Who Will Judge the Judges?

Abraham Lincoln, in his 1860 Cooper Union speech, asked, “What is the frame of government under which we live?”  The answer must be, he said, the Constitution of the United States.  The answer today, as Chronicles’ reviewer of Quirk’s and Bridewell’s Judicial Dictatorship stated in 1995, is a judicial dictatorship imposed by the Supreme Court.  If 80 percent of the people want to try term limits to make Congress more responsive, the idea must be presented to the Court for approval or rejection.  The same goes for school vouchers, campaign-finance reform, and so on.  The Court now decides all kinds of questions that used to be left to the legislature.  May the President conduct a “War on Terror”?  The Court now tells him what rights he must allow to his captives, though, in all preceding wars, it had deferred to the executive.  The Court now stands astride the country like a colossus.

The imperial judiciary, though, has suddenly come under heavy attack.  On July 22, the House of Representatives passed the Marriage Protection Act (H.R. 3313), which would remove the “gay marriage” issue from the Supreme Court’s docket.  Of course, if you can put “gay marriage” off limits to the Court, you can do the same with any other kind of case: All it takes is a statute passed by Congress and signed by the president. ...

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