Trump Cannot Save SCOTUS, the Court is Already Lost

“If you don’t vote for Trump, you are handing the court to Clinton! She will appoint so many liberal judges that we will never get it back!”

I don’t think anyone can argue the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has become politicized. It’s possible the next President of the United States  will appoint 3 to 4 judges to the court. It has become a lighting rod in the election. On both the right and the left, people proclaim that unless we want to see the court destroyed (and America with it) we must vote for their candidate!

Conservatives are told that unless we want to see the court swing far left we must vote for Trump. We have to stop Clinton at all costs. For some, this is the only reason they are voting for Trump. They hope that he will appoint conservative justices, while they know Clinton will appoint progressive ones.

Let’s forget about the fact that there were far better qualified conservatives in the primary that would have absolutely have appointed conservatives. Candidates about which there wouldn’t be any doubt, as opposed to a candidate who says “Everything’s negotiable.” Forget that the 40% of GOP primary voters who selected Trump did not care about the SCOTUS. This is where we are now:

We are faced once again with the fear that SCOTUS will slide to the left if we don’t get in line and vote for the GOP candidate.

Unfortunately, it’s too late. SCOTUS is lost. Our supposedly conservative court is the same one that upheld the Affordable Care Act twice and gave us same-sex marriage.

Conservatives try to appoint justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally written. Progressives appoint justices that will interpret it in light of current views and circumstances.

So, in our “conservative” court we see progressive appointees always render opinions that line up with progressive positions, and those appointed by conservatives sometimes break ranks and join the progressives. The only way to fight this sort of thing in the current climate is to appoint conservatives that will always render opinions along the lines of conservative positions. Just as progressive justices adhere to their progressive values, we must appoint justices that will adhere to conservative principles even if they feel they violate the Constitution.

This is not what the Court is supposed to be.

This one branch of government is not supposed to have this much power. They are definitely not supposed to legislate. Aside from hearing cases from lower courts, one of their main roles is Judicial Review. Since 1803, Marbury vs Madison, SCOTUS has passed judgment on the actions of the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Here’s a quote about the case from USCourts.gov: 

“In this case, the Court had to decide whether an Act of Congress or the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. The Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus (legal orders compelling government officials to act in accordance with the law). A suit was brought under this Act, but the Supreme Court noted that the Constitution did not permit the Court to have original jurisdiction in this matter. Since Article VI of the Constitution establishes the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land, the Court held that an Act of Congress that is contrary to the Constitution could not stand. In subsequent cases, the Court also established its authority to strike down state laws found to be in violation of the Constitution.”

I believe that SCOTUS has moved too far away from what it was. Justice is no longer blind, but instead the view of the court is slanted to the right or left. We should not fear our own Supreme Court, no matter what party holds the Presidency. Pandora’s box is open. There is no way to return to the Court of before. We have to find a way to fix the Court as it is now.

Currently the only way to reverse a SCOTUS ruling is with another SCOTUS ruling or a Constitutional amendment. That worked well when the Court wasn’t legislating from the bench. Imagine Congress with such limited checks and balances that every law they ever passed was virtually immune to being overturned. That is SCOTUS today, When they make such broad rulings that, in effect, force new laws on the people, they have overstepped their role and need to be put in check.

The power to appoint Justices to the Court has become a political tool that is more effective then electing actual legislators. We have allowed this to happen, and we can stop it. The solution is not to appoint justices that reflect our views, so we can get rulings we like. That is a temporary solution to a long term problem. That solution ensures that we will always be in a fight for the Court.

The long term solution is found in Article V of the Constitution.

“Article V: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress”

This solution doesn’t just have the potential to fix SCOTUS, but to limit the power and jurisdiction of the Executive and Legislative branches as well. 34 states must petition for a Convention and submit amendments. We can fix our government. But repeating the same cycle of elections over and over is not the way. A Convention of States could be.

Regarding the Court; I believe the current system has been corrupted to the point that it must have outside reform. We cannot appoint our way out of this mess. We need measures to limit terms of Justices and ways to more easily overturn a ruling.

That is what we should be fighting for. The current Presidential election matters, because the President does (among other things) appoint Justices. But the only way to actually, truly fix SCOTUS is to limit its power. No President can do that.

Bathroom Wars: Newest Front in an Old Conflict

The war for “LGBT rights” has been a long one. There have been many battles over the years.

