Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Italian city fines woman for wearing burqa
ITALIAN police have fined a woman 500 euros ($A712) for wearing a full Islamic veil - the first punishment of its kind in Italy but the latest in a wave of sanctions against the burqa in Europe.
The 26-year-old Tunisian woman was walking in a street in the northwestern city of Novara on Monday when she was stopped by police. "City police ticketed her last night and she will have to pay a 500-euro ($A712) fine," Novara municipal police official Mauro Franzinelli said. "As far as I know this is a first in Italy."
The woman was stopped by police outside a post office as she was walking with her husband. The husband produced identity documents for the couple but refused demands by the male officers for the woman to lift her veil so she could be identified. Police then called in another patrol which included a woman officer to carry out the face check.
Franzinelli, who is also a local official for the anti-immigration Northern League, said the city had adopted a decree in January banning the burqa in public. He said the interior ministry was aware of the ban and its comments had been taken into account.
Novara, in the Piedmont region, is a stronghold of the Northern League, a key party in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right government. "It's a security problem. In a civilised community, people cannot walk around completely covered. How do they think they are going to integrate into our community with such habits?"
Novara's Northern League mayor, Massimo Giordano, was quoted as saying by La Stampa daily. "Husbands must acknowledge that in Italy, a woman is a man's equal, freedom is fundamental and there must be mutual respect in a family," the mayor added.
The question of whether to ban the burqa is a topic that has divided the Italian government however. The Northern League has proposed a law ordering a complete ban punishable by a 2000 euro fine, but the bill has never been debated.
While there is no specific legislation on the burqa, covering the face in public - even with a motorcycle helmet - has been banned in Italy since 1975. Northern League-controlled cities have used this law in the past to ban Islamic veils.
Belgium became the first country to pass a national ban on the burqa last Thursday and France's national assembly is soon to debate a ban sought by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The French debate took a new twist last month when police fined a woman in Nantes for driving while wearing a burqa. The woman is refusing to pay the fine, while the government says it is also investigating her husband, who runs a halal butcher shop in the northwestern city, over allegations of polygamy.
One minister has suggested the Algerian-origin husband should be stripped of his French nationality. The husband has said he has "mistresses" but not the four wives that media reports have claimed.
Muslim leaders and rights groups have already criticised Belgium's law.
But a senior German member of the European parliament and ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for all of Europe to follow Belgium's lead and ban the full Islamic veil in public. "I wish that Germany - and all of Europe - would also outlaw the wearing of the burqa in all its forms," said Silvana Koch-Mehrin, European parliament vice-president and a member of Germany's Free Democrats (FDP), Merkel's junior coalition partner. "The burqa is a massive attack on women's rights, it is a mobile prison," she said in a commentary for the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Gag on South Park makes a mockery of freedom of expression
IF you are not a South Park viewer, the US animated sitcom is biting, funny, insurgent humour that rips into everyone and every group.
Gays? "You know what they say: You can't teach a gay dog straight tricks," South Park character Chef says. Jews? Here's sportscaster Frank: "I haven't seen a Jew run like that since Poland, 1938!" Germans? "Genetic engineering is man's way of correcting God's hideous mistakes, like German people," Mr Garrison says. Hippies? Says Eric Cartman: "I hate hippies! I mean, the way they always talk about `protectin' the earth' and then drive around in cars that get poor gas mileage and wear those stupid bracelets - I hate 'em! I wanna kick 'em in the nuts!" The disabled? Cartman says this: "Attention shoppers! Outside today, we have a cripple fight. Cripple fight, outside!"
Celebrities are not spared: Tom Cruise's animated form regularly appears in a closet. Neither are religious figures: Buddha does a line of coke. When South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker celebrated their 200th episode two weeks ago, all the offended icons lined up in a two-part episode to launch a class action against the town of South Park. Cruise wondered aloud: why was it that Mohammed was the only guy spared ridicule? It was a pointed reference to the 2006 South Park episode in which, after the Danish cartoons controversy, Mohammed appeared behind a black "CENSORED" box.
The 200th episode reintroduced Mohammed, this time in a bear suit. And that reignited a familiar culture clash. A Muslim website issued a warning against Stone and Parker. Publishing their addresses, the site warned they would end up like filmmaker Theo van Gogh, slain by a Muslim extremist in 2004 for his film Submission, which explored Islam's treatment of women.
