Kansas? It isn’t even Oz! And the wizard isn’t a little old man sitting behind a curtain, pulling strings and levers to influence our perceptions.
No, in our living fiction, the string pullers and lever pushers are nine men and women in black robes, hiding behind a great big curtain called the Constitution.
In this scenario, these people are all powerful and getting more so.
They are not elected to their position, so the citizens whose lives they profoundly affect have virtually no say in who gets the job and why.
Once they get the position, they’ve got it for life, with all the money, staff, perks and deference that come with it.
They hide behind that constitutional curtain making decisions that change the country and the lives of the people for years to come.
They have power over all of us to regulate how we will be allowed to behave and live and in fact, what we are to believe.
They are virtually immune from all recourse by the people, until they voluntarily retire, get so senile they can’t do the job, or just keel over dead.
Nice work if you can get it. The job is justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. One of them is the chief, but all nine wear the robes and all have a vote on whatever issues they choose to consider.
They’re supposed to be one part of a three-part system of governance – the executive, the legislative and the judicial. The original intent was that the three branches would temper each other and prevent the accumulation of power in one over the other, which would decimate the intent of the framers of the Constitution.
In fact, the role of the judicial branch is (read that was) to interpret law within constitutional guidelines. As legal disputes advanced up through the courts, judges were supposed to be impartial arbiters of the issues. None of the courts are intended to make law.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Looks good, too. And, for a while, it worked pretty well. But gradually, politics insinuated its way into the whole operation, and here we are.
Forget about interpretation of the Constitution. Now those “robed ones” are twisting that document to fit their own views. They are not only making law, they are basing their decisions on their own social goals. Consider last week’s decisions.
In two Michigan cases, the Court found (5-4) that racial discrimination is a no-no for undergraduate college enrollment if you do it by numbers but, if you come up with another way to do it, HEY – GO FOR IT! If you’re talking about graduate schools or professional training, just about anything goes as long as you’re not white or Asian.
Please define discrimination for me – I must have missed class that day.
Essentially, the court said that it’s more important to have people of different colors than people qualified to meet academic standards.
Hey, I want one of those to do my brain surgery or defend me in a felony case, or be my professor.
In a Maryland case, the Court (7-2) threw out a death sentence because the defendants’ lawyers didn’t focus on the troubled childhood of the man and if they had, the jury might not have sentenced him to death. Wow! They’re psychic!
Since virtually all criminals have tough lives, this ruling could mean the end of the death penalty. Of course, that’s what many of the justices want – they’re just getting it through the back door.
In a California case, the Court (6-3) reversed its decision to consider a corporate free-speech case against Nike. They decided that their decision to take the case was wrong. Hmmm. Sounds like no guts to me.
For Southern states, the Court ruled (5-4) it’s OK to gerrymander electoral districts to change the influence of black voters.
Sounds like more legal discrimination.
In a Texas case, the court (6-3) not only threw out sodomy laws, it broadened the concept of constitutional protection of privacy. Take this to its fullest – and there are lawyers lining-up already – anything goes for anybody, anywhere and states can’t stop it.
The common threads of these decisions are social engineering and the destruction of states rights – personal belief ahead of justice and the Constitution.
Don’t like it? Tough. They’ve got the power and are using it.
If upcoming vacancies on that bench are filled with people of the same philosophical bent, you can kiss more than the Constitution goodbye.
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