Judiciary

Federalist Society Founder Frets They'll Lose Control Over Federal Courts

It was not too long ago that I wrote a post about how complicated it is to try and make accurate statements about judicial confirmation rates and how Republicans and right-wing judicial activists exploit that fact to make it seem as if President Bush has somehow gotten a raw deal when it comes to seeing his judges confirmed. 

Today comes an op-ed by Federalist Society founder Steven Calabresi in the Wall Street Journal making the same point and issuing a dire warning that if Barack Obama is elected, we're going to see a complete take over of the federal judiciary by liberal activist judges:

One of the great unappreciated stories of the past eight years is how thoroughly Senate Democrats thwarted efforts by President Bush to appoint judges to the lower federal courts.

Consider the most important lower federal court in the country: the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In his two terms as president, Ronald Reagan appointed eight judges, an average of one a year, to this court. They included Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, Kenneth Starr, Larry Silberman, Stephen Williams, James Buckley, Douglas Ginsburg and David Sentelle. In his two terms, George W. Bush was able to name only four: John Roberts, Janice Rogers Brown, Thomas Griffith and Brett Kavanaugh.

Although two seats on this court are vacant, Bush nominee Peter Keisler has been denied even a committee vote for two years. If Barack Obama wins the presidency, he will almost certainly fill those two vacant seats, the seats of two older Clinton appointees who will retire, and most likely the seats of four older Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointees who may retire as well.

The net result is that the legal left will once again have a majority on the nation's most important regulatory court of appeals.

The balance will shift as well on almost all of the 12 other federal appeals courts. Nine of the 13 will probably swing to the left if Mr. Obama is elected (not counting the Ninth Circuit, which the left solidly controls today). Circuit majorities are likely at stake in this presidential election for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. That includes the federal appeals courts for New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and virtually every other major center of finance in the country.

The interesting thing about Calabresi's handwringing that "majorities are ... at stake ... for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuit Courts" is his willingness to overlook the basic fact that the Republican majorities on a lot of circuit courts are at stake mainly because Republicans have majorities on nearly every circuit court in the country.

Take a look at this breakdown from the Alliance for Justice of current circuit court justices by appointing president and you'll see that, with the exception of the 9th Circiut and ties on the 2nd and 3rd Circuits,  Republican judges outnumber Democratic judges across the board:

DC Circuit: 7 Republican - 4 Democratic

1st Circuit: 3 Republican - 2 Democratic

2nd Circuit: 6 Republican - 6 Democratic

3rd Circuit: 6 Republican - 6 Democratic

4th Circuit: 7 Republican - 4 Democratic

5th Circuit: 13 Republican - 4 Democratic

6th Circuit: 10 Republican - 6 Democratic

7th Circuit: 8 Republican - 3 Democratic

8th Circuit: 9 Republican - 2 Democratic

9th Circuit: 11 Republican - 16 Democratic

10th Circuit: 8 Republican - 4 Democratic

11th Circuit: 7 Republican - 5 Democratic

Federal Circuit: 8 Republican - 4 Democratic

Overall, Republican circuit court judges outnumber Democratic judges 103-66.  And the reason for that is because for 20 of the last 28 years, Republicans have occupied the White House and have filled the federal bench with judges who share their ideology.  As the AFJ points out:

Judges appointed by Republican presidents dominate the Supreme Court, the courts of appeals, and the district courts. Over 58% of all federal judges were appointed by Republican presidents. George W. Bush has appointed nearly 37% of all sitting federal judges.

After two decades of Republican presidents stacking the federal bench with judges who share Calabresi's right-wing Federalist Society ideology, creating an situation in which that ideology dominates nearly every court in the land, Calabresi is suddenly worried about balance and fairness and breathlessly warning that the "federal courts hang in the balance" because "nothing less than the very idea of liberty and the rule of law are at stake in this election?" 

Give me a break.

Percentages Matter

Kristian Kanya, writing on the Committee for Justice blog, weighs in on the inevitably confusing issue of judicial confirmation numbers, which I am generally reluctant to tackle because they are notoriously hard to calculate accurately.  After all, how does one account for things like withdrawn nominees or, worse yet, nominees who were not confirmed in one Congress and then renominated, often more than once, in subsequent Congresses? Are they counted as just one nominee or are they counted as multiple nominations?  What about someone like William H. Steele, who was nominated by President Bush to the Eleventh Circuit in 2001, not confirmed, and then renominated by Bush to a District Court seat in 2003 and then confirmed?  And what about nominees to the International Court of Trade, are they counted? 

You see, it’s complicated. 

But what is not particularly complicated, provided that we can all agree on basic numbers, is drawing comparisons across presidencies, which is what CFJ tries to do by citing this section from a Washington Post article:

“Democrats expressed surprise that Bush would revive such allegations, arguing that the Senate has confirmed more of Bush's nominees in the past two years than were approved under the previous six years of GOP control.

The White House says 324 of 376 federal court nominees have been confirmed during Bush's tenure, with 34 current vacancies. By comparison, Democrats say, there were 84 judicial openings at the end of Bill Clinton's presidency.”

CFJ then compares the varying confirmation figures during recent Congresses and declares that the Democrats' claim is “simply misleading.”   Of course, I could just point out that, in the four years they have controlled the Senate under President Bush, Democrats have confirmed more of his judicial nominees than the Republicans did during their four years of control – 168 confirmed by the Democrats compared to 156 confirmed by the Republicans.  But that is exactly the problem with this game; it all depends on what dates and calculations you choose to use.

But there is one thing on which everyone ought to be able to agree – it is not so much the total number of nominees confirmed as it is the overall percentage of confirmed.  If a president, for some reason, only put forth 100 nominees and yet saw every one of them confirmed, nobody could complain that he only had 100 judges confirmed compared to some other president who had, say, 150 confirmed out of a pool of 300.  Which brings me to this point from CFJ:  

Some aggregate figures deserve attention also. During Reagan a total of 383 federal judges were confirmed. Under Clinton, that dropped slightly to 377. However, during the Bush administration, only 326 federal judges have been put on the bench. Judicial openings or not, the numbers do not lie.

Indeed, numbers do not lie. So, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just use the figures found on Table 4(b) of this Congressional Research Service report “Judicial Nomination Statistics: U.S. District and Circuit Courts, 1977-2003” [PDF].  

According to CRS, President Reagan put forth a total of 423 District and Circuit Court nominees and saw 375 of them confirmed, a confirmation rate of 88%. President Clinton, by contrast, put forth more nominees and had fewer confirmed:  372 of 488, for a confirmation rate of 76%.  

