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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Too many issues are in hands of courts

Monday, October 13, 2003

It's truly a dangerous proposition to fiddle with the Constitution. That applies to government at all levels. Yet increasingly, because our society has been so prone to litigate constantly, the judicial branch of government has taken on powers that seem far beyond the scope of any original intent.

In Missouri this week, two major pieces of legislation are now on hold facing judicial review because of lawsuits filed. The concealed weapons law which was to take effect Saturday and the abortion waiting period are both on hold pending court approval.

I fully understand and appreciate the power of the courts. But legislation written by lawyers - some of whom have judicial backgrounds - is constantly subjected to approval by the courts. It's just another sign of a society that turns to lawsuits to resolve each and every issue.

There will always remain rumblings over the 2000 presidential election results which ended up in the lap of the Supreme Court. There were talks of lawsuits opposing California's recent election results and, in fact, the election was held only after a court agreed that the process was legal.

You know of course of the Alabama case concerning the Ten Commandments. That too ended in a court fight. And more court cases are ahead on that issue.

The bottom line is this. The courts in this land were designed to be the final authority on issue impacting the people of this great nation. But I doubt seriously if the framers of our Constitution would have seen the day when each and every issue ended up in the hands of the courts. That is an enormous power given to a handful of people who are appointed, not elected by the people.

This explosion of the power given to the courts is a result of many factors. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) understands fully the power of the courts and the ability to stall legislation. Christian groups are equally to blame in many instances. But regardless of those who clog the courts on each and every issue, it's a trend that I find alarming and disturbing.

We elect people in this nation to guide our government. We decide whom to elect by the positions they take on issues. And then inevitably, those decisions fall into the power of judges who are often appointed and share few if any of our values and concerns.

Power is a frightening tool. Because of the growth of the legal community, the courts are taking center stage in our society and the people are given a back seat in the decision process. I find that wrong.

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