When I was in college in the 90s I wrote a weekly opinion column for the university newspaper. I was the lone conservative, Christian voice in the editorial pages. The reoccurring moral/political topic of the day was the university’s non discrimination clause. Specifically, should it be amended to say no discrimination based on “sexual orientation” or not. Those in favor argued that recent criminal acts against homosexual students required the change. I argued that the university itself did not discriminate, that the crimes committed by individuals were already illegal, and that adding the words would only serve as a comment on the moral equivalence of all sexual orientations- a statement that was not the university’s place to make. In the end, the statement was not amended.

During that time it became increasingly clear to me that the desired outcome was not less discrimination on campus. The proponents of the change instead wanted to see their sexual orientation legitimized. In this particular case some idiots had made calls from their personal phones and left voicemails on the LGBT Student Organization phone, threatening violence with specific weapons; a Class A Misdemeanor. The organization touted this as proof of discrimination on campus, but refused to actually press charges. Punishing the crime might actually deter future criminals, or at least show that society was serious about protecting people of every sexual orientation. No, they wanted the political capital of anonymous bad guys threatening the LGBT community. (Even though the police knew exactly who had done it, and if charges had been pressed, that information would have become public.) This crime was used to further their agenda.

Around the same time there were rumblings about marriage equality. Back then, a few gay rights activists were pushing civil unions as a way to get the rights denied to same sex couples. I agreed that the government could, and even should, recognize civil unions between same sex couples. I was actually naive enough to think the fight for same sex rights was about the actual rights, not moral equivalence. Today, we know that a civil union wasn’t the goal of the LGBT lobby. They wanted to expand the definition of the word marriage. A civil union which would give the members the same rights as traditionally married couples did not accomplish their goal: they wanted homosexual couples to be seen as morally equivalent to heterosexual couples. They didn’t simply want the right to visit a sick loved one in the hospital, or access to a partner’s health insurance, or clear lines of inheritance and familial custody of children. They wanted their unions to be called marriages, just like heterosexual marriages.

Why? Because in their mind there’s no difference between a gay couple and a heterosexual couple. That’s what the LGBT activists have fought for. It was never about rights, it was about recognition.

Today, you can’t get away from the latest front on the LGBT battle for moral equivalence, the bathroom wars. With news story after news story about transgendered people being forced to use bathrooms that match their physical gender, instead of their gender identity. Stories about the president vastly over reaching his office and threatening schools with loss of federal money if they don’t adopt his administrations rules for bathroom/locker rooms. And Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, poster “boy” for transgendered individuals, visiting a public restroom owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

If I didn’t know better, I would think there were millions of transgendered people being forcibly turned away from bathrooms across the nation. It makes you wonder how anyone was able to go to the bathroom in peace. I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number of men dressed as women I’ve ever actually seen in person. I’ve never seen one in the bathroom. I’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable in a restroom. How have I lived such a reclusive life, if this is such a big problem that the United States President must weigh in?

Here’s a secret about the men’s room you ladies may not know: we don’t chat up strangers, especially if they’re in a stall. For all I know I’ve encountered hundreds of transgendered people in the bathroom. But because they looked and acted like men, I didn’t know. I don’t know how transgendered people relieved themselves before 2016, but if it was not as easy as it might be, that’s going to be a direct consequence of your gender identity being different than your actual gender. That’s not society’s fault. Blame that on nature.

Pre-2016-society said people with lady parts go to the women’s room, people with gentlemen parts go to the men’s room. Back in the 90s the gay rights movement wanted homosexuality to be seen as natural. But transgendered people can’t say it’s natural, because God, or nature if you don’t believe in God, gave them different body parts than their identity. But in 2016 we aren’t restricted by our natural body, we can identify as another gender. And now we have the Bathroom Wars.

If a person is living as a gender, and can actually pass as that gender, why do I need to know where they potty? If you look like a guy, go to the men’s room. If like a girl, the ladies. What about men with breast implants, or the like? If you look like something in between, that’s on you. Find a “family bathroom” (like the ones a lot of Targets have…) or hold it. Actions have consequences. If you’ve made alterations to your body that make it hard to know which gender you are, then you have to live with those consequences. People will continue to find a way to use the bathroom without government help, and without businesses signaling what’s OK.

