Category Archives: Separation of Powers

How Americans can Nullify Anti-Christian Court Edicts

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Federal courts have become infamous for prohibiting anything that smacks of practicing Christianity in public venues: prayer, speech, or music; even purely instrumental music. Spectators at a high school football game in Rankin County, Mississippi have found a way to nullify the edict of their particular nemesis, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves (an Obama appointee confirmed by Senators that we elected).

The Brandon High School marching band had prepared a halftime show that included the instrumental music to the hymn How Great Thou Art. Obeying the judicial edict, the school board prohibited performance of the show. So far, this is just like what has happened in so many schools across the country. It’s what the spectators did at a subsequent game that could be a “game changer.”

According to an article on the Fox News website, during halftime at the game, the spectators stood up and sang the hymn. Hundreds of people participated. One of the spectators is quoted in the article as saying, “This is the kind of thing that makes me proud to be from the South. We are getting tired of being told to sit down and shut up. People are ready to fight back.”

My question is, why should this be confined to the South? Organized resistance to judicial tyranny can be practiced anywhere in our country; and any attempt to stop it could backfire politically on those who make the attempt.

What if every school band were to include in their performances a perfectly secular piece that they play very quietly: at a volume that is easily overwhelmed by the crowd singing. Starting that piece would be the signal for everyone to start singing a hymn of choice (I vote for Onward Christian Soldiers), praying aloud, or whatever. It would even be possible to find hymns with the same meter as the music; for example using the metrical index in the back of many hymnals.

If an attempt is made to prohibit that particular secular music, choose something like the Marine Corps Anthem. Let them try prohibiting that and see what happens.

Other kinds of public meetings could find ways to do something similar. At a city council meeting, for example, the council could announce a ten minute break. What the audience does with that break is their business, and could include prayers, a sermon, singing, or whatever.

Am I suggesting that we should not obey the First Amendment? On the contrary, I’m suggesting that we push the government to obey the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress has made no law “respecting” (relating to) establishment of a religion. Only Congress may make any federal law; judges certainly may not. What Judge Reeves and the Supreme Court before him have done is illegal according to the First Amendment and Article I (“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”). It is up to us as citizens to restore respect for the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Defying illegal, anti-Christian judicial edicts is one step toward fulfilling our responsibility. Maybe someday we can even elect Congressmen who will reign in the rogue judiciary.

 

Fast Track Takes Us Down the Rabbit Hole

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Since 1974, Congress has frequently ceded the Senate’s power to accept (ratify) or decline treaties, under the so-called Fast Track trade negotiating authority. First given to Gerald Ford by the Trade Act of 1974, Fast Track allows the president to negotiate a trade related treaty with foreign powers, then submit it to Congress for approval by a majority, without amendments. This circumvents the constitutional procedure of the president presenting the treaty to the Senate for debate, followed by potential reservations, and a ratification vote, which requires a two thirds majority to pass. Under Fast Track, no amendments or reservations are allowed, and passage requires only a majority vote.

The current attempt by President Obama and the establishment Republican congressional leadership to implement a version of Fast Track is intended to grease the skids for passage of several trade agreements: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Parnership (TTIP) and others. The proponents of these treaties position them as “free trade” bills that should make American goods more competitive internationally. What they actually do is to set up international bureaucracies with legislative powers that supersede the powers granted to Congress. (<– Please do click that link)

The treaties themselves are inherently unconstitutional. The Constitution does not grant to Congress the power to delegate its own legislative authority to anyone, least of all a foreign body. Congress also has no constitutional authority to grant judicial powers to others. But cases that arise out of these treaties will be decided by the bureaucrats who administer the bodies created by the treaties. Americans would have to live with the decrees of the “administrative law judges,” since US courts would not be authorized to interfere.

So what we have is an unconstitutional process being used to implement unconstitutional treaties. We have congressional leadership, including especially the Republican Senate and House leadership, colluding with the least trustworthy president in generations, to grant that president carte blanch to negotiate the treaties, with almost no possibility of failure to ratify them. Most bizarrely of all, we find ourselves having to rely on sleazy congressional Democrats and their union allies to prevent all of this: right at home in Alice in Wonderland.

It’s too late to do anything about the Senate, since they’ve already gone to the dark side. The House of Representatives is supposed to be “the people’s house,” so it’s past time for “the people” (you and me) to weigh in. Find your representative’s contact information and call, write, or email your opposition to Fast Track and the so-called free trade agreements.

Congress is the Key to Restoring our Republic

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Pat Buchanan has taken to boasting that the liberal establishment (I interpret that to mean the Council on Foreign Relations and their ilk) is scared by his candidacy. Granted, the liberal and “moderate” Republicans are showing signs of panic, and the big media have taken on a hysterical tone in reporting on Buchanan’s campaign. Unfortunately, though, I can’t interpret those as signs that he has the establishment on the run.

As one whose hopes have been dashed by various Republican presidential candidates over the years, I recognize a pattern in what is happening. Since this column is not about the presidential race, I won’t go into detail about it, but here’s how I see this year’s events.

The presidency is too important to the liberal establishment for them to let it get out of their control for the first time since Calvin Coolidge’s administration. We have one (mostly) conservative candidate, Pat Buchanan, and a gaggle of “moderates,” opposing a far-left President Clinton. Of those candidates, the only one who would stand in the way of the establishment’s business as usual is Buchanan. Obviously the big media can be expected to step in and kill Buchanan’s chances. What we are seeing is not the establishment on the run. It is merely the standard process that is used to retain control over the presidency. A real conservative has no more chance of being elected president any time soon than our family dog has of giving birth to kittens (and she’s been spayed).

So, while it is fun to hear so much conservative opinion being expressed in a national forum by a presidential candidate, that is not where the real action is. The big media can control the public perception of a presidential candidate through massive, slanderous assaults on his character and misrepresentation of his beliefs. After all, he is a single, highly exposed target. It is much more difficult for them to control the election of 535 Representatives and Senators. In the congressional elections, the people can still think for themselves.

Not only is it more feasible for conservative congressional candidates to be elected, but it is more valuable. The real power in our constitutional system is in the Congress. Think about what needs to be accomplished. How can a president balance the budget? All he can do is veto budget bills until the big media force him to sign one. A conservative majority in Congress, or even just in the House of Representatives, where all spending bills must originate, could control the process. Just pass spending measures in a piecemeal fashion as advocated in earlier columns, and let the liberals pass their own big-spending measures if they can.

What about controlling the bureaucracy? The president is the leader of the executive branch, which is where the bureaucracy rules. Maybe he can moderate the excesses of the bureaucrats, but he can’t change the laws by which they operate, or cut down their numbers. Congress can do both of those things and more. Even if their only action is failing to pass appropriations bills, either house of Congress can limit the power of the executive branch through control of what they can spend.

The president, of course, has the power to influence the behavior of the federal judiciary by his choice of judges. Even this is not an absolute power. Every such appointment must be ratified by Senate action. Congress also has the power to limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts, and to impeach federal officials, including judges. A conservative Congress could make much more use of these constitutional safeguards.

The substantial minority of conservatives in Congress need reinforcements to be truly effective. Those of us who want to restore the Republic to its constitutional basis should concentrate on providing those reinforcements. That means finding a conservative congressional candidate and supporting him. In Southeastern Indiana, it is especially important to replace Lee Hamilton (Democrat, 9th District) with a conservative. I have high hopes that State Senator Jean Leising can fulfill that role this year. Let’s give her candidacy the support it deserves.