In comparison, according to the White House’s own figures cited in the Washington Post article above, “324 of 376 federal court nominees have been confirmed during Bush's tenure.”  That gives him a confirmation rate of 86%, well above President Clinton’s confirmation rate.  In fact, for Bush to lower his confirmation rate to match that of Clinton, he'd have to nominate another 50 or so judges before he leaves office in a few months, which is essentially impossible given that there are only 34 vacancies. 

The topic of judicial confirmation rates is complex enough as it is without organizations like CFJ throwing around figures totally devoid of context and confusing people even further. 

In short, despite all of the Right's complaining, President Bush has had a pretty good record of getting his judges confirmed.  Of course, you'd never know that by listening to them. 

James Dobson’s Special Election Message

Focus on the Family is getting involved in House and Senate races in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas, sending out scorecards in which Republican candidates are praised for their “consistently pro-life and pro-family records” and the Democrats are blasted for having “taken audaciously liberal positions – particularly on life and marriage.” 

The text of all the mailers are more or less the same, with the exception of the paragraphs about the specific candidates – here is the text of the one targeting the Minnesota Senate Race [PDF]:

It’s not every day that individuals find themselves in a position to significantly impact the direction of an entire nation, but that’s exactly where you are today. As a Minnesota voter, you are right in the middle of one of the most important and closely watched Senate races in the country.

The stakes in this contest could not be higher. If Barack Obama wins the White House—a very real possibility—the U.S. Senate will be the last defense against his liberal agenda on abortion and marriage. Sen. Obama has already promised to support the Freedom of Choice Act, which would overturn every pro-life law on abortion in the nation. He has also pledged to abolish the Defense of Marriage Act and to allow open homosexuality in our military. The only hope of stopping this radical onslaught will be a strong showing of commonsense conservatives in the Senate.

A conservative Senate will be no less important under a McCain presidency. If John McCain should emerge victorious in November, he’ll need every Senate vote he can get to confirm Supreme Court judges who will uphold the Constitution and restore sanity to our courts.

That’s why Minnesota’s Senate race is so critical. The contrast between the candidates is sharp. Norm Coleman has maintained a stellar pro-life record and a generally pro-family record in the U.S. Senate. Al Franken, on the other hand, has not only taken strikingly liberal positions since returning to Minnesota, but his comedic record in New York is an embarrassment to those who
care about family values.

Please take a careful look at the issue checklist to the right. It contains details regarding the candidates’ stands on life, marriage and the judiciary, as well as insights on other issues that are important to families—such as gas prices and the threat of higher taxes.

Furthermore, Focus has also customized each mailing … seemingly using backdrops leftover from the 1970’s:

Why Is the Obama Campaign Hanging Out With Rob Schenck?

We’ve written about Rob Scheck a few times lately, mostly wondering why he was saying that NPR had tapped him to provide commentary on the Republican and Democratic conventions and noting his excitement that he had received a VIP invitation to John McCain’s announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate.  

Schenck is probably best known for his reportedly successful efforts to sneak into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room and anoint the chairs with oil before Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings. But, as we’ve noted before, he got his start as a militant anti-abortion activist, often targeting Dr. Barnett Slepian who was eventually assassinated by an anti-abortion activist in 1998. 

More recently, he’s been leading a one-man crusade against Barack Obama’s Christian faith, suggesting that Obama might be, in fact, a Muslim infidel … and declaring that even if he’s not, his Christian faith is “woefully deficient” and even going so far as to question Obama’s claim that he “[prays] to Jesus every night, wondering why he would “pray to Jesus” rather than “pray to God in Jesus’ name.” 

Which makes this all the more confusing:

The Reese RoundTable on Capitol Hill will host senior campaign McCain advisor Robert Heckman and senior Obama advisor Evna La Valle for a lunch forum on Tuesday, September 23, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Capitol Hill Club, 300 1st  St., SE, Washington, DC.

The forum, entitled "How Does the Declaration of Independence Guide Your View of Government?" will focus on the inalienable rights enshrined the Declaration including Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Topics will also include moral and religious issues. The program will be moderated by the Reverend Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), president of the National Clergy Council and chair of the Committee on Church and Society for the Evangelical Church Alliance.

We understand that the Obama campaign is dedicated to reaching out to evangelicals during this election cycle, but maybe they should start trying to be a little more selective about just who those evangelicals are.

Palin Asked Anti-Abortion Activists to Help Her “Reshape the Judiciary”

Buried in the Alaska Right to Life’s January 2008 newsletter - after the endorsement of Mike Huckabee and before the sign-up sheet for protesting clinics and driving the “Truth Truck” – is an article entitled “For Pro-Lifers Only” in which former Alaska Right to Life president and current Alaskan Independence Party candidate Bob Bird railed against the idea that presidents and legislators where in any way obligated to obey Supreme Court rulings:

Pro-lifers, start making some REAL political headway. Ask your pro-life governor to encourage the state to protect unborn human life, and DARE the federal courts to strike it down … And don’t you ever, EVER permit any pro-life presidential candidate to repeat Ronald Reagan’s famous statement, made in inexcusable ignorance: “Well, my oath of office requires me to enforce all Supreme Court decisions, even those I don’t agree with.” Rubbish.

Bird even blasts those, such as Gov. Sarah Palin, who believe that the best way to overturn Roe vs. Wade and restrict abortion is by reshaping the judiciary – something she apparently asked members of Alaska Right to Life to help her do when she addressed the organization’s “Proudly Pro-Life Banquet” in 2007:

Governor Sarah Palin, a pro-life stalwart every year since she entered the political scene, gave an encouraging speech for the pro-lifers in attendance at the Hotel Captain Cook for the 2008 “Proudly Pro-Life Banquet”. She asked for public support in her efforts to reshape the judiciary, an extremely complex and convoluted process that involves a screening board . . . a screening board that once thought Alaska Right to Life founder Wayne Anthony Ross to be too extreme!

The proceeds from the dinner, where Palin apparently shared the stage with Alveda King, were to be applied toward “the educational endeavors of Alaska Right to Life, including: the pro-life television ads, the G.A.P (Genocide Awareness Project) and the truth truck.”

