Friday, June 30, 2006

Read Between Orrin's Lines: The Founders Were Stoopid

Here's what Orrin Hatch had to say about the Supreme Court (via AmericaBlog):

Speaking of the flag burning amendment, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said the amendment would:
"restore the constitution to what it was before unelected jurists changed it five to four." He went on to say, "Five lawyers decided 48 states were wrong."

[emphasis added]

Here's what he's really saying:
"I hate the system of government that was established by our Founding Fathers."

How surprised do you think Alexander Hamilton would be to know that a man who has been in the Legislature longer -- "B-b-but ... I'm elected!!" -- than every Supreme Court Justice but one (pdf) is upset that he can't be the judge of what is and is not Constitutional?

Not very. Of the necessity of an appointed, unelected judiciary which serves a lifetime post during good behavior, Hamilton writes this:
In a monarchy it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a republic it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body. And it is the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws.

Why is an unelected judiciary so necessary in our system of government?
Though I trust the friends of the proposed Constitution will never concur with its enemies,3 in questioning that fundamental principle of republican government, which admits the right of the people to alter or abolish the established Constitution, whenever they find it inconsistent with their happiness, yet it is not to be inferred from this principle, that the representatives of the people, whenever a momentary inclination happens to lay hold of a majority of their constituents, incompatible with the provisions in the existing Constitution, would, on that account, be justifiable in a violation of those provisions; or that the courts would be under a greater obligation to connive at infractions in this shape, than when they had proceeded wholly from the cabals of the representative body. Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act. But it is easy to see, that it would require an uncommon portion of fortitude in the judges to do their duty as faithful guardians of the Constitution, where legislative invasions of it had been instigated by the major voice of the community.

People who love the flag more than the Constitution can't dick around with the fundamental law through their elected, and therefore subject to the whims of popular opinion, legislators.

Until the pseudo-patriots can get their flag-burning amendment into the Constitution to exempt a particular form of speech from protection by the 1st Amendment, or they can stack the court with their ideological cohorts who have no interest in protecting certain unpopular rights, the Justices are absolutely correct and in line with our system of government in protecting the minority from the encroachments of the majority.

Orrin Hatch, as usual, is having an ego-driven temper tantrum.

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