Justice Comes First

laws not menIs that the law?–Shylock

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”


Justice, not legality, comes first; unjust laws should not be enforced nor obeyed. The Fugitive Slave Act from long ago is an example.

Shakespeare addresses this question in “The Merchant of Venice.”

Words such as “legal” and “citizen” are not found in the Pledge of Allegiance,” but the phrase “justice for all” is prominent and is found in every version of “The Pledge” since 1892.

“Citizen” occurs rarely in The Constitution and never in the Bill of Rights, which refers only to persons. Justice is the first thing mentioned in The Preamble.


About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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2 Responses to Justice Comes First

  1. josephurban says:

    Liberals believe in the spirit of the law. Authoritarians believe in the letter of the law. Even if the law is made by dictators.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. whungerford says:

    I have wondered about the words “establish Justice.” The “Committee of Stile and Arrangement” could have written “establish Courts,” which would have emphasized means rather than ends. Here is an excerpt from an analysis of The Preamble:

    Injustice, unfairness of laws and in trade, was of great concern to the people of 1787. People looked forward to a nation with a level playing field, where courts were established with uniformity and where trade within and outside the borders of the country would be fair and unmolested.


    Liked by 1 person

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