I was discussing a work-related matter with a colleague earlier this week. During the course of our discussion I noted a fairly clear rule that ran counter to our mutually preferred course of action. The consequence of which being we really couldn’t do exactly what we wanted in exactly the way we’d like. But we were warm and compassionate men stymied by cold callous words. Obviously some enlightened interpretations were called for.
Prefacing my remarks by noting the stunning lack of humanity evidenced by the rules’ authors, I flew into an extemporaneous stand-up routine of dead-pan mockery. No liberal trope was left unmolested. I cited the living nature of the written prescriptions, and how at the heart of occupational regulations is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. That within the penumbras of those subparts were not rigid authoritarian mandates, but rather manifest emanations of liberty. And liberty finds no refuge in a business model of doubt. Thus, I concluded, we were not only permitted to pursue our ends unfettered, but actually compelled to do so by any fair reading of the regulatory framework.
I was obviously joking, as the written restrictions couldn’t have been more plain. Though after a contemplative pause in which I awaited his wry response, he replied instead with: That makes sense to me. That’s when I realized being a Supreme Court Justice is even less of a chore than I imagined.
I’ve written prolifically of late on the judiciary, and its free-range loping across the constitutional Serengeti. Most readers have probably had their appetites for this topic long since sated. Though the subjects of our well-earned scorn never seem content to wallow in the same expedients. And so again we return to remark on the mess. But this time a bit further south.
Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy now spends most of his days in a bouncy seat watching baby Mozart. Though in vanishing moments of semi-lucidity he can be found busily reordering a once organic society into something more amusingly akimbo. It is during such times that I imagine he and his peers will now stare lasciviously at their impossibly sexy counterparts in Venezuela.
Because a few days ago that country’s Supreme Court grew weary of being called away from their colostomy bags to strike down every insolent legislative act, and so proceeded to cease the pretense of tripartite government and simply disbanded Congress altogether.
Venezuela slid closer toward dictatorship after the country’s Supreme Court gutted the only opposition-run institution — the Congress — seizing its powers and declaring the elected body invalid.
In Wednesday’s ruling, the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber declared the National Assembly was operating “outside the rule of law” after long standing claims that the legislature was in contempt of previous legal statements.
“The Constitutional Chamber shall ensure that the parliamentary powers are exercised directly by this Chamber or by the body it appoints to ensure the rule of law,” the decision said.
Many readers may not be esquires, and are thus intimidated by legal intricacies. But just know that the Venezuelan body charged with making laws was found to be illegal–much like Trump’s visa restrictions. Thus the court sought a more efficient organizational structure whereby its edicts would serve as both the law and its interpretation simultaneously. Much as with Brown v. Board of Education or Roe v. Wade. You can imagine the lubrication occurring under Ruth Ginsburg’s robes. Or perhaps you’d rather not.
Though what I found more interesting than the Venezuelan judiciary simply being more candid than ours, were the mewling reactions of its critics.
“This is a dictatorship, and this was a coup,” Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly, said at press conference in Caracas. “The world has to help us and set off alarms.”
The world has to help you do what, Julio? Ignore some babbling claque of lawyers? What if the court invalidated the letter “J”? Would you ask for help spelling your name? The Venezuelan Congress is only disbanded if they agree to disband. They serve at the pleasure of the people who elected them, not a caterwauling court. How many divisions have they got? If the answer is none, then pass a law making disbanding congress punishable by carnal knowledge of donkey and commence with the parliamentary trials. Honestly, the resolution to such bullying problems has already been artfully conceived.
But maybe tropical jurisprudence won’t require input from African philosophers after all. Because just yesterday, following broad domestic and international condemnation, the Venezuelan constitution revealed new plumes to its sorcerers. As it turns out, that fickle document decided Congress could remain constituted after all. Wait, what’s this? We risk public disembowelment by a starving populace? My goodness, we didn’t even notice that part of the constitution. What an embarrassing mistake. Yes, it says right here: Congress to be reinstated.
It’s gratifying to see man’s better nature come out in the end. I always knew we could count on the constitution to preserve the integrity of our institutions. I just won’t repeat that with a straight face to my colleagues.