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Friday, April 15, 2005
Speaking of the Judicial Wars…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:13 am

Via the NYT: Frist Set to Use Religious Stage on Judicial Issue

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as “against people of faith” for blocking President Bush’s nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day “Justice Sunday” and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading “the filibuster against people of faith,” it reads: “The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith.”

[…]

Some of the nation’s most influential evangelical Protestants are participating in the teleconference in Louisville, including Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson, the born-again Watergate figure and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

This will certainly ratchet up the tension (and the politics) on this issue.

I must confess to being somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that this is a division of the religious v. the irreligious, as that is a false dichotomy. For one thing, the battle over the judiciary is about far more than issues of faith (translation in this context: about the social conservative agenda) but is, at its core, about how the Constitution and the laws of the land are interpreted. Of course, I will grant that legal theory would make for a less sexy event than one predicated on a war against faith.

To over simplify, the degree to which faith is the issue, it is about the views of many of the faithful on abortion. Clearly, Senate Democrats have decided that if a nominee is Catholic or an evangelical, then that person is dangerous vis-à-vis abortion rights, and therefore the nominee must be stopped. On balance, this appears to be the common thread that ties most of these nominees together.

The Democrats have to face reality on this one: a pro-life President is going to appoint pro-Life judges if he can, just as a pro-choice President will appoint pro-choicers. Is that really all that hard to understand? Indeed, is that in any way unfair?

Of course, the thing that frustrates me the most about this entire process is the lack of a substantial debate on the merits of the nominations. Instead, we have gotten procedural delays and vague accusations of “extremism.”

On a side note, I don’t think that paranoud rhetoric such as the following really promotes the ultimate cause of Christianity:

“As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, wrote in a message on the group’s Web site. “For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms.”

There is, no doubt, opposition to Christian ideas and ideals, but blanket statements such as this may make the faithful fell good, but it ultimately causes some to be repelled by Christianity, which is opposite the charge given to the church by Christ.

(And gee, I wonder if Frist is running for the presidency in ‘08?)

Filed under: US Politics, Courts/the Judiciary, 2008 Campaign | |Send TrackBack

The Smoothing Plane linked with At Stroke of Midnight. (hint,Yeats)
ISOU linked with I like the Commissar...
UNCoRRELATED linked with Choose your Faustian bargain
Blogotional linked with Filibuster Busting For Today
<i>Deinonychus antirrhopus</i> linked with Defying Jesus?
ISOU linked with I like the Commissar...
The Politburo Diktat linked with Carnival of Bloggers Against People of Faith
The Moderate Voice linked with Frist Gets Ready To Go Along With People Who Suggest Those Who Oppose GOP On Judicial Nominees Hate God
Waveflux linked with Why? Because, uh...he's the president, that's why!
Outside The Beltway linked with Frist Plays God Card on Judges
Pandagon linked with Nominations: A One-Way Street?

21 Comments »

  1. Nominations: A One-Way Street?
    Steven Taylor (no relation) writes on judicial nominations: The Democrats have to face reality on this one: a pro-life President is going to appoint pro-Life judges if he can, just as a pro-choice President will appoint pro-choicers. Is that really…

    Trackback by Pandagon — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 8:55 am

  2. Frist Plays God Card on Judges
    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is set to join televangelists in calling Democrats “against people of faith” on judicial nominees.

    Frist Set to Use Religious Stage on Judicial Issue (NYT)

    As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules g…

    Trackback by Outside The Beltway — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 10:01 am

  3. Yes there wasn’t a single religious nominee in any of the 200 or so judges that have been approved. Just these 10 (one of whom can’t even hold on to his bar license in Utah or DC)who are corporate shills and will laugh at the religious right once they are elected.

    Comment by mad matt — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 10:43 am

  4. Gee, the 58 million Americans who didn’t vote for Bush or his extremeist agenda object to living for the rest of their lives with judges who hate and despise them and would happily force their religious, political and social views on them regardless of the law.

    I can’t imagine why this is really so hard for Republicans to understand.

    Comment by Jimbo — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 10:52 am

  5. “The Judicial Wars.”

    Right-wing people *insist* on their right to bear arms *for the purpose of defending themselves against the government*.

    Then we have the courts, which in the US are *designed* to give the private person a way to defend themselves against the government by ensuring that the courts do *not* blindly follow the word of congress or the president.

    And you are going to let them obliterate the courts because right now the people who you think are on your side are in power in congress and the white house?

    Geee… Yes, this is *surely* about pro- or anti- *religion*. Oh yeeeeeees…

    Wake up already.

    Comment by Kristian — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 11:06 am

  6. Why? Because, uh…he’s the president, that’s why!
    So there was this. Steven Taylor @ Politiblogger: The Democrats have to face reality on this one: a pro-life President is going to appoint pro-Life judges if he can, just as a pro-choice President will appoint pro-choicers. Is that really…

    Trackback by Waveflux — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 11:30 am

  7. Frist Gets Ready To Go Along With People Who Suggest Those Who Oppose GOP On Judicial Nominees Hate God
    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has reportedly now not only decided on the “nuclear option” on filibusters but he is

    Trackback by The Moderate Voice — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 12:44 pm

  8. Steve, you make a good point that there isn’t much substantive debate on the merits of the nominations. I think that this administration invited charges of extremism when they stopped the century old practice of asking the Bar Association to vette potential candidates.
    At that point it was obvious to everyone that future nominations would be based upon political reliability rather than legal scholorship. I’m suprised that more Bush nominations haven’t been held up.