McCain’s New Pastor Problem

A few weeks ago, we were wondering why Rob Schenck was announcing that he was going to be providing commentary for NPR on the Democratic and Republican conventions.  As far as we’ve been able to tell, he didn’t actually end up doing so, which is good.  But now we have another question:  Why is Schenck getting VIP tickets to John McCain’s announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate and schmoozing with both McCain and Palin?

In addition to posting a video about his invitation, he also wrote about it on his blog:

So, when I was offered a VIP seat at the big coming out event, I jumped on it. I wanted to personally engage whomever McCain selected … While I was en route to the event I got a call relaying a message to me from a well-known Washington, DC, columnist who said he had evidence it would be Governor Palin. She was definitely not on my short list of desirable prospects, but only because I knew so little about her. That would soon change. I called everyone I knew that might know something about her and my staff began our own in-depth research. A few things that came immediately to light were that she is completely and convincingly pro-life, she is pro-traditional marriage and she is an Evangelical Christian. And on each of these points she has long walked her talk. Still, there are some things you can only tell by shaking someone’s hand and looking them in the eyes. I did both today with Governor Palin and her sponsor, Senator McCain. If you’ll permit me a sidebar, I’ve got to say, Man! What a bold move. There are many voters who really wanted to make history in this election. Now they can do so with either ticket. Bravo! But back to Sarah Palin and her spirituality. After our exchange of normal niceties, the first thing I asked the Palins was about their church. My office was doing research on this while I was at the McCain event and sending it to me on my Blackberry, but they got one thing wrong when they first reported she was Catholic. Someone called to correct our early news release and said the Palins were Baptist, so I wanted to clear it up by simply asking. Gov. Palin herself. She told me they have long attended Wasilla Bible Church in their home town of Wasilla, Alaska, near Anchorage. I'll write more on this church, but take a quick look at their website and you'll see the sort of Christian community she keeps company with. I told Sen. McCain yesterday that he had just built the bridge he needed to our Evangelical world. He seemed relieved! Traditional Catholics will like Governor Palin, too. It was a stroke of genius.

Schenck has been one of the leading attack dogs against Barack Obama’s faith, suggesting that Obama might be, in fact, a Muslim infidel … and even if he’s not, his Christian faith is “woefully deficient.”  He’s probably best known for his reportedly successful efforts to sneak into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room and anoint the chairs with oil before Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings.

As we noted last time, Schenck, along with his twin brother Paul, have a long history of militant anti-abortion activism and repeated arrests, primarily for their campaign against Dr. Barnett Slepian who was assassinated by an anti-abortion activist in 1998:

During the early 1990s … [Schenck] was arrested a dozen times during protests outside women's health clinics and abortion doctors' homes, and is renowned for outrageous publicity stunts, including dangling an aborted fetus in Bill Clinton's face outside the 1992 Democratic National Convention. With former Elim classmate Randall Terry, Schenck helped start Operation Rescue, a hardline anti-abortion group that embraced "direct action" in an effort to shut down reproductive health clinics and prevent doctors from practicing abortion.

But just as Schenck's star was rising in Washington, some Operation Rescue members decided to take their direct action to the next level. In 1998, while cooking dinner for his wife and four children, Barnett Slepian--an abortion doctor whose home had been the site of protests by Schenck and his followers years before--was shot to death through his kitchen window by James Kopp, a former student of Schaeffer's and a volunteer at Operation Rescue's Binghamton, N.Y., office. Slepian's assassination became a public relations disaster for the organizations, and even though Schenck denounced the killing, the organization's more extremist members insisted that it was justified. When Schenck placed flowers at the doorstep of Slepian's office, they were returned abruptly by his infuriated wife along with a letter--later made public--that read, "It's your 'passive' following that incited the violence that killed Bart [Barnett Slepian] and took away both my and my children's future."

Right Sets Limits on Lieberman's Power

The Right certainly has not been shy about voicing its opposition to the prospect of John McCain naming Joe Lieberman as his running mate.  But now some are taking a more conciliatory approach, announcing that Lieberman will be an acceptable VP pick ... provided that he agrees to be nothing but a figurehead and helps the Right get some judges confirmed:

Some conservative activists, who abhor the idea of a Lieberman choice, are being pro-active. One is Curt Levey, who advocates for conservative judicial nominations. In an preemptive email sent Thursday, Levey said that if Lieberman is the choice, his group, the Committee for Justice, asks he make several pledges:

Republicans are concerned about Lieberman's pro-choice stance and his weak record on judges. Since the abortion issue is almost entirely in the hands of the courts, Sen. Lieberman, if selected, could likely deflect much of the inevitable conservative criticism by making the following three pledges regarding judicial appointments:

1) he will play no role in picking judicial nominees in a McCain Administration,

2) he will not run for president in the future (and thus will never nominate judges himself),

3) he will caucus with Senate Republicans for the remainder of the year, allowing Republicans to demand a Senate reorganization like the one that followed Sen. Jeffords' 2001 defection from the GOP. That would make Arlen Specter chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Mitch McConnell Majority Leader, likely resulting in the confirmation of four pending appeals court nominees to the all-important Fourth and D.C. Circuits. Senate Democrats would be unwilling to risk the fate of Tom Daschle by filibustering nominees so close to an election.

Biden Known By His Enemies

If one thing is for sure, it is that the paramount issue for the Right over the last several years has been gaining control over the federal judiciary and especially the Supreme Court. This has been the one unifying theme of their efforts to rally behind John McCain and one McCain himself has been citing at every opportunity.

So it was to be expected that this sort of article from CNSNews would emerge sooner or later, in which just about every right-wing judicial activist is given an opportunity to attack Joe Biden as the man single-handedly responsible for everything that is wrong, from their perspective, with the judicial nomination process:

[C]onservatives say that for 27 years, Biden has served as a liberal front man for attacking conservative judicial nominees and principles – notably during the confirmation hearings of Judges Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

"Liberal special interest groups worked hand-in-hand with the liberal members of the Judiciary committee to sink Bork, and Biden was in charge of it all," [Focus on the Family's Bruce] Hausknecht said.

[Federalist Society Founder Stephen] Calabresi said that even though it was Biden’s liberal compatriot on the committee, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) who was the most visible in leading the attack on Bork, Biden was hardly a mere bystander.

"It’s important to remember that Sen. Biden was the chairman of the committee during the Bork nomination and the Thomas confirmation fights," Calabresi reiterated.

Rob Schenck on NPR? 

Rob Schenck is not exactly a household name – in fact, he’s barely known even to those who monitor the Religious Right, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a history of influence with member of Congress and the right-wing movement.

