“By recognizing variation in the law, we are accepting the idea that no one rule can be thought of as ‘natural’. The law is seen as an imposed order, a response to political and social tradition and not something sent from heaven. The law can change; the law can vary from place to place. And in those changes and variations, the law, like any social product, reflects the persistent conflicts and contradictions within society.
There is a tension between our common desire that the law be uniform and certain and our wish that it somehow meet the needs of justice in the individual case. There are conflicting roles of judges, the decision-making elite in a democratic society. Should judges conform to popular sentiment? Should judges somehow watch for the welfare of those who come before them? Should they assist the ignorant, or just apply disinterestedly the machinery of the law?
There are differing concepts of duties to the parties of a lawsuit. Should they be forced to aid each other in some kind of higher service to the truth, or were the plaintiff and defendant independent gladiators, going at each other with no holds barred? What is the community’s stake in the just resolution of disputes? How much does the idea of a right require an individual to enforce it on his own?”
-Excerpt from “One L” by Scott Turow