Thomas Sowell

Judicial activists around the country have ignored the constitution's separation of powers in order to become the grand second-guessers of everybody else, whether executive, legislative or private.

They do this by pretending to "interpret" the law -- even when they interpret the law to mean the direct opposite of what its plain words say. This has been the pattern of judicial activists at all levels, including too many U. S. Supreme Court justices. Justice William J. Brennan's "interpretation" of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to permit quotas and preferences that it plainly forbad was a classic of this sheer brass in the Weber case in 1979.

The time is long overdue to stop regarding judges as little tin gods who can do no wrong. An independent judiciary does not mean a judiciary independent of the law. If it does, then we can forget about being a free and democratic nation. We are just the serfs of whoever happens to be on the bench.

What choices have the judicial activists left us? Other officials could disregard the courts, as President Andrew Jackson did when he said, "John Marshall has made his ruling. Now let him enforce it." But that would be answering cynicism with cynicism -- and no society can survive on sheer cynicism.

We could just bow to our betters on the bench and relinquish the freedom that so many Americans have died to protect. Or we could start impeaching judges who overstep the bounds of the law.

The spin will be that politicians are just punishing judges for decisions that they don't happen to like, when in fact judges would be removed for violating their oath of office by failing to follow the law. Are we afraid to face a little spin to protect what others before us have faced death for?

Thomas Sowell

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

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