Category Archives: Conservatism

Herrod: Foundational Principles Won the Day in National Elections

By Cathi Herrod, President
Center for Arizona Policy

On Tuesday the people spoke. In election after election, the American people voted in favor of foundational principles – the values we hold dear. While our ultimate hope only is in the Lord, may your hope in the electoral process and the values of the American people be restored.

Check out these election results from Tuesday:

HOUSTON: Remember the Houston 5? The five pastors who had their sermons subpoenaed when they voiced opposition to Houston’s so-called “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO)?” The voters in Houston stood with those pastors in voting down the ordinance 61% to 39%. The ordinance would have amended city law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Throughout the country, it’s these ordinances that are being used to deny religious freedom to people like Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman, or Colorado cake baker Jack Phillips. It’s also these ordinances that allow men who want to identify as women to use female locker room and bathroom facilities.

The Houston voters sent a clear message that the people support religious freedom and don’t want men in women’s restrooms.

Today, in our state, the cities of Glendale, Scottsdale, and Mesa are considering similar ordinances. Proponents of these laws are also pushing for a similar statewide measure. Let’s hope the Houston vote sends a clear message to Arizona leaders that when the people speak, this is the result.

OHIO: The Ohio people spoke loud and clear in defeating 64-36% a $20 million dollar effort to legalize recreational marijuana across the state. Next year, Arizonans most likely will vote on a similar measure to legalize retail marijuana here. Citizens are watching Colorado and seeing the devastating effects of what happens when retail marijuana is legal.

KENTUCKY: The people spoke in Kentucky by electing Matt Bevin Governor. Bevin united fiscal and social conservatives with his stands against Obamacare and in favor of life and religious freedom. Bevin’s opponent was endorsed by Planned Parenthood.

GLENDALE: Voters spoke in on our state in Glendale by recalling current Councilman Gary Sherwood, electing in his place Ray Malnar. Sherwood had flip-flopped his position on the Glendale Casino (from opposing the casino to supporting it). He has also been the leader of the Glendale effort to add a sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination ordinance – the same ordinance defeated by Houston voters.

Take time to read Ryan Anderson’s take on what the election results say about social conservatives. Or for an interesting perspective from a left-leaning publication, read the Atlantic: Are Liberals Losing the Culture War?

Be encouraged. Reclaim hope. Be grateful for pastors that led. Be grateful for voters who clearly stood in defense of foundational principles and values.

May the 2015 election results forecast the people speaking loud and clear in the 2016 election cycle!

 ICYMI – Latest News and Articles of Interest

  • Planned Parenthood funding in Arizona. Governor Doug Ducey removed Planned Parenthood from the charitable campaign through which state employees can donate to charities. This continues the longstanding public policy in Arizona that supports life, not abortion.
  • Speak with Your Tax Dollars: Once again our friends at Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, Christian Family Care, and Crisis Pregnancy Centers have prepared this short video to inform and equip citizens about how to participate in the Arizona state tax credits that benefit children in need and various other charitable needs. We encourage you to share this video! The complete list of qualifying charities and school tuition organizations is available here.
  • Intern with CAP. If you’re a college student looking for front line public policy experience, apply for a CAP internship. The upcoming spring semester will focus on the 2016 legislative session and 2016 election season plans – one of the more interesting and valuable times to serve with our team.

Senate Bill would Block Sanctuary Cities Laws

The Center for Immigration Studies has published an analysis of Senate Bill 2146, the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect American Act” introduced by Senator David Vitter. This sanctuary legislation is designed to block state or local governments from enacting or continuing sanctuary laws or policies that protect aliens from the reach of federal immigration authorities, most especially with regard to aliens arrested and convicted for criminal offenses.

Recent data reveals an estimated 1,000 criminal aliens a month are being released due to sanctuary policies, making congressional action imperative. The bill seeks to incentivize state and local governments to cooperate with federal authorities by continuing existing grants to those which exchange information and comply with detainers; cutting federal funding to sanctuary governments which refuse to cooperate, that is then distributed to jurisdictions that do cooperate; and by providing immunity to officers when engaging in cooperative efforts, including complying with detainers or providing information.

View the entire report here.

