Blog: Worries on rule of judges

Worries on rule of judges
Worries on rule of judges
Date: 2018-Mar-22 00:10:33 EST

For a long time I've read the occasional complaint, from all over the political spectrum, about rule of judges - to be something ridiculous. Usually because it was used to analyse a particular situation where there was a very simple explanation for why the law works the way it does.

I think I've come to see a sense where this complaint makes sense; there is a lot of effective regulation that comes out of broad interpretation of various legal ideas, and a bad working definition easily leads to legal or civil risk without there being any explicit law to point to. It's also worrisome that often these interpretations probably have little public support and would disqualify a lot of the mainstream from various kinds of work (I use the word "disqualify" here a bit loosely, meaning that were they to act by their conscience in various jobs, they would face legal or civil risk). One case in point is harassment, where a traditional understanding would be that it's unwanted contact, but in many large tech companies HR will tell you that it's expression of certain opinions on social or political issues that might offend somebody. Could we point at laws that define it that way? Usually not. It's just interpretations.

I'm not arguing for originalism or legalism on these topics, but when interpretations impose effective requirements outside what the mainstream might accept, that's a problem.