Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Road to Civil War

Posted by Adam Graham on August 27, 2003

This is the summer of Conservatives’ discontent. Many Americans are suffering from gay fatigue with Canadian gay marriage and our own Supreme Court’s ruling on sodomy. The cultural elite have responded with “Boy Meets Boy” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. While both shows have been successful, that’s not because of overwhelming support for homosexuality. To be a success, 10-15% of the country has to like it. It doesn’t matter if more than half the country’s repulsed by it, it’s still a hit.

Ann Coulter’s book, “Treason” is something we haven’t seen from conservatives before. There have been long scholarly books on the failure of Democratic administrations to guard America’s national security as well as the tendency of many liberals to fail to support their country. However, rarely has a book so blunt, so cutting been so successful. Coulter calls it like she sees it, attacking Democrats as treasonously negligent. She spares no niceties; she believes that the Democratic party is on the side of America’s enemies. Coulter has a point and many Conservatives agree with her, but few would actually say so because they were “too nice”.

In California, a Conservative-led effort to recall the unpopular Gray Davis seems destined to succeed. Davis’ only defenses to the recall are: 1) that despite his incompetence the recall is the fault of those nasty right-wingers, 2) It’s undemocratic for the people to vote on whether to keep their elected officials or not.

However, the most important event in this Summer of Conservative anger is happening in Alabama. To some, it appears to be just a routine debate over whether or not the Ten Commandments will be allowed to remain in the Alabama Supreme Court building. However, the rhetoric and the actions by Judge Roy Moore and his supporters mark a milestone and show that we are on the path to civil war.

Alan Keyes is Making History

Moore has decided to defy the ruling of a federal district court judge who has ordered the monument removed, claiming that the judge lacks the authority to make the ruling. Thompson cited the establishment clause, “Congress shall no law respecting an establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Moore responded bluntly that he was not Congress.

Alan Keyes has delivered better speeches than the one he made in Birmingham on Saturday, but none have been more important. Keyes first explained why he believes Judge Myron Thompson was wrong,

“They tell me that if, somehow or another, I don’t respect this doctrine of the “separation of church and state,” I am disrespecting the Constitution. I sat down again the other day. I scoured the document–it’s not very long, by the way. You could get through it in a fairly short time. That was the brilliance of our Founders. It didn’t take them a hundred thousand pages…No. You could sit down and read the Constitution in a short session. I scoured it. I looked through it once, I looked through it twice. I looked through it a dozen times. I didn’t find a single mention of this “separation!” [cheering, applause]

“Where?! Where, I ask them, is the law that is being broken? Where is the Constitutional provision that is being defied?

“I’ll tell you where it is. It’s right there in front of our eyes. We were reminded of it again today. We ought to look at it and think it through, word by careful word, as our Founders did: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Now hold on, hold on. Before we jump to conclusions here, I want to point out that those words don’t, by the way, simply forbid Congress to establish a religion. That’s not what they say. And the liberals, all these people always act like “establishment is forbidden.” No. That’s not what’s forbidden. It is forbidden for Congress to touch this question! It is forbidden for Congress to address it! It is forbidden for Congress to deal with it! [cheering, applause].”

It’s a sound argument, but what follows is what’s vitally important:

“If Congress is forbidden to make a law, how can this judge be enforcing a law they cannot make?.. There is, I believe, going on right now a violation of the Constitution. There is, I believe, a lawless act against which we must stand. But it is the lawless act of the federal judges who seek now to wrest from us that liberty which is ours–not by right of the Constitution, but by grant and right of the Creator, God. ”

In these words are a challenge to the way our country has operated for decades. The idea that the Courts are lawless and that their rulings can be ignored if they don’t fit our interpretation of the constitution is a novel idea today. The belief held by the establishment is that when the courts have spoken, that is the end of the matter. It is the duty of all good men to obey the courts.

If the courts were to hold that pedophiles have an inalienable right to rape our children, many would simply nod and say that the law has spoken and we must follow the Constitution and loan our children to any pedophile that asked.

