Skip to comments.'Disrobed': How Conservatives Can Take Back the Courts
Posted on 07/03/2006 12:43:31 PM PDT by DBeers
In Mark W. Smith's new book, Disrobed: The New Battle Plan to Break the Left's Stranglehold on the Courts, he advocates a radical new plan for conservatives to take back the courts. After working with Mark on the research for Disrobed, I spoke with him about the reaction the book has received from conservatives and whether they will embrace lawsuits as lawmaking and conservative judicial activism.
You begin Disrobed with your reaction to the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. How did conservatives reaction to the nomination shape the premise of Disrobed?
Like most conservatives, the Miers nomination was a huge disappointment and made me angry. Thankfully, we dodged that bullet by making it very clear that conservatives werent happy. The whole debacle actually helped inspire Disrobed because it proved that not everyone gets it when it comes to the courts.
When the White House team defending Miers explained why Miers should be confirmed, I asked them, Is this it? This frustration led me to reexamine the entire movements approach to the courts.
Disrobed isnt just another court book that identifies the problem and talks about the way things ought to be. It is a battle plan, based on my experience as a New York litigator and on the reality of our modern court system, to win in the courts in all respects. This means only nominating and seating Judicial Reagans to the bench, employing principled, conservative judicial activism, and working to destroy liberalism through strategic litigation.
How has the left taken advantage of the rights view of the courts?
The left walks all over us in the courts because we dont play to win. We need to embrace Ronald Reagans strategy in the Cold War and apply it to the courts: We win. They lose. The left manipulates the courts to enact its left-wing agenda because they know that they could never win in the legislature. Conversely, conservatives on demand that judges apply the rule of lawwhich would be great, except that the only laws that exist for judges to apply are those that have been infected by 50 years of liberal judicial activism.
In Disrobed, you coin the term Judicial Reagan. What is a Judicial Reagan? Are there any on the bench now?
A Judicial Reagan is a principled, reliable conservative willing to defend an entire set of conservative beliefs about the role of limited government, free markets, family, and government in American life. A Judicial Reagan would use the courts to advance the American ideals of faith, family and freedom, and he would do so in a manner completely consistent with the Founding Fathers vision of America. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito may be a Judicial Reagan, but its too soon to know.
In the chapter, No More Souters, you outline a litmus test for selecting judges. What are conservatives chances for getting these judges confirmed or elected?
Excellent if we toss aside the conventional wisdom that nominees should not defend themselves in the media. Ronald Reagan taught us the power of taking our message directly to We the People and from now on conservatives who seek to become judges should go into the new media and proudly explain what they stands for and why. Remember, liberals must speak in code about their actual political agendaconservatives dont.
What would be a key ruling that would signify a major victory for conservative judicial activism?
Striking down urban gun control laws, reversing Roe v. Wade, cutting back on economic regulations and giving American taxpayers greater legal protections against tax authorities. Also, I would love to see a conservative activist judge take over a failing school district and impose a school voucher program. A judicial ruling in the name of diversity requiring colleges to adopt affirmative action policies in favor of conservative professors would also be most excellent.
Is this a case of the end justifying the means? After all, what many conservatives consider a constitutional outcome seems to be the same as judicial activism with a conservative agenda?
No, not at all. Disrobed simply explains how to bring back constitutional government using the strategies and tactics of the modern legal system. We want to live in a world envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Disrobed explains how we can achieve such a world by deploying modern legal strategies and precedents to win. Our current approach is akin to bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Many of the tools you mention in Disrobedlitmus test, living Constitution, lawsuits as policymakingprovoke a visceral reaction from conservatives. How feasible is it for conservatives to embrace these tools of the left?
Conservatives need to recognize the differences between embracing the tools and the ideology. For years, conservatives correctly complained about the liberal media. However, we broke the lefts stranglehold on the media but creating our own new media strongholds. So too will we break the lefts stranglehold on the courts by encouraging courts to be allies of conservatives and not enemies.
Now we must apply this same strategy in the courts and weve already seen glimmers of this potential. Just last week Justice Scalia wrote for the Supreme Courts majority a decision that interpreted the Constitution by discussing the social costs of the Fourth Amendments exclusionary rule. Thats what we need more ofconservative justices considering the social and political consequences of their decisions in the nations most important politically charged legal cases.
What has been the reaction to Disrobed and the battle plan you outline for taking back the courts?
Most conservatives are eager to understand why a staunch right-wing conservative thinks our current approach to the courts needs to be completely changed. Disrobed is not your fathers court book listing a bunch of complaints, but is instead a catalyst for conservatives to begin an earnest dialogue on solutions to fix the problem. And for those conservatives who disagree and think we should stay the course, I simply ask them to apply the question Dr. Phil has made famous: Hows that been working for you? Unfortunately, we conservatives know all to well how bad weve been beaten in the courts by the loony left for the last many decades.
Given that your last book, the New York Times bestseller The Official Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, was fairly consistent with the views of most conservatives, do you think it will help with selling the principles in Disrobed?
I am a professional litigator who handles real cases for real clients in real courts. My professional life is devoted to winning for clients. My favorite client is the vast right-wing conspiracy and I want it to win. In my first book, I provided conservatives with the arguments they need to win arguments against liberals whether in the media, at home or at the water cooler. In Disrobed, I applied the same premise to helping the conservatives win in the courts.
