Why we need the "We the People" Act (H.R. 300)
By Tom DeWeese
The United States of America was created to be a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. A Constitutionally limited republic is restricted to the protection of individual rights. As outlined in our Constitution, the role of the federal government is strictly controlled in well-defined responsibilities. According to the 10th Amendment, all other powers and responsibilities are assigned to the 50 individual, sovereign States, which also are Republican governments.
A democracy is ruled by a majority of votes. Under such a system, no rights may be guaranteed since a simple majority can overturn them. The result of a democracy is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights.
Today, judges in federal courts are handing down decisions that many times over turn specific State laws that should be protected by the 10th Amendment. The assault on our Republican form of government by the use of such judicial powers affects all aspects of our society.
The common term is "activist judges." Many believe a more accurate term is "Constitutionally-defiant" judges. So great is their power that school boards are literally banning everything from voluntary prayer in schools to wearing a tee shirt with a Christian message, for fear federal courts will take action against school officials. Now even state and local courts are making identical rulings from fear of being overturned by higher courts.
1. Federal judges are using their bench power to effectively make laws that have not been Constitutionally created by Congress.
2. In recent years Federal judges regularly have struck down State and local laws in subjects such as religious liberty, sexual orientation, family relations, education and abortion.
3. This "government by Federal judiciary" causes a virtual nullification of the Tenth Amendment's limitations on Federal Power.
4. Further, when Federal judges impose their preferred policies on State and local governments, instead of respecting the policies adopted by duly elected legislatures, city councils and county commissions -- bodies duly elected by, and thus accountable -- to the people, our republican form of government is threatened.
5. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has issued decisions that, in effect, have overturned abortion laws of all 50 states.
6. There is looming danger that Federal judges with political agendas will use their bench powers to overturn voter-approved ballot measures and legislative efforts in such issues as the definition of marriage.
As a result of this abuse of judicial power, the federal government grows ever more invasive, as the states become ever more subservient.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has said, "Congress has a responsibility to protect the states from threats to their republican form of government, whether by a foreign power or one of the other two branches. Government by judiciary is incompatible with republican government. Therefore Congress must act to rein in the out-of-control federal judiciary."
To that end, Congressman Paul has introduced the "We the People" Act, (H.R. 300)
1. Congress has a constitutional duty to act when the executive or judicial branch threatens the republican governments of the individual States. The Founders would certainly have supported congressional action to reign in Federal judges who tell citizens where they can and can't place manger scenes at Christmas.
2. The "We the People" Act prohibits the Supreme Court and each federal court from making decisions on any claim, or relying on previous judicial decisions involving: (1) state or local laws, regulations, or policies concerning the free exercise or establishment of religion; (2) the right of privacy, including issues of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction; or (3) the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation where based upon equal protection of the laws.
The Act is specifically designed to insure federal judges observe the Constitution's 10th Amendment, which assigns to the States any powers not specifically assigned to the federal government elsewhere in the Constitution.
3. The "We the People" Act also protects the traditional definition of marriage from judicial activism by ensuring the Supreme Court cannot abuse the equal protection clause to redefine marriage.
4. In order to hold Federal judges accountable for abusing their powers, the act also provides that a judge who violates the act's limitations on judicial power shall either be impeached by Congress or removed by the President, according to rules established by Congress.
Specific points to consider:
1. Attempts to resolve, by judicial fiat, important issues like abortion and the expression of religious belief in the public domain increase social strife and conflict. The only way to resolve controversial social issues like abortion and school prayer is to restore respect for the right of State and local governments to adopt policies that reflect the beliefs of citizens of those jurisdictions. Under our Constitutional system, there is no reason why the people of New York and the people of Texas (for example) should have the same polices regarding issues such as marriage and school prayer.
2. Unless Congress acts by passing legislation such as the "We The People" Act, a State's authority to define and regulate marriage may be the next victim of activist judges. Congress must launch a preemptive strike against any further Federal usurpation of the States' authority to regulate marriage by removing issues concerning the definition of marriage from the jurisdiction of Federal courts.
3. Although marriage is licensed and otherwise regulated by the States, government did not create the institution of marriage. Government regulation of marriage is based on State recognition of the practices and customs formulated by private individuals interacting in civil institutions, such as churches and synagogues. Having Federal officers, whether judges, bureaucrats, or congressmen, impose a new definition of marriage on the people is an act of social engineering profoundly hostile to liberty.
How to Pass the "We the People" Act:
ACTION TO TAKE: There is only one way the "We The People" Act will get a fair hearing and a vote in the Congress. It needs co-sponsors â€“ lots of them.
1. Call or write your Congressman and tell him/her to take a stand against activist judges by supporting the "We The People" Act (H.R.300). Most importantly, urge them to sign on as cosponsors of the bill. The bill needs at least 100 cosponsors, to get a fair hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.
Phone calls and letters are the most effective way to contact Congress. E-mails and faxes are many times ignored. Members of Congress have been changing their e-mail addresses and fax numbers when we send out alerts. You can send an e-mail by going to each member's website at http://thomas.gov.
How to call: Place a call to the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 225-3121. Ask for your congressman by name and the operator will connect you to his/her office.
How to Write: Congressman _______________________
2. Call or write Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee to let him know you support the bill. He is the one who will determine the fate of the bill in committee.
Committee on the Judiciary Phone: (202) 225-3951
3. Talk to your friends and neighbors and urge them to call Congress in support of H.R. 300.
4. Post or distribute these talking points at your church, club or office. Help spread the word that there is a way to stop activist judges from usurping our constitutional rights.
Tom DeWeese is the President of the American Policy Center and the Editor of The DeWeese Report.