About a year and a half ago, I listened to Judge Stephen Reinhardt, of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court, on C-SPAN. Judge Reinhardt’s comments were essentially a clarion call for the promulgation of liberal, activist judges. As I listened, I could not help but think that here is a man who represents all that is wrong with modern judges-or at least liberal judges. His championing of judicial activism would only serve to continue the chaos that has beset our justice system.
Judge Reinhardt made it very clear that he considered activist judges, specifically left wing activists, as the only bulwark between society and evil. According to Judge Reinhardt, it is the liberal jurist, and only the liberal jurist, who knows what is right and proper for America.
Judge Reinhardt spoke of the jurists in hallowed terms-as if jurists were the Philosopher Kings mentioned by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Judge Reinhardt spoke of the accomplishments of the judiciary. He cited the example of, when he was a boy, how African Americans had to eat at restaurants separately from whites, how gays were considered insane, etc. He offered all the usual canards the anointed left wing activists’ use when attempting to justify their usurpation of power. Judge Reinhardt implied that the superior wisdom of the liberal jurists had rid the world of these evils. These jurists and their liberal interpretation of the law, or in some cases their invention of the law, determined what was right and just. Judge Reinhardt intimated that the will of the people could not be trusted to determine justice or fairness.
It is frightening to think that such a person is a federal judge having all the concomitant power that goes along with that position. He exhibited a supercilious and sanctimonious attitude- which is dangerous to people who wield the power of a federal judge. Judge Reinhardt sounded as if he believed himself and other of his ilk to be, if not Philosopher Kings, Benevolent Dictators. He sounded as if he should be able to rule by fiat. He sounded as if he believed he and his colleagues should be able to overturn the Constitution and overrule the benighted masses for whom he seems to have a great disdain.
Today C-SPAN presented Judge Diana Murphy of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Murphy, is a lawyer from Minnesota and was appointed by President Clinton. She is currently the Chairperson of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. My impression from listening to her is that she generally has a disdain for mandatory sentences.
Her disdain of mandatory sentences may be the result of being misinformed about them. When asked about "three strikes and you’re out" laws, Judge Murphy stated that often the convictions that result in life sentences are for petty crimes. A 1997 press release issued by the Department of Justice regarding a study of these laws commissioned by the National Institute of Justice said, "Generally, a strike offense is a violent felony, but some states add other charges, such as the sale of drugs or other drug-related offenses." Judge Murphy’s interpretation of the efficacy of three strikes laws tells you all you need to know about her.
That Judge Murphy and Judge Reinhardt would prefer that the judiciary not be responsible to the legislature would be consistent with the philosophy of the judiciocrat. What neither Judge Reinhardt nor Judge Murphy would not say was how the intellectually superior, imperial judiciary has wreaked havoc on society.
How could this be you ask?
The judiciary has perpetuated slavery by rulings such as Dred Scott and Groves v. Slaughter. They have been indirectly responsible for murders, robbery, and terror by sentencing murderers and other miscreants to probation, only to have those sentenced commit new crimes. They have issued fanatical rulings about the conduct of searches by law enforcement, which has lessened the ability of law enforcement to perform their tasks.
The debate on the power of the judiciary is not new. Federalist papers 78, 80, 81 and other letters in the early days of the constitution argued about the role the judiciary should play in government. Some people feared that the judiciary would usurp the power of the legislature. Others believed that the judiciary was limited to those laws brought to court and that the judiciary was appointed by and could be removed by the legislature.
One has to wonder if those who believed that the judiciary would be usurpers were correct.