Friday, May 13, 2005

Activist Judges

Let's talk about activist judges. This is a phrase - a buzz phrase that is being tossed around by the ideolouges who want to dismantle what the framers of the Constitution painstakingly put together.
It's called a system of "Checks and Balances".
Just because our forefathers lived two hundred years ago doesn't make their experiences irrelevant to today. They saw quite clearly how run away hysteria, and mob mentality rippled through the fabric of society, caused riots, and destabilized the living conditions they all had to deal with on a daily basis.

A three level check and balance between the executive branch, the legislature, and the judicial branches of the government was brilliant. It prevents, and hampers ideologues, and charismatic leaders from sweeping through their personal agendas foisted onto the vast variety of people that we are, and were even two hundred years ago.

In fact only a good judge appears as an "activist judge" as he tempers the whims and trends of the voting public, and lobbyist against the Constitution which is the foundation of our "free" society. In fact if you are not an "activist judge" you are merely rubber stamping whatever political agenda is advanced by the executive branch, and the legislative branch. In fact in this day and age when politicians are bought and sold by taking enormous campaign contributions it is the Judicial branch that are the true heros, and the defenders of the Constitution. They are our last line of defense, and the ones who are protecting our rights.

With the media manipulating popular opinion, and effectively I might add it is the judges and their insulation from the political process who can sit and "actively" interpret what comes before them in their courts, and on their dockets in the context of legality, and constitutionality. Judges are appointed for life, and as far as humanly possible they should be appointed when they have a history of correctly interpreting the Constitution, outstanding credentials and peer review from their colleagues including the bar association, and not advancing their own personal politics, beliefs, and religions.

Now if you have captured the media, and can say the sky is green and the grass is blue and have people believe it, and if you have used tons of money to win the majority of the legislative branch, and capture the executive branch what is your next step?

Capture the judicial branch, right? It's the only one left.

And how do you do that?

You start a smear campaign, and alter the rules of how a judge gets appointed.

The first: the smear campaign is to create a buzz word that alarms people "activist judges". It makes them sound like (gay) activists - (environmental) activists, and suggests they are altering the laws of the legislature. When in fact an "activist judge" is one who interperts the laws of a popularly elected legislature - who is beholden, and captured by special big money interest - that is intent on inflicting their personal will on our nation and system of laws in order for them to gain specifically, and only for themselves, and against what the Constitution spelled out in order to form a more perfect Union. In other words an "activist judge" is one who is doing their job. In contrast to those elected and beholden to the money that elected them, and their efforts to rearrange the laws in order to suit their specific and individual needs no matter how it impacts the rest of us. For instance maximize profits for their specific industry, or to advance their specific religious belief system which may actually have nothing to do with the live and let live philosophy of our forefathers.

Secondly: As the smear campaign manipulates public discord you simultaneouly start to alter the judicial nominating process (eliminating the filibuster) to appoint your particular judicial canidate who is an idelogue, who will hold to their ideology first, and the Constitution a distant second. These ideologues are the true "activist judges" that we should fear; because they look to reshape the Constitution from the point of view of their personal religious beliefs. Religion as a system of government is a historical failure. That is why the framers of the Constitution seperated Church and State.

The framers of the Constitution took great pains to separate religion out from the laws that govern the operation of our country. The operation and running of our country is like the hardware behind this blog - there is no need for a religion or belief system underpinning the operation of our government than the one already debated, and established by the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States. To the extent that our judges are free to screen the new laws put forth by each and every executive administration republican or democrat, and the legislative body at the time, is a true measure of how well our "firewall" (the judicial branch) of protection is working to safe guard our Constitution, and our hard earned, hard fought freedoms as citizens of this great and beautiful country. Those freedoms apply to everyone and not just those that think they know better.


Gr8fulTed said...


Thanks for the visit to my blog. I am enjoying yours, too. Definitely some similarities on likes for music, movies, books, etc. You don't usually see Sometimes A Great Notion on anyone's list. Impressive.

Former WLFR DJ said...

"Religion as a system of government is a historical failure. That is why the framers of the Constitution seperated Church and State."

That is not entirely accurate. The framers of the Constitution were religious people who separated church and state to eliminate one state sponsored religion. (e.g. at the time their reference was England and the state sponsored "Church of England"). Most early pilgrams from England were escaping religious persecution for practicing faiths other than "Church of England".

Furthermore, the framers of the Constitution created "freedom OF religion" meaning that everyone is free to practice whatever religion they choose, not "freedom FROM religion". This common misinterpretation is being used to wipe clean any history of Judeo-Christianity in public.

This was not the original intent of our founding fathers. I will continue to pray and practice my religion alone and with others anywhere and anytime I wish. I will also continue to support those who respect those rights.

