Judicial activism and the rule of law

The following passage from a recent article about the reach of the Fair Housing Act is a perfect summary of how our “judicial” system has been corrupted, turning the federal judiciary (and especially the Supreme Court) into a super-legislature instead of acting in the role intended by the men who wrote the Constitution.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer summed up the liberal argument.

“This has been the law of the United States uniformly throughout the United States for 35 years, it is important, and all the horribles that are painted don’t seem to have happened, or at least we have survived them,” he said. “So why should this court suddenly come in and reverse an important law which seems to have worked out in a way that is helpful to many people, [and] has not produced disaster?”

Source: The Washington Post

The fact that any of the justices is even considering public policy instead of the rule of law should be frightening to everyone on both sides of this debate. It is not, has never been and should never be the role of the courts to determine public policy. That is the role of the legislative branch and, to a lesser extent, the executive branch. Public policy should not even be considered by judges when deciding whether the implementation of a law is legal and/or constitutional.

To be fair, the court is also considering the legal arguments both sides are presenting, both regarding the original intent of Congress when it passed the law and when it renewed the law. Hopefully, those arguments will be the primary basis on which this decision is made when the court rules on “disparate impact” as a standard.

But the fact that public policy is even influencing this debate (and many others before it) is a dangerous perversion of our constitutional republic. We are moving more and more to being a judicial oligarchy, with nine people in black robes ruling the nation with little to no true oversight. If we value the Constitution, we need to put a stop to this and put the judicial branch back into its proper role.

Supreme Court justices are not legislators and they should not pretend to be. If a law violates the clear text of the Constitution or laws that supersede it, that law should be overthrown. If the enforcement of a law does not match the text of the law, then that enforcement action should be ruled illegal. The personal public policy preferences of a judge should never enter into the equation. If justices want to shape public policy instead of applying the law and the Constitution, they should resign from their seats and run for office.

Not yielding to emergency vehicles is arrogant and heartless

Note: Since I moved the blog between a couple different hosting options, not all of the archives are on ConservaTibbs.com. Therefore, I will occasionally re-post things I wrote before 2010. This letter to the editor is from a little over ten years ago.

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, January 7, 2005

To the editor:

I was visiting family over the weekend in Fort Wayne. While I was stopped at a red light, I heard a siren. The siren belonged to an ambulance, which approached the intersection as my light turned green.

Naturally, I did not move. After all, pulling out in front of an ambulance is not only dangerous, it is illegal. Most importantly, I would not slow down an emergency vehicle, because seconds can mean the difference between life and death. I heard the person waiting behind me honk his horn because I did not proceed through the green light. Apparently, getting to wherever he was going was more important than the life-saving mission the ambulance was on. This combination of arrogance and heartlessness saddens me.

I am not sure what this individual hoped to accomplish. Even if I had been arrogant and heartless enough to pull out in front of the ambulance, there was not enough room for him to get out.

To those drivers who think their time is too important to yield to an emergency vehicle, I challenge you to answer the following questions.

What if the ambulance you delayed was carrying a loved one? What if the delay you caused resulted in the death of that loved one? Could you live with yourself knowing that you killed someone you love? What if the few seconds you delay a fire engine is just enough to prevent them from saving your home as it burns? What if you are seriously hurt because you are hit by the fire engine to which you refused to yield the right of way?

Is it really worth it?

Mike Pence is not Vladimir Putin. Stop freaking out.

From the freakout in some quarters regarding the Pence Administration’s plan for a “state news agency,” you would think the conservative Republican governor was setting up a Ministry of Information and Press like they had in the former Soviet Union. That’s not the case. This is not state-run media. In fact, it is boringly normal.

What Pence is proposing is putting all of the state’s press releases from multiple agencies into one easy to read and easy to navigate website, and providing additional content. It is not fundamentally different from what any number of elected officials have done for nearly twenty years now, from the White House blog and the President’s weekly radio address (a tradition started by Franklin Roosevelt) to the State Department’s Tumblr page.

Many elected officials do this. U.S. Senators such as Elizabeth Warren archive their press releases and editorials online. Literally hundreds of elected officials have press secretaries to release statements and talk to the media. They have official websites, blogs and social media accounts. So what exactly is the big deal here?

The answer is simple: This is not a big deal. Elected officials have always looked for ways to reach the people directly with their message and their policy agenda. If anything, the people complaining about the proposal should be praising it as a step toward greater transparency by government. We live in an age where many people get their news online, and this is just one more information source – much like Governor Pence’s profiles on Facebook and Twitter.

If Pence’s critics have a legitimate criticism, let’s hear it. This story is much ado about nothing.

The Indianapolis Star’s online subscription service

The Indianapolis Star needs to move into the 21st century with its web content.The service is stuck in a late 1990’s mentality that is not friendly to paying customers and is far too clunky.

