Political End Runs: How Judges violate the law (and your rights)
The Constitution of the United States begins with the words “We the people.” But neither the Constitution nor “we the people” will mean anything if politicians and judges can continue to do end runs around both.
So begins a superb article by esteemed economist and commentator Thomas Sowell, published Tuesday (“Political End Runs“).
Sowell states the case as eloquently as I have seen about the need for citizens to hold not only their elected officials, but also unelected bureaucrats and judges accountable – to constitutional limits specifically and the rule of law in general.
Sowell’s piece begins with an expose of how bureaucrats in the Medicare office are quietly implementing rules for the healthcare “reform” legislation that were explicitly rejected by Congress (during debate – such as it was – on the same legislation). As many critics pointed out at the time, the healthcare law ceded extraordinary power and authority to unelected bureaucrats to make up implementing rules as they went along.
The article quickly proceeds to a much more wide-reaching (and dangerous) trend in “political end runs” – judicial usurpation:
It is not only members of Congress or the administration who treat “we the people” and the Constitution as nuisances to do an end run around. Judges, including justices of the Supreme Court, have been doing this increasingly over the past hundred years.
Naturally, Sowell’s focus is at the Federal level – but the problem he articulates is very much a threat at the state level:
Professor Roscoe Pound likewise referred to the need for “a living constitution by judicial interpretation,” in order to “respond to the vital needs of present-day life.” He rejected the idea of law as “a body of rules.”
But if law is not a body of rules, what is it? A set of arbitrary fiats by judges, imposing their own vision of “the needs of the times”?
Actually, that describes quite adequately the condition of law in the state of Colorado – at least at the highest levels. The Mullarkey Court has repeatedly injected its own vision of “the needs of the times” over the clear letter of the law and the constraints of the Constitution. The Bender Court appears pre-disposed to follow this trend into the next decade – cementing Colorado’s status as a “judicial hellhole.”
The institutions that should be addressing the problem – Colorado’s legal establishment, sworn to “support the Constitution” and uphold the rule of law (which is actually part of the oath taken by lawyers in order to practice law in this state) – are instead fighting to expand the power of their “guild” and promote the special interests of the legal caste, even if it means playing fast and loose with the law. (A consortium of legal-establishment special-interest groups, including the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, IAALS; the Colorado Bar Association, COBAR; the Colorado Judicial Institute, CJI; and the League of Women Voters, LWV banded together to run a campaign in support of incumbent judges on the ballot this year, but failed to comply with Colorado Campaign Finance Law in the process). Apparently, members of the legal establishment feel that the rules applying to ordinary citizens should not constrain their own activities.
This is, unfortunately, indicative of the mindset which dominates our would-be “ruling class”:
In other words, judges were encouraged to do an end run around rules, such as those set forth in the Constitution, and around the elected representatives of “we the people.” As Roscoe Pound put it, law should be “in the hands of a progressive and enlightened caste whose conceptions are in advance of the public.”
Unsurprisingly, the same solution advocated by Clear The Bench Colorado: accountability.
The Constitution cannot protect us unless we protect the Constitution, by voting out those who promote end runs around it.
A superb article that should have been written (and widely disseminated) three or more months ago.
Although Colorado voters lost an opportunity (and a battle) this last November, the fight for judicial accountability continues. For those of us who would like to see Colorado’s judiciary reformed and returned to a proper role of upholding the Constitution and individual rights, we would appreciate your continued support – your comments (Sound Off!) and contributions are still needed. Freedom isn’t free -nor is it always easy to be a Citizen, not a subject.
Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.