If PFAW Had Its Way…
By Human Events
Posted Aug 26, 2005

If People For the American Way had written the Bill of Rights, it would read as follows:

1. Abortion is a sacred right.

2. So are sodomy and same-sex marriage.

3. “Equal protection for all” means special preferences for some.

4. “Freedom of speech” means free Internet porn in public libraries.

5. Voluntary prayer in public schools establishes a state religion.

6. Taxpayers shall educate illegal immigrants from kindergarten through college.

7. Government shall not spy on terrorists, unless it notifies them in a timely manner.

8. There shall be no death penalty.

9. Tax rates shall escalate continually, especially on the “rich.”

10. All powers not expressly granted to federal judges shall be seized by them anyway.

And, oh yes:

11. When People For the American Way says, “Jump,” Democrats will ask, “How high?”

Roughing Up Roberts

Of course, PFAW did not write the Bill of Rights or any other part of the Constitution, which is why it is working so feverishly these days to make sure that the federal courts continue to be dominated by liberal activists willing to abuse their judicial authority to refashion our nation’s basic law into the perverse document PFAW has always wished it were—and that no American in his right mind wants it to become.

This is also why PFAW came out this week in opposition to the confirmation of federal appellate Judge John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Make no mistake: The left wants to spark a major partisan battle over Roberts’ confirmation. 

There are two reasons for this. First, in the reckoning of PFAW and other left-wing groups, Roberts cannot be counted on to carry their agenda. He does not pass their litmus tests. It is true that despite the conservative views he expressed in many memos produced during his years in the Reagan White House, Roberts’ current views on many constitutional issues remain uncertain. It also remains uncertain whether Roberts is daring enough to overturn unfounded liberal judicial precedents such as Roe v. Wade. But for the PFAW left—which is far, far left—uncertainty in a Supreme Court nominee with a conservative pedigree is far from acceptable. It wants no justice confirmed that won’t toe its line—even if the President doing the nominating is a Republican and the Senate doing the confirming has a 10-vote Republican majority.

Secondly, the PFAW left wants to rough up Roberts as much as it can in a confirmation brawl, pulling as many Democratic votes from Roberts as possible, in the hope of intimidating President Bush into naming someone more to their liking when the ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist leaves the court.

It is already a safe bet that most, if not all, of the eight Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote against Roberts. Indeed, most will likely see it as their job to damage Roberts as much as they can during hearings to provide cover for Democrats not on the committee to vote against Roberts. As Bob Novak pointed out, Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D.-Mass.), a Judiciary Committee member, has rehired an old staff member with a long record of trashing Republican judicial nominees.

Republicans should relish this fight. They can use it to turn the tables on the Democrats and make the Roberts confirmation an opportunity to remind the electorate—the majority of which is already fed up with an activist liberal judiciary, as witnessed by the many state marriage amendments that passed overwhelmingly last November—of just how disrespectful of our Constitution the American left has become.

PFAW and its allies occupy the low moral and intellectual ground. The dossier PFAW released this week on Roberts is intellectually weak and, in some places, intellectually dishonest.  For example, it repeatedly attacks Roberts for arguing, during his years in the Reagan Administration, that the Constitution authorizes Congress to restrict the appellate jurisdiction of the federal courts. But nowhere does it mention that Roberts said he believed such legislation was bad policy.

Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle evidently believes so-called court-stripping is both constitutional and good policy. Without any complaining from Democratic colleagues, or PFAW, he successfully sponsored legislation that removed all jurisdiction over timber projects from federal courts to expedite the thinning of forests in South Dakota.

When the Roberts hearings begin, there will be many more examples of liberal hypocrisy—and many opportunities for Republicans to use that hypocrisy to rally hearts and minds around our Constitution as it was written, not as PFAW wishes to rewrite it.


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