William Wayne Justice: a Judicial Biography

Introduction

Judge Wayne Justice, now deceased, presided over federal and state district court in the state of Texas, where the cases under his jurisdiction were considered. His decisions and verdicts, as described in the book William Wayne Justice: A Judicial Biography, pioneered widespread reforms in litigation. This was particularly evident when he ruled on cases involving racist segregation and the handling of convicts in Texas prisons. Contrary to circuit procedures and court jurisdictions, effects of Justice’s decisions were felt throughout America, and they revolutionized the justice system of America as it is known today. Consequently, an attempt is made herein to summarize and react to his biography, especially relating to chapters four, seven, eight, nine and fifteen in Kemerer’s William Wayne Justice: A Judicial Biography.

Jurisdiction and Precedence

It is common knowledge and practice that decrees issued by Supreme Courts affect each and every circuit court across all the states of the US. In practice, they have always been an attempt to deter or reduce flaws in jurisprudence that often led to circuit split and forum shopping. Chapter four illustrates how Justice’s rulings and geographical jurisdiction in the Eastern District of Texas did not restrict his influence over the law of the land. His first rulings on such cases as Ruiz v. EstelleI and United States v. Texas saw the implementation of prison reforms all over Texas and the United States. Reference to similar cases is common in litigations.

The chapter underscores the importance of life of Justice as a judge and its influence on the US jurisprudence. Other issues also mentioned in this chapter include the progressive growth of the judiciary, under which Justice practiced. The change can be purportedly said to be gradual since the number of senior judges grew by six in period of two decades. This, however, did not deter Justice from his remarkable strides in bringing the US litigation to the 21st century. It is clear that he loved his job and jurisdiction lamenting at one time that Paris (eastern Texas) felt like Athens (where he grew up).

Justice on the Development and Interpretation of Basic Rights

Since sixth grade, Justice already began having an eye on the benefits and implications stipulated under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. In chapter seven, Justice’s perpetual and avid support of this law is described. The consistency of his rulings under various settings included the segregation case that fell under this law. At one time, Richards was seen to had eyed Justice’s hippie approach to the facets of this law. The chapter under discussion mostly focuses on the rights attributed to this law, such as the Mexican-American discriminations in its context at the time.

In this chapter, one can look into the essence of the First Amendment in defining basic rights that caused discontent, misinterpretation and utter ignorance in the 20th century. Justice viewed the right to congregate as having been infringed by rampant discrimination and segregation during the most part of the 20thcentury.

Voter Discrimination

Throughout his practice, Justice acclimatized, expanded and even conceived various perspectives and interpretations of voter discrimination. Initially, during his time, minorities and black people in particular were not allowed to vote, but the way Justice swiftly acted in such cases brought changes in the voting culture of America. Chapter eight gives a description of how voter litigations swept across the South. At that time, for instance, Appling became the first black person to pursue a suit on voter discrimination. It can be seen that most of Justice’s consequent rulings on voter discrimination resulted from his long years of presiding over Texas voting discrimination cases. Consequently, the court began repealing Texas statutes that bordered on the prohibition of African Americans from voting.

The practice of deterring African Americans from participating in voting is currently abolished thanks to the efforts of Justice. His rulings were very unpopular and controversial in his time, when segregation had become a culture and norm. Violence often punctuated such controversies, but Justice established common laws that began to revolutionize the electoral laws of America. It is through these common laws that statutes were built to become immutable laws of the land.

Universal Education

In 1978, Justice presided over the case of Doe v. Plyler, whose ramifications were, once again, not bound by geographical jurisdictions. The major concerns under such case encompassed the right to acquire state funding and support in educating unregistered immigrant children. Justice affirmed the right of the state to revoke its support based on the grounds that immigrants illegitimately resided in the US, but was quick to complain that the economic gains made by the state through taxing undocumented immigrants far outweighed their expenditure on social services. Under this case, Justice decreed in favor of the undocumented children.

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This can be considered the moment when universal education started. Certainly, geographical jurisdiction did not bind such reforms and jurisprudence from Justice. Presumably, Justice must have seen the imperative nature of universal education as a forerunner to contemporary progression. Thus, due to this ruling, America today can be proud of its small percentage of uneducated persons within its jurisdictions.

Convict Treatment under Sentence

The current reforms and improvements in the treatment of prisoners to a great extent derived from the thoughts and reactions of Justice, according to this chapter. Justice was clearly discontented with the mistreatment and abuse of inmates and the one-sided dimension of related cases. It is evident that Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) concealed human rights abuses during trials during and after Justice decreed the criminality of these abuses. Discussions in this chapter detail processes and events of how Justice decreed and handled court procedures pertaining to the case Ruiz v. EstelleI.

Therefore, one can agree that if it was not for Justice’s rulings, reforms in the prison system as it is today may have been omitted. The utter discontent with human rights by the departments of corrections would have been rampant and uncurbed. It is from this case that convicts were seen to possess individual rights despite a thought that they could not be trusted.

Conclusion

It is clear that Justice and his unpopular but revolutionizing decrees are one of a kind. They dealt with issues that ranged from various types of discrimination to utter disregard of human rights and basic rights under the First Amendment. His rulings formed a huge chunk of common and statutory laws that profoundly impacted the American Judiciary. Kemerer’s biography of a district court judge who presided over cases at a time of extensive judicial reformations can be argued to be rear. The reforms he is associated with can be considered profoundly pioneering and had formed and shall form precedent for any consequent and pertinent cases. Justice affirms the old rule of justice, which is being impartial, ruthless and blind. One should not judge him as a hippie, especially in cases that differ from anticipated social order and acceptance.

The chapters summarized and elaborated herein can be said to generally have ideas that relate to convict treatment while serving a sentence, the importance of universal education, the protection of human rights under the Fifth Amendment and voter discrimination. Justice was able to positively influence the development of jurisprudence in the interpretation of various concepts and factors relating to these generalized topics.

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