Jewish World Review Feb. 27, 2004 / 5Adar, 5764
Order in the Court!
Gasps are coming from the Left-and even from the Libertarian Right-about the President's decision (finally!) to confront our increasingly activist judiciary. This is an attempt to create a "wedge issue" echoed the lemmings in the media. This is another Bush attempt to "divide" the country!
Yet any gasps should be directed at the bench, where for decades Americans have seen their views and their traditions systematically trashed. Whether it's the issue of marriage, prayer at football games, or God in the Pledge of Allegiance, we've seen courts from coast to coast venture far beyond proper role in a naked attempt to create a new, forward-thinking social, political, and cultural framework.
From time to time in our history, Presidents have had to challenge the Supreme Court. Lincoln openly disagreed with the Court's Dred Scott Decision. FDR threatened to pack the Court because of its New Deal decisions. These presidents played a vital role in preventing the Court from thwarting the legitimate wishes of the American people.
For over 30 years, conservatives have been complaining about the courts, but the truth is, we've never really done that much about it. Republican presidents have put people like David Souter and John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, and things have just gotten worse. President Reagan heralded the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor-a sharp, delightful person-yet she has consistently pushed the Court into dangerous territory. And let's not forget Anthony "You Have a Constitutional Right to Sodomy" Kennedy, another Reagan appointee.
President Bush and his supporters have to make clear that the fight over the gay marriage amendment is not a fight about gays, not a fight about marriage, but a fight about the power of the Courts. Conservatives should never take the process of amending the Constitution lightly, and President Bush should make it abundantly clear that this is a last resort given what the abuse by courts on the federal and state level.
John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, among others, have insisted that the gay marriage issue be "left to the states." If reporters/anchors bothered to ask a follow-up question, they would point out that Justice Souter and his ilk will never be content to leave it to the states. (See, e.g., Lawrence v. Texas). Rather they are intent on imposing Massachusetts' law on every state in America.
The salient point is that in a democracy, a few isolated individuals should not be allowed to make such sweeping changes in our law. This is supposed to be a government of, by, and for the people, not a government of highly-placed lawyers who seek to impose their vision (much of which they get from European courts) on an unwilling populace.
Restraining the judiciary must be the top priority for conservative from now until judges get back to the business of judging. Some conservatives find themselves beguiled by the ritual, formality and history of the judiciary--the robes, the high ceilings. Now they must push beyond the nostalgia and finally recognize that too many courts have become agents for the most radical forces in our society. By now everyone should understand why Sen. Chuck Schumer & Co. have been fighting so viciously to block Bush's judicial nominees-the Courts are the one place where the Left has been consistently winning.
Can you feel the pendulum swing? I can.
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JWR contributor Laura Ingraham is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show and the author of the just released "Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America". Comment by clicking here.
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© 2002, Laura Ingraham