I am not a big fan of a number of U.S. Supreme Court decisions over the years.
There is, however, something much bigger than my or your dislikes at stake when it comes to the high court’s role in balancing power among the forces that govern this nation.
The assertion by President Obama that an “unelected group of people” might “somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law” should prompt everyone to take a deep breath.
Setting aside whether you support national health care as it is being implemented or not, it should concern everyone when a campaign is conducted to essentially turn the high court into a political punching bag.
Obama is not the first president or prominent national leader to take issue with the court or accuse it of partisan politics. When such a charge comes from the mouths of politicians it is akin to calling the kettle black. Republicans and Democrats alike have both made such verbal attacks on the high court.
The Founding Fathers wisely created three branches of government to serve as a balance of power. The aim was to create a government of laws rather than a government of men.
That concept should not be trivialized or diluted.
There needs to be a check and balance to make sure that the majority doesn’t unilaterally force its will on the minority. Majority rules as an absolute is a frightening concept that was illustrated to a “T” by author William Golding in “Lord of the Flies” about boys stranded on an island.
There is a long list of instances when the “unelected group of people” also known as the U.S. Supreme Court “somehow overturned a duly constituted and passed law.”
Some that come to mind are the Jim Crow laws. In retrospect, there is little doubt they were unconstitutional but at the time they were passed the majority viewed them as “duly constituted and passed laws.”
Based on their questions during last week’s arguments the high court seems to be zeroing in on the question of limits on the power of government.
It is a question that should concern everyone regardless of where you stand on national health care and the manner in which it is being imposed.
The ends should never justify the means when it comes to governance.
While universal health care is a noble idea but if it means to get to that point you edge the government a step closer to totalitarian governance is that something that we really want?
It is important to remember whatever power the people entrust in the government and is found to be constitutional the exact opposite can be asserted at some point.
As an example, those who find a basis in the constitution to have the government assert its authority to prevent one from having an abortion that same basis can be used to give the government the power to force one to have an abortion.
Obama’s reaction is no different than what all of us have voiced ourselves about what the court system either rules - or in this case may rule - against something that we hold near and dear.
But there is a reason why those who framed the constitution created a court of last resort that is essentially above the political fray once the justices are appointed.
That reason is to make sure that the concept of all men being created equal is not weakened by a popular political cause du jour that tramples the rights of individuals and those in the minority.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.