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A Successful Trial Period for Trump's Judges

Tony Perkins · Apr. 25, 2018

There aren’t a lot of things the Senate does fast. But under President Trump, the “greatest deliberative body” has been deliberate about one thing: judges. It may not make flashy headlines, but Republicans are putting together a dream team on America’s benches, just as fast as the rules (and Senate Democrats) will let them.

For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, it’s been a grind. Earlier this month, the White House sent over its 12th wave of judicial nominees, chock-full of solid men and women who would do the Constitution proud. And while McConnell has been shattering records for confirmations, the GOP’s success hasn’t exactly been front-page news. As Politico points out, Republicans are quietly making history while most people aren’t looking. “When the Senate is confirming judges, it often looks like the chamber is doing nothing. Cable news ignores it, the floor is often empty in a ‘quorum call.’” But that’s just fine with Republicans who know that the real payoff for their work will come soon enough. “More than 30 lifetime judicial nominations are ready for the floor, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is continuing to churn them out in preparation for a long, slow [slog] on the Senate floor.”

To no one’s surprise, Senate liberals are pulling every procedural trick out of their sleeves to bog down the process. And while they have managed to stall the hires, Republicans aren’t losing steam. Trump has already nominated 69 judges, and even with the punishing 30 hours of obstruction on each one, he still managed to confirm 12 circuit court judges. “No president had 12 confirmed in the first year. So we’re putting a priority on changing the courts. And the kinds of people the president is sending up and we’re confirming are relatively young and extremely bright,” McConnell said.

One of those young and extremely bright judges is Kyle Duncan, a friend of mine from Louisiana who’s been an excellent litigator on range of issues, including marriage and religious liberty. Yesterday, the Senate rewarded his record by confirming him to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where everyone is certain he’ll be a champion of the plain text of the law. Duncan’s nomination was even supported by his liberal opponents, like LSU professor Paul Baier, who argued on the other side the Louisiana same-sex marriage case. His glowing endorsement should have left no doubt as to his impartiality.

Both of us strove mightily as adversaries. Through it all, however, I always appreciated and respected Kyle’s advocacy for his client and his respect for the humanity of the same-sex couples who would be most affected by the case. While I disagreed with many of his arguments, often emphatically, I never found a trace of bias, bigotry, or any disrespect towards the same-sex individuals in the case… Kyle Duncan is a magnificent nominee for the Fifth Circuit who ought to be swiftly confirmed.

Fortunately for freedom-loving Americans, he was. By a three-vote margin, the Senate sent him to fill one of the 149 court vacancies. Of course, the president has been very clear about the type of judges that he would appoint: men and women who will interpret the Constitution and laws according to the plain meaning of the words written. There’s no better example of that kind of judicial temperament than Kyle. And we applaud the Senate for recognizing it.

Meanwhile, for Republicans like John Cornyn (R-TX), who know their party is hanging on to its majority by a thread, re-stocking the courts is priority number one. It’s “one of the lasting legacies of any administration and any Congress, because these people will serve 25 to 30 more years,” he explained. With the sand slipping through the hourglass on this congressional session, party leaders know what they have to do. “In terms of prioritizing our time and effort, I think [judges] should be at the top.” That’s because they know, as we do, that the real work of protecting the conservative agenda won’t come down to Congress but the courts.

The urgency of confirming these judges, Arizona’s Jeff Flake (R) pointed out, is also one thing Republicans can agree on. “It takes a long time, it’s tough, but it’s something that we can stick together on,” he said. If Sen. McConnell “has to use most of the week to do one nomination,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told reporters, “he’s going to pick a circuit judge almost every time.” It’s a long-term investment — but one, hopefully, that voters will reward them for.

Originally published here.

Parents Speak Out With Sex-Ed Sit Out!

Most parents don’t want their kids to miss a minute of school, but Monday’s Sex Ed Sit Out was the exception! Moms and dads across the country kept their children home to protest the liberal propaganda being passed off as “sex education” in today’s classrooms. And while students may not have been in school, they were still getting a lesson in something important: speaking out.

Sixteen cities in four countries held official rallies and protests of the curriculum that’s sneaking its way past the school room door to kids as young as five. With groups like Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) behind some of the latest programs, parents are right to be concerned. Elizabeth Johnston, who hatched the idea for a nationwide movement, was on “Washington Watch” several times leading up to the 23rd. “A few of us moms were disgusted by the evidence we were seeing on social media of graphic sex ed in the schools and the stories about gender transition parties and teaching kids to question their gender,” the “Activist Mommy” explained. “So we decided to stop griping about it and actually do something about it.”