But that’s not really the goal of the bathroom wars. Proponents of LGBT rights won’t be satisfied if every public bathroom is unisex. Just like the gay rights battles from decades before, the ultimate goal is to have a civilization that views every aspect of sex- behavior, identity, desire, etc…- as morally equal. Anyone who doesn’t think that way should be shut down, sidelined, called a bigot. People who are transgendered are to be considered normal. (Or at least as normal as 0.3% of the population can be.) Where they are allowed to go to the bathroom is secondary, a means to an end.

I don’t know how the bathroom wars will end, but make no mistake, this has nothing to do with who goes potty where; nothing to do with rights. It has everything to do with our culture recognizing that all gender identities are morally equivalent.

Have You Actually Read North Carolina’s Controversial Bathroom Law? Before You Get Mad, You Should

I’ve never heard so much talk about transgendered people in all my life. Although people say that we don’t know the actual number of transgendered people in American, generally the number is estimated at 700,000, or 0.3% of the US population. Like most Americans, I have met very few transgendered people in my life.

Lately everyone is talking about them because of bathrooms. Or, more to the point, which bathroom someone who has body parts of one sex should use if they identify as a member of the opposite sex. Things seem to have come to a head with North Carolina’s HB2 law. This law has caused businesses to pull out of the state. A few musicians are cancelling their concerts there. At least one movie won’t be released in North Carolina. And now presidential candidates are taking sides.

Depending on who you ask, the law is one of two things: It’s either a simple bill that prevents people born of one gender from being able to use the bathroom of another gender, or its a nefarious plot to stop all anti discrimination laws in the state and foster an environment of discrimination for LGBT people. There are lots of article on both sides. The right sees NC as a champion of conservative values. The left sees the law as a direct attack on LGBT people. There are a lot of opinions floating around out there.

But not a lot of people have actually read the law. Here’s a link to the text of the law. It’s 5 pages. If you’re concerned, you should read it.

Here’s the break down:

Title: Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act
Preamble: Says they have the authority and responsibility to enact laws like this.
Part 1: Describes in detail who can and cannot go into bathrooms and locker rooms.
Part 2: Some pork that doesn’t have much to do with the subject. Basically, the state government says they regulate labor in the state, and their rules supersede any local ones.
Part 3: I think this is the one that gives opponents the most concern. NC says that the state level discrimination laws supercede any and all laws at the local level. Ordinances and laws imposed in a city cannot be in conflict with NC state law. Goes on to reiterate ideas in Part 1 and lays out who will deal with complaints.
Part 4 & 5: Severability and date of enforcement.

That’s it.

So, some history. Charlotte’s city council had voted to approve a transgender bathroom ordinance. The state government quickly adopted HB2 to stop that ordinance from going into effect, and say that the state government has authority over these laws.

No hidden agenda. Just making it impossible for Charlotte or any NC city to pass laws allowing people who are biologically one sex into bathrooms or locker rooms for the opposite sex. And saying that this sort of decision is one that should be made at the state level.

The left says it’s discriminating against transgendered people. The right says it’s protecting people from those who would abuse the system. The left says that’s crazy, what’s the chances of that actually happening?

There’s actually a better even chance that the man in my daughter’s bathroom is a sex offender, not transgendered.

Remember, there are 700,000 transgendered people in America. As of 2015, there were over 843,000 registered sex offenders in the US. Just like LGBT people, there are many sex offenders we don’t know about. (No, I’m not equating being gay with being a sex offender, just acknowledging that there are people who belong to both groups but are not represented in these numbers.) From what we do know, there are more sex offenders than transgendered people. It’s actually more likely that the man in the women’s bathroom is a criminal than a man identifying as a woman. Because the number both groups is so small, it’s also not very likely anyone in my family will ever see someone of the opposite sex in their bathroom.

Which brings us to Part 3. The state government supersedes all local authority on this issue.

I know, right? How dare the state government believe it has authority over cities inside the state? And that laws it passes should take precedence over local ordinances?

I remember a few months ago something similar, on a federal level. An event where a federal branch of government enacted a law that superseded all state level laws. And now same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. Of course the difference here is that the NC legislature is actually tasked with writing laws, while the US Supreme Court is not.

But fret not, members of the Left. There are avenues you can travel toward righting what you consider a terrible wrong. Unlike the “law” created by the Supreme Court regarding marriage, the people of North Carolina have a recourse to change HB2, if they wish to. They can vote out their officials and vote in people who will repeal it. If the people of NC want anti discrimination laws related to sexual identity and behavior, they can elect people who will pass those laws at the state level.

That’s how representative government works.

