Thomas Sowell

Anyone who criticized the Florida Supreme Court for its judicial activist order, depriving Secretary of State Katherine Harris of the discretion which the state law gave her, was denounced in much of the media for daring to question these state justices' actions -- until the U. S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated the state court order and asked to know what legal basis it had. A judicial coup d'etat is no more legitimate than a military coup d'etat.

The same U. S. Supreme Court opinion pointed out that the Florida legislature has authority under the U. S. Constitution to select the state's electors if it wishes. Yet media liberals continue to denounce the idea that the legislature could exercise its constitutional authority, instead of bowing to courts that exceed their authority. Too many people in the media treat judicial despotism as the rule of law, when it is the exact opposite of the rule of law.

The rule of law means that judges are as much under the law as anybody else. And the separation of powers -- on which our freedom and democracy ultimately depend -- means that the legislature's authority is no less than that of courts. The legislature's authority is in fact greater than that of courts in the particular areas where the constitution has granted them the specific authority to act, just as that of the courts is greater in other areas.

What a tragedy if this great constitutional edifice, so carefully constructed and followed for so long -- and defended with the bloods and lives of so many Americans over the generations -- can be undermined so easily with a contrived crisis, clever spin and brazen actions.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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