Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Texas High School, the Federal Courts, and the Constitution

From Human Events

“Gingrich Calls for Congress to Fire Texas ‘Speech Police’ Judge
by Jason Mattera

District Judge Fred Biery’s ruling that prohibited high school students from using religious language at a graduation ceremony, even threatening school organizers with jail time if his order was violated, is so far outside the bounds of mainstream America that Congress must eliminate his judgeship.

So says Newt Gingrich. And he’s making it part of his campaign theme for President moving forward.

‘I’m going to raise the banner that we don’t have to tolerate this level of anti-American activism by elitist judges,’ Gingrich told HUMAN EVENTS. (Although I’m not supporting Newt Gingrich for the Republican Presidential nomination, he is correct about the abuse of federal judges. He is also correct about making it a campaign issue. Hopefully, other Republican nominees will do the same. The three major issues in this campaign should be:

1) STOPPING the MURDER of unborn babies

2) STOPPING the homosexual agenda which aims to destroy the family

3) STOPPING the out-of-control federal judiciary from violating the very Constitution they have sworn to uphold

To correct EVIL, one MUST first STOP EVIL! And, unfortunately there is MUCH EVIL being perpetuated by government in this nation today!—my addition)

‘Do you think an American judge should threaten high school administrators with going to jail for using the word prayer? If you don’t, then what are you going to do about it? Don’t tell us you’re powerless.’

The ‘you’ Gingrich speaks of is Congress. He told HUMAN EVENTS that it’s in Congress’ purview to abolish the seats of judges who make ‘irrational’ decisions based on their radical ideology. (It is! However, there is a better way which I’ll discuss at the end of this post—my addition)

‘How can you possibly justify an American judge speaking like that?’

Earlier this month, Biery, a U.S. district judge in Texas, ordered that students participating in the Medina Valley Independent School District graduation were forbidden from uttering the words ‘prayer,’ ‘amen,’ ‘bow their heads’ or any other religious reference. Biery vowed incarceration for those defying his order.

While Biery’s diktat was halted by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Gingrich is demanding that Congress no longer tolerate the judicial ‘speech police.’ (As he should! AS should all other Republican candidates!—my addition)

Gingrich cites the Judicial Reform Act of 1802,

in which Thomas Jefferson eliminated more than half of the sitting judgeships, nixing 18 out of 35 of them. Congress, Gingrich notes, should follow Jefferson’s lead and introduce legislation that targets activist judges. (Historical note: After Thomas Jefferson won the 1800 Presidential election, the old Congress, which also was swept from power, created new judgeships in which to have some continued impact on the federal government. The Judicial Reform Act of 1802 was to correct and reduce those newly created judgeships. Constitutionally, Congress determines the make-up of inferior federal courts. The only federal court specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution is the U.S. Supreme Court. All others are created by Congress. What Congress creates, Congress may also end. However, as I’ve already said, there is a better way!—my addition)

‘If you had a Republican Senate, a Republican House and Republican President, you could do substantial things to the judiciary.’

Americans don’t have to feel ‘powerless’ anymore, he added.

‘A judge this dictatorial (And this WRONG in his decision!—my addition) to high school students shouldn’t be in office.’”


“Anti-Religious Speech Police in America
by Newt Gingrich

Can you imagine high school administrators being threatened with jail if their students said any of the following words? ‘Prayer,’ ‘stand,’ ‘bow your heads,’ or ‘amen’?

Can you imagine a graduation ceremony in which the word 'invocation' was replaced with 'opening remarks' and ‘benediction’ was replaced with ‘closing remarks’—by order of a federal judge? Or a judge declaring that such an order would be ‘enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed?’

This sounds like a scenario that might occur under a dictatorship, but it happened earlier this month in the Medina Valley Independent School District near San Antonio, Texas. It is just one recent example of how anti-religious many on the Left have become.

It is bad enough that NBC revealed its anti-religious bias by editing out ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance last weekend. (If there were any programs on NBC that I actually watched, I’d stop watching those programs. I stopped watching NBC a long time ago!—my addition)

It is bad enough that President Obama has skipped the phrase ‘our Creator’ at least four times when citing the Declaration of Independence, even when the teleprompter read that we are ‘endowed by our Creator.’