The second episode put to air was then full of audio bleeps and blackout "CENSORED" blocks. This was not more black humour from the guys at South Park. This was censorship courtesy of the bosses at Comedy Central, the channel that airs the show. The honchos at Comedy Central also suppressed a speech about intimidation and fear that made no mention of Mohammed.
Outraged by the threat and the concomitant censorship, supporters rallied to the South Park cause.
Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris suggested May 20 should be "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day". What began as a joke - Norris drew the prophet as a box of pasta, a tea cup and a domino - became a viral campaign to do exactly that in a few weeks.
Others are yawning. Just another silly grassfire we should not fuel with debate, they say. But instead of sleepwalking our way towards cultural capitulation, we should debate this. Discussing the boundaries around free speech is key to defending Western values in a civil society. Start with "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day". As a cartoon, it was mildly amusing. As a campaign, it's crass and gratuitously offensive. That doesn't mean resorting to the law to ban the idea. Instead, a sophisticated society can condemn and ignore it. As James Taranto wrote in The Wall Street Journal, "We would not endorse or participate in an `Everybody Shout a Racial Slur Day' or an `Everybody Deny the Holocaust Day'."
But defending those who expose, debate and even poke fun at all of our cultural faults and foibles is altogether different. Whether you like it or not, South Park offers cutting-edge commentary on Western culture. Muslims are entitled to adhere to their religious rules. No one is forcing them to draw the prophet Mohammed. But that does not mean Western societies built on freedom of expression must do the same. It's like saying atheists can't take the Lord's name in vain because good Christians choose not to.
Parker and Stone made legitimate fun of the claim for special treatment by some Muslims. Remember that the claim is not for an equal playing field. Those who want Mohammed fenced off often have no qualms about launching assaults on Christianity. That hypocrisy caught the attention of the guys at South Park. And for that they ought to be supported, not suppressed.
They also ripped into the West's cultural weakness, the supine appeasement that flows from self-imposed censorship. If we were to plot a graph representing how we defend freedom of expression, the line is heading south towards self-censorship. Each time we step down from defending Western values such as freedom of expression, our retreat signals a weary acceptance that Islamic rules apply by default.
The effect on our culture is chilling. After the South Park controversy, CNN reported that the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art decided that its upcoming Islamic art exhibition would not include any depictions of the prophet Mohammed.
As the South Park creators said in an interview before airing the 200th episode, things might have been different if in 2005 the media had rallied together and published Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Instead, as Parker said, "that guy has to be in hiding . . . because everyone just kind of left him out to dry". Somehow it was fine for South Park to feature Mohammed in 2001, but after the Danish cartoons controversy it wasn't fine. "Now, that's the new norm. Like, we lost."
Do Parker and Stone now have to surround themselves in protection? Speaking on CNN a few days after the South Park controversy, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the script for Submission, said van Gogh was dead and she was still alive because she was surrounded by security guards. "I still have protection," she said. That will change only when more and more of us defend those values that have served us so well. Then: "There will be too many people to threaten and at that time I won't need protection." And the West will have reasserted itself as a confident culture, capable of defending freedom of expression.
Obama admin. trying to shut down free speech
Popular speech and political dissent have proved troublesome to President Barack Obama since the very beginning of his term in office. The Obama Administration began waging war on the minority of media outlets that did not worship at his altar immediately after he was sworn in. Just three days into his presidency Obama warned Congressional Republicans against listening to radio host Rush Limbaugh.
In April, Obama responded to a sycophantic question from CBS news anchor Harry Smith by falsely claiming Limbaugh and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck labeled Obama a "Nazi." Obama responded by identifying as "troublesome" "this kind of vitriol."
During the intervening 15 months, White House officials attempted to marginalize balanced news outlets such as the Fox News Channel by enlisting the support of the heretofore compliant news media. Fortunately, competing news outlets found the backbone -- if only temporarily -- to put the kibosh on Obama's attempts to blacklist FNC from the White House press pool.
