Full spectrum advocacy is an integration of strategies, methods and actions to achieve social, political and economic justice for individuals, communities and organizations. Full spectrum advocacy acknowledges that legal advocacy in courts is often the least effective route to secure fair enforcement of laws and/or obtain justice.
Throughout history courts have tended to accommodate the wealthy and privileged at the expense of the people.
Abraham Lincoln, referring to the Dred Scott decision, lamented this fact in his first inaugural address in 1861, by stating:
[T]he candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.
Lincoln’s observations of judicial oligarchy disprove the arguments Alexander Hamilton made to our framers about the nature of the judiciary in the Federalist Paper #78. Hamilton contended that judges should be given lifetime tenure as a check on legislative and executive power. Hamilton argued bestowing this attribute of monarchy on judges was necessary because the judicial department would always be the weakest branch of government; “incapable by itself of promoting widespread tyranny.” Federalist Paper #78.
According to Hamilton:
[T]hough individual oppression may now and then proceed from the courts of justice, the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter; I mean so long as the judiciary remains truly distinct from both the legislature and the Executive. For I agree, that “there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.” And it proves, in the last place, that as liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have every thing to fear from its union with either of the other departments; ...
Does any part of Hamilton’s logic ring true today?
In December 2000 the Supreme Court dictated that George Walker Bush, not Albert Gore, would be the President. Since 2008 until today federal judges have allowed GSEs and servicers to take millions of homes from the people based on documents even Congress has found have been forged and/or are fraudulent.
Doesn’t the unlawful and unconstitutional taking of 15,000,000 homes over more than a decade constitute more than a “a little oppression … now and then?”
Judges’ life-time tenures and relentless dedication to eliminating jury oversight of their unbridled power has created a government which may be viewed now as a judicial oligarchy; which certainly is not the weakest branch of our government. It is the most autocratic and powerful to the point overshadowing the rightful other authorities of the branches.
Why is the Judicial Department’s assumption of virtually all governmental power problematic under our Constitution? Because the primary means by which the authors of the United States’ Constitution chose to protect us, the people, from our government was by separating and arranging governmental branches and offices in such a way so that each might act as a check on the other for our benefit. These checks and balances do not work when one branch of government, namely, the judicial department, has taken control of the other two.
Have Supreme Court rulings effectively eviscerated the separation of powers to the point where wealthy corporations and people can effectively purchase and manipulate the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government for their own benefit? Have the wealthiest 1% become the puppeteers of each of the branches so that they can stage a make-believe tragi-comedy of government they claim will “protect us” and expect us to take such claims seriously while militarized police abuse citizens daily?
Our founders knew when they wrote the Constitution that a just government cannot exist in a world where a few (the 1%) own almost everything. Under such circumstances any notion of political or social equality is illusory no matter what the language of the Constitution says because it has been misinterpreted by a court which has assumed powers it was never meant to have.
Our founders based our organic law on the premise that government “is advantageous to men [individuals] only when all have something and none too much.”
The candid citizen in the 21st century must ask: Has American government reached the point where it “serves only to keep the pauper in his poverty and the rich man in the position he has usurped.”
Because 99% of us cannot compete financially with the 1%, we must ask ourselves is there any way we can stand up to their financial power before the Supreme Court holds they are permitted to charge us for the air we breathe? And by this expense reduce the population of the planet to that number of people which most pleases the wealthy?
There are abundant examples throughout history where people have taken control of unjust societies and reformed them. But the process seems perpetual; much like a pendulum swinging back and forth. Thankfully, oppression often produces its own demise.
Tyranny of the kind which now chokes the world’s people has previously given birth to movements and strategies of conscience which move humanity away from the darkness.
Examples of cultural and societal changes which have been achieved at the expense of dominant and wealthy classes include the American Revolution; the peaceful liberation of the people in India in the nineteen forties; the American Civil Rights movement of the sixties; the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of apartheid in the nineteen nineties.
These victories against the privileged and dominant classes in favor of the more populous disadvantaged were not achieved in the courts. This observation is not made to suggest that legal advocacy before the courts is not a necessary component of any full spectrum advocacy designed to eliminate the injustices resulting from the vast economic disparities which exists between today’s peoples and nations. But it is meant to make clear we cannot expect the courts to do the heavy lifting in creating a better world because only the wealthy have any meaningful access to them.
We, as people, now need to engage full spectrum advocacy invoking the moral high ground and a call to conscience to curb the obscene disparities of “rights” given to the 1% and those which have been taken from the rest of us.
Much the same way money is used to grease the checks and balances of our system, we (the people) as the real sovereign need to be overseeing the separate branches and divisions of our government to make sure they work for us; not just those wealthy entities and persons which now seek to control and enslave us.
We must devise strategies of conscience that prompt vast numbers of us to act collectively in such ways as to disincentivize ongoing corporate and governmental abuse of the planet and its peoples. We must promote the wellbeing of humanity by exposing that evil which a majority of us are no longer willing to accept.
Full spectrum advocacy focuses on helping people by advocating in many mediums and in many forums what is really going on so we can decide collectively and spiritually whether change is required.
Such advocacy must be carefully thought out if we hope to take on the wealthy, who have been engaged in full spectrum advocacy against the best interests of the people for years.