Glenn Beck was live on the radio today when the news broke that the Supreme Court had struck down a Texas law designed to limit access to legal abortion under the guise of protecting women's health. In response to the ruling, Beck's co-host Stu Burguiere lamented that Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are the only two reliably conservative votes on the court at the moment and noted that Donald Trump is hoping to use this issue to win over conservative voters in November.
Beck, who doesn't think that Trump really has any chance of winning in November, said that it is a mistake for the Republicans who control the Senate to keep blocking President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the seat left by the late Antonin Scalia.
"I personally think that it is a mistake for them not to give him an up or down vote," Beck said of Garland. "I think it is a mistake. And I also think that they did this for a reason, that they put somebody in who is somewhat acceptable and they did it because they could say, 'See, they're absolutely unreasonable.' And if Hillary gets in and there is a Democratic congress or Senate? Done! You think that they're going to get more reasonable than this guy?"
"I would pull the trigger," Beck stated, "because the Constitution says give them an up or down vote. That doesn't mean you accept them; it does mean give them an up or down vote. And just take that issue away from them."
WASHINGTON – In response to the Supreme Court’s decision today in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement:
“Today’s Supreme Court decision reaffirmed women’s constitutional right to reproductive freedom. This ruling makes clear that that right isn’t abstract; it includes the ability to actually access a safe, legal abortion.
“In Texas and across the country, Republican elected officials have attempted to enact unnecessary, burdensome regulations that effectively prevented far too many women from being able to get an abortion. The Court’s decision to strike down Texas’s sham laws attacking abortion access is a proud moment for anyone who cares about our Constitution.
“We turn to the Supreme Court to protect constitutional rights that affect all of our lives, including the critical and deeply personal issue of access to safe abortion care. Given that the next president will likely appoint multiple Supreme Court justices, today’s decision reminds us of how dangerous a Donald Trump presidency would be to women across the country. We cannot let Trump, who has said that women should be punished for having an abortion and who supports the full defunding of Planned Parenthood, appoint Supreme Court justices who attack and undermine women’s constitutional rights.”
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.
In response to the Supreme Court’s 4-4 tie in DACA+/DAPA, which leaves in place a nationwide injunction against these programs, Catalina Velasquez, the director of People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For leadership program, released the following statement:
“Today the Supreme Court failed to protect millions of people in our country from deportation. Family separation is abhorrent, and it goes against our core values as a society, ripping families apart just because of their immigration status.
“As a transgender, undocumented immigrant from Colombia whose family was deported my first semester at Georgetown University, I know just how critical programs like these can be for a person’s personal safety and how harrowing the effects of mass deportation can be for our community. It’s profoundly upsetting that the Supreme Court today will allow the deportation of millions of people. And it is disheartening that an administrative policy like this one aimed simply at facilitating the right to provide for ourselves is still a contested issue.
“Today’s decision affects almost half of the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants who would have benefited from the short term relief from deportation these plans offered. At Young People For, we will continue to advocate for the case to be reargued, and stand with young undocumented people and their families in support of immigration reform, so immigrants are treated with the dignity and respect we deserve.”
Catalina Velasquez will be available for interviews in English or Spanish. To schedule an interview, please call 202-467-4999.
Last Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that evidence found by police officers even after they stop someone illegally can still be used if the searches happen after the officers learn of an unrelated outstanding arrest warrant. In a particularly powerful dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained the dangers of the majority ruling, particularly for people of color.
In the case, Utah v. Strieff, a police officer investigating possible narcotics activity in a house decided to stop Edward Strieff, who left the house, even though there were no reasonable grounds for the stop, which made it illegal. The officer then ran a check on Mr. Strieff, found a warrant for a minor traffic violation, and arrested him on that prior offense. The officer then searched him, found illegal drugs, and charged him accordingly. Even though the Utah Supreme Court found that the evidence should have been suppressed because of the illegal stop, the Supreme Court reversed because of the prior unrelated warrant.
