Today, I’m going to play a little game called, “Let’s All Be Pat Robertson.”
A few days ago, I wrote about a group from San Diego called Better Courts Now, which was running four conservative “Christian” judges against incumbents. As I noted (and quoted) there, they believed God called them and told them to change out a few judges.
I disagreed. And apparently God supports my view of limited government and judges who do not rule in a way that favors a particular religion.
In other words, Better Courts Now candidates did not win.
As I explained in “Judge Not,” my comments should not be taken as anti-religious. You may — I wholeheartedly endorse it — take my comments as being anti-theocratic; I am not anti-religious. I confess that my belief is that religion has done more harm than good, but I also believe that this is not the fault of religion per se. It is because its practitioners are human.
In fact, I don’t even oppose everything Better Courts Now wants. From what I’ve seen, I agree with quite a few of the comments mentioned on their blog. One blog post, for example, complained about how easily children are taken from their parents. (Edit 12/2015: the link I had to the post is gone now.) The post tells the story of Danielle and Craig and, from my own experience, the way it plays out in the post is extremely accurate. (How CPS can cause so much grief in cases with little evidence, while simultaneously missing children who really are being abused is beyond me. Yet the post, as I said, virtually nailed it with its discussion of a “typical” case.)
On the other hand, other blog posts make it clear that the solution proposed by the group is just as bad. (Edit 12/2015: Apparently, Better Courts Now’s blog no longer exists. All links originally in the last sentence are now missing.) Whereas the post about CPS and family law courts bemoans the ease with which the government can take control of your family, the pro-Prop-8 posts make it clear that the group does not, in principle, condemn State control over familial arrangements.
After hours of testimony provided thus far, two points come in to focus: the plaintiffs have done absolutely nothing to disprove the belief that the optimal social and personal outcomes of children are best achieved by being raised by their biological married parents, and that such a notion is a reasonable and rational reason for people to have voted for Prop 8.
Nor has anyone disproved the belief that children raised in a loving home with two same-sex parents provide an “optimal social and personal outcome[.]” But Better Courts Now finds no problem with allowing a majority to proclaim this a “reasonable and rational reason for people” to prevent such loving unions and environments, because of religious bigotry.
But if the rule is “reasonable and rational” and “majority rules,” then the same thing makes the CPS/family court scenario acceptable. After all, that system could not exist if “the people” did not allow it. Judges in California face elections, even judges from family law courts. CPS is answerable to “the people,” even if mediated through elected representatives who established and funded the system.
Perhaps nothing more clearly demonstrates the real agenda of Better Courts Now than their explanation of “Why Judges Matter: The Role of the Judiciary In a Post Modern World.” (Edit 12/2015: Link gone.) Better Courts Now complains that
Roe v. Wade, which created the “right” to abortion, and California’s In Re Marriage Cases, which created a “right” of same sex “marriage” are particularly egregious examples of instances where judges exceeded their constitutional authority by creating new laws through their legal opinions.
In our system, “We the people” are ultimately in charge, not black robbed [sic] elitist judges.
Actually, in our system, “we the people” have already spoken — through the Constitution. And that document limited the people in their role as ruler. Case law has not “created” rights; the rights already existed. The Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution attempted to clarify this point when it said,
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
On those rare occasions when case law has supported “new rights,” it did not do so because the judges “found” those rights “in” the Constitution. It supported those rights because someone claimed the right and nothing in the Constitution indicated that the claimed right was one which had been given up in order to create the limited government of the Constitution. As Tom Head has noted,
When the Bill of Rights was first proposed, the major argument against it was that by specifying some rights that the government was not free to violate, there would be the implication that the government was free to violate any rights not specifically protected in the Constitution. The Ninth Amendment was written to address this concern.
Or as Matthew F., writing at WiseGeek, put it:
The Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects all of the rights of the people which are not mentioned specifically elsewhere in the Constitution. It was a part of the original Bill of Rights drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1791. The rights protected are referred to as “unenumerated” rights, and include those inferred by other legal rights, as well as natural, fundamental, and background ones. The Ninth Amendment combines with the tenth to protect the rights and situations not provided for in the previous eight amendments.
The Ninth Amendment is used to protect the citizenry from any expansion of governmental power because of the limited nature of the Bill of Rights. Because every right of the people of the United States could not possibly be mentioned in the Constitution, the Ninth Amendment was added to supplement the rights already mentioned. The amendment protects many rights implied in a universal civil code, and those which are linked to other rights already declared. It protects these personal liberties from state and federal infringement.
The Christian wannabe-judges of Better Courts Now would do well to consider that a limited form of government is worth maintaining. While “Christians” may be in the majority right now, there is every possibility that sometime in the future this will change.
As for God, I think he, she, or it — if he, she, or it exists — will be just fine. If Better Courts Now were truly able to hear the alleged voice of their own God, they’d know that.
One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving.
Surely you will reward each person
according to what he has done.
(Psalm 62:11-12 (New International Version).)