LAW DAY REFLECTIONS: Horacio J. Wheelock

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” The Declaration of Independence envisioned a country whose government, derived from the people, facilitated not their oppression but their freedom to flourish. Integral to this system of government was an independent judiciary, which Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist #78 described as “an intermediate body between the people and the legislature.”

On Law Day, the judiciary of the Douglas County District Court pauses to consider the liminal space it inhabits between the people and their legislature. A Judge takes an oath to rule independently and impartially in every case in order to uphold the Constitution and advance the Rule of Law.  The judiciary’s role as the guardian of the Rule of Law is to ensure that the government does not abuse its power, and that the law applies equally and fairly to all people. As an intermediary between the law and the people, the judiciary’s job is to transform the law from text to action in specific human situations and struggles. The judicial process is the only opportunity to ensure that the outcome of a law is in harmony with the spirit of the law and the higher principles of the Constitution itself.

Upholding the Rule of Law is vital to protecting the unalienable rights that are the bedrock and promise of our country and the great state of Nebraska. The Rule of Law is vital to provide equity and guidance as we all take part in the ageless challenge to strive for a better, fairer Nation.  The judiciary in Douglas County District Court is committed to serving the wonderful citizens of the great state of Nebraska and in upholding the rule of law.

Horacio J. Wheelock

Presiding Judge, Douglas County District Court


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