The Constitution, Courts and Judiciary

The Constitution and our nation’s other founding charters guarantee Americans their civil liberties and restrain the powers of the central government.  All Americans are entitled to receive equal justice under the law, without personal distinction, and protection from a capricious and arbitrary federal government.  Our legal system, exercised through our courts, have the responsibility to preserve our constitutional rights from an unrestrained government and to ensure speedy and fair justice when needed. 

As the third, co-equal branch of government, the judiciary holds the power to interpret laws, intentionally distinct from the Constitutional power bestowed to the legislature to write laws and the executive to enforce them.  This separation of powers plays an important role in the system of checks and balances envisioned by the founders of our nation.  

Too often, closely divided federal courts have issued rulings that challenge the foundational responsibility entrusted to the other branches.  Public confidence in our legal system is best preserved when courts act with modesty and the clear meaning of the law.  Personal and political interference in jurisprudence can shake the public’s faith in the legal system as an impartial protector of our rights and upholder of justice. 

Our chief executive and legislators are ultimately accountable to the American people and should remain so.  Federal judges are appointed for life in good service to insulate them from swings in public sentiment and to permit an impartial judiciary.  Judges at all levels must follow our Constitution in their decision-making and resist the temptation to make policy.  I have consistently voted against the confirmation of nominees who demonstrate an activist role for the bench and I will continue to oppose activist nominees whose philosophy runs counter to a strict construction of the Constitution.  As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I support nominees to the courts that respect, not make, laws and will work to find solutions to Idaho’s overburdened judicial system.