God Save the Court

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

With the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and the anticipated retirement of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, there is simply too much at stake for the confirmation process to be a civil and dignified affair.

Conservatives see the appointment of new justices as primarily an opportunity to restore our Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Liberals, however, are panicked by the possibility that they will lose the last vehicle for advancing their agenda. Consequently, the Senate confirmation process will be a no-holds-barred war. If youdon’t believe that, just ask Sen. Chuck Schumer ofNew York.

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Schumer, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is already preparing for a war against anyone that President Bush appoints regardless of their qualifications. Publicly, Schumer claims that he and his Democrat colleagues want a fair confirmation process. But, his real agenda was revealed recently when he was overheard talking with someone on his cell phone. Schumer said, “We are contemplating how we are going to go to war over this.”

Schumer revealed that no matter how qualified and experienced a Bush nominee may be, they will be ruthlessly and relentlessly attacked because, as Schumer said, “It’s not about an individual judge…It’s about how it affects the overall makeup of the court.”

So much for a fair confirmation hearing process. In fact, one group has already called on Schumer to recuse himself from the Senate Judiciary committee because he has already indicated that he has no intention of giving a Bush nominee a fair hearing.

It is important to understand why Schumer and other hard-core liberals like Sen. Ted Kennedy are so determined to fight to maintain liberal control of the federal courts, particularly the Supreme Court.

The federal courts are the last bastion of liberalism. Without control of the federal courts, the liberal agenda and its long train of abuses against our Constitution will be substantially at an end.

For over 40 years, liberal activist judges have treated the Constitution as more of an out-of-date historical novelty than as a legitimate contract between American citizens and their government. During this time span activist judges have made a mockery of the Constitution and the rule of law by issuing rulings that violate the Constitution and that have substantially undermined rights that the Constitution guarantees.

In other words, activist federal judges have run roughshod over thevery document they swore an oath to uphold and defend.

Over the last two decades liberalism has lost public support, making it politically unfeasible for the Left to advance its agenda though Congress. Because the general public will not support their liberal agenda, the Left has had to rely on the federal courts to force it on the country through court decisions that ignore the clear meaning of the Constitution and, in some cases, violate it by basing decisions on international laws, treaties, and foreign constitutions.

Liberal activists groups know what is at stake. Without activist judges, the liberal agenda that has undermined our religious freedom, our moral foundations, our right to political speech, and most recently our right to private property, cannot be advanced.

Regardless of their legal qualifications and experience, any nominee that President Bush sends to the Senate that is not a left-leaning activist will be proclaimed by Schumer and his liberal allies as out of the “mainstream” of legal thinking and a right wing extremist unfit for confirmation. The Left is not interested in legal qualifications and experience; they are only interested in a nominee’s ideological views. And for the Left to find a nominee that is acceptable, his or her views would have to be well outside what the majority of Americans would consider the “mainstream.”

Thus the Left, led by Schumer, Kennedy, and other hard core liberals in the Senate, are already preparing a pre-packaged propaganda campaign in order to hoodwink the American public about why they oppose President Bush’s nominee. And they are planning this even before the President has chosen a nominee.

This is a critical moment for the future of the nation because these next justices will most likely remain on the Court for a generation. It is also a critical moment for President Bush and the Republicans in the Senate. It is their moment to stand firm in their commitment to appoint non-activist justices. Any failure on the part of the President to nominate non-activist justices to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court and a failure by the Republican leadership to get them confirmed would be essentially conceding the Supreme Court and the Constitution to the Left for another generation.

Each session of the Supreme Court opens with the invocation, “God save theUnited Statesand this honorable court.” Considering the magnitude of upcoming confirmation battle for Supreme Court nominees, it would be appropriate to keep that invocation in mind.

Gary Palmer is president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.