American Oligarchy- “America is already in the chartered waters of an unconstitutional oligarchy.”
by Bill Lockwood
Oligarchy means that governing powers of a state belong only to a few persons. The concept carries the idea of despotic rule, the very opposite of a “We the People” system. Our Charter of Liberty, the Constitution, organizes power from the bottom up—this in order that free people might maintain that freedom by controlling their servants—the government. Two hundred thirty years after our founding, however, Americans find themselves ruled by a top-down federal oligarchy called The Supreme Court by which every law or expression of freedom might be negated as “unconstitutional.” Instead of tracing the course of how we arrived at this point, Americans need to begin contemplating how to rid ourselves of this despotic monstrosity.
To set the issue clearly, hear the words of President Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Chief Justice John Marshall. “You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” Jefferson added that judges are not subject to “elective control” and noted that “The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.”
Prophetic powers Jefferson did not possess, but he, as well as the entire class of founders in that generation, understood the nature of liberty, the nature of man, and the constructs that were necessary to guard our own freedoms.
Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, argued with Jefferson that “there must be an ultimate arbiter somewhere” and that the Supreme Court was that arbiter. Marshall voiced the feelings of the entire class of modern attorneys now battling in various courts for favorable rulings. “Whatever the court decides is constitutional” is the doctrine. Jefferson answers Marshall’s “there must be an ultimate arbiter” argument: “True, there must; but does that prove that it is either party? The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union, assembled by their deputies in convention, at the call of Congress, or of two-thirds of the States.”
If the Constitution is what it purports to be, the power rests with the people acting through their elected representatives, not a High Court. What is WRONG with the Supreme Court being the “final arbiter” of the meaning of the Constitution?
First, the Constitution itself does not erect such a tribunal. Is the Constitution, or the Supreme Court’s decisions the ultimate law of the land? Jefferson made this very point against John Marshall. “The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal …” Exactly. How is it that the Constitution itself gives to the Judicial system a certain limited number of jurisdictions, eleven types of cases to be exact, and “judicial review” is not one of them?
The same battle is found in religion. Is the Bible, the Word of God, or the Roman Catholic Church and its “Holy See” the final arbiter of what is God’s truth? Or, to put it more basically, do “the people” have the right and authority to interpret the Bible for themselves, or does that prerogative belong only to the Roman Church?
The Catholic Church asserts itself as the “final arbiter” as to what is or is not “scriptural.” But the God nowhere gives to the Roman Church such authority. People can read and understand the Word of God for themselves. It is only the Roman Catholic Church that arrogates to itself the authority to determine God’s Will.
In the same way The Supreme Court makes its own high-handed brazen assertions of its supposed authority. This position itself is not Constitutional.
Second, the doctrine of Judicial Review has been perverted into Judicial Supremacy. Judicial review simply posits that the Supreme Court has the authority to construe the Constitution in certain cases that come before it. But this opinion of the Court necessarily applies to the particular facts and parties of the case—not to everyone else or to the entire country. A case in point. Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court in 1973 supposedly found a “right” in the Constitution which allowed a woman to kill her unborn child. That was flagrant enough. Then the Court overturned 200 years of history and all 50 state laws that protected the life of the unborn. This is not law. It is lawlessness as the Supreme Court imposed its godless will upon an angry populace.
Instead of “Judicial Supremacy” our nation was founded upon the concept of “Constitutional Supremacy.”
Third, the Constitution is a contract, drawn up between the People and its Representatives in the Federal Government. That being the case, how has it occurred that only one party in that contract maintains the sole authority to interpret the terms of that contract? St. George Tucker was professor of law at the College of William and Mary during the Revolutionary period. Writing a commentary on the Constitution he noted that it was a “compact” to which the states were parties with the federal government and that this “compact” limited the role of the federal government.
The very nature of the Union is a compact or a contractual form of government. If each side of the contract is equal, why cannot both sides to the contract, the states and the federal government, each have equal ability to assess the meaning of the Constitution?
Fourth, the Constitution was ratified by the People several years before the Supreme Court was appointed. Every provision of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights (1788, 1791) had clear meanings to the people who ratified them. This is why the Founders, unlike the clandestine legislators today who wish to pass bills to “find out what’s in them,” argued every clause in the newspapers at the time. It was a People’s law. All was settled long before there came a Supreme Court to make determinations. The Supreme Court was organized in 1789 and did not convene until 1790.
If it is the case that the Supreme Court “determines” the meaning of the Constitution how was it ratified by the people who were ignorant of its meaning? How can officeholders take the oath to uphold the Constitution if they cannot know what it really means until the Supreme Court issues a ruling on the clauses?
A few more questions: What if the Supreme Court takes up the liberal notion that a “militia” of the 2d Amendment is an organized National Guard unit and that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is limited to government appointees? What if the court system defines “Treason” as opposition in writing such as this article? Far-fetched? Who would have supposed that The Supreme Court would take in hand to “define” our cultural practice of marriage to include a union between two homosexual persons? Where is that authority bestowed in the Constitution? Finally, why did the American people have to wait for The Supreme Court to “overturn” a lower court’s opinion that had halted President Trump’s Travel Ban—a prerogative clearly given to him by the United States code?
America is already in the chartered waters of an unconstitutional oligarchy. The battles now raging will only continue as long as the American people allows the Federal Government, The Supreme Court specifically, to act illegally by assuming “undelegated power.”