We’ve been writing about Schenck for awhile now, primarily in the context of his crusade to expose the fact that Barack Obama might really be a Muslim infidel … and even if he’s not, his Christian faith is “woefully deficient,” as well as his reportedly successful efforts to sneak into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room and anoint the chairs with oil before Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings.

While Schenck might not be a right-wing powerbroker, he is something of a name dropper as this video check-in from earlier in the week demonstrates in which he reports that he’s on his way to Utah to join Sen. Orrin Hatch for a golf tournament before meeting up with Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.  

None of this is particularly relevant or groundbreaking and we probably wouldn’t even bother mentioning it were it not for the announcement at the end that he will be attending and providing commentary for both the Democratic and Republican conventions on behalf of National Public Radio:

Schenck released a statement today confirming that he “will travel to Denver on Saturday, August 23, to observe and comment on the Democratic National Convention and surrounding events” but makes no mention of NPR.  

Is Schenck really going to be providing commentary for NPR on the Democratic Convention?  If so, did NPR bother to do any research on just who they were bringing on-board?

During the early 1990s … [Schenck] was arrested a dozen times during protests outside women's health clinics and abortion doctors' homes, and is renowned for outrageous publicity stunts, including dangling an aborted fetus in Bill Clinton's face outside the 1992 Democratic National Convention. With former Elim classmate Randall Terry, Schenck helped start Operation Rescue, a hardline anti-abortion group that embraced "direct action" in an effort to shut down reproductive health clinics and prevent doctors from practicing abortion.

Schenck, along with his twin brother Paul, have a long history of militant anti-abortion activism and first came to fame by targeting local doctor Barnett Slepian who was, in 1998, assassinated by an anti-abortion activist:

BOOK EXAMINES SCHENCKS' ROLE IN SLEPIAN CASE

25 October 2000

Buffalo News

Two years after Dr. Barnett A. Slepian's assassination, a new book written by a former local pro-life activist raises the question of whether the Schenck twins played an indirect role in singling out Slepian as a potential target for violence.

Author Jerry Reiter, a former member of the Town of Tonawanda church led by the Revs. Paul and Robert Schenck, never accuses the twin brothers of being involved in any murder plot or the harboring of the killer.

But in his book, "Live From the Gates of Hell," Reiter writes that his former pastors brought national Operation Rescue leaders here for protests outside the same home where Slepian later was killed.

The author questions how "an obscure physician from a midsize city like Buffalo" wound up on a national short list of targeted abortion providers.

"It was impossible to say with certainty who had put Slepian on the secret list, but it was possible that the national leadership would not have known about Slepian at all if it had not been for Rob and Paul Schenck," Reiter writes. "They were the first to choose him as a target for anti-abortion protesters."

...

Reiter writes that he was shocked when Robert Schenck told him that neither brother had heard of James C. Kopp before the FBI announced him as a suspect in Slepian's murder. The Schencks and Kopp had been arrested at demonstrations in the same cities.

God and the GOP Share The Same Agenda

As we have noted several times in the past, David Barton of Wallbuilders likes to pass himself off as a historian committed to uncovering “America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built.” In reality, he is a Religious Right activist committed to spreading biased “history” for the benefit for the Republican Party – that is, after all, what they regularly pay him to do.

And so it is no surprise that he is out with a new document [PDF] just before the election designed to “help [Biblical voters] evaluate the candidates”:   

According to the Bible (c.f., Deuteronomy 28; 1 Chronicles 21; 1 Kings 18), a nation’s righteousness is determined by its public policies and how well those policies conform to God’s standards …In America, the only way there will be God-honoring leaders is if God-honoring citizens elect them; so the first and foremost consideration in any election is whether the candidate will advance policies that promote Biblical standards of righteousness.

Barton asserts that while the Bible contains a “comprehensive system of 613 laws delivered through Moses in the Old Testament,” God prioritized what was most important by issuing his “Top Ten” list and that, while things like poverty, environment, health care, immigration, taxation might be important, they were not important enough to crack the top ten and are thus of lesser importance.

So what exactly does God consider the “highest ranking issues directly affecting national righteousness”?  According to Barton, He cares primarily about judges, abortion, gays, and the public posting of the Ten Commandments: 

This election will likely have a greater impact on the nation through the judiciary than any presidential election for the past three decades, for when the next President takes office in January 2009, six of the nine Supreme Court Justices will be at least 70 years old – and five of those six Justices have repeatedly struck down public policies friendly to Biblical values. Therefore, Biblical voters should make their selection for President based first and foremost on the type of judges he will appoint.

Defending the unborn must continue to remain a priority for Biblical voters. The right to life is the first of the three specifically enumerated inalienable rights set forth in our founding documents, and American government was established on the thesis that certain rights come from God and that government must protect those rights inviolable. Significantly, if a leader does not protect the inalienable right to life, then all other inalienable rights are likewise in jeopardy … where a candidate stands on the issue of abortion is of paramount importance not only for the sake of the unborn but also for the preservation of our other inalienable rights.

If a candidate is willing to accept, empower, and advance homosexuality, it is a clear indication that he does not embrace the moral absolutes of the Bible … While there are many areas specifically addressed by God’s moral law (e.g., adultery, pre-marital sex, etc.), only homosexuality is currently the focus of favorable political action. Therefore, where a candidate stands on that issue is one of the best indicators of whether he recognizes and embraces God’s moral absolutes.

Today, secularists have convinced many Americans to accept a compartmentalization of their faith, telling them that it is appropriate to acknowledge God at church, home, or in other private settings but not in public venues. If a candidate holds this position, it means that he is willing to disconnect God from what he does, and the entire nation is put at risk by leaders who compartmentalize faith.  Biblical voters should select leaders who will seek to protect and expand rather than restrict or weaken the opportunity for the public acknowledgment of God and the inclusion of His principles in public venues.

It’s amazing how frequently God’s principles perfectly line up with the Religious Right’s political agenda.

The Huckabee Fan Club Says “It’s Us or Them”

Just last week we were noting that the recent surge of support among Religious Right leaders for John McCain seemed to hinge largely on his willingness to follow their advice and name Mike Huckabee as his running mate.  But as decision-time nears and the campaign begins airing lists of candidates which don’t include Huckabee, these right-wing leaders sprung into action to, once again, make their opposition known to Mitt Romney, the presumed front-runner:   

Prominent evangelical leaders are warning Sen. John McCain against picking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his running mate, saying their troops will abandon the Republican ticket on Election Day if that happens.

