January 7, 2006

THE END RUN AROUND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:

Alabama Justices Surrender to Judicial Activism (Tom Parker, January 1, 2005, Birmingham News)

[M]y fellow Alabama justices freed [Renaldo] Adams from death row not because of any error of our courts but because they chose to passively accommodate -- rather than actively resist -- the unconstitutional opinion of five liberal justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Those liberal justices declared last spring in the case of Roper v. Simmons that "evolving standards of decency" now make it "unconstitutional" to execute murderers who were minors at the time of their crime. The justices based their ruling not on the original intent or actual language of the United States Constitution but on foreign law, including United Nations treaties.

Ironically, one of the UN treaties invoked by the U.S. Supreme Court as a basis for its Roper decision is a treaty the United States has refused to sign. By insisting that American states submit to this unratified treaty, the liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court not only unconstitutionally invalidated laws in 20 states but, to do so, also usurped the treaty-making authority of both the President and the U.S. Senate.

I am not surprised that the liberal activists on the U.S. Supreme Court go to such lengths to usurp more political power. I am also not surprised they use such ridiculous reasoning to try and force foreign legal fads on America. After all, this is the same Court that has declared state displays of the Ten Commandments to be unconstitutional.

But I am surprised, and dismayed, that my colleagues on the Alabama Supreme Court not only gave in to this unconstitutional activism without a word of protest but also became accomplices to it by citing Roper as the basis for their decision to free Adams from death row.

The proper response to such blatant judicial tyranny would have been for the Alabama Supreme Court to decline to follow Roper in the Adams case. By keeping Adams on death row, our Supreme Court would have defended both the U.S. Constitution and Alabama law (thereby upholding their judicial oaths of office) and, at the same time, provided an occasion for the U.S. Supreme Court, with at least two new members, to reconsider the Roper decision.


Irrespective of your opinion on the underlying issue (the death penalty and its application), it's obviously anti-democratic to force Americans to abide by legal standards they refuse to adoipt for themselves.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2006 6:22 AM
Comments

Alabama would have been within its rights--and the precedent is in 'Roper' itself.

As Justice Scalia noted in his dissent, the Missouri Supreme Court defied the U.S. Supreme Court with impunity. But because the Supremes now wanted to over-rule their own decade-old decision, they didn't even scold the Missouri court.

Not only did the Supremes arrogate unto themselves the treaty power from the Executive and the Senate, and usurp 20 states' decisions, they also took the choice from the 30 other states. But they did uphold the Rights of Europeans to rule us.

btw, the only one who suffered "cruelly and unusually" was the victim, a woman who was bound, rolled up in carpet and dropped off a bridge into a river. This is merely a further effort to make the death penalty unused, and therefore, "unusual".

Posted by: Noel at January 8, 2006 9:56 PM
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