The Tyranny of the Bench

One of the fatal flaws in the concept of “limited” government is the judiciary. Endowed with the compulsory monopoly of the vital power of deciding disputes, of ultimately deciding who can wield force and how much can be wielded, the government judiciary sits as an unchecked and unlimited tyrant.

Pledged to preside over the rule of law, law that is supposed to apply to everyman, the judges themselves are yet above the law and free from its sanctions and limitations. When clothed in the robes of his office, the judge can do no legal wrong and is therefore immune from the law itself.

There is a crucial catch-22 in this grisly situation. For if anyone would like to argue against this arrangement, he can do so — in our archist system — only before judges who themselves are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. It is up to government judges to rule on whether government judges are immune from the law. How do you think they would decide? Well, how do you think a group of economists would decide on the question of whether economists should be immune? Or any other group or profession?

Not surprisingly, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in 1872, that judges were immune from any damage suits for any “judicial acts” that they had performed — regardless of how wrong, evil, or unconstitutional those acts may have been. When clothed in judicial authority, judges can do no wrong. Period. Recently a case of an errant judge has come up again — because his action as a judge was considered generally to be monstrous and illegal. In 1971, Mrs. Ora Spitler McFarlin petitioned Judge Harold D. Stump of the DeKalb County, Indiana, Circuit Court to engage in a covert, compulsory sterilization of her 15-year-old daughter, Linda…

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