26 Apr Judges Run Amok
April 26, 2011
As we see the legal struggles around the world over such things as the definition of marriage, the challenges to religious freedom and rights of conscience, and the never-ending battle to protect unborn life, we come face to face with the reality that the court systems hold a particular power that is to both be appreciated and yet feared.
This week, Mike Duff, V.P. of Domestic Affairs for United Families International, shares with us his concerns regarding the courts in the U.S. and reminds us of our obligation to hold officials accountable.
President, United Families International
Families and the law: Judges run amok
By Mike Duff
The foundation of American law is embodied in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is reflective of the values of the Founding Fathers. It defines and protects the freedoms held dear by those who had sought to overthrow tyranny by revolution. It also set the limits of governmental power.
Today, a great debate surrounds the Constitution. The anti-family movement in America is pursuing an agenda where they seek to utilize the courts of law to force the destruction of the family, marriage, and other values that our founders believed to be universal and held sacrosanct. To accomplish their goal, they must be assisted by judges do not hold the principles of the Constitution in the same light as our Founding Fathers.
The Great Debate
Over the past several decades, a debate has raged throughout American jurisprudence. Law schools, courts, and politicians (an overwhelming number of whom are lawyers) have pushed the debate into a realm heretofore believed unimaginable. The debate centers on how to interpret the Constitution and apply it to the values of American society. There are two camps. First are the “strict constructionists.” They believe the words of the Constitution limit government and protect freedom. If the Constitution doesn’t enumerate a power, government may not exercise that power.
The second is the “living document” camp. They believe that if the Constitution doesn’t specifically prohibit government from taking a power unto itself, then government has the right to empower itself. They also believe that as societal values change, the meaning of the Constitution should change also.
Judicial Activism Drives Change
Because the anti-family agenda has, for the most part, failed to succeed in a free, open, and democratic legislative arena at the federal and state levels, activists have sought to place kindred spirits in judicial positions. As judges, they often usurp the power and authority of the legislative bodies to force societal and legal change through judicial fiat.
The debate to create same-sex marriage is a perfect example. Failing to undermine traditional marriage in many states, homosexual advocates have often sought judicial advocates who will ignore or pervert the law in order to achieve their societal goal of forcing acceptance of a lifestyle long known to be harmful to society as a whole, and to those individuals who practice the lifestyle.
To fully succeed, the anti-family forces must not only redefine marriage, they must redefine the family, redefine what constitutes “parents,” and must undermine the values of faith in American society that serves as a bastion of support for traditional values.
Two recent cases illustrate the point:
1. Undermining Faith
The National Day of Prayer Law was approved in 1952. Congress enacted a law in 1988 that reserves the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer and requires the President of the United States to issue a proclamation.
Advocacy groups seeking to scrub religion from American society, and silencing the voices of faithful Americans, succeeded in obtaining a decision from an activist judge declaring the law unconstitutional in April 2010. On Thursday April 14, 2011, a federal appeals court through out this flawed decision. The Constitutional protection of religion served as the basis for the decision. Advocates plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking further audience from judges, and seeking to supplant the legislative process further.
2. Redefining Parents
On April 7, 2011 the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a voter approved referendum that disallowed unmarried couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, from adopting children. This despite the volumes of social science research that proves that children perform best when raised by a married mother and father.
In neighboring Louisiana, a federal appeals court upheld a state law that rationally concludes that having parenthood focused on a married couple or single individual, not the easily severed relationship of unmarried individuals, furthers the interest of adopted children. In these instances as well, activists more intent on the destruction of the traditional family, and less interested in the best interests of adoptive children, sought activist rulings to force the inclusion of two adoptive fathers and no mother on an official state birth certificate. This type of action, not supported by any law passed via the legislative process, relies on judges seeking to redefine what are parents and to subvert the Constitutionally outlined manner for establishing such policies.
Day of Decision
Each of these cases will inevitably be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is a sad commentary that this is true. Societal values should be established utilizing those processes set up in the Constitution to debate and then codify laws intended to bring societal good and true justice. Only when the supporters of marriage, family, and religion consistently and enthusiastically insist that their elected leaders not only support these institutions with policies, but also appoint judges that will strictly follow the Constitution, will these institutions being adequately protected from the agents of societal change.