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'A Troubling Pattern': Ideology Over Truth In Judicial Confirmations
Too Good Reports ^ | February 10, 2002 | Paul E. Scates

Posted on 02/12/2002 6:10:08 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution reads ‘no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.´ That same article also says ‘This Constitution…shall be the supreme Law of the Land…´ and ‘The Senators and Representatives…shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution´.

From those criteria, Senators or Representatives who do apply a religious test as qualification for the President´s executive or judicial appointments are violating the Constitution, and their oath to support it, are they not?

Well, that is exactly what the Senate Democrats did in their shameless witch hunt and scourging…excuse me, their confirmation hearings…of John Ashcroft as Attorney General. And this week they´ll again apply a religious test, as they have done for decades now, to one of President Bush´s judicial appointments. In case you´re suffering under the illusion that the Democrats in Congress are actually interested in anything but their own ideology and continued power to implement it, I urge you to read Byron York´ s article in National Review Online, entitled ‘The Next Big Fight.´ The details of the Democrats´ assault on Judge Charles W. Pickering, begun by ‘liberal´ interest groups in preparation for the inquisition to be conducted by those honorable men, Patrick Leahy, Ted Kennedy, et al, is the clearest indictment of the Democrats´ on-going disdain for and violation of the Constitution I´ve yet seen.

What ‘religious test,´ you ask? Well, a single-spaced, 35-page ‘report´ by People for the American Way, a notoriously left-wing support group of the Democrat Party, Judge Pickering alleges ‘a troubling pattern´ of behavior that disqualifies Pickering for a place on the federal appeals court. He is allegedly ‘indifferent´ and ‘insensitive´ to ‘critical constitutional protections.´ I leave the flimsy accusations regarding race and a woman´s ‘reproductive rights´ for you to read in York´s article, but let´s look at Pickering´s alleged ‘using his position on the bench to promote involvement in religious programs.´ Their evidence? The report notes that Pickering ‘has used the occasion of handing out sentences to convicted offenders as an opportunity to promote his religious beliefs.´ For example, in 1997, when sentencing a man convicted in a conspiracy case involving murder, Pickering said,

It's too late for you not to pay a price for what you've done. However, it is not too late for you to form a new beginning. For yourself and others, I hope you will do that. You have a lot to offer. You can become involved in Chuck Colson's prison fellowship or some other such ministry, and be a benefit to your fellow inmates and to others and to their families. I hope you will have a new beginning, even in prison; that you will make a positive contribution to society. It won't be easy, but it can be done.

PFAW cites Pickering´s reference to Chuck Colson´s ministry ‘as evidence of Pickering's disregard for the separation of church and state.´ In the case of a man convicted for receiving and sending child pornography over the Internet, Pickering told the man, ‘There are many areas of service and ministry that you can engage in while in the penitentiary.´ And a man convicted of conspiracy to commit murder was ordered by Pickering to engage ‘in some type of systematic program whereby you will be involved in the study and consideration of effects and consequences of crime and/or inappropriate behavior in a civilized society. This may be a program through your church or some other such agency or organization, so long as it is approved in advance by the probation service.´ No matter that the judge mentioned ‘other agency or organization´ in his remarks, it was the mere mention of ‘ministry´ and ‘church´ that provoked the accusations that he is unfit for the appeals court bench.

How exactly is this not a religious test, prohibited by the Constitution? Even if you agree with the Democrats´ positions on abortion, religion, etc., do you think those positions are so important that they justify the clear and willful violation of the Constitution, and of the oath sworn to uphold it? For it is that Constitution alone that stands between your freedom and the tyrannical, all-encompassing control of government. If you´re willing to violate it for ideological ‘principles,´ you´re supporting the demolition of the rule of law. Make no mistake, without that rule of law the violations of the rights of your ‘enemies´ today will become the violations of your rights tomorrow.

In previous essays I´ve argued the issue of ‘separation of church and state, ´ so I´ll not delve into it again here. But that isn´t the critical issue anyway, nor is it abortion, civil rights or the laundry list of ‘liberal´—or conservative—positions. What´s at stake is the liberty to even debate and disagree about such issues, which the rule of law makes possible for us all. By violating the Constitution in order to achieve their ideological goals—no matter the admiration you may have for the skillfulness of rhetoric or finesse of legal wrangling—Democrats damage the authority of that document, the foundation of our freedoms.

No, the Constitution doesn´t ‘give us´ our freedoms, nor does the government, as many of our citizens believe. The Declaration of Independence clearly states that our freedoms come not from men, but from the G-d Who created us, and that it is government´s primary function to protect those rights and freedoms. The Constitution is the blueprint of how government is to accomplish that job. But when anyone, left, right or indifferent, dismisses Constitutional safeguards with impunity, even for the furtherance of their ideological agenda, the foundation of freedom—liberal freedom, conservative freedom, libertarian freedom—is damaged. That affects every last one of us, regardless of political philosophy or ideological bent.

