Thursday, April 14, 2005

Michael: Be Very Afraid... DeLay's Coup Declaration

"I blame Congress over the last 50 to 100 years for not standing up and taking its responsibility given to it by the Constitution. The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them."

- Tom DeLay in an interview with The Washington Times

Update: DeLay reads the Constitution like he reads his Bible: literally and uninformed by any sense of context or historicity. The only way to read out of the Constitution a secular government, judicial review, and the right to autonomy and privacy (which is just a code for abortion to DeLay), is to read it without any knowledge of our culture, our history, or any of the documentation surrounding the creation and evolution of our Constitution.

The overwhelming consensus among historians of the Constitution is that the historical record strongly supports that judicial review was intended. Eugene Rostow wrote in his landmark work "The Sovereign Perogative":

"As far as the American Constitution is concerned, there can be little real doubt that the courts were intended from the beginning to have the power [of judicial review] they have excercised. The Federalist Papers are unequivocal; the Debates as clear as debates normally are."

I have read much of the Debates on the Constitution and the Papers. The founders were not naive; they were far-sighted and experienced men. The issue of whether the judiciary was too powerful, and of whether its anti-majoritarian nature might become oppressive, was often raised. Many of the criticisms of the anti-judicial faction of our current politics were leveled at the founding, too. The consensus, and the reason why judicial review developed as it did, was that despite these criticisms there was no other effective way to protect against tyranny by a democratic majority.

To successfully execute a constitutional coup, such as breaking down the barrier between church and state, one's first goal would be to entrench one's faction in elective offices insulated against adverse public opinion. The Republicans have worked assiduously to ensure their districts are gerrymandered and safe (though no congressional seat can really be considered insecure with a 98% retension rate). The next project of a faction intent upon a coup would be to attack and destroy the power of the judiciary if it could not be effectively dominated. Only when the judiciary's ability to limit and define the legislative power is destroyed can the settled contitutional order be uprooted and supplanted with one foreign to American soil.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

RSS/Atom Feed Site Meter
Powered by Blogger