LETTER: Laws are subject to judgment
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Park Rapids Enterprise by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Park Rapids Enterprise. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Park Rapids Enterprise, 1011 1st. ST. E., Suite 6, Park Rapids, MN 56470.
Regarding Rob Port’s July 13 commentary, he states, “Judges…should be dispassionate servants of the law, and the law should be what is written.”
If only it were so simple.
There are hundreds of millions of individual citizens in America. There are millions upon millions of individual scenarios those citizens can experience. No law can possibly be written that will explicitly tell us what should or should not be done for every single one of them. The whole reason we have judges at all is so that someone can interpret what the written law actually means in the circumstance.
More importantly, that includes whether the law adheres to the bounds of the Constitution, whether – in fact – the law itself is allowable within the Constitution.
Judges are supposed to interpret the written words. If what is written down were truly so crystal clear as Mr. Port suggests, then we wouldn’t need judges at all.
Throughout our nation’s history, the meaning of any given law has always been subject to interpretation. Indeed, the application of laws has often depended upon who is in power to determine what the law means.
That’s why the framers of the U.S. Constitution crafted our system with three equal branches of government. The executive, legislative, and judicial branches balance each other to distribute power, and thus protect citizens against undue application of laws by the government. In effect, judges protect us from legislators and vice versa.
Mr. Port also states: “Rather than focusing on persuading voters, and electing policymakers who will rite what the ACLU and the American left want the law to be, they’re focused on finding lawyers and judges who will simply read their priorities into the law.”
This is outright false on its face. There are countless individuals on the American “left” actively focused on persuading voters and electing liberal lawmakers. (And it’s a well-documented fact in many states that although liberal voters outnumber conservative voters, the legislatures are controlled by conservative policy makers through gerrymandered districts.)
Further, it’s an open secret that the conservative Federalist Society conducted an extensive campaign over the past 40 years to systematically fill the ranks of judges with individuals who would interpret laws favorably for conservatives.
Indeed, at least three of the six conservatives currently on the Supreme Court are a direct result of the Federalist Society’s lobbying efforts. Are these new conservative justices “dispassionate servants” of the law? I’m not convinced.
Mr. Port should not pretend that the ACLU is engaged in some unprecedented “end run” around the legislative process. Conservatives have been actively doing this sort of thing for four decades, and they now have the result they’ve been looking for. The American “right” hasn’t rewritten the Constitution since the Supreme Court decided in favor of Roe v. Wade by a 7-2 margin. They simply found new judges to read what they wanted from the law.