According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, North Dakota is ranked number nine of the list of states most vulnerable to federal regulation, mostly because our primary industries are agriculture and energy.
This means our state is incredibly vulnerable given that the trend in federal regulation is away from the democratic, legislative process and towards expansion of regulatory law through executive fiat.
Increasingly, the executive branch makes federal law unilaterally, and the federal courts have largely backstopped the trend.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Let’s hope that Heitkamp’s understanding of the politics involved here are not so simplistic as she’s displaying to the public.[/mks_pullquote]
Which is why, when North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp works to clear the way for President Barack Obama to put a third justice on the Supreme Court and tip the political balance their decidedly to the left, she is working against North Dakota’s interests.
“I think what’s critical in all of this is that we have public hearings, that the Senate do its job,” Heitkamp told Forum News Service reporter Sam Easter. “I think it’s my job to meet with him, and I hope that we get a public hearing soon.”
Let’s hope that Heitkamp’s understanding of the politics involved here are not so simplistic as she’s displaying to the public. Her civics text book description of the process is all well and good, but out here in the real world where the Supreme Court is a political football the stakes are enormous.
North Dakota needs judges on the federal bench who will be willing to uphold the restraints on federal authority. There is no guarantee that, should a Republican become president this fall, that he will appoint such justices. But I think we can be assured that any justice appointed by Barack Obama is going to feel fealty toward the liberal wing of the court, and an expansive judicial view of the federal government’s authority to implement noisome new regulations which hurt undermine North Dakota’s sovereignty and diminishes our prosperity.
I wish the courts weren’t political. I wish we could trust the justices to interpret the law as it is written, not as they see it through their ideological inclinations. But that is not the world we live in.
The courts are political. That’s reality.
If Heitkamp wants to put partisan and ideological loyalty above the well being of her state, that’s her prerogative as Senator. Elections have consequences, after all.
But voters should be aware of it.