These heavy-handed actions, as well as worries about the Obama Administration reinstituting the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" for talk radio are small time when one considers what the government is capable of accomplishing if a handful of current proposals are enacted.
First is the Federal Communication Commission's National Broadband Plan. There is an overabundance of big government programs contained in the plan for Americans to dislike. These range from having taxpayers fund broadband as a universal service to developing a process by which outside entities -- including the government -- can monitor how Americans use energy at home, just to name a few.
The NBP also proposes the FCC recapture nearly half of the radio spectrum used by today's 1,600 broadcast TV stations -- involuntarily, if need be -- and designate it for broadband services. The FCC identifies the swath of spectrum that is ideal for the latest wireless services as that which falls between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz.
TV broadcasters occupy only five per cent of that spectrum with other actors -- including the government -- sitting on much larger chunks of spectrum, some of which lies fallow. Even Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, whose company would likely be the single biggest beneficiary of the National Broadband Plan, found the FCC's "looming spectrum shortage" claims to not be credible.
"I don't think the FCC should tinker with this," Seidenberg told the Council on Foreign Relations in April. "I don't think we'll have a spectrum shortage the way [the National Broadband Plan] suggests we will."
So why target broadcast spectrum?
The answer may lie in remarks made by confidantes to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. First, a few introductions are in order.
Fifteen years ago, Genachowski was senior policy advisor to then-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. Hundt's chief of staff at the time was Blair Levin. Now, flash forward. Hundt served as a senior member of the Obama transition team and he is in close communication with Genachowski. Levin chaired the NBP task force that reported to Genachowski. Small world, eh?
Speaking before a Columbia University audience in March, Hundt discussed the intent of the NBP. He informed his audience that the goal to disenfranchise -- if not completely end -- broadcasting was crafted during his FCC days. "This is a little naughty," he offered as an example. "We delayed the transition to HDTV [high definition television] and fought a big battle against the whole idea."
The drive to move news and information away from broadcast and similar platforms to broadband would change the paradigm of how content is created he explained. "[P]eople will be permitted to create audiences that demand content instead of waiting for content to pull them together to shape an audience [emphasis added]." Hundt did not elaborate on his remarks. However, he did admit that the NBP is a stark departure from the current way of delivering news and information.
"It has actually been an essential characteristic of the media in the United States that we have never had a plan [for communications and the media]. And we have felt that was in the nature of our democracy and our capitalism to not have a plan. It's kind of interesting to think that we now we're imitating China," he observed.
Then in December 2009, Genachowski appointed Duke University law Professor Stuart Benjamin to his staff. Benjamin let on that his duties include advising Genachowski on radio spectrum use and First Amendment matters.
Benjamin has written many papers that include proposals to end broadcasting. In a 2009 paper he wrote, "Some [FCC] regulations that would be undesirable on their own will be desirable once we factor in the degree to which they will hasten the demise of over-the-air broadcasting." Given his very influential position at the FCC, this is like the school principal trying to kill off all of the students.
Still, would moving all news, information and entertainment to the Internet be such a bad thing? It seems so. In prepared remarks before a February audience, Lawrence Strickling argued that the days of a "hands off" approach by the government toward the Internet are over. As the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Strickling is the principal advisor to the president on telecommunications and information policy.
"We need Internet Policy 3.0," he argued, "… [because] we rely on the Internet for essential social purposes: health, energy, efficiency and education." He added, "There [should] be rules or laws created to protect our interests." Strickling was advocating for more than just the Obama administration's proposed "net neutrality" rules for the Internet. He argues for government intervention to regulate content on the Internet.
Fortunately, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals stymied -- at least temporarily -- the FCC from imposing the Fairness Doctrine on the Internet when it struck down the FCC's "net neutrality" tactics in the Comcast-BitTorrent case.
In response, the FCC is considering reclassifying the Internet by moving it from the lightly regulated Title I to the heavily regulated Title II section of the federal statute that governs the FCC's activities. Title I prohibits the FCC from exercising considerable regulatory authority over information systems. In contrast, industries such as telephony that fall under Title II can be abused like a rented mule. And they are. Subjecting the Internet to the harsh regulatory environment of Title II is deeply disturbing. Only China would applaud the move.
There is still more trouble on the horizon in the form of a bill introduced by Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe last year. The innocuous sounding "Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (S.773)" is anything but innocuous.