What is happening in Alabama is that conservative people are drawing a line in the sand and saying, “No” to a federal court. Their willful disobedience of an unlawful court order in defense of Judge Moore is unprecedented in the story of movement conservatism. Some people will point to Governor Wallace’s defiance but that was Governor Wallace, not Governor Wallace and Conservative Republicans. What’s happening is that mainstream Religious Conservative leaders like Keyes, like Reverend Patrick Mahoney, and even Jerry Falwell (who endorsed the first President Bush in the primaries in 1988) are backing Moore.

It does not matter how the standoff in Alabama ends, only that it’s occurring. This is the first act of rebellion against a federal court order by conservatives. It is the first challenge to the idea of Judicial supremacy. It will not be the last.

The question is a volatile one that will divide the nation between those who advocate following the courts and those who believe in their own interpretation of law. I believe that unless appropriate measures are taken, it will lead to America’s second civil war.

The Most Dangerous Institution

The Federal Court System as constituted is the greatest threat to the union, the Constitution, and our status as a free people. Lets be clear that the bloodiest war in our court’s history was caused by the Taney court which threatened to spread slavery throughout the United States in its infamous Dred Scott decision. It scared northerners and led to John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry and the election of Abraham Lincoln, which led the south to secede from the Union.

Americans have grown far more patient (or some might say far less diligent) with the federal courts. The Court has trampled on will of 70% of the American people with its rulings against prayer in schools, while allowing the destruction of millions of unborn children by judicial fiat. While there have been a few incidents of violence as a result of this ruling, we had not yet seen defiance of a court order by conservative leaders until now.

In American history, August 20, 2003 may be remembered in the same light as South Carolina’s battle over nullification which laid the groundwork for the Civil War three decades later. As the words of Patrick Henry are quoted, one wonders when an armed conflict will occur. When will people conclude that “An appeal to arms and to the God of justice is all that is left to us!”

One cannot predict how it will happen and who’ll be on what side. One could easily have predicted in the 1840s that the North would secede and the South would be on the side of union, but that was not the case. It also appears that the sound of gunfire is distant. By the time it finally happens, Falwell will most likely be dead, Keyes and Moore may be as well. But, it is coming and it is beginning now.

The next Civil War is far off which leads to the greatest American temptation: procrastination. Most American political leaders will only address an issue when it has reached the level of a full-blown national crisis. By then, it may be too late.

How can America survive? How can a nation coexist with a left-wing activists who believe in big government liberalism with loose social mores, Conservative pro-life Christian who believe in small government conservatism with government standing on the side of moral principle, and libertarians who believe in almost no government. It’s a wonderful thing called the tenth Amendment which allows each state to govern itself as it sees fit.

The tenth amendment is the most vital and neglected element of our constitution. Judges who have ignored it have created the cultural war. Due to the overbearing federal courts, conservatives look at liberals and see their oppressors who are forcing their way of life on them. Liberals look at conservatives and see a Christian Taliban who will oppress them and destroy all of liberalism’s gains if the court system is lost. Only a fool does not see where this is heading.

Congress must act to restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts from issues such as abortion, religion in the public sphere, gun control, affirmative action, human sexuality, and sexual and gender orientation. Simply changing the personnel on the courts will not save America from Civil War. Only by taking federal courts out of the equation will guarantee the survival of our Republic.

Based on the behavior of Democrats in the Senate, does anyone believe that liberals will respect judges like Charles Pickering, Miguel Estrada, and Patricia Owens? I don’t. I believe that if we have sixteen years of Republican appointees to the bench and the liberal stranglehold is broken, court orders will not be obeyed or respected by the left, because the courts have become mere political instruments for the right and the left, and are quickly losing their credibility for all.

The fact is that 90% of cases that go to federal court have nothing to do with the culture wars, but those 10% of cases now leave us in a sorry condition where a President cannot get judicial nominees through Congress to address a crisis of backlogged cases. Respect for judicial authority can only be restored by restraining that authority.

Alan Keyes noted that he stood at the spot where the dissolution of the country over slavery occurred. It may be the spot where the road to the second Civil War began. No one wishes it, no one wants it, but unless we do something, it is coming.

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