living under biblical law

Yesterday, I posted something about the Senate Majority Leader’s association with a radical Christian extremist by the name of David Barton. Well, apparently at least a few groups are putting the heat on Frist, demanding that he distance himself from Barton, a man who, it could be argued, is inciting violence against the federal judiciary. Here’s a letter that was recently sent to Frist by Ralph G. Neas, the President of People for the American Way:

Dear Senator Frist:

I write to respectfully request that you withdraw your sponsorship of a capital tour, reportedly scheduled for Monday, April 11, to be led by judicial intimidation activist David Barton. Given the furor that has erupted over recent statements by Republican members of the House and Senate attacking federal judges, hosting an avowed radical-right critic of independent courts, under the auspices of the office of the Senate Majority Leader, is a profound mistake that belies your statement on Tuesday that you “believe we have a fair and independent judiciary today…I respect that.”

For over a decade, Mr. Barton has been a prominent advocate of Congress aggressively using its impeachment power to remove, intimidate, and threaten federal judges who uphold the rights of Americans to be free of government-sponsored religious coercion and who support the rights to privacy and equal protection. Most infamous, perhaps, is Mr. Barton’s 1996 book Impeachment!: Restraining an Over Active Judiciary, a 50 page handbook on how and why the right should push for impeachment of judges whose decisions they disagree with on abortion, school desegregation, homosexuality, and other subjects.

Clearly stated is Barton’s agenda to intimidate federal judges, noting that even if impeachment does not succeed, the threat “serves as a deterrent” and would cause judges to “become more restrained.”

Your sponsorship of an individual who advocates using “the threat of impeachment [against judges to] produce results,” contradicts your recent attempts to distance yourself from radical statements made by other prominent Republicans attacking the judiciary. For example, House Majority Leader Tom Delay’s not so veiled threat against judges who handled the cases brought by the parents of Terri Schiavo: “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior[.]”

Giving Mr. Barton a prominent platform, and your tacit endorsement, for his views is especially disturbing given the recent spate of violence directed at federal judges. All the more so since at least one member of the Senate, Senator Cornyn, recently mused on the Senate floor that the sort of “bad” decisions criticized by Barton and others could actually be the cause of such violence: “I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds and builds to the point where some people engage in violence[.]” Congressional Record April 4, 2005, S3126.

The President and the Senate Republican leadership have already provoked proper resistance from Senate Democrats over their failure to engage in the traditional compromise and consultation over judicial nominations that has historically resulted in the high quality, independence, and fairness of the federal bench. As further evidence of an increasingly overt campaign to undermine the independence of the judicial branch, sponsoring Mr. Barton’s tour can only further inflame the current standoff.

Given the recent statements of Senator Cornyn and Congressman Delay it seemed somewhat odd when you complained this week that “[t]here’s been a real fire lighted by Democrats around judges over the last few days and over the recess.” In fact, hosting Mr. Barton will only add further fuel to a fire of Republicans’ own making.

The Senate and the courts would be better served by a return to bipartisan consultation on judicial nominations. I hope you will reach out to the President and urge him to restore a process that results in him sending well-qualified, consensus judicial candidates who can enjoy significant bipartisan support to the Senate. For over 200 years that has been the path to a fair and independent judiciary. The Senate and the President should return to that course.

I’m still looking to see whether or not the Barton “Spiritual Heritage Tour” went off as scheduled on Monday under the sponsorship of Bill Frist, but I haven’t been able to find anything yet. (I heard a rumor that it was cancelled.) I did, however, find a lot more information on Barton and his unique perspective on this nation’s history. I also discovered that you can buy a copy of his Christian theocracy tour of DC on DVD.

And, not one to be outdone, James Dobson, Director of Focus on the Family, today crawled out from under his rock long enough to liken the Supreme Court to the KKK. Here’s his quote:

I heard a minister the other day talking about the great injustice and evil of the men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan, that roamed the country in the South, and they did great wrong to civil rights and to morality. And now we have black-robed men, and that’s what you’re talking about.

And, finally, to end on a happy note, here’s an excerpt from today’s missive from the Rude Pundit:

Here’s Hamilton, who couldn’t be fucking clearer: “[T]hough individual oppression may now and then proceed from the courts of justice, the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter; I mean so long as the judiciary remains truly distinct from both the legislature and the Executive. For I agree, that ‘there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.’ And it proves, in the last place, that as liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have every thing to fear from its union with either of the other departments; that as all the effects of such a union must ensue from a dependence of the former on the latter, notwithstanding a nominal and apparent separation; that as, from the natural feebleness of the judiciary, it is in continual jeopardy of being overpowered, awed, or influenced by its co-ordinate branches; and that as nothing can contribute so much to its firmness and independence as permanency in office, this quality may therefore be justly regarded as an indispensable ingredient in its constitution, and, in a great measure, as the citadel of the public justice and the public security.”

It’s all fuckin’ there, man. See, the difference is that the legislative and the executive branches are elected, by majorities (allegedly), and thus the majority of the nation has a voice through those branches. The judiciary exists, ideally outside the realm of elections, to give the minority a voice. The logic’s simple: the majority will always have a voice through elections. But there’s others, up to 49.9% of the population, who’d like to be considered as part of the nation. And, sure, sometimes the judiciary will piss off the other branches, but, fuck ’em, welcome to the Republic, you know? Isn’t this basic civics class? Didn’t we all learn this back in middle school? Admittedly, the Rude Pundit was taught the Constitution without a Bible present to coordinate the articles with, but, still, and shit, this ain’t brain surgery. Hell, it ain’t even temperature taking….

So, you know, the traitorous fuckers who gathered in D.C. this week to lash out at “judicial activism” can quote Josef Stalin all they want. They can have a genocidal, mad dictator to give wind to their sails. We’ll take the Founders, queer and straight, any day of the week over Stalin, Schlafly, and Dobson.

I know I’m not terribly eloquent or persuasive these days (I blame it on the lack of sleep), but you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you that this really is a big deal. There really is a growing movement afoot to hijack the courts of America, and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before…

Looking on the bright side though — Just think of all the money I could make with my new “Kill a Judge for Jesus” bumper-stickers.

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