The Senate filibuster fight between Republicans and Democrats is not over the majority’s attempt to put more conservative judges on the bench. Contrary to their mantra--that liberal ‘activist’ judges have taken over the courts--the nation has had a majority of Republican appointees on the federal bench and Supreme Court for generations. No, this is a fight over a very specific judicial ideology that the far right wing of the Republican Party wants ensconced in our courts.
This reality was clearly expressed Wednesday night on my Court TV program, Catherine Crier Live. Note the following exchange:
Crier: “The Republicans, the conservatives, have dominated the courts now for thirty years in this country, and certainly the Supreme Court, so we know we have Conservatives—but that doesn’t seem to be enough.”
Buchanan: “No, that is not enough.”
Crier: “Yeah, the Terri Schiavo case--those were conservative judges, and all of a sudden, we’re saying we want strict constructionists?”
Buchanan: “Exactly. Look, ten of the last twelve justices have been appointed by Republicans. Nixon gave us Blackmun, Gerry Ford gave us John Paul Stevens, Reagan gave us Kennedy and O’Connor, and (Bush Sr.) gave us David Souter…”
Crier: “Those aren’t good enough?”
Buchanan: “They have been failures. The battle is over the Supreme Court. (It) has become a judicial dictatorship in this country. It dictates racial policy on quotas, affirmative action. It tells us we must have abortion on demand. It’s now into gay rights. It has become a super legislature. Control of it is more important tin the social culture war in America than control of Congress in the United States. That ultimately is what this is all about. The President has got to get those Supreme Court justices...and if that means breaking these ridiculous obstructionist filibusters, he ought to do it.”
Thank you, Pat, for your honesty. What the far right wants is a ‘super legislature’ of their own. Their mission is clear; to reverse case law involving civil rights, abortion rights, the ban on execution of juveniles, and even the application of the federal Bill of Rights to our state governments, to name but a few areas under attack. The federal court nomination of Justice Janice Rogers Brown of the California Supreme Court is now before the Senate. She has clearly expressed her feelings about the ‘socialist’ policies enacted during FDR’s administration, and in a recent speech, she made it clear that religious values in America are threatened by “an increasingly secular culture”. She went on the say that “these are perilous times for people of faith”. Good Lord, how?
The Christian right has portrayed themselves as victims long enough. Every Sunday morning, I have several national networks offering me salvation. Of course, I can always join Pat Robertson on the 700 Club. This fundamentalist voice dominates talk radio, and cable talk shows have elevated dramatically their agenda in the public eye. Christian music is rockin’ and the Left Behind series outsells every other fiction book on the market. A new megachurch (defined as one attracting more than 2,000 members weekly) spring up every two days in this country according to the founder of Church Growth Today. Just how much do they want? They want it all.
The real fight is not over the lower courts in the federal system, but instead, the ultimate prize--the highest court in the land. There is no question that President Bush will have the opportunity to appoint several justices to that Court during his second term. He has made his ideological preferences clear. Conservative justices aren’t enough. He wants jurists of a particular persuasion. They must satisfy the requirements of fundamentalist Christians, with a willingness to roll back the clock to a time where children prayed to Jesus in public school, gays were back in the closet and women were forced into back alleys.
Those with different religious beliefs, (forget those with none at all), are dismissed entirely. Those who assert they are moral without believing in the Scriptures, verbatim, go straight to Hell.
If we want a Theocracy in this country, then ignore the assault on our nation’s judges. If you believe in the Republic that our Founding Fathers bequeathed, then prepare to battle for the one remaining branch of the government that has not yet been co-opted -- the federal Judiciary.