By Frank Lewis
Last week the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) made two rulings that did not set well with some conservatives. Conservative U.S. Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH) was in Portsmouth Wednesday and in an exclusive interview with the Daily Times Johnson did not speak on the merits of any specific ruling but did speak on the broad topic of what some conservatives view as judicial activism by the SCOTUS.
“I think what you’ve seen is a level of judicial activism that we have not seen since the early seventies,” Johnson said. “It’s very concerning that the Supreme Court now is, rather than taking an objective view and interpretation of the written law as it applies under the Constitution, they’re now saying – ‘well, we know what the law says. We know what the law is as written, but we’re not sure what they intended.’ Where in the Constitution does it give the Supreme Court the authority to try and interpret what men or women may be thinking when they’re putting laws in place?”
Johnson said decisions made by the Supreme Court must be made according to the written law.
“I’m very concerned that the Supreme Court has taken the opinion that the voice of the states and the rights of the states don’t matter and it doesn’t matter what the voters of that state say,” Johnson said. “‘We’re going to decide what’s best for everybody. I think that is diametrically opposite from what the Constitution says what the Supreme Court is supposed to be doing and this level of judicial activism is going to make things difficult in the future.”
Johnson said the SOCTUS decisions are hampering legislators’ abilities to craft legislation when they have no idea what the subjective interpretation by the Supreme Court is going to be.
“It’s very concerning,” Johnson told the Times.
Last week following the marriage making the legality of gay marriage the law of the land, Johnson responded – “I am deeply disappointed with the outcome of today’s Supreme Court ruling, as I believe that Ohioans have the right to decide what’s best for Ohio – and Ohioans have already spoken on this issue. Decisions like this should be made by states – by the People — not in courtrooms. I also don’t believe that decisions in one state should be forced onto another state by judicial proclamation. This type of judicial activism, where the voices of the people and decisions of states are ignored, is not healthy for a democracy and will likely lead to further erosion in the American People’s confidence in our institutions.”
However, in the ruling of Michigan Vs. the EPA in which the court said cost must be a factor in determining regulations, Johnson responded –
“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court stated the EPA must consider cost – and the cost of compliance – before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary. When agencies come up with costly regulations, they need to consider who will end up footing the bill. No one cares more about the air we breathe and the water we drink than the people who live here in along the Ohio River. However, there must be a balance between health regulation and excessive costs that would have a chilling impact on coal jobs and the cost of electricity in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.