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~ Update on the Courts ~

U. S. Senators have returned home, and U. S. Representatives will be doing so shortly--but only temporarily. Congress has not completed its business and must return to Washington a week after the elections to do so. In the interim, we the people have our last chance to confront candidates, and our best chance to confront all members, about federal judges. As we vote, we are truly voting on the future of constitutional government in America, in a way that has never been true before because of the extraordinary impact that the next President and Congress will have on the federal courts.

Candidate Al Gore promises to appoint judges who will uphold Roe v. Wade, who will "update the Constitution" to meet societal needs, who will "find the deeper meaning in Constitutional provisions," who easily over-rule decisions of the people and over governmental agencies, who want to be policy-makers not policy-interpreters, who will give us judicial supremacy, not constitutional supremacy--i.e., activist judges. Candidate George Bush promises to appoint judges who will respect the Constitution, who will find its meaning in its words and intent, who will respect decisions of the people and other governmental agencies, who are willing to restrict their role to policy-interpreting, who will give us constitutional supremacy, not judicial supremacy--i.e., restraintist judges.

The landmark importance of next Tuesday's elections is indicated by the following facts, which should also help us to evaluate candidates and to prepare for the post-election congressional session:

Current judicial nomination statistics show that Clinton-Gore have their "fair share of federal judgeships":

  • The Clinton-Gore Administration has named 373 judges (almost 47% of the total)

  • The federal bench is now occupied by more Democrat-appointed judges (616) than Republican-appointed judges (596) and more Clinton-appointed judges than judges appointed by Reagan and Bush combined

  • There are currently 64 judicial vacancies (only one above the 63 vacancies designated as "full employment" by Clinton's Justice Department)

  • There are 25 vacancies for which Clinton has named no nominee

  • The GOP-controlled Senate has confirmed 244 nominees and rejected only 1

Clinton-Gore judges have rendered numerous egregious decisions:

  • A small sample of these rulings reveals that these judges have opposed partial birth abortion bans, general health facility regulations for abortion clinics, city and county seals containing crosses, prayers before school board meetings, and teen curfews in an area where 85% of the juvenile crime would have been covered by the curfew

  • A small sample shows that these judges have supported the right of minors to an abortion without parental consent, the right of prison inmates to possess sexually explicit material, the right of state college professors to access pornography on state-owned computers, and the rights of criminal defendants in appellate courts more than twice as often as other judges.

But Republican-appointed judges have also rendered deplorable rulings:

  • Roe v. Wade: 5 of the 7-member majority were GOP-appointed judges

  • The Casey abortion regulations decision of 1992: 4 of the 5 Justices who voted to reaffirm Roe v. Wade were GOP-appointees

  • Romer v. Evans upholding homosexual rights in 1996: 4 of the 6-member majority were GOP-appointees

  • Stenberg v. Carhart throwing out a state partial birth abortion ban last term: 3 of the 5-member majority were GOP- appointees

  • The Santa Fe School District football game prayer case last term: 4 of the 6-person majority were GOP-appointees.

The problem of activist/liberal judicial decisions is greatly aggravated by the long tenure of judges whose Constitutionally-specified term is "life or good behavior":

  • U. S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a radically activist/liberal judge, served on the Court for 36 years, rendering over 1200 opinions

  • The last federal judge appointed by President Harry Truman died only recently; U. S. District Judge Seybourn Lynn was appointed in 1945, serving 55 years on the bench

  • One of the federal judges deeply involved in the civil disorder cases of the 1960s and 1970s died only recently; Appellate Judge Wilbur R. Pell, Jr., (7th Cir.) voted to reverse the convictions of the "Chicago Seven," some of the most infamous riot leaders of the 1960s;" Judge Pell was named to the bench in 1970, serving 30 years in his post

  • When the next President assumes office in January, 2001, 7 of the 9 members of the current U. S. Supreme Court will be age 62 or older

  • In what is almost a record-setting phenomenon, no Supreme Court Justices have been named since 1994; the last time a similar phenomenon occurred was during the term of President James Monroe (1823).

The significance of the federal courts to this election is also intensified by the number and importance of close votes on appellate courts:

  • In the Supreme Court's last term, three of the most critical decisions were by 5-4 votes: the Stenberg ruling, the decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (protecting the Scouts' right to refuse to hire a homosexual leader), and U. S. v. Morrison (invalidating an excessive use by Congress of its commerce power to criminalize conduct already criminal under state laws)

  • Also in the Court's last term, 20 of its 74 decisions (almost 30%) were by 5-4 votes.

~ For Immediate Action ~

  • Your U. S. Senators: continue to tell them, no more Clinton judges and no more deals when they return to Washington after the elections;

  • Your U. S. Senatorial candidates: urge them to take a strong, open stand in support of restraintist judges and federal judicial reform

  • Your U. S. Representative candidates: urge them to take a strong, open stand in support of restraintist judges and federal judicial reform

  • Your State legislative and gubernatorial candidates: urge them to promote vigorously state legislative resolutions opposing judicial activism

  • Your state judicial candidates: urge them to assume a restraintist role in interpreting state constitutions and other state laws

  • To arm yourself with additional knowledge, find our how your Senators have voted in the judicial nomination roll call votes for 1999 and 2000 by consulting the voting records posted elsewhere on this website; also, order the materials listed on our page labeled "The Courting Justice Campaign Collection," especially the manual "Courting Justice: A Guide to Judicial Reform"

  • Join the prayer movement sweeping the nation in preparation for Nov. 7th; to help you in this vital effort, click on our page labeled "Challenge to America's Heritage"

After Nov. 8th, will America be a nation turning toward a government of laws, not of men, OR a nation continuing its precipitate decline toward a government, not of law but of the lawless?

The answer is in our hands.

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