Men In Black

February 8, 2005

When we understand that our liberties depend on the sophisticated scheme of institutional limitations the Framers of the Constitution imposed on the federal government, we will grasp the urgency of the message of Mark Levin’s new book, “Men in Black.”

In “Men in Black,” Levin takes us on an engrossing ride through history detailing how the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself a sort of tyrannical power that threatens our constitutional architecture and freedom.

We often hear of the dangers of an unchecked judiciary. But few of us have the historical, legal and constitutional background that sets this menacing problem in context. In this book, Levin provides that context in a remarkably readable work that at once educates and captivates.

Men in Black” is a primer on the United States Constitution as well as a clarion call to liberty lovers to wake up to the alarming damage the Court continues to inflict on our republic. Levin documents how the Court has morphed into a super-legislature, legislating from the bench rather than honoring its constitutional role of interpreting the laws.

From its pronouncements on the Commerce Clause, to its rulings on abortion, immigration, civil rights for terrorists, religious liberty, affirmative action, pornography and election law, Levin shows how the Court has usurped authority from the other two branches to become the most powerful of the three.

The judiciary was never intended to be a policy-making branch, unaccountable to the people. But that is precisely what it has become, as Jefferson and others ominously predicted. And the situation is getting worse.

In recent years, presumably out of some irresistable urge to impress “enlightened” European socialists, certain progressive Supreme Court justices have been flirting with the idea of grafting the laws and customs of foreign nations into the Constitution without a scintilla of authority under the Constitution to do so.

Some people — mostly on the political Left — seem to casually dismiss the dangers judicial activism poses to our liberties. To them, as long as desirable political ends are achieved, how we accomplish them is of little consequence. It’s alarming that they have so little respect for the principles of limited government and are so oblivious to the indispensability of those limitations to our liberties.

The Framers, being students of history and political science, knew that only if meaningful limitations were imposed on government would the people have any chance of enjoying the personal liberties the Constitution was designed to safeguard. As Levin explains, “[Their] overarching purpose was to prevent the concentration of power in a relative handful of institutions and individuals.”

So in addition to investing the federal government with sufficient enumerated powers to perform the essential functions of government, they established a system of federalism, whereby governmental power was divided between state and federal governments.

They also provided for a separation of powers at the federal level, where the government would consist of three relatively co-equal branches, each checking and balancing the power of the others. Finally, they adopted a Bill of Rights to prevent the government from encroaching on specific liberties of its citizens.

By dividing and diffusing power between competing national and state governments, and the three branches of the federal government, the Framers hoped that no level or branch of government would become too powerful at the expense of the others and of individual liberty.

Regrettably, over the years, the Court has not only radically upset the separation of powers, but obliterated the doctrine of federalism by expanding the power of the federal government vis a vis the several states, in ways that would have horrified the Framers.

Levin reveals how the Court, through its obscenely expansive interpretations of the Commerce Clause, gave the federal government the extra-constitutional power to regulate wholly internal matters of the states and their citizens. And by creating constitutional rights out of whole cloth, such as the federal right to privacy, the Court has virtually robbed the states of their sovereignty and severely reduced the power of the people to govern themselves through their duly elected representatives.

If you seek a clearer understanding of the Constitution and a fuller appreciation for the sacred liberties it guarantees, pick up a copy of “Men in Black.” If you want to understand why the Left is so determined to block the confirmation of justices who would restore the Court to its proper constitutional role, read the book and join the fight for an accountable, Constitution-respecting judiciary.