Personal Reflection on Judge Connor Presentation

Monday, April 27, 2015

by Mark D. Bond, MSG U.S. Army (Ret.)

On 02 April 2015 at 1400, Judge Burton C. Conner presented his viewpoints on “Ethics and the Law” at the Indian River State College Center for Media and Journalism Studies annual speaker series.  Judge Conner’s presentation continues the thread of previous years’ presenters who have discussed the role of law, media, and ethics important to sustaining a democratic society. In Judge Conner’s presentation, the student body, College employees, and community members who attended were asked to look at the current system of government in place and respond to his questions about the branches of government, role of authority, and what constitutes moral character. By having, this “two-way” communication, he was hoping that we learned from his presentation and that we might “teach” him something as well. Judge Conner engaged the audience in a lively discussion as he also shared his expertise and personal observations about how the law is like glue for the United States.

The one major viewpoint that was most astounding to me was the authority that the judicial branch actually holds over the citizens of the United States.  That one little piece of information has made me think about what can actually be done with that “power.”  The judge stated that the other branches of our government hold and retain a physical force that can be seen and measured.  The executive branch has the military, “brute force”, whereas the legislative holds the power of the “purse.” What really surprised me was that the judicial branch only holds the “moral” authority to do anything in its sphere of influence and yet most citizens respect its power and authority.

In learning this little bit of information, it made me open my mind to the possibilities of that power.  We as a people have given this power to this branch to govern and regulate how we are to interact with one another in our democracy.  This is to say that “we” allow these individuals to dictate what they may interpret and enact as law for the major benefit of the group as a whole.

I believe that as members of this system, we all have a responsibility to monitor and change these individuals as needed to grow as a society; thus, the power of the vote. This was another major point Judge Conner emphasized: voting is an individual’s voice in a system designed to represent and react to an individual’s will.

Another viewpoint that I totally agree with the Judge about is that of why we “listen” to these individuals in a position of power.  First, laws were enacted to be followed out of fear, then out of respect as a whole for the good of the society. 

In conclusion, I was highly engaged in what the Honorable Judge Conner had to say as well as the overall point of the lecture.  By his dialogue on this day, he further reinforced my own personal beliefs, which I fought for as a member of the armed services.  That every citizen should constantly monitor and “voice” their opinions when they believe that there has been an injustice, either by calling their representatives/senators, or by doing the most simplest of things when it is presented to them – VOTE.

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