“The court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights,” Sotomayor wrote. “This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification and check it for outstanding traffic warrants – even If you are doing nothing wrong.” As she continued, “if the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop and will admit into evidence anything he happens to find by searching you after arresting you on the warrant.” Justices Sotomayor and Kagan (who also dissented as did Justice Ginsburg) explained that this danger is far from hypothetical: federal and state databases show more than 7.8 million outstanding warrants, most of which are for minor traffic and other offenses. For example, in Ferguson, Missouri, which has a population of 21,000, there are 16,000 such outstanding warrants.
In a part of her dissent that she wrote only for herself, Sotomayor highlighted the problems that minorities face due to police stops. “For generations,” she explained, “black and brown parents have given their children ‘the talk’ – instructing them never to run down the street, always keep your hands where they can be seen, do not even think of talking back to a stranger – all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them.” She added that people “routinely targeted by the police” are the “canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere,” She continued that “unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives.” Until the voices of these people “matter, too,” she concluded, “our justice system will continue to be anything but.”
The majority tried to minimize the impact of its ruling, stating that the stop was not a “flagrant” violation or part of a “dragnet” or “systematic or recurrent police misconduct,” but simply an “isolated instance” of an error by a police officer. Time and future cases will tell if Strieff will truly be an isolated case and if the Court will prevent abuse. Much will depend on the future votes of Justice Breyer, who joined the majority in the case, and of course the unfilled vacancy on the Court being held open by Republican obstructionism. But Sotomayor’s strong opinion was a remarkable and important statement that will hopefully help shape the future direction of the Court. As University of Chicago law professor Justin Driver put it, her dissent is “the strongest indication we have yet that the Black Lives Matter movement has made a difference at the Supreme Court--- at least with one justice.”
The stubborn refusal by Senate Republicans to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court has caused the Supreme Court to deliberate with only 8, rather than its full complement of 9 justices. Senators have a constitutional responsibility to give fair consideration to the president’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, yet they continue to neglect this responsibility as it has been 100 days since President Obama nominated Judge Garland to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Scalia’s death earlier this year.
On Thursday, top lawyers from 44 United States companies, such as Nike and Qualcomm, released a letter calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to move forward on this nomination, emphasizing that “[t]he business community has a great interest in avoiding the legal uncertainty that could result if the vacancy remains unfilled for an extended period of time.”
Bloomberg reports: “The signers of the letter include Michael Fricklas of Viacom; Hilary Krane of Nike; David Ellen of Cablevision Systems Corp.; Ivan Fong of 3M Co.; Donald J. Rosenberg of Qualcomm Inc.; Lori Schechter of McKesson Corp.; and Audrey Strauss of Alcoa Inc. The letter was spearheaded by Jonathan Schwartz, general counsel of Univision Communications Inc.”
MILWAUKEE – During a press conference today, Wisconsin Latino leaders spoke out against Donald Trump’s racist attacks against Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel and challenged Sen. Ron Johnson’s decision to hold open the Supreme Court vacancy for Trump to fill.
Responding to Trump’s statements that a federal judge couldn’t be fair based simply on his Mexican-American heritage, Sen. Johnson and House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized Trump, yet the two are backing Trump’s presidential bid and Johnson continues to hold the Supreme Court seat open for Trump to fill by refusing to give fair consideration to Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland. Ryan continues to ignore the ongoing bigotry of Trump’s campaign by categorizing Trump’s latest racist attacks as “out of left field.”
Wisconsin State House Representative JoCasta Zamarripa:
“As a legislator, I work on issues critical to the community I represent, whether that’s working to combat discrimination, support immigrant families, protect voting rights. Donald Trump stands against everything that we stand for.
“Ron Johnson has said that he won’t support Trump if he “crossed a line.” How is it possible that launching racist attacks against a federal judge doesn’t cross the line? And how can Johnson justify holding open the Supreme Court vacancy for someone who shows such disregard to our courts and the Constitution?”
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera:
“Trump’s racist comments against Judge Curiel exposes the true character of the man. He is both a bully and a fraud. He is a bully because he uses personal attacks and threats to try to get his way, and he is a fraud because he is a swindler through projects like Trump fake University, his string of bankruptcies, and his made-in-China products.
“The failure of Senator Johnson and US Speaker Paul Ryan or Governor Walker to pull their support, is dangerous. Their own policy proposals are a dressed up version of Trump’s, but Trump’s appeal to growing a white supremacist movement through hate and violence, is a threat that extends beyond an election, and should be aggressively condemned and marginalized.”
