Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blind Justice?

This morning, a brief comment on "justice," or the lack thereof.

If you follow the news, you no doubt have heard of the litigation involving Hobby Lobby and the Obama Administration over what Obamacare will force Hobby Lobby to do, i.e. to offer health insurance coverage for birth control and other things that the Christian founders of the company find morally objectionable.

My comment today isn't so much about this case, although I think my readers know where I'd line up in my view of it. Instead, it got me thinking about the judicial system overall, and what it's become.

Under the American constitutional system, there are three branches of government—the executive, legislative and judicial. Separate but equal is the usual dictum or idea. The three branches are to work as checks and balances to the other branches as intended by our founders, because FREEDOM was to be the operative philosophy in this nation. Limited government, self-determination etc.

The judicial branch is important, because a judge or justice's role on the bench (constitutionally) is to INTERPRET THE LAW impartially—the laws passed by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch. Judges are not to make law from the bench. They may—as established by Marbury vs. Madison—rule on whether a law is constitutional. At the time this case was decided in the early days of the Republic, there were those who were concerned about the precedent of this case, especially in the hands of an activist court whose "interpretations" of the law or Constitution were more according to their own desires and objectives rather than the plain meaning of the text and intent of those who wrote the law/Constitution.

History has borne out that concern. You can pretty much tell how a judge or justice will rule depending on what political party of which they were part before ascending to the bench. Ideally, that political/philosophical ideology is supposed to be put aside and judgment is supposed to be impartial. Largely, it is no longer. The battle for the Supreme Court is a battle because parties want to appoint justices who will rule according to their ideology.

This would make the Founders very upset. And—in my humble opinion—it's why they gave Congress the option of creating or abolishing courts, and placing restrictions on their jurisdiction. It passes my understanding why the legislative branch of government has been so hesitant to pull this trigger in light of the modern activist court—kicked off first by the late President Roosevelt, who tried to "pack the court" with justices who would vote to okay his unconstitutional moves during the Great Depression. Then came the late Chief Justice Earl Warren, whom President Eisenhower called "the biggest mistake I ever made" as president.*

Courts are especially dangerous in this age of postmodern thought. If there is no objective standard of truth, no objective, foundational epistemology, then man "does what is right in his own eyes, " (Deuteronomy 12 and Judges 17) For that matter, postmodern Congresses and presidencies are also dangerous when held by postmodern men and women. No objective standard of right and wrong. That is a recipe for ultimate disaster to any society. Time has borne that out over and over again to any student of history that is interested in how civilizations rise and fall.

No doubt, someone will argue the point with me. Another favorite pastime of the postmodern—endless quibbling and arguing over anything that resembles a principle. They love to argue, until reality sets in and the consequences of their free-form brains bite them in the derriere.

*One addendum thought, made necessary by anticipating some negative comments. I don't mind the intended RESULT of some of the actions taken by the Warren Court, especially in stopping racial discrimination. But I have enormous problems with "the end justifies the means" mindset given fallen humanity. Things are much better solved legislatively as intended, not by the courts. And some things are matters of the heart, which no court ruling can affect or change. That is a spiritual matter, and this society has done its best to kill any effort by the church to reach the human heart. Sometimes the church is its own worst enemy when it abandons biblical truth and "goes with the flow." If the church had remained true to Scripture, true to the Christian mission of the Gospel, and true to the heart of Christ, racism and many other social ills would have been greatly lessened without the upheaval of the Civil War and aftermath.

No comments: