When Did Real Courts Become TV Courts?

NEW YORK—If anybody in the reality TV world remembers Judge Wapner, the original host of The People’s Court, I doubt that they remember what he stood for.

He stood for the rule of law. The rule of law above all other considerations. The role of the courtroom was to apply law and nothing else. In other words, stop your sniveling, if you’re in the dock, and stop your grandstanding, if you’re a lawyer.

It was not uncommon, in a typical episode, for a person of bad character, obviously manipulating the system, to receive a favorable judgment. Wapner would admit that his hands were tied by the letter of the law and that the facts before him required a decision contrary to what would have been considered fair on the streets. He was even careful to point out that, because the case took place in, say, Connecticut, he would be wrong to apply a principle only known to the courts of California.

Daytime courtroom shows have long since abandoned any pretense of even knowing the law, much less applying it in a blind way. Judge Judy, the most popular of the pseudo-judges, …

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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)

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