Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I'm telling you, Sensenbrenner scares me

It's bad enough that F. Jim doesn't remember his civics lessons well enough to know that the third branch of government--the judiciary--is independent. Now, it turns out, he's actively trying to subjugate the courts to the Congress.

Max Blumenthal of The Nation wandered into that "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference some of the most extreme elements of the Republican party held last weekend. This is the one, you may remember, at which conservative activist Edwin Vieira said that Stalin--you remember Stalin? Brutal killer? Bad goatee?--"offered the best method for reining in the Supreme Court. 'He had a slogan,' Vieira said, 'and it worked very well for him whenever he ran into difficulty: "No man, no problem." ' " (The complete Stalin quote is, "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem.")

The Sensenbrenner part comes on page two of Blumenthal's article. You've heard about the threats against the physical well-being of judges; what's working under the surface is an attempt to strip judges of their Constitutional authority:
The threatening tenor of the conference speakers was a calculated tactic. As Gary Cass, the director of Rev. D. James Kennedy's lobbying front, the Center for Reclaiming America, explained, they are arousing the anger of their base in order to harness it politically. The rising tide of threats against judges "is understandable," Cass told me, "but we have to take the opportunity to channel that into a constitutional solution."

Cass's "solution" is the "Constitution Restoration Act," a bill relentlessly promoted during the conference that authorizes Congress to impeach judges who fail to abide by "the standard of good behavior" required by the Constitution. If they refuse to acknowledge "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government," or rely in any way on international law in their rulings, judges also invite impeachment. In essence, the bill would turn judges' gavels into mere instruments of "The Hammer," Tom DeLay, and Christian-right cadres. [. . .]

In the Senate the bill was sponsored by Richard Shelby, a senator from Roy Moore's home state; among the co-sponsors is Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is contemplating a run for the Republican nomination for President. The bill was introduced on March 3, before the Terri Schiavo affair erupted, before Florida Circuit Judge George Greer ordered the removal of her feeding tube and before he became the poster-child for the right's judicial impeachment campaign.

Now, according to Howard Phillips in a speech to the conference, his "good friend" Wisconsin GOP Representative James Sensenbrenner is planning to hold hearings on the Constitution Restoration Act in the House. DeLay, who appeared on a big screen during a Thursday morning session to call for the removal of "a judiciary run amok," has put his name on the act as the House sponsor.
Howard Phillips, you may remember, is the founding father of the Constitution Party, which invites you to join them as they "work to restore our government [. . .] to its Biblical foundation." (Does this mean his "good friend" F. Jim will be introducing legislation to stone adulterers? Come to think if it, this does explain F. Jim's desire to over-regulate the entertainment industry.)

The "Constitution Restoration Act" is to the Constitution what the "Clear Skies Initiative" is to air and the "Healthy Forest Initiative" is to trees (read more about it here). Call F. Jim right now and ask him why he thinks our Constitution isn't worth protecting: (262) 784-1111 (district office); 1-800-242-1119 (the HOTLINE for those outside of the Milwaukee metro area); (202) 225-5101 (DC office).

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