At least neither NBC nor President Obama threatened to put anyone in jail.

Federal District Judge Fred Biery issued the order to stop the school’s valedictorian from saying a prayer as part of her graduation speech. He did so in the name of the First Amendment, which is supposed to prevent government prohibitions of the free exercise of religion and protect the freedom of speech. (There is NOTHING in the 1st Amendment or any other section in the U.S. Constitution which prohibits prayer or any other religious activities by government bodies. The nonsense of it all is extreme! Both Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court open their sessions with prayer and have done so from the beginning of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution!!! Both BEFORE and AFTER the adoption of the 1st Amendment!!!—my addition)

Judge Biery’s decision clearly is not about defending the Constitution. It is the anti-religious judicial thought police at work here in America. (True!!!—my addition)

It is time for Americans who are fed up with this kind of repression by an anti-religious judiciary to act decisively. (TRUE!!! It is past TIME!!!—my addition) Judge Biery’s decision is so outrageous that the American people should not accept his continued employment on the federal bench.

The Federalist Papers and a Limited Judicial Branch

The Founders never intended for judges to have free reign to interpret the Constitution according to their own ideological purposes. (TRUE!!!—my addition) In fact, Alexander Hamilton is quite clear in the Federalist No. 78 that judges who conduct themselves like Biery will have short tenures.

‘The judiciary,’ Hamilton writes, ‘… will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution, because it will be least in capacity to annoy or injure them.’ (Unfortunately, he was WRONG about this!!!—my addition)

Among the three co-equal branches of government (each of which is charged with interpreting and upholding the Constitution), he writes that the judiciary ‘can never attack with success either of the other two.’ (Unfortunately, he was WRONG about this!!!—my addition)

Hamilton’s description of a judiciary subordinate in power to the president and the Congress is a long way from the modern doctrine of judicial supremacy (TRUE, unfortunately!!!—my addition), by which the judiciary has asserted itself as the supreme authority for Constitutional interpretation.

By Hamilton’s standard, at least, Judge Biery has clearly failed to avoid the kind of offenses that should rightly provoke attacks by the legislative and executive branches.

In the Hamiltonian spirit, then, I would like to offer a simple solution to the problem.

Judge Biery, Meet Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson—who, together with his Secretary of State James Madison, knew more than a little about the Constitution—had a solution for dealing with out-of-control federal judges: he abolished the judgeships of 18 out of 35 of them.

That’s right. In the Judiciary Act of 1802, Jefferson eliminated more than half the sitting federal judges.

As a first step toward reining in an out-of-control, anti-religious bigotry on the bench, let’s start with this modest suggestion: Judge Biery’s office should be abolished by Congress. He should go home.

The American people would be better off without a judge whose anti-religious extremism leads him to ban a high school valedictorian from saying even the word ‘prayer.’

Vote now on whether or not Judge Biery’s seat should be eliminated.

Fill out my Wufoo form!

A Nation Like No Other

In my new book, ‘A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters’, I discuss the basis of Jefferson’s concern about the judiciary, and especially about its claim to supremacy as ‘the ultimate arbiter of all constitutional questions.’ The idea that unelected and unaccountable judges (He is wrong here! At least they should be held accountable and, in fact, there are methods provided within the Constitution to hold them accountable. It is up to the President [forget that at the present time], Congress, and we the people to hold them accountable. We have been failing in that mission! We need to change!!! Which would, indeed, be change we can believe in!!!—my addition) would dictate to the people the meaning of the Constitution, he wrote in an 1820 letter to William Jarvis, was ‘a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.’ (I call it Courtocracy!!!—my addition)

Jefferson was adamant that the Constitution had not established a ‘single tribunal’ to interpret its meaning (TRUE!!!—my addition) specifically because the Founders understood that any group to whom alone that power was confided ‘would become despots.’ (And VERY TRUE!!!—my addition)

Instead, the branches of government were created to be co-equal (Not true!!! Some were deliberately created to be more powerful than others!—my addition) created, each itself charged with interpreting the Constitution and ‘responsible to the people in [its] elective capacity.’

