It’s been a
tough summer for social conservatives, thanks to our federal courts.
From “gay rights” to affirmative action to Boy Scouts to the Ten Commandments,
federal courts recently have issued rulings that conflict with both the
Constitution and overwhelming public sentiment. Conservatives and
libertarians who once viewed the judiciary as the final bulwark against
government tyranny must now accept that no branch of government even remotely
performs its constitutional role.
The practice of
judicial activism- legislating from the bench- is now standard for many
federal judges. They dismiss the doctrine of strict construction as
hopelessly outdated, instead treating the Constitution as fluid and malleable
to create a desired outcome in any given case. For judges who see
themselves as social activists, their vision of justice is more important
than the letter of the laws they are sworn to interpret and uphold.
With the federal judiciary focused more on promoting a social agenda than
upholding the rule of law, Americans find themselves increasingly governed by
men they did not elect and cannot remove from office.
Consider the Lawrence
case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined
that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual
conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th
amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may
be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the
Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights- rights
plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those
amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to
regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But
rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a
properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution
and impose its vision on the people of Texas.
federal court judge in San Diego recently ordered that city to evict the Boy
Scouts from a camp they have run in a city park since the 1950s. A gay
couple, with help from the ACLU, sued the city claiming the Scouts’
presence was a violation of the “separation of church and
state.” The judge agreed, ruling that the Scouts are in essence a
religious organization because they mention God in their recited oath.
Never mind that the land, once privately owned, had been donated to the city
for the express purpose of establishing a Scout camp. Never mind that
the Scouts have made millions of dollars worth of improvements to the
land. The real tragedy is that our founders did not intend a separation
of church and state, and never envisioned a rigidly secular public life for
America. They simply wanted to prevent Congress from establishing a
state religion, as England had. The First amendment says “Congress
shall make no law”- a phrase that cannot possibly be interpreted to apply
to the city of San Diego. But the phony activist
“separation” doctrine leads to perverse outcomes like the
eviction of Boy Scouts from city parks.
These are but two
recent examples. There are many more, including the case of Alabama
Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was ordered by a federal court to remove a Ten
Commandments monument from Alabama courthouse property.
left increasingly uses the federal judiciary to do in court what it cannot do
at the ballot box: advance an activist, secular, multicultural political
agenda of which most Americans disapprove. This is why federal legal
precedents in so many areas do not reflect the consensus of either federal or
state legislators. Whether it’s gun rights, abortion, taxes,
racial quotas, environmental regulations, gay marriage, or religion, federal
jurists are way out of touch with the American people. As a society we
should reconsider the wisdom of lifetime tenure for federal judges, while
Congress and the President should remember that the Supreme Court is supreme
only over other federal courts- not over the other branches of
government. It’s time for the executive and legislative branches
to show some backbone, appoint judges who follow the Constitution, and remove
those who do not.
other articles by Ron Paul
Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for
liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington
for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return
to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. For more
information click on the Project Freedom website.
with the authorization of Dr. Paul.
Dr. Ron Paul