William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


Why do the people and institutions of democratic states, and in particular those of the United States, obey judges ? This article examines the foundations of judicial authority in the United States. This authority is grounded on principles of dominance derived from the organization of institutional religion. The judge in Western states asserts authority on the same basis as the priest - but not the priest as conventionally understood. Rather, the authority of the judge in modern Western democratic states is better understood when viewed through the analytical lens of priestly function developed in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Focusing on the United States Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice, this paper examines the manner in which high-court judges have successfully internalized the characteristics of Nietzsche's Paul and his priestly caste within the "religion" of Western constitutionalism.

Paul wanted the end, consequently he also wanted the means. What he himself did not believe, the idiots among whom he threw his doctrine believed. His need was for power; in Paul the priest wanted power once again - he could use only concepts, doctrines, symbols with which one tyrannizes masses and forms herds.'