Judges hold significant power. Whether they are appointed to their positions or chosen by voters through the election process, judges can thwart the will of the people with a single ruling from the bench.
Two cases in point
1) Case regarding Oklahoma’s Shariah Law (State Question 755)
This new law requires that courts rely on federal or state laws when handing down decisions concerning cases and prohibits them from using international law or Sharia law when making rulings.
The ballot results on this measure were 695,568 (70.08%) yes; 296,903 (29.92%) no.
One judge has now made a ruling that jeopardizes the standing of this new law.
According to a Fox News report (11/08/10): “U.S. District Court Judge Vicki Miles-LeGrange ruled that the measure, which passed by a large margin in last Tuesday’s elections, would be suspended until a hearing on Nov. 22, when she will listen to arguments on whether the court’s temporary injunction should become permanent.” (Click here).
2) Case regarding Jessica’s Law in Los Angeles County, California
Proposition 83 of 2006 (also known as the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act: Jessica’s Law or simply, Jessica’s Law) was a statute enacted by 70% of California voters in November 7, 2006. The actual vote count was 5,926,800 yes; 2,483,597 no.
Judge Peter Espinoza last week ruled in favor of a group of sex offenders who claimed that a provision of Jessica’s Law violated their constitutional rights because it created a lack of housing, forcing them to choose between breaking the law and being thrown back in jail or obeying the law and becoming homeless.
This means Jessica’s Law could be jeopardized throughout the state if his preliminary ruling stands. (Click here).
My thoughts on this
I’m not a Constitutional lawyer, so I don’t know if or how all of the power that is currently granted to individual judges is backed up by Constitutional law.
However, it doesn’t strike me as being what the founders of our country would have envisioned.
The Declaration of the United States contains this language: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness: -That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the governed; that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, & to institute new Government, laying it’s Foundation on such Principles, & organizing it’s Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety & Happiness.
The keys words for me in that sentence are “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the governed” which seems to have been exercised by United States citizens in both Oklahoma and California; the “consent of the governed” now having been set aside by two individuals.
Who doesn’t feel a sense of pride in our country when the words of Abraham Lincoln at the close of his Gettysburg Address are quoted:
“…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Have the citizens of the United States lost the “of the people, by the people, for the people” concept in which our 16th President believed?
It is my opinion that the massive power that judges are using to what effectively amounts to as “legislating” from the bench needs to be challenged SOMEWHERE, by SOMEONE or SOME GROUP.
What do you think about the fact that judges appear able to “legislate” from the bench and overturn the will of the people?