It often seems that our politics of anger has created a new age of berserkers, warriors revered for their blind destructive anger. To stand out from the rest of the crowd, you must be ready to devastate any structure or institution on the way to victory. This kind of bloodlust policy was revealed this week when House Justice Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, DN.Y., Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass, and others unveiled a raw court packing bill to add four new judges to the Supreme Court To give liberals a one-justice majority. Not to be outdone, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y. not only advocated the trial, but appeared to question the basis for Marbury v Madison – the case that laid the foundation for the Supreme Court in our constitutional system.
AOC questioned the role of the Court of Justice in repealing laws. She “only functionally challenged the idea that nine people, a nine-member court, could overturn laws agreed upon by thousands – hundreds and thousands of lawmakers, attorneys and policy makers.” Then she added, “How do we benefit from the current structure? And I don’t think it is. “
This current structure is known as judicial review. It is exactly what prevents authoritarian rule. Remarkably, there is little difference between nine or the proposed thirteen judges repealing laws. If she does not propose to oblige thousands of lawyers to review laws in equal numbers, then her problem seems to lie in the concept of judicial review.
In the 1803 Marbury Decision, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote: “[t]The essence of civil liberty is certainly the right of every individual to seek the protection of the law if they are violated. “Part of this scrutiny right is challenging unconstitutional federal laws. Marshall noted that “[t]The powers of the legislature are defined and limited. and so that these limits are not confused or forgotten, the Constitution is written. “Most famously, he wrote:” It is strongly the province and the duty of the Justice Department to say what the law is. “
AOC appears to be strongly convinced that a small number of lawyers should not judge the claims of thousands. There is a term for this type of system. It’s called ochlocracy, or the mob rule. Another term most commonly associated with John Stuart Mill in On Liberty (1859) is “tyranny of the majority”. Mill explains: “The will of the people […] practically means the will of the most numerous or active part of the people. “Writers like John Adams referred to this form of tyranny, and so did motivated personalities like George Mason to demand a Bill of Rights that protects the rights of individuals before the government – and the will of the majority. You don’t need an initial change to protect the language of the people. It is meant to protect the unpopular views of an island-shaped and even despised minority.
What was an enlightened view in the 18th century is reactionary today in the 21st century. The Court of Justice is an obstacle to progress. Indeed, the privileged few judges – nine or thirteen – are unbearable for those who want to transform our society. However, this is just a majority tyranny by the slightest margin. These structural changes will be implemented despite an election in which the Senate with 50:50 and the House with a two-seat majority left office. It is really “tyranny of the bare majority”.
Most daunting, however, is AOC’s question: “How do we benefit from the current structure? It reflects a crisis of faith. No constitutional system can survive long with a kind of leap in faith by the government – belief not only in the system itself, but also in one another. That belief is gone now. Instead, we have the rise of the berserkers, politicians who promise not to give in to any institution or tradition that is not “useful” to us.
In the age of the Vikings, berserkers shed their armor and even bite their own shields in sheer fury. Time reports describe a kind of trancelike condition called berserking that many in our current politics could describe: a “tremor, chatter of teeth, and chills in the body, and then the face swelled and changed color. Associated with this was a great deal of hot-headedness that eventually turned into great anger. “Nordic leaders used the berserkers for their own purposes. The berserkers, however, had other plans and soon their destructiveness threatened these leaders themselves. In 1015, Norway officially banned berserkers.
President Joe Biden has continued to be silent as those numbers rage through his party and now across the country. He is clearly unwilling to confront them directly and risk AOC or anyone else asking how Biden “will benefit us”. In fact, he enables them by refusing to denounce court wrappings or other extreme claims. These extreme forces could be useful in maintaining democratic control in the 2022 and 2024 elections. However, if the White House hopes they will serve as Biden’s berserkers, history shows they won’t be long in coming.