The 3 Least Christian Things Donald Trump Has Ever Said

In an ongoing series of posts about Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump I want to turn my attention to those of us who are followers of Christ.

I realize that no candidate is perfect. There isn’t a single conservative or liberal candidate out there, running for any office, that will be the perfect Christian candidate. I don’t expect Trump to be perfect. In fact, had he not repeatedly brought up his faith I wouldn’t even write this.  He has said recently that he is a big christian, and no one reads the Bible as much as he does. He even went so far as to say, after the recent debate in Texas, that the reason that the IRS was auditing him might be because of his faith, since the IRS targets religious people/groups. I know that some will think that I shouldn’t “judge” but Matthew 7 does say that people who are religious should be known by “their fruit”.

Back before Iowa, Trump had a few well known pastors endorse him. He has done very well with voters who are evangelical. I’m confused as to how this has happened. You see, there are things he has said. Not things others accused him of, but things he has said (and then said again) that are incongruent with the Christian faith as I know it.

The 3 Least Christian Things Trump Has Ever Said

He said he doesn’t have to ask for forgiveness: At a Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa he said: “I’m not sure I have ever asked God’s forgiveness. I don’t bring God into that picture.” (July 18, 2015)

Later that same month he told Anderson Cooper on CNN:

“I like to do the right thing where I don’t actually have to ask for forgiveness. Does that make sense to you? You know, where you don’t make such bad things that you don’t have to ask for forgiveness. I mean, I’m trying to lead a life where I don’t have to ask God for forgiveness….Why do I have to repent? Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?”  When pressed, he repeated that he is a member of a church.

Obviously, everyone needs to ask for forgiveness. 20 years ago Trump wrote about affairs with married women: In his 1997 book “Trump: Art of the Comeback” he said: ““If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller (which it will be anyway!).”

Later, in his 2007 book “Think Big and Kick A**” he said, “Beautiful, famous, successfulmarried – I’ve had them all, secretly, the world’s biggest names, but unlike Geraldo I don’t talk about it.”

We Christians know that God can forgive anyone of anything. And I wouldn’t bring up any of this man’s past indiscretions, except to point out two things: 1. He brought them up himself, multiple times. 2. It’s obvious that Trump, like everyone else, needs forgiveness. I suspect that he needs it as much as anyone; every day.

1 John chapter 1 speaks clearly about this:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10

He is not consistent on the issue of Life: We all know that Trump was previously pro choice, and had an experience where he became pro life. Christians, in general, are pro life because human life is intrinsically valuable; we are made in the image of God. In multiple debates and interviews Trump has also said that he does not support abortion, but he said in two debates that he thinks that Planned Parenthood does “very good things.” He also repeated the misinformation that Planned Parenthood does mammograms. (They don’t, they refer patients to other clinics for mammograms.). At first he didn’t say he would commit to defunding them, but when it became an issue, he said that he would not allow federal funding for Planned Parenthood as long as they performed abortions.

Praising the largest provider of abortions in America for doing good things is like saying a doctor convicted of serial killing children isn’t so bad because of the adults she helped. Christians, in general, are pro life because humans, created in the image of God, have intrinsic value. (Genesis 1:26). A conservative, pro-life, Christian candidate should denounce the actions of Planned Parenthood- every time, as often as it comes up.

He said he would kill the families of terrorists: In 2015, talking about how to stop ISIS he said,

“And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. They, they care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”

Given the chance to clarify this further at the 5th debate on CNN (which was after the terrorist attack in CA), in response to a questions that asked, “How would intentionally killing innocent civilians set us apart from ISIS?” he said:

“You look at the attack in California the other day — numerous people, including the mother that knew what was going on…They saw a pipe bomb sitting all over the floor. They saw ammunition all over the place. They knew exactly what was going on… I would be very, very firm with families,” he added. “Frankly, that will make people think, because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.”

Multiple times Trump said that he would kill the families of terrorists, without due process. Just for being related to them and not stopping them. While we might make the case for capital punishment for the terrorists themselves, killing their families…? I cannot believe he stood by this, twice.

In John 13 Jesus tells us how we can identify his disciples:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

And if you want to know what love is, you need look no further than 1 Corinthians 13:

 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Does this describe Donald Trump in any way? Try saying it this way… Donald Trump is patient and kind; He does not envy or boast; Trump is not arrogant  or rude. He does not insist on his own way; Trump is not irritable or resentful… 

I’m sure Trump is a decent guy at home. He has a beautiful family. But his public persona, his public witness is not one that fits with a committed follower of Jesus Christ.