“The Obama Administration refuses to deal with the sanctuary problem, which has led to crimes such as the murder of Kate Steinle by a five-times-deported illegal-alien felon,” said Dan Cadman, a Center fellow and author of the report. “This bill addresses the sanctuary policies which result in thousands of criminal aliens being released into our communities to reoffend. Unfortunately, it is not as comprehensive as the Davis-Oliver Act, which would deal with the sanctuary policies and the administration’s deliberate suppression of enforcement.”

Arizona’s Women and Children Caught in the Crosshairs

Governor Doug Ducey just issued a proclamation for “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”:

Hello, this is Governor Doug Ducey.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This is a serious issue that affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in Arizona.

Every Arizonan has the right to feel safe in his or her own home. 

To those in abusive situations – you are not alone. Please reach out to a loved one and ask for help, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 

You have my word: the Sate of Arizona will prosecute those who commit domestic violence with the full force of the law. 

By working together, we can protect our fellow citizens and get them the support they need. Thank you.

This is a good start, governor, but it ignores a great big elephant in the living room: domestic partner benefits, offered by the City of Phoenix and other misguided secular humanist organizations.

Why do they encourage cohabitation by rewarding it with domestic partner benefits? This fact alone should discourage them from it:

In the U.S. and Canada, cohabiting women are nine times more likely to be killed by their live-in boyfriend than married women by their husband.

Once again, we call on Arizona taxpayers to demand an end to this misguided policy placing women and children at heightened risks of serious harm.

And if that isn’t enough of a risk for children, Equality Arizona — the state’s most radical homosexual pressure group — is demanding legislation to clear the way for homosexual adoption in Arizona:

There are 18,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system, but discrimination and institutional barriers can prevent LGBTQ families from becoming foster and adoptive families and accessing resources. Our campaign, Project Jigsaw is working to connect every child to a loving family.

These leftist pressure groups and their friends in the White House and the left-stream media repeat a narrative that same-sex relationships are automatically “loving.” But that, as usual with the Left, is a false and dishonest narrative.

Because domestic violence among lesbians is extremely high. Just look at the sad saga of Phoenix Mercury lesbian Britney Greiner and her former wife, both arrested for beating up on each other earlier this year. This is not uncommon. It is unsafe and unhealthy for children to be placed in these environments.

And for a great many male homosexuals, they engage in a parade of anonymous sexual exploits and expose children to serious risks. Dawn Stefanowicz grew up in such a dark home environment:

Dawn’s story is not the exception.

Yes, children need loving homes to grow up in — with a married man and woman. If we as a people in Arizona have the will to resist calls for political correctness, children will have a better chance for a happy, peaceful, loving home. That is what we need our governor to stand up and fight for. Because he will be pressured to do the wrong thing. Governor Ducey, do the right thing.

House Passes Cong. Franks’ Life Bill

If the U.S. Senate passes this bill as well, President Barack Obama will veto it because he is totally beholden to abortion, Planned Parenthood and the culture of death. Nevertheless, we praise Congressman Trent Franks and all voted for this bill. They did the right thing.

028_29Washington, D.C.— Today the House of Representatives passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 3504) by a vote of 248-177, 1 Present. The legislation, sponsored by the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), would protect all children who are born alive.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act severely penalizes abortion practitioners who violate federal law by killing innocent children who are born during failed abortion procedures. The provisions of the bill directly address concerns raised throughout the House Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood. Under this bill, if a born-alive child is cut open for its body parts, or some other overt act is taken to kill the child, the punishment is that for first-degree murder, which can include life in prison or the death penalty.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Chairman Trent Franks released the following statement after the passage of the bill:

“Today the House of Representatives made a strong statement for children who have no voice in the face of atrocities committed by abortionists. This legislation sends a strong message to those who are in the horrific business of abortions that there are real consequences for those who would kill or abandon children after they are outside a mother’s womb. Today’s debate is a somber reminder of the horrors of abortion, and the atrocities that abortionists like Kermit Gosnell can inflict on babies.

“We are proud that this bill also addresses a primary issue within the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into Planned Parenthood. At the heart of Planned Parenthood’s alleged activities is the harvesting of fetal body parts for profit. This bill severely punishes those abortion practitioners who would kill an innocent baby in order to harvest baby parts.

“We wish to thank our colleagues for supporting this important piece of legislation for the unborn.”

