I have never given birth. I do not know the feeling of seeing a child look into my eyes for the first time after it spent months growing and conceiving in my womb. But yesterday, I had an experience which (at least for me) feels sort of close.
A major foreclosure case was long, long dead. Judgment entered, case closed. This was a multi-million dollar commercial loan and the banks came not with teams of attorneys, but with platoons. They did not just file briefs in opposition, they filed libraries in opposition. They carried with them well-earned and deserved swaggers in the courtrooms. They were genteel and very, very professional. Astute, precise, buttoned up. They graciously provided our side with precise and organized copies of everything, every case, every document, every deposition far ahead of time. I asked to borrow a pen, they sent two attorneys out to monogram me a personal one that fit perfectly in my hand.
And there we sat on the other side of the courtroom, the country mice in the big, big city courthouse. Outgunned and out of time, down 200 points in the bottom of the 9th. But we swung one last time. And when we swung (with everything we had) it was like that ball sailed around that courtroom in slow motion. Time stood still. Suspended animation. While the ball hung there in air indefinitely, this judge, with lazer sharp acuity, focused on it from every single one of 360 degree angles. When the arguments were made about allonge and holder and owner and possession and transfer and standing and proof and evidence, she burrowed down, she dug in, she probed both sides and drilled so far deep down into the details and substance that we reached the molecular level. She asked those kinds of excruciatingly detailed questions that showed either otherworldly superpowers or photographic memory and near total recall of thousands of pages of motions, transcripts, hearings. Her cognitive laser seared through elements of our side, then moved right over to excise elements of the other side.
And just yesterday after months and weeks of an intellectually super-powered examination, the ruling was announced. Now I’m an American and Protestant so my God and Government are far more egalitarian and pedestrian. The pulpits in my churches are on the same level as congregants, the sacraments noticeably subdued. But yesterday I could not help but feel awed sitting at counsel’s table before this bench, as it was….elevated, bathed in light and rich wood, hand crafted wood.
It’s unlikely that I will take court before the pope or any royalty in my lifetime. In this country, in my mind, judges are the intersection of law and faith…the transfiguration of the aspirational development of law and faith and justice and human endeavor. And in these courtrooms the full accumulation of our nation’s commerce and industry and respect for personal liberties and individual rights and the hand of a universal God come together to weave all these disparate yet connected considerations together into the fabric that is our body of laws.
after experiencing this ruling, I am quite obviously in awe. Humbled and awestruck. These are obviously dark times in this country and from where I sit (most days) things seem quite hopeless. But yesterday I saw what has protected this nation from its infancy. Yesterday I witnessed first hand the great genius of our extraordinary forefathers who set judges above mere mortal men. Yesterday I saw the power and the balancing force of a judicial system driven by the higher purpose for which it was conceived.
Later the decision will be published and it is a grand road map for starting to set things right. For now, however the hope my message provides must sustain!