There’s a big difference between “independence” and “arrogance.” Our Founders wanted judges to be independent from politics and the other two branches of government.
The judiciary could thus protect our freedoms and defend our Constitution against assaults from powerful politicians or even against majorities of the public.But being independent is no excuse for judicial tyranny. Judges must not abuse their power to interpret the law by, in effect, making the law. But that’s what’s happening across the country:
- Two years ago, Federal Judge Stephen Reinhardt struck down California’s term limits law saying California voters were too dumb to know what they were doing. Thankfully, his ridiculous and condescending opinion was overturned on appeal and term limits were restored.
- In Montana, just recently the state Supreme Court struck down a voter-enacted tax initiative by rewriting the state’s Constitution and throwing out 100 years of precedence.
- In Nebraska, Judge David Lanphier struck down state term limits by rewriting the constitution’s initiative requirements and canceling a vote of the people. But in Nebraska voters can decide whether to retain a judge or not. And voters sent his arrogance packing.
On the federal level, though judges serve for life, the Constitution empowers Congress to regulate them. Career politicians are shirking their duties to protect our system. An arrogant Congress refuses to check an arrogant court, but ordinary citizens will and so will citizen legislators.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.