Going Nuclear in the Senate

Neil Gorsuch’s nomination for the Supreme Court is coming to a vote in the Senate shortly. Democrats on the Senate Committee who grilled Judge Gorsuch came our uniformly against him. Chuck Schumer, the Democrat leader in the Senate, says his party will filibuster the nomination despite Gorsuch receiving the American Bar Association’s highest rating. That organization is not exactly ruled by conservatives.

So why the filibuster tactic? What is Gorsuch’s crime? Could it be that he simply believes judges should interpret rather than create law? Could it be that he thinks there’s something called the Constitution to which he is accountable?

Schumer and his fellow Democrats are being 100% political . . . and 100% childish and irresponsible.

Let’s be honest: Democrats don’t care one bit about constitutionality. They’re all about doing whatever they deem best while ignoring the rule of law. And let’s go one level deeper: they want to continue to allow unborn children to be slaughtered and Biblical morality overall to be excised from American society.

Now, they would never say that. But their actions make it clear that’s where they’re coming from.

Back in 2013, then-Majority Leader Harry Reid stopped all filibusters on cabinet-level appointees and federal judge appointments below the Supreme Court. He didn’t want to have to round up 60 votes to stop debate. That rule-altering precedent was fine to Democrats at that time.

Now that the Republicans are on the verge of doing the same thing for the Gorsuch nomination, we hear cries of “rule of law” from the very people who normally are impervious to such concerns.

For some silly reason, the move to allow a majority vote to stop debate has been called the “nuclear option.” Forgive me if I think such a decision is somewhat short of a nuclear anything. Use the word “nuclear” in relation to something and you can raise all kinds of hysteria.

Democrats should think twice before employing a filibuster on a highly qualified Supreme Court nominee. Of course, saying they should think twice is giving the benefit of the doubt that they’ve thought once already.

The Democrat party has become the refuge of every unconstitutional and immoral public policy. It is filled with radicals who would like to transform America into their idea of a non-Christian utopia. It didn’t used to be this way.

When this latest Senate battle is finally over, I will heartily welcome Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. May he remain faithful to how he has ruled in the past, and may he help restore judicial integrity to a system that is in danger of collapse.

Accepting the Trump Victory

I believe in the rule of law. Regular readers of my blog know of my concerns about Donald Trump. Yet he has won the election and is the legitimate president-elect. I warned about him during the primaries; I even hoped for some kind of reversal of his coronation at the Republican convention. But now that the election is past, all American citizens need to accept the reality of a Trump presidency and pray for the best.

At least he’s not Hillary Clinton. You know, that candidate that still won’t quite go away.

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The phony recounts should be curtailed. Threats against official electors should be investigated. President Donald Trump is the looming reality, and it’s time for all the juvenile protests to end.

first-snowflake

Yet we have so-called sanctuary cities digging in their heels and saying that federal law doesn’t apply there. That’s the same spirit that agitated South Carolina back in the 1830s when that state attempted to nullify a federal law, one that was passed with constitutional authority.

The same applies to immigration and naturalization laws: they are constitutional and need to be complied with or those cities should lose all federal money that goes to them (most of it unconstitutional, by the way).

under-attack

It’s actually rather funny/sad to see Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago declare his city as a sanctuary for anyone:

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Trump has made a lot of promises.

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Some of them I would like to see fulfilled; others, not so much. But it’s going to take more than a tweet flurry to accomplish what he wants to do. It’s going to take wise counsel and emotional maturity. I have yet to comment on the people he has chosen to surround himself with in his administration, but that will be forthcoming. I still want to find out who will fill that very key role of secretary of state before offering an opinion.

Yes, I do want Trump to succeed, provided those successes are of the constitutional variety. I remain in wait-and-see mode.

Will Scalia’s Legacy Be Honored?

News of the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia stunned the political world over the weekend. Scalia, a stalwart defender of the Constitution, will be sorely missed, especially in this era of constitutional ignorance and/or apathy. His firm conviction that one must look to the Founders’ words and their original meaning kept the Court from straying more often than it did.

Nominated to the Court by Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate unanimously, Scalia was considered a legal giant, a towering intellectual who knew how to skewer foolish and unconstitutional Court rulings with a biting wit in his many dissents.

Meeting with Scalia

When Reagan nominated Scalia, he said this of him:

Reagan Quote-Scalia

His death was a graduation for him personally, as he was an outspoken Christian believer. He is far happier right now than all of us he left behind.

