In 1803 Chief Justice Marshall wrote: ”The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing; if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained?” ______ MARBURY v. MADISON, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)
Unfortunately, our Supreme Court has found a clever process to circumvent both the text, and legislative intent of our constitution as it was expressed during its framing and ratification debates … debates which give meaning and context to our Constitution’s text. During this process the very limits agreed to by the people in a written constitution are set aside and replaced with the arbitrary whims and fancies of the Court’s majority, which is then asserted to be the rule of law, but in effect is judicial tyranny. The mechanics of this subversive process is very interesting to study.
One of the Supreme Court‘s methods used to set aside the limits of our constitution are various tests the Court has invented which were unknown to our Founders. These “tests” began to appear and gain a foothold during the Warren Court. One such test [e.g., see Loving v. Virginia, 1967] was the rational based test under which a law being challenged had to withstand the Court’s judgment that the law in question was “rationally based” or “reasonable” to survive the Court‘s review. Of course, this allows the Court’s members to switch the subject from what is and what is not constitutional, to a subjective question having nothing to do with the constitutionality of the law.
Whether rational or not, a law which violates the Constitution cannot be justified by the Court as being constitutional! Likewise, if a law is not rationally based it is not the Court’s job to second guess the wisdom of the Legislature! To do so is to usurp legislative authority and ignore the separation of powers intentionally built into our Constitution by its framers.
For example, imaging today if black females were denied employment as police officers by a local community in spite of the 14th Amendment’s explicitly intended protection against distinctions in law based upon race, and the Supreme Court upheld the denial of employment because the local government managed to present an “exceedingly persuasive justification” for not hiring black females. This is what these tests are about. The tests are not designed to establish the true intent and meaning of our Constitution and enforce it. They are designed to create an opportunity for a majority on the court to second guess the wisdom of our Constitution and/or duly passed legislation, and strike it down or uphold it depending on the majorities’ personal predilections, its sense of social justice, fairness, or reasonableness, and without regard to the true intent and meaning of our Constitution.
Keep in mind our wise Founders provided Article V, our Constitution’s amendment process, to change our constitution’s commands and upgrade it to accommodate changing times. And unlike a renegade majority cabal on our Supreme Court ignoring our Constitution’s text and legislative intent, and imposing its personal whims and fancies as the rule of law, our Constitution’s amendment process requires consent of the governed by the limits outlined in Article V, when and if a defect is alleged to be found in our Constitution and change is required.
By the early 1970’s the Court using a variety of invented “tests” [rationally based, compelling state interest, intermediate scrutiny, strict scrutiny, etc.], effectively began to hand down majority opinions which were not based on the text and the documented intentions and beliefs under which our Constitution was adopted. The Court, using this new “test” process to validate its opinions, began to impose its own subjective ideas of social justice, fairness and reasonableness as the rule of law and without regard to the true intent and meaning of our Constitution.
Some of the important cases which demonstrate the Court’s assumption of legislative power by second guessing the wisdom of legislation using these newly created tests are Reed vs. Reed 404 U.S. 71 (1971), Frontiero vs Richardson 411 U.S. 677 (1973), and Craig v. Boren 429 U.S. 190 (1976).
It is also important to note that the ACLU and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a volunteer for the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1970’s, were both active in these cases and assisted the court in inventing clever words and phrases in conjunction with “tests” which were designed to replace our Constitution’s meaning, and in particular the 14th Amendment, with the personal feelings of what the Constitution should mean as believed by a majority of the Court’s members.
In each of these cases the limits of our Constitution were ignored and replaced with the personal and subjective views of Justices as being the rule of law, rather than enforcing the Constitution’s actual text and legislative intent as expressed during its framing and ratification debates.
The bottom line is, for our system to work and evolve as intended by our Founders, and when judges and Justices sincerely believe our Constitution, or a legislative Act, is an affront to their personal sense of fairness, reasonableness or justice, they should express these feelings in minute detail, but go on to explain their job is limited to establishing the true meaning and intent of our Constitution, while Article V is the proper method for change. For judges and Justices to ignore these limitations and impose their personal feelings as the rule of law, is to violate a Public Trust and engage in judicial tyranny.