There are several alarming provisions including a call to study "the feasibility of an identity management and authentication program." In other words, a national digital ID program. There is also a requirement that certain information technology professionals be licensed by the federal government.
There are relatively few professions that require individuals to be licensed by the feds. So why license IT professionals? The cynic would argue that the easiest way to control the Internet is to control the IT personnel who manage the Internet.
Even more troublesome is the provision allowing the president to designate "nongovernmental information systems and networks" as "critical infrastructure systems and networks." The president would have authority to disconnect these private systems "in the interest of national security." Further, the president could "order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic" during an undefined "cybersecurity emergency."
It would be much easier for a president to shut down the Internet than to turn-off 1,600 individual television transmitters and whose content is much more cumbersome to monitor.
For good measure S.773 allows the Commerce Secretary to "have access to all relevant data concerning [government and private] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access." Subpoenas, warrants, or court orders would be unnecessary if Uncle Sam wanted to peek at private IT system data.
All of the foregoing is enough to make one's head spin. But the Obamunists are not through. In addition to its National Broadband Plan and "net neutrality" pronouncements, the FCC has dived headlong into another topic: manipulating news and information.
The Commission launched its "Future of the Media" effort earlier this year that falls not only well-outside its statutory charter, but happens to fall squarely inside Constitutional prohibitions firmly ensconced in the First Amendment. According to an FCC Public Notice, the project "will produce a report providing a clear, precise assessment of the current media landscape, analyze policy options and, as appropriate, make policy recommendations to the FCC, other government entities, and other parties."
The Commission proposes to examine subject areas in which it has zero expertise including "business models and financial trends," "journalism," "[business] debt levels," "news staffing," and even the "newspapers and magazines" industry.
The project will also examine the roles and impact of schools and libraries, voter turnout, gaming systems, social media, "development of social capital," and numerous other matters in which the FCC has absolutely no authority to snoop.
A former Newsweek reporter and current Senior Advisor to the FCC Chairman, Steve Waldman, is heading up the "Future of Media" project. He struggled to convince an audience at the National Press Club in April that the U.S. Post Office established the precedent of the government playing a major role in media. Waldman's post office argument identically matches that of Mark Lloyd, the FCC's Chief Diversity Officer and former fellow at the left-wing Center for American Progress. Prior to CAP, Lloyd ran a fringe media advocacy organization funded by George Soros's Open Society Institute.
In his 2006 book Prologue to a Farce Lloyd wrote, "[M]y focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration." He also argued, "the purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance." Lloyd finds the First Amendment an obstacle to what he believes are greater social goals that can be achieved only through government action. This attitude may explain why Lloyd has been an ardent cheerleader for Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.
Two years ago, Lloyd stated, "In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution -- a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela." Lloyd also commented that when independent media outlets criticized Chavez's policies, the Venezuelan dictator "began to take very seriously the media in his country." Lloyd's comments came in the middle of Chavez's two-year run of closing down nearly every single privately-owned media outlet in Venezuela, thereby ending all criticism of the government.
Judicial supremacy and the Constitution
We need to reclaim the Constitution from the Supreme Court
Many Americans are puzzled and angry about the judicial assault on religion, morality, and common sense that has been going on for the past few decades. People wonder, for example, how the First Amendment (which guarantees freedom of religion as well as separation of church and state) could possibly require the expulsion of religion from public life, or outlaw prayers at high-school football games and graduation ceremonies. To answer questions like these, one must understand how federal judges got the power to make such controversial political decisions in the first place, and how the judges used that power to bludgeon the American citizenry into believing that their power was legitimate.
Plato tells us in the Republic that democracies will always succumb to tyranny. The Framers of our Constitution certainly troubled themselves to prevent that from happening here, but the anti-Federalist who wrote under the name Brutus did not believe they had gone far enough — especially when it came to the Supreme Court. Though Alexander Hamilton described the Court as the “least dangerous branch,” Brutus thought that the Court would eventually expand its own power and, in the process, enable the national government to expand its power at the expense of the states.
