Giving judges all the power is dangerous
To the editor:
While I consider the recent Supreme Court rulings as a victory for freedom and individual rights it troubles me greatly that so many of the Supreme Court justices get it wrong.
Any 5-4 decision means that either five got it wrong or four got it wrong. It is disturbing that judges can actually render a decision that is blatantly unconstitutional. Something is wrong here!
Thomas Jefferson got it right when he said in 1820, “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem (good justice is broad jurisdiction), and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.”
More direct to the Hobby Lobby decision, Jefferson’s words ring true, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Jefferson understood in the 1800s that this country was headed in a direction that puts the republic at risk, when he opined, “Even in our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.”