Friday, March 17, 2006

Dissent happens. Get over it.

"We are the ruling oligarchy. We are above criticism."

That was basically the message that Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered in response to threats against her and another Supreme Court Justice. From the Fox News article:

Ginsburg said the Web threat was apparently prompted by legislation in Congress, filed by Republicans, that would bar judges from relying on foreign laws or court decisions.
"It is disquieting that they have attracted sizable support. And one not-so-small concern they fuel the irrational fringe," she said in a speech posted online by the court earlier this month and first reported Wednesday by LegalTimes.com.

My response:

Yes, there are kooks out there who think violence is an acceptable way to advance a political cause or to stop a cause they oppose. Politically motivated violence is terrorism and must be swiftly and strongly dealt with in this post 9/11 world. We cannoit afford to be complacent in dealing with extremists.

However, to blame people who advocate for limitations on judicial power for the violent acts or intentions of radicals is a cowardly dodge of the real issues. Instead of addressing the arguments put forth by those who are concerned about the growing power of the federal judiciary, Ginsburg is attempting to shut down debate by accusing critics of inciting violence. This is similar to the cop-out used by some conservatives who whine that any criticism of President Bush helps al Qaeda and other Islamist militants.

I have said many times that this country was never meant to be a judicial oligarchy. Instead, we are a constitutional republic. This is why we have checks and balances on all three branches of government. Congress has been given authority by the Constitution to regulate and check the power of the judicial branch. The vaunted "judicial independence" advocated by Ginsburg is not a license for her and either other people in black robes to run the country. "Judicial independence" does not mean the courts have unbridled power.

What of an independent Congress? Does Ginsburg's criticism of legislation impede the ability of Congress to act within its Constitutional authority as a legislative body? Perhaps someone should ask Ginsberg that question.

The reality is that the judicial branch is assuming more and more power for itself in a way the framers of the Constitution never intended. Some "judges" (especially Supreme Court "justices" who use foreign law as a reson to throw out American law) see the Constitution not as a standard that both legislation and administrative decisions must conform to, but as a "living document". As I and a multitude of others have said, if we have a "living constitution" then we have no Constitution at all, because it means whatever society (or so-called "judges") say it means. That must be stopped.