Every day we’re losing our Constitutional rights. They’re being slowly eroded away and it seems no one really cares or knows any better. We’ve been taught in public schools that Our United States Constitution is a ‘living’ document. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Constitution is a rigid document and can only be changed via the amendment process. Our Constitution has been ‘interpreted’ into meaning different things at different times in our country’s history by the Supreme Court of the United States (henceforth referred to as SCOTUS). This ‘interpreting’ of the Constitution is illegal and unconstitutional. If our society deems it necessary to grant additional rights or constitutional protections, then it must be done by amending our Constitution or the Congress granting additional powers to SCOTUS instead of the SCOTUS arbitrarily making law (known as judicial activism). So what went wrong?
Marbury V Madison (1803)
What was Marbury v Madison and why is this case of such great importance? It is precisely this case in which the SCOTUS granted itself the power to rule on the constitutionality of any law and render it void if the SCOTUS felt it went against the Constitution. The Constitution explicitly grants SCOTUS only two powers; 1st) original jurisdiction (Article III, Section 2), and 2nd) to set up lesser courts under their authority (Article III, Section 1). The Constitution does not grant the SCOTUS the power of judicial review. The SCOTUS was never intended to be equal to either the Executive or Legislative branches.
The 14th Amendment 1868
The 14th Amendment has often been cited as a ‘backdoor’ way around the amendment process. The main point of the 14th Amendment was to guarantee that former slaves were to be treated as full citizens of the United States (Section 1). The other sections of the 14th addressed controversies that arose over how to deal with the former Confederate States while the last section authorized Congress the power to enforce all sections of the 14th. Again, why is the 14th important today? We, as a nation, no longer have any slaves or old Confederate soldiers. It’s important because it is often used to circumvent the amendment process. Instead of passing a new amendment, the courts can just ‘reinterpret’ the 14th to convey new rights or privileges against the will of the people. This reinterpretation is more commonly known as ‘judicial activism’.
Judicial activism is what courts do to change laws without having and constitutional authority to do so in the first place. They overturn the will of the people and create law. We’ve seen the use of judicial activism many times since Marbury v Madison (1803). We saw it when the SCOTUS created a ‘separation of church and state’ that never existed before. The 1st Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Notice that the restriction is placed solely upon Congress, i.e., the state. It is a one-way clause. I won’t argue the pros or cons about having a true separation of church and state… My point is that if the people want that separation to be two-way, then we should do so via an amendment.
The same is true with most other issues we face today… gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, etc. The courts should never have the ability to overturn the will of the people or state constitutional amendments. The courts just don’t have that constitutional power or authority. The people of each state should have the right to live as the majority of that state pleases. Why have individual state constitutions if a judge can overrule the will of the constituents? If any state chooses to legalized marijuana or legitimize gay marriage, so be it. Other states should not be compelled to embrace that which runs contrary to the will of its own people.
Remember… Our Declaration of Independence starts with “We the People…” We are the rightful masters of our government. Insist on our government acting constitutionally.