With all the debate and commentary on the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Republican effort to seat another Justice of the Supreme Court as soon as possible, I couldn’t help but recall how many memories I have of visiting my grandfather’s courtroom and and listening to the cases that came before him when I was a boy. He was on the bench in Chicago for six years from 1960-1966 when he retired.
I used to love to watch Grandpa work. In fact, I was on the bench next to him many times and I was privileged to see (and spend time with) many famous members of the court whenever I visited my grandfather’s chambers. I now realize how special those times were and how much I learned sitting on that bench next to Grandpa.
Then, as now, I have hoped that the Court could stay out of the political fray and that Congress, as well as the White House, could employ a bi-partisan effort to seat another Justice to replace the recently deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But it seems that our political system is more divided than it ever has been, even though there have been some very heated disagreements throughout the life of our country when it comes to the Supreme Court.
Tomorrow, the first Monday in October, is the day that the Court will open for the new term. And one of my favorite movies of all time, appropriately named “First Monday in October” was made in 1981, starring Walter Matthau and Jill Clayburgh. Its release happened just after Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed to the bench and I try to watch the movie every several years. In fact, Janet and I just finished watching it on Amazon Prime this evening! What a great movie about our justice system.
It is interesting to note that God was the architect of the judicial system. Moses, at the urging of his father-in-law, Jethro, was the first person who employed judges to assist him in administering justice to the people of God. Back in the day, as disputes arose, Moses didn’t have time to settle all the disagreements and a system of judges was instituted to help resolve differences of opinion. It seems that this was God’s plan for His people. In fact, God never had the idea that Israel should be governed by human kings – God Himself wanted to be their King.
In tribute to judges everywhere, both past and present, tonight’s verse is from Moses in his book of Deuteronomy, the last book of the Pentateuch. Moses tells us, in Deuteronomy 16:18, “Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.” It sounds so easy but, as we all know, it is much tougher in practice.
My encouragement tonight is that the idea of a judicial system is directly from God. He wants us to trust our leaders and, even more importantly, trust Him. My prayer is that as we face an upcoming Presidential election, as well as changes on the Court and in Congress, we can all pray for a return to a God-centered country. After all, things are deeply divided and if we can turn to God and respect the outcomes of the upcoming election, we will all be better off. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…