A.J. DiCintio
The judiciary, religion, and the election
By A.J. DiCintio
April 29, 2012

As critically important as it is to the nation's well-being, the judiciary will not join the economy, jobs, Obamacare, and Medicare to rank among the general public's highest concerns regarding this election.

For conservatives, however, the fight to rid the federal judiciary of power loving judges who are now attempting to hide the anti-Jeffersonian nature of liberal judicial activism under the cloak of Obama's psychedelically phony "Empathy Doctrine" is always of prime importance.

And it ought to be.

After all, when Emerson brilliantly ended his quintessentially American essay "Self-Reliance" with a statement about the only thing that can bring inner peace, he created a maxim able to spawn a host of corollaries, including, "Nothing can bring [a people sustained liberty and prosperity] but the triumph of principles."

However, while there is plenty to say about constitutional principles and the judiciary, my intent here is not to discuss the entirety of the question but only how the outcome of November's election could well decide whether the courts will continue to protect the rights of religious institutions and people of faith.

Now, it is true that with respect to religious institutions, liberal judges have generally adhered to the intent of the First Amendment.

The problem is, however, that Barack Obama, the man who nominates all federal judges, is a true-believing radical liberal, a reality revealed by how he is attempting to force the Catholic Church to provide services that conflict with its beliefs as well as by the shocking but largely ignored argument his administration made in a religious freedom case the Supreme Court decided in January of this year.

Specifically, in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, the Court ruled 9-0, as Chief Justice Roberts put it, that since "[a] church must be free to choose who will guide it on its way," the evangelical Lutheran congregation, unlike a non-religious institution, had the right to refuse to re-hire an employee who had taken a disability leave.

Reacting to the unanimous decision at The Daily Beast, David Sessions scolded the "religious right" for its unwarranted "alarmism" about how an Obama Court would rule on religious questions and to lecture "religious conservatives" they would better serve their cause by celebrating "the U.S. judiciary's unique commitment to religious freedom."

Trouble is, with respect to his scolding and lecturing, Sessions is guilty of the propaganda technique characterized by unforgivably shameless omissions, in this case, aimed at protecting Barack Obama, whose lawyers went far beyond where the nation's most stridently anti-religious groups have ever gone, arguing that the First Amendment offers no "ministerial exception," period.

To grasp just how extreme the Obama position is, we can thank Kathryn Jean Lopez (nationalreview.com) for exposing a president who believes the federal government has the power to tell religious institutions who their ministers ought to be, in part when she quoted Mark Rienzi, a lawyer with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:

"I think the [Obama] administration essentially drove the Court to a unanimous decision . . . [by taking] the position that the religion Clauses of the First Amendment have nothing to do with whether religious groups get to choose their own leaders [an assertion] the unanimous Court rightly rejected . . . as . . .'extreme,' 'remarkable,' and 'untenable.'"

"Extreme, remarkable, and untenable". . . Having disposed of the depiction of President Obama as benignly mainstream on issues pertaining to the protections the First Amendment bestows upon religious organizations, we take up the notion that fair-minded, constitutionalist Americans ought to forget about the injunction regarding "eternal vigilance" to mindlessly celebrate "the U.S. judiciary's unique commitment to religious freedom."

The truth is, of course, that such a universal commitment has not existed since the fifties, when the Warren Court introduced liberal judicial activism into American jurisprudence and liberal judges across the nation began perverting the First Amendment's Establishment Clause to trample on the rights of religious citizens, especially those of college students.

In fact, the anti-religious liberal tyranny in colleges and universities would have continued unabated were it not for the decision in Rosenberger v. Rector (1995), in which the Supreme Court ruled that when the University of Virginia denied funds to a student group that wanted to publish a Christian-based magazine, it wasn't protecting itself from participating in the "establishment" of religion but was unconstitutionally discriminating against Christian students solely on the basis of their beliefs.

Justice Kennedy clearly and cogently made the argument in the majority decision; and Justice Scalia was particularly energized in making the case that the university could justify no legitimate purpose for its behavior and therefore was guilty of treating religious students, to state his position in Plain English, as second class citizens not worthy of the Constitution's equal treatment and free speech protections.

However, the Court's liberals were as unimpressed by the majority's observations and arguments as they were with constitutional tradition, resulting in a 5-4 decision that leaves the rights of religious students hanging by a single vote.

The kind of vile discrimination the Court's liberals sought to enshrine as constitutionally permissible in Rosenberger and the astonishing (yet typically leftist) extremism exhibited against religion by the current administration alone ought to motivate not just every conservative but every principled, fair-minded, independent thinking American to remember that in a democracy people ultimately get the kind of politicians, the kind of policies, the kind of judges, and the kind of religious freedom they deserve.

That recollection is certain to get every last member of America's citizen majority fully fired up about voting accordingly come November.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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