Bryan Fischer
GOP already goes wobbly on Supreme Court nominee
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By Bryan Fischer
May 7, 2009

Leaders in the pro-family movement initially were encouraged by the selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the GOP's point man on the party's evaluation of President Obama's nomination to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court.

Sessions has been a staunch conservative on social issues, and has received ratings of 100% from organizations such as the Family Research Council.

However, I believe conservatives have reason to be concerned, as the senator has surrendered on some key issues before the first shot has been fired.

Sessions, disastrously, is already on record virtually abandoning the threat of filibustering an unacceptable nominee, and has already said he'd have no problem with a pro-abortion nominee.

Neither of these responses makes any sense whatsoever if you are genuinely concerned about judicial activism run amok, and the harm wayward Supreme Court decisions have already done to America.

The filibuster is virtually the only last-resort weapon the GOP has to stand against a poor choice. Why lay down what may be your only weapon before hostilities have even begun?

(Senate Democrats, by the way, are either bizarrely forgetful or outright liars, as they are now denying that they have ever tried to filibuster Supreme Court nominees. They tried this very tactic with Samuel Alito, with our current President one of the 25 senators in support of the filibuster strategy.)

Sessions' acceptance of a pro-abortion nominee is even more baffling, since the sanctity of life issue goes right to the heart of the fundamental constitutional issue of the right to life and is the supreme moral issue of our day.

Would Sessions have been as sanguine in 1860 about a pro-slavery nominee to the Supreme Court? Hardly.

Then why surrender on this critical point before a nominee has even been proffered? Sessions has just given Obama a free pass to nominate someone with radical, extremist views on the most important constitutional and moral issue of our day.

Further, Sessions has said he would have no problem with a lesbian nominee.

But this is a dangerously superficial response. One's sexual orientation is, by itself, not a disqualification. Homosexuals can make fine umpires, as long as they leave their homosexuality outside the stadium.

But it is of immense importance to find out if a lesbian nominee believes that there is a fundamental right to same-sex behavior and same-sex marriage hidden in the emanations and penumbras of the Constitution. It is highly unlikely that a lesbian on the Supreme Court could possibly uphold policies that, say, prohibit homosexual couples from adopting children, even though the Constitution nowhere grants adoptive rights to homosexuals.

With activist judges trashing one time-honored moral standard after another on the mythical view that there are constitutional rights to slaughter babies in the womb and to have the state legitimize non-normative and dangerous sexual behaviors, this is hardly an insignificant issue.

And we must not forget that if the Republicans who remain on the Judiciary Committee following the defection of Arlen Specter all hang together, under current rules a pro-abortion nominee couldn't even make it out of committee to the senate floor, since at least one member of the minority party must vote for the nominee for that to happen.

The Democrats, of course, can and would just change the rules, but at least the Republicans could take a principled stand and force them to. But with such uncertain signals coming from Sessions, and Orrin Hatch having already virtually conceded, such a principle-driven outcome is unlikely.

Once again, Republican leadership is likely to show weakness when we desperately need them to show strength.

An angle that no one has written about to this point is that, if the GOP had won the White House with a conservative candidate, a Republican president would be nominating a replacement for Souter rather than a Democrat. In other words, the GOP would have had an unexpected opportunity to move the court in an originalist direction.

As they say, elections have consequences, and the consequence of this last election is that we are likely to get stuck with a Constitution-destroying Supreme Court justice for the next 30 years.

© Bryan Fischer

 

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