Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Feb 18, 2004.
Speaking of which:
sounds like judges making laws. this is not how our system is suppose to work. they are suppose to interpet and enforce laws. Face it we have Judges who want to make policy.
...and legislators redefining physics and chemistry...
I don't buy this line.
A judge's job is to decide whether certain behavior or laws are valid when compared to the constitution or other existing laws. This means that every time a case is brought before a judge to be decided, that judge is supposed to look at the existing laws and the constitution and say either, "Yes this behavior or law is valid." or, "No this behavior or law is invalid."
In short, it is their job to tell people what they can or can't do or which laws they can or can't put on the books. They cannot "make laws." They can only tell us which laws are valid under the constitution and other laws. Same with behavior. They cannot make certain behavior illegal. They can only decide whether certain behavior is valid under the law.
It is true that a judge's decision can have long reaching consequences. But the same can be said of congress. Congress could pass a law tommorrow saying, "dwarves can't vote." Would that law be constitutional? Thats up to a judge to decide. The point of giving judges the power to decide whether behavior and laws are valid is to keep our legislature and executive branch in check.
What I think people are really complaining about is the bias of judges. If a judge has a ridiculously liberal or conservative bias, he/she will likely interpret laws in such a way as to support their bias. This might mean that a law is being misinterpreted as a result of the bias. Or it might mean that the law is simply too vague in that it gives the judge too much "wiggle room" for injecting their own beliefs into decisions on that law. Bias is an unfortunate consequence of having humans doing the judging, but it is nearly unavoidable. Even the most fair judge has likely exhibited bias in one decision or another. The appointment process is supposed to ensure that the various judges installed on the bench represent a balanced set of viewpoints.
Another problem many people see is that judges aren't executing the "will of the people" in the same way that the legislature is. Since a judge isn't representing citizens of the US, their decisions could be directly contrary to the "will of the people" (aka. what the majority thinks). This, too, is a good thing. This country wasn't founded on mob rule. The majority (acting through elected officials in congress) should not be able to do whatever they want. The judges exist so that if the majority starts doing things which violate the constitution, they can keep them in check.
The bahavior of these judges is essential to the survival of our country, at least in the form with which it was initially created. Without giving broad power to the judges, the other branches of government would abuse the broad power we have given them.
I find it alarming that many conservative commentators have taken up the "legislating from the bench" argument. It reeks of an attempt to bypass the judiciary for executive decisions made in this country. Would they be so eager if we had a Democrat-controlled congress and white house? Somehow I doubt it.
The reason this entire matter came before a judge is because after ten years of study, the Bush administration created a policy which was not supported by the evidence and countermanded a previously adopted policy that was supported by the scientific evidence. Consequently, the question naturally arose whether the NPS policy was in conformance with federal environmental protection laws.
This administration has a long history of editing out facts that they do not like. Scientists were about to propose stricter lead policies for situations where children come in contact with lead (which, as we all know, has detrimental effects on developing children) when the administration removed some scientists from the commitee and replaced them with industry advocates.
Sure you could say that one needs industry imput but in this case it was industry editing of scientific information before it got out. What was usually the case in other administrations and which makes sence to me is to first gather information then decide based on all available information. What this administration does is to just get information from their corporate supporters.
This is all very well documented in The Price of Loyalty by Suskind.
The funny thing is, back in the Gingrich era, we were forever hearing about how government decisions should be backed up with "good science." I think we're now see how "good science" is defined.