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Texas Politics - The Justice System
adversarial system
4.1    Justice and the Law

Legal experts often claim that the law and justice are two completely different things. Certainly this distinction reflects the daily operating environment for lawyers, who must of necessity focus on the best interests of their clients. In the adversarial system that forms the foundation of our legal tradition, lawyers necessarily focus on winning the case for their clients rather than on achieving justice. This system is based on the idea that encouraging lawyers to pursue the best interests of their respective clients is the best way for the system overall to deliver justice.

For society as a whole, however, the degree to which its judicial system delivers justice is of paramount concern. Biases and breakdowns in the carriage of justice threaten both our freedom and our democracy. Further, even single instances of bias or breakdown undermine faith in the system.

Unfortunately, the partisan election of most judges in Texas has caused many to question seriously the degree of independence and capability of many of these jurists. In political settings like elections, these questions are often asked of individual judges. But they are also part of a broader critique of the system of judicial selection in the state, and its overall consequences.

Texas Politics:
© 2009, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin
3rd Edition - Revision 117
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