Judicial Interpretation

“Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.” — John Basil Barnhill (1914)

This quote is so simple and yet so profound in its truth. How then do we, the people, cause our government to “fear” us so that we may maintain liberty and live free? I believe the answer is in becoming educated about our rights as they are memorialized under the law, especially under the U.S. Constitution. Without knowledge and exercising of our rights, there is no incentive for the government to honor them.

Fundamental to our structure of government are the three branches of government and the doctrine of separation of powers. The legislative branch creates law, the executive branch enforces the law and the judicial branch applies, and is often called upon to interpret, the law. I offer the following example to illustrate what judicial interpretation looks like (I use a California example, but this principle is universally applicable):