Freya Neumann, Citizenship Coordinator at Voces de la Frontera:
“I came to this country almost 40 years ago from Mexico, and I became a naturalized citizen to challenge stereotypes and combat the racism I experienced and witnessed far too often in Milwaukee. Sadly, in 2016, racism has increased because of Trump’s hate campaign.
“I am though so happy to see many people who are becoming US citizens because like me, they understand that they must stand up to racism by education, voting, speaking out, and demonstrating. Shame on our Wisconsin Republican leaders who disagree with Trump’s message but continue to support him as president; for the US constitution, the founding document of this nation, upholds the ideal that all people are created equal.”
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way:
“We now know that Trump has no problem launching racist attacks against judges, and we know that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland is superbly qualified and has earned significant praise from Democrats and Republicans alike. So why is Ron Johnson holding open the Supreme Court vacancy for a Trump nominee instead of calling for hearings and a vote for Judge Garland?
“It’s time to call the question: Senator Johnson needs to support a fair process for Judge Garland, or else he stands in solidarity with Trump’s racist attacks on our judiciary. He can’t do both.”
For follow-up questions or interviews, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was both completely in character and shamefully beyond the pale when Donald Trump accused Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over two lawsuits against Trump University, of having an “inherent conflict of interest” in the cases because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. On Sunday he extended that charge to Muslim judges, who he also suspects would be unable to remain unbiased. If there was a shred of doubt remaining on the question of whether Donald Trump is fit to make judicial nominations before this attack, that debate is now over. Even GOP senators arespeaking out against Trump’s remarks. But in a contortion act that defies logic, those same senators continue to go to extraordinary lengths to hold open the vacant Supreme Court seat for the very person whose approach to judicial matters they are condemning.
GOP leaders rushed to denounce Trump’s remarks about Judge Curiel, with Republican senators including Kelly Ayotte, Jeff Flake, Rob Portman, and Mitch McConnell speaking out against his comments and House Speaker Paul Ryan calling them “out of left field” even though even a casual observer knows they were coming right from home plate for the past year. Trump has been consistent in his baseless attacks on entire communities since the first day of his campaign, when he smeared Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. And if some in the GOP are (rightly) condemning Trump’s vision of a justice system in which some judges are prohibited from doing their jobs because of their ethnic background, why are they going to extraordinary lengths to put him in the driver’s seat of our nominating process?
GOP senators are still doing everything they can to block President Obama from filling the Supreme Court vacancy. Rather than follow the Constitution and give fair consideration to President Obama’s extraordinarily qualified and respected nominee, GOP senators are running a campaign of unprecedented obstruction in order to allow Trump to make the Supreme Court nomination instead.
Let’s be clear: Trump had already provided countless reasons to call into question his fitness to nominate judges. This is a man who supports killing the family members of terrorists and wants to “open up” libel laws so he can go after journalists. That he’s now implying whole swaths of people are not fit for the federal bench is one of the most disturbing examples yet of Trump’s contempt for the independence of the judiciary and for Americans different from him. It goes against the most fundamental values of our country, and it is Exhibit A of why he should never be the person nominating judges at the Supreme Court or any level.
It’s no wonder Americans are worried about the prospect of Donald Trump making judicial nominations. Even before his attack on Judge Curiel, a recent poll found that the majority of Americans don’t trust Trump to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and they’re none too pleased with the senators obstructing President Obama’s nominee.Half of voters say they are “less likely to vote for a senator who opposed having confirmation hearings” for Judge Merrick Garland. For Republican senators in tight reelection battles, their unwillingness to do their jobs is increasingly and rightfully becoming a liability with voters.
The fact that GOP senators are flat-out refusing to do their jobs on the Supreme Court was already an outrage. That they are now working to hold the seat open for a man who thinks some judges can’t do their jobs because of their ethnic background or religion is unconscionable and should be, quite frankly, embarrassing to all Republicans. GOP leaders are in a position of both condemning Trump’s approach to judicial issues and working to make sure he’s the one to make lifetime judicial appointments. Make sense? It doesn’t to me, either.
