Word from the Center: Friday, October 12, 2018

Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, I’m Gregory Seltz, Today’s topic/issue….

The Battle for the Supreme Court, or a return to Representative Government?

I wrote a post last month decrying the Supreme Court Nomination process whereby a good man was subjected to the very worst treatment by our government. Such treatment goes back decades, starting with another good man, Robert Bork, who was treated to the same strategy by a shameless senate. The call for civility in politics is a just one. And, our President could use some manners in his engagement with people too. But these public floggings are not just wrong, they are symptoms of a problem that goes much deeper. They go to the heart of the protections of our liberties in society. That’s why the character assassination of a good man like Judge Kavanaugh is so distressing. The process on display was not about your political proclivities versus mine, it’s about both of our liberties. It’s about putting “law-making” back where it belongs, in Legislatures, in Congress, back with the people, not in the courts.

Have you noticed that only one particular viewpoint gets “teed up” for such treatment? The newspaper casts the story in terms of “left and right.” Of course, by “left” they tend to mean the good guy, and by “right,” they tend to mean the one who is somehow going to take away your liberties at all cost. But, what really happened in the election of Judge Kavanaugh? Simply put, a judge was put in place who believes in the original intent of the Constitution as well as the constitutionally defined task of the Supreme Court to render cases according to the Law not to legislate from the bench. That’s it. He wasn’t put in place to exercise one political point of view or another political point of view. The creation of law is the Legislature’s responsibility not the Judiciary, and that’s the way it should be. Why?  because they must answer to the voters who they represent and to whom they are accountable.

So, what does this mean in practical terms? Judge Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court upon which he sits, may or may not overturn “Roe v. Wade,” though I wish it would. Why? Because the “right of abortion” is not in the constitution. And, if we are going to have laws for abortion on the books that allow us to kill babies, that law should be voted on and legislated where it belongs, State Legislatures, or Congress not in the Judicial branch of our government. Also, when courts begin to overturn the clear will of the people, havoc often ensues. I found it ironic in 2006 in California, when the people passed Proposition 8, the “Defense of Marriage Act,” the courts wiped out their votes and ruled against the will of the people. What I found most unsettling was the fact that it was one of the greatest disenfranchisements of African Americans in America, rivaling the government coercion of the Jim Crowe era. You see, most white people in California voted for “gay marriage.” Over 75 percent of black voters (As well as a large percentage of Hispanic voters) voted for the defense of traditional marriage. Yet no outcry to the vacating of their vote was heard in the land at all. I would have liked to have heard the words of an elected official trying to explain to his constituents why their votes were cast aside. In legislative debates, in the writing of the law, and in elections, those questions would have to be answered. But, when a judge can merely cast it all aside, freedoms are lost not gained.

In closing, these cultural issues are hard, they demand clear thinking, heartfelt listening, and legislation that honors all. That belongs in one branch of our government and it’s not the Judicial Branch. The Judicial Branch’s job is to rule according to the laws on the books. And if such law is “bad law,” the people have an opportunity to fix that every time they go to the polls. That balance was returned to our culture last month and all those who love their freedoms, yes even the freedom to disagree with each other and to love each other nonetheless, say, “Thank you.”