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  • Wednesday, May 25, 2005


    Constitution Restoration Act of 2005

    When it rains, it pours. I was tipped to the Constitution Restoration Act of 2005 in an editorial in In These Times, a progressive, often labor-oriented magazine. Here's a bit which alarmed me (I'm always getting alarmed; I should be used to it by now.):
    The act does three things. First, it prohibits the Supreme Court from ruling against any government official or government body whose actions acknowledge “God as the sovereign source of law, liberty or government.” In other words, enshrine the Ten Commandments in public places. Second, it prohibits federal judges from citing the laws or judicial policies “of any foreign state or international organization or agency.” This is aimed at the likes of Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Anthony M. Kennedy, who have all cited international judicial norms in their rulings. Third, the act provides that any judge who rules in either of these two ways “may be removed upon impeachment and conviction.”
    Holy Zeus! So much for that whole separation of Church and State thingy. Hmm... Wasn't part of the American Revolution about creating a form of government NOT based on the divine Right of Kings? Guess it's not too important.

    Wait a minute. Are they telling the truth? How much support does this have? Well, it was sponsored by six senators and 30 representatives, according to In These Times. I start wondering: maybe it's not as bad as they say, maybe they're misinterpreting it. So I mosey on over to Thomas, the government site of the US Congress with transcripts, legislation and all sorts of fun stuff. Your government in action. Yep, there it is and to my surprise the bill is fairly easy to understand. Here's the bit on the first point:
    `Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.'.
    I'm not too clear on what a "writ of certiorari" is but everything else is pretty obvious. (From Tech Law Journal: "Writ of Certiorari. A decision by the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from a lower court.") What are it's chances of passage? I don't know. My understanding is that an almost identical bill was introduced last year called, surprise!, the Constitution Restoration Act of 2004. Obviously it didn't pass then.

    Well, what are the uber-conservatives saying? If they are pimping it, it is probably evil. (Sorry, moderate conservatives, but you must know this is true by now.) What's this? has an article on it. How interesting! GOPUSA is the ex-home base of Jeff "Don't call me Bulldog" Gannon/Guckert, the "journalist." Here's what Kay R. Daly says on their site:

    As a matter of law, Congress could convene today and abolish the entire federal judiciary, with the exception of the Supreme Court. It could also create a federal court to hear nothing but Terri Schiavo cases within the bounds of federal legal jurisdiction as enumerated in Article III, Section 2. The Congress has already created specific federal courts on tax law, national security and even maritime issues, so it has been done before.

    In the past couple of years, we have seen examples of judicial tyranny in landmark cases about the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments, and gay marriage, to name but a few. Judicial activism and judicial tyranny has expanded exponentially only because "we the people" and our elected Congressional representatives have allowed it to happen.

    That's pretty clear. She thinks Congress controls all federal courts. Maybe it does. I'm not much of a scholar in this area. But the bill actually dictates what the Supreme Court can or can't consider. That just don't seem right to me. I seem to recall that the branches of government provide checks and balances on each other. If Congress starts really manipulating the judiciary and directly infringing on it, well, that's cause for a little action. The thought of it makes me go over all surly and angry. I'm not prone to anger much which is why it's not a good idea to rile me up. And why am I writing in this yahoo-type voice? Must be my bedtime.

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