Tomorrow is the fourth of July, which had me thinking of government, which had me thinking of the Constitution, which had me thinking of the flaw in the Constitution that the last 50 years or so of history has revealed.
The Constitution has flaws? Well, it is a human document, so it is bound to be fallible in some point, and only living under it and the perspective of history can reveal its flaws. To backtrack: the founders understood that the greatest problem society and government faces is how to restrain sin.
Because man has a sin nature, sin must be restrained, and society cannot always trust man to restrain himself. But Western Civilization, which is (mostly) the society that results when its members adhere to the biblical worldview, hopes that most members most of the time will restrain themselves — the Bible enjoins men to restraint of sin and obedience to God. The Founders believed that the best restraint is self- restraint, because it limits the rise of outside restraint, or authorities other than the individual imposing control.
It is desirable to limit the rise of other authorities because power is addictive, like a drug (power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely); and the more power is exercised, the more the authority who exercises it desires to exercise it, so it keeps expanding its sphere. It intrudes where it is not wanted or needed, to satisfy its craving for power. The Founders very wisely saw this tendency as an absolute truth, and took great pains to set limits on the growth of authority of any one branch of goverment by our famous checks and balances system in the Constitution.
With one flaw: who checks and balances the Supreme Court when they have made a monumentally colossally stupid decision harming not only national interest, but setting back by untold years the hard won advance of civilization over barbarism? Who checks the Court when they, with one ill- informed and misguided stroke of the pen, undo what true statesmen, with a deep understanding of history, philosophy, theology, law, and the nature of man and governments and politics, have struggled for centuries to accomplish?
Just as the President and the Supreme Court can veto Congress, and Congress and the Supreme Court can veto the President, it would be wise to add to the Constitution a mechanism to veto the Supreme Court when they err. History shows the Court is not infallible (the Dred Scott decision is probably the most famous). If the Court believes it is infallible, then we have an even more dangerous situation on our hands than mere misguided judgment. For the Founders were right: that human authority which is left unchecked, grows to tyranny. They just did not (could not) foresee an oligarchy ruled by nine lifetime- appointed despots.
Update: You can read the Court’s opinion here (Adobe Reader required); scroll down to page 103 for Justice Scalia’s dissent and page 127 for Justice Thomas’ dissent. Read Mark Levin on the Hamdan ruling; the NRO editors on the Hamdan ruling. And finally, Supreme Court follies must be a favorite topic of mine.