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Thursday, October 22, 2015

When They Get It Wrong

This is a serious question. I'm not at all clear on this. Someone help me out. I read this article over at American Principles Project calling for Constitutional resistance. I'm neither defending nor opposing it. I'm just wondering. It made me think. We have a Constitution and our system of government is built on it. What happens when it fails?

Here, I'll just pull up a theoretical example not to discuss the example, but to illustrate the problem. Let's say that the Constitution says that all persons have the right to life. Like I said, a theoretical example. And then let's say that ... oh, I don't know ... the Supreme Court of the United States, the final word on what is "constitutional", determines that certain babies are not "persons" and, therefore, are not afforded that protection. Now, it would seem obvious that this is a mistake. Something has gone wrong. There is an error here. Indeed, "error" is too trivial a term. Lives are being lost because this court system failed to uphold the Constitution. Or say, as another hypothetical, the States vote to define ... let's say as an example ... "marriage" not in a new way, but in the way that everyone has always defined it in all of history. But when this same Supreme Court of the United States examines the question, they consciously determine that "equal protection" from the Constitution means "We get to redefine this term as we think and then change it for all the States by judicial fiat." Now, it would seem obvious that the framers of the Constitution never had this in mind. I don't think anyone would argue that when they passed the 14th Amendment in 1868 anyone back then would have thought, "So this means that marriage will not mean 'the union of a man and a woman' and will now be changed to something different and be protected by this amendment." (I doubt you could find someone 50 years ago who would have thought such a thing.) So it would seem painfully obvious that something has gone off the tracks here ... you know ... in this hypothetical example.

So here's the question. What happens now? We have on one hand the Constitution of the United States with its Amendments and all its original intent, and on the other hand you have bizarre rulings and interpretations by modern courts that say, "No, it doesn't mean what it clearly meant when they wrote it. Now it means something different and you can't say anything about it." What happens now? What recourse is there? It would appear to be a breakdown in the system. How is it to be mended? When the Executive Branch does something, the Legislative and Judicial Branches are there to check and correct it. The same with the Legislative Branch. The Executive and Judicial Branches should check and correct them. But if the Judicial Branch fails miserably and declares as law of the land that "You will all need to erase the original intent of what was written from your memories and now submit to our new version", what corrective is available?

Clearly the Kim Davis approach wouldn't work. Right or wrong, there was no chance that "I'm standing on my Constitutional rights" was going to defend her against the authorities. Ask anyone who has ever said, "I'm sorry; I can't participate in your same-sex ceremony. But here is a list of others who can." Down in flames, professionally and personally. So standing on principle may be commendable and even right, but it won't necessarily fix a thing. What is the right course of action to take to fix the stupidity that is foisted on us by a Supreme Court that has the final word on reality (or not)?

Again, I'm not asking about "How do we fix these hypothetical situations?" I'm asking about the general principle. When the Judicial Branch goes whacky, what recourse is there? When the Judicial Branch falls off the tree and the Legislative Branch doesn't seek to correct it and the Executive Branch was already there to catch it, what is the proper corrective? Maybe an easier question is ... is there a proper corrective? Or are we just stuck with what we have?


Bob said...

might as well ask , how do we un-ring the bell?
the difficulty in making laws is the effort to avoid creating a new president.
because the new idea, may have unforeseen consequences. the new idea then becomes a platform for justification for even greater distortion of the original law. from Marriage to homosexual marriage to animal marriage to child marriage. where does it stop. sadly unless some great revolution occurs there will be no turning back. and consider the fact that the further we get from the standard, the greater the opposition will be to the standard.
it may well turn out that you become an anathema to the new social order.

Stan said...

I had to reread that. I'm assuming you meant "avoid creating a new precedent." Because next year we intend to elect a new president. :)

I see what you're saying. It's like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. Not gonna happen. What was unthinkable just 50 years ago is now considered normal and if it wasn't here that would be considered unthinkable today. Yesterday's generation would have said, "Two people of the same sex get married???! How could you think that?" This generation says, "Marriage is just two people of opposite sex? How could you think that?" Tomorrow's generation will have no means of stopping at "two people" or even "people" since the undergirdings of truth have been kicked out and discarded as "unthinkable".

I shudder to think of the unintended consequences. It won't be good ... either for Christians who believe the Bible or for society that loses all its norms and ethics.

Bob said...

ok so i dont know how to spell "precedence" so what if we create a new president,
the president that creates a new precedence, must preside over the precedence the president provided. never mind...

Stan said...

Actually, the "precedence" comment was an "inside joke" of mine. I've been told recently that some of the local schools in our area are no longer teaching spelling to school kids. "Why should we? They have spellcheckers." You spelled "president" correctly. The spellchecker would have remained silent. Of course, the reader would have been puzzled. "Did he mean president?" Because we don't have "mind checkers" that will figure out what you intended to say and correct the homophone or other error. (I've seen a LOT of them of late.)

Bob said...

we should call the precedent on the homophone and demand that Puerto Rico become a stake.
the slope is getting a little slippery now..