Key Provisions:

  • In the case of an abortion or attempted abortion that results in a child born alive, any health care practitioner present must exercise the same degree of professional care to preserve the life of the child as they would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.
  • Provides that the child must be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.
  • The bill requires the reporting of any known violations of its provisions.
  • Allows a woman to file a civil lawsuit if her live baby was not treated with the care and respect required by the bill.

Gov. Ducey’s Constitution Day Statement

“Today, as we celebrate our nation’s most important document, I am proud to say Arizona is a national leader when it comes to civic education,” said Governor Doug Ducey.

“Arizona was the first state in the country to pass the American Civics Act, with bipartisan support, and many Arizona students are set to take that test for the first time this week.

“Our founders ensured that our nation would be a nation of laws, where ‘We the People’ control our destiny, and wrote a document that has stood the test of time. Here freedom and liberty rule, and all Americans have the right to pursue their destiny.

“As we reflect on our nation’s great history today – please keep the members of our armed services fighting to protect the constitutional rights we hold so dear in your thoughts and prayers.”

Governor Doug Ducey visited Sunset Hills Elementary School Thursday to celebrate Constitution Day with students and teachers. The governor read to a second-grade class.

Arizona Congressmen Introduce Grant’s Law to Fight the Border Invasion

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) today issued the following statement on news that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had released three dangerous illegal aliens into Pinal County, Arizona.

“Despite the repeated attacks on American citizens by illegal aliens released from our jails, DHS refuses to stop freeing violent criminals who are in our country illegally.  Just yesterday, we learned of three more individuals set free on law-abiding Arizonans by the Department of Homeland Security.  Their crimes included the beating to death of a seven-week-old baby and the stabbing, beating, and immolation of a police informant.

“Our Department of Homeland Security needs to focus more on securing our homeland, not on cornering the market as a transportation option for illegal aliens in the United States.  Americans need protection from violent criminals and an explanation for why DHS has been so miserably failing at their primary task.  How many more Americans must be murdered by illegal alien criminals before this administration begins taking the safety of Americans seriously?”

A copy of the letter Rep. Salmon sent to DHS Secretary Johnson on yesterday’s news is available here.

Government Waste Watchdog Cites Franks and Salmon for Serving the People with Distinction

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) applauded Reps. Trent Franks and Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) for their relentless and unwavering support of the fiscal interests of American taxpayers while serving in Congress.  Reps. Franks and Salmon were two of the 17 lawmakers to earn a perfect score of 100 percent in CCAGW’s 2014 Congressional Ratings, making them “Taxpayer Super Heroes.”  Since Rep. Franks was elected in 2012, he has a lifetime rating of 95 percent, while Rep. Salmon maintained a 97 percent lifetime rating since his election in 2012.

The report, which CCAGW has issued since 1989, highlights the voting records of all 535 members of Congress.  It identifies members whose impeccable voting records helped protect and save the taxpayers’ money, earning them the honored title of “Taxpayer Super Hero,” while it cites members who consistently voted against the fiscal interest of taxpayers.

CCAGW rates members of both chambers on a 0-100 percent scale.  Members are placed in the following categories: 0-19% Hostile; 20-39% Unfriendly; 40-59% Lukewarm; 60-79% Friendly; 80-99% Taxpayer Hero; and 100% Taxpayer Super Hero.  The 2014 Congressional Ratings scored 85 votes in the House of Representatives and 13 votes in the Senate.

“We applaud and wholeheartedly thank Reps. Franks and Salmon for their hard work on behalf of the taxpayers while serving in Congress,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz.  “Their courageous votes to cut wasteful spending and make government more accountable should serve as an example to other members, encouraging them to make good on promises to protect the fiscal interests of American taxpayers.”

“We have no doubt that Reps. Franks and Salmon will continue to help lead the effort to end wasteful spending and reduce the growing national debt,” added Schatz.  “Their constituents should be very proud of them.”

McCain Calls Arizonans Crazy

By John Nolte,

The whole world is upside down, especially in the Republican Party. When a powerful United States Senator faces no party repercussions after smearing everyday Americans, there is something horribly, terribly, and self-destructively wrong with the GOP.

There is no question that Donald Trump took a cheap shot at Republican Senator John McCain (RINO-AZ). It wasn’t as bad as some in the media and the GOP Establishment wanted it to be (the crusade was on to craft a silver bullet), but it was a cheap shot at a legitimate war hero’s record. Trump was out of line, no question.

