Replacing Scalia, the Politics of Justice and The Role of the Supreme Court

To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions would be very dangerous doctrine indeed and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy… The Constitution has erected no such tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with corruption of time and party, its members would become despots. – Thomas Jefferson Letter To William Charles Jarvis. Monticello, September 28, 1820.

When words no longer mean what they mean, the Constitution becomes a Rorschach splotch, where justices can read anything into it they want to see and read out of it anything they want to see changed. My point here, though, is not to argue for an originalist interpretation, which I clearly support, but to point out how the Court’s role has veered from that intended by the Founders.

The Hobby Lobby Decision and What it Means for the Church

The Supreme Court upheld religious liberty and freedom of conscience in its 5-4 decision on Monday, and in doing so, avoided the same mistake the Court made when it upheld the rights of slave owners in the Dred Scott decision and ensured the Civil War. The Dred Scott case not only restored the rights of slave owners to recapture runaway slaves in the Northern States, but made those who did not believe in slavery complicit in their capture and return. In other words, it forced those who hated slavery to comply with slavery by handing slaves back to their masters. This legal decision to deny freedom of conscience only served to strength Abolitionist sentiment and helped precipitate the Civil War. Noting that then, as today, we have a sharply divided country on the issue of just “who” is entitled to the protection of life and liberty, that narrowly divided Supreme Court is reflective of that divide. The belief that abortion is indeed murder is a conviction that will not disappear with the stroke of the judge’s pen, as has been amply demonstrated by over 40 years of conflict and social disaffection. However, this decision is a lesson for the Church … Read more…

Menu