Tuesday, November 08, 2005

little black robes (11.8.2004)

When one thinks of the Supreme Court it is easy to think
of words like landmark and controversial. For some of us,
their decisions have led to dramatic changes. I am particularly
fond of some decisions like Brown v. Board of Education and
have disdain for others like Dred Scott where they ruled that
African Americans were not citizens.

Historically, the courts were supposed to be the weakest branch
of our government. However, today they often implement their
power by usurping the electoral process. Thomas Jefferson wrote
that having judges as the supreme decision makers on
constitutional questions would result in “despotism of an
oligarchy.�? As it stands, the Supreme Court has become a
state instrument for class rule and has done so via the
process of judicial review.

The best example of this is how in one fatal motion, the
U.S. Supreme Court ended the U.S. Television manufacturing
industry. In August of 1986, the Supreme Court ruled in favor
of Japanese television makers saying that U.S. manufactures
had an unfair advantage over them. As a result of this ruling,
the court effectively ended U.S. television manufacturing. In fact,
people would be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of U.S.
companies that make televisions any more. Another example
occurred in December 2000 when, in a 5 to 4 decision, the
Supreme Court disenfranchised the American voters when
they stated that any state legislature has the power to revoke
the popular vote with respect to the decision made during the
Florida election fiasco.

From my perspective, it is not the duty of the court to serve as
a vehicle of change. I believe that this is the responsibility of
elected leaders. The members of the Supreme Court are neither
elected, nor leaders. Moreover, their views often reflect elitist
values and beliefs that are not reflected by the general population.
I thought America was a constitutional republic, but it appears to
be more of a repressive autocracy as defined by people in
little black robes. —torrance stephens

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