Aside from the end of my third semester of college, this weekend provided nothing out of the ordinary: working my part-time job, attending church, and scrolling through my Twitter feed to find non-coherent statements from leftists about current events. One tweet that piqued my interest arrived after the ruling from Federal Judge Reed O’Connor (Fort Worth, TX) found the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) Unconstitutional. Of course, I expected a home page peppered with remarks of how all Texans act like ingrates due to the decision of this singular judge. However, one claimed that the Texas judge, a man of high legal acclamation, only decided to play politics and in turn weaponized the judiciary as a means of political leverage.
After glancing at this particular post, I mentally referenced the many times that federal judges struck down completely Constitutional and precedented actions taken by Republican leaders. Not only liberal judges at the federal level, but politically motivated judges at the state and even sometimes local levels seem to increasingly want to craft an image for themselves. Even certain Attorney General’s pride themselves in re-enforcing their name rather than the law.
The most blatant and ugly example of the judiciary playing politics rather than interpreting the legal foundation of this nation arose in early 2017, right after the dawn of the Trump presidency. As many remember, the newly elected President kept his promise of vetting countries with high rate of terrorism by temporarily barring entry to our country for citizens of those nations (just 90 days). While any other President wouldn’t have faced any difficulty with this, including President Obama when he banned Iraqis from traveling to America for half a year in 2011, President Trump received backlash from the federal judge from Hawaii appealed to the Ninth District Court of Appeals, and this court magically trashed the travel ban. To put into perspective the massive legal headache and security risk that this court undertook, we didn’t see the travel ban passed until June of 2018, a whole year and a half later.
To tie into Pennsylvania once more, the current Attorney General personifies the title of this article. The Attorney General of a state should follow the law and prosecute based on said law, not try to degrade our institutions and treat it as a campaign stop. While nobody should condone the actions of certain priests for their sexual abuse, the Attorney General continuously attacks entire dioceses for actions that occurred long before anyone involved with the church at present could’ve acted upon the heinous crimes.
Finally, a great example of politicized courts appeared in none other than a key electoral state, Pennsylvania. Right before March of 2018, Governor Wolf (D) raised alarms of a gerrymandered map that would damage our “Democracy” if not changed. Despite winning his election in 2014 and seeing the map as fine in 2016, the Governor pushed forward and ignited a conundrum in Harrisburg, the state’s capital. While Pennsylvania’s Constitution reserves the rights of redistricting to the legislature, and the Republican-dominated House and Senate complied with the spontaneous redistricting request, the Governor vetoed the map and sent the issue to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Court then drew their own map and imposed it on Pennsylvania, hurting both Democrats and Republicans vying for Congressional seats.
When the founding fathers established the three branches of government; the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial; they did not intend for any person, party, or ideology to weaponize the courts as a mean to hurt the people. Sadly in our modern political atmosphere, it seems that tarnishing tradition and crafting a sick sense of “Constitutionality” takes precedence over precedent. The only way to change this: read the Constitution for yourself, educate your peers, and help generate enthusiasm for the principles of America!
On a side note, Merry Christmas!