The Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC. Photo taken by Tim Sackton (CC-By-SA 2.0).
The Supreme Court of the United States Building
Photo credit: Tim Sackton (CC-By-SA 2.0)

On Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden remarked after President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court that the nation’s highest court impacts Americans’ daily lives.

He first engaged in some fearmongering. 

“The American people understand the urgency of this moment,” Biden said. “They are already voting in droves because they know that their health care hangs in the balance. They understand that if Donald Trump gets his way, they could lose their right to vote, their right to clean air and clean water, their right to equal pay for equal work.”

He continued. 

“Workers could lose their collective bargaining rights. DREAMers could be thrown out of the only country they’ve ever known. Women could lose the bedrock rights enshrined by Roe v. Wade, which has safeguarded their autonomy for nearly half a century,” Biden warned. 

And finally.

“People are voting right now because they know that the very soul of our country is at stake and because they know that the decisions of the Supreme Court affect their everyday lives,” Biden said.

In his Caffeinated Thought of the Week last Friday, Brian Myers said that Thomas Jefferson’s fear about the judiciary had been realized, we now live under an oligarchy. 

He is right, and to address what Biden said, the Supreme Court was never meant to affect our everyday lives. The federal government was never meant to make such an impact. 

Another problem with Biden’s remarks is that government is not the source of our rights. 

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in his second book, Them: Why We Hate Each Other – And How to Heal, reminds us of the limits of government. 

“A government of, by, and for the people puts extra pressure on the people to live in a manner consistent with self-government – crucially, even when we vigorously disagree on matters of mere policy. Policy fights are important, but not nearly as important as agreeing about our fundamental civic principles,” he wrote. 

“Where should we start? The two indispensable insights of the American experiment are inextricably linked: each and every individual is created with dignity – and therefore government, because it is not the source of our rights, is just a tool,” Sasse added.

In his remarks about President Trump nominating Judge Barrett to the court, Sasse said, “Judge Barrett is a brilliant legal thinker and will be an excellent Supreme Court Justice. Despite her unsurpassed character, reputation, and intellect, this confirmation process will be nasty. Why? Because too many on the left (and sadly some on the right as well) want judges who will substitute their own will for the law. Judge Barrett is not that kind of judge. She believes her duty isn’t to arbitrarily slop applesauce on stone tablets and declare new laws — her duty is to cloak her personal views under a black robe and to faithfully uphold the Constitution. That makes her a problem to rabid partisans, and an ally to the rule of law.”

He’s right. Judges are to interpret the law as written, not create law. Rarely should they make wide-sweeping changes that impact our daily lives. 

The federal government is to secure our rights as enshrined in the Constitution (not case law). Congress should pass laws that respect the Constitution and decrease the Administrative State and provide clarity for the courts as to their intent. 

Congress should also limit itself and not pass laws beyond what the Constitution gives them the authority to do. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has empowered Congress to violate the 10th Amendment, which has given the court more power.

The only level of government that we should feel an impact on our daily lives should be local. Nine unelected justices in Washington, D.C., should not have that kind of power and they were never meant to have it.

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