They say Mr. Romney lacks trust on issues such as outlawing abortion and opposing same-sex marriage and because he is a Mormon. Opposition is particularly powerful among those who supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the Republican presidential primaries earlier this year.

"McCain and Romney would be like oil and water," said evangelical novelist Tim LaHaye, who supported Mr. Huckabee. "We aren't against Mormonism, but Romney is not a thoroughgoing evangelical and his flip-flopping on issues is understandable in a liberal state like Massachusetts, but our people won't understand that."

David Barton, a former vice president of the Republican Party of Texas, said, "The key for Mr. McCain is to pick someone who opposes abortion but doesn't alienate any part of the general Republican voting coalition" as Mr. Romney does.

Longtime social-conservative leaders such as Phyllis Schlafly, Phil Burress, Donald P. Hodel and Mathew Staver said earlier this month that they can rally their voters around Mr. McCain largely on the issues of abortion and the judiciary, as long as they are confident that the vice-presidential candidate is pro-life. They are skeptical about Mr. Romney's views.

Mr. Barton, founder of the national pro-life group WallBuilders, said the downside for picking either Mr. Romney or Mr. Huckabee is that evangelicals still would vote for Mr. McCain on Nov. 4 - given the alternative of Mr. Obama - but not work as hard organizing and getting out the vote.

"Romney would bring to the ticket as much enthusiasm from supporters as Huckabee would bring, but Romney's would be from fiscal conservatives and Huckabee's would be evangelicals," he said.

Of course, Barton and just about every other person mentioned in this article just so happened to sign on to the Colorado letter that essentially warned McCain that he’d better pick Huckabee or else, so it is not as if they are disinterested observers. 

Barton’s suggestion that Romney would generate a lot of excitement among fiscal conservatives is a little suspect given that the best that organizations like Club for Growth could say about him was that they were “reasonably optimistic that [he] would generally advocate a pro-growth agenda."  It’s laughable to think that Romney would match among fiscal conservatives the rabid enthusiasm that Huckabee has had throughout the process from Religious Right leaders.    

Even so, what Barton and the other Religious Right leaders quoted in the article seem to be doing is daring McCain to pick a side:  us or them; bringing to a head a clash between social and fiscal conservatives that has been brewing ever since Republicans lost control of Congress back in 2006.

Disgruntled Republicans Work to Undermine McCain's Pledge on Judges

As John McCain continues to work to win over right-wing leaders, activists, and voters, the one constant theme he has been hammering is his pledge to nominate judges like John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court; a promise that has lately been paying dividends. But now it looks like some disgruntled Republicans are starting to push back against the idea McCain can be trusted to uphold his promise. For instance, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr recently published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal less-than-subtly entitled "Judges Are No Reason to Vote for McCain":
The judiciary is becoming an important election issue. John McCain is warning conservatives that control of today's finely balanced Supreme Court depends on his election. Unfortunately, his jurisprudence is likely to be anything but conservative. ... Mr. McCain is a convenient convert to the cause of sound judicial appointments. He has never paid much attention to judicial philosophy, backing both Clinton Supreme Court nominees – Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He also participated in the so-called "Gang of 14," which favored centrist over conservative nominees as part of a compromise between President George W. Bush and Senate Democrats. ... [E]ven if a President McCain were to influence the court, it would not likely be in a genuinely conservative direction. His jurisprudence is not conservative.
Barr obviously has his own electoral agenda in mind by seeking to undermine McCain's appeal to conservative voters on the issue of judges in hopes of winning their support himself, he is not alone in making the case that McCain's promises on judges cannot be trusted, with Bruce Bartlett making the same point in an op-ed in Politico:

[McCain] has already repudiated the best hope Republicans had for circumventing Democratic opposition: the so-called nuclear option, which would have forced the Senate to give all federal court nominees an up-or-down vote. McCain basically destroyed any hope of getting a parliamentary ruling on this scheme by putting together the Gang of 14, a bipartisan group of senators that agreed to allow all qualified nominees to have a vote before the full Senate.

Conservatives have to ask themselves whether the man who torpedoed the nuclear option is really likely to fight to the bitter end for the kinds of justices they want to see on the court.

McCain needs all the help he can get right now winning over right-wing leaders and having former high-profile Republicans out there undermining his key selling point and reminding them of his role in the "Gang of 14" certainly isn't helping his cause.

A Much More Subdued Right-Wing Declaration

Details continue to emerge about the meeting last week in Colorado where a large group right-wing leaders gathered and decided to back John McCain, with David Barton telling The Brody File that more than 90% in attendance agreed to support McCain primarily because they abhor Barack Obama and, as we noted yesterday, are really concerned about the future of the Supreme Court :

There were 83 state and national leaders in the room from all over the country. They included heavyweights Phyllis Schlafly, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Phil Burress, Mat Staver and representatives from Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and the American Family Association.

David Barton, President of the conservative WallBuilders group was there too. I spoke with him about the meeting and he tells me roughly 75 of the 83 were on board for McCain at the end of the meeting.  

They don't want Barack Obama picking Supreme Court judges. That's why the judges issue is very important to this group and they believe McCain will be there on judges. They plan to let their supporters know about it. The "base" may be mobilizing very soon.

Charisma Magazine also provide some inside details, such as the fact that Mike Huckabee’s daughter Sarah was reportedly in attendance and that McCain has apparently been meeting with militant anti-abortion activist Alveda King, which makes sense seeing as she’s been supporting him for months.   

But the culmination of the meeting was the agreement by those in attendance to sign on to something called the “Declaration of American Values” put together by Mat Staver and David Barton.  If this sounds familiar, it is probably because it is a lot like the Values Voters’ Contract With Congress that a similar group of right-wing activists unveiled heading into the 2006 election.  The primary difference between the two is that the new declaration has dropped the laundry list of legislation they wanted to see passed that made up the bulk of the Values Voters’ Contract in favor of vague language about the “sanctity of human life” and the importance of securing our “national sovereignty and domestic tranquility” … almost as if they don’t anticipate that their legislative agenda has any chance of moving forward in the next Congress:  

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Once upon a time, Tom DeLay was one of the most powerful men in Washington ... that is, until he was indicted and resigned his seat in Congress in 2006.

