June 14, 2024
Boris, Brexit, and the politicization of Britain's judiciary
In their determination to stop Brexit, the British Establishment has ripped aside norms, violated precedent, and politicized previously impartial bodies — all in order to overturn a referendum result that MPs had solemnly promised to uphold.
In their determination to stop Brexit, the British Establishment has ripped aside norms, violated precedent, and politicized previously impartial bodies — all in order to overturn a referendum result that MPs had solemnly promised to uphold.

A politicized court rules against an elected government. Leftists cheer and whoop and post admiring profiles of the judges who agreed with them. Conservatives complain that the judiciary is overstepping its authority and ruling on the basis of what it thinks the law ought to say rather than what it actually says.

American readers might be familiar with this scenario, but not the Brits. When our Supreme Court declared that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had behaved improperly by advising the queen to prorogue Parliament — that is, to suspend prior to a new session, normally a standard procedure — it tore up our constitutional settlement as it had existed for 330 years.

You didn’t know that the United Kingdom had a Supreme Court? Neither, until this week, did most Brits. That body was created in a characteristically slapdash way by Tony Blair, from no higher motive than wanting to look modern.

Unlike its American cousin, the British Supreme Court is not interpreting a written constitution. It is there, at least in theory, to uphold a system based on the supremacy of Parliament. Our 1689 Bill of Rights, large chunks of which were cut and pasted by James Madison when he drafted the American version, differs from yours chiefly in that it elevates Parliament over the judiciary, laying down that “proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court.”

That sounds pretty clear-cut, doesn’t it? But, this week, the judges got around it by claiming that “the prorogation is not a proceeding in Parliament. It takes place in the House of Lords chamber in the presence of members of both Houses, but it is not their decision.” Hmm. So the prorogation happens in Parliament, but somehow or other, it isn’t in Parliament. Whatever you say, M’Luds.

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See Also:

(1) Angela Merkel’s Toll on Germany

(2) Boris Johnson could declare national emergency to push through no-deal

(3) Farage rages at Juncker for EU Brexit blame ‘We’re sick to death of being told what to do’

(4) Farage reveals the one solution to avoid horror civil unrest over Brexit – join his party

(5) EU ‘desperate’ for UK to sign Theresa May’s deal as ‘Brexit must fail’

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