At the very least, though, Trump aimed his cheap shot at power — at a powerful United States senator perfectly capable of defending himself. At McCain’s command are the mighty powers of an American mainstream media that he can summon at any time. In a country of around 330 million, McCain is one of about 25 people with that kind of power.

Now let’s look at who one of the most powerful men in the country took his cheap shot at:

“It’s very bad,” McCain, who was eager to talk about Trump, told me on Monday when I stopped by his Senate office. The senator is up for re-election in 2016, and he pays close attention to how the issue of immigration is playing in his state. He was particularly rankled by Trump’s rally. “This performance with our friend out in Phoenix is very hurtful to me,” McCain said. “Because what he did was he fired up the crazies.”

Who are the “crazies” McCain refers to? The 15,000 or so American citizens who showed up for a Donald Trump immigration rally in Arizona.

These aren’t just McCain’s fellow Americans he’s smearing (to the elite New Yorker, no less), these are McCain’s fellow Arizonans.

Worse still, these are GOP base voters. These are the very people the Republican Party needs to retake the White House.

The Republican Party made the correct decision to criticize Trump for mocking one of its own.

What I don’t understand is why the Republican party didn’t issue a statement criticizing the powerful John McCain for smearing its own, in this case 15,000 everyday Americans.

The media, the Republican Party… they’re protecting power and not the powerless.

The whole world is upside down.

Overruling the Courts: How We End the Reign of Liberal Judges in 2016

By Andrew Thomas, former Maricopa County Attorney 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage confirms, once again, that conservative efforts to end liberal judicial activism on major issues have failed. On matters that determine our quality of life and culture-immigration, criminal justice, abortion, marriage-the left enjoys clear mastery of the courts, and has for the last fifty years. To end this tyranny, Congress must use its power under Article III, section 2 of the Constitution to remove jurisdiction from the federal courts over these issues. This will allow the states and the people to decide these matters, restoring self-government on the issues that matter most.

For the past half century, conservative political leaders have vowed to combat liberal judicial activism. These efforts, quite simply, have failed. Unelected liberal judges now effectively run America, making every ultimate policy decision-often in defiance of the will of the people.

Unchecked liberal court rulings have subverted the Constitution, wreaking havoc on our national sovereignty and such bedrock institutions as the family and religious freedom. On the issues that determine our quality of life and culture-immigration, criminal justice, abortion, marriage-the left enjoys clear mastery of the courts and is seeking to mop up and fully implement their social agenda. Except for occasional “crumbs from the master’s table,” conservatives no longer can win in court on the issues that matter most.

To reverse this destructive trend and restore self-government, two things must happen. First, Congress must use its power under Article III, section 2 of the Constitution to remove jurisdiction from the federal courts over these issues. Second, conservative leaders and organizations must work together and insist that candidates for president and Congress in 2016 take a clear position on whether they support stripping the federal courts of this jurisdiction. Otherwise, candidates will continue to mislead conservative voters with often self-serving promises and tactics that, for a half century, have failed to turn the tide.

These jurisdiction-stripping measures would ensure, at a minimum, certain states can become “Faith and Family Networks.” There, people of faith may live in relative freedom from harassment until the courts and other institutions can be properly reformed.

An American Tyranny: Why Our Government Is Election-Proof

Starting in the 1960s, liberal activists took over the federal courts and used them to assault and fundamentally change American society. Under the leadership of former California politician Earl Warren, the U.S. Supreme Court imposed on the nation sweeping liberal policies that lacked popular support. To accomplish this, the high court claimed it had discovered new constitutional “rights.” These “rights” were conferred on individuals hostile to the rule of law and traditional American values. They included criminals and prison inmates, illegal immigrants, flag-burners, and a motley group of liberal provocateurs at war with the social conventions that had protected civilization for millennia.

Converting the Supreme Court into what Justice Hugo Black called a “day-to-day constitutional convention,” activist justices remade the nation. They threw out state laws designed to stop illegal immigration, administer capital punishment, significantly limit or ban abortion, defend marriage, honor religious faith through governmental action, and protect the innocence of children from unrestrained “freedom of expression” in the mass media. These activist rulings, to paraphrase Justice Antonin Scalia, rewrote the “Constitution for a country I do not recognize.”

