Monday, April 03, 2017

The Role of a Judge

I've heard several Democrats say they won't vote for Judge Gorsuch because he sides too often with "big interests" over "the little guy".  I say, that's your fault, Democrats, not the judge's.

A judge's responsibility--nay, a judge's sacred trust--is to enforce the law as written.  If the law is constitutional, and the law favors "big interests", then more often than not the judge should rule in favor of the "big interests--because that's the law.  If the law is constitutional, and the law favors "the little guy", then more often than not the judge should rule in favor of "the little guy"--because that's the law.  Judges should not legislate from the bench, nor should they allow their personal whims to influence their decisions.  They themselves are not the law, they are instruments of the government and serve that government by making judgements on the law.

I understand there are different "legal theories" out there.  I don't accept most of them.  In general, I accept "what the law says" or, if the law is considered old or vague, what it was generally accepted to have meant when it was passed.  It's not a judge's role to invent meanings or to substitute personal wishes for the meaning of the law.  If the legislature, the representatives of the people, have passed a law, that law is to be followed unless it is found unconstitutional.  Anything else makes a mockery of our system of laws.

Legislatures should strive to pass good laws.  Executives should strive to see that the laws are properly enforced.  Judges should strive to interpret the law as it was written.

This doesn't seem like rocket science to me.  In fact, it seems no more than what 8th graders learn in US History class about the foundations of our government.  That so many people have different views is indicative of how far we've strayed from the ideals we all learned as children.


Anna A said...

One of my favorite things about Judge Gorsuch is his idea, "If a judge likes all of his rulings, then he is doing something wrong"

(I may have the exact words wrong, but I think I got the essence correct.)

Ellen K said...

What I truly don't understand is how the Democrats can rake Judge Gorsuch over the coals for not committing on how he would rule in specific cases when that is not only the definition of his job, but also exactly the type of answers given by Judges Kagan and Sotomayor when they were under scrutiny. As for the socalled "nuclear option", it seems that when Democrats are on the receiving end of the type of nonsense that was pulled with the procedural instead of a vote for ACA, they don't like it.