Yet his death, at this time, opens a political debate that has ramifications for the future of this nation. President Obama would love to place another justice on the Court who reflects his personal philosophy of progressivism, which ignores constitutional limitations on the federal government.

To be clear: he has the right to nominate. To be just as clear: the Senate has the right to reject any nominee he puts forward. Will the Republican majority in the Senate show some backbone this time and not allow another progressive on the Court? They are showing signs of a growing spine. We will see.

Scalia’s death was announced just a few hours before the Republican presidential debate in South Carolina. At the beginning of the debate, all joined in a respectful moment of silence.

Unfortunately, with Donald Trump on the stage (who was the only one not even to close his eyes during that moment of silence), the air of respect soon vanished.

I won’t go into a blow-by-blow description of what took place at the debate, except to say it would have been a genuine debate without the circus atmosphere created by Trump.

February 2016 SC DebateHis favorite word of the night was “liar,” aimed constantly at Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, and mostly in response to their accurate accounting of his liberal beliefs and attitude of personal insults. Trump interrupted continually, attempting to disallow other candidates from completing their sentences. As I watched, even I, as someone who has always considered Trump to be a rude, crude joke of a candidate, could hardly believe how low he sank in this debate.

In all the commentary afterwards, very few have voiced what I saw, but Stephen Hayes came closest when he referred to Trump as unhinged. He was, quite often, out of control emotionally. Any other person running for this nomination who acted like that would be considered poison politically, yet Trump and his supporters somehow consider his manner justified.

He was the most unpresidential man on the stage. Yet he leads the polls.

Even fewer commented on what else I saw: the calmness of Ted Cruz while Trump berated him as the greatest liar he had ever known. Frankly, I was impressed that Cruz could keep his cool throughout the tirade. In my opinion, that’s the kind of character trait I want in a president.

I will admit to being discouraged that a narcissist who, under normal circumstances, would be dismissed as a serious candidate, is on the cusp of becoming the Republican nominee for president.

What’s wrong with this electorate?

I’m reminded of a passage of Scripture that I hope doesn’t truly describe where we are as a nation—a passage that deals with what it will be like as the Second Coming approaches. We’re told by the Apostle Paul in the little book of 2 Thessalonians what will transpire with the ascendance of the Antichrist, who will deceive people “because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” He continues,

For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

Is that where we are now? I don’t know. I sincerely hope not. But there certainly is a lot of deception taking place and a lot of voters who seem to want to be deceived.

Will Antonin Scalia’s legacy of faithfulness to God and to the rule of law be honored this political season, or will we instead take another step into spiritual chaos and darkness?

Kim Davis vs. the Real Lawbreakers

Kim DavisSo Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who doesn’t want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is now in jail, put there by a federal judge who previously forced high school students into diversity training to try to convince them that opposing homosexuality is wrong.

This is all part and parcel of how our world has turned upside down.

Davis, a Christian who simply doesn’t want her name on the licenses as the government official authorizing same-sex marriages, is allowed no accommodation at this point. The radical agenda cannot brook any opposition, so it’s off to jail she goes.

This is the most egregious example of selective outrage and hypocritical use of penalty that I’ve witnessed in quite some time.

I do understand the argument that the rule of law must be obeyed. In fact, I’m one of the staunchest supporters of the rule of law that you can find. However, which law has been broken here? Has she gone against Kentucky law? Not at all. The voters in Kentucky, in a referendum, approved the traditional Christian concept of marriage by a majority of 75%.

You say she’s violating the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell? Yes, that is true, but is that really a federal law based on the Constitution?

I’ll come back to that.

First, though, let’s look at the way the Davis case is such a stunning example of selective outrage and punishment.

When Obama took office, he directed his attorney general, Eric Holder, to defy federal law when they colluded on not defending the Defense of Marriage Act, duly passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996.

What happened to Obama and Holder when they refused to uphold a federal law? Well, you know. Nothing. If justice had been carried out at that point, impeachment proceedings against the president would have begun immediately.

Defense of Gay Marriage Act

Do you realize that the harvesting of fetal body parts is prohibited by federal law? What’s being done about Planned Parenthood’s defiant actions in ignoring that law? President Obama has come out in favor of that organization’s continuance in its horrific practice. The Democrats in Congress have rushed to Planned Parenthood’s side in an attempt to silence the protests against its policy of infanticide [let’s call it what it really is].

