Elections: Curbing the Courts, I.
”The discretion of a Judge is the law of tyrants . . . In the best of times it is often caprice – in the worst, it is every vice, folly and passion, to which human nature is liable.” So spoke Lord Camden long before America was plunged into our current state of judicial tyranny. Surely these are some of our worst times – when judges (both national and state) are inflicting their vices, follies, and passions upon every area of American public policy. Curbing these judicial excesses is the most critical of all issues in the 2004 elections.
The U. S. Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear Michael Newdow’s challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance provides, at the most, a slight lull in the battle. But this is the time when the U. S. Congress, fully empowered by Article III of the Constitution to curb the courts, should act decisively to do so. Three bills have addressing the Pledge problem and related issues are already before Congress:
- H. R. 2028, the “Pledge Protection act of 2003” – denies federal courts below the Supreme Court the power to hear challenges to the Pledge;
- H. R. 2045, the “Ten Commandments Defense Act of 2003” – denies federal courts below the Supreme Court the power to hear challenges to Ten Commandment displays and expressions of religious faith on state or local government property;
- S. 1558, the “Religious Liberties Restoration Act” – removes from the power of the lower federal courts any jurisdiction over challenges to Ten Commandment displays, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and reciting “In God we trust” on state or local government property; this bill also recognizes “In God we trust” as the national motto.
These bills are a major step in the right direction. But they can, and should, be strengthened.
This goal can be accomplished with a few alterations:
- These three measures should be merged into one bill. There is already considerable overlap in the bills, and the unity of their focus is obvious. A title such as the “Religious Liberties Defense Act” (“RLDA”) would reflect the substance of the merged bill, link it to its three forerunners, and have great voter appeal. Such a merger is logical and would promote simplicity and efficiency in this area of law, where illogic and complexity are rampant.
- The merged bill should forbid the U. S. Supreme Court to hear the issues covered by the bill. Only a direct and clear limit on the power of the Supremes offers the most hope of curbing this Court which bears so much responsibility for our present constitutional and cultural crisis.
- The merged bill should cover pending cases raising these issues, as well as cases which might seek a future hearing. The merged RLDA should deny federal money and all other federal authority for the enforcement of any court decisions (including those in pending cases) that violate the RLDA.
- The RLDA should deny all federal courts the power to hear challenges to itself (i.e., the RLDA).
This proposed “Religious Liberties Defense Act” would serve principle, encourage our people, and place in the hands of constitutionalist candidates a powerful new weapon for their campaigns. Additionally, a merged RLDA should be a part of a package of court-curbing legislation given the highest priority and visibility in the 2004 elections.
Secure and share copies of our Court Watch "2004 Election Packet" for Reclaiming the Constitution; this unique tool includes:
- A summary copy of our constitutionalist principles, "The Constitutionalist Manifesto: A Declaration of Independence from Judicial Supremacy:"
- A unique candidate questionnaire which will reveal candidates' basic beliefs about the Constitution, culture, and courts and which is appropriate for candidates for virtually any office;
- An Omnibus Party Resolution on the Constitution and the Courts which should be vigorously promoted as our political parties finalize their party platforms.
Elections: Curbing the Courts, II.
By: Virginia C. Armstrong, National Chairman
We have another opportunity to defend marriage before the elections! The U. S. House of Representatives has passed the Marriage Protection Act of 2004 (H.R. 3313). This bill is a major step in curbing the courts. Over-shadowed by Senate debates on the Marriage Protection Amendment, H.R. 3313 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee (21-13) and the entire House (233-194). It was introduced on Oct. 16, 2003, by Congressman John Hostettler (R.-Ind.). The measure MUST be passed by the Senate now. This bill in no way competes with efforts to propose a marriage amendment. Quite to the contrary, H.R. 3313 complements efforts toward a constitutional amendment. H.R. 3313 is an ordinary bill and requires a simple majority to pass. Key features of H.R. 3313 include:
- The bill reinforces the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by prohibiting lower federal courts all jurisdiction and the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction to hear challenges to DOMA’s “full faith and credit provision.” That is, no federal court could hear a case based on the Constitutional claim that a state must recognize (i.e., “give full faith and credit” to) a same-sex marriage performed in another state.
- H.R. 3313 protects (1.) by denying federal courts the power over H.R. 3313 itself when it is enacted into law.
A good bill, H.R. 3313 could be strengthened by including provisions to
- Deny federal courts the power to hear all challenges to state DOMAs based on federal statutory or constitutional law;
- Cover pending cases by denying federal money and all other federal authority for the enforcement of any court decisions violating H.R. 3313.
CONTACT YOUR U.S. SENATORS TODAY AND URGE THEM TO PROTECT MARRIAGE AND CURB THE COURTS BY SUPPORTING H.R. 3313!!! ACT NOW!!!
Elections: Curbing the Courts, III.
By: Virginia C. Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman
What is “the rule of law?” This question is raised in a more fundamental way in the elections of 2004 than ever before. Nowhere is the issue more forcefully presented than in Glassroth v. Moore (2003, 2004). Lower federal judges ordered Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to remove from the State Judicial Building a monument acknowledging the Ten Commandments as the source of our law. When he stood on his oath of office and refused, he was removed from office. Attorney-General Bill Pryor (now a member of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals), issued a statement celebrating the judges’ actions as “faithfulness to the ‘rule of law’.” Pryor had originally defended Moore and should have recused himself from the case. But on Oct. 30, 2003, Pryor defined the “rule of law” as meaning “that when courts resolve disputes, after all appeals and arguments, we all must obey the orders of those courts even when we disagree with those orders.” What Pryor meant was that when a federal court (even one federal district judge) has heard all appeals and arguments that the judge WANTS to hear, and “resolved a dispute,” then all of us must obey the judge’s order. What Pryor did not say was that courts MUST UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION. District Judge Myron Thompson admitted that he could not define “religion” as used in the First Amendment. How could he uphold a document whose words he could not even define? The federal judges also ignored massive evidence supporting Moore’s position. And they did not acknowledge that the court had NOT “resolved this dispute,” except in the most technical way.The one portion of Pryor’s statement that is accurate is that “we can work to change the law (i.e., the judges’ orders) (italics added).” Congress now has that opportunity by passing the Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 (H.R.3799/S.2092). This bill, as currently proposed, contains three major provisions:
- Withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts and from the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court the power to hear any challenge to “an acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government” by any government official (national, state, or local);”
- A prohibition upon any reliance on foreign or international laws or action (except English law) in interpreting the U. S. Constitution;
- Any federal judge who violates (a.) or (b.) may, for that reason, be impeached and convicted, and be found guilty of violating the “good behavior” standard required of federal judges by the Constitution. This bill is a significant step in the right direction, especially with a few alterations:
- Allow our courts to consider the non-English antecedents of English law which influenced the English Common Law (e.g., the Ten Commandments).
- Add these new provisions:
- No federal court can hear challenges to this Act.
- “No national official has the authority to enforce any court decisions contrary to this Act, nor shall any federal funds be used to enforce court decisions contrary to this Act.”