Blackstone Institute

"Empowering With Knowledge"

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." James Madison, "Father of the Constitution;" President of the United States, 1809-1817

 

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October 1998

The Architects V. The Activists, #1:
The Power of the Federal Courts

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
--President James Madison, The Father of the Constitution


There is no graver threat to the ability of contemporary Americans to be their own governors than the excessive power of the Imperial Judiciary. In order to counter this threat and arm the people with the power of knowledge, we present this first issue in the series, "The Activists v. the Architects." In these brief papers, we will compare the radically conflicting views of contemporary judicial activists with the views of the Constitution's architects. As the U. S. Supreme Court begins its 1998 Term, it is vital that we hear what the two antagonists believe about:

The Activists:"The Justices [of the U. S. Supreme Court] [function] as a de facto Council of Elders [and] may be likened to the oracles of ancient Greece. The Constitution is a theological document . . . , and the Justices are the High Priests who keep it current with each generation of Americans."
--Arthur Miller, Professor Emeritus of Law at George Washington University, television commentator, and author of  Toward Increased Judicial Activism: The Political Role of the Supreme Court

The Architects:"The judiciary . . . has no influence over either the sword or the purse, no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society. . . . It may truly be said to have neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; . . . [This] proves incontestably that the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power; that it can never attack with success either of the other two. . . ."
--Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist #78

Which America is the one in which we want to live and which we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?