Dr. William Gangi, a professor in the department of Government and Politics in St. John’s College, discussed the increase in judicial power and the decline of constitutional law on Monday night in Bent Hall to a crowd of law students, government majors, and those interested.
Gangistated that the judiciary branch of government has too much power that was not allotted to it during the founding of the nation.
“The more judges expand the meaning of rights or create new [rights], the more our right to self-government will be reduced,” said Gangi.
Seeking to explain the role of the Supreme Court today, Gangi compared it to the role that the founding fathers intended for it.
According to Gangi, the legislative branch of the American government has been pushing touchy issues to the judicial branch because legislating on them would possibly damage reelection campaigns.
This shows the importance that legislators place on keeping their jobs versus making important, effective changes, according to Gangi.
“The ratifiers’ left ordinary change in the hands of legislators and extraordinary change in the hands of the people,” Gangi said.
Gangi continued to explain how the American public has been observing shadows.
“In my version of Plato’s analogy of the cave, the Supreme Court Justices stand at the rear of the cave casting shadows upon the front wall. Seated in successive rows is the public,” Gangi said. “As in Plato’s analogy all are prisoners, with chains about their necks, their heads fixed to view the shadows on the front wall.”
Gangi goes on to explain that these shadows are illusions and a distortion of the reality, which only the justices see.
“According to Publius, had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob,” showing that intellects need not inject passion into their theorizing. Gangi went on to conclude, “The net effect is that the justices too frequently substitute their judgment for those of legislators, and they do so, ultimately on no discernable legal expertise.”
Gangi believes this judgment should be in the hands of the legislators where it rightfully belongs.
“My point is this: what the judges giveth they can taketh away- and that is why I insist on being bound by the framers discernible intentions,” Gangi said.