Rick Wagner Column October 30, 2008
'Activists’ won’t adequately describe Obama judicial appointments
For those who have been wondering what kind of appointments to the judicial bench a President Barack Obama might make, thanks to his 2001 interview regarding his sadness over the lack of involvement by the Supreme Court in the redistribution of wealth, we now know: Super Judges.
What a thrilling concept. I can see this league of extraordinary gentlemen and women even now, hurtling across the skies, propelled Thor-like by the power of their mighty gavels, seeking out injustice and the undeserving rich. They would even have a theme song; sung to the strains of “If I Had a Hammer” — “If I had a gavel, I’d gavel out danger, I’d gavel out a warning, I’d gavel out love between my brothers and sisters — all over this land.”
They would certainly have a headquarters, probably a Greek-temple-themed building somewhere in the Washington, D.C. area. That way, upon receiving instructions from the president, they could be dispatched wherever they were needed.
Gun-clinging, God-fearing, money-earning hayseeds in western Colorado not toeing the line? Wham! Gavel some sense into those guys, then back to Washington, to wait on pins and needles for the next flash of the judge signal across the night sky, powered by the 10-million watt searchlight perched high atop 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
What stands in the way of this terrific enterprise? Why, it is a few small-minded reactionaries who believe there should be three equal parts of government, which is especially vexing since any left-thinking person knows that if you have a judicial branch to decide what’s right and the proper liberal executive branch to enforce that decision, it’s all you need.
Sure you might need Congress for a little while, but everyone knows it’s practically useless already and the courts have the ultimate weapon over any of their actions. Courts can just declare them unconstitutional, and no one has to pay any attention to Congress.
For example, if Congress felt things were getting out of hand with the judicial branch and President Obama’s appointments and it tried to cut off funding — Bam! Unconstitutional. Sure the Constitution says Congress has the power to control the budget, but clearly there is supposed to be a court system and cutting off the money would do away with the court system; therefore messing about with the money must be unconstitutional.
You see how silly it all really is. “Activist judges,” as a term, should be oxymoronic, since the function of the judicial branch across our fruited plain was designed to be passive — to rule on disputes only when the issue was ripe, when all the parties were truly in harm’s way and the question was not purely a political one.
But that role, even in its present degree of de-evolution, was not enough for then-state Sen. Obama and clearly not enough for now-presidential timber Obama.
Like most of the radical left, he recognized early on that the true path to activism lies through the courts. Just the sheer number of people one must convince to make something happen legislatively makes the prospect seem alluring.
The key element is not the remedy that might be imposed — federal judges have always had great power in the proper situations. It is the gate-keeping function that is the keystone to the agenda.
The court system can be viewed as an enormous building with the courts and all their powers inside. Presently, even the most hyperactive jurist does not attempt to act unilaterally, but must wait anxiously for the right matter to come through the doors into his or her courtroom.
The more doorways that can be crafted to allow litigants into the courthouse, the more matters that have traditionally been outside the review of the judicial branch that will then have judicial remedies where none existed before.
The crafting of new causes of action by the discovery of new “rights” within the Constitution will allow jurisdiction by federal courts over matters that the Constitution’s framers had ever imagined.
Such a progression can hardly be surprising when one considers that the Constitution has already been wildly inflated, by safaris deep into its heart to discover numerous rights and privileges that are apparently obscured by the simple text.
It is clear that Sen. Obama wishes a judiciary for which “activism” will be too small a noun.
Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong, which can be reached through the blogs entry at GJSentinel.com.