That Brutus was something of a prophet is beyond question. The Supreme Court is certainly more powerful than it was in the beginning. And so is the national government. In fact, during the past half-century, the Court and the country seem to have embraced the idea of judicial supremacy — the doctrine that the Court is the exclusive, ultimate authority on all constitutional issues. But the Constitution is very clear on the judicial role, and it does not authorize judicial supremacy. Judicial supremacy is an unwarranted extension of the power of judicial review — a power that allows the Court to disregard or invalidate laws in a limited range of cases. To see this clearly we need to examine some of the Constitution’s key provisions very carefully.
The Constitution establishes three main branches of government. In Article I, Section 8, specific lawmaking powers are assigned to Congress. These powers include taxing and spending, declaring war and raising armies and navies, regulating the value of money, establishing the post office and other federal agencies, and finally, making laws that are deemed “necessary and proper” for making all the other powers effective. In Article II, Sections 2 and 3, the president is assigned the power to command the Army and Navy, to appoint ambassadors and other government officials (including federal judges), to negotiate treaties with foreign nations, and to enforce federal law in general.
Judicial power is assigned to the Supreme Court (and lower federal courts that Congress chooses to establish) in Article III, Section 2. The judicial power is precisely stated to be the power to decide cases and controversies arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States. This means that the decisions of federal courts are binding on the parties to the lawsuits. What it does not mean is that the decisions of these courts become laws in their own right or policies in the legislative sense.
After establishing and assigning powers to the national government, the Constitution places some limitations on how national power can be exercised. This is done first in Article I, Section 9, where the government is denied the power to pass ex post facto laws (criminal laws that apply retroactively) and bills of attainder (legislative acts criminalizing the conduct of particular individuals), and to suspend the judicial process for incarcerated persons (the writ of habeas corpus) except in times of rebellion or invasion — just to mention three examples. The following section, Article I, Section 10, places a similar set of limitations on the state governments.
After the Constitution was adopted, the First Congress proposed twelve amendments. Ten of them were adopted and became part of the Constitution in 1791. These amendments, now referred to as the Bill of Rights, were designed to impose additional limits on the national government. The First Amendment, for example, prohibits Congress from enacting any law “respecting an establishment of religion” or abridging “the free exercise thereof.” Other provisions in the Bill of Rights guarantee certain protections for persons accused of crime in federal courts, such as the right to trial by jury, the right to counsel, and the right not to incriminate oneself.
The final article in the Bill of Rights is the Tenth Amendment. This provision reserves to the states all powers not assigned to the federal government (e.g., in Articles I, II, or III) or denied to the states (e.g., in Article I, Section 10). Certain powers, usually called “concurrent powers,” granted to the federal government are obviously allowed to the states as well. These include, for example, the power to tax, the power to enact commercial regulations, the power to govern state militias, and the power to enforce the law generally. Powers that are assigned to the federal government but denied to the states are called “exclusive” powers. These include the power to declare war and make treaties with foreign nations, and other powers that require unified policy for the entire nation. Powers that are not assigned to the national government are deemed to reside solely in the states, and these are called “reserved” powers.
THE ROOTS OF JUDICIAL REVIEW
When concurrent powers conflict, Article VI of the Constitution grants supremacy to the federal government. State judges are instructed to invalidate conflicting state laws. If they fail to do this, Article III, Section 2, which extends national judicial power to all cases arising under the Constitution, empowers the federal courts to overrule the state courts. This is where the power of judicial review originates.
It is very important to make note of the precise constitutional language in these provisions, because the power and extent of judicial review hinges on the presence or absence of a single word.
The judicial power granted in Article III, Section 2, extends to all “cases and controversies, in law and equity, arising under the Constitution, Laws, and Treaties of the United States.”
The national-supremacy clause of Article VI, meanwhile, reads as follows: “This Constitution, the Laws Pursuant to it, and federal Treaties are the Supreme Law of the Land, anything in the constitution or laws of a state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
“Pursuant,” in this context, means “following from,” “in accordance with,” or just plain “constitutional.” Notice that the word is absent in the clause that gives the courts the right to decide cases, but present in the clause that instructs it as to what laws to apply. Since the federal courts have the power to hear all cases arising under federal law, but only laws pursuant to the Constitution are considered the supreme law of the land, a federal court deciding a case in which a national law applies must determine whether that law is pursuant to the Constitution.
