The recent Senate confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominations reveal an ongoing attack on the rule of law in America that dates back at least seventy years. It reveals the truth of Psalm 14:1 that indicates that only fools presume that there is no God. Such fools must inevitably assume that they make their own laws. Such is the folly that marks the confirmation hearings that have transpired in our nation’s capital.
In the most recent hearing on Samuel Alito, the reality of this attack on the rule of law was made clear by a number of the senators in their opening statements and within the direction of the questions that they asked Mr. Alito. For instance, Senator Biden in his opening remarks expressed concern about whether or not Mr. Alito’s confirmation would shift the balance of power of the court. Senator Kennedy wondered whether or not Mr. Alito’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would alter the meaning of the phrase “equal justice under law.” Senator Schumer articulated his concern about whether Mr. Alito’s appointment would alter the balance of power on the Court since in his view the Court holds the power to rule the lives of all Americans.
Such worries and concerns are of course nonsense if we are thinking about the right application of the U.S. Constitution as it was originally written. In all these comments, these senators display either a profound ignorance about the nature of Constitutional law, or they are merely expressing their concern about the ramifications that would befall them if there were an actual return to Constitutional government. Such a revival of Constitutional law would no doubt impose severe limits upon their legislative excesses. I suspect that they are really just interested in maintaining their illegitimate power.
Anyone who has read the U.S. Constitution understands that it is a document intended to define a limited arena within which the federal government might operate to secure our peace and tranquility. Mainly, the document provides for the government to provide some level of national defense and to settle disputes between the states. Beyond the few areas of legitimate action, the federal government was not supposed to intrude upon the rights of the people. In effect, the overriding assumption of the document is that people hold all the rights and the power of action and that government derives its power to act only as the people allow it. The very adoption of the Constitution was intended to keep the government within its appropriate bounds. In short, the idea behind our form of government is that we are creatures created in the image of God and he has granted us the right to rule our own lives within the context of his moral rule of law. That is, a natural or divine law is always present and human rules and laws should be consistent with this natural order. The only need for government arises when in the course of ruling our lives we should impose upon the natural rights of others. Thus, as long as the government is protecting everyone’s life, his liberty and his property equally, the individual is free to govern his own affairs.
Obviously, Senators Biden, Kennedy, and Schumer do not believe this. They view government as the ultimate institution that grants whatever rights people are to have. In their view, government possesses all the power and doles out whatever it wishes to the people who must live their lives in submission to it. In truth these men have violated their very oaths of office by twisting the words of the Constitution in an effort to make it mean something far different from what it actually does mean. They are fearful that the Supreme Court might actually begin to decide cases based upon the Constitution again and in doing so end their tyranny. It should be evident that these men love the positions of power that they have usurped by setting aside the Constitution. They vainly believe that the rule of law is whatever men say that it is and since they are the legislators they view the law as something they provide for the people. They are pompous, arrogant and vain and their despotism appears to have no end. Fortunately, they are not beyond the rule of God who has told us quite clearly that he opposes the proud and brings about their destruction.
This is an important time in our nation. On the eve of sending cosmonauts into space, Nikita Khruschev declared that the Soviet Union was sending men into outer space and if they found God there they would topple him from his throne. It is interesting to see whose throne toppled first. There are two possibilities for our nation. On the one hand, the false notions of government may continue to proliferate throughout society. If that happens, our nation will no doubt face the same fate as the Soviets. On the other hand, the tide might be turned. To do so, however, we need a rapid rise in Christian scholarship and an increase in the number of true statesmen who understand the real meaning of the rule of law and can work to restore it.