You have probably heard the saying, “Even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn.”
Columnist Brad Polumbo of the allegedly conservative Washington Examiner headlined recently said: “AOC just revealed her dangerous constitutional illiteracy.” I drooled when I saw that from a link sent to me by a conservative friend. However, like so many others, Polumbo follows the false system that has been built up since Marbury v. Madison in 1803 and is reinforced by generations of law professors who write books that concentrate on case law, rather than constitutional law.
It was Polumbo, not AOC, who reinforced the “constitutional illiteracy” that most elected officials, lawyers and citizens labor under. Not that the Leftist radical knew what she was talking about in her sometimes laughably idiotic musings.
UN-learning is not easy but if we want to know why we are in such a political pickle, please read on.
Here’s what Ocasio-Cortez said: “How can Supreme Court justices overturn laws that hundreds and thousands of legislators, advocates and policymakers drew consensus on? How much does the current structure benefit us? I don’t think it does.”
Is Polumbo unaware that she could have lifted that quote right out of the mouths of every conservative in the last 50 years? Or even Abe Lincoln in his First Inaugural, lamenting the unconstitutional power wielded by the courts in the infamous Dred Scott decision?
AOC’s spinning artillery seems to have randomly fired at the proper target this time: the judiciary. It was a lucky moment.
Polumbo continued, “With these remarks, the congresswoman misunderstands or rejects the very role the Supreme Court plays in safeguarding our constitutional liberties. She decries the fact that the judiciary can overrule elected policymakers, but that’s exactly the point.”
Actually, no. It is nowhere found in the Constitution. Oh, they can make judgments, recommendations and opinions, but if anyone really read the Constitution, the ratifying conventions of the states, and even the Federalist Papers, they would find the exact opposite. As Hamilton famously assured us in Federalist #78 about the courts, and the emphasis is entirely his own: “It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.”
My friend asked, “Are you saying that the legislature may pass any old laws they want without a check?” They sure can.
“But are you saying the courts can cancel any laws they find politically abhorrent to their personal opinions and political inclinations? Who elected them?”
Constitutions are imperfect instruments. There is no guarantee that a Congress will get it right, so the President can veto the law. If he is wrong, a two-thirds majority might override it.
And as Jefferson showed us with the Sedition Act of 1798, and Andrew Johnson with the Tenure of Office Act in 1867, even then he might refuse to enforce it.
Congress’ remedy is then to decide if the president ought to be impeached, which the hapless Johnson was, and unjustly.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
But what role do the courts have to play? Submit a judgment, which may or may not be enforced. Jackson did not enforce Worcester v. Georgia, but Buchanan did in Dred Scott. Both decided unjustly, but Congress decided not to impeach, yet both presidents took a heavy blast from their former supporters and were finished politically.
The false paradigm which everyone has been taught says, “The three co-equal branches of government will keep themselves in place with checks and balances.” The trouble is, they are all on the same team – the much-despised and out-of-control federal government. Right now, all three are loose cannons, firing in the wrong direction, usually aimed at the people’s liberty. But AOC’s spinning artillery seems to have randomly fired at the proper target this time: the judiciary. It was a lucky moment. Her next salvo may go straight into our faces.
Has she been reading Ron Paul’s “The Revolution” or Federalist #78? No.
The real paradigm, or system of checks and balances ought to be: the legislature is supreme, and already has the necessary tools to check both the judicial and executive branches. The legislative branch is subject to the people and the states. Keep in mind that “people” and “states” are fallen human beings, too, and do not always get it right. It’s an imperfect world, with imperfect constitutions and imperfect paradigms.
Time to perfect it.
The view expressed here are those of the author.