Just days after the court ruled that the government possesses the authority to take land from one private citizen and give it to another, richer citizen, retiring Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor complained on a visit to Spokane about the tense relations that have developed between the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government.
"In all of the years of my life, I don't think I have ever seen relations as strained as they are now between the judiciary and some members of Congress,” she said, “It makes me very sad to see it.”
What she fails to understand is that the people and their representatives should be unhappy with a court that, since Marbury versus Madison, has accreted to itself ever more unchecked power. Today, the Supreme Court occupies a place in our government not unlike the councils of Iranian mullahs who have the final authority over anything the “elected” government in that Islamic republic passes. Heck, they even dress the same.
During Sandra Day O’Connor’s tenure, the Supreme Court has taken it upon itself to change the Constitution from a set of laws to a “living, breathing document,” meaning that it can be modified as seen fit by whomever wears the black robes. Never mind that the Constitution has within it a mechanism by which elected representatives can modify it as needed, the Supremes seem to believe that the process is too cumbersome and that our elected representatives lack the intellectual wherewithal to do it right. So, they have taken it upon themselves to discover new governmental powers when government decides that it needs them, and new rights, such as abortion, within the penumbra of the Constitution. Meanwhile, they have all but dismissed existing amendments, such as the First, Second and Fifth.
In recent years, the Supremes have declared laws passed by local yokels inferior to those of more enlightened counties. During this last session, the court overturned several states’ capital punishment laws citing, not the Constitution, but the laws of European nations.
I for one, have never voted for a member of any European parliament and resent the notion that laws passed by representatives that no American voted into office possess greater wisdom than those enacted within our borders.
Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg dismissed the notion that the Supreme Court should limit itself to the Constitution and homegrown laws. As for the criticism that the court relied too heavily on foreign laws, she said such narrow mindedness “should not lead us to abandon the effort to learn what we can from the experience and good thinking foreign sources may convey. The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification.”
So, with two sentences, Ruth Bader Ginsburg dismissed the Constitution and U.S. laws as inferior to the accumulated wisdom of the Supreme Court justices and foreign elites.
Sandra Day O’Connor also bristles at any suggestions that The Court simply restrict itself to interpreting laws written within the borders of this nation. She declared that the Supreme Court had some sort of obligation to elevate world opinion toward the United States by bringing U.S. law up to international standards.
"The impressions we create in this world are important, and they can leave their mark," she said recently. The United States is held in low regard by our European betters, "when it comes to the impression created by the treatment of foreign and international law and the United States court.”
Certainly one of the restrictions that Sandra Day O’Connor finds threatening is a resolution introduced by House Republicans that says, in part, that the, "meaning of the Constitution of the United States should not be based on judgments, laws or pronouncements of foreign institutions unless such foreign judgments, laws or pronouncements inform an understanding of the original meaning of the Constitution of the United States."
If Sandra Day O’Connor is distressed that respect for the court has declined during her tenure, she might look at herself as a contributor. After all, she has not shown much respect for the judgment of the citizens of this country or the laws enacted by their elected representatives.