John Livingston

Justice and Mercy

My Quaker Grandfather once told me when I was about 5 years old that there is no such thing as justice in this world. I had petitioned him for a redress of a great wrong that had been perpetrated against me after my father paddled my fanny for something my brother had done. My father after finding out that he had paddled the wrong fanny simply said—”tough luck, think about all the things you got away with and didn’t get paddled—it all evens out”.

Seems like justice cut both ways that day. Two weeks ago, I told a retired Federal Judge that my grandson had shown me his report card at the end of his first year of kindergarten and in the comments section the teacher wrote—”Brayden Seeks Justice”. The retired judge opined—”I hope he never tires of looking for it”, implying that we never actually find it.

Justice and its poor second cousin “fairness” are like sipping a slurpy through a straw. Sometimes the straw gets frozen, and nothing gets up the straw. Sometimes the slurpy gets to warm and we sip too fast, and we get a headache. Like Aristotle’s GOLDEN MEAN, we are always striving in our personal lives to find it, and we hope our courts of law also try and to be not only just, but merciful.

Aquinas opined there is no justice without mercy. He defined mercy as “compassion in our hearts for another’s misery but, more importantly, it must drive us to help him.”

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There are two parts to mercy—affective and effective. “Affective” is the feeling of empathy or sympathy—neither of which are virtues themselves. When combined with the “effective act” they define mercy. President Obama once opined that mercy and justice stand opposed to each other. Aquinas believed differently that they complement—”complete” each other. True compassion is justice and mercy in action.

In the civil secular world of legal justice, strict constructionists believe that it is not the job of the court to administer justice, but rather the job of the court is to “apply the law”. The justice that a plaintiff seeks or that a defendant hopes for can only be found within the confines of the law. When one goes before a court or a judge seeking “justice” they must understand the limitations of human law and those humans that administer it. The system is human and therefore flawed. The legal standard is very different than the Biblical standard, even though the predicates for both were founded in the same books and traditions.

I was so very disappointed in the outcome of the civil case between St. Luke’s and Ammon Bundy and Diego Rodriquez. I do not understand the facts of the case, nor was I present at the trial that lasted 10 days. It had to have been a David vs Goliath encounter, but the defendants did themselves little good by not hiring legal counsel and not being present in court. Hubristic defiance is all one sees when nobody is sitting at the defense table—no matter the reality.

From afar there was a seafoam frothing of irony in the entire affair—aside from the legal proceedings themselves.

Corporatism vs the individual. A hospital company with over $2 billion a year in revenues against two individuals with their life savings and livelihoods on the line. It is hard for the justice system to defend someone who does not themselves have an attorney or who doesn’t show up in court. Bad call Mr.’s Bundy and Rodriquez. It was an away game, and you should have played by their rules and “Rendered unto Caeser….” With good legal counsel and your presence before the judge, no matter the verdict you would have been able to present your position in the best way possible.

Emotional and institutional reputational damage vs physical harm. There was no physical contact between individuals and words were few and soft. $50million—really! Can we all say VINDICTIVE—please.

There are a group of people in Idaho who can make a logical argument that far more moral and physical damage occurs when the rights of the unborn child are violated or when an underaged child is encouraged to undergo endocrine therapy for gender reassignment. They then point out that the very institution that facilitates such therapies and procedures says they are harmed by two men standing in front of a medical facility wanting to take possession of their grandchild!

Where was the human mercy at the scene—or later in the courtroom?

And finally, what about this Goliath medical facility demanding $50 million in damages? An institution that in 2018-19 according to IRS form 990 paid its former CEO $18 million over two years. Combine that with the legal fees from this case and one appreciates the costs of running an institution that receives over 50% of its revenues from fungible government transfer payments. By playing the Billion Dollar Goliath victim “virtue signaling card”, has proven them to be all that they believe Mr. Bundy to be. 

There is no question in my mind who the most virtuous party is in this dispute—Baby Cyrus and his family. The sad part about this story is the over 2000 people—Doctors, nurses, technicians, and support personnel who themselves are virtuous caregivers and who we should all hold in high esteem are not being led by worthy virtuous leaders. Their excellence in performing their duties is worthy of far better representation than they are receiving from senior administrators and their board of directors.

