PFAW President Ralph G. Neas responds to Wall Street Journal editorial on PFAW judicial memo

To the Editor,

While I continue to be flattered, if somewhat bemused, that the Wall Street Journal has committed the editorial space for a dozen attacks on People For the American Way and me over the past year, I must take issue with your January 7 editorial on a recent PFAW Foundation analysis of what is at stake in upcoming judicial nomination battles.

Unfortunately but characteristically, the editorial page ignores the substantive content of the seven-page memorandum. And while I appreciate the fun your editorial writers had with all that colorful Book of Revelation imagery in response to our use of the word “Armageddon, ” you know that the word applies not only to the prophesied end-times battle but also to, as my dictionary puts it, “any great and crucial conflict.” Surely even we can agree that the struggle between competing judicial philosophies on the Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary is a “great and crucial conflict.”

What is at stake is unquestionably monumental – the nation’s constitutional framework and the role of the federal government for decades to come. In real-life terms, that translates into whether or not women will be stripped of their constitutional right to privacy and reproductive choice, whether or not the federal government will have the ability to enforce legal protections for Americans’ civil rights and constitutional liberties, whether or not Congress can act to safeguard clean air and water, and more.

Given the potential for multiple vacancies over the next two years on a Supreme Court that is narrowly divided on fundamental constitutional questions, the timing is indeed decisive. While there is little of substance to your editorial, I hope it will contribute to generating the intense national debate on the future of the federal judiciary that is so urgently needed.

Sincerely,

Ralph G. Neas
President
People For the American Way Foundation

Excerpts from the WSJ editorial

"The Day of Judgment is at hand. We know this not because we've seen a vision but because the Prophet Ralph Neas told us so...."The Approaching Armageddon on Judicial Nominations" is the title of Mr. Neas's latest moral admonition, handed down from his command center at the People for the American Way, where he has spent the past two years directing the Senate Judiciary Committee's evisceration of many of President Bush's judicial nominees. But now the Senate has fallen into the hands of the beast and the end is nigh. The Horsemen of the coming Apocalypse are Mr. Bush's expected appointees to the Supreme Court.

"These yet-to-be-named Justices will "turn back the clock" on decades of "legal and social gains," Mr. Neas prophesies..... The two Antichrists already on the bench, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, will prevail....The mark of the beast, by the way, is membership in the Federalist Society....

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