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PART III

THE POWER SHIFT-- A REALITY CHECK
(Or 'It's About the Federal Judiciary Stupid')

When control of the U.S. Senate changed hands in Washington on June 6th, the same party which incessantly argued last November that "every vote must count" (when they already had been) and charged that George W. Bush was an "illegitimate President," gleefully welcomed an illegitimate Senator into their ranks - James Jeffords of Vermont. Having failed to highjack the Presidency via the Florida recount and activist courts, the Democrats have nonetheless achieved the power they were unable to realize through the election via a defection. Jeffords' switch unilaterally overruled the rights of the people in his state to have their votes count as they were actually cast and certified in the 2000 election. But did we hear any talk of the "will of the people" being thwarted? Where is the outrage over and emanating from the "disenfranchised voters" of Vermont?!

"Ah, the sound of Democracy, it's a beautiful sound," gloated new Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as he took over the reins of power. He then repeatedly spoke about how Democrats "can now move forward with the agenda of the American people." But the real objective of his party was clearly spelled out by the Democrats' embattled New Jersey Senator, Robert Torricelli, who currently faces the prospect of a federal indictment. When reporters asked him what he thought about Jeffords, he curtly replied: "This isn't about a single Senate seat. It's about controlling the agenda, it's about the federal judiciary." (AP)

Between elected officials who perform 'end-runs' around the law and flout the will of the governed, and unelected liberal federal judges who regularly legislate from the bench, "just powers" in our federal government are being eroded at an alarming rate. Our constitutional system was designed so that judges appointed for life would interpret law, not create it. -- It was further designed so that at the time of any given set federal election, the nation would corporately determine who controls the Congress of the United States, and therefore install the Senate majority which exercises "advice and consent" authority over those federal judgeships. Previous party switches by U.S. elected officials have not affected the constitutional balance of powers in any way. Thus, this latest example coming out of Washington is by its very definition an unjust power shift because it was not derived from the consent of the governed. Unlike the need for the "creative legal engineering" and "chad manipulation" that surrounded the Florida recount, we indeed have here a legitimate constitutional question to consider. To be sure, if the situation had been reversed, the party of the ABA and liberal trial lawyers would even now have legions of their attorneys in the federal courts presently mounting a constitutional/civil liberties challenge ­ perhaps with the case already on appeal and headed for the U.S. Supreme Court!

THE JEFFORDS PRECEDENT

The country has gone from one state's decision holding the nation hostage to the decision of a lone Senator shifting the outcome of an election for the first time in U.S. history. Sen. Wayne Morse (R-Oregon), for example, declared himself an Independent during the Eisenhower Administration, but continued to caucus with the Republicans, thus keeping them in the majority. It was only after the next election that he switched parties. When Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas switched parties, he resigned his seat as a Democrat and ran and was elected in a special election as a Republican. In stark contrast, Jeffords, (in a style that would make any federal racketeer proud) switched parties only after he had : (1) Leveraged a Democratic committee chairmanship; (2) Accepted just under a million dollars in business PAC money; (3) Taken nearly $50,000 in PACs associated with Republican organizations, and the PACs of members of the Republican leadership in the House and Senate; and (4) Taken $17,500 cash from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Quite predictably, the national liberal media has remained silent on all of the above, instead busily spinning Jeffords as a man of "principle over party" and spiking Vermont news reports indicating that, since his defection, the Senator has been ducking the local media and encounters with his constituents. (See this and other important related articles in Court Watch Talking Points Bulletin, June/July 2001).

To add insult to injury, Jeffords is returning some Republican campaign contributions to local voters after their work and funds helped him get elected. (So why is it that we don't also allow the "little people" in America to avoid legal consequences as long as they "return" their ill-gotten gains?) Since campaign contributions have additionally been classified as a form of "free speech," Jeffords is further guilty of directly trampling on his voters First Amendment rights, via both their ballots and their pocketbooks.

But why shouldn't Jeffords also be required to return PAC money and other cash taken from Republicans? And why not a class action lawsuit on behalf of GOP supporters everywhere? With all the funds Jeffords amassed by fraudulently misrepresenting himself nationally, doesn't this add up, at the very least, to a glaring example of flagrant "campaign finance" abuse that cries out for regulatory "reform"? So, where is Mr. "Campaign Finance Reform" McCain when we need him? (Very busy, of course, as he was over the Memorial Day recess entertaining Tom Daschle at his Phoenix ranch and forming what he calls his own "centrist coalition" to both thwart President Bush's agenda and feather his own nest for the next Presidential election.) Little wonder that well before Jim Jeffords became their new hero, John McCain was the other "maverick" Senator the liberal media has always loved to portray as a man of "principle over party."


 
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