It is painfully ironic that we should be promoting the spread of democracy abroad when democracy is shrinking at home. Over the years, the outcomes of our elections have meant less and less, as judges have taken more and more decisions out of the hands of elected officials.
Judges have imposed their own notions on everything from school administration to gay marriage, and have ordered both state and federal agencies to spend billions of dollars to carry out policies favored by the judges or have even ordered a state legislature to raise taxes.
This naked exercise of judicial power has been covered by the fig leaf of pretense to be "interpreting" laws and the Constitution by stretching and twisting words beyond recognition.
The merits of the particular policies or expenditures is not the issue. The real issue is much bigger: Are the people to have the right to elect their own representatives to decide issues or are unelected judges to take over an ever-increasing share of the power to rule?
This has happened gradually but steadily. Just as the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan referred to our growing acceptance of immoral behavior as "defining deviancy downward," so we have come to accept the steady erosion of democratic government as judges have defined democracy downward.
While people in various countries in the Middle East are beginning to stir as they see democracy start to take root in Iraq, our own political system is moving steadily in the opposite direction, toward rule by unelected judicial ayatollahs, acting like the ayatollahs in Iran.
That is what makes the impending Senate battle over judicial nominees something much bigger than a current political squabble or a clash of Senatorial egos.
One way to stop the continuing erosion of the American people's right to govern themselves would be to appoint judges who follow the great Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' doctrine that his job was to see that the game is played by the rules, "whether I like them or not."
Judges with that philosophy are anathema to liberal Democrats in the Senate today. They know that the only way many liberal policies can become law is by having them imposed by judges, because voters have increasingly rejected such policies and the candidates who espouse them.