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Republican Leadership Seeks To Ensconce Judicial Tyranny
Speaking to church groups around the country, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tried to rally support for President Bush's judicial nominees. In so doing, Frist promoted his intention to change Senate rules in order to prevent Democrats from using filibusters to delay Senate votes on presidential nominees. Several elements of this story are very disturbing.
First, it is now painfully obvious that the Republican Party considers evangelical churches mere partisan political pawns. Instead of receiving her message and mission from Christ and the Scriptures, many churches apparently now receive their marching orders from the Republican Party. Though I have never personally received such a letter, I have heard that many pastors regularly receive "suggested" sermons from Republican officials.
Can you imagine the Apostle Paul being told by Nero's administration what to preach? Or, imagine Herod "suggesting" a sermon subject to John the Baptist!
That Republican officials even think that they can directly suggest or influence church teaching and practice reveals just how deeply many evangelicals have become mired in political partisanship. It would seem, therefore, that instead of being prophets for God, many pastors and churches have become lackeys for the state.
Second, I wonder how Senator Frist and his fellow Republicans would feel if it were a Democratic Senate Majority Leader who was attempting to deny Republican Senators from using their legal right to filibuster? Does Frist really believe that laws governing the behavior of legislators are only proper when applied to one political party? In other words, does he really believe that only Republicans have the right to filibuster, but Democrats do not?
Third, while Senator Frist seems to suggest that President Bush wants to appoint conservative justices to the federal bench, his stated comments on the role of the judiciary (and Congress) reveal just the opposite. For example, according to AP reports, Senator Frist said, "judges deserve 'respect, not retaliation,' no matter how they rule."
In other words, Senator Frist believes that the judiciary has no accountability to anyone! According to Frist, the legislative and executive branches of government have constitutional checks and balances, but the judicial branch of government has none. In essence, Senator Frist is serving to ensconce judicial tyranny into American government.
Obviously, Senator Frist has not read the U.S. Constitution. If he had, he would know that Article III, Section 1, clearly gives Congress the power to hold Courts accountable. It states, "The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior." Obviously, it is Congress that must determine what is and what is not "good Behavior."
Additionally, Article III, Section 2, states, "In all other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make."
Clearly, the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the authority and power to hold the judiciary accountable. Nowhere does the Constitution grant to the judiciary, or to any other branch of government, unrestricted, unlimited power. By stating that Congress has no right to retaliate against judicial abuse "no matter how they rule," Senator Frist is ceding tyrannical power to the judiciary, contrary to both the spirit and letter of the U.S. Constitution.
Will Senator Frist succeed? We should all pray that he does not!