Pastor Roger Anghis
October 3, 2010
Discovering America’s Christian Heritage
Part 14 – Judicial Mythology
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
One of the big questions that is asked today is, ‘What is the real position of the judicial branch of government and what authority does it have over us today?’ The judiciary that we see today is NOT in any way shape or form what it was intended to be. In 1789 it was the least powerful of our three branches. Today, it rules over all other branches and regularly violates its constitutional boundaries. Our Founding Fathers stated that the judiciary was the weakest branch of government, judges did not have lifetime appointments, and we did not have three equal branches of government. We have always been a nation where the majority rules. The majority of the colonies had to ratify the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and all of the Amendments, yet today’s Court allows the minority rule. As an example, if 200 people attend a town council meeting and open it with prayer, but one person objects, the prayer is removed even though 199 either want it or have no formal objection to it.
No branch of government is unaccountable to the people, yet the judiciary regularly ignores the objections of the people, even ruling that the people don’t even have the right to question their decisions. We need to look at what the Founding Fathers originally intended for the judicial branch of government and how they, the Founding Fathers, set is up.
There are two types of judiciary, federal and state. The federal judiciary is appointed by the president and approved by Congress. In the state judiciary some states elect their judges and in some states the judges are appointed by the governor and approved by the state legislature. In both the state and federal judiciary there are three levels; Supreme Court, Appeals Court and District Court. What we have begun to do is use the judiciary as a policy making body. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor was caught on tape discussing this subject and actually stated that this is what they do and she even stated that they weren’t supposed to do that. This exhibits the arrogance that abounds in the judiciary today. We see legislation passed that 75%+ of the people want but the remaining 25% will challenge it in court with a judge that is sympathetic to their cause and try to reverse the policy through the courts. We see that in California concerning Proposition 8. That is a state amendment voted on by the majority of the people and is not within the jurisdiction of the courts. This type of judicial action is not what our Constitution authorizes.
In studying just how important the Founding Fathers thought the Supreme Court was all we have to do is look at how the Founding Fathers planned for the city of Washington. They planned for traffic, growth of the city, growth of government, planned elaborate buildings to hold the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, but they didn’t even plan a building for the Supreme Court. They had to use whatever was available. The first permanent room they had was the vacated Senate chambers when the Senate moved to larger quarters in 1810.
When originally established the Supreme Court met only 2 weeks out of the year for the first 10 years. For the next 50 years they meet 6-8 weeks out of the year. It wasn’t until 1935 that the Supreme Court had its own building and it wasn’t until the 1950’s, under the direction of an activist Chief Justice, Earl Warren, that they began to meet 9 months out of the year.
When our Founding Fathers established the courts they were very specific about the powers, specifically the lack of powers that the courts had. The two main problems that the colonies had with the British judicial system that they remedied in our Constitution: 1.) Life time appointments and 2.) Judges were not accountable to the people. Now, 220 years later, we have judges that have life time appointments and they are not accountable to the people. We have this problem because we the people do not know our Constitution. Our Founding Fathers declared that the Judicial branch was the weakest and was to be controlled by the Executive and Legislative branch. We have allowed the Judicial branch to usurp the other two.
Oliver Ellsworth was the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was also a member of the Continental Congress and a member of the Constitutional Convention. He wrote about religion in public life in an article printed in the Connecticut Courant, June 7, 1802: “The primary objects, of government, are the peace, order and prosperity of society. . . To the promotion of these objects, particularly in a republican government, good morals are essential. Institutions for the promotion of good morals are, therefore, objects of legislative provision and support: and among these. . . religious institutions are eminently useful and important. The legislature, charged with the great interests of the community may, and ought to countenance, aid and protect religious institutions - institutions wisely calculated to direct men to the performance of all the duties arising from their connection with each other, and to prevent or repress those evils which flow from unrestrained passion. The legislature may aid in the maintenance of [Christianity], whose benign influences on morals is universally acknowledged. It may be added that this principle has been long recognized, and is too intimately connected with the peace, order and happiness of the state to be abandoned.” This is a Supreme Court Chief Justice that is stating that it is not only appropriate but proper for the state to aid and encourage religion. But, again, it must be clarified that our Founding Fathers reference to religion was a reference to Christianity. They saw no benefits to any other religion.
It was the religious convictions of the people that ended slavery in this nation. The courts had decided that it could keep going, but two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states passed the 13th Amendment. There was no court action to reverse that Amendment as we see trying to happen in California with Proposition 8.
There is a statement made by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson that we have forgotten about today: “The fundamental principles of the Constitution required that the will of the majority shall prevail.” We see that ignored by the courts in California. That was ignored in Colorado when they passed Proposition 2, an amendment to their Constitution concerning making homosexuals a protected class. The majority of the people voted for the amendment, but the courts in Colorado, all liberal judges, and all the liberal justices in the Supreme Court with Kennedy casting the deciding vote, overturned the vote of the people. This is something that would not have been allowed in the early years of this nation.
Joseph Story, a Supreme Court Justice, whose father was one of the ‘Indians’ of the Boston Tea Party, was a member of Congress during Jefferson’s presidency, and was appointed at the age of 32 to the Supreme Court by President James Madison, consistently expressed his belief on the importance of Christianity in civil government. Justice Story did not believe that civil justice could be or should be separated from Christianity. He stated: “One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is part of the common law. There never has been a period in which the common law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundation. The law pronounces illegal every contract that is offensive to Christianity’s morals. The law recognizes with profound humility Christianity’s holidays and festivals and obeys them even to the point of suspending all government functions on those days. The law still attaches a person’s believing Christianity’s divine authority as the highest degree of competency in witnesses.”
Justices Story’s most prominent writing was his 1833 commentary on the Constitution and his belief that the First Amendment was never intended to separate Christianity from government or civil society; “The First Amendment says ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ Now we are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religion to the establishing of religion in general, especially Christianity, which none could hold more reverent than the Framers of the Constitution. Indeed, the right of a society or government to participate in matters of religion could hardly be contested by any person who believes that piety, religion and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state and indispensible to the administration of civil government.
At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the First Amendment to it, the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state. An attempt to level all religions to make it a matter of state policy to hold all and utter indifference would create a universal disapprobation if not universal indignation.”
This Supreme Court Justice felt that is was improper to exclude Christianity from government or from the public arena. He even declared that no man that would try to remove the influence of Christianity from either government or the public arena would ever receive support from him and he would fight his attempts with all the resources that he had.
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An interesting point that not many consider is when the Supreme Court issues a decision it begins with “It is the opinion of the Court.” We have allowed the courts to run roughshod over our Constitution and the Constitutional process. We must not allow that to continue. We need leaders that will stand against this activism and bring America’s courts back in line with the way our Founding Fathers designed it.
© 2010 Roger Anghis - All Rights Reserved
Pastor Roger Anghis is the Founder of RestoreFreeSpeech.org, an organization designed to draw attention to the need of returning free speech rights to churches that was restricted in 1954.
President of The Damascus Project, TheDamascusProject.org, which has a stated purpose of teaching pastors and lay people the need of the churches involvement in the political arena and to teach the historical role of Christianity in the politics of the United States. Married-37 years, 3 children, three grandchildren.
Web site: RestoreFreeSpeech.org