I wrote a while back about Dallas’ State District Judge Tena Callahan’s ruling that Texas’ State Constitutional Amendment defining marriage was unconstitutional. I wasn’t so much meaning to discuss the issue of gay marriage as to discuss the proper role of the State District Courts and the Judges that preside over them. Pretty heady subject for a guy who’s only stepped foot in a law school twice in his life!
Well, we obviously need to deal with this question again for the sake of Houston’s State District Judge Kevin Fine, who on Thursday ruled the death penalty and capital punishment unconstitutional.
See, I took the initiative to look up the Texas State Constitution and its section on the Judiciary. It turns out that a State District Court doesn’t have the Power to deal with matters on a constitutional or unconstitutional basis.
The Texas Judiciary is set up similar to the Federal Judiciary with District Courts being the usual Courts of original jurisdiction. Their rulings are able to be appealed to the State Appellate Courts which are in turn appealed to the Supreme Court of Texas. And only the Supreme Court of Texas is set up to deal with questions of constitutionality.
In other words, this is a classic case of Judicial Activism. Never mind that the Supreme Court of the United States has declared capital punishment as constitutional under the Constitution of the United States. Never mind that Texas Law pertaining to capital punishment has specifically been declared constitutional both by the Supreme Court of the United States as well as the Supreme Court of Texas.
Like Judge Callahan’s, “I saw it written on a grocery store bag” argument regarding her ruling Texas’ marriage amendment unconstitutional, Judge Fine must have experienced some strange, mystical vision in one of his cocaine-induced stupors that revealed ultimate truth to him. I kid you not!
I mean, how do these guys get elected to the bench? Cocaine addict?? Are we serious?!?
This is obviously Harris County and Houston that we are talking about this time instead of Dallas. But ironically, both instances are of Democratic Judges overstepping the authority delegated to their position. Now, I’ll heap scorn on Democrats when it is due, but I’ve made something of a habit in the last couple of years of holding my fellow Republicans’ feet to the fire. But that being said, this sort of nonsensical Democratic Judiciating has got to stop.
One of the positions that I took in my campaign for Congress just concluded was that the Congress should enact its Power to regulate the matter of Roe v. Wade out of the Supreme Court’s (self-appointed) jurisdiction and return it to the States. I believe that this sort of regulation is necessary to “inspire” the Judiciary, both State and Federal, to stop overstepping the boundaries of its authority.
Unfortunately, it would take the same sort of knowledge of the Powers of government’s various branches and levels on the part of a member of Congress as it would an adherence to the concept of limited jurisdiction that the Judiciary, both State and Federal, continues to repeatedly ignore. The system is broken and only fixing it will solve the problem.
The issue of whether capital punishment is constitutional is decided law, to borrow a popular Democratic term. It has been decided at the State level, where it should be. The problem with Roe is that it is a Federal matter, robbed from the States. But the same matter in all three of these instances, abortion, gay marriage and capital punishment, is the same. These matters should be decided by each State, and only by each State with no interference by the Federal government whatsoever. And once each State decides the matter, its Courts should respect the will of the people and stay out of the issues.