I could have entitled this blog “Chief Justice Roberts Criticizes President Obama,” but that would have made this a story (from FOX News) about personalities when the real significance is the growing tension between the USA’s Executive Branch and its Judicial Branch.
The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, is on record as saying that “Obama’s first state-of-the-Union address was very troubling” as the President’s “annual speech to Congress has degenerated into a political pep rally.” Chief Justice Roberts added that he now wondered if Supreme Court Justices should even bother to attend these speeches any longer. Further tensions are evident in this story which adds that Justice Alito openly seemed to contradict Obama’s “pep rally” remarks during the state-of-the-union address, and that Justice Clarence Thomas has stated that “he saw little value in oral arguments before the court” on cases being brought to the Supreme Court.
All Americans ought to be worried about these trends. Justice Thomas’ remarks infer that on most cases, the Justices of the Supreme Court have already made up their minds on the cases so oral arguments are a waste of time. If he is right, Constitutional Government in the USA is now hanging by a thread as politics, not matters of law, are decisive in court rulings. Of even greater concern is the fact that things are now so out of control that the Chief Justice of the normally very reserved Judicial branch finds it necessary to openly criticize the President’s politicization of what is supposed to be a sober report by the nation’s Chief Executive to the Legislative Branch (Congress) on the state of the nation’s affairs. Justice Roberts is entirely right about the “pep rally” aspect of state-of-the-union addresses. They have lost all the gravitas they used to have. Depending on which party has the presidency, Congress acts very childish as one side of the aisle in Congress (the President’s party) jumps to their feet and claps like trained seals during the president’s speech while the other side (the opposition party) generally sits stony-faced.
Currently, the Legislative Branch (Congress) has all but abdicated its Constitutional roles and powers to the Executive Branch. Executive Branch agencies make up all kinds of “laws” by publishing them in the Federal Register even though Congress was supposed to be the only branch of government making laws. Congress has abdicated its financial powers by surrendering them during the Bush administration to the Treasury Department when Treasury Secretary Paulson told Congress the “sky would fall” if they didn’t surrender those powers to him. Like a barnyard full of “Chicken Littles,” Congress fell for this act. Congress also now votes on huge bills it doesn’t even bother to read! What a clownish body Congress has become! No wonder it approval ratings have hit new lows.
It seems the Supreme Court is the last bastion of any Constitutional reason and its majority hangs by a slim 5-4 margin on many key votes. The Supreme Court upheld the Bill of Rights in a 5-4 vote not long ago when it struck down gun-control rules imposed by Washington, DC., and another such case is before the Supreme Court now re: whether cities can take away Constitutional Rights about gun ownership. If the Court rules that cities can take away Second Amendment Constitutional Rights, then it will set a precedent that other cities can also exempt themselves from any Constitutional provisions that they don’t like. That will be a very slippery slope, indeed! What if one city wants to take away First Amendment Rights from newspapers and electronic media? What if some southern city decides to make slavery or Jim Crow laws legal again? What if another city decides to take away the right of women to vote? What if a variety of states and cities decide to negate the Constitutional Amendment that requires an income tax be paid by its citizens to the federal government? If the Supreme Court decides one city can take away Constitutional Second Amendment Rights, then any other city can take away any other Constitutional Rights that it wants to do away with as well, based on such a precedent. The Federal Compact could disintegrate. We live in increasingly-dangerous times.
The Apostle Paul warned in II Timothy 3:1 that “perilous times” will befall the earth in the latter days. He has already been proven right, and his prophecy will become ever-more applicable in future years as worse things befall the earth.