Dear Editor:

House Bill 224 is what it is, like it or not. The state has said it is apparently constitutional, according to the state’s own constitution … and that’s where things don’t seem right.

In my civics lessons dating back to junior high school and up through some required law courses in college, my teachers used the terms “justice of process” and “justice of outcome” to help us legal laypersons understand some basic ideas.

Justice of process is usually associated with “due process” in a criminal context, such as, was all of the evidence presented? Was there a fair trial? Justice of outcome simply asks if the result was fair. The intent is that if the process was just, then there is confidence that the outcome is also just. As a check, if outcomes are consistently fair, then you have confidence that the process too is fair.

Building on that idea, it was stressed that it doesn’t just apply in the courts: it applies to pretty much every other facet of government, like legislation and spending taxpayers’ money. This is a big part of what the founding fathers had in mind, and it’s one of the uniquely American things we have that isn’t available to a great deal in the rest of the world.

My teachers then spent time demonstrating that despite how hard we try, there is no shortage of examples of where the process, the outcome, or both, have been maligned. Perhaps by bad actors with foul motives, or shady lobbyists writing regulations, or ignorant legislatures voting on things they didn’t read. Even a near-perfect process has produced unfair outcomes, and vigilante groups have forced outcomes of their own choosing without any process at all.

To finish it off, my teachers spent the rest of class time on how important it is that the above imperfections have recourse to try and correct mistakes — an appeal process. We are only human, after all.

With the unfolding of the HB 224 story, it appears to me that no matter which side of what fence you place yourself, the process of how it got here cannot square with anybody’s sense of right and wrong. This was not the result of a just process, and we certainly didn’t get a just outcome. This is the result of a few individuals, including one elected council member, to subvert the process and sabotage our current style of legal (albeit grandfathered) form of government. This is truly un-American — especially when the voters have made their preferences on the subject very clear several times in recent history.

Sadly, this is how a lot of legislation is passed. Also sadly, this is how politics is associated with words like “despicable,” “disgusting,” or “corrupt.”

It sure seems like there should be some argument to make, an appeal process, maybe. I don’t have the legal expertise or resources to go about such an endeavor, but I would certainly support anyone who did.

The few who got us into this will argue their methods were legal and it is now the law. They may apologize that the world is not fair to those of us who are not happy about it, and although they may be technically correct, I’ll disagree in saying that I’ve always thought the world is what we make it.

Nate Rydman