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Nuclear Option in a Religious War

by Patrick J. Buchanan
April 27, 2005

As the world mourned the passing of John Paul II, who never ceased defending the right to life of the unborn, a thought occurred. If George W. Bush had nominated John Paul II to a federal judgeship, every Senate Democrat would have voted to kill his nomination, and filibustered it to death if it ever reached the Senate floor.

For the convictions of John Paul II, rooted in the teachings of Christ and the church on abortion, homosexual unions, stem-cell research, Terri Schiavo, women's rights are all extremist by the standards of the Democratic Party.

Which underscores a point: The Left has succeeded in imposing a social revolution on America only by its seizure and control of the least democratic and most autocratic branch of the government, the judiciary. But now that bastion of liberalism could fall. Thus, all the sound and fury of the establishment and media over the "nuclear option" being considered by the Republican Senate.

What does that option entail? If a federal judicial nominee is approved in committee and sent to the floor, he or she will get a vote. A minority bloc of senators will not be allowed to kill every Bush appellate or Supreme Court nominee by talking it to death. The nuclear option means majority decides. How radical is that?

In this fight, there is no small humor in seeing liberals who preach pure democracy defending the club Strom Thurmond and his Dixiecrats used to use to beat civil rights bills to death. Liberals who welcomed priests, nuns, rabbis and ministers at peace rallies are now denouncing, as a violation of church and state, "Justice Sunday" at Louisville's Highview Baptist Church, where Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist spoke to advance the cause of giving the president's judges a vote.

Can this be the same Democratic Party whose nominees have campaigned for decades from the pulpits of black churches?

Bush is having his problems selling Social Security reform and John Bolton to be U.N. ambassador, but the nuclear option looks like a winner for the White House and GOP, if they don't go wobbly.

Majority Whip Mitch McConnell says he has the 51 votes. Vice President Cheney says he will be in the chair to break any tie. And while Minority Leader Harry Reid is howling about Frist being a "radical Republican" for speaking at a church, Joe Biden is talking compromise. He is offering to accept some nominees, if Bush will jettison the rest. The GOP response should be: No deal.

The Democrats' retaliatory threat? All Senate business will be shut down if Republicans exercise the nuclear option. But this is a bluff or a threat of suicide. Should Senate Democrats walk out or go on a sit-down strike because Bush nominees win a majority vote, Democrats will become a national joke and set themselves up to be blamed for every congressional failure between now and November 2006.

The Democrats are issuing an ultimatum they cannot carry out without killing their party. Have they forgotten what happened to Newt Gingrich when, after he shut down the government, he said he did not like the way he had been treated by having to walk out the rear door of Air Force One? That is what Senate Democrats are inviting with their threat to halt all Senate business.

The importance of the Judges War to the Bush legacy, the GOP agenda and the nation is not easily overstated.

For decades, radical secularists like William Douglas, Earl Warren, William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall and Harry Blackmun have abused their power as Supreme Court justices to impose their values and views on a society that opposed or even detested those values and views. We have seen voluntary prayer, Bible-reading and the Ten Commandments purged from public schools; the pornography industry, once a sordid criminal enterprise, given First Amendment protection; and children forcibly bused across town on judicial orders because of the color of their skin. We have seen abortion, once a crime in 50 states, declared a constitutional right, followed by the discovery that the Constitution protects homosexual sodomy, though Jefferson equated it with rape.

We are no longer a democratic republic. The Supreme Court picks what cases it will hear, what laws it will permit to stand, what rights it shall invent. We overthrew a rule of kings. Now we are oppressed by a rule of judges.

The nuclear option is a way to change the composition of the courts, but this is a project of years. In the near term, the needed remedy remains for Congress to remove from U.S. court dockets all moral and social issues that the Founding Fathers believed should be decided by the people through elected representatives. It is in the power of this Congress to overthrow this judicial dictatorship and restore our lost republic. They must not fail.

No compromises. Exercise the nuclear option.

2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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