Thursday, May 18, 2006

Yes, A Fair Question, Indeed

WestEnder, over at Clark Street Blog asks A Fair Question :
What if SCOTUS justices began to make recommendations to Congress and the White House about specific legislation and policies? What if they had press conferences, went on Meet the Press, etc.-- to express their views about what the other branches of government should or should not do?

Would you have a problem with that?

Is there any reason to accept one branch of government exerting control over other branches? Isn't this specifically what the Founders sought to prevent?

So why is it that no one bats an eye when the White House tells the other branches what to do? Is it because it happens with such regularity that it "hides in the open"? Shouldn't the White House mind its own business and do its own job instead of sticking its nose into Congress and the Courts?

In my view, with the whole cult of "leadership", that views the President of the United States as the leader of "the country", this is merely a logical step. With the rise of the "Unitary Executive" Doctrine, and the subsequent erosion of the separation of powers, we can expect to see more and more of this.

But WestEnder raises a good point that hypocritical Conservatives overlook. For all the criticism they dole out about "activist judges", why don't they complain about an "activist executive"? If Conservatives want to pay tribute to the Constitution, and support "strict Constructionist" interpretations, but have no problem with Bush and Co. assuming vast, undelegated powers, then why can't the Supreme Court do the same?

Conservatives need to figure out which side of the fence they are on.


Anonymous stranger said...

i'm not sure i agree. the executive is tasked with the enforcement of the law, and while it is not permitted to dictate the law, by definition it will, and must, have an impact on what that law will be.

on the other hand, the ethics of the judiciary are, and should be, much more stringent. there is a pragmatism to keeping the judiciary out of lawmaking - specifically that their job is to *interpret* law, not create it. were a judge to speak out on political issues, it would seriously undercut the public's faith in that instutution as a means of law *application* and application only - it's independence, as it were. and while activist judges *can* be a bad thing, that term is often thrown around with little understanding of what that really means. often those judges who are *called* activists by politicians are actually judges who are accurately applying the constitution as the highest form of law in this land. of course, often that's not the case ;)

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Libertarian Jason said...

I don't quite follow your logic, Stranger. Simply by having a system of checks and balances, an interpretive element is introduced into both the executive and judicial branches...and both branches weigh in on what that law should be (rightly or wrongly). But if you want to insist that the judiciary *must* simply interpret the law, as it stands...then I don't quite get why the same standard can't be applied to the executive branch. In otherwords, why shouldn't the executive simply enforce the laws as they stand?

The FF created separate branches for a reason...they felt the executive should not be making the laws...hence a separate legislative branch. If conservatives really want to endorse a "strict construction" approach to the Constitution, then the Executive must do his job and execute the laws, as they are written by the legislative branch.

Either we separate the powers of the co-equal branches, or we don't. I don't think anything is served by holding one branch to one standard, and another branch to a second.

7:15 AM  

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