A lawsuit filed by some decendents of slaves against various corporations has been dismissed (without prejudice) by the judge in charge of the case.
CHICAGO — A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit brought by descendants of slaves against corporations they contend profited from slavery, saying the plaintiffs had established no clear link to the companies they targeted.That's the first paragraph, but the most important aspect of the ruling is farther down.
"Plaintiffs' attempt to bring these claims more than a century after the end of the Civil War and the formal abolition of slavery fails," U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle said.Even if there were a clear and convincing connection between the companies being sued and the decendents of slaves, the matter of reparations for previously-legal actions is far outside the jurisdiction of any existing court. As Judge Norgle wrote, it's a political question that Congress must decide; Congress has the power to establish a system to deal with the question, but it falls outside the purview of our existing courts.
He said the plaintiffs' claims "are beyond the constitutional authority of this court" and that the lawsuit claimed no specific connection between the plaintiffs and the companies named as defendants. ...
In his opinion, Judge Norgle acknowledged "the historic injustices and the immorality of the institution of human chattel slavery in the United States."
But he said long-standing doctrine in matters involving political questions "bars the court from deciding the issue of slavery reparations, an issue that has been historically and constitutionally committed to the legislative and executive branches of our government."
Further, even if slavery had been a crime 200 years ago, it would still be impossible to prosecute.
As for the timing, he said, the plaintiffs had failed to show how the wrongs cited in the lawsuit fall within the statute of limitations.Personally, I believe that it's unjust and immoral to seek reparations for crimes perpetrated against one's ancestors. Where do you stop? Where do you draw the line? As the controversy over The Passion of the Christ shows, Jews are still worried about being persecuted for actions of some of their people 2,000 years ago -- and with some justification, considering the persecution they've dealt with over the issue in the past. Why stop with reparations for decendents of slaves? Why notgo back through all recorded history and try to right every wrong ever committed against anyone?
Part of the problem is that the leftist ideology sees groups, it doesn't see individuals. When leftists see black Americans they see members of a previously persecuted group, they don't see individuals responsible for their own destiny. Even though no ex-slaves are alive today, the members of their group are entitled to compensation for the wrongs done against their group two centuries ago. No individual matters -- and individual details are probably unknowable across such a time span -- all that matters is the group.
It's absurd to think that punishing innocents by taking away their possessions and giving them to the decendents of people their ancestors wronged is any sort of justice. If my grandfather killed your grandfather and it was discovered 50 years after they were both dead, it would be ridiculous for you to sue me over it. We all bear the consequences of our peoples' histories, good and bad, and we're all individually responsible for how we live our own lives. It's just a fact of life.