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Friday, June 12, 2015

The Evolution of the Common Law

When the Magna Carta was first introduced back in 1215, it was nothing new! Even prior to 1066, when the English Common Law was finally codified, the principles of freedom which shaped these documents were in circulation. The Magna Carta, or Great Charter, was first brought to King John of England as a list of complaints/demands from certain of his nobles in a bid to ease their 'suffering' at the hands of the Angevinian monarchy. Though such was the original case, the Magna Carta opened the sluice, so to speak, allowing for further interpretation & along with the preexistent Common Law, eventually formed the basis for the Constitution's Bill of Rights!

The Common Law as codified first in England was based, not upon monarchical decision or statute law, but upon the decision of the courts, what is often referred to as case law, that which was established by representatives of the common people! In opposition to common law, though somewhat its basis, statutory law is one set, not by precedent, but by legislation. The Law of the Land, though by its nature based on statutes established beforehand, in English society anyway, is ruled more by the Common Law, or precedential law established by the courts.

In this country, though we are still governed more or less by the principles of common law, thanks to the corruptive influence of its politics, statutory law has taken its place! The courts, in particular the Supreme Court, still establish precedent according to the common law, but, as their decisions are most often influenced by corrupt politics, their decisions most often favor the elite or those who can best line the pockets of the court! The Common Law, though still beneficial to the common man or woman, has become less & less precedential over the years, Rather, it has become more & more statutory in nature!

Along similar lines, when the Ten Commandments were handed down on Mount Sinai, they were in essence statutory law! Under the ordained system of judges, though, the decisions handed down in individual cases became the Law of the Land. Rather than being etched in stone, this became A Living Document, one that would evolve & expand according to individual needs & understandings! In much the same way, through our system of common law, what was originally determined by statute is now made more conformable to the common law & the needs of individual cases!

As we have noted, due to corruption in politics, what was once A Living Document ( the Constitution ) has become barely recognizable as such! What was based upon English Common Law has become mostly statutory, at best based on the individual cases of an elite, or whoever can afford their form of justice! Although we still are governed by a form of the Common Law in this nation, no longer is it based upon the English Common Law it once was! The statutes, though handed down by the Supreme Court, no longer benefit the common man & woman as they were designed to do; they are arranged ( politically ) for the benefit of those elite who can afford its 'justice'!

All is not lost; there is hope for the Common People! The One who laid down the Law in the Beginning has given us such A Living Document; not one etched in stone, so to speak, but one irrevocably etched into our hearts, minds & consciousness. The Creator of the Universe has set His Law in each of our hearts so that it can grow & expand with each of us on an individual or case level. It is only by returning to His Law that we can ever hope to again engage His Creation in a Common Law!

Because every individual is different ( thank God! ), we MUST have a Common Law to govern them by; we have seen previously how a Law etched in stone ( statutory ) worked! Due to the intricacies of human nature & our easy corruptibility, that sort of Law does not work very well for very long. With a Common Law, though, one based on individual case-matter, even with human corruptibility factored in, the Law is established on an individual basis, rather than an immovable statute which can only bring death!

Charles Haddon Shank




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