Don Johnson played one of the 3 law officers and future 'Dallas' star Jim Davis played the sheriff in the 1976 TV movie pilot, 'Law Of The Land'. Set in 1877 during the time when Denver in Colorado was making a "transition from a frontier town to a sprawling city." The Quinn Martin Production was initially called 'The Deputies'. Producer and co-writer John Wilder elaborated, "There were 8 cities in the Old West with populations of more than 5,000 in the 1870s, and Denver was growing faster than any of them. In a decade Denver went from 5,000 to 100,000 so it was a thriving city, and we wanted young people thinking about their future in a town that represented the future of the West."

John Wilder also added, "I think our film has a different look because it's about the townsmen – newspaper editors, dentists, barbers – not cowboys. It's law enforcement in an urban situation, instead of the range war, cattle drive, water rights and those kind of crimes. I'm told we had (tested) a 73 (in relation to an audience’s responses), which is considered very high." However the pilot never became a regular TV series. "But we did get the order to prepare scripts, hopefully for going on next January (in 1975)." The proposed series "would be about events in Denver in the latter part of the 19th century."

In 1993, Matt Carroll and Greg Coote (Roadshow Coote & Carroll) produced the Australian 'Law Of The Land' TV series for the Nine network. Set in the fictional country town of Merringanee, production of the series stopped just before Easter in 1995, although the network continued showing the 22 episodes produced to 1999. Star Lisa Hensley told 'TV Week' at the time, "I can understand them axing the show. We've still got so many more (episodes) to screen. They don’t need any more. The news doesn’t surprise me ... I think it's one of the few decent programs on air at the moment (back in 1993). I really believe that some of our great work appears in this series."

Back in June 1990, commentator George Will gave his opinion on why the high court "is subverting actual democracy in the name of the court's ideal democracy." George Will wrote, "Einstein preferred his violin to science. Mozart would rather have been a dancer than a composer. One wonders what the 5 members of the Supreme Court majority would rather be doing. Clearly their hearts, not to mention their minds, are not in constitutional law.

"Last week (back in June 1990), the court, now the second legislative branch of the federal government, continued its campaign to purify American democracy, this time by ridding it of a blemish (as the court sees it) traditional to democracy. The tradition is patronage. It is a practice as old as this republic, one favored by the Founders but, we now learn, incompatible with the Constitution they wrote and ratified.

"… Justice Scalia, joined by Rehnquist, O’Connor and Kennedy, argues that patronage can conduce to good government. Scalia cites various arguments that patronage serves the public good … Scalia's contention is only that the court should acknowledge that a patronage system can be a reasonable political choice that the people's elected representatives are permitted to make. Some disbursement of jobs on the basis of political affiliation must be constitutional. Otherwise, every President's Cabinet would be unconstitutional.

"… Once the court rejects the constitutional relevance of America's political tradition, and once it also acknowledges, as it must, that some politically based employment is permissible, then the court, says Justice Scalia, 'has left the realm of law and entered the domain of political science.' But because politics is not a science, the court must legislate its preferences."

Back in May 1994, Anthony Lewis of 'The New York Times' explained to Americans why free speech was on the line in Australia. In Sydney Australia, Anthony gave his opinion, "Thirty years ago this week (in May 1964) the Supreme Court of the United States found that libel suits could threaten the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment. In the case of New York Times v. Sullivan, it put limits on libel to make sure that Americans could criticize public officials without fear.

"The High Court of Australia, the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, is now considering the same issue ... That the Sullivan decision may touch Australian law is remarkable, and of interest to more than lawyers. For Australia has no clause in its Constitution protecting free speech or press. Those who drafted the Constitution in 1898 rejected the idea of copying the American Bill of Rights. How, then, could judges hold unconstitutional laws that may chill political comment? The answer is that 2 years ago (in 1992) the High Court found in the Constitution an implied guarantee of free political speech.

"That freedom necessarily arose, the judges unanimously held, from the Constitution's establishment of a parliamentary democracy. 'Freedom of public discussion of government,' Justice Francis Gerard Brennan said in one of several opinions, 'is inherent in the idea of a representative democracy.' ... In holding the law unconstitutional, Brennan said 'it purports to stifle that free discussion which is essential to expose defects in, and to maintain the integrity of, any institution vested with power to affect the lives of the people living in a representative democracy.'

" ... The moves toward constitutional protection of free speech in Australia mark, in a sense, a step away from the British tradition. Britain has no written constitution; its political system vests absolute power in Parliament. In the 1992 Australian case Brennan said the British Parliament might be able to eliminate democracy altogether if it wished. But when a country entrenches representative democracy in a Constitution as in Australia, he said, the Constitution must be read to make democracy work."

Blog Archive