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DeLay slams court activism as ‘autocracy’
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay yesterday accused left-leaning courts of imposing a “judicial supremacy” over the country to implement liberal policies that cannot win a majority in the legislative process.
Speaking to an audience of social and religious conservatives in Nashville, Tenn., who want to move the courts in a rightward direction, Mr. DeLay said the Constitution’s checks and balances over the three branches of government were out of kilter because largely leftist judges were imposing “new policies on our nation without a single bill passing through a single house of a single legislature.
“That’s not judicial independence, that’s judicial supremacy, judicial autocracy,” the House’s No. 2 Republican said at a simulcast televised event at the Two Rivers Baptist Church that was billed as “Justice Sunday II — God Save the United States and this Honorable Court.”
Liberal rulings, from upholding same-sex “marriage” to banning religious symbols on public property, were an attempt by courts to “manipulate the public will” and “impose their ideology on the unwilling masses,” Mr. DeLay said. “It has no basis in the Constitution, but merely in the frustrated imagination of an out-of-touch political movement whose worldview the American people simply will not endorse.”
The event, sponsored by the Family Research Council, was a follow-up to a Justice Sunday gathering held April 24 in Louisville, Ky., at which Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called for an end to the Democrats’ filibuster that was blocking more than a half-dozen of President Bush’s nominees to the U.S. Appeals Court. The logjam ended when a bipartisan group of 14 senators broke with their leadership and agreed to end filibusters against several nominees.
With the Senate preparing to begin hearings Sept. 6 on Mr. Bush’s nomination of Appeals Court Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to Supreme Court, Mr. DeLay’s attack on the courts was timed to heighten and intensify the issues that were at stake for religious conservatives in the event of a confirmation battle.
Judge Roberts “appears to understand and appreciate the critical but limited role of the judicial system in our constitutional government,” Mr. DeLay said.
Under the Constitution, the power to make laws is vested only in Congress, he said, and “the federal courts are limited solely to their power to interpret and apply those laws.”
But that role “has been forgotten in recent decades by too many members of the American judiciary, including, most notably, the United States Supreme Court itself,” Mr. DeLay said. “Rights are invented out of whole cloth. Long-standing traditions are found to be unconstitutional.”
“Moral values that have defined the progress of human civilization for millennia are cast aside in favor of those espoused by a handful of unelected, life-time appointed judges,” he said.
Mr. DeLay blamed “a movement of judicial activism — principally, but not exclusively, of the political left — that has found the public will increasingly inconvenient to its designs. Policies this movement supports simply cannot hope to be passed into law by the democratic process.”
By John R. Bolton
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