The choice is now crystal clear. It’s time to call the question and give Merrick Garland a vote.
Diamond & Silk, the YouTube duo who have become outspoken Donald Trump supporters and have spoken at a number of his campaign events, defended Trump’s criticism of the judge hearing a fraud case against Trump University yesterday, saying that Trump appearing before a Mexican-American judge is just like a black defendant facing an all-white jury.
“Well, first of all, you know the judge is biased,” Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway told Newsmax’s J.D. Hayworth. “You know, he’s Mexican, he’s of Mexican descent, or his heritage is Mexican. And here’s the deal. It’s just like when you walk into a courtroom [as a] defendant and the jury is all white or vice versa, or when a defense team is defending a black client with an all-white jury.”
Avid Donald Trump fan Ann Coulter made a similar argument on Twitter last week:
Re: Trump University judge - hey, has the left ever criticized a jury for having a racial composition that was all white?— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 4, 2016
Re: Trump University - Does anyone know of ANY examples of liberals being skeptical of a verdict because the jury was all white?— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 4, 2016
Re: Trump University - Would liberals accept a white judge -- under any circumstances - who was a member of an White Race organization?— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 4, 2016
Over the last few days, both the Washington Post and prominent constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe have joined the growing chorus of voices, including Republican as well as Democratic judges, making clear that eight justices are NOT enough for the nine-member Supreme Court, and that the continuing vacancy caused by Senate Republicans’ unprecedented refusal to even consider President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the vacant Court seat is unconscionable. As the Post put it, the continued vacancy has required the Court to “punt, duck, dodge and weave around contentious issues,” creating “dysfunction.” These problems are documented in more detail in the recent report by PFAW Foundation and the Constitutional Accountability Center, “Material Harm to our System of Justice: the Consequences of an Eight-Member Supreme Court.”
As the report explains, the continuing vacancy has already produced several 4-4 splits on the Court, leaving the contested lower court decision in place but setting no national precedent. In one situation, the result was that the Court could not resolve conflicting interpretations of federal law on loan discrimination in different lower courts, causing confusion and different rules for different people around the country. Specifically, as a result of this Supreme Court 4-4 split, people in some states can be required to get their spouse to co-sign a bank loan, while in other states, some right next door, that requirement is illegal.
In addition to several 4-4 splits, the continued vacancy has caused the eight-member Court to effectively punt several important cases for later review by a full Court, again leaving uncertainty and confusion as a result. For example, in the Zubik case concerning whether religious employers can effectively deny to their employees contraceptive coverage required by the ACA because of religious objections, the Court vacated conflicting lower court decisions and suggested that the government and the employers try to find a compromise and then go back to the lower courts, and the Supreme Court, if necessary. The continued litigation by some religious employers makes clear that future resolution by a nine-member Court will be necessary. But in the meantime, uncertainty about these important rights remains. As the report explains, the continued vacancy also appears to have decreased the number of important cases the Court has agreed to review next term starting in October, and makes it difficult for the Court to issue important temporary stay decisions in divisive cases where decisions must be made quickly, as in cases seeking temporary halts of executions or new election rules.
As a result, both Republican and Democratic-appointed judges and justices, including Chief Justice Roberts, Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, and the late Justice Scalia himself, have explained that having a full complement of nine members is important for a fully-functioning Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed last week, commenting publicly that “eight is not a good number” for the Court.
And as the Post also explained, the Senate Republican leaders that are responsible for this problem “are doing more than ever to discredit themselves,” claiming that their blockade is about the non-existent “principle” that a vacancy that arises in an election year should be filled by the next president, contrary to history and the Constitution, while at the same time claiming that Republicans could find no “worse nominee” than Judge Garland. This is despite the fact that these very same Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have agreed that Judge Garland is “well-qualified.” As the Post concludes, this admission should “end the discussion”: Judge Garland should receive a hearing and should be confirmed. But if the Senate Republican blockade continues, the eight-member Court will only cause further harm to our system of justice.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear this week not only that he wants Donald Trump to be president, but that the main reason he wants Trump to be president is so that he will be the one picking Supreme Court justices.
