NOTE: The following letter was completed two weeks ago and deals with the upcoming presidential election as it relates the U.S. Supreme Court. It addresses a subject of extreme importance to the future of this great nation. Family Talk would have gone to print with this letter and mailed or emailed it immediately to several hundred thousand people on our list of constituents. However, America lost one of its most articulate voices three days after I finished my letter, which required this introduction.
Almost coincidentally, it seems, my wife Shirley and I were having our personal devotional time on February 13th when the telephone rang. A member of my staff, Becky Lane, was calling to inform me of the sudden death of Antonin Scalia, Justice to the Supreme Court. His passing came as an enormous shock to millions of conservative Americans. Scalia has been for decades one of the most articulate, brilliant, and conservative members of the Court. His death could literally change the institution of the family and the moral character of America. I am among those who grieve his passing.
As you will read below, I wrote about Justice Scalia in my letter. His death is a tragic loss to those of us who have fought to preserve the sanctity of human life, the integrity of traditional marriage, The Second Amendment, and other conservative causes. The concern that led me to write this letter has been multiplied a thousandfold by his passing. I pray you will read these words carefully as they relate to the presidential primaries and the election next November.
As I hope the entire nation remembers, we are rapidly approaching our national elections on November 8th, 2016, when the next President of the United States will be selected. That individual will be inaugurated on January 20th, 2017, and will become the Leader of the Free-World. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this decision. As the founder and president of a nonprofit organization, Family Talk, I can’t and won’t try to suggest how you should vote. However, I can speak candidly about what is at stake for this great nation. And I will. . .
I believe this is one of the most significant national elections in American history. The future of our nation is hanging in the balance, and we dare not make a mistake this time around. I’m told our next president could eventually nominate between two and four Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, those Justices will serve for life, and their decisions won’t have to conform to “the will of the people” or to Congressional leadership.
If the Court makes more horrendous decisions, as it did in Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1857, the results will be catastrophic. That ruling declared black people to be the property of their slave masters and had no full rights to citizenship. Can you believe learned men made such an outrageous decision? It led to a Civil War that took the lives of 600,000 men before it came to a bloody conclusion in 1865.
Roe v. Wade was another historic ruling handed down by the Court in 1973. It has resulted in the murders of 58 million babies to date, and the killing goes on.
Yet another terrible decision by the Court was handed down on June 26, 2015, when five members of the Court issued their imperious ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. It redefined for the American people the meaning of marriage. This institution has consisted exclusively of one man and one woman since the days of the Founding Fathers, and long before. In fact, the family dates back to the Garden of Eden when, at least 5,000 years ago, the Creator gave it meaning and definition. Before Obergefell, thirty states had voted to include the traditional understanding of marriage in their constitutions. But the Supreme Court, acting as a judicial oligarchy, overrode the wishes of 50 million people and replaced them with their own bias. The arrogance of this Court is breathtaking!
If America chooses a weak and feckless president in 2016 as it did in 2008 and 2012, we could be “governed” (yes, governed) by an imperious Court for decades. This is my greatest concern about the outcome of the next election. It is no frivolous matter, especially when so few Christians are expected to vote. God help us if people of faith are so irresponsible as to stay home again this year. Again, so much is hanging in the balance.
Did you read in the January 26 Washington Post that a man attending a town hall in Decorah, Iowa, asked Hillary Clinton if one of her appointments to the Supreme Court could be President Obama? Her answer was chilling: “Wow, what a great idea! Nobody has ever suggested that to me. Wow, I love that!”
Thomas Jefferson warned repeatedly about the emergence of an out–of-control judiciary that would destroy the Constitution and, along with it, America’s fundamental freedoms. He first became alarmed when, in 1803, the U. S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision called Marbury v. Madison. It allowed the Justices to rule on the constitutionality of every legal issue, both inside and outside the government, giving itself unrivaled power. The concept of “checks and balances” that was intended to keep one branch from eclipsing the other two. It is no longer in force—at least not with regard to the judiciary.
When Jefferson recognized the full implications of the Marbury decision, he wrote this prophetic statement: “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
BINGO! What we have today, 213 years later, is an oligarchy (rule by a small cadre of elites.) The courts simply strike down laws and policies they don’t like, whether their opinions reflect the provisions of the Constitution or not. Furthermore, the activist judges and those who support them have turned the Constitution into what they call “a living, breathing document,” in which its actual words no longer mean what they say. The Constitution “evolves,” they tell us, to fit the biases of the Court. Consequently, we no longer have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” as Abraham Lincoln described it at Gettysburg. It is, indeed—an oligarchy.
