America’s brilliant political system of checks and balances embodied in the Constitution is being blatantly undermined by a runaway judiciary, the same non-elected branch of government entrusted with its interpretation.
In his timely and well documented book Men in Black, conservative commentator, radio talk show host and constitutional lawyer Mark Levin writes, “More than any branch or entity of government, the Supreme Court is the most radical and aggressive practitioner of unrestrained power.”
In thirteen hard hitting chapters, Levin convincingly illustrates how a small majority of the court has been expanding their power and willfully dominating over an increasingly resentful American electorate. Look no further than the Court’s 5-4 ruling in late June redefining government’s right of eminent domain, a stunning decision twisting the Fifth Amendment’s previous views involving ownership and private property rights, as proof of Levin’s assertion that the black-robed exegesic wonders are consistently subjugating the will of the people.
From “theophobic” court rulings expelling God and religion from the public square, to those forcing states to confirm benefits on illegal aliens, to recent precedents denying traditional political speech while at the same time protecting virtual child pornography as free speech, Levin asserts that the Supreme Court is spiraling out of control and is usurping our individual liberties – and taking slack-jawed Americans along for the ride.
“As few as five justices can and do dictate economic, cultural, criminal, and security policy for the entire nation,” Levin notes. “They have turned America from the most representative form of government to a de facto political tyranny.”
Lest readers think the author is being overly dramatic, Levin lets readers be the judge, deftly arguing his points on a multitude of issues and precedent-establishing decisions. One such example was a 2004 decision: Rasul v Bush. In that decision, the Supremes ruled 5-4 that two Australian citizens and twelve Kuwaitis captured abroad during hostilities between the U.S. and the Taliban have the right to petition federal courts to review their status as detainees – despite the fact none had ever set foot in the U.S., and ignoring the salient point that all were identified and apprehended as enemy combatants.
“So now, for the first time in American history, captured alien enemy combatants will have access to courts, afforded some kind of due process hearing, and one day I expect they’ll have a right to competent counsel, paid for by the American taxpayer, and the right to compel testimony from the soldiers who apprehended them.” If war was hell before, imagine the spectacle of America’s sons and daughters, having successfully apprehended an enemy combatant, having to defend their actions before a devil’s advocate representing smirking Death-to-America maniacs.
Coupled with another ruling allowing detainees at Guantanamo (Hamdi vs Rumsfeld) to not only challenge the circumstances of their detention but to present arguments against it, both rulings interfere with the president’s executive branch powers as commander-in-chief, and also present a major impediment to our national security strategy – breaking a 200-year judiciary tradition of respecting the clear separation of responsibilities between the branches.
“It is difficult to win a war when the enemy is not only armed with rifles and rocket propelled grenades, but also with subpoenas, affidavits, and lawyers,” Levin states. Recent political pressure to abandon the successful internment and interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay only reinforce Levin’s charges concerning the dangers of an unbridled judiciary.
One solution Levin proposes to such judicial overreaching is a constitutional amendment limiting the Supreme Court’s judicial review power by establishing a legislative veto over Court decisions – akin to the required a two-thirds vote of the Senate and House needed to override a presidential veto. Another Levin idea is to appoint Supreme Court justices to fixed terms, allowing them to be renominated subject to a new confirmation process. “This way, outstanding jurists could remain on the bench for a lifetime, pending congressional approval. And clearly defined terms of office would limit the influence of any single Congress in controlling the ideological bent of the Court,” he writes.
A passionate historian and respected authority on American history, especially the nation’s founding, Levin believes it is time for a serious national debate about the judiciary’s role in modern America.
The recent inane decision by the justices concerning the legality and illegality of posting the Ten Commandments on State House lawns and county courthouses lend fuel to Levin’s call for a national debate. Any reader concerned about the erosion of our personal liberties due to the surreptitious logic of recent Supreme Court rulings will find Levin’s book a terrific starting point for joining the debate.