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 by Jon Burras
The Sixth Branch of Government:
The Activist Judge
2020 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved

     We have always been told that when we vote in elections our vote counts and that collectively they all matter. Most people have placed their trust in this election system and believe that it is all working well. That is until they realize that not everything is well in "Oz" and things are not as they appear to be.

     Our high school civics class emboldened in us the concept of the three branches of government—the executive, legislative and the judicial branches. Each one of these entities was designed to keep in check the other two branches so that one would not have all the power over the others. In the last fifty years we might add the fourth branch of government (the corporation) as a leading contributor to government policies. Through lobbying and donations to political campaigns politicians are often bought by corporations. The fifth branch of government is the "deep state." This is where a civil servant is not working for the American people but for the interest of his or her own political party.

    That brings us to the sixth branch of government—the activist judge. Judicial members from the lowest municipal courts to the Supreme Court have one duty—to be impartial in interpreting laws. What we have seen over time is that many judges are not impartial at all but are nothing more than an extension of their political party. They can only see and represent one side of an argument and are not open-minded to other possibilities. It is sad to say that in many cases many judges are activists because you already know how they are going to decide an issue long before the trials begin. They have such an agenda of activism that impartiality flew out the door long before the ink quill was dry and the ball point pen arrived.

     An  activist judge is often vocal outside of his duties as a judge. He might belong to conservative or liberal organizations in his free time. He gathers outside of work hours where other activists gather. His activist way of life shows no distinction from work time and free time. Being "on the bench" is just another moment in time for furthering his "cause" that he might pursue when not at work. An activist judge is one who attempts to force his personal feelings onto others in court cases. He is usually not very open-minded and always has an agenda.

    The other aspect of the activist judge is to step outside the boundaries of interpreting laws and deciding to make up his own law. This is not his job description but that of the legislature to make new laws. Over and over again we have seen how judges cannot get their way and will try to make up a new law. Activists judges will disregard the loop holes in many laws and will attempt to fill them in by writing their own laws. Once again, if there is a loop hole in a law then it is up to a legislative body to create a new law to fill in the gaps and not leave it up to an activist judge.

     There are many cases of courts being attuned to their activist nature. For instance, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has always acted in a renegade and activist nature in favor of liberal causes and fighting against conservative arguments. This particular court has a reputation of liberal biases and will often step outside of bounds to squash conservative arguments.

     For instance, in 1994 the voters of California overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure in Prop 187 to restrict state services like education and health care for people living in the state who were illegal and undocumented. Before the law could be fully implemented
U.S. District Court Judge W. Mathew Byrne issued a temporary restraining order forbidding the law from going into effect. Soon after U.S. District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer issued a more complete injunction effectively blocking the new law from going into effect. The law ended up in court and the new Governor of California (Jerry Brown) refused to spend time and money defending it so it died a silent death. The moral of the story is that your vote probably does not count, especially when an activist judge gets his way. A majority of citizens might vote a certain way and one single judge has the authority to block an entire resolution or law.

     This is not how our legal system was designed to operate. We have seen the power given over to federal judges in recent years. A single federal judge often has more power and authority than even the President of the United States. By blocking an executive order, restricting a law or creating a new law, an activist judge can be the most powerful person in the entire country. How is that a good thing?

     The legal system was never designed to operate in that manner. In the past if someone was not happy with a law or policy they would have to file a law suit and wait while it made its way up the chain from the municipal courts to the appeals courts and often all the way to the Supreme Court. Now, some low level judge can put a stop or start to any law, program or procedure just with the wisp of a signature.

    For this reason the activist judge has become the sixth branch of government. These are judges that rule by their own personal feelings rather than by arbitrary thoughtfulness. The activist judge has become more of a player in recent years and has stepped out of the shadow of the dark confines of his chambers to let his emotions be worn on his sleeves. Perhaps with the activist judge we need to emblazon on the sleeve of his black robe a scarlet letter of "A". At least there will be no confusion as to where he or she stands on an issue and we will already know their biases going in to a conflict. It is no secret the power and the influence of the activist judge. The framers of the Constitution never imagined that the judicial branch of government would have so many rogue entities. They also never thought that the right to "bear arms" included a bazooka, assault rifle and a set of land mines. That is a topic for another day.