Douglas Carswell

03 NOV 2016

Brexit will curb judicial activism

The High Court will rule today on whether the government can trigger Article 50 unilaterally. The prospect of judges subverting the will of the people is appalling. But it's also a reminder of why it was so important to vote Leave.

The petitioners for Parliament to vote on Article 50 claim it would be undemocratic to do otherwise. That's a disgraceful subterfuge.

Evidently, their aim is not for Parliament merely to rubber-stamp Article 50. What they want isn't a vote, but a veto. They seriously believe it would be legitimate for MPs to block Brexit, and for judges to collude in allowing them to do so.

Judicial activism – whereby judges increasingly make the law – is fundamentally anti-democratic. Fortunately, Brexit will constrain it.

Prior to joining the European Common Market, it was impossible for a court to strike down an Act of Parliament. When it came to lawmaking, the elected legislature was supreme.

That changed when we joined. The supremacy of EU law over UK law entails the ability of the European Court of Justice but also British courts to annul an Act of Parliament in the event of a conflict with European law.

Taking back control is not just about restoring powers ceded to the European Parliament, Council, and Commission. It's also about limiting the powers of unelected judges to shape our laws.

Brexit can't prevent our own elites from trying to impose an outcome against the people's wishes. That's an ongoing battle. But it will, at least, overturn an anti-democratic mechanism built into our legislative system.

Just one reason why we can't leave soon enough.

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