October 2006 – We are quickly approaching a vital time in our nation’s history – the 2006 elections. The 2004 elections set in place some positive new trends among Christian voters, and we are looking for more of the same in the 2006 election cycle. This year, we will elect new U. S. representatives and senators who will not only represent us and our values, but who could change the face of the nation in regards to judicial appointments.
The media is well aware of what is at stake in our nation and has already been talking about the impact that values voters could once again have. Except, this time, their speculations are that many values voters will be, and already have been, tempted to sit out the 2006 elections. They say that we have accepted the popular idea that we should punish our elected officials by just staying home this November. While that notion may be present in the minds of some, we must see the greater picture – who will we actually punish by staying home? Will it be the House and Senate – or will it be our families, our friends and even our nation because we didn’t get out to vote for the candidate who would best represent our values?
The notion that our Congress deserves “to be punished” in such a way is questionable at best. We must remember that we have seen them administer the appointment of two excellent Supreme Court justices, pass three laws adding further limitations on abortion, uphold the president’s veto on embryonic stem-cell research, and appoint several dozen conservative judges in the lower federal courts.
This election cycle, evangelical Christians must prove rumors of decreased voter turnout incorrect and show up like they did in 2004 – setting record numbers this November. If you are reading this article and are concerned about important issues such as the sanctity of life, the Biblical definition of marriage, the freedom of religious expression, and passing more moral legislation, you have the opportunity to make a difference in your state – and the nation – this November at the polls. We must not accept the mainstream media’s prevailing assumption that conservative values voters have already conceded defeat.
Needless to say, a shift in the current majorities would make things difficult for the final two years of President Bush’s time in office. Most significantly, President Bush’s ability to appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court and other federal courts would be severely hampered if we lose any of our conservative senators, as all of these appointments would need approval of the Senate.
Given the heightened level of contention in judicial appointments, as exemplified in the hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, a Senate majority friendly to the president’s appointments has become all but essential to the approval of future appointments. It is possible that neither Alito nor Roberts would have been approved had the conservatives not held a majority. A change in the Senate majority as a result of the fall elections would most likely translate into the blocking of all of Bush’s judicial appointments in his final two years, including the possible appointment of a third Supreme Court justice.
Indeed, it is highly possible that at least one justice will retire before the end of President Bush’s term, thus enabling Bush to make his third appointment to the Supreme Court. John Paul Stevens, the senior member of the court, has hinted that since he was appointed by a Republican president, he feels that he ought to retire under a Republican president. This is tremendously important because Stevens has consistently ruled against family and traditional values during his time on the Court. Some even believe him to be the most liberal member of the court, consistently voting in favor of abortion and gay rights. If Stevens does in fact retire, it provides an incredible opportunity to replace a consistently liberal justice with a solid conservative – one who would support our values. Yet again, if conservatives don’t maintain a majority in the Senate, worrying about a possible Supreme Court appointment may well be a moot point.
Both sides of the debate will acknowledge that a third Bush appointee would have a tremendous impact on the future of the court. Conceivably, it would create the five-vote conservative bloc that those dedicated to traditional Christian values have been working toward for so many years. This kind of majority would make it possible for the court to revisit many cases that have undermined the Constitution in the past few decades. Of course, it is impossible to say for sure what a more conservative court might accomplish – whether they would overturn decisions altogether or whether they would make new decisions that effectively weaken these previous decisions.
However, in looking at decisions that were decided 5-4 with Stevens as a swing vote or 6-3 with O’Connor (now replaced by Alito) and Stevens voting against the conservative minority, it is possible to arrive at a good estimation of some of the important cases that stand a good chance of being reconsidered. Rufus King, signer of the Constitution, clearly stated the guidelines for judges when considering cases before them: “The judges must interpret the laws; they ought not to be legislators.” Evidently, looking at many of the cases that are decided by the Supreme Court today, one would think the opposite is true.
The Court has clearly overstepped its bounds and has “legislated” what we are, or are not, allowed to do or say. Some of their outlandish decisions are found in cases such as: Kelo v. City of New London – a 5-4 decision regarding eminent domain, in which the Court ruled that it was acceptable to take private property for the purpose of economic development; Lawrence v. Texas – a 6-3 decision in which the Court struck down the prohibition of homosexual sodomy; McCreary v. ACLU – a 5-4 decision ruling that a display of the 10 Commandments in courthouses violated the Establishment Clause; Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe – a 6-3 decision stating that student-led prayers at football games were unconstitutional; Lee v. Weisman – a 5-4 decision where it was determined that clergy-led prayers at graduation ceremonies were unconstitutional; Romer v. Evans – in a 6-3 decision, the Court said that Colorado’s amendment to prevent special rights for homosexual was unconstitutional; Planned Parenthood v. Casey – a 5-4 decision that reaffirmed the Roe decision; Stenberg v. Carhart – a 5-4 decision found that Nebraska’s statute criminalizing partial-birth abortion was illegal (We may already have the needed five votes to overturn this in next year’s federal challenge to partial-birth abortion – Gonzales v. Carhart.); and perhaps what is arguably the most offensive decision of them all – Roe v. Wade.
As it now stands, one additional justice would provide an excellent chance of overturning this ghastly decision that has enabled the murder of millions upon millions of pre-born innocents. Thomas Jefferson warned what would happen if the Court began to take these types of liberties not granted it by the Constitution: “[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” Clearly this has become the case today.
But with an additional conservative 5th Supreme Court justice and conservative lower federal court justices, it is quite likely that these outlandish cases would become less and less precedent. And, it is quite likely that Roe v. Wade should not be difficult to overturn, at least in theory.
It would no doubt be a momentous victory to overturn Roe, lifting this federal protection of abortion and again allowing each state to determine its own laws. The first step toward this and any other victory is participation in the 2006 elections. We must retain a pro-life, pro-family, pro-values majority in the Senate, or this discussion of judges is quite possibly a vain debate. To retain this majority, Christians must be involved and vote this November! Consider what Charles Finney, great evangelist in the 1800s, cautioned: “[T]he time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics. . . . God cannot sustain this free and blessed country which we love and pray for unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. … He [God] will bless or curse this nation according to the course they [Christians] take [in politics].”
It is vitally important that Christians not become lax in their stewardship of the country God has given us. The implications of this election will last far into the next centuries and what we do at the polls this November may well determine the political and national destiny of our children, our grandchildren and their children. Heed well what the Rev. Matthias Burnett cautioned in 1803: “Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you.” Remember to vote this November for the candidate who best represents your values.
DAVID BARTON is president of WallBuilders, an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built. For more information and a list of resources please visit the Web site at www.wallbuilders.com or call 817-441-6044. WallBuilders, P. O. Box 397, Aledo, TX 76008.