Otherwise, the courts would be forced to apply unconstitutional laws when deciding cases. This would give us legislative supremacy, a doctrine no more intended by the Framers than was judicial supremacy. It is the absence of the word “pursuant” from Article III, Section 2, that extends the judicial power to unconstitutional as well as constitutional laws, thus authorizing the federal courts to disregard or invalidate acts of the national government.
In the Judiciary Act of 1789, Section 25, the First Congress enacted this understanding of the Constitution explicitly, authorizing the United States Supreme Court to reverse or affirm any judgment of a state’s highest court in which a national law is invalidated or in which a state law is upheld against a federal constitutional challenge. In other words, if a state court refuses to enforce (i.e., invalidates) a national law, then the Supreme Court is authorized to reverse or affirm that decision. If the federal court reverses the state court’s decision, it is effectively saying that the national law in question is pursuant to the Constitution (i.e., is “constitutional”), and that state governments have no right to ignore it. On the other hand, if the federal court affirms the state court’s decision, then it is effectively saying that the national law in question is not pursuant to the Constitution (i.e., is “unconstitutional”).
We may draw some important conclusions from this brief survey of constitutional provisions. First, judicial review is authorized in the Constitution, but only in a very restrictive form. It has nothing whatever to do with policymaking. Rather, constitutional judicial review is merely the power to disregard, or refuse to apply, a law that the court believes to be unconstitutional (not “pursuant” to the Constitution) when deciding a particular case. Strictly speaking, as Abraham Lincoln said of the notorious Dred Scott decision, the court’s decision applies only to the parties in that case — not to anyone else.
Second, the limited form of judicial review established in the Constitution is not an authorization for the courts to “strike down” or exterminate laws that the judges don’t happen to like. Rather, it is a device to prevent state courts from refusing to enforce valid national laws. Without such a device, it is unlikely that national law would ever have come to be enforced on a nationwide basis, and this means that there would never have been a “United States.”
‘CASES OF A JUDICIARY NATURE’
Finally, James Madison’s notes on the Philadelphia Convention reveal that the Framers had a particular understanding of Article III, Section 2. During the discussion of the phrase extending the federal judicial power to cases arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States, this power was acknowledged to be limited to “cases of a judiciary nature.”
These are cases involving laws directed to the courts themselves — for example, jurisdictional statutes or constitutional provisions directing the courts to perform particular functions in specific ways. This suggests that one important reason for judicial review is to give the courts a way to protect themselves from efforts by other branches of government to control their activities in ways not authorized by the Constitution.
One such effort took place in the 1790s, when Pres. George Washington asked the Supreme Court for advice on a legal matter. The justices declined to offer such advice, stating in a letter to Washington that becoming advisers to the executive without a case before the Court would violate Article III’s provision extending the judicial power only to “cases and controversies.” Another example of such an effort occurred a decade later, and it resulted in what is now the most famous case in American constitutional law — Marbury v. Madison.
What the Constitution does not do is establish the Supreme Court as the ultimate or exclusive arbiter of all constitutional questions, entitled to issue binding proclamations to other agencies of government on any constitutional issue whatsoever. Judicial supremacy, in this sense, was largely unknown throughout the first century and a half of our nation’s constitutional existence, and was not claimed even by the Court itself until 1958.
In that year, the Court declared for the first time in its history that its constitutional decisions were the supreme law of the land, along with the Constitution itself, national laws, and federal treaties. This declaration effectively amended Article VI by judicial fiat, giving truth to the earlier remark of Chief Justice Hughes that “the Constitution is what the Court says it is.” Since that time, the Court has provided abundant evidence for the truth of Justice Scalia’s 1992 observation that “the imperial judiciary lives.”
So if Brutus’s dire prediction of ever-expanding judicial power was right, it is not because we have followed the Constitution. He was right because we have not followed it. Judicial supremacy is not the result of anything in the Constitution. It is the result of judges’ exercising powers not granted to them in the Constitution, and of cowardly politicians’ allowing them (and sometimes encouraging them) to get away with it. If Plato’s dire prediction about democracy is not to become true for us, we need to reclaim the Constitution from the Court.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.