« Plurality of the Despot VS Tyranny of the Majority | Main | Ego Stroke »

Inefficiency Inherent in the System (Hoo-rah!)

I thought I'd copy a comment I made out on slashdot over to the toadstool. Not because I think it's particularly brilliant, but because I think it's an interesting point that does not come up all that often. (the original post, and thread, can be found here)

In some ways, our system's division of power is responsible for producing politicians with no balls.

As it stands, there is no motivation for politicians to be arbiters of constitutionality. Why do you suppose unconstitutional laws continually come out of the beltway? Because they are passed in response to popular opinion, fears, and hysteria. Not because they are constitutional.

Why take the political risk of sinking a bill due to constitutionality when you can pass it, reap the popularity dividend, knowing full well that the courts will sort it out.

The problem is that constitutionality is rarely, if ever, an issue that the masses care about. If the public cared about constitutionality, then passing popular, but unconstitutional, laws would no longer reward the lawmakers.

Raise awareness, and fondness, for the constitution. Could you imagine, during a presidential campaign, if candidates were asked such questions as "Did you indeed sign off on the following laws, which were subsequently struck down as unconstitutional, and if so can you explain your reasoning at the time?"