What on Earth do you think our founding fathers based the Constitution and early laws on? It was on the priciples of their religious faith.

Why can't everyone just show respect that our founding fathers were Christians and leave it alone? If our founding fathers were Pagans I would respect that and not call for anything ever having anything to do with Paganism be erased from the government. Why is it different for Judeo-Christianity? Why do people feel we need to wipe any history of it from our government and pretend it never existed or exists?

Paul Burke said...

Interesting comment, and for the large part I agree - we are after all quibbling on varying degrees - there is no question thou shall not kill and the ten commandments are a basis for government - the founding fathers didn't exist in a vacuum, and their personal beliefs and experiences shaped the formation of this country. However, I would maintain that secular governments are a necessity, and that non-secular governments restrict liberty.

Religion is a dicey subject - systems of unproven beliefs based on faith morph into various and numerous tribes, sects, and parishes. The lengths that believers will go to border on the insane and are flat out hypocritical. Taking innocent lives in the name of religion is the work of the devil, period, and shouting down anyone who "believes" differently is just as bad.

Dogma gets so detailed that people of the same ethnic background from the same global neighborhood are killing each other over "interpretations" of their various takes on their religious doctrine. That is why I say and firmly believe that religion (don't go out without your burka - don't eat pork - etc) is a historical failure as a system of government. And when I say system I mean complete system from the running of the traffic lights to opening your stores on Sundays.

That the foundation of thought is bound up in the collective unconscious that is known to all of us, and on a certain level. That universal truths - such as killing and stealing are wrong, and the fact that these truths are later codified in numerous religions does not legitimize non-secular states as being anything other than punitive, dictatorial and limiting in freedom. Freedom to worship as you see fit is protected in a secular government, but not a non-secular government. That makes religion as a system of government a complete and utter failure because it restricts freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if that pursuit falls outside of the narrowly defined monastic restrictions of whatever state sponsored religion is in political power at the moment.

The only religious rule in government and in life that we really need is "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That is all the dogma and religion we need in this world. If everyone followed the "golden rule" we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today.

As a side note all of these sectarian religious wars in the middle east that promote killing are just a struggle for power among henchmen, and some might see the good old US of A as the lead henchman. We need to prevent that from happening by not alligning ourselves with any one religion.

Organized religion is a scary thing when they start telling other people what to do, what to think, how to worship, when to worship, what to worship, and if you don't agree you are physically harmed the laws get changed, and they physically make you conform - that's not religion that's a power grab to enrich the coffers, and the power of those that sit a top of their specific religious hierarchy. Those being restricted will lash out against those doing the restricting and it is always bloddy and the innocent are trapped in the middle.

It's a sad state of affairs but the only way to keep these certain bloddy eventualities from happening is to keep the seperation of church and state in tact. We need to draw as bright and clear a separation line as possible, and in every corner of the world.

It's not the core beliefs that are damaging to the rest of us - killing is wrong, and you should honor your mother and father, but when they get down to the gory details - they use the gory details to divide and conquer. Abortion for example - when does the spirit enter the embryo - what if you believe the spirit doesn't fully enter the body until the age of five? Should you be shot or should you be free to exercise your personal decisions based on your personal beliefs? I vote for the being free part.

Politics based on this type of detailed religious principle of one specific religion is doomed to fail, alienate, and infuriate everyone involved.

A secular government that separates church and state is the only way to insure that everyone gets "to pray and practice my religion alone and with others anywhere and anytime I wish."

To a great many religion means the preservation of individual liberty and freedom and the right to free and safe abortions. A non-secular state doesn't allow for an individual to "believe" that a fetus the size of a finger nail is more a function of biology than a divine spirit struggling for existence. Lo and behold a religion to some people is the ability of a woman in hosting that embryo to be the decision maker - just as some religions relegate women to be the servants of men, and men to be the decision makers for women including who they will marry.

So let people believe what they want to believe - Gods message for each individual person will not be hindered or stopped by man made laws, but man will be.

The founding fathers knew this from experience - let's hope we all don't have to relearn this lesson of history, because if we do it will be very, very, bloody, and very ugly.

Thanks for writing, and keep exercising and defending your personal liberties protected by this non-secular government - just don't try and tell your neighbor what to think or do with their life. It is none of your business, and you might just get a punch in the nose.

What would Jesus do - he would lead by example (hasn't he already)

MarkO said...

The founding fathers were Christians influenced by the history of chuch-state relations. I believe the following quotes illuminate their mindset when framing the constitution:

"The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes." - John Adams, letter to John Taylor

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." - James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785

"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State." - Thomas Jefferson to S. Kercheval, 1810

"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both here (England) and in New England." - Benjamin Franklin

"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." - James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785