Judicial Religious Legislation Exposed

In the District of Columbia

And just let Congress enact a Sunday law for the District of Columbia, and the above-mentioned and dangerous “opportunity” will come to the national Supreme Court. Then let the court still hold the ground taken in its decisions here cited, and there you will have the same old religious Sunday laws made of national force and authority here. In that there will be restored and established here the old and original union of religion and the state. And in that there will be put into the hands of the church combine here the key to the union of church and state in this nation. And that church combine will promptly see to it that this key shall be diligently used to open in this land all the doors of the religious despotisms of the old order of things. And the creaking of the old and rusty hinges of these opening doors will sound the knell of constitutional religious liberty in this nation and for the world. JRLE 3.8

And this will have been all brought about solely by judicial religious legislation; that is, by the courts, State and national, having made exclusively religious laws constitutional against the positive inhibitions of the constitutions, State and national, and against the fundamental maxims of law itself, by giving to these laws a meaning false in fact, and foreign both to the nature of those laws and to the intent of the makers of the laws. JRLE 3.9

The principle that must ever, in justice, guide in the construction of statutes as well as constitutions, is authoritatively stated as follows: JRLE 4.1

“A court which should allow a change of public sentiment to influence it in giving to a written constitution a construction not warranted by the intention of its founders, would be justly chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath and public duty.”—Cooley, “Constitutional Limitations,” page 67. JRLE 4.2

The principle applies with equal force to the construction of a statute, as to the construction of a constitution. And whether the change of sentiment which a court should allow thus to influence it be public and general or only the private and personal sentiment and bias of the court itself, the principle is the same and such court is equally “chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath and public duty.” Yet this is precisely what has been done by the courts when, by setting up an utterly new and foreign meaning, they give to Sunday legislation a construction not in any sense warranted by the intention of its founders or its framers anywhere in human history or experience. JRLE 4.3