Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore: Tyrannical courts trample 10th Amendment
Under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution is “the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby.”
Indeed, state courts have authority equal to that of federal trial and appellate courts to interpret the Constitution.
Decisions of such federal courts may be highly persuasive, but they are not binding upon state courts.
In a concurring opinion in 1993, Justice Clarence Thomas made that clear: “In our federal system, a state trial court’s interpretation of federal law is no less authoritative than that of the federal court of appeals in whose circuit the trial court is located.”
The Constitution has not delegated to the federal government the power to redefine the institution of marriage. The 10th Amendment states that all power not delegated to the United States is “reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” By redefining marriage, the federal courts — without any authority in the Constitution — upend the most hallowed institution in human history.
When the imaginative opinions of federal judges conflict with the plain language of the Constitution, utter chaos and disorder result in our society.
Federal judges are not infallible. Should state courts have obeyed the 1857 ruling of the Supreme Court in Dred Scott that black people were property? Absolutely not! When federal courts stray beyond the limits of their legitimate authority into realms of public policy, they become tyrants and violate the 10th Amendment.
As Justice Benjamin Curtis wrote in his dissent in Dred Scott, “When a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to the fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws, is abandoned, and the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution; we are under the government of individual men who, for the time being, have power to declare what the Constitution is according to their own views of what it ought to mean.”
Roy S. Moore is chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.