For example, thanks to federal court rulings, convicted murderers are allowed decades to appeal their sentences through state and, afterwards, federal courts. These delays effectively nullify capital punishment, which the American people support. The Supreme Court has invalidated state laws allowing juries to impose capital punishment on heinous criminals who, for example, rape children. Today, the death penalty is carried out only at the whim of judges, and is no longer an effective deterrent to murder or other grave crimes.

Likewise, the federal courts have knocked down state laws addressing the ongoing influx of illegal immigrants. Activist judges have overturned legislation which made it a crime for an illegal immigrant to enter a state. Other state laws targeting illegal immigration have met the same demise. This has happened even though the Framers of the Constitution expressly reserved for the states broad police powers allowing them to pass and enforce such laws-laws which defend the rule of law and basic American sovereignty.

Unelected federal judges, not elected officials, now have the final say on every national policy issue. This has made our government election-proof. Voting for president or members of Congress means little if federal judges, not elected officials, make the ultimate decisions on all public policies. As power has shifted to the federal courts, elections have become increasingly meaningless. Voter distrust of government has soared.

Moreover, the judiciary has become a firm bastion of liberalism. The courts have given America, for the past fifty years, a steady series of now-entrenched liberal court rulings. These have shattered the nation’s traditions, quality of life and culture. The courts steadfastly refuse to overturn these rulings. Except for occasional and very marginal victories, it is no longer possible for conservatives to win in court on the issues that matter most.

A Half Century of Failure

How did activist liberal judges accomplish this? Those who should have fought back against them did not. Failing to mount a successful counterattack were a succession of presidents and members of Congress-in particular, as a practical matter, the leaders of America’s conservative party, the Republican Party. Many of these leaders tried and meant well. Most, however, shunned the fight out of political self-interest. To avoid controversy and attacks from the liberal media and other allies of liberal judges, these leaders sacrificed the Constitution and self- government.

Misleading Campaign Promises and Ineffective Tactics

Every election cycle, Americans witness a disingenuous ritual. Republican candidates promise to fight the most recent batch of liberal court rulings with tactics proven, over the last fifty years, to be completely ineffective. The first stock promise: seeking to amend the Constitution. This is a political cop-out. The Framers deliberately made amending the Constitution an extremely difficult and unlikely process. This makes pledging to amend the Constitution a dodge, a high- sounding way to avoid seriously addressing activist court rulings.

Equally slippery is the second standard promise: passing more laws to challenge the offending rulings. New conservative laws, conservatives are told, will set up more cases and, eventually, victories in court. These laws are then litigated for many years, often a decade or longer. Any eventual gains from these cases are tardy and trifling. By then a whole new generation of Congressmen are in office, ready to try the same tactic before an often-forgetful conservative electorate. This political promise, in short, is the hackneyed political equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown again and again.

Despite decades of litigation, the core liberal court rulings remain untouched. For fifty years, federal judges have not reversed a single, major liberal precedent on a cultural issue. Conservative gains in court have been rare and extremely modest, while the left and its social agenda romp virtually unchallenged through the nation’s courthouses. Trumpeting these tiny and infrequent conservative “victories” are lawyers who earn income from these cases and allied politicians; their public declarations of victory often mislead conservatives into thinking they are winning the nation’s cultural battles when, in fact, they are being routed.

Finally, GOP presidential candidates offer the quadrennial chestnut of promising to appoint “strict-constructionist judges.” This tactic also has failed. The left makes confirmation of such candidates for judgeships a horrific and doubtful enterprise. Prospective judges who are honest and open enough to articulate right-of-center views prior to nomination are crucified by liberal media elites and pressure groups during the confirmation process. The savaging of the late Judge Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas were clarion events in this regard. Indeed, the left knows how and when to fight: Had Bork been confirmed instead of his replacement, Anthony Kennedy, America would be a very different country today.

Regardless, it is hard even to find potential conservative judges, no matter how diligently a president searches for them. Lawyers are overwhelmingly liberal. For this reason, the number of conservatives in this pool of potential judges is very small. Even when they can be found, attorneys with seemingly conservative credentials frequently “flip” after donning a black robe. To do otherwise requires them to withstand tremendous professional and personal pressures and enticement from liberal legal insiders, the media and fellow judges. Few are strong enough to do so.

