QUOTE(Juber3 @ Apr 8 2005, 12:49 PM)
Do you feel the the courts are too powerful?
I'll reply with part of a sidebar response I just put in a different thread that addresses this issue as well. I know reproducing responses from one thread to another is not normally a good practice, but it was not the central topic of the debate in the other thread, only a supporting example.
I had asserted that benevolent dictatorships inevitably turn malevolent, while the other person in the debate mentioned some doubt that benevolent dictatorships could work even in the short term. I used the US judicial system as an example...
You and I might disagree about benevolent dictatorships working in the short term-- if the person or people dictating law are truly benevolent, they will very often (if not always) make the judgements that are in the best interest of the people and do not violate morals, ethics, or utilitarian concerns-- such benevolent dictators could arrive at decisions very quickly and could cut out all the expense and mess generated by representative democracies-- no expensive elections, no long debates, no campaign corruption, no political arguments that pit one half of the population against the other-- everywhere there is peace, harmony and efficiency. The only fly in the ointment is "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"-- benevolence plus power yields malevolence-- human nature has an ugly side. This was the central issue of the reformation, the enlightenment, and ultimately the American Revolution. But before that, history records some dictatorships temporarily being both effective and benevolent-- they were abolished only because people realized that the great catastrophes of malevolence were no longer an acceptible risk.
For an example, take the United States-- we are organized under Judicial Review and anti-constructionism as a judicial dictatorship that has a component of representative democracy-- but when the rubber meets the road, it is ultimately judges who dictate law. When the judicial dictators are benevolent, everything works fine-- but if they ever turn malevolent or capricious in overturning democratically-enacted laws of the land that do not specifically voilate (sic) the word or intent of the Constitution-- our benevolent judicial dictatorship has just become a malevolent judicial dictatorship. The only long-term solution I can see to this structural weakness is to check Judicial Review with a constitutional amendment giving Congress the same check on Judicial Review that it has on the Presidential Veto-- mustering a 2/3 majority in both houses of Congress is such a long shot that it is only presumed to happen when the other branch of government is really and truly wrong. Then, we would be structurally rebalanced into a representative democracy with an element of judicial dictatorship, rather than vice versa. Judicial Review is not in the Constitution-- it was orignially asserted by the principle of Silent Consent, that the People would pass an amendment to control it if it were to ever get out of hand. I believe that time has come.