I have been watching Doctor Who. In Season 1 Episode 11, the time lords take the last remaining member of the Slitheen family aboard the TARDIS to return her to her home planet and save the earth from her scheme to destroy it. The prisoner tells her captors they are taking her to her execution. The character Mickey tells her she deserves it. She responds that he is very quick to assume so. She says, "You're awfully quick to soak your hands in my blood, which makes you better than me how, exactly?"
On one hand, an answer might be that the Slitheen's fate has been decided by the authority of Law - who are the time lords to interfere with what has been deemed just? In a subsequent scene, when the Slitheen describes the tortuous way in which she will be executed, the doctor stoically tells her, "I don't make the law." She responds, "But you deliver it. Will you stay to watch?"
On the other hand, most people who take up a cause of "justice" work endlessly to improve laws that do not adequately carry it out. Even as the Slitheen attempts to talk the doctor into delivering her somewhere other than her home planet, is she not appealing to his own sense of personal capacity to judge accurately, unhindered by precedent of law?
People disagree on matters of morality, and therefore, justice. So then, how is law decided?
Does this make it right?
In the same episode, the relational dynamics between Mickey and Rose delineate another factor in human influence. Rose has not even comprehended the effects her actions have had on him, or how they have affected his ability to relate to others. They each come at the relationship from an independent perspective. Thus it is with all human interaction and relational response: relationship is dynamic and fluid...alive, almost...ever evolving and adjusting to whatever circumstances come along. One size does not fit all; every relationship works differently than all others.
Likewise, how does one objective, stationary law govern all people and all situations? Juries are fluid, perhaps, to a degree; this is at least one sort of minor safeguard in the process. And certainly without law chaos would run amok (as evidenced in the biblical record of Judges).
I have Sandra Day O'Conner's book The Majesty of the Law, and I'm sure it should spark some more thoughts to share here on the subject. What do you think?