Thursday, November 30, 2006

Proper Use of Judicial Authority


A federal judge ruled this week that the guidelines President Bush handed down to the Treasury department were "too vague" to be constitutional. Specifically, Bush had authorized the secretary of the treasury to designate (as terrorists) anyone who "assists, sponsors or provides services to" or is "otherwise associated with" a designated terrorist group.

She let stand sections of the order that penalize those who provide "services" to designated terrorist groups- including the humanitarian aid and rights training proposed by the plaintiffs in the case.

I have been quick to critisize the judicial branch for their many abuses of power, so I want to be just as quick to speak up when they do something right. "otherwise associated with" IS too vauge. It gives the executive branch more unchecked power to form a blacklist than anyone ought to have in a free society. The nature of the association should be reasonably connected to the illegal activity.

This is an example of the way judicial power is supposed to work- the courts protecting citizens from an over-zealous Executive branch. Compare that to what the courts have spent too much effort doing lately- imposing elitest views on the citizens against their will on the flimsiest of legal grounds. The former activity serves the rights of the citizens, the latter denies them of the very fundamental right of ordering their communities as they see fit.

The courts should make sure the laws are not so flawed that they ruin the innocent, not tell the legislature what ought to be legal or illegal. For example, the courts should be able to throw out parts of a law on child pornagraphy if the law says that the government has the authority to examine everyone's computer at random to find such materials, but the court has no business telling the people or the legislature that they cannot pass any law at all against porn. In all but the plainest constitutional matters, the people through the legislature should define what wrong behavior is, and the courts should not stand in judgement of what they define as wrong behavior, but only whether the wording in their law is unjust toward the innocent in some way.

In conclusion, Christian Constitutionalists like myself are not against the courts. We need the courts to protect us against persecution or against an encroaching police state. We don't want the courts to go away. Instead, we wish the courts would quit blowing their credibility and goodwill among the populace by doing things like trying to impose homosexual marriage on the people, or purging all expression of Christianity from the public square, or ordering the legislature to spend a certain amount on education. Doing those things costs the court respect and goodwill from the people. Someday, they may need that political capital to help protect us fron an executive that goes too far.

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