The British Supreme Court has thrown a monkey wrench into Great Britain’s going out from the European Union, but in the process, it has thrown a double handful of sand into the gears of liberty in the birthplace of John Locke.
The Court has ruled (by an 8-3 margin; it certainly wasn’t wishy-washy in its attitude) that Parliament must agree to invoke Article 50 and trigger negotiation over terms of separation from the EU. David Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, reading the judgment:
The referendum is of great political significance, but the act of Parliament which established it did not say what should happen as a result, so any change in the law to give effect to the referendum must be made in the only way permitted by the UK Constitution, namely by an act of Parliament[.]
So much for consensual government, government by the people, the sovereignty of the people over their government. The citizens of Great Britain cannot be permitted to change their own law, and never mind that no change was required in the present case, anyway, since the outcome of their referendum, saying as it did, “We want to leave the EU,” was quite clear as to what should happen from their vote. The Court claimed this was not instructive. The people did not say to Government, “Mother, may I?”
Naturally, Gina Miller, who’d brought the suit with intent to force Parliament into the decision, agreed, insisting (as paraphrased by the AP) that
[l]eaving the EU will change the fundamental rights of citizens and this can’t be done without a vote of lawmakers[.]
Nor can the people be permitted to define their rights for themselves and instruct their government as to those rights. That’s for their rulers to do for them.
The people of Great Britain are not sovereign in their nation. Government is sovereign, and the people are subordinate.