Federal Issue
November 19, 2004

UPDATE: Oppose Senator Arlen Specter for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman

Thank you for calling your Senator. Your calls played an important role in the fight to stop Arlen Specter from becoming the next Judiciary Committee Chairman.

Even though Senator Specter is now being supported for Chairman by the Judiciary Committee, the Committee did so with assurances from Senator Specter that he would not prevent President Bush's Judicial Nominees from receiving a full hearing.

Whether Senator Specter will keep his word is yet to be determined. However, we are confident that your calls drew these promises from Senator Specter. HSLDA will continue to monitor Senator Specter's actions in order to hold him accountable to his words.

In a firestorm of controversy, Senator Arlen Specter's ascension to the Judiciary Committee Chairman has been intensely resisted by pro-family, pro-life and strict Constitutional constructionist groups all over America. The controversy began after Senator Specter made public comments just after the election that demonstrated his opposition to judicial nominees from President Bush who may be inclined to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Historically, Senator Specter has stood against many issues important to most homeschool families. He has voted to block judges who believe in the original intent of the Constitution, including Jeff Sessions and Robert Bork; he has been an advocate of partial birth abortion; and his record consistently demonstrates that he opposes issues important to traditional families, including traditional marriage.

The last four years have been a frustrating time for many of President Bush's judicial nominees. A core group of Senators, including former Minority Leader Senator Tom Daschle, have consistently blocked original intent judges. The obstructionism of these Senators contributed to a large turnout among concerned voters nationwide whose votes replaced obstructionist Senators like Mr. Daschle, with legislators who will give presidential nominees a full and fair hearing and an up or down vote among the full Senate.

Unfortunately, Senator Specter missed this message from the voters and has publicly articulated his opposition to original intent judges.

Allowing an up or down vote on judges who stand for the principle of original intent is critical to the battle against judicial activism. As the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, he could single handedly keep any judge, including a Supreme Court nominee, from ever receiving a hearing.

To better understand the difference between history and law created by judges, examine Roe v. Wade. In Roe, the Court reviewed a great deal of history-some of it relevant and some of it utterly irrelevant. The history of ancient Greece, for example, has almost nothing to offer in terms of the relevant question: "When the 14th Amendment was written, did anyone intend to protect the right of 'reproductive freedom' in the phrase 'no person shall be denied life, liberty, or property without due process of law'?" A second, related question was: "Was an unborn child included in the term 'person' so that an unborn child had the right to life recognized at the time of the adoption of the 14th Amendment?"

There is no evidence to suggest that the drafters and ratifies of the 14th Amendment intended to create a right of reproductive freedom. Abortion was widely illegal in 1868 when the 14th Amendment was adopted and, for the most part, stayed illegal until the decision in Roe. (For further reading on this discussion, visit our website at http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V20N1/V20N101.asp ).

Unelected judges should not be allowed to change the meaning of the Constitution. When they do, it is a de facto constitutional amendment. This is an act of tyranny.

Take another example, the decision of Lawrence v. Texas. This decision ignored American history and law and found a constitutional right to privacy for homosexuality based, in part, on the current practices of Western Europe and Canada. Unless someone can prove that the drafters of the 14th Amendment had the ability to travel in time, it is impossible for the modern practices of foreign states to have influenced those who wrote and ratified any phrase in the Constitution.

Senator Specter's history demonstrates what a future chairmanship under him will be like. He will block nominees who stand for original intent, vote against pro-life nominees and oppose the protection of marriage. We need a Senator Chairing the Judiciary committee who will allow a fair hearing and vote for Presidential nominees that believe in interpreting the law according to historical dictates and original intent. Judicial tyranny cannot be tolerated. America is a democratic republic that was founded on government by the people and for the people to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Senator Specter has demonstrated and suggested that he will thwart this fundamental principle by opposing nominees that believe in the original meaning of the Constitution.

 Other Resources

Nov-09-2004 — Oppose Senator Arlen Specter for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman

Can Judicial Tyranny Be Stopped?Home School Court Report