In a campaign that caught the attention of everyone from Rev. Franklin Graham to the Benham Brothers, the Sex Ed Sit Out certainly accomplished one thing: getting more parents involved in what their kids are learning. In front of city halls, state houses, and school district offices, protestors held up signs that read things like, “My child, my choice!” and “Hands off my kids!” In Charlotte, where Johnston is headquartered, the North Carolina Values Coalition was one of the idea’s biggest champions. “About a year ago this time, we began receiving phone calls from parents, teachers, and counselors in CMS, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,” Tami Fitzgerald explained. “They were saying, ‘Please help us. You cannot believe what they are teaching our children in public schools.’”

One parent talked to a Washington Times reporter about HRC’s new “Welcoming Schools” pamphlet. She explains that it’s being marketed as an “anti-bullying” program. But it turns out the radical sex ed it advocates is a “form of bullying” itself. “This is not about bullying,” she fumed. “We already have a policy against bullying. Why can a school teach and promote a sexual agenda to our children and violate our parental rights, giving permission to more of what’s happening and what happened to my daughter? It is not acceptable.”

Across Texas, Washington, Indiana, and a dozen other states, the rallies were also a chance to highlight all that President Trump has done to put the brakes on the Left’s grip on sex education and taxpayer dollars. His team at HHS has been systematically weeding out the programs that even Obama’s CDC agreed have done more harm than good. One of the administration’s best moves last year was cutting off the money to Planned Parenthood’s “teen pregnancy prevention” programs.

“How many children need to be … hooked into a lifestyle of sexual bondage for the rest of their lives before we speak up?” asked David and Jason Benham. “We’re telling you: If people don’t speak up now, our kids will suffer greatly. Pastors, teachers, business owners, moms, dads, grandmas, and grandpas — stand up! Sex is a gift from God and is meant to be enjoyed in the safety of marriage. This is the only truth that will protect and preserve family, the building block of society.”

Our thanks to all of the moms and dads who used Monday as the opportunity to say, “Enough is enough!” Because of you, maybe more schools will think twice about adopting programs that open the door to school-sanctioned perversion!

Originally published here.

Ahead of State: Pompeo Moves Closer to Key Post

America’s editorial boards are a tough crowd when it comes to conservatives. Not as tough, it turns out, as Senate Democrats.

While newspapers across the country call for Mike Pompeo’s confirmation, nine Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee refused to set their personal politics aside and do what’s best for the country. Fortunately for the next secretary of state, Republicans didn’t need them. By an 11-9 vote, they sent Pompeo over the biggest hurdle to his new job: a committee win — and more importantly, an American one.

As Democrats make up excuses for opposing the CIA director (who made history by meeting with Kim Jong Un earlier this month), other members of the party seem more reasonable. At least three Democrats are breaking ranks with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and throwing their support behind Pompeo. After Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) announced her endorsement, Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) were next, insisting that Pompeo was better equipped than anyone to lead the agency in a world as dangerous as ours.

“It’s important our next secretary of State understands the grave threats facing our nation and can offer diplomatic solutions to avoid conflict, as soon as possible,” Manchin said in a statement. “I believe he will represent our interests well across the world and provide wise counsel to President Trump on our foreign policy.” Donnelly was just as complimentary, insisting, “We need a Secretary of State who will give the president an honest assessment on critical issues, including Russia, Syria, and the defeat of [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS. I believe Director Pompeo is capable of advancing U.S. interests and leading the State Department.”

Of course, one of the biggest threats to Pompeo’s nomination was from a Republican lone wolf, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who played hardball on the nominee for months before caving to pressure from conservatives like you. At the last minute, Sen. Paul switched his vote in committee to “yes,” helping spare Pompeo the distinction of being the first nominee in the history of Senate Foreign Relations to fail. “After calling continuously for weeks for Director Pompeo to support President Trump’s belief that the Iraq war was a mistake and that it is time to leave Afghanistan,” Sen. Paul tweeted, “today I received confirmation that Director Pompeo agrees with the president.”

For Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who tried to smear Mike in the confirmation hearing for his mainstream views on marriage, the committee vote was a major rejection of his party’s new “religious test” for public service. Today, we’ll be delivering more than 33,000 petitions to the entire Senate, urging it to renounce the Booker test in Pompeo’s floor vote. If you haven’t signed on, there’s still time. Click here to join conservatives in supporting Christians like the next secretary of state!

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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