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Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an interesting article out of CNBC. It’s been well-noted that Donald Trump has had his conflicts with Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, but there’s one area in which Donald Trump has prevailed quite well, and that’s in the area of his judicial appointments.
There are two reasons for it, according to CNBC. One is Senator Chuck Grassley who heads up the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has decided not to honor a Senate tradition for holding up hearings for judicial nominees who aren’t cleared by their own home state’s senators.
And he also has none other than Harry Reid to thank, who killed the filibuster rule for judicial nominees back in 2013. After he killed it, it was gone for good. According to a report from The Christian Science Monitor, this is likely to be the most vacancies for a president to fill in 40 years.
DR. REEDER: And there is a lot of signals that Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is going to retire and that he will be putting forth another nominee for Supreme Court and he has refurbished his list and this list is as good or even better than the previous list when he was campaigning.
You can see the importance of this, Tom. All of us who have concerns about public policy and how the judicial arena is now being used to establish public policy by judicial activism, you can see it in the many different responses to the initiatives of President Trump concerning his prerogatives as an executive officer of the nation and how progressives and secularists have made use of activist judges to thwart various initiatives.
And you can also see it because of the upcoming cases. We now have the Supreme Court case that’s likely going to be addressing California’s attempt to make crisis pregnancy centers communicate and market abortion clinics and the abortion practice. You’ve got the issue of mandated healthcare that includes abortifacients.
All kinds of issues coming up through the court system and how, at the federal level, the court of appeals is where most of these are decided because not all can go to the Supreme Court so, this is an important story.
Let’s also take just a moment to affirm an aspect of a Biblical world and life view. “What a man sows, he also reaps.” The Bible tells us that, even in our life as a believer, if we do a sinful act, then it has its consequences.
Harry Reid, when he decided to become a puppet of the secular progressives, in general, and the executive branch in the previous administration’s agenda to implement the secular progressive agenda, he then did away with the filibuster concerning judicial appointees, which has now cleared the way for the present administration and the Republican-controlled Senate to continue this fast-tracking of judicial appointees.
Now you’ve got the courage factor of Senator Grassley, who is probably one of the longest sitting senators – and one of the benefits of this, he is not really concerned about a reelection – he went ahead and bit the bullet on this one.
He removed the, quote, “blue slip” prerogative for senators from a home state of a judicial appointee to be able to hold up a process. Back in the day, the notion was that the senators from the home state would know more about that person than someone else and, therefore, were given more weight in the process.
If they thought it ought to be held up, then there was the consideration given to them that it would be held up. But, now, Grassley says, “We don’t need that. We know all that we need to know about judicial appointees with our technology and communication,” so they are now fast-tracking it.
Well, the result is I don’t think any president in 45 years has both the opportunity and is on-track to appoint more nominees to these federal positions than the current president, Trump, is now able to accomplish because of these two factors.
And any fair reading of those whom he is nominating does affirm that President Trump is maintaining his commitment to put in originalists and constitutionalists – that is, those who believe the law must be interpreted as it was written and applied to the current situation, not rewritten by the current situation – the result is we would get truer constitutional judgments from the federal court and it bodes well for any future consideration of a Supreme Court judge.
Tom Lamprecht: Harry, how are we going to get to a point where we prevent justices from creating law?
DR. REEDER: Well, I think the only way that you do that is to put in justices who do not believe that’s the purpose of the judge. The purpose of the judge is to understand the law, its original content in its original context – what was it written to say, what was it written to do – and then, with wisdom, which is why we pray, “God Save The Court,” apply it to the current situation.
Not rewrite it because of the case that’s in front of you, what you think it ought to say, but apply what it does say and to realize that any change in the law is not to come from the judicial branch, nor from the executive branch.
The only changes in the law is to come from those who are elected by the people in the legislative branch of the government, whether it be the local, the state, or the federal level of government.
I believe that it should be permissible for judges to tell the legislature, “Here is an area we would encourage you to consider in terms of what has evolved over time, and the dynamics of the current culture and how this should be addressed,” but they cannot address it through their interpretation. They have no right to make law by the opinion that they render.
Finally, in answer to your question, we have to return to the notion that the Supreme Court and its opinions do not make law. I believe that this needs to be reclaimed, if necessary, be relitigated. In the historic case of Marbury versus Madison, we need to get back to the understanding that what the Supreme Court does is give its opinion on that law – it has not made a law for the nation through that opinion.
Tom Lamprecht: Harry, what is the Christian principle here? Because we see so often these justices making these decisions and they basically pull out of thin air, whole cloth, they just say, “This is unconstitutional,” but there’s not really a rhyme or a reason to their conclusion.
DR. REEDER: Tom this has its parallel in the church of Jesus Christ where we see preachers pulling out of a text or reinterpreting a text in terms of today’s society instead of explaining the text with historical, grammatical analysis: “Here’s what the text has said in its original autograph, in its original context and this is the content.
Now, how does that apply to today?” we find preachers doing the same thing with Bible text in light of today’s cultural pressures reinterpreting marriage, reinterpreting sexuality, reinterpreting gender instead of faithfully holding forth the word of life.
In terms of the judicial branch, the Christian response is we want to affirm law and order, we want to respect the courts but we want, again, to put justices who understand and know their role, who understand and know the Constitution and who ask for wisdom from above in terms of how do you apply this law in a current situation.
And that’s what we need to pray for in our justices and those are the kind of justices that we need to encourage. What I would love to see is, again, Christian universities develop programs of Pre-Law education in the undergraduate world and then, also, Law Schools that would be built around the right calling of what is a judge supposed to do in a nation that is ruled by law?
Tom Lamprecht: Harry, we’re out of time for today. On Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I’ve got a good news/bad news story in the area of the pro-life movement.
DR. REEDER: I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s program. I think it’s going to be very helpful for everyone in terms of the good news around the sanctity of life issue and then also some discouraging news. But, having said that, again, that highlights the importance of all of these cases that are making their way up and through our system that directly deal with this issue of the sanctity of life.
And, whenever you talk about the sanctity of life, of course, you have the privilege to talk about the greatest issue of the sanctity of life and that is the glorious gift of God’s Son that we celebrate this Christmas season who came into the world to die on a cross in our place so that we could have not only eternal life but a changed life to live for Him in this life for His glory.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.