If the process for confirming federal judges in the next session of Congress is anything like the last, the Democratic Party should change its name to the Undemocratic Party.
Many of the American left's chief policy aims over the past 40 years -- including legalized abortion on demand, race-based admissions for state-run colleges, and driving God and prayer out of American public life -- were advanced not at the ballot box or in legislatures, but by unelected federal judges who enacted the liberal agenda by fiat from the bench.
There was a simple reason for this: The American people had too much good sense to give the liberal agenda majority nationwide support.
To win, liberals had to cheat the democratic system. To do that, they had to make sure the referees were on their side. It did not matter if a large majority of voters in a state backed a conservative initiative, or if a supermajority of the U.S. Congress enacted a conservative law. All the liberals needed to prevail was for one federal judge to take their side, and at least five members of the U.S. Supreme Court to rule for them if a conservative appeal made it that far.
Time after time, conservatives have seen their legislative touchdown passes flagged by left-wing judges. In one of the most egregious examples of the 1990s, a federal judge tossed out California's Proposition 187, an initiative passed by 59 percent of the voters that simply said illegal aliens could not receive non-emergency public benefits in the state. This year, federal judges overruled the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, which had been enacted with the support of 64 U.S. senators.
As this undemocratic system of government-by-judges has become the settled way Americans decide major social issues, the primary role of the national Democratic Party has shifted from making sure that liberal legislation gets through Congress to making sure constitutionalist judges do not.