Then there are those sanctuary cities, in which mayors, governors, and state attorneys general, openly flout federal laws. Has anyone called them to account for their lawlessness?

And we shouldn’t forget Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server that was against the rules for federal employees and that put national security at risk. The height of hypocrisy in that situation was her stern warning to everyone else in the State Department not to use private e-mails for public business. Does anyone think she is going to be held accountable for her lawlessness?

Yet Kim Davis is in jail for maintaining that she is supposed to carry out the laws of the state in which she lives.

Constitution BurningThe real lawlessness has been at the top of the federal government, both in the executive and judicial branches. The Obergefell decision, which said that the Constitution somehow provides for same-sex marriage, is simple judicial fiat. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his dissent, this decision really had nothing at all to do with the Constitution. What we have in Obergefell is five justices imposing their personal beliefs on the entire nation without any constitutional authority to do so.

Justice Scalia’s dissent in that same case drew attention to what he called “the Court’s threat to American democracy.” He went on to say, “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans is a majority of the nine justices on the Supreme Court.”

Anyone who has ever read the Constitution with an open mind has to legitimately wonder where a Supreme Court justice could find a right to same-sex marriage within that document. It’s probably in the same place as the “right” to kill innocent unborn children.

Mike Huckabee has been the strongest of the Republican presidential candidates to speak out on the absurdity of thinking the Supreme Court is the final word on everything. As he so poignantly put it, the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being.

Does anyone remember the Dred Scott decision, which effectively ruled out any rights at all for a black person in America, whether slave or free? The Republican party at that time publicly repudiated that decision and stood firmly against it.

How about Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case that declared separate-but-equal facilities was acceptable public policy? That pronouncement was later overturned by the Brown decision in 1954.

In both cases, the Supreme Court itself was the source of lawlessness, blatantly disregarding the Constitution. It has repeated that lawlessness with Obergefell, and action against that lawless decision is just as valid as action taken to overturn Dred Scott and Plessy.

It would be nice to think that all conservatives would unite in tackling this breach of the Constitution, but, sadly, that is far from the reality. I’m grieved over how many public conservatives either seem to support the same-sex marriage fantasy or pass the buck by simply saying this is now the law of the land, so leave it alone—it’s a done deal.

Some of the Republican presidential contenders have adopted the “done deal” approach. Those who have surrendered on this crucial issue have lost my support.

So it comes down to this: it’s going to have to be the faithful Christians who still take God’s Word seriously who will make the stand. This is a battle that falls to those who are the remnant. We are reminded that Christ called us to be salt and light. We must now fulfill that calling.

Rules for the Rule of Law

I am a firm believer in the concept of the rule of law. Most of my students seem ignorant of the concept, so I try to explain that if we don’t follow the law, we become a society that is ruled by the whims of whoever happens to be in charge at the moment.

Yet I am also a firm believer that there are times when we must obey God rather than men. How, then, do I reconcile this?

God & GovernmentI take my students to Romans 13 (which I can do because I teach in an evangelical university) and offer them a lesson in the rules for the rule of law.

The first part of the chapter makes a strong statement about obeying government:

Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

At first glance, this might seem to say that government must be obeyed at all times, without exception. I’ll come back to that.

It also has been interpreted by some to say that every person who is in authority is a God-picked person—that whoever is ruling is the one God has chosen.

Be careful here. Do you really want to find a rationale that makes Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao God’s choices? Do you really want to say that all the millions they have murdered in the name of a godless ideology is what God wanted?

While there may be some who, in the light of their theology, are convinced that everything that happens is, in some mysterious way, God’s will, I am not one of that number.

While God may use evil rulers, they have chosen to be evil, and He does not approve of what they do. To believe otherwise would be to make God into someone who is in favor of sin. That is not the God of the Scriptures.

Gavel & ScaleWhat this Romans passage is saying, I think, is that God has established civil government and the positions in that government that people should obey, not every individual who holds one of those positions.

So this first part of Romans 13 makes it clear that government is to be obeyed—the rule of law is the norm.

Yet this first part is only that—the first part. There is a greater context. The apostle Paul continues:

For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.

Now we are given the mission of civil government: it is to be a minister of God, carrying out His will by punishing those who do evil. We are told that if we do good, we have nothing to fear from government.

That is true in normal circumstances. But what if the government is violating its God-given mission? What if a government is doing just the opposite of what God intended? What if it is, in effect, promoting evil and punishing those who do good?

