Byline: Don Feder, SPECIAL TO INSIGHT
The courts have created a crisis in American government. The usurpations of federal judges have become so subversive to majority rule and the moral order on which our civilization rests that they must be opposed if liberty and Judeo-Christian values are to survive.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his Ten Commandments monument have come to symbolize resistance to a runaway federal judiciary intent on rewriting U.S. history and imposing its will on the American people.
On Aug. 1, 2001, Moore installed his 5,280-pound monument to Mosaic law in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court. U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson ruled the monument was "nothing less than an obtrusive, year-round religious display" (supposedly in violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause) and ordered it removed. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. When Moore courageously refused to submit, Thompson set a deadline for removal and threatened to fine the state $5,000 for every day this affront to secularist sensibilities remained.
Eventually, Alabama's entire political establishment turned on Moore. The judge was suspended, pending a hearing by the state's judicial-ethics panel, for failure to comply with a federal court order. On Aug. 27, workers hauled the monument away to a storage room. That same week, a Gallup poll showed that 77 percent of Americans opposed Thompson's ruling.
Americans always have been a law-abiding people. Conservatives condemned the anarchy of the New Left in the 1960s. But to defy the unlawful decree of an unelected official isn't civil disobedience. Rather, it is fidelity to the Constitution, which exists independent of judicial whim.
As its victories over representative government mount, the federal judiciary is becoming increasingly brazen. On Sept. 15, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals postponed the recall election for California's governor (a ruling that was reversed by the same court on Sept. 22). In so doing, it abrogated the state's constitution and frustrated the will of the 900,000-plus voters who signed petitions demanding a recall within 90 days, as provided by law. This is the same court that just last year declared it unconstitutional to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools because it contains the words "one nation, under God" [see "Rulings From the Rogue Court," March 25, 2002].
For federal courts, nullifying popular sovereignty is nothing new. In 1994, 60 percent of California voters passed Proposition 187, which denied most government services to illegal aliens, to save taxpayers from the Mexican inundation. A federal district-court judge declared the amendment unconstitutional. One man vetoed the democratic decision of 60 percent of voters.
In 1996, in Romer v. Evans, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Colorado's Amendment 2, a voter-approved amendment to the state's constitution barring municipalities from enacting gay-rights ordinances. The court reasoned that prohibiting local governments from passing these measures violated homosexuals' 14th Amendment equal-protection rights which now apparently include the right of deviants to force their sexual behavior on the normal majority.
Increasingly, the federal bench dispenses with even the pretense of applying constitutional principle. In Lawrence v. Texas, handed down in June, the high court overturned the antihomosexual sodomy laws of 14 states. In his majority opinion, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy invalidated these statutes based on his belief that gays thereby were denied their "dignity as free persons" (thus violating the Constitution's dignity-as-free-persons clause?).
Kennedy quoted himself in 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld abortion on demand: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life. …