“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Monday, June 23, 2014

for strict constructionism

In the sixties, during a brief and singular moment in Supreme court history when the court leaned left rather than right, the right massively adopted the idea of strict constructionism. As the court has veered to the far right again - its usual place - the furor has abated. 
Myself, I am with the original right position: the supreme court should go back to what it was originally intended to be, a court, not a forum for deciding whether legislation or executive action is constitutional. I believe that might be a good idea, a forum for deciding whether legislation is constitutional or not, and perhaps there should be an independent office to vet legislation, as there is in France. But the Supreme court is certainly not it. 

We are far adrift from what Alexander Hamilton wrote in the federalist 78: "Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments."

Today liberals are celebrating the fact that the supreme court is "allowing" the EPA to regulate coal plant emissions. The Court, in my opinions, is displaying will and force here, as it has done for decades. It has become a truly malign force in the American democracy. The strict constructionists have no problem expanding judicial power when it comes to pursuing the plutocratic agenda, because it is a sham school of thought. 

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