This is what the judge told the jury, according to reports: “I have already determined that these defendants trespassed at each of these locations. Because I determined that these defendants trespassed, the law assumes that Planned Parenthood has been harmed and is entitled to an award of nominal damages such as one dollar for each trespass.” I had assumed the American legal system holds jury trials so that a jury can determine guilt or innocence. But I was wrong. On Friday the jury confirmed Judge Orrick’s prior decision of guilt and awarded a multi-billion dollar corporation fines that will cripple David Daleiden.
The next day I had the morning Mass. The Gospel for that day, as it turned out, was about an unjust judge. “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being.” A widow in that town had been asking the judge for a just decision against her adversary, but apparently the adversary had bought the judge off, and he refused to grant justice to the poor woman. But because of her persistence, the dishonest judge finally said to himself: “While it is true that I fear neither God nor man, I shall deliver a just decision to this widow lest she come and finally strike me.” This image is meant to be funny: something like the little old lady bopping the powerful judge with her umbrella. What can David Daleiden and his lawyers do against the powerful attorneys for Planned Parenthood? What recourse does he have against a corporation with $1.6 billion in assets, with a judge who himself sat on a board for an organization that helped run a Planned Parenthood facility?
And yet the poor widow persevered. She kept asking for justice, despite the corruption. David Daleiden too intends to appeal, if they will let him, and if he can afford it. Justice is in God’s hands, as is everything. Jesus had told his disciples, in Saturday’s gospel, of the necessity to “pray always without growing weary.” If we do not lose faith in God, Jesus tells them, “He will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.” Let us too pray, with David, that justice will be done speedily against the Goliaths of the abortion industry.