Two last thoughts from non-other than Judge Antonine Scala about the plight of Christians living in a litigious secular world:

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and he has not been disappointed,” Scalia said.

“If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity,” he added. “Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.” Maybe it is time to take the “Saint(St.) out of Luke’s?

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17 replies on “Justice and Mercy”

The only person who is displaying hubris is you, John Livingston. How can you possibly say its a bad call by Ammon and Diego to not hire lawyers when you know that it would have cost them at least as much as St. Luke’s spent on their attorneys? That’s $500k – $700k! That tells me that these men are smart. You are not, most likely because you are one of them. You are a doctor, and the hubris of your profession will probably never leave your spirit or attitude.

Ammon explained why he didn’t participate here:

John, your half-hearted defense of Ammon and Diego here shows your true colors. You are more interested in acting like the know it all doctor who has one foot in conservatism and the other firmly entrenched in your medical training still thinking that you guys know more than anybody. Truth is that doctors are the 3rd leading cause of death in America.

Most who have invested the effort to be politically educated have documented evidence that the majority our local, state & national officials were selected, elected to continue the flow of taxpayer dollars into pockets of the Corporate lobby Cartel..

Trump publicly acknowledged the swamp before he was elected & vowed to clean it up but didn’t realize the depth & how many so-called republicanas were involved.
The Corporate Rino puppet majority turned a blind eye to the vote-rigging in Trump’s reelection defeat.

Under our current dictatorship it’s now become risky to speak out against our corrupt government & protest the Left’s indoctrination in our children’s schools.
Those with backgrounds in world history are seeing our current regime follow the same re-indoctrination path Hitler’s Germany took prior to WW-2.

Rigged elections & dictatorships are all products of civic apathy, people who are too shy to assume their lawful & constitutional civic duty to organize & oust rouge public servants who’s actions validate conflict of interest corruption.

For over a 100 years our nation’s easy to understand Constitutional laws, rights & regulations have been perverted into confusing documents that must constantly be litigated at huge costs to citizens.

Only one segment of society benefits from poorly written laws & regulations that must be constantly litigated, lawyers.

Over the past 100 years 70% of our elected law-makers have been Lawyers / judges.
If this generation of Americans truly wants a future for themselves & their children, they might consider becoming much more involved in ousting the corporate ruled puppets & electing honest citizens who will represent America & the people.
America’s Founders made Oath of Office Contract enforcement every citizen’s civic obligation.
Talk without lawful civic action to correct the wrongs created today’s mess.
Chuck T.

For the writer of this article or the reader who is interested in the facts and truth about this corrupt lawsuit, you can go to Why not get the facts about “why” Ammon and Diego did not appear in court or have “legal defense” first before forming an opinion based on false assumptions? By not getting the facts from Ammon and Diego firsthand is doing every reader a disservice. On the other hand, finding out the truth about why these individuals “couldn’t” appear in court or have legal defense is a necessary action before writing an opinion. Publishing and sharing those facts would expose the reality of a corrupt, wicked court system in Ada County and further prove the complete innocence of Ammon and Diego.

Just tell us whether or not you took the vaccine and that will tell us all we need to know. You are a doctor, so lets see if you’re an honest one or a brainwashed one…

To Chase, My God Chase, Do you live under a rock??? Did he take the vaccine?? Your still riding that pony when every educated and informed citizen knows that it didn’t matter if you took the ( (experimental injection) or not… you can become infected irregardless.. try to keep up, Chase…

Thanks to everyone for all the comments—both positive and negative. I have talked to both Ammon and Diego on many occasions and read, watched and listened to everything they have presented—-many times talking to them about my position regarding their defense. I have served and lived in countries where people who were charged either civilly or criminally were not allowed to present their defense and confront their accusers in court. They could only dream about such an opportunity. Jimmy Lai stood before his accusers and made his case to the world. He hardly had a sympathetic judicial system that was facing him down. The opportunity to do so in my opinion is not only a responsibility but a “duty”. When all parties are present, not only is the accused on trial, but also “the system”. Without legal representation before a judge—no matter how compelling, the pleadings of the defendant publicly, they are never part of the final record that puts the “system” on trial. “For the record” we know little about the defense

John, it is unfortunate that you have gone on to opine here about so many things that are factually inaccurate, or that are based on false beliefs. I will step in and speak on my own behalf because you are, once again, perpetuated a false narrative and/or opining based on a flawed perspective. I respect you as a person and as an intellectual and I therefore expect more from you.

