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Is “American Justice” an Oxymoron?

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The Times’s (London) hyper-Tory columnist William Rees-Mogg thinks that it is, particularly when one considers the layer of stain applied by Fredo:

Americans are well aware of the horrid faults of their legal system, but they still like to think that it is the best in the world. Its abuses include plea bargaining, class actions, Hollywood actions, Guantanamo Bay, racism, elected district attorneys looking for votes, hick justice in states such as Arkansas, federal patronage of prosecutors and judges, the politicisation of the Supreme Court, the squalor and brutality of big federal and state prisons and the aggressive ruthlessness of tax and regulatory authorities.

He’s right that all of these things reflect a sordid atmosphere around American justice–a cross between Savonarola and Dick Cheney. But let us not forget that much of it is the legacy of all the things that Charles Dickens decried in Bleak House, which I was up late last night reading, and on which I will have more to say soon. The concerns are appropriate for our own times, I’m afraid.

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