VanderPlaats: Defund Courts for Rulings I Disagree With

Iowa wingnut extraordinaire Bob VanderPlaats is mad that Rand Paul isn’t proposing to defund the federal district courts in Kentucky because one judge there overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Appearing on Steve Deace’s radio show he delivered this diatribe that is staggeringly stupid on multiple levels.

Vander Plaats: If another good friend of ours, Newt Gingrich, was in his position from the state of Kentucky, I can almost guarantee what Newt’s response would have been. It would have been, ‘We need to defund that court, we need to defund that judge. The Congress still holds the power of the purse. If we have courts, if we have judges operating outside of their constitutional authority, let’s pull their meal ticket away.’…

It’s too bad that a senator like Ted Cruz and a senator like Mike Lee have to actually step up for the state of Kentucky when their own senator, Rand Paul, should be doing that.

Deace: What should Rand be doing instead of what he is doing right now, which is basically nothing? What shouldhe be doing instead?

Vander Plaats: Well, I think one thing is that he needs to step up to the microphone. This is his state, this is Kentucky. This is something that runs totally against who he is. I mean, he’s about liberty. And if it’s about liberty, and if you have a judge usurping the will of the people of Kentucky, that runs contrary to liberty. If you believe marriage is a state rights issue and the state of Kentucky says, ‘This is what marriage is to us, one man and one woman, clearly defined,’ then you better stand up to that state rights issue. If you believe what you say you believe, that marriage is foundational and it’s between a man and a woman, which is what he says he believes, then you got to stand up for that, because that’s the law of nature, that’s the law of nature’s God, that’s the Declaration of Independence, which this whole country was founded on.

First of all, he has no idea what liberty is. Overturning a state law that the voters of that state prefer is not a violation of liberty, it’s a rejection of democracy, narrowly defined, and those are not the same thing. They especially aren’t the same thing if the law in question is oppressive. And in fact, that same constitution that he claims to adore so much gives the judiciary the power to do exactly that and gave judges lifetime appointments and complete independence precisely to make that possible.

His demand for Congress to defund courts that hand down rulings he doesn’t like is in stark contradiction to what the founders intended. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 78:

The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

So once again we have a conservative claiming to revere the constitution while advocating policies that violate it quite blatantly.

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