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Killing Judges

Posted by Rick · April 6th, 2005 · 3 Comments

I wasn’t going to blog this morning. Life is really busy right now and I’m one of those who have to work for a living. I hope you’ll forgive me if this isn’t as “tightly written” as it could be.

But there are things happening today that, frankly, should have thousands, if not millions, of Americans running into the streets, demanding changes.

Or at least making sure our congressional representatives know what we think.

And I don’t mean changes to our judicial system.

It was appalling when the House majority leader threatened political retribution against judges who did not toe his extremist political line. But when a second important Republican stands up and excuses murderous violence against judges as an understandable reaction to their decisions, then it is time to get really scared. — “The Judges Made Them Do It” (April 6, 2005) New York Times.

Many Americans recognized — although not all christians did (or do!) — that there was something wrong with websites advocating the murder of adult human beings for the “murder” of fetuses. Fewer, perhaps, understood that it was hypocritical, but they agreed it was wrong; they just “understood where they’re coming from.”

Perhaps not amazingly, though, not much was done about it. After all, in spite of the large numbers of abortions (too large, by the way) being performed in America, it’s not something that really directly impinges on most American’s lives.

But surely you must all understand that advocating the killing of judges or even “merely” condoning it, as some Republican congressional representatives are now doing, is different.

Please understand me when I say this: My oft-repeated comments that many Americans do not understand the Constitution is not intended to be equivalent to “you &@#8e! you’re too !>(#@!*$6! stupid to get it!” People cannot understand what they aren’t taught, or what they haven’t even read, or what they have not otherwise had an opportunity to think seriously about. (And those of you who still think I’m criticizing and still want to tune me out because of that: have you actually read the Constitution lately?)

The thing that scares me is that because of this lack of knowledge, I know that it’s going to be tough to rally anyone with the news that the Republican Party, if it does not resist the theocratically-driven take-over, will literally destroy our nation.

And, no, I don’t mean that there will be the kind of ruination that you see in apocalyptic movies of the future. I don’t mean that there will be unpassable streets — unpassable because entire skyscrapers have collapsed into them. I don’t mean that grocery stores will be boarded up and shut down because there’s no food to sell. And I don’t expect marauding bands of thugs because of the complete disruption of our society.

There are other ways to destroy a nation than that.

Let’s see if I can explain it with a somewhat-bizarre example. This example isn’t meant to do anything except explain how making something different can actually destroy it.

Currently, most people (including me) probably think of the Boy Scouts of America as primarily a Good Thing™. The Boy Scouts of America aim to give young boys activities to engage in that will better their lives. They hope to teach them and train them, even, to become better citizens; to grow to be successful members of our society. Imagine — try really hard to imagine — some future time, where the Boy Scouts of America changes its focus. Gradually, it becomes known as the number one provider of young male sex slaves in America.

I know I lost some of you there. Let me repeat that I’m not trying to put forward any idea other than the idea of “how a thing can be destroyed if what it stands for changes.” I’m not trying to make negative comments about the Boy Scouts. If that’s what you heard, please try to go back and re-read. The point here is that if that future version of the Boy Scouts of America came into existence, it would be pretty clear that the Boy Scouts of America as we know it today would no longer exist. Oh, sure, some really twisted and sick people might try to convince us that there’s nothing inconsistent with an organization that trains young boys to be successful productive citizens and that same organization training them to be successful productive sex slaves.

But most of us instantly recognize that anyone saying that is just plain sick.

If you got my point, though, you can see that you don’t have to destroy buildings — you don’t even have to change the internal structure of the organization — to destroy an organization like the Boy Scouts. Similarly, you don’t have to have wars in the street and you don’t have to have burning husks of civilization to destroy the United States of America.

All you have to do is change the principles on which our great nation was built.

And in spite of what you’re increasingly told today, that wasn’t some fundamentalist’s interpretation of the Bible. It was what I frequently refer to as “the rule of law.”

The United States of America was meant to be “a government of laws and not of men.” (Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 163 (Cranch) (1803).)

Oh, great! That idiot Rick just went and quoted a frickin’ judge to explain why the law is the bedrock of the United States. Of course a judge is going to say that!

But it wasn’t just a judge. The Founders of our country built things this way on purpose. As Alexander Hamilton put it in Federalist Paper Number 78:

The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.

Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power. It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental. — The Federalist No. 78: The Judiciary Department, online, (Alexander Hamilton)(MacLean’s Edition/Avalon Project).

Now, if I may beg your indulgence, please re-read that carefully. Because I hear some of you, muscles tensing up, preparing to spring. “Yes!,” you say. “Yes! See? The will of the People! Not some frickin’ judges!”

Did you note the part that said, “will of the people, declared in the Constitution“? The “agents” of the people, by the way, are their representatives: Congress.

Our government, our nation, our way of life has all been built up on the idea that the Constitution of the United States is “the will of the people.” If, at times, some group — even a large or loud group, like fundamentalist “christians” — wants to replace that with their will, they can do that in a constitutional way. All they have to do is get enough people to agree with them to pass a constitutional amendment. If what they want to have happen is contrary to the Constitution as it now stands, they have to change the Constitution.

But when you advocate killing the judges because you don’t agree with their interpretation of the law, which, remember, “is the proper and peculiar province of the courts,” you destroy what the United States of America stands for, you have destroyed the Constitution.

And that organizational change, my friends, makes slaves of us all.

Listen. I know you’re all as busy as — maybe busier than — me. But if you don’t tell your congressional representative what you think about all this, then the only voices they’ll be hearing are those telling them to destroy the Constitution, ignore the law, get rid of the independence of judges that the Founders of our country thought was critically important and, to some extent, establish their religious beliefs and opinions as the law.

You cannot afford to be silent. If you think you don’t have time to write a letter, just scrawl a very short note on a piece of paper and mail it to your congressional representative. If even that’s too hard, pick up your telephone and call them. It’s not that hard. It doesn’t take that much time.

You can even use this webpage to find the contact information for the people who represent you. Just type in your own name and address and the page will show you everything you need to contact your representatives.

Do it today.

Update: I was able to reach the two Senators and one House Representative for my zip code by telephone. Senator Feinstein took two tries, but I was still able to talk to all of them in a matter of about 15 minutes of my time. (Only the Republican, Representative Devin Nunes, asked for my home address. I’m currently awaiting the arrival of Homeland Security.)

Categories: Constitutional Issues


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Malnurtured Snay // Apr 6, 2005 at 12:26 pm

    excellent post, Rick

  • 2 Stephen Malm // Apr 6, 2005 at 12:46 pm

    One word explains the emerging perverse rationale to eliminate all views contrary to one’s own: Leadership. When the government sets the stage for preemptive strikes in sovereign nations that cannot harm us, when the goverment inter”fears” with the personal rights and dignity of human beings already in judicial process, and its political machinery justifies that reach in the name of moral rightteousness, we have set the stage for the imposition of an outside will everywhere. Why should judges be sancrosanct? It is clear that some foremost republicans should review their job description, recognizing a prudent and well-established separation of powers that does not exceed the consitutional bounds of our quite separate and endowed liberty.

  • 3 Stephen Malm // Apr 6, 2005 at 2:23 pm

    And for more on the story:
    Steve Weissman | America’s Religious Right – Saints or Subversives?


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