A couple weeks ago, I subscribed to the Star’s website, and immediately regretted that decision. My understanding (from talking to a customer service representative before I subscribed) was that all of the Star’s content was on its website. This is simply not true. At least some of what is in the print edition never shows up on the website, though it is in the e-paper. The thing is, though, that I do not like the e-paper. It is not nearly as user-friendly as the website. It is clunky and it is slow. It is not possible to open multiple articles in multiple tabs.

From a technical standpoint, the website is far better.

The Star has a soft paywall, much like the Washington Post and other newspapers – you can read so many articles per month before you have to pay for the content. My understanding was that I could read unlimited articles and see content that you cannot see without a subscription on the website itself. That is not true. Either the representative did not understand my question or she was mistaken.

I do not mind the soft paywall, and I would not mind if some content was visible only to subscribers. I have no problem whatsoever with a hard paywall. Newspapers do need to make money, after all. Our local Herald-Times puts the vast majority of the content behind a paywall. What I do mind is not getting all of the content on the website, and being forced to use a technically inferior product to get that content. In the year 2015, it is inexcusable that all of the content in the print edition is not posted on the website, especially for paying subscribers.

I am not going to cancel my subscription, but I am certainly not going to renew it. I barely use the e-paper and it is frustrating not knowing what I am missing if I only use the website. If I did not pay for access, that would not bother me. Because I am a paying customer, it is very annoying. The Star needs to dump this e-paper nonsense and focus on putting all of their content on their website. A list of “what was published today” (like is on the Herald-Times, Washington Post, New York Times and many other newspaper sites) would also be a dramatic improvement.

Nanny state ninnies in the GOP

Why are Republican legislators proposing a ban on cell phone use while driving? Reckless driving is already against the law. This nanny state stuff should not be coming from the GOP.

We got rid of a nanny state RINO last year, who supported making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription. Looks like more primary challenges are needed to get rid of some more RINOs.

Murder is already punishable by death!

A headline in the newspaper yesterday illustrated the absurdity of some of our state legislators: “Indiana Senate backs death penalty for beheading crimes.”

Don’t we have anything better to do? Murder is already illegal. Murder is already punishable by death, especially if aggravating factors are present. There is no need for another law.

This is just stupid and a waste of time.

Thoughts on protest tactics and coverage

This past Sunday, about 150 anti-abortion demonstrators blocked traffic on a heavily-traveled Bloomington street. Many of them wore bandanas to hide their faces (how gangsta!) and one of them was arrested for assaulting a police officer. The scene generated considerable outrage in the community and especially on Herald-Times story comments.

Now of course, that did not happen. Well, it did happen, but it was the “Reclaim MLK” protesters who committed those acts. If that is what we had done, you can imagine the reaction – and that reaction would be justifiable.

The anti-abortion protest was 225 people and had no illegal obstruction of traffic and certainly no assault on police. Christian Citizens for Life paid $500 to reserve the county courthouse (including a refundable damage deposit) and some volunteers picked up trash that was left on the courthouse lawn before we got there. The weather was nice this past Sunday, but young men from CCFL would often shovel and salt the sidewalks (with donated salt) around the courthouse to ensure the people attending are safe. Guess which protest was covered and which was not?

The “Reclaim MLK” protesters said they needed to block traffic to get people’s attention and make the public face an important issue. One could argue that if the tiny number of police shootings necessitates blocking traffic to force people to face the issue, the 3200 babies killed every day by abortion (a disproportionate number of whom are black) would be a much bigger justification for blocking traffic. Yet you can imagine the reaction had we done that.

The covering of the protesters’ faces is an unnecessary tactic. What is the purpose of hiding their faces? Do they really think they will face repercussions in Bloomington Indiana if their faces were not covered? This is a tactic that is common in anarchist protest and is arguably intended to be intimidating. If your message is that important, do not be afraid to show your face – especially since this was meant to honor Martin Luther King, who never hid his face.

The H-T again failed to cover the Rally for Life, which is consistently one of the biggest public events in Bloomington on an issue of social and cultural significance, as well as significance in the local political arena. The newspaper was notified of the rally well in advance, and there was no reason a reporter could not have been dispatched.

This was a great rally, and Pastor Jody Killingsworth delivered a powerful keynote address about abortion and our own culpability in it. The weather and turnout were excellent. It would be much better, though if we never had another rally because unborn babies’ lives would be protected.

Forty two years ago today

On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court thew out laws in all 50 states protecting unborn lives from abortion. Since that day, we have seen fifty million unborn babies slaughtered by the abortion industry. The number of abortions per years has dwindled, but we are still seeing over a million babies murdered every year. May God have mercy on us for this bloodshed.

This is the bloody reality of abortion in these United States:



Source: The Center for BioEthical Reform



Source: The Center for BioEthical Reform