News Articles

FIRST-PERSON: Judges need to be ‘checked & balanced’

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–“O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years” the fourth stanza begins in the classic composition, “America the Beautiful.” We in the United States are benefactors of the unique wisdom and uncanny foresight shown by the founders of our nation. They not only sacrificed to secure their own liberty; they also formed a government based on a timeless Constitution that would benefit future generations.

If America was to survive and thrive into the future, the founders understood all too well that the new nation would have to rest on a sturdy foundation of proven principles. Thus the U.S. Constitution was intended to withstand populist trends and societal fads.

The framers of the Constitution, and the subsequent Bill of Rights, carefully crafted a document that flowed from a Christian consensus. This is not to imply that all the founders were Christians. However, there was an overwhelming acceptance of a Creator who had established the world upon fixed laws — the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” as referred to in the Declaration of Independence.

The very reality of a government with a separation of powers is due to the fact that our founders believed that man, as an inherently sinful creature, could not be trusted with unchecked power. With the establishment of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the constitutional framers were in essence saying that they did not even trust themselves with concentrated power.

In recent years the founders have been much maligned for their flaws and shortcomings. One such criticism involves their failure to address the insidious institution of slavery. While some have sought to excuse them on the basis that they were merely products of their time, there really is no justification for their action or lack thereof. However, it should be noted that the Constitution they produced became the very vehicle for righting the wrong they had indulged.

The framers of the Constitution understood well that they were flawed and, as such, prone to mistakes. The result: They made provision in the Constitution whereby future generations could revise any legislative mistakes they or ensuing lawmakers might make.

In Article V of the Constitution, the founders set forth the manner in which their guiding document could be amended. One of the very first uses of the amendment process was to outlaw slavery in America; thus a glaring mistake of the framers was corrected by the Constitution they created.

The time has again come for the people of the United States to demand that the amendment process be utilized. And no, I am not talking about a “defense of marriage” addition to the Constitution. While such an amendment is perhaps needed, I believe it is time for a much broader amendment — one that will provide the American people with a safety valve against the tyranny we now face.

For at least four decades the judiciary has been slowly spinning out of control. With the recent rulings concerning sodomy, the Ten Commandments and homosexual “marriage,” it is now obvious that judges are accountable to no one and nothing, least of all the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”

The fixed intention the framers had for the Constitution is now said to be fluid. As such, judges routinely interpret the Constitution so as to conform to society’s flaws rather than to correct them. The Constitution, once a bulwark against the whimsical waves of societal trends, is now adrift upon the fickle sea of popular culture.

Sound legal reasoning has given way to sociological jurisprudence and legal realism that ignores not only the will of the people, but also time-tempered wisdom and even basic biology. Judges have not only invented legislation, but have mandated it as well.

A sound and sane amendment needs to be drafted that will provide judges with real accountability. If the judiciary is not somehow “checked and balanced,” and done so soon, the patriot dream envisioned by our founders could well become a nightmare.
Kelly Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore. His column appears each Friday in Baptist Press.

    About the Author

  • Kelly Boggs