Recently the Court has made a series of decisions that have delighted half of the country and outraged the other half. I suppose that this is no different than any decision of consequence, some will be happy and others will be upset but if we scrutinize the decisions perhaps we can make some serious inquires of what the Court has done to our democracy.
First, let’s examine the decision on the health care law. Last time I checked, both the House and Senate still existed. Why is it the role of the Court to determine what the legislature meant when the legislature is not extinct? In determining laws that are passed by a living body does it not make sense to simply ask the legislative body what they meant instead of making up what they think they meant. The court does not need to interpret legislation, they just need to ask.
Yes, you are all saying but the mix of the legislature has changed. To that, I say yes elections have consequences. We all know that the health care law was rammed through the legislative process. Many did not even read the law before voting on it. If they were not clear in their intent would it not make more sense to send the legislation back to the legislature for clarification and refinement? We should never allow the court to take over the legislative process. If a law is imperfect in its formation, the law should be returned to the legislature to be corrected. There is no reason for the Court to interpret the intent of a law as long as the legislature exists. For if we no longer trust in our legislature, we no longer believe in our democracy.
Another decision recently made by the Court, was the application of the civil rights and privileges associated with the marriage concept. The one unanswered question around the new definition of marriage is who is going to perform these marriages? Marriage is a religious concept that has existed over 2,500 years, long before the existence of the United States. It is defined, differently, in many religions, but always with in a religious context. Marriage has also been defined civilly, which is the privilege of the State (although marriage is an inappropriate term).
The process of being married, civilly, is very simple, sign the book. When you sign the book, one gains all the legal rights, privileges and responsibilities of years of common law. The one thing it does not do, is make immoral activity, moral. For this you would need a religious ceremony, performed before the eyes of God. The Constitution forbids the creation of a State religion. When the State mimicked traditional practices, we allowed the State to perform a quasi-religious ceremonies, but now that the State has taken such a divergent view of marriage, it must cease playing at religion. If the courts continue, we risk creating a godless “State” faith.
Would stopping State ceremonies, stop the new definition from being executed? No, there will always be opportunities for individuals to have private ceremonies but the State cannot be involved in the creation of a godless religion. Sign the book, have a private ceremony, but do not poison the State nor seek to corrupt faith.
It has been a rough week for our democracy. The Court, intended to be the weakest branch, has pushed its power far beyond its original intent, adjudicated the law and protection of the Constitution. It has trumped the power of the legislative branch and usurped our Republic. With partisan and identity politics ruling the day, it may be a long way off before the dream of our founding fathers is recognizable.