Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flashback to 2000: U.K. Prime Minister Steps Down

I couldn't help but think back to the 2000 presidential election when hearing that U.K. Prime Minister Brown was asked to resign, and surrender control to the Tories.

As you know, Buckingham Palace was instrumental in the decision by the prime minister step down whereas, in the U.S., it was the Supreme Court that got to decide our contested presidential election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

Why is this flashback, and decision especially poignant now? Just a few days ago, President Obama nominated another justice to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan. One must consider just how important the Supreme Court is, after all, inasmuch as it filled a parallel role to that of the British monarchy.

When the founders spoke of checks and balances, they weren't thinking of a bank statement. Thomas Jefferson was doubtless rolling over in his grave when the Supreme Court decided an American presidential election. That sets a dangerous precedent, and sets the stage for judicial overreach. When then-President George W. Bush said he was "the decider," he was overcompensating a bit for what was essentially the surrender of executive power to the Supreme Court.

While concern about judicial activism was Bush's mantra, and has been a centerpiece of the Republican platform for the past decade, and many Democrats have expressed dismay about the notion of a unitary executive, not much is being said about judicial overreach which, courtesy of the 2000 election, ought to be an issue.

We must be wary of substituting one monarch for another whether it be a throne, or nine justices in judicial robes. George W. Bush was not inaugurated; he was coronated.

The Supreme Court, or any other court, must never again get to choose who our next commander-in-chief will be.