Is that a government that is to be obeyed?

If we obey that kind of government, we have made this institution into “god.” We cannot do that. The government—i.e., those who are responsible for its actions—is also supposed to be under God, and it will be held accountable for what it has done that is contrary to His will.

Whenever civil government disobeys God, we are duty bound to resist that government action. When told to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, the apostles told the authorities that they had to obey God rather than man.

Let’s bring it up to our time.

When the government says it’s just fine to murder innocent children in the womb, are we to go along passively with this atrocity?

When the government says homosexuality is good and acceptable and then redefines marriage, are we to submit without a complaint?

In both of these cases, government has overstepped its boundaries and violated its God-given mission. We can use whatever legal means are available to us to challenge these decisions, and we can raise our voices in the public square to convince others to join with us to overturn unjust laws.

Any man-made law that conflicts with God’s eternal law in inherently invalid.

What about other types of laws with which we disagree? Must we always be quiet about them and simply obey?

Christians & PoliticsWe have another recourse. Take Obamacare, for instance. There certainly is nothing in Scripture that tells us directly that this is an evil, sinful law. However, we do still have a Constitution, which is supposed to be the standard for our rule of law.

Any law, whether passed by Congress or decreed by the Supreme Court, that violates the authority given to the federal government in that Constitution is fair game for dissent on our part, and for public argument against it, alongside active measures that can be taken to overturn such a law.

So, as Christians, we have both God’s law and the Constitution as our guidelines for when we obey the government and when we do not.

I believe in the rule of law, but there are rules for when something is a legitimate law that we should obey. When a law is illegitimate, we have a Christian duty to do whatever we can—in the proper Christian spirit—to undo that law.

God’s law is paramount. Constitutional boundaries come next. We must always make those our priority.

Sanctuary City Chaos

Kate Steinle-Francisco SanchezKate Steinle’s body has been laid to rest. Her family is still stunned by how she was wantonly shot dead on a San Francisco pier by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times and had been jailed on drug charges. Why was he still in this country? Why was he not in the hands of Immigration and Customs?

Ask Sanchez, and he will tell you—as he did when asked by authorities—that he went to San Francisco because it was a “sanctuary city” that would not question his immigration status or history of crime.

There are more than 200 such cities in the United States. Here’s a map that shows some of them.

Sanctuary Cities

What these sanctuary cities actually accomplish is the negation of the rule of law.

Sanctuary Cities

More Police Brutality

This has angered many people, and some high-profile programs on Fox News have taken up the challenge to change the way we deal with illegal immigration.

Kate Steinle-Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly, for instance, is pushing Congress for a law, duly named “Kate’s Law,” so that “undocumented aliens who are deported and return to the United States would receive a mandatory five year sentence in a federal penitentiary upon conviction.”

Megyn Kelly also has taken up the cudgel, focusing on the disparity in reaction from President Obama in this case as compared with other cases in which he inserted his opinion immediately. He has made no public statement about the Steinle murder.

Kate Steinle-Megyn Kelly

Of course, the reason he is silent is obvious: this tragic event doesn’t fit with his agenda; it would, instead, undermine his lax immigration enforcement and his support for the sanctuary city movement. This president is complicit in destroying the rule of law in so many ways, I have lost count, but this is another example.

Deported Man

Obama is quick to call Obamacare and same-sex marriage settled law that everyone must obey, but not so much immigration law. It’s a pick-and-choose thing dependent on whether it advances his radical ideology.

America has always been the most welcoming nation in the world to immigrants, but always with a view to following the rules. There is no “right” of immigration to another country. Mexico’s laws against illegal immigration are harsh. Try to become a Swiss citizen and you will probably fail in the effort.

So I’m not making a case for hard-hearted rejection of immigrants, but for a thoughtful and fair system for allowing immigration to take place in an orderly manner. The rule of law must prevail or we will hasten our descent into chaos, which will then be “corrected” by totalitarianism.

Ferguson & the Rule of Law

Robert McCullochAt about 9:15 last night, I, along with countless other Americans, started listening to St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch provide the factual information that led the grand jury to refuse to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

McCulloch went to great pains to explain that decision. He also went into the kind of detail that prosecutors don’t normally go into publicly in an attempt to appeal to the reasonable portion of the citizenry that justice was served. In fact, after the press conference, all the testimony from the grand jury deliberations was released for the public to read. That’s called transparency.