The Republican leader told radio host Hugh Hewitt that “the Supreme Court is the biggest thing the next president will deal with.” He continued, “I made sure of that by making sure that this president doesn’t get to pick this nominee and get them confirmed on the way out the door. But that alone, that issue alone will define much of what America is like for the next generation.”
According to McConnell, “That issue alone is enough to convince me to support Donald Trump.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley also recently expressed his support for Trump selecting a Supreme Court justice to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He told the Des Moines Register, “Based upon the type of people he’d be looking for, I think I would expect the right type of people to be nominated by him to the Supreme Court.”
Yesterday, Trump made clear that he applies a racial test when assessing the impartiality of judges, telling The Wall Street Journal that Judge Gonzalo Curiel should not preside over a fraud case involving his Trump University scam real estate seminars case because the federal judge has “an absolute conflict.”
According to Trump, Curiel’s “Mexican heritage” is “an inherent conflict of interest” because “I’m building a wall.” Curiel, whose parents are from Mexico, was born in Indiana.
Trump’s pronouncement raises a serious question for the Republicans who are engaging in an unprecedented effort to stop President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from so much as getting a Senate hearing, with the apparent goal to keep the seat open for a President Trump to fill.
Trump claims that a judge’s heritage is a conflict of interest because it means that he will be biased against Trump.
During every president’s term, numerous cases involving their policies or interpretations of the law are argued before the Supreme Court. If Trump believes a district court judge’s heritage creates an unfair bias against him, then one can assume that he thinks this same bias would exist in a judge on the highest court.
Approximately 10 percent of our country’s population is of Mexican heritage, and Donald Trump’s racial test would exclude every single one of them from the judiciary. Perhaps this explains why the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that Trump released last month was 100% white.
McConnell, Grassley and other Republicans obstructing President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee as they hope for a Republican victory in November now need to answer whether or not they too would apply Donald Trump’s racial test to the court.
Perhaps the most important thing about the Supreme Court this May was what it didn’t decide. As Justice Ginsburg candidly admitted to a group of lawyers, having only eight justices hamstrings the Court by making it more difficult to decide closely-divided cases. Far from suggesting that the Court’s importance has diminished, however, the Court’s non-decisions in May show just how important the Court continues to be, particularly in this fall’s elections.
With only eight justices, the Court issued two non-decision decisions in May that effectively punted important controversies for a future, fully-staffed Court to decide, but leaving significant confusion and uncertainty in the meantime. In the Zubik case, rather than splitting 4-4, the Court issued a brief unsigned opinion and vacated conflicting rulings in the lower courts on whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) allows religious nonprofit colleges and other employers to effectively take away Affordable Care Act-required contraceptive coverage from their female employees. The Court directed that the lower courts should give the government and the objecting employers another opportunity to try to resolve the issue, and then decide the cases again if necessary, with Supreme Court review after that if needed. While resolving such controversies voluntarily is a desirable goal, it is clear from the prolonged litigation that at least some religious employers will not agree to any resolution under which its employees will get contraceptive insurance coverage from its insurer. The result is uncertainty for millions of women about their contraceptive coverage, as well as for religious employers about their claims.
The same day that the Court effectively punted in Zubik, it also issued a non-decision decision in the Spokeo case. In that case, the Court was to decide whether Congress may give individuals the right to sue for damages in federal court, so that they have “standing” to sue, when a federal law has been violated even in the absence of other actual injury. This is an important issue since it affects the ability of Congress and individuals to hold companies accountable when they violate federal law. In a 6-2 decision, the Court did not resolve the question of whether the individual in Spokeoactually had standing, but instead suggested that the lower court’s analysis was “incomplete,” and sent the case back to that court to reconsider the issue, without taking any position on the key issue presented by the case. This important question will need to be revisited by the Court again, after it again has nine justices.
During May, the Court accepted only three new cases for review starting in October, making a total of eight since Justice Scalia’s death. Legal commentators have suggested that the decisions not to take up more significant cases for review is another result of an eight-justice court, with the remaining justices concerned about their ability to resolve controversial cases — again creating uncertainty about people’s rights.
