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Protecting the Republic from federal judges

By Tom DeWeese
web posted June 12, 2006

In California, a majority of voters supported a ballot measure to stop illegal aliens from receiving tax-funded services such as schools, hospital care and social services. A federal judge declared the measure null and void and forced policy over the legal wishes of the electorate.

In Oregon, a majority of voters supported a ballot measure to require the government to compensate landowners when property was taken through environmental regulations. A federal judge declared the measure null and void and forced policy over the legal wishes of the electorate.

In Alabama, Judge Roy Moore was forced to remove the Ten Commandments from the State Supreme Court grounds. A federal judge declared the monument unconstitutional, ignored the 10 Amendment and forced his will over the legal wishes of the electorate.

The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, forcibly overturned the abortion laws of all 50 states though its Roe V Wade decision. The Supreme Court ignored the 10th Amendment and forced its will over the legal wishes of the electorate.

Unclear environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are being interpreted by federal judges (who are working hand in hand with non-governmental organizations and private foundations) to implement radical policy, resulting in the taking of private property in every state.

The common term today is "activist judges." So great is their power that school boards are literally banning everything from school prayer 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 a higher federal court.

Activist federal judges have declared themselves the power over state legislatures, school boards, and city councils. Prayer in public places, personal privacy and now marriage laws are under siege from federal courts. The courts, in turn, are responding to a battery of lawsuits filed by such predatory activist groups as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – making the ACLU more powerful than locally-elected officials.

As a result, the federal government grows ever more invasive, as the states become ever more subservient. The Republic for which we stand is quickly disappearing. Obviously, that's not what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

To the rescue is Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) as he introduces a new bill called the "We the People Act." As Rep. Paul explained upon the bill's introduction, "Federal judges are undermining republican government by imposing their preferred policies on states and local governments, instead of respecting the policies adopted by those elected by, and thus accountable to, the people."

Rep. Paul rightly addresses the real problem with activist judges. It's not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with the outcome of a federal court ruling. "Some may claim that an activist judiciary that strikes down State laws at will expands individual liberty," said Paul. "Proponents of this claim overlook the fact that the best guarantor of true liberty is decentralized political institutions, while the greatest threat to liberty is concentrated power. This is why the Constitution carefully limits the power of the Federal Government over the States," he concluded.

Courts that are free to overturn State laws at the whim of a judge or from the pressure of an activist group's lawsuit literally nullify the Tenth Amendment's limitations on Federal power. "Furthermore," says Paul, "when Federal judges impose their preferred policies on State and local governments…republican government is threatened."

"Perhaps more importantly," Paul says, "attempts to resolve, by judicial fiat, important issues like abortion and the expression of religious belief in the public square increases 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 the citizens of those jurisdictions."

Paul's "We the People Act" forbids Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from adjudicating cases concerning State laws and polices relating to religious liberties or "privacy" including cases involving sexual practices, sexual orientation or reproduction. The We the People Act also protects the traditional definition of marriage form judicial activism by ensuring the Supreme Court cannot abuse the equal protection clause to redefine marriage.

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 the rules established by the Congress.

Every American who wants our Federal government to fall back within the boundaries of control, as established by the Founding Fathers must call or write their Congressman to demand they support and co-sponsor Rep. Ron Paul's We the People Act.

Concluded Rep. Paul, "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."

Tom DeWeese is president of the American Policy Center and editor of the DeWeese Report. He can be reached at apcmail@americanpolicy.org.

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