What if we all simply decided to interpret the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare as a 9-0 vote to overturn Obamacare?
“Well, that wouldn’t be right!” you say. “That wouldn’t respect the rule of law. People can’t just interpret laws anyway they want.”
Why not? That’s exactly what Chief Justice Roberts and the four liberals justices did in the Obamacare case. They either changed the meaning of Obamacare (Roberts) or changed the meaning of the Constitution (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan) to pretend that there is no conflict between Obamacare and the Constitution.
I have a couple of questions: 1) If everyday Americans have no problem properly understanding what these Supreme Court justices mean in their opinions, why do these Supreme Court justices have such a hard time understanding what the Constitution means? And 2) If the Supreme Court can interpret the law and the Constitution anyway they want, then why can’t we interpret their opinions anyway we want?
The common sense answer to number two is, “Because if people interpreted laws anyway they wanted to, we would have anarchy.”
True. But when courts interpret laws anyway they want to, we have something nearly as bad—an oligarchy, where unelected judges rule as kings.
As with anarchy, no laws or rights are safe in an oligarchy. You think your rights of free speech, religion, association, and to bear arms are secure? Not if liberals are on the Court. If the Court can misinterpret or rewrite Obamacare and certain clauses in the Constitution, what’s to stop them from misinterpreting or rewriting the Bill of Rights?
When justices fail to be impartial umpires but insert themselves into the game by either changing the law or the Constitution, our rights are not secure and we cannot govern ourselves. That’s why, as I wrote last week, there is only one type of judicial philosophy that doesn’t result in tyranny—a conservative philosophy, which conserves the language and intent of the law to see if it conforms to the language and intent of the Constitution.
“Oh, but the Constitution is a ‘living’ or ‘evolving’ document!” say the liberals. Nonsense! Do your rights evolve? If they do, one day some judge somewhere might declare that your rights have “evolved” in a direction you don’t like.
Frank Turek is coauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. See more of his work at CrossExamined.org.