Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Meet the New King -- Same As the Old King

The Constitution, Article III, Section 1, "Federal Courts." The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

And, from section 2 of the same article, "Jurisdiction of Federal Courts:" ... In all other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

So, what do we learn here? Several things, I think. For one thing, the drafters of the Constitution were promiscuous scatterers of gratuitous commas, and their capitalization practices remind us of the German heritage of English (the Germans, after all, capitalize all nouns). But, seriously: we also see that, if we were in fact governed by our Constitution, as we are not, the nomination of a judge to the supreme Court would be vastly less important to us than we now think it is.

Notice, first of all, that judges can be gotten rid of by means other than bloody revolution, or waiting for them to die, or at least to get really, really old. Since they hold their offices during "good behavior," they cease to hold them when their good behavior has ceased. They can be impeached and removed. What would constitute bad behavior? Well, in a government allegedly based on the principle that separated powers are less easily abused than concentrated ones, we can surely start with the usurpation of the powers of one branch of government by another. "Conservatives" affect to be upset by what they call judicial activism: legislation from the bench. Well and good, say I; and if conservatives are actually upset about judicial usurpation, there are Constitutional remedies available. The usurpers can be impeached, per section 1; or their jursdiction may be curtailed by the Congress, as provided in section 2. (We can also note from section 2 that the jurisdiction of the federal courts is supposed to be limited to the kinds of cases enumerated there. Under the usurpatory regime that has developed, of course, absolutely nothing is outside the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary.) Do our "conservative" politicians seek such Constitutional correction? Don't make me laugh.

In fact, "judicial activism" has no opponents in government. The Left enjoys the results of the usurpations directly, as socialism and various perverse social novelties can be advanced by decree much faster than through the legislature. And to the Right, each judicial outrage functions as a wonderfully-useful form of political pornography, stirring the outrage of the electorate who can then be told that they'd best vote Republican, unless they want the Left to install "bad" judges. How many times has James Dobson declared a presidential election to be "the most crucial election of our times," since it supposedly offers the chance to purge the courts of all those Bolshie nosewipes and install some real Americans instead? You'd think that my red-state brethren would notice, at some point, that the Court is populated by seven "Republican" appointees ... and yet, somehow, Roe v. Wade is still "the law of the land." How much longer shall we keep doing exactly the same thing, while expecting a very different result?

When one finds oneself being ruled by tyrants, the thing to do is to break the tyranny -- not speculate endlessly about whether the incoming replacement tyrant is slightly more or less horrible than the outgoing one. Don't just try to put a little better grade of boy in the tyrant's office -- get rid of the accursed office. Maybe John Roberts is a nice guy, and maybe he's not. I don't care. What is certain is that his appointment and confirmation won't change anything fundamental, or he wouldn't be "in position" today. Our masters aren't about to let us do anything foolish, you know.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Sigh. It's way past time for a new constitution. Or, in lieu of that, the devolution of the country into several large semi-autonomous regions.... Okay, who wants to be the Kurds?