“The Liberal Courts”

What Judge Robert Bork foresaw as the “political seduction of the law,” in a landmark book published when Barack Obama was a law student, has materialized. The left has thoroughly politicized the law and the courts. Conservatives cannot win there on the issues that matter most. Conservative leaders and voters must acknowledge this reality and act accordingly.

How did the left capture the courts? This takeover was inevitable once liberal activists took over academia. To be a lawyer, one must complete seven years of higher education, receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctor. This means undergoing seven years of indoctrination by committed liberal professors. Thirty years ago, the late Allan Bloom warned about the damaging effects of liberal bias in higher education. But this was a thorny problem to solve, and so it was ignored. Now, it has changed the country.

Liberal indoctrination in American higher education is well documented. Some 72 percent of college professors describe themselves as liberal. Only 15 percent call themselves conservative. Not surprisingly, a 2010 analysis by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute concluded that the more college degrees a person earns, the more liberal that person becomes. When Americans are asked, for instance, whether they believe public-school teachers should be allowed to lead a prayer in school, 57 percent of high-school graduates say yes. That number drops to 40 percent for college graduates, 30 percent for master’s degree holders, and only 17 percent for Ph.D.’s.

This dynamic is particularly stark in law school. Those who dissent from liberal positions during class discussions literally are hissed at and ridiculed. Professors tolerate and sometimes encourage this environment. The message is delivered. Few who graduate from law school are conservative.

The American Bar Association and other bar associations reflect and enforce these biases. Indeed, an attorney who publicly calls the judiciary politicized or liberal risks disbarment; ethical rules charge bar associations with targeting attorneys who, in their judgment, unfairly challenge the “integrity of the judiciary.” Lawyers who speak out also face professional ostracism and retaliation in more obvious ways, as the courts control the outcome of their cases and their livelihoods.

In short, conservatives must view the courts as they do the media. Both institutions have become firmly liberal. Occasional “crumbs” from either institution do not alter this reality. Conservatives should use the phrase “liberal courts” as frequently and reliably as they say “liberal media,” for the terms are equally true.

Indeed, there is an incestuous relationship between the liberal courts and the liberal media. Through generous rulings, the courts have all but shielded the media from libel suits. The media reciprocate by giving the courts “air cover,” reflexively defending them from conservative critiques by pounding those who dare articulate them. Hollywood benefits financially from liberal court rulings, and so leaders of the motion-picture industry do their part, as well. Movie producers uniformly offer films that depict judges as wise, fair and benevolent.

Reclaiming Self-Government

Congress has the power to end this tragic and ruinous state of affairs. That power resides in Article III of the Constitution.

Article III of the Constitution specifies that the U.S. Supreme Court has original jurisdiction only over disputes between states and cases in which foreign diplomats are a party. On any other issue, Congress can limit or eliminate entirely the jurisdiction of the high court and the other federal courts. In other words, the people’s elected representatives in Congress can roll back judicial abuses through a simple majority vote of both houses.

Article III, section 2 provides the Supreme Court “shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” This language expressly allows Congress to withdraw jurisdiction from the federal courts to uphold the will of the people.

Congress has done this in the past, though not on the controversial cultural issues where action is urgently needed today. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld past congressional restrictions of its jurisdiction. Indeed, the language of Article III is so clear and unambiguous that the high court has been obliged to concede such limitations despite its obvious conflict of interest in allowing its own powers to be curbed.

In a string of rulings going back to right after the Civil War, the high court has acknowledged Congress holds this power under Article III. One justice recognizing this constitutional reality was Chief Justice John Marshall, whose opinions first asserted the Supreme Court’s right to strike down laws it deemed unconstitutional. Marshall observed that all federal judicial powers “are limited and regulated” by Congress.

In the Federalist Papers, written to persuade the earliest Americans to adopt the new Constitution, Alexander Hamilton echoed this understanding. He stated the courts were designed to be the “least dangerous” and “weakest” branch of government. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court would be “confined to two classes, and those of a nature rarely to occur.” Likewise, federal appellate jurisdiction would exist only “with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make” (Hamilton’s emphasis). There would never be a “superiority of the judiciary to the legislative power,” meaning the courts could not overrule Congress and the people. Indeed, Hamilton noted Congress could impeach activist judges who engaged in “deliberate usurpation on the authority of the legislature.” Leading legal scholars and other observers have quoted Hamilton and other Framers in upholding Congress’s power to restrict the jurisdiction of the federal courts.

