Norm Sauer: The Supreme Court in law-law land
The Supreme Court just issued two decisions upholding Obamacare and giving same-sex marriage constitutional protection. Whether one thinks the decisions are good or bad, the focus of my concern is what has become of states’ and citizens’ rights, i.e. democracy, under our federalist system.
I believe who decides what the law shall be is more important than what is decided.
The federal government has only those powers specifically granted to it by the Constitution, and all powers not given belong to the States or to the People. This — the democratic process — is the foundation of our freedom, and that is what is being dismantled by both this year’s and last year’s Obamacare decisions, as well as the Court’s decision imposing a redefinition of marriage.
Last year’s Obamacare decision says that the government can order individual citizens to buy the kind of insurance the government wants them to buy regardless of what the citizens themselves prefer. The Constitution gave the federal government no such power, but the Supreme Court did by rewriting the law to say it was a tax, though the law itself did not claim to be taxing.
This year’s Obamacare decision ignored the actual words of the statute. The phrase “Exchange established by the State” used seven times and defined in the statute, now reads by the imprimatur of the Supreme Court “Exchange established by the State or not by the State.” This again rewrote the statute and again violated Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution that all legislative power to make or amend laws are vested in Congress.
The other assault on our democracy is the same-sex marriage decision. Five black-robed unelected lawyers ruled all 50 States and 320,000,000 people are subject to a constitutional right of same-sex marriage. Neither the Constitution nor the 14th Amendment say anything about marriage, and now conflict is assured with the First Amendment’s freedoms of religion and speech. Incredibly, these same five lawyers earlier admitted in U. S. v. Windsor (2013), a ruling invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act, that: “Regulation of domestic relations is an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.”
Every July 4th we celebrate the Declaration of Independence. It reminds us that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments reaffirm the people’s right to participate in their democracy.
Simply put, the Supreme Court has conducted a power grab unmoored from the Constitution, history, self-government, and judicial restraint.
In the Obamacare case the Court ruled that the law must not say what it in fact does say, because it would be better if it were not to say what it says and were to say something else instead. (Please see George Orwell.)
In the same-sex marriage case Justice Scalia properly warned, “This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine … robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”
Some might argue the Constitution, rather than being the supreme law of the land, is a “living document” and evolves over time. This fiction begun and utilized by progressives ignores the fact that human nature has not changed one iota over the centuries. Humans, especially those in government, still lust for money and power.
The Constitution can be changed, but only through the amendment process outlined in Article V. Aptly, George Washington advised: “… let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
We no longer can rely on the rule of law, but are now subject to the rule of the elite of Washington D.C.
Kim Holmes in an article published in the Washington Post aptly wrote: “Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher of the ‘will to power,’ once said, “All things are subject to interpretation (and) whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” In the last week of June 2015 the Supreme Court chose power over truth — and the meaning of words — twice.”
We the People must be careful what we wish for. Slowly but surely we are no longer free citizens but subjects, and our public servants are becoming our public masters.
Norm Sauer, who lives in Nevada City, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. His opinion is his own and does not reflect the viewpoint of The Union or its editorial board.
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