Warner Todd Huston
N.J. courts not interested in democracy
By Warner Todd Huston
May 27, 2011

Most Americans are under the mistaken assumption that we as voters can elect someone to make changes in our government. Whether the government of our city, county, state or that in Washington DC we voters have this romantic idea that we can affect change by electing people to office that will make those changes. The New Jersey Supreme Court, however, has disabused us all of those absurd notions.

Governor Chris Christie was elected to office for one reason, to solve New Jersey's budget mess. He's not Mr. Nice guy. He's not the prettiest face in New Jersey politics. He wasn't even the state's most beloved public figure. He ran on fixing the budget and the people hired him to do just that.

But now, even though he was able to get certain budget changes through both houses of his state legislature, even though he has kept his shoulder to the grindstone doing the very job that the people hired him to do, even as he was on the verge of succeeding, the courts have stepped in and torpedoed the effort.

In a 3-2 decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered the governor to restore $500 million in funding to the state's "poorest schools" by July 1. So, the wasteful spending perpetrated against the taxpayers by New Jersey's schools can continue apace regardless of what the voters of New Jersey wanted.

Now some New Jersey commentators are claiming that this is not judicial activism. The decision, they claim, only restored the funding promised by former Gov. John Corzine and his legislature so this is not the courts making new law, they say.

But what else could it be but judicial activism to reach back to prior elections to find old budget schemes all the while ignoring the current administration's — and therefore the voter's — wishes. This is an activist court deciding that it did not like the recent election and reaching back to a previous, more favorable — and more left-wing — administration, one that satisfies the court's desire toward big spending government waste.

Naturally, it doesn't surprise that this level of wasteful spending makes unions happy, too.

This decision could possibly open the door for every school system in New Jersey to cry poor and run to the courts to stop Governor Christie from altering the obscenely generous funding that former administrations promised them. This ruling will prevent these profligate school administrators from doing what they should be doing: finding ways to cut budgets. Instead of facing reality, they will now have a tendency to pin their hopes on activist court interventions instead of making the hard decisions they must make.

It isn't just New Jersey we see this sort of left-wing judicial activism happening. Unions in every state are running, to the courts bawling their eyes out about budget cuts and pointing to union contracts "negotiated" with spendthrift legislators that unions had for decades bought and paid for. Unions are desperately trying to save their overly generous pay scales, outrageous pensions, and cushy benefits given by politicians they paid to give them free stuff courtesy of the taxpayer. They are crying "breach of contract."

Just today another union bought and paid for judge went into action. In Wisconsin, another left-wing, anti-democracy judge struck down the hard-fought policy of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who has been trying to solve his state's budget troubles. Once again the voters are overruled by an activist judge.

Is a contract gotten by graft one worth honoring? The voters are increasingly saying "no" by voting in officials that will cut back the undeserved riches showered on government union members by past pliant, sold-out pols.

Yet, despite that the people are speaking by voting in those interested in finally getting a grip on the waste seen in every last government all up and down the line, the unions are running to the courts to step in to thwart the voter's will.

For decades the court system has been acting against the will of the majority of the people. This has not changed in our current debt crisis. It's time we did something about these activist judges.

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

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