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Summer 1997
David Barton - 06/1997

Judicial Accountability Update

In our continuing efforts to educate citizens on how to restrain renegade judges by constitutional means, we authored Impeachment: Restraining an Overactive Judiciary. Originally researched in response to the request of several U.S. Congressmen, the 64-page book contains the declarations of the Founders and the Constitution on this topic as well as the history of the use of impeachment to remove offending judges.

Interestingly, this book has found a growing place of influence on Capitol Hill and in legislative chambers across the nation. For example, U.S. House leadership requested 450 copies of the book which they are selectively distributing. Additionally, after many of you sent copies to your legislators, we began hearing from those leaders requesting more information on how to remove errant judges. Some of the federal Congressmen currently heading this charge include Rep. Tom DeLay (tx), Rep. Joe Scarborough (fl), and Rep. Bob Barr (ga).

State legislators are also beginning to take action - as evidenced by recent events in Nashville, Tennessee, involving federal judge John T. Nixon. Despite his oath, Judge Nixon apparently does not agree with the Constitution's capital punishment provision in the Fifth Amendment.

Therefore, he refuses to uphold the verdict of any jury which assesses the death penalty. Furthermore, cases involving the death penalty average almost nine years in his court before he sets aside the jury's verdict. (So much for the Constitution's guarantee of a "speedy trial," not to mention the Sixth and Seventh Amendments' protection of jury decisions!)

Consequently, some 27,000 Tennessee citizens, inspired particularly by the families of victims, have signed petitions seeking his removal from the bench. The Tennessee legislature acted; the State Senate voted 28 to 5 and the State House voted 87 to 6 to urge the federal Congress to act on this federal judge. (In the accompanying picture - which appeared on the front page of the Nashville newspaper - notice that a State Senator involved in this movement is holding a copy of our book.)

The growing move to make judges accountable bodes well for America's future. Every official must be accountable; only then can we ensure that policies will reflect the will of the people rather than the will of unelected, elitist judges.

The importance of judicial accountability was explained by Justice James Iredell (appointed to the Supreme Court by President George Washington) when he declared:

Every government requires [impeachment]. Every man ought to be [accountable] for his conduct. . . . [Impeachment] will be not only the means of punishing misconduct but it will prevent misconduct. A man in public office who knows that there is no tribunal to punish him may be ready to deviate from his duty; but if he knows there is a tribunal for that purpose, although he may be a man of no principle, the very terror of punishment will perhaps deter him.

Let's keep the accountability movement growing! I encourage you to read Impeachment; and then get copies to pass on to your own State and federal officials. (By the way, I have prepared a model letter-to-the-editor on the topic of judicial accountability which you can copy and submit as your own to your local paper. Click Here.)

Final Wording for the Religious Freedom Amendment

In July, the Religious Freedom Coalition agreed upon our final language for a constitutional amendment to protect religious liberties. That language (filed as HJ Res 78) already has an amazingly high 140 congressional co-sponsors - and the total is expected to top 200!

The wording declares:

To secure the people's right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: The people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. The government shall not require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion.

This is a gratifying time for me personally, for it follows almost two-and-a-half years of intense work, including numerous trips to Washington D.C. to work with congressional sponsors and pro-family leaders on this language.

On July 22nd, the Judiciary Committee's "Subcommittee on the Constitution" held hearings on the language. When Congress returns from its summer recess in September, the subcommittee will complete its "mark up" (that is, recommend language changes based on the information of the "experts" who testified in the hearings). The revised language will then be sent to the full Judiciary Committee for further refinements and a Committee vote. The amendment is then expected to be voted on in Congress this fall.

Since this is a constitutional amendment, two-thirds of the House (290 "yes" votes) must approve it rather than just the normal majority (218 votes). A two-thirds margin is always difficult to attain, but it certainly is not impossible, for this issue is extremely popular with the voters. Let your representative know how you feel about this issue. We'll keep you posted. n

Public Celebrations of Jesus March On

Who would have predicted that a simple gathering held in London in 1987 would blossom into the annual, international "March for Jesus." Yet, only a decade later, an amazing 170 nations and 10 million cities worldwide took part in this year's march.

In America, over one million citizens from all 50 States and over 700 cities participated. Similar to "See You at the Pole," where students gather at the beginning of the school year to pray for their campuses, the "March for Jesus" affords individuals a day to celebrate publicly their faith in Jesus Christ and to pray for their cities and the nation.

This day has become so popular that the Governors of several States—including California, New York, West Virginia, Georgia, and others—issued official "March for Jesus Day" proclamations. The proclamation at right, issued by the Governor of Nebraska, is representative of these proclamations.

While critics may argue that such proclamations are merely ceremonial; they nevertheless are significant, for they are official recognitions of Jesus, and therefore call to mind specific Scriptural blessings:

"Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; . . . Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and ye perish from the way." Psalm 2:10, 12
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" and "Happy is that people whose God is the Lord." Psalm 33:12 and 144:15

Proclamation

WHEREAS

Through the hard work and faith of our people, America has become the great nation it is today; and
WHEREAS

During the early years of challenge, the citizens of our emerging nation frequently united in prayer; and
WHEREAS

Citizens of this great state continue to utilize prayer for the preservation of our freedoms, for the guidance of our public officials and for righteous lives on the part of our citizens; and
WHEREAS

March for Jesus Day was established as a time for us to join together as a people of many faiths, that we may pay homage to our Divine Authority and live ever mindful of the many freedoms we have enjoyed and ever thankful for the many blessings we have received;

NOW THEREFORE,
I, E. Benjamin Nelson, Governor of the State of Nebraska,
do hereby proclaim May 17, 1997 as
MARCH FOR JESUS DAY
in the State of Nebraska.

IN WITNESS THEREOF
I have hereunto set my hand, and cause the Great Seal of the State of Nebraska to be affixed this third day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven.


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