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Justice in the Balance

By Warren Kelley
August 01, 2004

How is it that a nation “of the people, by the people, and for the people” — a nation founded upon Christian values and principles — has cast off its moral responsibility and transferred that authority to a biased judiciary?

We now live in an ethical paradox, surrounded by the fallout from our religious and moral abdication.

In today’s society a mother has the “right” to kill her unborn child. Children have the “right” not to see the Ten Commandments in their classroom or hear a prayer in Jesus’ name. Nine western states attempted to forbid school children to utter the phrase “under God” as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance, while permitting doctors to “help” their patients die. And how have we come to the point where a bride no longer needs a groom in order to get married?

Sidestepping the Will of the People
The answer to all of these questions is “judicial tyranny.” Think about it for a moment. Have you ever had the opportunity to vote on any of these issues? Were you ever asked whether you approve of a woman having an abortion during her ninth month of pregnancy? You were never asked for your vote. A small group of unelected government officials, abusing the power of their office, bypassed the will of the American people and unilaterally imposed each of these wicked developments.

Many Americans have come to accept that this is the way things are. Judges change, reinterpret, and enforce the law without ever considering the will of the people. But this was not what the founders of our country intended. They knew that absolute power corrupts absolutely. So the framers of our Constitution gave us three branches of government to create a balance of power to protect the people from tyranny. The legislative branch made our laws, the executive branch enforced those laws, and the judicial branch was to interpret the law in light of the Constitution.

The Weakest Branch
By design, the judicial branch of our government was to be the least powerful. Alexander Hamilton, working to promote the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, wrote, “[T]he judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power. The judiciary has no influence over either the sword or the purse…and can take no active resolution whatever.”

In other words, judges can declare all the verdicts they want, but the other two branches of government must enforce them. If a governor or president chooses not to enforce a decision made by a court, the court has no power to force him to do so. If the legislature disagrees with the court, it merely has to deny the funding necessary to enforce the ruling.

If the courts cannot enforce their decisions and the majority of Americans don’t want abortion on demand or same-sex marriage, why do we have them? Because our elected officials, in both branches, don’t stand up to the courts.

For instance, if Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (who opposes same-sex marriage) forbade the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, there wouldn’t be homosexual marriages in that state. Romney would have been within his rights as a state governor. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court would be powerless to change it.

The Constitution also grants Congress the power to limit or make exceptions to the jurisdiction of the courts. Displaying rare legislative fortitude, Representative John Hostettler (R-Ind.) has proposed the Marriage Protection Act (H.R. 3313). This bill removes from the jurisdiction of certain federal courts any questions relating to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). If this bill passes, courts will lose jurisdiction over same-sex marriages, and will be unable to use Massachusetts “marriages” as precedent to force same-sex marriage on another state.

Why hasn’t Congress done this before? Better yet, which branch of government is responsible for allowing the courts to impose their views on an unwilling American public? Is it the legislative branch or the executive branch that is at fault?

The answer is neither.

The Ultimate Arbiter
According to Thomas Jefferson, “The ultimate arbiter [of the Constitution] is the people of the Union…” That means that you and I as American citizens are responsible for this judicial tyranny.

As Christians we bear an even greater responsibility. It is the task of the collective body of Christ to represent God’s will and commandments to our fallen society. However, for the last 50 years, we have watched our country turn further away from God, and the church did not resist strongly enough to reverse the trend.

Our congressmen, our governors, and even our president tend to neglect our opinion because we do not make our voice heard.

Right now, congressmen receive more calls from people concerned about asbestos than from people concerned for the sanctity of marriage. If so many conservative Americans hold to the traditional model of marriage, why aren’t the phones ringing in Washington?

Marriage is part of the foundation of the Christian faith. Long before God created the nation of Israel or the New Testament church, God created the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. In fact, to illustrate the relationship of Christ to the church, God refers to the living example of husband and wife.

If our hearts do not burn with indignation against the conjoined tyranny of secularism and wicked judges, then we have no right to mourn the ethical decline of our culture. If we are not disturbed enough to demand answers from our political representatives, then we deserve to have a handful of judges define our values and tell us how to live.


Topics: American History, Constitution, The, Culture , Government, Justice, Statism

Warren Kelley

Warren Kelley serves as President of the National Center for Freedom and Renewal.

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