|VOL. 4, NO. 2||JANUARY 18, 2002|
A War We Cannot Avoid or Lose: |
The Constitution, The Courts, and The Culture
The Present: Judicial Nominations and the Culture War
In 2001 the U. S. Senate compiled one of the worst records in history for its inaction on Pres. George W. Bush's judicial nominations. We reported this conundrum to you in our most recent "Court Watch Briefing" (1/9/02). Probably the most frequent response to this deplorable state of affairs has been WHY? In this " Briefing" we shall begin to answer that question, which requires an understanding of the interaction between the courts, the culture, and the Constitution. The battle over Bush's judicial nominees is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg in the bitter conflict gripping America today—a battle for her mind and soul, a Culture War which pervades every area of American life. It is imperative that Judeo-Christian advocates understand the constitutional dimensions of this Culture War if Bush's judicial nominees—or any other beneficial, legitimate judicial policy efforts—are to succeed.
The Culture War pits against each other two massive, diametrically opposed world views—the Judeo-Christian world view and the Humanistic world view. Many Humanists either vehemently deny the existence of such a conflict, or celebrate what they consider to be their victory in the battle. In 1976, prominent Humanist leader Paul Blanshard celebrated this alleged "victory"—this "Twentieth Century secularization of America"—in an article entitled "Three Cheers for Our Secular State." In what he called his "paean of praise" for a secular America, he exulted, "My primary hero [in this secularizing process] is the United States Supreme Court."
His statement highlights a critical point—that the federal judiciary has been a pivotal, though often invisible, leader in this war. All too often, federal judges have promoted the Humanistic worldview. In the constitutional front of this war, the two opposing bodies of constitutional theory can be identified as the "constitutionalist forces" (of which Eagle Forum is a leader) and the "reconstruction/anti-constitutionalist forces," of which the Daschle Democrats are Herculean advocates. Bush's nominees generally support constitutionalist theory, while the Democrats (and some Republicans) who have stalled the Bush choices support contemporary theory.
The Past: From Constitutionalism to Reconstructionism
Understanding the present requires an understanding of the past. America has always been a nation in which the legal profession has played a uniquely powerful role. But until the late Nineteenth Century, American law could well have been identified as "a primary hero" in the maintenance and perpetuation of Judeo-Christian values/constitutionalist theory. Some scholars today argue that among the framers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were leaders espousing anti-Christian views. But a comprehensive and objective study of American history reveals that the Judeo-Christian value system was accepted as the foundation of the Declaration and the Constitution. A powerful case can be made for the proposition that a constitutional republic such as ours could neither be established nor maintained on any foundation other than the Judeo-Christian worldview. Indeed, John Adams, our second President and leading Founder of our nation, declared that, "Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other." [It is indisputably clear from massive evidence that the "morality and religion" to which Adams referred was the Judeo-Christian]. The question thus arises, how did our constitutional system become derailed?
A decisive turn in this direction occurred in 1870, when the dean's position at the Harvard Law School was given to Christopher Columbus Langdell, a deeply committed believer in Humanistic and reconstructionist values. From that point to the present, American legal professionals have been fed a steady diet of Humanistic/anti-constitutionalist philosophy—what former Cornell Law School Dean Roger Cramton has called "the ordinary religion of the law school classroom."
For over sixty years, the attacks on the orthodox worldview in law occurred primarily in the ivory towers of academe, sheltered from public view and public opposition. But in 1953, Earl Warren was named Chief Justice of the United States. Under his impassioned leadership, the Humanistic world view/anti-constitutionalist position which had inundated legal education spilled into court decisions and began to flood American law and culture in general. Since the Warren days, the Judeo-Christian/constitutionalist foundation of America has suffered a relentless assault from reconstructionists; and federal judges have often manned the battering ram. Consequently, our moral anchor has been replaced by moral anarchy, and constitutional supremacy has all too often been replaced by judicial supremacy.
The Future: From Reconstructionism to Constitutionalism?
To move America ahead to a revitalized constitutionalism, to rebuild a judiciary genuinely and passionately committed to "Courting Justice," is the goal of Eagle Forum's Court Watch. Our immediate goals are: (1) to educate every American possible concerning federal judicial policy and reform; (2) to fight for Senate action on judicial nominations and support constitutionalist nominees; (3) to raise the critical issue of federal judicial policy to the highest level of visibility possible in the elections of 2002. This issue is probably the most important, and the least visible, of all issues on the election agenda of 2002.
You can join us in the Courting Justice Campaign right now by writing letters to the editor, posting press releases, spreading the news through your groups and individual friends, and informing your public officials (especially U. S. Senators and Congressmen and the White House) of your concern over the current impasse and urging them to act—especially if they face re-election this fall. And for extensive, in-depth information on the topics of our briefings, visit the Blackstone Institute at www.blackstoneinstitute.org.
WORKING TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!