One of the most important issues facing the U.S. is illegal immigration. How can conservatives use the courts to respond to this issue?
We need to secure the border against the invasion of illegal immigrants and we also must encourage the full assimilation of legal immigrants into the American way of life. However, nobody is discussing how the courts could help reduce substantially the costs of illegal immigration to the American taxpayer. We are a single Supreme Court decision away from ending the requirement that states must provide free public education to illegal immigrants and their children. If the Supremes reversed the 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe, then individual states could begin to refuse to pay for free public subsidies for illegal aliens, and the Supreme Court decision would provide moral and legal legitimacy for denying other public funds to illegals. This reversal alone obviously wouldnt solve the illegal immigration problem, but it would certainly reduce its costs to taxpayers.
Certainly law schools are a battleground for advancing a conservative agenda in the courts. What can be done to encourage law graduates to embrace conservative advocacy rather than pursuing the traditional avenues conservative lawyers tend to take?
Join the Federalist Society to learn about the Founding Fathers, but then learn from your liberal law professors how to use the court system for political gainthen graduate and use the lefts legal strategies to advance free markets, God in the public square, gun rights, defending unborn children and the American way of life.
What was your experience as a conservative in law school?
I was surrounded by wall to wall liberalism at NYU Law School, but it taught me how our enemies think and fight. I discuss my experiences lessons in Disrobed.
What can HUMAN EVENTS readers do to break the lefts stranglehold on the courts?
We must all look for ways to turn the courts into allies of the conservative movement by following the battle plan I outline in Disrobed. We must teach ourselves to always ask what can the courts do to advance the conservative agenda? Remember, it was Paula Jones lawsuit that got Bill Clinton impeached and helped put George W. Bush in the White House.
Miss De Pasquale is CPAC director at the American Conservative Union in Alexandria, Va. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawyers, bleah! How about we just get rid of activist judges and appoint persons who will defend the constitution instead of legislating from the bench?
How about apponting non-lawyers to the bench? It's not a requirement that they be lawyers. I would prefer plumbers, electricians and mechanics on the bench any day over another freaking lawyer.
Anybody else have a problem with this statement?
That's a cute "sound bite" but the truth is the "real lawyers" would eat their lunch every single day. There are still plenty of very well qualified judges to pick from like Roberts and Alito.
Woo hoo!! Advocating war against liberal activism using their own tools! Let loose the dawgs of wahr!!
I would prefer plumbers, electricians and mechanics on the bench any day over another freaking lawyer
The damage was done by real lawyers who ignored real law and instead put their personal "feelings" into their opinions.
A plumber can legislate from the bench just as well as any real lawyer such as Douglas, Brennan, Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens, Earl Warren, and the rest of the legal positivists.
The point is that it doesn't take a real lawyer if the activist decisions being given by real lawyers are made upon personal whims instead of intent of the Constitution.
Please see and please see post #47 by me on that thread:
All activist judges NEED TO BE IMPEACHED...simple as that...congress needs to do their jobs.
Earl Warren was not an attorney. It is better to have someone who knows what they are doing to lead a revolution.
Some of these judges are so old they have to tie a sponge under their jaw to catch the drool.
Earl Warren was, in fact, an attorney.
He graduated from UC-Berkeley's law school in 1914 and then practiced law 'til he was appointed Alameda County Attorney in 1925.
Anybody else have a problem with this statement?
Sure. There's no such thing as a "conservative, activist judge."
Unless he actively pursues to uphold the Constitution as written. But then, of course, he's a radical, right-winger.
I would accept anyone who has good old American common sense.
The left walks all over us in the courts because we dont play to win. We need to embrace Ronald Reagans strategy in the Cold War and apply it to the courts: We win. They lose. The left manipulates the courts to enact its left-wing agenda because they know that they could never win in the legislature. Conversely, conservatives demand that judges apply the rule of lawwhich would be great, except that the only laws that exist for judges to apply are those that have been infected by 50 years of liberal judicial activism.
Bork called it "judicial ratcheting". Stare decisis is the ratcheting mechanism employed against conservatives.
It only works against conservatives patsies.
..how about we win they lose? ..a fighter and non patsie.
"Also, I would love to see a conservative activist judge take over a failing school district and impose a school voucher program..."
Amen to that. This is no conservative writing this book, if he believes that. I also have a problem with this statement:
"Thats what we need more ofconservative justices considering the social and political consequences of their decisions in the nations most important politically charged legal cases."
In a conservative justice's opinion, there are no statistics.
There is no sociological data analysis.
There is no discussion of law review articles or citation to foreign law before 1776.
There is no review of the world's position, or the fifty States' positions, on any federal law.
There is the Constitution, and the intent of the Founders, and THAT IS IT.
Scalia and this guy should be ashamed for even mentioning it. The law is the law. It is black and white, in writing, immutable. It means what it says. If the legislature doesn't like the consequences of the laws they have passed, they should change them.
Here's a little historical footnote: on the day that Reagan announced the appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor, The Wall Street Journal carried a Letter to the Editor which argued that there should be an economist on the Supreme Court.
I immediately thought, ". . . and I know just the person for that role - Thomas Sowell!"And then I looked at the byline of the letter. It was written by Thomas Sowell!!
Just think if Reagan had done that instead of naming Sandra Liberal O'Connor!