Judges continue to usurp legislative power
June 13, 2004
Times have changed. Judges have become the most dangerous branch by following former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes' view that the law is "whatever the judges say it is." Judges cannot change the literal words of the Constitution or a statute, so they make law by changing the meaning of those words. The obvious danger is that if the law means whatever judges say it means, judges control the law, run the country and define the culture. --Senator Jim Talent

I was surprised recently by two local judicial rulings: First was the ruling of six Missouri Supreme Court judges to ignore Missouri statutes and instead impose their own political views. Secretary of State Matt Blunt was following Missouri Statutes by placing the Marriage Protection Constitutional Amendment on the November 2004 election ballot for a vote of the people. The Amendment asserts marriage is only recognized as the union between a man and a woman. The Governor challenged Matt’s decision and asked the court to put the Amendment on the August ballot for political purposes.

The Supreme Court’s first mistake was agreeing to hear the Governor’s case. That was a violation of existing law, so they “suspended” the law. They then ruled to place the Marriage Amendment on the August ballot in a second violation of Missouri Statutes. Now that the State Supreme Court has chosen to supercede the legislature’s statutes and impose their own rules, what should the Legislature do? What is our duty?

The second judicial power-grab came in the Courtroom of Federal Judge Scott O. Wright of Kansas City. Judge Wright ruled that Myrna Dick, a pregnant woman from Raytown, could not be deported because her unborn child is an American citizen and is protected by the federal constitution. I found out about the case when called by a Kansas City Star reporter for my response. Judge Wright’s ruling seems profoundly inconsistent with his typical pro-abortion rulings. It would seem that he finds it illegal to deport a citizen, but perfectly legal to kill the same citizen. In other words, Judge Wright has now ruled that an unborn child is a citizen but without the most basic right of citizenship - life! Judge Wright has created a whole new class: recognized but unprotected. We’ve made that mistake before; we called it “slavery.”

Judge Wright’s only reply to this apparent inconsistency was “I go by the law.” But whose law does Judge Wright go by? It cannot be U.S. law, because the U.S. Constitution identifies a citizen as someone “born or naturalized in the United States.” Our Constitution also gives every citizen legal rights and protections and specifies that we cannot “…deprive any person of life…without due process of law”. Judge Wright’s “citizen” has not been born, and if the judge’s ruling on citizenship prevails, then why isn’t his life protected? Judge Wright has decreed by judicial fiat, that you cannot deport an unborn child, but you can murder that same child. Such arbitrary and capricious rulings are what we should expect once the rule of law is discarded. Is this what is meant by legislating from the bench. How can this usurpation of power be checked? What is the legislature’s duty?

Let’s return to the Marriage Amendment case. In this case, only Supreme Court Judge Steven Limbaugh dissented from the majority opinion. As I understood his written opinion, he determined that the parties involved had followed the law at every point, and that the statutory deadline had officially passed for placing the Amendment on the August ballot. If Judge Limbaugh is correct, and I believe he is, a logical conclusion is that, given a choice between following the law or creating new law, six members of the Missouri Supreme Court chose to create new law, to legislate from the bench.

I have talked to other legislators and we are convinced that every State Representative has a duty to our constituents to demand a stop to the judicial tyranny illustrated by these two rulings. The legislature has the jurisdiction and duty of impeachment, and I cannot imagine situations more appropriate for initiating impeachment proceedings. Please pray that your state legislature will have the courage, purity of motive, and clarity of thought to do our duty and stop these encroachments by judges who no longer submit themselves to the Constitutions under which they serve and which they have sworn to uphold.

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