Congress should restrict jurisdiction in those areas of public policy where federal judges have engaged in repeated, substantial abuses of power to thwart the will of the people. Specifically, Congress should pass an act restricting federal-court jurisdiction so that henceforth, each state may:

  • Make it a crime, prosecutable under state law, for an illegal immigrant to enter the state;
  • Ban same-sex marriages and protect related religious freedom;
  • Allow juries to impose the death penalty on criminals as determined by state law, and impose a two-year time limit for federal courts to rule on federal appeals of state capital cases; and
  • Fully regulate or end abortion as the people of the state or their elected representatives deem fit.

This “Empower the States Act” will restore to the states and the people their rightful authority to govern themselves on key areas of public policy.

Returning these matters to the states is not a perfect solution. Because of the deep intellectual rot in the judiciary, many state courts are liberal. Yet state judges are closer to the people and more accountable because many are elected. Also, many state constitutions have a right of referendum, allowing the people to vote directly on these matters.

Conclusion: Empowering the States

In 2016, conservative voters cannot settle for the same evasions and self-serving rhetoric offered by presidential and congressional candidates for the past half century. They must insist that candidates agree explicitly that if elected, they will act to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over these matters and end the reign of liberal judges. Fifty years of failure have proven nothing else will work.

To force candidates to address these issues forthrightly, conservative leaders, activists and voters must be dogged and focused. Republican politicians in particular routinely court conservative voters and rely upon them at election time, but try to avoid tackling these issues. They want to be spared the “air war” that erupts in the liberal media when conservative elected officials address a major social issue. As a result, Republican leaders typically settle for what former House Speaker Newt Gingrich memorably called “managing the decline” of the nation. This is a generous and artful way of accusing such leaders of political cowardice and dereliction of duty, terms that are just as true and fair.

Conservatives must demand more. The hour is very late.

The “Empower the States Act” will create “Faith and Family Networks,” states and clusters of like-minded states where people of faith can live without harassment. This is a realistic stopgap measure to protect these basic liberties until the courts and other institutions can be properly reformed.

To achieve this, conservatives cannot allow candidates to change the subject, talking instead of such easy and shopworn fare as cutting taxes or curbing the bureaucracy. Many news items compete for the voters’ attention. Yet the left shrewdly remains focused on controlling the courts because they know this is their source of ultimate power. In contrast, by losing such focus, conservatives have seen their civilization wrecked by liberal activist judges.

Only by pinning down candidates and holding them to their word on these issues can Americans realistically hope to end the left’s stranglehold on the courts. In the process, the electorate will have taken the surest path to a brighter national future.


Justice Black:  Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 85 S. Ct. 1678 (1965)(Black, J., dissenting).

Justice Scalia:  United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 116 S. Ct. 2264 (1996)(Scalia, J., dissenting).

Liberal court rulings:  E.g., Arizona v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 2492 (2012)(disallowing state law barring illegal immigrants from entering state); Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S. Ct. 1684 (1961) and Miranda v. Arizona,384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966) (expanding the rights of criminals and inmates); Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705 (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 112 S. Ct. 2791 (1992)(right to abortion); Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 82 S. Ct. 1261 (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 83 S. Ct. 1560 (1963)(forbidding public schools from conducting prayer or Bible readings);Obergefell v. Hodges, Citation Pending (2015)(right to same-sex marriage).

Bork:  Robert H. Bork, The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law (New York: Free Press, 1990).

Bloom:  Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987).

Liberal indoctrination in higher education:  Intercollegiate Studies Institute, “The Shaping of the American Mind,” February 2010.

Law school climate:  Andrew Peyton Thomas, The People v. Harvard Law: How America’s Oldest Law School Turned Its Back on Free Speech (San Francisco: Encounter, 2005), pp. 24-26.

Supreme Court and appellate rulings acknowledging Congress’ power to restrict  jurisdiction under Article III, Section 2:  Ex parte McCardle, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 506 (1869)(1867 Act); Lauf v. E.G. Skinner & Co., 303 U.S. 323 (1938)(Norris-LaGuardia Act); Felker v. Turpin, 517 U.S. 651 (1996)(Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act)); Garcia v. Att’y Gen. of the United States, 329 F.3d 1217 (11th Cir. 2003)(Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act); Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528 (11th Cir. 2002)(Prison Litigation Reform Act).  In Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 128 S. Ct. 2229 (2008), the Supreme Court, in a narrowly written decision, invalidated a federal restriction on its jurisdiction over enemy combatants held in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Chief Justice Marshall:  Durousseau v. United States, 10 U.S. (6 Crach.) 307 (1810).