But Democrats are apparently willing to inflict that damage, as long as they get what they´re after. In this case, it´s to make sure that judges who might oppose their ‘liberal´ agenda do not get Senate approval. For forty years the Democrats have used ideological tests on civil rights, abortion and religion to either support or oppose presidential appointments. They savaged Judge Robert Bork because he could not and would not acquiesce to their un-Constitutional attacks on his record. They did the same to Clarence Thomas, again because they perceived him to be ‘conservative´ on their pet issues of abortion, race and religion. Yet they have the gall, through PFAW, to make this assertion: 'Achieving ideological domination of the federal judiciary is the top goal of right-wing activists inside and outside the Bush administration,' PFAW head Ralph Neas said when the report was released. Exactly what left-wing activists in the Democrat Party have done for forty years…their hypocrisy really has no bounds.

A judge is required to be impartial; he or she must leave ideological leanings at the courthouse door. Those who rule on anything but the Constitution and codified law are the very ones who are not fit to serve. Those who indicate, by word or record, that they´ ll rule on issues based on their personal philosophy or any other basis except the law clearly disqualify themselves. But such lack of integrity doesn´t reach the depths of a Senate committee that requires from them just such assurance of their prejudice, be it ‘liberal´ or conservative. And that is exactly what Leahy and the Democrats demand of Bush´s judicial appointments! They must pass not only the racial and abortion tests, but also the religion test. And in that, the Democrats are willfully violating the Constitution for partisan gain.

Any president has the right to staff his administration with people he chooses, as long as their personal character and integrity are not in question. The Senate has no right to hold his appointments hostage to ideological litmus tests, as the Democrats boldly do. I don´t know Judge Pickering from Adam, but he has served eleven years on the federal bench, with less than 1% of over 4,000 cases overturned on appeal, and the ABA gives him their highest ‘well-qualified´ rating. From Mississippi, he testified against the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in the sixties, and once ruled against those trying to block construction of a lesbian retreat. It´s just that uncertainty that bothers the Senate Democrats, because they´re not sure which way he´ll vote on their pet ideological issues. Sounds like the kind of judge we need, doesn´t it?

But check the media this week for the statements from Leahy´s committee members. You´re going to hear a lot about their concern for ‘a troubling pattern of judicial behavior.´ Too bad they´re not as concerned about their own troubling pattern of violating our Constitution.

TOPICS: Editorial; Government

1 posted on 02/12/2002 6:10:08 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
We already KNOW the liberals would like to get rid of the constitution. It is an inconvience to them and their causes. We should expect them to ignore it at every opportunity. How can they rule by judicial edict, when they've got a bunch of conservative judges on the bench?
2 posted on 02/12/2002 6:28:12 AM PST by kylaka
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To: kylaka
Related Articles:
Dismantling Democracy through Judicial Activism
Source:; Published: February 12, 2002;
Author:Tom Jipping

Democrats Blast Bush Judicial Nominee
Source:; Published: February 08, 2002;
Susan Jones

The Next Big Fight: The first major judicial-confirmation battle of the Bush administration.
Source: National Review: Published: Feburary 6, 2002;
Author:Byron York

SYMPOSIUM Q: Should the Senate Take Ideology into Account in Judicial Confirmations
Source: INSIGHT magazine; Published: February 4, 2002;
Ralph G. Neas -- YES: The ideology of nominees for the federal judiciary matters more now than ever
Roger Pilon -- NO: Since judges apply law, not make it, the Senate's concern should be with judicial temperament

What is the Judiciary Committee Trying to Hide?
Source:; Published: January 29, 2002;
Author: Thomas L. Jipping

Blasting Conservative Judges: Liberals Launch Their Campaign
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Matt Pyeatt

Judicial Confirmation Lies, Deception and Cover-up
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Author: Thomas L. Jipping

Senator Leahy Does Not Meet His Own Standards; Published: December 07, 2001
Author: By John Nowacki

Senator Daschle Must Remove 'Leaky Leahy' From Judiciary Committee
Source: Too Good Reports; Published: December 4, 2001
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A Disgraceful Blocking of Nominees
Source: The Wall Street Journal (ltr to ed) Published December 3, 2001

Mr. Leahy's Fuzzy Math
Source: Washington Times;Published: December 3, 2001

Sen. Patrick Leahy; Our Constitutional Conscience?
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Author: Paul E. Scates

Judicial confirmations called significantly low
Source: Washington Times; Published: November 30, 2001
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Patrick Leahy - Words Do Kill
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Judicial Profiling
Source: The Wall Street Journal; Published: November 27, 2001

Sen. Leahy's judicial hostages
Source: Washington Times; Published: November 21, 2001

Judges Delayed is Justice Denied
Source: ; Published: November 20, 2001;
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Partisanship is Prevalent with Leahy's Judicial Confirmations
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Leahy And Daschle Are Coming Face To Face With Their Own Words
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Obedient Democrats
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Why is Daschle Blocking Judges needed to Try Terrorists when we Catch them?
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Source: The Washington Times; Published: Oct 24, 2001
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Leahy doctrine ensures judicial gridlock
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Senate's judicial powergrab: Tom Jipping tracks Dems' assault on courts
Source:; Published: June 28, 2001
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3 posted on 02/12/2002 6:39:22 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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