He was both sympathetic to the family that lost its son and methodical in his rundown of the events of that day when Wilson shot Brown. The evidence, he said, showed Brown’s DNA inside Wilson’s car, on Wilson’s shirt and pants, and, most significantly, on the policeman’s gun. The evidence, therefore, backed up the story that Brown attacked Wilson while the officer was still inside his car.

McCulloch then thoroughly explained the various eyewitness accounts and how some of them didn’t comport with the facts. The majority of the eyewitnesses, though, were clear in their testimony that once Wilson got out of the car, Brown again came toward him menacingly. That’s when the fatal shots were fired. McCulloch also emphasized that those eyewitnesses were black, not white.

The grand jury, which was selected to represent the entire county, and included various minorities, three of whom were black, came to their decision after weeks of attention to the details. He praised the grand jury members for their willingness to extend their time on this jury by two extra months, just to ensure that the truth could come out.

Overall, I was impressed by McCulloch’s professionalism and desire for an honest outcome. He spoke both movingly and convincingly, even when answering questions from hostile members of the press in the courtroom. He was decorum personified. Yet one of those reporters had the nerve to shout at him as he left the room, “Are you going to sleep well tonight?”

Ferguson RiotsThat shout was the signal that this was going to be a long night. All that professionalism and appeal to reason went for naught, as the assembled crowd rose up in anger and began destroying their own city. Stores were looted, buildings burned (some businesses will not ever reopen again), and chaos ensued. The police are coming under fire today for their weak and inadequate response. Apparently, the desire not to be seen as oppressive overcame common sense. Appeasement of violent civil disobedience is a recipe for further violence.

The rioters were both local citizens and those from groups outside the city. They were a motley assemblage of Marxists, anarchists, and just plain old criminals who wanted to get something free for themselves. Reporters on the scene showed live shots of people breaking into stores and taking out everything they could carry; alcohol seemed to be high on their “shopping list.”

All of this in the name of justice? What justice was meted out to local businesses that were devastated? How did that help the community?

And what of Michael Brown himself? Was he a hero? A martyr for some cause?

Evidence shows that just prior to the shooting, he had robbed a convenience store, treated the store employee roughly, and then scuffled with Wilson. The toxicology report after his death revealed he had marijuana in his system. Is this really the poster child for innocence? For what cause is he a martyr—the right to steal?

Obama Ferguson StatementPresident Obama chose to come out and make a statement right after Mr. McCulloch finished his press conference. Perhaps the most ironic comment of the night was his opening line about how we are a nation that abides by the rule of law. After his executive order on immigration last week, it was nice to witness his “conversion.” Rule of law is a useful concept, depending on the circumstance.

I listened to his entire monologue. After a while, it rambled and seemed to lose a lot of coherence. I don’t think it inspired confidence in many. And while he was speaking about the need for peace, the split-screen showed the beginnings of a riot as a police car was in the process of being overturned.

Something else was missing from the president’s statement: any concern whatsoever for Darren Wilson, who has been exonerated of murder, who acted in self-defense, and whose life from now on will be forever changed. Will he have to live “underground,” in fear of retaliation? What occupation is now open to him? Will he be given a new identity? Facial reconstruction? The president never even mentioned him by name.

In my opinion, both the president and Eric Holder have done nothing but inflame this situation from the start. Their public empathy for Brown and his family only made things worse, implicating Wilson as the culprit before all the facts were obtained.

Racial Fire Dept

Al Sharpton is due to arrive in Ferguson today. I don’t use the “Rev.” in front of his name; it’s an oxymoron. Not only is he one of the primary racial agitators in America today, and has been for decades, but he also is considered a special outside adviser to President Obama. He goes to the White House often. That, in itself, is a disgrace to this administration.

Sharpton

They should be embarrassed by this connection, but embarrassment is a quality to which they seem immune.

The activities last night were a blot on America, but not for the reason the protesters believe. The rule of law was attacked once again and emotion took precedence over reason and the facts.

John AdamsI’m reminded of a famous quote from John Adams as he defended the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre trial. This was a highly unpopular thing for him to do, with possible repercussions to his career and life. Yet he did what was right, and he ended with this statement:

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

Wishes, inclinations, and dictates of passion ruled the night. What awaits us in the aftermath? Continue to pray for God’s mercy on a nation that increasingly doesn’t deserve it, yet desperately needs it.