Catholic League president calls for constitutional restructuring of Supreme Court; end to ‘judicial tyranny’

William Donahue, president of the New York-based Catholic League for religious and civil liberties is calling for a restructuring of the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that “it should be unconstitutional for the court to overturn an act of Congress unless it is a unanimous decision.”

Donahue released the strong statement in preparation for his part in the “Justice Sunday II” event in Nashville, Tennessee Sunday.

In it, he said that, “Putting strict constructionists on the Supreme Court may help thwart the forces of judicial activism, but it isn’t enough.  What is needed is structural reform: the Supreme Court needs to be revamped, and that is why we need a constitutional amendment.”

Donahue cited Chief Justice John Marshall, who established the Judicial Review and well-known New York University philosopher Sidney Hook as examples of others who had supported his idea.

“When judges”, he continued, “invent rights to privacy that allow for abortion-on-demand, they are exercising extra-constitutional authority.  When judges pronounce that equal protection before the law means that it is okay for two men to get married, they are exercising extra-constitutional authority.  When judges declare that the concept of eminent domain means that the government has the right to grab private property so that developers can make a fast buck, they are exercising extra-constitutional authority.” 

“That”, Donahue said, “is why we need to go beyond Roberts: we need to restructure the high court.”

Donahue’s comments come in the midst of a nationwide debate over President Bush’s judicial nominee, Judge John Roberts. Many accuse the U.S. Senate of illicitly applying a “religious litmus test” to Roberts because of hostility to his Catholic faith.

“Certainly”, the statement noted, quoting Thomas Jefferson, “there is not a word in the constitution which has given that power to [the Supreme Court] more than to the executive or legislative branches.” 

“Jefferson was right,” Donahue said. “The time has come to restore the three branches of government as co-equals and put an end to judicial tyranny.”

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