Monday, October 13, 2008

Thankfully Undemocratic

George Will's column "Bloomberg Shows Reason For Term Limits" ran in the Hartford Courant today. Here is a quote:

Bloomberg's supporters say term limits are undemoctratic. To the charge that term limits are undemocratic, the answer, in Palinspeak, is, "You betcha." That is, they are as undemocratic as, say, the First Amendment, which begins with the most lovely five words in the English language: "Congress shall make no law." The amendment lists some things that the people's elected representatives cannot do even if the people want them done, such as abridge freedom of speech or legislate the establishment of religion.

Our Founders knew that the Bill of Rights was an imperfect list. That is why the ninth amendment was included. "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." So who determines what rights are retained by the people in the face of a hostile majority? Leaving that task to the majority is letting the fox guard the henhouse. Only the courts have the institutional make-up to provide this protection. Once we recognize the need for protection against the tyranny of the majority (as out Founders did) the proper role of the courts in this process should be a reason for celebration - not for complaint.

Give me an "activist" judiciary over a tyrannical "will of the people" anyday.

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