Monday, April 16, 2012

Law and Society: Do the Powerful Use Law For Social Ordering?

Students sometimes express an understanding of law as immutable moral codes.  Sometimes students begin a Legal Environment class with an inherent understanding that law is a "thing"  - like a tree in the woods - it just exists in nature and grows and develops on its own. I try to expose students to consider that law is the product of humans who make value judgments and public policy decisions about what the law will be and what it will try to accomplish.  Some followers of the Sociological Jurisprudence school of thought might say that law is used as a tool by powerful elements in society to maintain a social ordering that keeps them at the top. Others have said that law is often a crude tool and cannot be wielded like a scalpel to excise only undesirable conduct.

The following clip from the Daily Show reporting the Tucson Brd. of Education's elimination of the K-12 Mexican-American Studies Program addresses some of these points.  I think that it clearly demonstrates that law is manufactured by human beings with agendas to pursue. Law is not a unversal truth or morality that exists naturally.  And in this case, the law is in fact wielded surgically to excise conduct that was not in favor with the ruling class.

Click here or on image below to see video:

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