Since then, DeLay has kept something of a low profile while he has been busy trying to turn his Coalition for a Conservative Majority into a right-wing version of MoveOn.org, but that doesn't mean that his right-wing friends have forgotten him. In fact, over the weekend, DeLay joined Rick Scarborough, one of his "closest friends," for Sunday services at Scarborough's Texas church:

Former Congressman Tom Delay not only told East Texans but also showed them that he believes there is no separation between church and state. "I believe faith is the foundation of political activity because your world view is who you are," Delay explained.

A belief the Senior Pastor at Harvest Point Church, Rick Scarborough, shares with the former congressman and that's why he asked him to share the pulpit this morning. Scarborough said, "Every time I walk into a polling booth I'm mixing church and state because I am the church and I am the state. Whenever I drive down the highway I'm mixing church and driving. This morning earlier, you can thank God for this, I mixed church and showering but I can't separate that part of me."

At today's service Delay told East Texans how he plans to use that belief along with others to fill voids he says are in the conservative movement. Creating more grassroots efforts along with building better communication blocks are just 2 of his goals. "We've got some great think tanks in Washington D.C. but we have no action tanks," Delay said. But he plans to put the party into action and get people to the polls this November.

It is nice to know that Scarborough's friendship with DeLay survived the former Majority Leader's fall from power - after all, it would have been pretty embarrassing if Scarborough had abandoned DeLay after once comparing him to Christ:

"I believe the most damaging thing that Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously into public office, which made him a target for all those who despise the cause of Christ," Scarborough said, introducing DeLay yesterday. When DeLay finished, the host reminded the politician: "God always does his best work right after a crucifixion."

Of course, the last time DeLay and Scarborough got together, it was for Scarborough's “Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" Conference in 2005 and it generated a lot more coverage and controversy because DeLay delivered a taped message railing against judiciary which was followed by a panelist whose suggested solution to dealing with judges the Right doesn't like was to approvingly paraphrase Joesph Stalin's slogan: "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."

At End of Supreme Court Term, Right Wing Points to November

According to Politico, the Right is warming to John McCain’s far-right stance on judicial appointments, and with the 5-4 decisions that closed out the Supreme Court’s term, we can see the outline of McCain’s and the Right’s campaign to get the base to turn out in November on the issue of judges.

Last month’s Supreme Court decision on habeas corpus was likened by the Right a “white flag of surrender” that would cause “more Americans to be killed”; Fred Thompson, a judicial advisor to John McCain, wrote that the “remedy” was for “concerned citizens to turn out on Election Day to elect a new president.”

The more recent decision overturning D.C.’s gun ban inspired Ted Nugent to write in Human Events that “the 5-4 ruling is another painful example” of “a divisive culture war raging on, and four supreme justices frighteningly disconnected from the heart and soul of America.” Michael Reagan warned that the majority “will vanish if the liberals manage to elect Barack Obama and give his party sufficient control of Congress to guarantee that future Court vacancies will be filled with activist liberal justices who will turn the Constitution upside down.”

The Family Research Council called the Second Amendment case “a reminder for voters of just how important the elections are this fall.”

The next President is likely to name 2-3 Supreme Court justices, who will be examining the constitutionality of a variety of laws for the next few decades. Life, marriage, and religious freedom are all issues that are likely to land in front of the Supreme Court. … For fiscal, social, and national defense conservatives, judges are one issue that brings all conservatives together.

According to the Weekly Standard, a case restricting capital punishment to murderers and not rapists of children demonstrated “that the fight to turn the Court from a capricious and imperious vanguard of liberalism into an impassive umpire is far from over.” The Standard’s Matthew Continetti advised McCain to “take this opportunity to explain how his judicial philosophy differs from Obama's, and why it matters.” A National Review editorial similarly responded, “Too many of our justices are evolving away from democracy. Let’s not elect a president who will encourage them — and appoint more of them.”

Traditional Values Coalition’s Lou Sheldon wrote that the death penalty case and the habeas corpus decision “are perfect examples showing why it’s important that Americans choose the right person to assume the Presidency in January 2009.”

The person who becomes President and Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces will likely have to replace Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and Souter – all liberals who use their power to impose their leftist ideology upon all Americans. …

If we fail to put a man into the Oval Office who understands judicial restraint and the rule of law, our legal system will be set back 30 years. This is especially true if a liberal President appoints young liberals to the Court and fills up the federal judiciary with more radical leftist judges.

Finally, there’s the 5-4 decision overturning the “Millionaire’s Amendment,” a part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that lifted contribution limits for politicians facing self-funded opponents. Despite McCain’s role in originally passing the law, McCain supporter Hans von Spakovsky wrote that the narrow ruling “graphically illustrates just how important the next president's appointments to the Supreme Court will be to preserving our First Amendment rights in the political arena.”

“[G]iven the number of Supreme Court appointments a Democratic president will be able to make, an Obama victory will move America more radically leftward than ever in its history,” Dennis Prager summarized.

All these cases will continue to be cited by the Right in pushing its unmotivated constituency to the polls, as “are reminders that elections are not just about putting candidates in office for a few years,” as Thomas Sowell put it to those “who are thinking of venting their frustrations by voting for some third-party candidate that they know has no chance of being elected. There will be a president chosen this November, and he will appoint Supreme Court justices during his term, regardless of whether you stay home or go to the polls.”

Vitter, Craig Reintroduce Marriage Amendment

With Congressional Republicans terrified of the potentially disastrous electoral showing that seemingly awaits them this November, it looks as if they are pulling out all the stops to demonstrate to their right-wing base that they are committed to advancing their agenda, no matter how obvious the pandering or how fruitless the effort may be – which explains why several Republican Senators have, once again, introduced the Federal Marriage Amendment.

The ultimate irony is that two of its main sponsors are Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho – not exactly the poster boys of the family values crowd or particularly upstanding examples of the supposed sanctity of the “union of a man and a woman”:

SJ 43 IS

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. J. RES. 43

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 25, 2008

Mr. WICKER (for himself, Mr. VITTER, Mr. CRAIG, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. INHOFE, Mr. BROWNBACK, Mr. ALLARD, Mr. THUNE, and Mr. SHELBY) introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage.

      Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission by the Congress:

`Article --

      `Section 1. This article may be cited as the `Marriage Protection Amendment'.
                                      
      `Section 2. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.'.

Right Wing: Habeas Decision 'White Flag of Surrender'

Dissenting from last week’s Supreme Court decision recognizing habeas corpus rights for prisoners at Guantanamo, Justice Scalia all but called the judiciary, not to mention his colleagues on the High Court, a Fifth Column in the War on Terror: “[This decision] will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed,” he wrote. Not surprisingly, the Right Wing followed his lead.

