Many Americans watched last week's 39-hour senatorial gabfest with a combination of boredom, disgust and pity -- talk about low points in the history of political rhetoric! But, believe it or not, the debate over judges (search) matters.

Here's the problem: Federal judges have become hugely influential busybodies, figuring that because they're wearing robes, they can fix everything. Of course, judges as a group have about as much common sense as, say, college professors, and their efforts at helping have made a fine mess of things.

Stuart Taylor mentions one in the most recent issue of National Journal: Judicial decrees regarding students' rights have made it all but impossible to discipline students -- especially high schoolers. Punks, like convicts, respond to every attempt to curb misbehavior by bellowing: I know my rights! Teachers are afraid to seize control of the situation because they fear the courts will slap them down.

This is just one example of the judiciary's skill at mucking things up in the name of high-minded theory. Pick any area of American life, and you'll find judges -- not politicians and certainly not you or me -- in charge.

The fight over judges has huge stakes because somebody has to rein these people in before they help us to death. If you don't believe it, ask a local high school teacher.