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Quote of the Day - Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then--we elected them. - Lily Tomlin

Contest: What Makes America Great?

If no one brought a gun into a courthouse, then would there be any need to carry heat?

If politicians wouldn't blame so-called "activist judges," then would people be incited to act against the judiciary?

These are tough questions that demand tough answers.

Let's look at it from the basics. Government was formed by the people and for the people. The Constitution created three separate, but equal, branches of government.

One of those branches was deemed independent of the other two. Here's what the Constitution provides: the judiciary is accountable to the political branches by giving the political branches the powers to nominate and confirm federal judges and impeach and remove federal judges for high crimes and misdemeanors.

That's it. Plain and simple. Sure, there are some other checks and balances such as funding and overseeing court operations, but beyond that, the judiciary is independent. There is only one way to get a federal judge out of office.

Congress and its members have tried to change that independence, not only legislatively, but also politically.

Sure, judges issue unpopular decisions. Let's look at a few:

Dred Scott

Plessy v. Ferguson

Grovey v. Townsend

Brown v. Board of Education (overruled Plessy v. Ferguson and ended segregation)

Engel v. Vitale

Gideon v. Wainright

New York Times v. Sullivan

Griswold v. Connecticut

Miranda v. Arizona

U.S. v. O'Brien

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District

Branzburg v. Hayes

Roe v. Wade

U.S. v. Lopez

You can skip through those opinions and get a flavor for the intensity of the issues on both sides of the coin. We all disagree with some of those decisions. Each of these historical decisions were very unpopular at the time they were issued. Decisions that are being made today are equally unpopular.

That's my point. We now take the results of these decisions for granted. Who doesn't know their Miranda rights?

Without independence, judges are not free to decide the issues as they see them. Even the judiciary disagrees with itself (Brown v. Board of Education overruled Plessy v. Ferguson) on occasion.

But if we allow politicians, religious leaders, atheists, liberals, conservatives, democrats, republicans, mothers, fathers and even you and me to interfere with that independence, we don't have a Constitution.

That's what makes America great. Let's keep it that way, and let the judicial system do its job - the job they were assigned under the Constitution.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on 5/14/2005 at 10:35 Comments (0)


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