Fred Thompson, the recent presidential candidate, said death would be a “tragically obvious” result:

I also find it just a tad ironic that in a case involving habeas corpus, which literally means that one must produce a body (or person) before a court to explain the basis on which that person is being detained, the decision of this court may mean more fallen bodies in the defense of a Constitution some of these justices ignored.

Gary Bauer decried “The radical Left and its liberal allies in Big Media” for supporting “an action beneficial to America’s wartime enemies”: “Whose side are they on?” The Weekly Standard editors similarly wrote, “In their visceral, myopic hatred of President Bush, liberals will see the ruling as a blow to the president and not the broad, foolish, and dangerous judicial power grab it is.”

The National Review denounced “the imperial court,” while the American Spectator’s John Tabin singled out the author of the majority opinion as “Lord Kennedy.” To the Wall Street Journal, he is “President Kennedy”; the editors warned of “another attack on U.S. soil – perhaps one enabled by a terrorist released under the Kennedy rules.”

Larry Thornberry attacked “the al-Qaeda wing of the U.S. Supreme Court.” Joseph Farah described the decision as “wav[ing] the white flag of surrender before al-Qaida and its Islamo-fascist allies throughout the world.”

Writing in FrontPage Magazine, Henry Mark Holzer—who warns that the U.S. will regret the decision “if the Nation lives”—brings it around to the presidential election:

For this constitutional and national security debacle, ultimately we have to thank not only the 5-justice majority but also justice-nominating and justice-confirming Republicans in the White House and Senate.

The Boumediene decision is thus a grave cautionary lesson about what is at stake in this presidential election: nothing less than the future of the Supreme Court for another generation, and with it the security of the United States of America.

Thompson, a prominent supporter of John McCain, similarly alluded to the issue of judges in the election: “What remedy do people have now if they don’t like the court’s decision? None. If that thought is not enough to cause concerned citizens to turn out on Election Day to elect a new president, then I don’t know what will be.”

As for McCain himself, he called this habeas corpus ruling “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

Scalia Previews Right's Reaction to Habeas Corpus

The Supreme Court narrowly ruled today in favor of the right of habeas corpus and against a piece of the Bush Administration’s practice of curtailing civil liberties in the name of national security. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, both appointed by President Bush, joined Justices Scalia and Thomas in dissenting.

As is common, Scalia’s dissenting opinion provides a preview of the far Right’s reaction to the ruling. Scalia—one of the highest-ranking judges in the country—predicted that giving prisoners access to the judiciary is tantamount to murder:

The game of bait-and-switch that today’s opinion plays upon the Nation’s Commander in Chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.

Noted by Brian Tamanaha.

Give ‘Em What They Want, John

As John McCain prepares to deliver his remarks on the future of the judiciary today in North Carolina, it looks like he will be under some close scrutiny from the Right, who are growing fed up with his seeming reluctance to throw them red meat:

In town-hall meetings, Sen. McCain makes a point to explain his positions on terrorism, taxes, the economy, energy and health care. But in his prepared remarks, he never mentions abortion, same-sex marriage, judges or gun rights. When asked, he often responds quickly and moves on.

"Imagine if you were an economic conservative and someone never talked about tax policy unless they were asked about it," said Charmaine Yoest, a vice president at the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group focused on social issues.

Asked whether she thinks Sen. McCain really cares about the abortion issue, she said, "I don't know, and that's his problem."

As such, many of them are launching a campaign to make the issue of judges a centerpiece of the upcoming election:

Conservative leaders also want the party to embrace language that would instruct Senate leaders to make the confirmation of nominees a higher priority. Conservatives say Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) must press Democrats harder to confirm several controversial nominees, such as D.C. Circuit Court nominee Peter Keisler and 4th Circuit Court nominee Robert Conrad Jr.

Manuel Miranda, a former aide to ex-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), circulated a draft Monday of principles for the GOP platform committee to consider. Several conservative leaders quickly endorsed it. 

Paul Weyrich, chairman of the conservative Free Congress Foundation, said he supports including the language on judicial nominees in the party platform.

“I think the more we particularize that whole issue, the more people focus on the topic,” Weyrich said. Making detailed guidelines on judicial nominees part of the platform would also help social conservatives hold McCain to account if he is elected president.

“You can compare what the party says with any subsequent action by its nominees,” said Weyrich. 

And while McCain is delivering his remarks, Republican National Committee officials will be courting right-wing leaders on this effort having “invited social conservative leaders based in and around Washington, D.C., to attend a meeting Tuesday morning where former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) will give them a preview of McCain’s remarks.”   

Already McCain surrogate Sen. Sam Brownback is making the rounds assuring the Right that it’ll like what it hears and, judging by excerpts of McCain's remarks and preliminary press coverage, it certainly looks like that will be the case:  

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Tuesday he would appoint judges in the mold of conservatives John Roberts, Samuel Alito and former Chief Justice William Rehnquist if he were elected in November.

In an excerpt from a speech McCain was to give in Winston-Salem on Tuesday, the Arizona senator said he would "look for accomplished men and women with a proven record of excellence in the law, and a proven commitment to judicial restraint."

"I will look for people in the cast of John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and my friend the late William Rehnquist -- jurists of the highest caliber who know their own minds, and know the law, and know the difference," McCain said.

In fact, so sure is the McCain camp that this speech will win over the Right that it is reaching out to them via GOPUSA seeking donations:   

We have a lot at stake in this presidential election. As a nation, we face many challenges that will require real leadership from our next president. I have said before that this election will be about the big things, not the small things, and I write to you today about one big issue in particular - the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. If one of my Democratic opponents is elected in November, you can rest assured that given the opportunity to appoint judges, they will appoint those who make law with disregard for the will of the people.

There may be at least two vacancies on the United States Supreme Court during the next presidential term. As president, I will ensure that only those judges with a strict interpretation of the Constitution of the United States are appointed. I will nominate judges who understand that their role is to faithfully apply the law as written, not impose their opinions through judicial fiat.

If you want judges who have a clear, complete adherence to the Constitution of the United States and who do not legislate from the bench to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, then I ask that you join my campaign for president today by making a financial contribution.

McCain: Bork Was No "Maverick Jurist"

John McCain is planning to be in North Carolina tomorrow where he is scheduled to give a speech on judicial nominations:

John McCain’s campaign said Friday that Fred Thompson and Sam Brownback will join the presumptive GOP nominee in North Carolina next week for a major speech on judicial appointments.