The Marbury decision in 1803 continued to agitate Jefferson for the next two decades. He wrote in 1819: "The Constitution. . . is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.” “It has long been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression . . . that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped."
Jefferson issued one more warning in 1823, just three years before his death. This time, however, he was not simply predicting the rise of an imperious court; by then he had observed it first hand. Jefferson said, "At the establishment of our constitution, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous.”
Now, the misfortune that worried Jefferson has produced for us a culture of death that is steeped in moral relativism. We are victims in our day of the grab for power that should have been squelched two centuries ago. Since then, the Supreme Court Justices have simply overridden the will of the people, regularly and without apology. Every time they convene as a body it is like a mini-constitutional convention in which the meaning of the foundational document is changed without the consent of the governed. Henceforth, their pronouncements are the ultimate law of the land.
As we have seen, it was never intended to be that way. The Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial branches of government are “co-equal” in the eyes of the law. We know that the President and Congress regularly limit each other’s authority, but what about the Judiciary? Many Americans do not know that Article 3, Section 1 of the Constitution clearly gives to Congress the power to establish every court with the exception of the Supreme Court. All the lower federal courts,
including the courts of appeal, serve at the pleasure of the Congress. They can be abolished at will.
The troublesome Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco consistently issues off-the-wall rulings, such as the Newdow case in 2002. It declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional because it contains the phrase, “One Nation under God.” Fortunately, the Supreme Court struck down that ruling two years later on procedural grounds. This Ninth Circuit Court has been overruled more than any other in history, which could cause Congress to decommission it and create another to take its place. Unfortunately, Congress lacks the political will to do its duty. Consequently, the Courts arrogantly thumb their noses at the other co-equal branches of government.
It is outrageous that we, the people of the United States, not only find ourselves governed unwillingly by a judicial oligarchy, but we are manhandled and lectured by this tiny body of lawyers who increasingly base their rulings—not on our Constitution, nor on legal precedent, nor even on international law—but on something they call “world opinion.” The American people have neither chosen nor agree with this opinion. Justice Kennedy and his liberal colleagues simply pick and choose the people in countries or continents that agree with them, usually from Europe and Canada, and ignore the rest, such as South America, Asia, and Africa. This is what we call “judicial tyranny!” and for good reason.
Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative and brilliant of the Jurists, referred to his colleagues on the Court as “black-robed masters.” He continued, “So it is literally true . . .that the court has essentially liberated itself from the text of the Constitution, and even from the traditions of the American people.”
Scalia said, finally, “The Constitution is not a living organism, for Pete's sake. It's a legal document. And like all legal documents, it says some things and it doesn't say others. . . Within the last 20 years, we have found. . . the right to abortion, which was so little rooted in the traditions of the American people that it was criminal for 200 years—[and] the right to homosexual sodomy.” Thank God for Scalia, who has fought to defend the Constitution as written by our Founding Fathers. He is the Court’s most consistent “originalist.”
Please tell me you understand the danger of the situation that faces us. To put ultimate power in the hands of those who promise to make up their rules as they go along—or to base them on treaties that were never ratified by Congress—is a recipe for disaster. As you consider the primaries in your state by which the nominees within political parties will be selected, I hope you will take the time to become informed of the issues and the candidates’ qualifications. Ask them how they will select nominees to the Court. Then register and vote for the person of your choice. And by all means, we should pray that God will give us wisdom and good judgment as we cast our ballots.
I’ll say it again. We can’t afford a mistake this time around. There is just too much at risk. Our great nation is in serious danger.
Please feel free to share this letter with your friends and family and encourage those who share our values (your parents, children, grandchildren, neighbors, co-workers, etc.) to register to vote. Also, remind college students, snowbirds and those who will be out of the country to start now to secure their absentee ballots for both the March and November elections.
- Supreme Court PDF
- Could Obama be the next Supreme Court Justice?
- Supreme Court and Judicial Review
- Thomas Jefferson on Judicial Review
-Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, September 5, 1819. Manuscript. Thomas Jefferson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (116.00.01) (Digital ID# us0116_1, us0115_0, us0116_2, us0115_3)
-The Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Edited by Andrew A. Lipscomb. Thomas Jefferson, letter to Charles Hammond,August 18, 1821. Vol. 15, pp. 33132. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/creating-the-united-states/constitution-legacy.html#obj3
-Thomas Jefferson letter to Monsieur A. Coray, October 31, 1823.
- From Thomas Jefferson To Adamants Coray
- Justice Scalia
- Constitutional Interpretation
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