Singapore Chief Justice goes to USA to talk Phoenix, talk dragon about Singapore law.

Discussion in 'Law & Justice' started by Bic_Cherry, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. Bic_Cherry

    Bic_Cherry Member

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    Singapore Chief Justice goes to USA to talk Phoenix, talk dragon about Singapore law.

    What can't he just speak simple English so that everyone can understand what he says?

    All that he is simply saying is that he is just mostly a cold blooded robot to apply the law according to present rules and principals such as the superiority of the Constitution, such that any laws which contradict the Constitution is a bad law and thus should be ignored or disregarded.

    When he says "all legal power has legal limits, meaning that the constitutional role of the courts was simply to declare what the law is, and not what it ought to be.", he is just saying that like a sophisticated robot, there are mathematical calculations to be made such that if one instruction (e.g. a subsidiary law) contradicts a senior rank law (e.g. constitutional provision), then the robot will not process or enforce the subsidiary law because it does not conform to the more senior rank law.

    In "Chief Justice Menon said a restrained approach to the exercise of judicial power was mandated by the rule of law and the Constitution and pointed out that the courts are not well placed to address complicated policy issues and would remove these questions from the realm of democratic decision, with all its advantages, if they did so." he is just saying that policy issues is not within his pay scale or job description. He is just the robot to carry out accurately the laws written by parliament. As long as technically the laws do not contradict the Constitution, then he will continue to enforce them even if morally they were unsound because it is solely the duty of parliament to write a sound constitution and good laws. In other words, it is the people's fault if they elect corrupt parliamentarians because his job is just to try his best to interpret what laws are passed in whatever parliament according to the rules and rank in which the laws are supposed to be enforced (e.g. all laws must fall in line with the Constitution and those which don't are bad or illegal laws).

    When the CJ says: "I can think of a number of cases where I wished that the law was other than what I concluded that it was and that a different result could be reached, but whenever I catch myself thinking in this way, I remind myself that it is neither my role nor do I have the constitutional mandate to say what the law ought to be, only to say what it is," he means to say that sometimes in court, he has to sacrifice his moral conscience to keep his job, by applying exactly the same prejudices and bias parliament had when amending the Constitution and by extension, to each new law that parliament passed.

    The elephant in the room that remains however is why is the ability of the PAP to pass laws favouring the Lee political dynasty getting more and more unrestrained with every passing day?:

    [​IMG](https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/02/03/inside-outside-upside-down/)


    So are the courts in Singapore like the AGC, yet another political tool, extension/ appendage of the PAP?

    In short, the job description of the chief justice is not to make sure that the morals of the laws are sound, but rather to make sure that the spelling is good and the laws don't self-contract each other.
    ======================

    Singapore courts stick to rule of law: Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon
    CHIEF JUSTICE SUNDARESH MENON

    [​IMG]
    CHIEF JUSTICE SUNDARESH MENONST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
    PUBLISHEDNOV 15, 2018, 5:00 AM SGT

    He details Singapore judiciary's position on constitutional challenges at US law lecture
    K.C. VijayanSenior Law Correspondent
    Singapore courts, unlike United States courts, are "leery" of going outside the text of the Singapore Constitution in declaring unspecified rights, as it is dissimilar to the US Constitution, which preserves rights not specified in text.

    Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, in some of the clearest remarks on how the courts here deal with constitutional challenges, has underscored why courts have turned down suits filed to assert such rights and held that the matter was for Parliament.

    "The more the judiciary is resorted to for the resolution of matters of searing social controversy, the more the line between legal and political questions will be blurred and the more likely citizens will begin to see the courts as a forum for the continuation of politics by other means," he told an audience in the US earlier this month.


    Giving the annual Bernstein lecture in Comparative Law at Duke University's law school titled Executive Power: Rethinking the Modalities of Control, the Chief Justice discussed judicial review in Singapore, which he described as the "sharp edge that keeps government action within the limits of the law".

    He said all legal power has legal limits, meaning that the constitutional role of the courts was simply to declare what the law is, and not what it ought to be.

    This is unlike the US Constitution, where a "savings clause" preserves rights not specified in the document .

    "By contrast, (the Singapore) Constitution does not have a savings clause that contemplates the possibility of unenumerated rights. It was for that reason that we have tended to be leery of going outside the confines of the text of the Constitution to find rights which petitioners have sought to assert," he said.

    The Chief Justice cited a 2015 case in which a plaintiff asserted caning was a form of torture prohibited by the Constitution, even though there is no explicit prohibition against torture as such.

    BLURRED LINES

    The more the judiciary is resorted to for the resolution of matters of searing social controversy, the more the line between legal and political questions will be blurred and the more likely citizens will begin to see the courts as a forum for the continuation of politics by other means.

    CHIEF JUSTICE SUNDARESH MENON (photo), on constitutional challenges.

    FOLLOWING THE LAW

    I can think of a number of cases where I wished that the law was other than what I concluded that it was and that a different result could be reached, but whenever I catch myself thinking in this way, I remind myself that it is neither my role nor do I have the constitutional mandate to say what the law ought to be, only to say what it is.

    CHIEF JUSTICE SUNDARESH MENON, on having to rule on cases within the law.

    He said the Court of Appeal dismissed the case as the act complained about was not torture, but made clear that, even if it was, for the sake of argument, "where a right cannot be found in the Constitution (whether expressly or by necessary implication), the courts do not have the power to create such a right out of whole cloth simply because they consider it desirable".

    Stressing the difference between the rule of law and the rule of judges, he said reading unenumerated rights into the Constitution would entail judges "enacting their personal views of what is just and desirable into law, which is not only undemocratic but also antithetical to the rule of law".


    Chief Justice Menon said a restrained approach to the exercise of judicial power was mandated by the rule of law and the Constitution and pointed out that the courts are not well placed to address complicated policy issues and would remove these questions from the realm of democratic decision, with all its advantages, if they did so.

    He said judicial review is most effective when the judiciary has secured the respect of the other branches through honest, competent and independent judgment that is respectful of the constitutional prerogatives of the other branches.

    In such a climate, the executive will voluntarily review its policies and adjust its conduct in the light of the guidance given, even without the need for a formal challenge.

    He noted that all countries have the difficult task of striking an appropriate balance between affording governments the ability to act swiftly and decisively in the public interest and providing for adequate safeguards against governmental excess.

    There was no one correct model for all times and places, he argued.

    "I can think of a number of cases where I wished that the law was other than what I concluded that it was and that a different result could be reached, but whenever I catch myself thinking in this way, I remind myself that it is neither my role nor do I have the constitutional mandate to say what the law ought to be, only to say what it is," said Chief Justice Menon.

    A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore courts stick to rule of law: CJ'. Print Edition | Subscribe

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/spore-courts-stick-to-rule-of-law-cj
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018

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