In the early days of our nation, Alexander Hamilton referred to the Judicial Branch as “the least dangerous branch of government.” Unfortunately in America today, this is complete and utter fantasy.
The Supreme Court of the United States has become a larger than life institution that is shrouded in mystery and secrecy. They have become the equivalent to the great and powerful OZ in regards to America and her laws over the past several decades.
This body of litigators has gone from being a benign council of judges to a law making body. It is a forgone conclusion in today’s legal landscape that all political and social questions will end up on their doorstep where the American people sit and eagerly wait the final word on what is right and what is wrong.
America has become a litigious society, right or wrong, and because of this the courts have taken center stage and supplanted their own creator, the legislative branch. This is not a new trend; President Roosevelt saw the writing on the wall during his bitter battle to pass his “New Deal.” In response to opposition on the courts, Roosevelt attempted to institute what is now known as the “Court Packing Plan.” Roosevelt knew that one day soon the courts would have the final word on all aspects of American litigation and law making.
Since the late 1940’s the Supreme Court has become an active means of litigation for those who face too much opposition in our other branches of government. The New Deal, Roe v. Wade, Abington School District v. Schempp and most recently the Obamacare decision have all been examples of how the Supreme Court is shaping our society.
In short, these nine justices shape the future of America and it was certainly never meant to be this way. In our system, the role of the Supreme Court is to interpret the law and limit the scope of government by determining when and if a law oversteps its bounds. Because of court precedent and the political leanings of the court, the party that controls the court also controls the country and the societal future for years to come. It is a far cry from the original intention of Hamilton when he called it the least dangerous branch.
This is why the up coming election is so important. President Barack Obama has made no secret of the fact that Judeo-Christian values are under attack as long as he resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This would also be the case in an Obama dominated high court. Barack Obama is seeking to fundamentally transform America into a society of moral relativity and he will use the courts if it is the path of least resistance.
Currently there are four justices on the high court that are well over the age of seventy; Ginsburg, Breyer, Scalia and Kennedy. Ginsburg in particular is seventy-nine and will most likely be the next justice to be replaced. It is reasonable to assume that over the next four years three of these justices, if not four, will retire and be replaced by the sitting president.
If Obama is elected he would end up having at most six nominations to the court in his eight year term. This would be catastrophic to the cause of social conservatism. Not since President Richard Nixon has a president had so many court appointees. This would literally give Barack Obama a six-person majority in the courts.
A lot is resting on this election and although we cannot change what the court has morphed into over the last hundred years or so, what can be done is to limit this presidents power to see his dream of transformation by voting him out of office on November the sixth.
President William Howard Taft said it best, “Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.” So let’s make sure we have the right person making such permanent decisions this time around.
Image: Close-up of the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C.; public policy