Both Thompson and Brownback have endorsed the Arizona senator, and both Republicans presented themselves throughout the Republican primary battle as “consistent conservatives,” particularly regarding social issues and judicial appointments.

The speech, to be held Tuesday at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, will be just one element of a broader outreach to conservatives next week, according to the campaign.

McCain is expected to discuss the kinds of judges he would appoint up and down the federal bench.

Why he is doing this on the day of the Democratic primary in the state is hard to understand.  Perhaps he is hoping to work his way into the press coverage … or perhaps he is hoping to keep a rather low profile while he delivers remarks designed solely to, once again, assure the GOP’s right-wing base that he’ll appoint justices like John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court without attracting too much attention from the media.  

Either way, he’s probably hoping that the press won’t bother to actually write about his record on judges as exemplified by, say, his 1987 support of Robert Bork [PDF]:

I would like to explain why I am going to vote of favor of confirmation [of Robert Bork], and why I do so without  any hesitation … I believe that what the Senate should appropriately examine in a nominee are: Integrity and character, legal competence, and philosophy and judicial temperament.  I believe Robert Bork is well qualified in all four respects … Judge Bork’s honesty, integrity, and diligence are above reproach … [he] demonstrates that he is not some intellectual “loose cannon on deck,” or a quixotic maverick jurist , but is a thoughtful, reasonable, jurist … [he] is hardly a radical, but is rather a very thoughtful judge in synch with the vast majority of his colleagues on the bench.  

First, and most importantly, is the question of Judge Bork’s view of the role of the judiciary.  Judge Bork is clearly a believer in judicial restraint.  He believes that the courts should not create social policy or arbitrate social policy disputes unless the Constitution clearly speaks to the issues.  He believes that in our republican form of government such decisions are properly left to legislatures elected by the people, not Federal judges appointed for life.  I have no problem with that view, because I wholeheartedly agree with it.  

I have no problem with my colleagues voting against Bork if they truly believe he is unfit for the Supreme Court – although I personally cannot conceive of how you could reach that conclusion … I believe Robert Bork will be an outstanding Justice and contributor on that Court … Robert Bork deserves our support and will be a great Supreme Court Justice.  

In his endorsement, McCain delivered a lengthy defense of Bork’s controversial views, stating that Roe v. Wade is "the clearest example of judicial 'legislation'" and that the rules it set out are "nonsense."   Nor did McCain appear to be a fan of the right to privacy, stating that it was entirely "created by Justice Douglas in the Griswold case."

Joining McCain will be Fred Thompson, who shares McCain’s affinity for Justices like Roberts and Alito and is already out making the pitch for McCain on the issue of judges, and Sen. Sam Brownback, who endorsed McCain after his own presidential campaign folded in the early-going, in part to help pay off his campaign debt, but also because he was promised that he “would play an advisory role in helping decide who he should nominate for the Supreme Court.”   That undoubtedly appealed to Brownback because, as he repeatedly stated when he was campaigning, he wanted nothing more than “to be the president that appoints the justice that's needed vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade."  While he won’t get that opportunity to do that directly, advising McCain on Supreme Court nominations will still allow him to play an important role in finding a Supreme Court nominee that will finally eliminate the right to choose.

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Judiciary Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 09/13/2010, 1:05pm
On Friday I posted clips from a conference call hosted early last week by Jim Garlow, Chairman of Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership, and organizer of the Pray and Act campaign, which featured the likes of Chuck Colson, Lou Engle, Maggie Gallagher, and Harry Jackson all discussing the importance of the Pray and Act effort heading into the mid-term elections. Last night, these same leaders once again join Garlow, this time for a live webcast from Washington DC that also featured Walter Hoyle, Chuck Stetson, James Robison, Samuel Rodriquez, Jordan Lorence of the Alliance... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/11/2010, 10:48am
Though the Religious Right was universally outraged by Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling striking down Proposition, only the American Family Association went so far as to demand his immediate impeachment: Judge Walker's ruling is not "good Behaviour." He has exceeded his constitutional authority and engaged in judicial tyranny. Judges are not, in fact, unaccountable. They are accountable to Congress, which can remove them from office. Impeachment proceedings, according to the Constitution, begin in the House of Representatives. It's time for you to put your congressman... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/05/2010, 11:11am
Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission responds to the Prop 8 ruling by asserting that Judge Vaughn Walker is gay, therefore his mind is utterly warped and he is unable to reason clearly, so of course he ruled against traditional marriage ... oh, and now sodomites are going to surround your house and demand to rape your children: Let’s not be shocked that Judge Walker cannot comprehend the self-evident rational basis for prohibiting homosexual marriage, after all, he is a practicing homosexual. The Bible plainly tells us that once a person has seared his conscience to... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/04/2010, 5:01pm
I'll be updating this post as more statements are released reacting to the decision to oveturn Prop 8, but Focus on the Family is out with the first statement blasting the ruling (if you don't count Harry Jackson, who Tweeted a statement hours ago): “Judge Walker’s ruling raises a shocking notion that a single federal judge can nullify the votes of more than 7 million California voters, binding Supreme Court precedent, and several millennia-worth of evidence that children need both a mom and a dad. “During these legal proceedings, the millions of California residents who... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/04/2010, 3:13pm
It seems that the closer Elena Kagan gets to being confirmed to the Supreme Court, the weaker the Right's case for opposing her becomes and, as such, the more desperate their campaign becomes. While Phyllis Schlafly is warning that Kagan is part of President Obama's plan to "break free from our Constitution" and "fundamentally transform America," others, like Robert Knight, are going completely off the rails: As we watch in disbelief, the United States Senate is about to take the Fifth on a Supreme Court nominee who has no business being near a courtroom except as a... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 07/21/2010, 9:56am
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-6 to send Elena Kagan's nomination to the full Senate for a confirmation vote, with Sen. Lindsey Graham being the only Republican on the Committee to support her. Needless to say, Graham's decision is not sitting well with the Right, which is why Human Events responded by more or less calling him a "bitch": MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 06/29/2010, 9:58am
As the questioning in Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing finally gets underway, right-wing groups are busy releasing statements and reports claiming she is everything from a "clear and present danger to the Constitution" to a sign of the end times. The Judicial Crisis Network's first day write-up is particularly confusing, as they seem convinced that Kagan is trying to "disguise herself as the next John Roberts"  The Senate Judiciary Committee just concluded the first day of Elena Kagan's hearings to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court. Our summary of... MORE