Finally, non-decisions in three major pending cases in May, concerning affirmative action, reproductive rights, and immigration, will almost certainly lead to some kind of decisions in these cases in June, as the Court completes its work this term, with significant consequences for millions of Americans. Some decision on the merits is most likely in the Fisher case concerning affirmative action in college admissions, since Justice Kagan’s recusal from the case leaves the Court with seven members. The precise result will likely depend on swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, and may affect millions of minority students across America.
4-4 ties are quite possible in some of the remaining cases, including Whole Women’s Health, which concerns the constitutionality of extreme and unnecessary restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas. Advocates strongly believe the Court should resolve this case in favor of reproductive rights, which would protect the rights of millions, but the Court is clearly divided. Although not setting any national precedent, a simple tie vote in this case would leave the lower court opinions standing, which could effectively deprive all but the richest women in Texas of the ability to choose abortion. The Court will clearly be taking significant action soon.
In the meantime, Senate Republican leaders have refused to budge on their unprecedented blockade of the President’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacant seat on the court, refusing even to grant him a hearing. It is becoming increasingly clear that they are trying to hold open that vacancy to be filled by, they hope, a President Trump. Trump’s list of potential nominees (also released in May) includes people who have called Roe v. Wade the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law” and two others who voted to make their appellate court the only one in the country that sided with religious nonprofits’ efforts to deprive female employees of birth control.
To Senate Republican leaders and their right-wing allies, the stakes are clear. They will do everything they can to ensure that the current Court vacancy, and the additional vacancies very likely to arise in the next president’s term, are filled by far-right justices who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, limit contraceptive coverage, and set the clock back on civil rights and liberties for America. That is why continuing efforts to push Senate Republican leaders to take action on President Obama’s nomination is so important, and why the Supreme Court is such a critical issue in this fall’s elections.
David Barton, the oft-discredited Religious Right “historian,” Republican political operative and head of a failed Ted Cruz-supporting Super PAC, appeared on the American Family Association’s “Today’s Issues” this morning.
Barton’s message mirrored that of other Religious Right figures, like televangelist James Robison and dominionist Lance Wallnau, who are insisting that evangelicals go to the polls and vote for Trump no matter how flawed a person and candidate he might be. A few weeks, ago Barton told Christians that their job was to get more engaged in electing God-fearing candidates to office by “teaching ourselves and others to think and act biblically.” Today he made it clear that means voting for Donald Trump.
Barton, who claims to find biblical justification for his opposition to minimum wage laws, progressive taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes and unions, not surprisingly has a Bible verse that he says mandates a vote for Trump:
For me, the number-one thing for me in every federal election is Isaiah 1:26, the righteousness of the land is determined by the judges in that land. And since we already have Justice Scalia down, and we have three more that are of age, of concern, you’re looking at potentially four judges, and do I want Hillary appointing my judges? Absolutely, unequivocally not. There is not a snowball’s chance I get a good judge out of that. That is just not gonna happen.
With Trump, we got a list of 11 folks, 11 of whom are better than anything Hillary will ever propose, 10 of whom are absolutely rock stars, from our standpoint. So when I look at Isaiah 1:26, this is an easy thing. It’s still difficult for me in so many other areas, because I want to join my vote to someone who does recognize that he needs God, that he has sinned at least once in his life, and of course that’s the thing Trump said — ‘I don’t know of any reason I need to ask God for forgiveness. I’ve never asked him for forgiveness.’ That’s a difficulty, but at the same time, that does not mean that we won’t get the right kind of judges, and that in my estimation is the key thing for any federal election.
Barton warned Christians that they could find faults in and reasons not to vote for any person, even biblical figures like Lot and Noah who were used by God in spite of their flaws. And he insisted that judges are “the number-one biblical issue.”
The first question, there is not an option sitting this out. That is not optional in any way, shape, fashion or form. Second thing is when you vote, you have to vote biblically, and the number-one biblical issue is judges. And on those two things alone you got all the information you need to be able to vote.
Later in the discussion, Barton insisted that we are not to hold our civil leaders to the same standards as our religious leaders and that the Bible actually lays out the different qualifications for each. Barton cited Exodus 18:21 as God's standard that voters are to use for choosing political leaders:
But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
Trump obviously does not meet these qualifications in any way, but Barton is going to vote for him anyway – and tell other Christians it is their duty to do the same.
