Bryan Fischer
Judicial activism on parade, Part I
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By Bryan Fischer
May 1, 2009

A lawsuit has been filed against Canyon County and the state of Idaho in an effort to force taxpayers to cough up more money to pay for public defenders. Public defenders are lawyers who are on the public dole to serve as attorneys for criminal defendants who claim they are too poor to hire one themselves.

The judicially activist ruling that ordered jurisdictions to fleece taxpayers to pay public defenders simply allows the public to be victimized twice by the same offender: once when the original crime is committed, and a second time when the victimized are forced to pay the legal costs of the one who committed the crime against them.

The lawsuit cites the Sixth Amendment in support, but you will look in vain in the Sixth Amendment or anywhere else in the Constitution for a requirement that taxpayers pay lawyers' fees for criminals. It's not there, anywhere.

What the Sixth Amendment says is that "...the accused shall enjoy the right ... to have the assistance of counsel for his defence." So a criminal clearly has the right to an attorney, but nowhere can he claim the constitutional right to have other people pay his attorney for him. He has the right to an attorney, of course, but also the responsibility to pay the guy himself.

Returning to a constitutional standard in which defendants would be required to pay for their own attorneys if they want one would have a deterrent effect all on its own. Surely a part of the equation for common criminals is the thought in the back of their minds that if they get caught they can count on "free" legal help.

Well, it's not free if you're paying for it, and so legal defense for perpetrators is free to them but not to law-abiding citizens who without their consent are forced to pick up the tab. In simple terms, that in and of itself is an injustice.

JUDICIAL ACTIVISM ON PARADE, PART II

The Idaho legislature, in an effort to satisfy its constitutional obligation to balance Idaho's budget, was forced to make across the board cuts in many programs, including Medicaid benefits for the disabled.

Such cuts were certainly fair, as they were part of a strategy to spread the pain as equally as possible across all state agencies.

However, a federal judge has inserted himself into the business of Idaho state government by issuing an injunction against the implementation of these cuts.

Thus this judge has arrogated to himself the role of the committee that sets the Idaho budget, the entire legislature that approves it, and the governor who signs it into law and oversees its implementation.

This certainly is an egregious violation of the separation of powers doctrine judges have no statutory authority anywhere to set budgets or force tax increases and a violation of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves the setting of state budgets for state government.

The Constitution nowhere gives a federal judge the authority to tell states how much money they must spend on anything. The concept is absurd, flatly unconstitutional and unconscionable on its face.

The fact that this will all happen without a peep of protest and that the state of Idaho will meekly allow this federal judge to push it around is surely a sign of how much legal authority we have surrendered to tyrants wearing black robes.

© Bryan Fischer

 

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