There is an American TV show I love called The Good Fight. It’s set in a law firm in Chicago. The Good Fight’s most recent season explores a very ‘whacky’ - and perhaps controversial - idea.
A lawyer stumbles across a fake courtroom (operating out of a printing store), with a fake judge who is adjudicating on disputes by everyday people.
It’s weird. It’s absurd. We’re meant to feel this way. How can disputes be settled in this so-called ‘9 3/4 circuit’ when there’s no legal jurisdictions at all. It’s like ‘playing house’ as kids with your friends but in this scenario it’s ‘playing court’.
The absurdity gets more absurd when you see plaintiffs and defendants resolve their issues amicably, even if they lose. At the end of a dispute, the judge tells both parties to look at each other in the eyes, shake hands and say, “I respect and love you.” This courtroom looks nothing like the courtrooms we know.
The young lawyer who stumbles into this ‘fake courtroom’ doesn’t mind it. She finds it refreshing, to see a new way of administering justice. The older lawyer, however, is completely against it. It erodes the foundation of the justice system that their ancestors have written and built. What will happen to the world if suddenly everyone settles their disputes in this courtroom? Still, it’s gaining lots of traction in this fictional Chicago city.
It’s not until a few more episodes in do we see her question her faith and trust in the American justice system. When her and her husband’s life is on the line, suddenly she sees what government authorities would do to ‘get justice’. I’m looking forward to finding out the outcome of this story but for now, I’m challenged to re-evaluate the society in which I live in.
Firstly, ‘justice’ is for the rich
There’s no doubt money can buy you a lot of things including justice and freedom.
This was what was so appealing about the ‘9 3/4 circuit’. Experienced lawyers who know the law won’t be very useful. They’re used to finding loopholes and they know jargon, but this judge doesn’t play by those rules. He doesn’t play into the loopholes that ‘experts of the law’ find by bending and manipulating the law.
Secondly, people want a new kind of justice.
If you know the creators of The Good Fight you’d know that they’re famous for depicting courtroom drama as something almost synonymous to a circus act. It’s all an act and the most convincing - actually, ‘entertaining’ - argument (actually, ‘lawyer’) wins.
We have all lost faith in the justice system. We have lost faith in our leaders and those in authority. We want a new kind of justice.
I think we want our old kind of justice back.
When the Israelites demanded a king, God warned them that a human king would only send their children to war, tax them heavily and use them for his own advantage. They didn’t listen and it became a horrible mess.
I choose God to be my king and ruler because He is fair and just. He doesn’t allow others to bribe or manipulate Him. He loves all people regardless of their ethnicity, gender or class.
Heaven is only appealing to those who want this kind of justice. It’s only appealing to those who want true equality. Only in a world where a benevolent and just judge presides will we humans be able to live in harmony. We have proven to ourselves time and time again that humans will always find loopholes and exploit the vulnerable.
Rachel is the children and youth pastor at Northern Life Baptist Church in Sydney. She loves volleyball, reading and a good TV drama! She has recently finished studying a Master of Divinity at Morling College and she’s continuing further studies towards another Masters.