Computer Science Perspective
When it comes to cases involving the judiciary or police conduct I often find myself in disagreement with Justice Antonin Scalia — these are relatively minor, often under exposed cases that may approach the eighth amendment. He is much more of a Law and Order, Authority type fellow than I. But on many more, larger issues of constitutionality the man is a hero. His opinions on Obamacare, DC v Heller, McDonald v Chicago, and Kelo should be read in full. Frequently I tell friends and family, “Remember to pray for the continued good health of Antonin Scalia.” Heller and McDonald were found in favor of the American people and our freedoms by one vote, and Kelo was found in favor of the government by one vote. The margins in the Supreme Court are razor thin on issues that impact us all. I am not alone in thanking God for Scalia. But he’s an older gentleman: Scalia is 79 as of this writing, and at the end of the next president’s term he will be 84, 88 if they get two terms.
Often the Supreme Court and other courts will attempt to shortcut through law to get the moral or legal result they want. Kelo is one such case, while Obergefell is as well. Roe v Wade was also determined more from an emotional level than a legal one: I am not arguing for or against the latter two here, because that’s besides the point. The problem is that they used suspect logic to get from one point to another. This is the equivalent of a GOTO in programming — and GOTO is universally reviled.
Law, like computer code, must follow logic and reason in order to remain valid. Bugs in software code can cost companies millions. Bugs in law can cost people their lives. Introducing code that doesn’t follow the established flow of a program can introduce bugs — assuming the program even functions — and so can introducing law that doesn’t have an established precedent or logic. Legislating from emotion is a fast way to short circuit the legal system.
Left or right, we need people on the Supreme Court — a lifetime appointment — who will work from a position of logic and not emotion. Too often now it seems to be the latter, and not the former. The next President may well get many opportunities for new appointments: Scalia, as mentioned, is 79 and will be 80 in March. Breyer is 77. Kennedy is also 79. Ginsburg is 82. Thomas, Alito, and Sotomayor are in their sixties and thus unlikely to retire or have severe health issues. Roberts (spit) is only sixty and thus we are likely stuck with Bush’s failure for many years to come.
What sort of people do you suppose the anti-gun lunatics on the left will put forth? What sort of people will the big government Republicans put forth? At best men like Jeb, Rubio, and Christie would nominate more men like Roberts. At best Clinton and Sanders would nominate someone like Kennedy.