Hamilton:  Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, Nos. 78 and 81 (available online at

Intellectual support for jurisdiction-stripping measures:  E.g., Raoul Berger, Death Penalties: The Supreme Court’s Obstacle Course (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1982); R. Randall Bridwell and William J. Quirk,Judicial Dictatorship (Rutgers: Transaction, 1995); Patrick J. Buchanan, “Our Judicial Dictatorship,”, October 10, 2014; Phyllis Schlafly, The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges and How To Stop It(Dallas: Spence, 2004).

Appendix – Proposed Legislation

114th Congress

1st Session

H.R. ____________



To amend title 28, United States Code, with respect to the jurisdiction of the Federal courts over certain cases and controversies involving illegal immigration, marriage, capital punishment and abortion.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the “Empower the States Act of 2015.”


(a)  In General – Chapter 99 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“Section 1632.  Limitation on jurisdiction

No court created by an Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, state laws that:  prohibit illegal aliens, as defined by Federal immigration laws, from entering a state; pertain to any type of marriage; determine what criminal conduct makes a criminal offender eligible for capital punishment; set a time limit, for a period of two years or more, for Federal appeal and review of state death-penalty cases; or regulate or prohibit abortion”.

(b) Conforming Amendment – The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 99 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

“1632.  Limitation on jurisdiction”.





Arizona Republican Assembly Scores Arizona Lawmakers

The Arizona Republican Assembly has posted its ratings of all the Republicans in the state legislature. The criteria is based on whether or not office holders …

1) Support the U.S. Constitution; 2) Support Republican Party Platform; 3) Support individual / private sector empowerment over government empowerment; 4) Support national security (including illegal alien issues); 5) Their actions reduce government spending; 6) Their actions reduce tax rates in general; 7) and will have a significant impact.

Here’s a list of ratings of Republican members of the Arizona House of Representatives, as calculated by the Arizona Republican Assembly:

2015 Final Scorecard

passing grades

NAME                          Dist.              Score

Kelly Townsend          16               87.89

Bob Thorpe                    6              86.21

Anthony Kern              20               85.85

Vince Leach                 11              85.83

Mark Finchem              11              85.78

Justin Olson                 25              85.43

Steve Montenegro       13              85.35

Jeff Weninger              17               85.21

“Rusty” Bowers              25              84.90

Darin Mitchell                13               84.43

Brenda Barton                6               84.32

Warren H. Petersen      12               84.30

David W. Stevens         14               84.30

Phil Lovas                     22               84.24

Edwin Farnsworth         12               83.50

Sonny Borrelli                 5               83.26

David Livingston           22               83.21

Rick Gray                      21               83.01

David M. Gowan Sr.     14               82.99

“J.D.” Mesnard             17               82.78

Karen Fann                    1               82.56

Noel W. Campbell          1               82.33

Jay Lawrence               23               82.05

Jill Norgaard                 18               81.89

Tony Rivero                  21               80.57

Thomas Shope               8               80.12


John M. Allen               15               78.78

Doug Coleman             16               78.39

Paul Boyer                   20               76.82

Regina Cobb                  5               76.44

John Ackerley                 2               75.63

Michelle R. Ugenti        23               74.73

Franklin M. Pratt             8               71.56

Bob Robson                  18               71.18

Kate Brophy McGee      28               69.58

Heather Carter              15               64.85



NAME                          Dist.              Score

David Farnsworth       16               86.01

Gail Griffin                   14               85.77

Judy Burges               22               85.33

Andy Biggs                 12               85.14

Steve Smith                  11               84.85

Steve Yarbrough          17               83.64

Kimberly Yee                20               83.43

Kelli Ward                       5               81.97

Sylvia Allen                    6                80.94

John Kavanagh            23               80.16

Debbie Lesko               21               80.10


Bob Worsley                25               78.66

Adam Driggs                28               78.23

Nancy Barto                 15               78.22

Don Shooter                 13               77.80

Jeff Dial                        18               72.15

Steve Pierce                  1               53.54