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Activists Judicial, Political and Religious

Posted by Rick · February 24th, 2004 · No Comments

It seems to me that all this talk about “activist” judges by activist Republican presidents is nothing short of dangerous.

The President of the United States should read the Constitution — and he should do so before he decides it needs to be amended, rewritten, or abolished. He did, after all, swear to uphold and defend it. And that Constitution is quite specific — the President and Congress appear to think right now that it’s too specific — in delineating the Powers vested in the legislative, administrative and judicial institutions of the United States.

There was, and is, a reason for this. And the people of this country, if not the President, would do well to understand that reason before whittling away at it.

On the other hand, once it is adequately undermined, the Christian political activists of this country get to replace it with something else. After all, we must have a law by which to live. And “activist” judges like Judge Roy Moore and others such as our President have made clear that there is a Law which is more important than the Constitution of the United States. And they’re ready and willing to make sure you and everyone else lives by their interpretation of that Law come hell, high water or — more likely — both.

When Bush became President, one of the first things I said to my wife was that we would soon see constitutional amendments and, I said, we would see that these were not your ordinary run-of-the-mill amendments. They would specifically target some of the fundamental values of that Constitution. The Full Faith and Credit Clause is one such fundamental value. Equal Protection, the 14th Amendment, is another such value. There was no question in my mind that a President who believed “there ought to be limits to freedom” would do his best to tear down the document that said there not only ought to be, but are limits to governmental restrictions of freedom.

Make no mistake about it, people. What is going on right now with Bush’s constant hammering to add “activist” to the pantheon of terms occupied by such words as “liberal” — words that represent concepts our country’s quite liberal Founding Fathers valued and ensconced in our Constitution — is a political issue, pure and simple. It is only a constitutional problem for those who prefer mob rule because they believe they can direct and control it. Yet both mob rule and the concentration of power that would allow one group to direct and control the mob to their own ends is something that the separation of powers into a republic was meant to avoid.

And the establishment of this country as one based on the rule of law to which everyone, including even the President of the United States, owed a duty of care and of loyalty is something which should not be undermined or destroyed through carefully planned talk of the supposed wrongs perpetrated by “activist” judges. The abrogation of our legal and political institutions, whether it’s by ignoring the normal processes (e.g., for judicial appointments) and subverting the will of congressional representatives elected by the people (and nearly always by more than a hair, which not every elected official ramming his agenda down our throat can say), or whether it’s merely by talking trash about them until one has effectively destroyed the faith of a Nation, is irresponsible and heinous.

And we, the people, should remember that the interpreting of laws so loathed by the Christian Right and the President of the United States, which was deliberately written into our Constitution and has helped us to become a great nation, is a sword which cuts both ways. Judges did not just suddenly, in the last few years or even decades, begin to “make law” through their interpretation of statutes and application of principles of stare decisis, fairness and the principles inherited from the beginning of our great country. The Founding Fathers understood in ways our President would like us to forget that of necessity someone must interpret and apply laws to real-life situations.

And judges have done that since before the United States was even born. Under the Constitution of the United States, the limits of this activity — to maintain the balance between so-called judge-made laws and the will of the people expressed through its legislators — has been clearly spelled out and respected.

Those who would try to abrogate the safeguards of our Constitution would do well that once they are gone, the mob in power rules. Today that means Republicans — like the popes, bishops and priests of old paying lip service to Christian ideals dear to the people in the interest of wielding control. But the pendulum swings and tomorrow it will be another group, perhaps (though right now this is hard to imagine) even worse.

Our legal institutions, periodically problematic though they may be, are a necessary bulwark against the excesses of mob rule.

The President of the United States, who repeatedly attacks the judicial branch of government established by the Constitution of the United States, would do well to re-read the Oath he took when he became our President.

Note to Karl Rove and Mr. Bush: That would be the one where he said, “I will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Not the one where he swore to undermine its principles in furtherance of what should be private religious beliefs and the necessary — necessary, that is, if one wishes to supplant that Constitution and ensconce one group’s activist interpretation of the Bible — abrogation of the political and judicial institutions established by that Constitution.

Categories: Politics-In-General


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