None of that means that Christians cannot vote for him. If they like his policies, they can vote for him. But we should all know that his veneer of religiosity is very thin. Fellow Christians, please do not support Donald Trump simply because he says he is a believer.

 

Donald Trump is #notright

Trump is #notright. Not only is he not correct about many of his policies, he is also not conservative. He isn’t on the right, he’s on the left. He’s #notright.

He can’t define what conservative means. In the debate before New Hampshire he was talking about what it means to be a conservative. He talked around it and finally said something about “conserving money”. But that’s not even close to an acceptable definition of conservative. Trump should be able to articulate the principles of conservatism, like limited government, but he can’t because he’s #notright.

He won’t commit to defund Planned Parenthood. In the last debate, during a heated exchange with Cruz, Trump said it was a lie that he supported Planned Parenthood. Cruz said that Trump had claimed Planned Parenthood “did good things”. Trump responded by saying that Planned Parenthood DOES do good things. I don’t know any conservative that agrees that any amount of service to women can outweigh the hundreds of thousands of murders of unborn children that PP performs each year. There are plenty of clinics (more than PP locations, and they don’t get federal funding) that offer care for women. Trump should unequivocally commit to defund Planned Parenthood, but he won’t because he’s #notright.

He thinks 9/11 was George W. Bush’s fault. And that Bush knowingly lied about WMDs in order to get the country into the war with Iraq. He may not support the Iraq war, but to blame 9/11 on the serving president is just ignorant. And to ignore the fact that Congress, including the Democrat candidate Clinton, believed reports from our intelligence services and voted to go to war with Iraq so you can blame Bush sounds like what liberal Democrats do. Trump is #notright.

He has no track record of conservatism. Until just a short while ago Trump held positions that would have made him comfortable in the ranks of liberals. He donated money to some of the most liberal politicians. He made statements about taxes, healthcare, gun rights and more that do not line up with conservative values. Now that he is running for President he is saying different things. But he cannot point to a track record of conservative values because he’s #notright.

He wants to use the Presidency to bully the people and countries into doing what he wants. Listen to what he says he will do. Listen to how he will do it. He’s gonna do some great things, thing we want, and make others pay for it. Trump’s history is full of instances where he used what he calls “truthful hyperbole” to paint a picture that appeals to his current audience, and then bulled his way into whatever he wanted. He does everything he can within the law, and some say sometimes outside the law, to get what he wants done. And everything he has ever done has been for one person, himself. Conservatives want a government that lets us live our lives with minimal interference. Trump says he will make people do what he wants, because he’s #notright.

On issue after issue, after issue, he says what he thinks the audience wants to hear. He has found a few issues that resonate with conservatives and Republicans who are fed up with the way things are. He is making wild promises, and promising to deliver. He has no substance in most of his policies. And his track record says that everything he does, he does it to benefit himself. He brags that he will make deals in Washington, but will those deals be better than the deals already being made?

I cannot imagine a country that has Donald Trump as President. We are conservatives. If polls are to be believed, we are planning to vote for a man who is not a conservative. Man who does not reflect our values. Man who will not act as a conservative president will. Donald Trump is not correct on many things, and not a conservative.

Donald Trump is #notright!

Trump Will Make a Deal… for Our Core Values

Today is the first primary of the 2016 Presidential race. It’s the Iowa Caucus. On the Republican side of things, most polls show Donald Trump ahead of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

That concerns me.

I’ve written before about how I distrust the conversion to conservatism that Trump appears to have had. But even if that conversion is true, there’s another problem with having him as President.

He will give away things we hold dear in order to make a deal. That has been his record. He gave money to Democrats for his business deals. Even though he claimed to be a conservative, he supported liberal politicians and parties, for years. And he still says that you need to “get along with everybody” and implies that he will be making deals with everyone in Washington.

One of the things that has conservatives most frustrated is the fact that Republicans keep making deals that undermine our core values. They don’t compromise on the right things. Yes, you have to compromise in order to get things done, but there are some issues you should never bend on. If every deal goes against the very things you say you stand for, what have we really gained? It feels like a loss.

Conservatives want that practice to end. Trump has been saying that he will be a better negotiator, and get better deals. But his record shows that he will support liberal policy makers with money to further an agenda that goes against what he says his values are. He has been willing to undermine his own claimed conservative values in the past, why would that change just because he is President?