Miami New Times // Jerry Ianelli
The federal government is run by a despotic regime that dictates laws and hands down rulings wholly incongruous with the vision laid out by America’s Founding Fathers, say two Florida lawmakers. According to state Sen. Keith Perry — a Republican who represents Alachua, Putnam, and portions of Marion Counties — and Rep. Julio Gonzalez, a Venice Republican, the regime now running the United States constitutes an oligarchy of wealthy elites that “must be dismantled for the sake of our republic and for the continued empowerment of its people.“
Who are those tyrants? Try the entire judicial branch of the U.S. government.
In December, Gonzalez filed a resolution in the Florida House, which, if passed, would urge the U.S. Congress to straight-up invalidate the judicial branch. And this morning, Perry filed a companion bill in the state Senate. The pair is asking Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution so that Congress can overturn any judicial decision. Under the crackpot bills, which are identical, Congress could overturn U.S. Supreme Court decisions with a 60 percent vote.
“Florida Legislature respectfully petitions the United States Congress to propose to the states an amendment to the United States Constitution providing that any law, resolution, or other legislative act declared void by the United States Supreme Court or a United States court of appeals may be deemed active and operational, notwithstanding the court’s ruling, if agreed to by Congress pursuant to a joint resolution adopted by a 60 percent vote of each chamber of Congress within 5 years after the date the ruling becomes final,” Gonzalez’s resolution reads.
An assistant in Perry’s office told New Times the senator was in committee today and could not be immediately reached for comment. Gonzalez did not respond to calls to both his capitol and district offices. (In fact, Gonzalez’s district mailbox is full, but we digress.)
So it’s unclear what got Gonzalez all riled up about judges. This past December, he proposed amending the state constitution to let Tallahassee overturn state-level judicial rulings. In January, both of Gonzalez’s bills were referred to the House Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee, but neither has moved forward since then — likely for good reason.
But Perry’s attempt at lawmaking today perfectly illustrates the dangers of letting President Trump vomit out insults at whomever he wants on Twitter with zero consequences: After Trump called the Seattle justice who invalidated his Muslim travel ban a “so-called judge” on Twitter earlier this month, his ignorance of the American system of checks and balances appears to have started a movement.
You know, just like the movements in all of those other healthy democracies around the world.
Indeed, the text of Gonzalez and Perry’s proposal is nothing short of insane. Citing zero case law or historical precedents (save a few choice George Washington and Thomas Jefferson quotes), the lawmakers accuse high-ranking U.S. judges, including the U.S. Supreme Court, of acting like unelected arbiters of power, controlling the government like “activists” with little regard for the good of the American people.
(The idea that Supreme Court picks aren’t chosen by the people is somewhat silly. The public votes for president every four years knowing that person will get to choose federal judges.)
The legislators write that the judicial branch of the government has “taken on an increasingly activist role aimed at molding legislation according to the political beliefs of its members,” adding that such an activist posture tends to excessively consolidate power in one branch of government, and, as George Washington observed, such encroachments eventually create “a real despotism.”
They also add that federal judges tend to rule by “usurpation,” and then, staggeringly, complain that “the United States Supreme Court currently possesses ultimate and unchecked authority on matters of the constitutionality of the United States’ laws such that its opinion on such matters has the same effect as amending the United States Constitution.”
The two men don’t mention that this is, quite literally, the exact job of the U.S. Supreme Court. Nor do they mention that the federal courts have done nothing out of the ordinary this year, compared to other times in American history.
This morning, Perry didn’t cite Trump’s recent judicial smackdown as a reason for proposing the resolution. But the president’s influence is all over the text: Trump, too, has waged a war against the courts, the biggest check on his power, and would clearly be happier if pesky things such as the U.S Constitution, federal judges, and opposing legislators didn’t exist.
Perry, it seems, would rather we be governed by Trump alone. In the meantime, New Times is soliciting donations to send a few copies of the children’s A-Z civics book D Is for Democracy to the two lawmakers’ offices.