Thursday, May 20, 2010

Supreme Court justices, or supreme policy-makers, grand second-guessers, or philosopher-kings?

Selections: Thomas Sowell, The Court’s Power Grab

Appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, are not institutions equipped to make policy judgments . . . Legislatures exist to make policy judgments — and to be voted out of office if these policy judgments turn out to produce results that the electorate does not want. But there are no such corrective mechanisms in place if Supreme Court justices misjudge.

. . . the old, moth-eaten argument cited by Justice John Paul Stevens, that the society is evolving and therefore the interpretation of the Constitution must evolve with it. Nobody — from the moment the Constitution was adopted in the 18th century to the present — has ever denied that societies evolve, and that their laws must evolve to meet changing circumstances. But, unless Justice Stevens is either stupid or dishonest, he cannot leap from a need for laws to change to the conclusion that it is judges who must be the ones to make those changes.

Just saying the magic word “change” does not justify judges’ grabbing the power to make whatever changes they please in the law. There are, after all, two other branches of the federal government, specifically charged with legislative and executive responsibilities and powers, not to mention the constitutional-amendment process.

No comments:

Post a Comment