So here are some facts you should know that you evidently do not:

1. Legal counsel/representation would have cost me a minimum of $500,000 out-of-pocket and even in the event that I would win (which is an impossibility in Ada County), is money that I would never get back. (And yes, we have received multiple quotes from many credible lawyers in Idaho—and most lawyers refused to even take the case no matter how much we paid them.) Explain to me how it is my duty to spend $500,000 in order to defend myself against entirely fraudulent accusations? You are smarter than that, John. You know that the purpose of the lawsuit was to financially destroy us. So you are just FLAT WRONG when you claim that Ammon and I, or any other person who faces financial ruin in order to hire lawyers, are making the wrong decision when they decide not to do so.

2. You are also wrong in that your argument is based on the false premise that the Ada County courtroom is the only “court.” There is also the “court of public opinion,” and if you think that the Idaho Statesman and KTVB (or any other “legacy media” outlets) have the biggest pulpit out there, then you are living in the past. Ammon alone has a bigger platform than they do. And we have made our case to the public and the people know the facts. The facts, that if they were only made in a county courtroom and not on alternative platforms, the people would NEVER know about.

3. You evidently have no idea that I was actually prohibited from participating. Are you not aware that Judge Lynn Norton issued an order prohibiting me from presenting any evidence in my favor in court? Are you aware that she issued an order striking all of my responses to the complaints from the record? Are you aware that I tried to attend remotely via video but my request was denied? Are you aware that I did participate in this lawsuit, responding to the complaint(s), filing over 20 documents into the docket, and even sitting for a deposition? Or are you, like leftist media zealots, just opining based on headlines you are reading from LEFTIST PROPAGANDISTS? For you to accuse me of not participating is to simply perpetuate a lie. Please stop doing that, John.

4. Are you aware that the jury pool which they sent me in advance, which I had no power to strike or impeach, had at least 30 members who were actual St. Luke’s employees, or spouses of St. Luke’s employees, and at least 1 employee of the BLM (which brutally attacked Ammon’s family in 2014)?

Finally John, based on the facts that I was not allowed to present any evidence in court in my favor, that all of my answers were struck from the record, that the judge issued a default against me, that I would not be allowed to do anything in the court case but sit there and watch them abuse me and Ammon for 10 days, that if I came to Boise (which the court cannot legally compel me to do since I live 2,000+ miles away), I would be arrested and physically abused by tyrannical police, that it would cost me thousands of dollars and larger opportunity costs to fly to Boise for 2 full weeks when COVID protocol has made video attendance completely available—which I was denied, and the fact that Ammon and I cumulatively have a direct audience much larger than Idaho legacy media—then please tell me what single, solitary reason is there for me to have physically attended the kangaroo court in Ada County during the court trial?

I will await your reasoned response. And if your response is simply, “I am sorry, I opined without having the facts and I regret having done so.” Then fine, I accept your apology in advance.

What planet are you living on? I don’t think you have watched any of the videos that Diego and Ammon have made. They took the duty and responsibility of showing and proving all of the evidence to the entire world. What the heck are you talking about? You just come off as another arrogant doctor with as much hubris as the doctors who called CPS on Baby Cyrus because they didn’t get compliance.

This is a very bizarre article. It is like you were trying to attack Ammon for not doing things right in your opinion, while at the same time trying to attack St. Luke’s. You remind me of an armchair quarterback whining about how to play the game. Ammon Bundy has been tortured fighting for freedom. He has had his life ruined by the system. He has done as much or more for freedom and for the rights of Americans than anybody else alive today. And one thing is for sure, the name “Dr John Livingston” has never showed up in any article anywhere as someone who has fought for freedom, suffered for freedom, or for coming to the physical defense of people whose freedom was under assault. Yet here you are criticizing Ammon for choosing to not be abused by the system that has already abused him enough. With “conservatives” like you, is it any wonder we never win anything.


