Activist Judges, Left and Right
As a case-in-point of conservative judicial activism, he cited the case of Justice Moore in Alabama (the Ten Commandments case). Blogger Beer cited a 2003 National Review article by Quin Hillyer that he said pointed out quite plainly that "Justice Moore's intentions were clearly unconstitutional", and that he was imposing his personal beliefs in trying to post the Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse. (The article is also an argument against the Democrat's rejection of Alabama AG Bill Pryor's nomination for a position on the federal bench back in 2003.)
First, let me say this about the Ten Commandments case, and religious expression in general on public property: the First Amendment to the Constitution states that
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....
It is precisely left-wing activist judges, prodded on by the ACLU and others, that have led the general population to believe that it is unconstitutional to express one's religious beliefs on public property. Therefore, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that prayer in public schools is unconstitutional (among other like rulings), I think they are wrong. In fact, they are wrong.
This brings me to the National Review article, where I found some comments that caught my attention. First, Hillyer seems to make the case that if the Ten Commandments are small, they are Constitutional, and if they are large, they aren't. That seems like pretty shaky reasoning to me, but hey, who am I to make that claim?
What concerns me most however is this quote from AG Pryor, a position that Alabama's Gov. Riley also took (emphasis added):
As Pryor explained: "I continue to believe that the Ten Commandments are the cornerstone of our legal heritage and can be displayed constitutionally as they are in the building of the Supreme Court of the United States... (But) the rule of law means that when courts resolve disputes, after all appeals and arguments, we all must obey the orders of those courts even when we disagree with those orders. The rule of law means that we can work to change the law but not to defy court orders."
It seems to me that precisely because of judicial activism no matter how hard we work to "change the law" in a case like this, it would likely be overturned by activist judges regardless of how constitutional it may be. And that leaves us where exactly? What do we do when the courts ignore the true intent of the Constitution and impose their own version of how things should be? I cringe to think of what could happen these days if the Supreme Court ever takes on a case regarding the true intent of the Second Amendment!
I believe it was Tom Delay who said that Activist Judges will have to pay for their actions, and he is right. But how do we go about doing that if we all believe (I don't) that the Judicial branch of government has the final word on everything, and that their opinion is law?
I for one have very little faith in the Federal Judiciary, and question every decision that comes out of it. The Judicial branch of government is becoming far too powerful, and because of it, the Federal Government is also sticking its nose in parts of our life that the Framers never intended.
Short of a revolution, I'm not sure what can be done anymore. Nonetheless, I will continue to write my representatives, vote for those I feel will be a force towards improvement, and talk to anyone who will listen about how screwed up the United States has become.
In time, maybe we can reverse direction and return the United States to the great Nation the Framers intended.
(Note: I still believe the United States is the greatest Nation on earth, but also believe that the Framers are rolling over in their graves over the amount and scope of power the Federal Government has taken on.)