‘The exemption of the judges from that [accountability] is quite dangerous enough,’ (But, they were NOT exempted!!!—my addition) Jefferson wrote. ‘I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society, but the people themselves.’ (VERY, VERY TRUE and that is EXACTLY where the ultimate power lies if WE use it!!!—my addition)

This challenge to judicial supremacy is intimately connected to the heart of what makes America exceptional. As I write in “A Nation Like No Other”, the final power in America lies not with judges or presidents or bureaucrats, but with the American people. (VERY TRUE!!!—my addition) We loan power to the government. And as Jefferson demonstrated dramatically when he abolished eighteen federal judgeships, we can take it back when it is abused.

Few things exhibit the danger of judicial abuse more clearly than when judges like Biery use their positions to advance agendas so far out of the mainstream that they end up dictating word choice at a local high school graduation. (IT IS EXTREME!!! IT IS ARROGANT!!! IT IS AN EXTREME ABUSE OF AUTHORITY!!!—my addition)

In Biery’s case, the order was so extreme that thankfully it was stayed by the appeals court just hours before the graduation.

The broader encroachment of the anti-religious judiciary, however, has taken place below the radar of most Americans. It has proceeded, as Jefferson wrote of the branch in another letter, ‘like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, unalarming advance, gaining ground step by step, and holding what it gains … engulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them.’

Thomas Jefferson was right. When judges are policing graduation speeches for religious content, the judiciary has clearly advanced too far. It is time for the American people to reassert their authority.

They can start in the U.S. District Court for Western Texas.

Your Friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S.—The Actual Order

Just so no one will think I have exaggerated the outrageousness of Judge Biery’s attack on free speech, here is his order:

‘SIGNED this 1st day of June, 2011.

Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that the Medina Valley Independent School District and its officials, agents, servants, and employees, as well as all persons acting in concert with them, are prohibited from allowing a prayer (as defined in paragraph (b) below) to be included in the June 4, 2011 graduation ceremony for Medina Valley High School.

More specifically:

a. The district was to remove the terms ‘invocation’ and ‘benediction’ from the program of ceremonies. The terms shall be replaced with ‘opening remarks’ and ‘closing remarks’.

b. The district, through its officials, shall instruct the students previously selected to deliver the invocation and benediction to modify their remarks to be statements of their own beliefs as opposed to leading the audience in prayer. These students, and all other persons scheduled to speak during the graduation ceremony, shall be instructed not to present a prayer, to with, they shall be instructed that they may not ask audience members to ‘stand’, ‘join in prayer’, or ‘bow their heads’, they may not end their remarks with ‘amen’ or ‘in a [deity’s name] we pray,’ and they shall not otherwise deliver a message that would commonly be understood to be a prayer, nor use the word ‘prayer’. The students may in stating their own personal beliefs speak through conduct such as kneeling to face Mecca, the wearing of a yarmulke or hijab or making the sign of the cross.

c. The District, through its officials, shall review, and make any necessary changes to, the students’ revised remarks to ensure that those remarks comply with this Order, and shall instruct the students that they must not deviate from the approved remarks in making their presentations.

Because this suit seeks to enforce fundamental constitutional norms, it is further ORDERED that the security requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 ( c) is waived, and that this injunctive order shall be effective immediately and shall be enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District officials and their agents.’”

“Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of ‘To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine’, ‘Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works’ and ‘Winning the Future’ (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).”

It is not necessary to abolish an inferior federal court to remove this judge from the bench. The Constitution is very clear! The term of office for all federal judges and Justices is NOT life!!! It is good behavior!!! Congress has the authority and the DUTY to impeach and convict members of the judiciary who violate their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. An impeachment occurs in the House of Representatives and takes only a majority vote to impeach. The House of Representatives should IMPEACH this judge. It doesn’t matter if the Senate convicts or not. The Senate HAS the Constitutional duty to try the impeachment! A few impeachments of out-of-control federal judges and they will drastically reduce their arrogant abuse of authority!

By the way, there is NO provision within the Constitution or any of its Amendments requiring a separation of church and State! That is another long running example of judicial tyranny! We the people MUST STOP our out-of-control judiciary. It has begun to change (Change WE CAN believe in!) at the Supreme Court level because of the change of Justices’ philosophy at the Supreme Court brought about by appointments by George W. Bush. It can and MUST be stopped at the lower court levels too!!!

It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!
It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!
It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!