I have talked and written to you about the issues you raised. You were advised that you needed legal counsel even if it were a public defender in order to get your objections starting with jury selection into the record. There were many people including me who were willing to support you if appropriate legal counsel were retained and their advice would be followed. Because there was nobody sitting at the defense table you had none of your objections appropriately placed into the record. THE STATE (COURT) and the plaintiff had no opposition and thus themselves were never “placed on trial”. The process would have been exposed for what it was had there been a real trial with both sides and with the adversaries presenting their cases. The “court of public opinion” thank God accounts for little in our legal system otherwise there would still be lynchings and property “takings” by bullies like large corporations with deep pockets. In my most humble opinion, standing before your accusers with appropriate and questionable competent legal counsel was your best avenue to place on the record the inappropriate “redress and wrongs” that came down on your family. I am appalled as a citizen by a process that every step of the way and at every turn should have been stopped in its tracks. There is no grace or mercy when a servo loop of vindictiveness and hate is allowed to go unchecked.

I learned very early in my military career that I sometimes had to salute bad people who out-ranked me—a couple of who were really bad human beings. I justified that action by believing that I was saluting the rank and not the person. I was saluting my country and those that served before me. Respect for rank, for authority even when power is being abused like I believe happened in your case, is a tactical decision. When strategic options are available for future releif, don’t burn bridges.
Like I said in the article, the real heroes are the Baby Cyrus family. You have always and will continue to be in our prayers. I look forward to further nonpublic discussions with you and you know all the ways to get a hold of me.

PS If I had to be in a fox hole with you and Ammon, or the corporate giant and their attorneys the choice for me would be easy.

One last thought from Rudyard Kipling that I believe applies to a few of the players in this incident:

“If drunk with site of power we have, and shouting have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the gentiles use and lesser men above the law,
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet…. lest we forget, lest we forget”


John, I appreciate you responding. But again you did not answer my points and do not appear to understand anything that really happened. Of course, you are not required to know the details as this was not your fight and I certainly don’t expect people to try to keep up with it all. It is definitively overwhelming.

Feel free to write me directly at any time and we can discuss things personally and cordially as we always do.

But please recognize that there are no public defenders in civil trials. If you are sued in a civil matter in Idaho, you HAVE TO PAY FOR LEGAL DEFENSE OUT OF POCKET. And we’re not talking about a few hundred or a few thousand dollars—the only way Ammon and I could have hired lawyers would have been if we were able to front $250,000 – $500,000. And that is money we never would have got back. Period.

So there is no way anybody who is not independently wealthy is going to endure that measure of financial abuse particularly in a corrupt county like Ada, when the outcome is already assured. The watching world understands that THE PROCESS IS THE PUNISHMENT. That is what St. Luke’s was trying to do. They didn’t care about justice, John. They wanted to financially destroy Ammon and I. And fighting them in court would have been much more ruinous than ignoring it.

But in my case, I didn’t ignore it. I fought until the end and I have detailed my entire fight at Sure, I fought incompetently as I’m not a lawyer. But, at least I didn’t lose $500,000 in the process. And the fight is not over yet…


Thanks for your kind remarks. You are correct and I was wrong about the availability of a public defender in a civil case. Please call anytime

God’s blessings to you and your family.


There are no public defenders for civil matters and low cost or pro Bono Legal Aid offices do not handle large complex matters such as this. They simply don’t have the resources and are geared for helping with housing and family law matters. Law is a business. Of note, appeals generally cost much less than full trial workup. Many appeals are in the $15,000 to $50,000 range and are a very efficient process.

Mr Rodriguez may have saved $500 K on a forlorn hope of a defense but he is now jointly and severally liable for a $50 MM judgment with no chance of appeal.

One of the rules of THE HOUSE OF GOD is “They can always hurt you more.” My advice to the defendants, move to FL and declare bankruptcy.

Publius, please get your facts straight. Mr. Rodriguez already lives in Florida and has lived there since BEFORE this lawsuit even began. Everybody knows that. Second, the case will be appealed.

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