Democracy is messy and doesn’t always get the right results. Sometimes the president uses and abuses his power to harm those he should protect. Sometimes Congress fails to pass an important piece of legislation, or worse, passes a bad law. Sometimes the executive agencies enforce laws in a way we don’t like.
It’s time we give up on democracy. Sure, we can keep Congress, the Constitution, and all that hullabaloo around for old times sake, but we need a supreme governing body that will do the right thing without having to worry about what the American people want.
I propose we create a special committee to settle every important issue. If Congress can’t or won’t pass laws that are fair and just, this committee could simply declare the correct law to be in effect.
Much of the problem with Congress comes from their needing to run for election every 2-6 years. This opens them up to being swayed by campaign donations and prejudices of the past. Therefore, the special committee should have lifetime appointments to remove the ill effects of democracy.
We are not dissolving Congress, but cannot have two equal legislatures. The special committee will of course have to be supreme, but as a sop to democracy, Congress can overrule the special committee with a two-thirds vote in each chamber plus three-fourths of the State legislatures.
Can’t say the people don’t have a voice now.
Of course, this special committee could also do some Really Bad Things if the wrong people are appointed, so anytime a seat opens up we will all have to rally to make sure someone from our side is chosen. The selection process will become the most important event in the country, grinding all politics to a halt and drastically increasing tensions with our fellow Americans as we each fear the other side will strip us of our most important rights.
I suggest the committee have nine members dressed in black robes. We can call it the Special Committee of the United States (SCOTUS).
There’s no sarcasm font, so to be clear, I oppose everything I just wrote. But in essence, it is the argument made by those who oppose textualism/originalism. Textualism and originalism are both judicial philosophies designed to understand the U.S. Constitution and implement it faithfully. Judges who follow either doctrine understand that sometimes their rulings will create outcomes they do not desire, but their job is not to mold the country into their preferred shape.
Many on the left, including some Supreme Court justices, openly say reaching the “right” or “just” or “compassionate” result is more important than following the Constitution. If the Constitution or the laws on the books get in the way of implementing their agenda, they believe judges should replace the democratically elected Congress and adjust the Constitution as needed to get what they want.
Ignoring for a moment how difficult it can be to determine what the “right” or “just” or “compassionate” result is, what qualifies judges to know such weighty things? Their training is in law, not morality. Their job is to interpret the Constitution, not act as moral philosophers overriding democratically enacted legislation because they disagree with it.
Americans directly elect our congressmen, senators, and president, which gives us a say in our laws. We also elect our State legislators, which together with our Federal representatives gives us a say in the Constitution. The Federal judiciary is appointed, not elected, to a lifetime position. Whether they recognize it or not, arguing for judges to legislate from the bench is making the case for oligarchy, not democracy.
America will go through another fight over the Supreme Court in the coming months. When you hear someone argue a decision had an effect they don’t like, but hear nothing about the Constitutional merits of the decision, understand they are making a case for abandoning democracy.