June 18, 2020

Gorsuch Takes the Road Less Gaveled

When he first sat down in front of the cameras and a packed Senate committee room, it was tough not to like Neil Gorsuch. A lot has changed since Gorsuch’s turn in the limelight.

When he first sat down in front of the cameras and a packed Senate committee room, it was tough not to like Neil Gorsuch. The prematurely gray dad of two kicked off his opening statement talking about his wife and family — joking about his daughters, who were probably out “bathing chickens for the county fair,” his extended family and childhood pranks, the values of working hard. Gorsuch thought back to the first time he put on his black robe — how it reminded him of the important job he had to do. He told the senators he didn’t realize how big it was until he slipped on it and fell. “Everything went flying,” he recalled. Now, three years later, that robe is still tripping him up. But his fall, Americans are finding out, hurts us all.

A lot has changed since Gorsuch’s turn in the limelight. The man who insisted, “…Judges would make pretty rotten legislators… You can’t get rid of us. It only takes a couple of us to make a decision… It would be a pretty poor way to run a democracy” is now responsible for one of the most activist rulings in U.S. history. The “Young Scalia,” as he was nicknamed, who said he learned from Antonin that “words matter — that the judge’s job is to follow the words that are in the law” just replaced history’s understanding of “sex” with ideas no one in 1964 could have fathomed. If you’d have told people 56 years ago that they were “voting for a bill to equate the situation of transgender people — of whom no one had heard of since the word had not yet found its way into English — with the situation of African-American people," Kevin Williamson argues in NRO, they’d have thought you were crazy.

And yet this "magical thinking” has completely replaced jurisprudence. It’s no wonder conservatives are demoralized. They trusted Gorsuch when he was adamant about respecting the court’s role, when he so humbly talked about the “modest station” of judges. They believed him when he said, “If judges were just secret legislators… the very idea of a government by the people… would be at risk.” Now, he’s living proof. Suddenly, we fear for our kids’ classrooms, our sons and daughters in the military, the future of adoption and competition, and the vanishing hopes of any Christian to run a business or ministry without being sued.

Do you think parents will want to send their daughters into sports, knowing that biological men like Fallon Fox are bragging about smashing women’s skulls? “See, I love smacking up TEFS in the cage walk who talk transphobic nonsense," he tweeted. Is that Gorsuch’s America? Because when the extremists come for girls’ athletics — and they are — this is the ring our kids are walking into. And this court, despite their sad attempt to downplay the upheaval, will have to own it. Along with every shuttered nonprofit that won’t compromise their principles, every religious school in court over hiring by faith, every out-of-business employer who doesn’t want a man in a dress greeting customers. It affects, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told me on radio, "everything.”

And what was the Supreme Court’s response? To shrug and say, “We’ve created some big unanswered questions, but we’ll have to resolve them later.” It was like they lit a fire along the side of the road and walked away, not caring if the blaze would consume everything in its path. “It is no comfort to religious believers of any kind or any persuasion to hear the Supreme Court say, ‘Yeah, your ability to conduct your ministry and your church or synagogue may be completely upended. We’ll just have to find out later.’” This is why, Senator Hawley pointed out, “the courts don’t legislate — or they’re not supposed to anyway, because the legislature can gather evidence, have full hearings, where it can write the bill in a very specific way. But that’s not what the court did. The court adopt[ed] a sweeping rewrite of the statute. And now we’re stuck with it.”

So what do we do now? We make them fight for every inch they get. Could we still lose our freedom? We might. But as Christians, we’re not called to win in the earthly realm. We’re called to stand. And in these dark days, when lawlessness isn’t just found in Antifa’s black hoods on our streets but in the black robes on our courts, we can’t look around and hope someone else will step in. When men try to rewrite God’s truth, it’s up to us to make it a ferocious battle. “We’ve got to stand up,” Senator Hawley demanded, “and say we’re not going to take this anymore.”

“For religious conservatives, people of faith who labor here in the vineyard, I think that this result is going to cause people to question: What is it we’ve been doing? What is it we have been working toward? If this is always the result, at the end of the day, we have got to do better than this. And that’s why I’m ultimately hopeful about the future, because I think that what’s going to happen out of this is religious conservatives of all persuasions, of all faiths, backgrounds who belong that coalition, are going to stand up and say, ‘We’re not going to be quiet anymore. We are going to put forward our ideas. We’re gonna raise our voices. We’re not going to just be content to be relegated to the back. We’re going to come up to the front now and lead.”

And from now on, we should only accept other political leaders who do the same.

Originally published here.

The Platform, Transformed?

To some Republicans, the party platform is “nothing but trouble.” But take it away, and I guarantee: conservatives will find out exactly how much it matters.

Bill Gribbins is an expert on the tradition. He helped write the 2016 version for the GOP in Cleveland, so he has a definite opinion about its place in the political process. And that place, he argues in the Wall Street Journal, is not on a 5x7 card. He’s heard the rumblings about an overhaul of the party document, but — like a lot of us — knows that shorter isn’t necessarily better. “White House senior adviser Jared Kushner wanted the platform replaced by a statement of principles…” he explained. “The proposal was thwarted, thankfully; the party can have both lovely principles and detailed policy.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) agrees. As someone who’s been intimately involved in the process, he knows what a mistake it would be to water down 58 pages of views and values. “The platform,” he told listeners on “Washington Watch” is the one vehicle that defines “who we are as a party, what we stand for.” It’s the one way, he insists, of holding Republicans and elected officials accountable. “If you get outside those lanes,” he says, “this is the tool” to bring you back in bounds — or that voters can use to find someone else to run.

These are the issues, Rep. Roy reminds everyone, that we care “passionately about– whether they’re fiscal conservative issues, or whether they’re national security issues, or important social conservative issues. We want to make sure those issues are reflected in a platform so that everybody knows what we expect out of our leaders.”

And, as I know from being a delegate to the platform committee, it’s a very representative process. Every state has two delegates, who are a part of crafting that platform. So it’s very reflective of where Republican voters are on important debates across the nation. The end product is, as Congressman Roy said, a guiding document. So much so, in fact, that Lee Payne, an associate professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, did an in-depth study that concluded that both Democratic and Republican lawmakers voted with their platforms 82 percent of the time. In other words, this isn’t just about vision casting — it’s a way to hold people accountable.

This is why we painstakingly go through the process, Chip explained, because it’s important to provide the guardrails for the party. With the country imploding from the streets to the courts, we need that vision more than ever. Not just for the party, but for the president and all of us who care about America going forward.

Originally published here.

An Attorney General on the Word His Department Saved…

What was it like to watch a law you helped protect go down in smoke? Jeff Sessions knows. As attorney general, he was part of the team that set the country right on the word “sex” that the Supreme Court just redefined. How does he respond to the activist judges who took a torch to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and sent us back to the days of Barack Obama? Find out on Tuesday’s “Washington Watch.”

Originally published here.

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

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