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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter to the editor: Today's government closer to oligarchy than democracy, republic

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  • To the editor:
    I applaud Ernest Evans' conclusion in last weekend's Leavenworth Times that legislation via judiciary is a bad idea. Lest I be thought too accommodating, I wish to comment on a couple of waypoints to that conclusion.
    First, Evans repeatedly styles the U.S. government as a democracy, whereas the founders designed it as a constitutional republic. James Madison, writing as "Publius," argues as much at length in Federalist No. 39. Shorter and more prescient was the reply of Benjamin Franklin in September 1787 when he asked what form of government the convention had provided for: "A republic, if you can keep it."
    We have been less adept at keeping. During the convention, judicial review of Congressional acts was considered and rejected. Most delegates wanted no part of a judicial body placed in a position of authority over the other branches.
    Despite there being no constitutional authority for judicial review, the headstrong Chief Justice John Marshall simply asserted the power. Although there are a couple of provisions for limiting judicial authority, legislative diversity has been such as to prevent ever asserting such limits.
    The result is that our Constitution is pulled and punched to the point that it cannot accurately be said to reflect either a republic or a democracy. Oligarchy is probably as close to the mark as anything, and what the private citizen wants is ignored, invalidated, or reversed on appeal.
    That is to say that citizens in general have been divested of their "government of, by and for the people."
    Al Stevens
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