Monday, August 02, 2010

Three cheers for a strong judiciary

I was all prepared to get huffy when this came up on my RSS feeder:

Judging the judges

Is the Supreme Court becoming a threat to parliament?

The article is not anti-judge, as I’d feared, but rather about a strong (activist?) judiciary being a necessary bulwark against a strong executive and a weak legislature. I, of course, always prefer a strong judiciary (assuming they are also competent and just) because I have a deep-seated antipathy for tyranny of the majority and in the face of the decline of the upper houses, the judiciary remains our only chamber of sober second thought. Granted the nobility of the House of Lords has always struck me as quaintly outdated, but I am a firm supporter of the Double-E senate: equal and effective, yes, but certainly not elected. Because an elected Senate, like an elected judiciary, would simply be another tool of the majority and could not be depended upon to protect the minority, responsible as they would be to their constituents.

As for our senate, I’ve always felt it unfairly maligned. Sure it gets stacked be every sitting government, and granted it doesn’t do much in the way of making, as opposed to breaking laws, but it does important work in vetting legislation and studying it, so I don’t think it’s outlived its usefulness yet. On top of which, their decor is awesome:


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