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Boris Johnson Act Unlawfully–Illiberal Action Stopped

September 24, 2019

Steps towards illiberal democracy have taken place in nations far and wide.  From Turkey, Poland, Italy,  Brazil, and the United States we have witnessed attempts to roll back reforms and undermine democratic foundations.  Time and again when it comes to these actions I have called for the checks and balances to weigh in so to address the chaos.

Today in Britain, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has worked to undermine their unwritten constitution, the needed checks and balances pushed back.  And pushed back with resolve.

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court ruled that Johnson acted illegally when he suspended Parliament.  This was done so that the members of parliament could not then scrutinize and debate his outlandish plans to leave Brexit with a hard exit.  It was the decisiveness of the ruling, however, that lifts my sails this morning.

In its 11-0 decision, the court said Johnson’s decision “to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”

While I have made my feelings known about the pure folly and all-out danger of Brexit, I have also been clear about how I am very concerned about the push for illiberal aims from those of Johnson’s ilk.  It is that last point that makes me so pleased with what transpired today.   I want my readers to know how enormous what happened truly is for the whole world.

The ruling sent a surge of electricity through Britain where the courts have historically avoided politics and where there is little precedent for judicial review of government decisions.  As I was listening to BBC radio late last night analysts were giving varying perspectives on how the court might rule.  Some made a seemingly solid argument that the court might decide that it had no authority to rule on the prime minister’s actions, or might arrive at a mixed judgment.

So when I woke this morning to learn the judges made a landmark decision to step into the middle of a fierce political clash and delivered a resounding defeat for the prime minister and an unequivocal victory to his critics–well I did some air pumps with both hands!

Yes, I am pleased as Brexit is a mess and the nation needs to step back from it, as opposed to hurling themselves over a cliff.  And yes, Johnson is loud bombastic jerk who needs his chain yanked.  But more than that the world needs to see a true victory when it comes to pushing back against those who would undermine due process and rip at the foundations of democratic institutions–such as, in this case, parliament.

Upholding the rule of law is no small thing in these times. And to have a unanimous ruling means that we can all take heart that those who would destroy the fabric of our democracies can be stopped.

That is no small thing to ponder on this sunny day.  Such news is worthy of a fist-pump in the air from you, too!

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