To: Interested Parties
From: People For the American Way Foundation, Constitutional Accountability Center
Date: June 2, 2016
Re: Harming Justice: Effects of an Eight-Justice Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is about to embark on the most consequential portion of its Term: handing down decisions on some of the biggest questions facing the country today, questions ranging from immigration to abortion to affirmative action. It will be tackling those questions without a full complement of justices. Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, leaving only eight members on the Supreme Court. Since Justice Scalia’s death, President Obama followed his constitutional duty and duly nominated the highly qualified and impeccably credentialed Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Court. However, conservative Senators have refused to do the jobs the people of their state sent them to Washington to do. The previous four Justices named to the Court waited an average of 74 days from nomination to confirmation; Judge Garland passed that mark on May 28 and has yet to be even given a hearing by the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley.
Having only eight Justices on the Supreme Court for a prolonged period of time diminishes the Court, diminishes the country, and diminishes the rule of law. With only eight justices, all too often the Supreme Court cannot do the job the Framers of the Constitution assigned to it.
The diminishing effects of an eight-Justice Court include:
The effects of an eight-Justice Court ripple far outside of Washington, DC. Millions of American lives are impacted by the decisions the Court makes – or doesn’t make. The sooner Senators set aside partisanship in favor of doing their jobs, the better off the Court and the country will be. For more information on the effects of an eight-member Court, please see the report Material Harm to Our Justice System: The Consequences of an Eight-Member Supreme Court.
The biggest thing on evangelicals’ minds, I think, is the fact that we’re gonna be looking at a Supreme Court that could be vastly different going forward. And electing somebody like Hillary Clinton, who is obviously biased against the things that most evangelicals, Christians believe in, would be disastrous for religious liberty, for property rights, gun rights, religious freedom and stuff like that. I think it’s gonna settle out just fine and our folks will go our way.
Connelly told CBN’s Heather Sells that his friends and fellow church members had been split among Republican candidates, but that voters have now “given us two choices.” Trump’s plans to meet with Religious Right leaders and activists next month are, said Connelly, a sign that Trump knows you “don’t leave anybody out, especially not the base.”
Connelly travels the country encouraging pastors to register their congregants to vote and convince them to cast ballots based on a “biblical worldview.” Like speakers at virtually every Religious Right gathering, he said that what’s happened to the country “is literally our fault” because pastors haven’t preached aggressively enough. “Voting is not political,” he said, “it’s spiritual. It’s our witness and testimony to the community of what we believe in.”
He said he doesn’t think conservative pastors going to sit on the sidelines any more. He tells pastors, “Get your people registered and talk to them about the issues of the day and then make sure they go vote those issues in the voting booth.”
I spoke at a church…not long ago where the pastor kind of apologized to his congregation before he introduced me. He said he’d been preaching for 39 years and had never tried to connect the dots of the things going on with biblical worldview, and he said, “that’s gonna change.”
Asked whether Trump should apologize to Latino Christians who have been offended by his rhetoric, Connelly said, “I’ll leave his campaign decisions to him” and pivoted back to the Supreme Court.
I’ve been with Latino and African American and Anglo pastors all over the nation and they see this Supreme Court deal as a very big thing. You know the next president’s gonna probably appoint two, maybe three, and potentially four Supreme Court justices. That’s a 50-year decision for Christians out there.
To those conservative Christians who aren’t happy with their choices, Connelly says, “no man’s perfect.” But he says that people who are upset about Planned Parenthood and “judges rewriting God’s definition of marriage” should realize that “the Republican Party is the natural home for people of faith.”
Says Connelly, “I mean, let’s face it...it may be 100 years before the other party swings back and pays any attention to Christian values and biblical values like you and I care about.”
Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd also cited the Supreme Court in defending his decision to meet with Trump in June:
This election is about who will appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices. This election is about the dignity of human life from the womb to the tomb. This election is about the most significant religious freedom concerns in American history. I'm not about to sit at home on Election Day because I'm accountable to God and, I believe, I am accountable to my fellow Americans to vote. This is why I am meeting with Donald Trump, and why I would be willing to also meet with Hillary Clinton.