Michele Bachmann has made so-called “activist judges” a consistent target of her presidential campaign, dubbing them “black-robed masters” and in last night’s debate she called for Americans to “take the Constitution back” from the courts. Railing against the judiciary is a safe bet for Republicans trying to pander to social conservative voters, but Bachmann’s view of the legal system has come out of her experience as a Religious Right activist and student at Oral Roberts University Law School.
At Oral Roberts, Bachmann worked for Professor John Eidsmoe, and as reported by Ryan Lizza, Eidsmoe taught that when “Biblical law conflicted with American law, Eidsmoe said, O.R.U. students were generally taught that ‘the first thing you should try to do is work through legal means and political means to get it changed.’” Bachmann has consistently trumpeted her work with Eidsmoe, whose legal philosophy has been greatly influenced by Christian Reconstructionist RJ Rushdoony and has urged Christians to promote Biblical law in government.
Today on The Jan Mickelson Show, Bachmann said that her “biblical view of law” molded her view that America needs to disempower the judiciary:
Bachmann: I hold a biblical view of law. If you look at the original constitution and the founding documents of our country, it was clear that the founders wanted to separate power, they wanted to separate the presidency from the Supreme Court and from the Congress, because they thought that the Congress should be the most powerful of all the people’s voices because the people would have the ability to change out the members of the House every two years, originally the state legislatures would chose the Senators and they would have the state’s interest in mind, and the President was meant to execute the laws that Congress would put into place. The courts had a relatively minor function, it was to take current facts and apply it to the law that Congress had passed. So it was really a beautiful system that set up but it’s been distorted since then, and that’s what we need to do, get back to the original view of the Founders because it worked beautifully.