    Comment by IaintBacchus — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

  9. Except that the nominees I am familiar with all had acceptable scores from the Bar Association.

    Tact that the Bar Association leans Democratic in the first place meant that politics (or the worry about politics) had already been introduced into the equation (I am not, however, criticizing their reviews. Despite the views of their members, the Bar has done a good job in its ratings and I am not aware of a bias problem).

    Comment by Steven L. — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 2:58 pm

  10. If the American Bar Association, the organization which acredits all of our nations law schools, is viewed as “democratic leaning” then I must either assume that that view is not informed by a respect for legal scholorship or that the view is simply a position taken to dismiss an informed opinion as biased. this practice has become fashionable on the right over the last few years. And has been very effective. But let me pose a question: Every member of the current screening committee used by the white house is a member of the Federalist Society. Objectively, which body is more biased?

    Comment by IaintBacchus — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 3:46 pm

  11. I won’t speak specifically for Steven L., as he can defend himself (and in an attorney himself), but I will point out that in general, trial lawayers have been pro-Democratic on the issues, and that in an objective sense, the American Bar Association has, indeed, been perceived to lean towards the Democrats.

    And Steven L. is also correct: most, if not all of the so-called “extremists” that the President has nominated have been, in fact, approved by the Bar Assoc.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 4:56 pm

  12. Yes, and the vast majority of them (194 of 204)have been approved. How did the ABA rate Prior? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I really don’t know.

    Comment by IaintBacchus — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 4:59 pm

  13. Carnival of Bloggers Against People of Faith
    As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as “against people of …

    Trackback by The Politburo Diktat — Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 10:04 pm

  14. I like the Commissar…
    I always have… And I don’t for a moment question his conservative credentials, but I don’t question his common sense either, or for that matter his patriotism. Little things can have great impact on history. And I will not be…

    Trackback by ISOU — Saturday, April 16, 2005 @ 12:06 am

  15. Defying Jesus?
    James Joyner has an interesting post on the problem of getting Bush’s judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate. I support Frist’s efforts to get judicial nominees an up-or-down vote and even support invoking the so-called “nuclear option” to get i…

    Trackback by <i>Deinonychus antirrhopus</i> — Saturday, April 16, 2005 @ 2:00 am

  16. The Democrats have to face reality on this one…
    When you say that Bush nominees are going to be anti-choice by definition, you’re saying that his selections will be individuals who are opposed to Constitutional guarantees of privacy. The problem isn’t “activist judges,” the problem (for Bush) is the existence of judges who won’t serve as a rubber-stamp body for the executive and legislative branches.
    Bush could have his nominees swiftly approved if he’d only forward moderate, educated persons instead of the Scalia types who’ve passed his litmus test of Bible-thumping fundamentalism. We need real judges, not Imams, not theocratic spiral-eyed crazies preaching from the bench.

    Comment by The Raven — Saturday, April 16, 2005 @ 6:40 am

  17. Filibuster Busting For Today
    I was animated about correcting the judiciary before the Terri Schiavo judicial nightmare, but now I am absolutely committed. Today I want to focus my comments and links into two areas — activism and religious bigotry.

    Trackback by Blogotional — Saturday, April 16, 2005 @ 10:35 am

  18. Vacationing today through next Saturday. You won’t hear from me during that time unless an internet cafe jumps into the path of my scooter. If you happened to find my echo here (my shadow and me are in Bermuda), hello. If you can spare the time, review my prior posts. If you know anyone that might find any of them appealing, please pass my URL along.

    I’ll be back for Justice Sunday, my birthday. My view of that chap God runs towards deism. Yet, could this be tinkering? Is he trying to make me laugh, or frighten me? I say no. His work was done way back whenever, and he is beyond bemusement. As tempting as it is to watch lunatics, untethered from all reason, dart frothily to and fro, he won’t look, nor does he care. I recommend his example. Don’t look, listen not, walk away. Left alone, the righteous will disembowel, devour, and digest themselves. Their rapture, cultivated by their own derangement, will be as sewage.

    I leave this thought in my wake. All parties to the prevailing clamor should attend me. The central ingredient of justice is “impartial reason”, seasoned with a big pinch of patience. Being just requires turning away from the frenzy, not fueling it. A margarita for me please bartender. Just one.

    Comment by amos — Saturday, April 16, 2005 @ 11:16 am

  19. Choose your Faustian bargain
    Joe Gandelman has an update post on what appears to be a developing blogstorm on Bill Frist decision to play hardball with obstructionist Democrats. What’s remarkable about Joe’s “moderate voice” is how a balanced view of the matter is so…

    Trackback by UNCoRRELATED — Saturday, April 16, 2005 @ 11:51 am

  20. I like the Commissar…
    I always have… And I don’t for a moment question his conservative credentials, but I don’t question his common sense either, or for that matter his patriotism. Little things can have great impact on history. And I will not be…

    Trackback by ISOU — Saturday, April 16, 2005 @ 5:10 pm

  21. At Stroke of Midnight. (hint,Yeats)
    Outside the Beltway links to the Polipundit and gives us this quoted section:”I must confess to being somewhat uncomfortable…I suggest his discomfort is based on genuine substance; a perhaps just below conscious awareness…

    Trackback by The Smoothing Plane — Saturday, April 16, 2005 @ 6:30 pm

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