The Senate should not do more to limit the powers of the Judicial Branch
Previously published on March 14, 2008
In the beginning of the Nation, our forefathers struggled to create a balanced government; the legislative process is one example where this concern remains somewhat unsettled as the Constitution set forth limits on the effects of the laws that legislators can create. On the other hand, interpreting the Constitution, whether literally or indirectly, can be difficult as it does not dictate how the government is to be run; it dictates what it needs to run properly.
There are movements within this Nation that call for the Senate to limit the powers of the Courts as judicial supremacy in interpreting the Constitution was never guaranteed by the Constitution; it is something that arose over time. One such movement comes from radical social conservatives who are upset by Supreme Court decisions like Roe v. Wade.
On the other hand, the role of the Courts in democracy and the actions it needs to take require the powers it has been given.Part of the Courts' responsibilities is to ensure the legislative process does not violate the rights of those who do not hold a majority view while it also guarantees new legislation does not violate laws that supersede that new legislation and agents of government applying laws do not violate an individual's rights.
As part of their responsibilities, the Courts must determine when individual rights protect a person from the application of a law while the Courts must also determine if a right, which is not enumerated in the Constitution, exists. As no rights, whether enumerated in the Constitution or not, are absolute, the Courts are responsible for confirming a right exists and determining if applicable laws violate that right. As the Constitution supersedes all other law, this puts Judges in a situation where they may have to invalid laws created by a majority of the Legislator, which is not necessarily legislating from the bench as such actions would leave the Courts rewriting legislation instead of invaliding an application of a law or the law as a whole.
The powers of the Courts exist for reasons and though it is odd that the Courts, as a completely apolitical, non-democratic institute exists as an equal branch of government, it is the keystone to democracy, as without it, democracy could not override runaway Legislators who could violate individual freedoms and ignore a disenfranchised majority or minority. Limiting the power of the Courts would create an elected directorship that would eventually end democracy in this Country.
Judges are appointed for livelong terms because law requires consistency, and so, the Courts cannot be influenced by political shifts as the Courts are there to uphold the Constitution above all other laws while they protect minority views and the rights of all. Law is a process not a collection of legislation; therefore, it requires lifelong professionals who have been trained to minimize their personal bias when applying the Law. It is Legislators and Presidents, who handpick judges whose rulings tend to be oriented toward their political stances, that undermine the integrity of the Courts and democracy while it is always these other two branches of government that choose not to adequately address issues forcing the Courts to over turn some legislation.