WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 – This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sectarian prayers were permissible before the start of a legislative session.
Sectarian prayers to begin a session of the legislature have been a tradition in the United States since before there was a United States. Congress even opens its sessions with prayers. Despite 200 years of precedent, this was a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court. The four member liberal block made a knee-jerk reaction to the law and voted to try and stop it.
Fortunately, liberals are not a majority on the Supreme Court.
At least not yet.
In the last few years, there have been major Supreme Court decisions dealing with freedom and liberty. The good news is, up till now, freedom and liberty has won.
The bad news is, in almost every one of those cases, it was a 5-4 vote. In the Citizens United case of 2010, it was a 5-4 vote.
Citizens United was the case that was used to strike down the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill. This bill is also known as the First Amendment Repeal Act or the Incumbent Protection Act. Under McCain-Feingold, organizations were forbidden from making endorsements or even speaking out about candidates sixty or ninety days from an election, depending on whether it was a general or a primary.
During the original oral arguments for Citizens United, the Deputy Solicitor General, defending the law was asked if a book was published that had even one sentence in violation of McCain-Feingold, would the book be banned.
The shocking answer was “yes.”
Citizens United, the decision that saved the First Amendment was a five to four decision. The liberal wing of the Supreme Court favored repealing the First Amendment.
Two years before that, the Supreme Court decided the District of Columbia v. Heller. In Heller, Dick Heller filed suit against the District against their draconian gun control laws. Heller wanted to possess a fire arm in his home for protection. The Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia’s radical gun control laws that essentially stripped law abiding citizens of their right to possess a firearm.
It was a 5-4 decision.
In 2010, the Supreme Court expanded on the Heller decision in McDonald v. Chicago. Again, this was a 5-4 decision.
Liberty hangs by the balance of one single vote on the Supreme Court. Elections matter.
Many Republicans argue that if Mitt Romney had won the election in 2012, his choices for a Supreme Court justice would be far better than Barack Obama’s and liberty would be saved.
Based on Romney’s track record in Massachusetts, that is simply not true. Barack Obama has two and a half years left in office. Arguably he is rapidly becoming a lame duck, even before the traditional lame duck period of the President in his last two years.
If one of the conservative justices were to die or resign, Obama would name his replacement.
Republican control of the Senate next year might block the most radical of his nominees but it would not matter. Unless the Republicans blocked any Obama nomination to the Supreme Court, it would change the balance of power and the First and Second Amendments would be repealed by Supreme Court ruling.
The Constitution of the United States is a marvelous document. It is the greatest document ever created to govern a nation and no document before or since has done more to grant a people freedom and liberty and to protect those people against the tyranny of government power.
We live in dangerous times. Freedom has never been closer to extinction nor have they need more help from the American people.