Judges Run Amok
By: Craig Chamberlain
There has always been a problem with the judiciary in this country. Too often judges confuse their roles and think of themselves as lawmakers and executives, instead of just judges. They want to make the law, not just interpret it. If they want to make law or run an executive branch, then they should resign from the bench and run for office in those areas. But many judges think they are so wise that they can, and should, have the powers of all three branches of governments invested in them.
Our Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, affirmed a lowed court ruling ordering the release of tens of thousands of inmates in California. Justice Kennedy, and the four liberals on the bench, were the majority and ordered the release based on the grounds that prison overcrowding(and the lack of top notch health care, you know the health care that should be reserved for people who aren’t murderers and rapists) was a violation of the 8th amendments prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The four conservatives on the bench, Chief Justice Roberts, and justices, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia, dissented saying that the ruling went beyond the powers of the court. They are right. It is not in the interest of law, or justice, to put the well being of convicts above the well being of law abiding citizens who will certainly be victimized by their release.
The eighth amendment is a favorite of the bleeding hearts. “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Cruel and unusual punishment was defined by the founding fathers as torture. Inflicting pain for the sake of pain, would be torture and a violation of the eighth amendment. Putting a convict on the rack just because you want to see him suffer is a violation of the 8th amendment. Putting more than one person in a cell, or not having a doctor for every convict does not violate the 8th amendment. There’s no way around it but the court made a decision, based not on the law, but on the fact that those 5 justices thought that there were too many people in prison and wanted them released, after all what’s the lives of innocent people compared to the rights of the predators who have been denied adequate space and health care?
If there was a problem in the California prison system, it was for California to solve. This was a state issue, not a federal one. If the judges are so concerned with the 8th amendment maybe they should spend some time reading the tenth amendment.
Then there is the decision rendered by the New Jersey State supreme court, which ordered Governor Christie to spend another 500 million dollars on poorer schools. Yes, the state supreme court is now the final arbiter of how much money the state is to spend. Funny I always thought the budgets and expenditures were the responsibility of state legislatures, and the House of Representatives. If these judges think that they know how much money should be spent( and New Jersey doesn’t have much money) then they should resign from the court and run for seats in the state legislature.
Where do these judges think they derive their authority to be judge jury and executioner? Governor Christie should say the court has made their decision, now let them enforce it. There is no part of constitutional, or statutory law, where the judiciary has this kind of authority. This is not a judicial decision, it is a usurpation of the legislative right to decide how much money is going to spent and what it is going to be spent on. For all intents and purposes the court declared itself the legislature and the governor.
That is what a lot of judges want. They think they can, and should be, an oligarchy. After all who needs meddlesome things like legislators and governors- elected by the people- to stand in the way of progress? Does anyone really think Roe V. Wade had anything to do with the constitution, or was it just that a bunch of judges thought that every state should have to accept their definition of abortion rights?
We are a country that has a strong tradition of the rule of law, and that’s a good thing. No rational person would want to live in a country without it. Look at China or Venezuela. But when judges make decisions like this, trampling on the democratic process, they undermine the rule of law when it is their job to uphold it. Respect for the law comes from the belief that the law is good and it makes sense to obey. That respect is eroding away, largely because our judges have taken it upon themselves, to act as lawmakers.
California and New Jersey should stand up to the courts and tell them to mind their own business. The judges act as a check on the legislative and executive branches. Now it’s time they act as a check on them.