The opening blast in a campaign to require the federal courts to
operate within their authorized jurisdiction was unveiled last week in
Montgomery, Alabama under the title the Constitution Restoration Act.
The original sponsors of S. 2082 are Senators Richard Shelby, Zell
Miller, Sam Brownback, and Lindsey Graham, and the original sponsors of
the companion bill H.R. 3799 are Representatives Robert Aderholt and
This legislation would clarify that the federal courts do not have
jurisdiction to hear cases brought against a federal, state or local
government or officer for acknowledging God. The bill is in response
to the dozens of cases that have been filed across the country asking
federal judges to declare the recitation in public schools of the
Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because it includes the words
"under God," or asking that the display of the Ten Commandments in
public buildings or parks be held unconstitutional.
The bill's sponsors believe that the federal courts have no
authority to hear such cases or render such a decision. No law bans
the acknowledgment of God, and the U.S. Constitution delegates "all
legislative powers" to the Congress and none to the courts.
These lawsuits are initiated under the pretense that they violate
the First Amendment which states: "Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof." The acknowledgment of God in the Pledge of
Allegiance and the Ten Commandments is not an "establishment of
For decades, the Pledge of Allegiance has been recited daily by
hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren, and depictions of the Ten
Commandments appear on thousands of public properties including the
U.S. Supreme Court. Unelected judges are assaulting our national
respect for God against the wishes of Congress, state legislatures, and
the American people.
We hear whispers in courthouse cloakrooms that lawsuits may soon
target other acknowledgments of God. Our national motto is "In God We
Trust," and it's enshrined on our currency.
In our national anthem, we sing "In God is our trust" and "Praise
the Power that hath made and preserved us a Nation." Nobody is
confused about Who that Power is.
All three branches of the federal government, as well as our
military, have always acknowledged God. Congress opens each session
with a prayer; the President ends his speeches with "God bless
America"; and the U.S. Supreme Court opens each day with "God save the
United States and this Honorable Court."
All public officials, including the President and all judges,
swear an oath to uphold the Constitution "so help me God." Most of us
use that same oath when we swear to tell the truth.
In our nation's founding document, the Declaration of
Independence, America acknowledges God as our Creator, Supreme
Lawgiver, Supreme Judge, and Protector. Fortunately, we haven't yet
heard of a lawsuit asking a judge to rewrite the Declaration.
God is specifically acknowledged in state constitutions. Among
the powers reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment is surely
the power to write their own constitutions.
So how could a handful of activist judges in the last couple of
years presume to ban the acknowledgment of God from documents,
monuments, songs, expressions and practices that have been part of our
culture throughout our history? The answer is that the federal courts,
year by year, decision by decision, have been asserting judicial
supremacy over the other branches of government, and Congress and the
American people have been letting them get by with this
unconstitutional grab for power.
The federal courts have been systematically dismantling the
architecture of our unique constitutional republic with its Separation
of Powers. James Madison believed that the preservation of liberty
depends on the Separation of Powers, and that "its several constituent
parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each
other in their proper places."
The Constitution Restoration Act affirms the Separation of Powers
by reasserting the rule, which had been properly observed by federal
courts for two centuries, that they have no jurisdiction to consider
cases involving the acknowledgment of God. As late as 1952 liberal
Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas declared: "We are a religious
people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being."
It is long past time for Congress to mandate that federal courts
may not censor public acknowledgments of God, adding this to other
"exceptions" and "regulations" to federal court jurisdiction. This is
the way the framers of our Constitution intended that Congress would,
as Alexander Hamilton wrote, keep the judiciary as the "least powerful"
branch of government and see to it that "judges should be bound down by
strict rules and precedents, which serve to define and point out their
The Constitution Restoration Act also orders federal courts not to
rely on foreign laws, administrative rules or court decisions.
Americans have been shocked to learn that five U.S. Supreme Court
Justices have cited foreign sources, even though it is self-evident
that U.S. judges should be bound by the U.S. Constitution and U.S.
laws, rather than foreign ones.