2002-2004: Court Watch Fights Fire With Fire, II
In Part I of this Court Watch Brief, we articulated the Message of our current Court Watch program-that America is engulfed in the flames of a Culture War. Developments regarding federal judicial nominations since the publication of Part I only reinforce our message.
This past Thursday, May 9, marked exactly one year since George Bush made his first judicial nominations-11 candidates for the tremendously powerful U.S. Courts of Appeals. At the one-year point, only three appellate nominees (30% of Bush's total appellate nominees) had been confirmed by the Senate (one, Roger Gregory, had originally been an unconstitutional "recess" appointment made by Bill Clinton). The remaining eight had not even had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This dismal record is even worse when it is noted that each of our three previous presidents experienced a 100% confirmation rate for their first 11 circuit court nominees. Securing a fair and expeditious hearing for these eight "gentlemen and ladies in waiting" is a top priority of Court Watch and our sister organizations.
The fires of the Culture War thus continue to sear our Constitutional landscape. With these facts in mind, we now conclude our Brief by examining the Mission which we pursue and the Methods necessary to accomplish our mission and effectively deliver our message.
Court Watch's mission is eloquently expressed by the Father of the American Revolution, Samuel Adams, who said, "...it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." Court Watch seeks to set, not just "brush fires," but a conflagration of judicial reform that will produce a judiciary passionately committed to courting justice. To generate such a conflagration requires that we Gather the right kind of fuel, Assemble the wood correctly, and Set the fuel afire-ignite it properly.
- Gather the right type of wood: Education-The Father of the Constitution, James Madison, rightly observed that "knowledge is power." The fuel we gather is knowledge and understanding. Court Watch calls your attention to just some of our resources which will enhance your ability to deliver the message outlined above:
- "Alerts" and "Briefs" which provide a wealth of information focused on federal judicial reform. Additional materials are posted on our website (www.eagleforum.org/court_watch), which is currently undergoing major redesign and updating, and on our email/fax list. Be sure that you're included!
- Conferences, speeches, and over personal presentations by Court Watch leaders;
- A variety of courses on judicial policy offered online by the Eagle Forum University;
- A new "Court Watch for Collegians," providing college students with extensive data for use in term papers, class debates, etc.
- Excellent educational resources are also available on these web sites:
- blackstoneinstitute.org, featuring in-depth written and taped analyses and commentaries on the entire gamut of law, philosophy, and religion issues;
- freecongress.org, featuring extensive statistics and commentaries on judicial policy;
- frc.org, providing information on current and past court decisions
- judicialselection.org, offering biographical information on Bush's judicial nominees.
- Assemble the wood correctly-Our strategies must be carefully designed to utilize fully the fuel which we have gathered. In the immediate future, Court Watch will emphasize three strategies:
- Education-of ALL Americans, in government or private life, professionals or non-professionals, etc. We must stack our wood so that our fires burn throughout the land, as have those of our opponents, carrying our message everywhere.
- Elections-The elections of 2002 are an especially opportune time to start building our fires by raising the issues of federal judicial nominations/policy/politics to all-candidates and non-candidates alike. Even if we do not win major votes this year, we can ignite the fires for the election battles of 2004, when federal judicial policy MUST given the prominent position in campaigns that it deserves. Beginning NOW, and throughout the next two years, let your officials and candidates know that you are deeply concerned about federal judicial policy and will be "Court Watching" their votes and positions.
- Exercise-We must exercise our rights and privileges as citizens to lobby our Senators to exercise their constitutional obligation to act on judicial nominees in a timely and deliberative fashion. U. S. Representatives must also be lobbied to support constitutionalist positions, as all judicial matters before Congress (except for judicial nominations) involve both chambers.
- Set the wood-ignite it properly-Our publicity campaign must be sufficient to make the fires
of reform blaze and spread, but under our control. We must utilize every publicity resource
possible to spread our message, BEGINNING NOW. Our Court Watch web page offers
excellent resources for igniting our PR efforts:
- On our web page is a lengthy, multi-part "Special Report, Lobbying Guide, and Media Guide," compiled by our Court Watch Coordinator of Media and field relations, Marissa Harris. This is currently receiving some updating and reorganizing to make it more accessible to you, but access it immediately for a unique Guide to how to influence federal judicial policy;
- Also on our webpage is a short but thorough organizational guide for a "Court Watch Committee." This can be used to establish and operate a Court Watch effort in your church, club, city, area, etc. It is entitled, "Courting Justice: How You Can Join the
Campaign for Federal Judicial Reform."
- Through our email service and web page we will continue to make available to you additional materials equipping you to ignite the flames of federal judicial reform through an effective media campaign.
The opposition to a judiciary that courts justice may seem unquenchable. But overwhelming obstacles have always faced those who defend genuine justice. Such was the case in the Old Testament, when God encouraged His people with words that should encourage us today:
"Be not afraid, neither be dismayed by this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chronicles 20:15