Pastor Harry Reeder: Trump’s judicial nominee list shows his commitment to originalists and constitutionalists





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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.



14 mins ago

Alabama Rural Broadband Act on governor’s desk

A bill that would provide grants to aid rural broadband expansion is on Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk.

The legislation was delivered to the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon after the Senate adopted changes to the Alabama Rural Broadband Act previously made in the House.

Originally conceived as a bill that would offer tax incentives to companies to provide high-speed internet services to some of the state’s more remote areas, the bill was changed to offer grants instead. Projects that would provide speeds of 25 megabits per second down and 3 megabits per second up would be eligible for $1.4 million per project, while projects providing minimum speeds of 10/1 could get $750,000 each.


The bill is expected to provide $10 million annually, with the program being administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Private providers and cooperatives would be eligible for the money, but government entities would not.

The sponsor, Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville), wanted to give providers tax credits for providing broadband rather than cash. The bill still has safeguards in place – the money won’t be received upfront and a legislative committee would monitor the program for effectiveness.

Scofield couldn’t be reached for comment this week.

Ivey is expected to sign the bill after speaking about the need for such programs in her January State of the State speech. The legislation sailed through the Alabama Legislature, receiving unanimous yes votes in the House on Tuesday and in the Senate concurrence vote on Wednesday.

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), said grants are better for taxpayers.

“It’s more transparent and gives us more accountability,” he said.

In reality, both funding mechanisms have been dismissed by critics. The MacIver Institute said in a 2014 report that incentives can actually hurt economic growth, while Obama’s stimulus grant program was one of the more stark examples of grant largesse.

Alabama lawmakers hope their broadband plan goes hand-in-hand with a proposal from President Trump to spend an immediate $200 billion and long-term $1.5 trillion on infrastructure improvements. Trump hopes to spur more public-private partnerships – so-called P3s – with his proposal to help state and local governments shoulder more of the load. But his plan has faced criticism on both sides – Democrats aren’t fans of the president’s goal to put more costs on the states, while many Republicans say the plan calls for too much spending and haven’t exactly deemed it a high priority this session.

Some on both sides have criticized the lack of any guaranteed funds for broadband, although the plan cites high-speed internet as an infrastructure priority. There are concerns that federal broadband grants could accelerate the growth of government internet projects, which have largely been a sinkhole for taxpayer money.

44 mins ago

Alabama Committee approves ethics exemption for economic developers

An Alabama Senate committee has approved legislation, pushed by the state’s top industry recruiter, to exempt professional economic developers from the state ethics law.

The Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved the House-passed bill Wednesday on a 10-2 vote. It now moves to the Senate floor.


The proposal would exempt professional economic developers from the rules that govern lobbyists. The rules include registering with the state, undergoing yearly training and reporting activity.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield has said professional site developers, who help businesses decide where to locate, will not work in Alabama if they must register as lobbyists.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton has expressed concern about exempting a group of people, whose primary job involves interacting with government officials, from the state ethics law.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Human trafficking bill that would impose severe penalties for obstruction is step closer to becoming law

Anyone who obstructs a human trafficking investigation in Alabama could be met with the same penalties as the traffickers if the governor signs a bill that passed the House this week with near unanimous support.

The bill, which already passed the Senate, increases penalties in place for those who obstruct, interfere with, prevent, or otherwise get in the way of law enforcement’s investigation into the practice that includes child sex trafficking.

Under current law, such obstruction is only a Class C felony and could result in just one year in prison. The new legislation would increase the maximum offense to a Class A felony, with a minimum jail sentence of ten years.


Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) sponsored the bill and said he is proud that the Alabama Legislature made this a priority.

“This week we’ve taken another crucial step in ending this horrific practice,” Ward said in a statement. “By increasing penalties for those who would aid traffickers, we will hold them just as accountable as the traffickers themselves.”

Human trafficking victims are often children who are trafficked into sexual exploitation at an average age between 11-14 years old, according to the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Most people assume, ‘Well, that doesn’t happen in my backyard,’” Ward said in an interview with Yellowhammer News when the bill was first introduced. “…It’s everywhere in our state, but there’s low awareness as to how bad it really is.”

Just this week, a Decatur man pled guilty to child sex trafficking and other charges related to his plan to kidnap, rape and kill a mother and sell her 14-year-old daughter to a Memphis pimp, according to horrifying details reported by the Decatur Daily.

Brian David “Blaze” Boersma’s plan was thwarted because an informant, who Boersma recruited to help him with his plan, alerted the FBI.

“Oftentimes it’s like what we say with terrorism,” Ward said. “If you see something suspicious, tell somebody, because a lot of times, trafficking can take place right underneath our noses in our communities.”

The legislation to increase penalties for obstructing human trafficking investigations was delivered to Governor Kay Ivey for her signature Wednesday afternoon.

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

Bill funds ‘active shooter’ training for local law enforcement, school faculty and staff, and students

For much of the year, the safety of our students rests in the hands of the faculty, staff, and resource officers at our schools.  Without a shadow of a doubt, the people who know best how to protect our schools are the teachers, parents, administrators, police officers, and students in their own communities.

In February, the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida resonated throughout our communities, highlighting a disturbing trend of individuals who clearly show signs of grave mental instability falling through the cracks.

Sadly, this incident likely could have been avoided had there been better oversight at every level of law enforcement. From the top down, we failed these students by not heeding the warning signs and working together as a team to ensure our students’ safety.


In response to this incident, the House recently passed the Student, Teacher’s Officer’s Prevention (STOP) School Violence Act, which Bill  to help identify and prevent school violence before these tragic events occur.

First, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding for training to prevent student violence, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students in the event of an emergency.  This training would be designed to give students and school personnel the ability to recognize and respond quickly to warning signs of violent behavior and would include active shooter training.

Second, the bill provides funding for technology and equipment to improve school security.  This includes the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems, as well as the installation of metal detectors, locks, and other preventative technologies to keep schools secure.

The legislation also authorizes funding for school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams for school personnel to respond to threats before they become real-time incidents.  Recognizing the warning signs of violent, threatening behavior and having the proper resources to address it on the front end can prevent these tragedies from ever occurring.

Finally, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding to support law enforcement coordination efforts, particularly the officers who already staff schools.  From the federal level all the way down to our local law enforcement, we need to ensure there is accountability and communication when handling violent behavior.

Many of our local schools are already reevaluating their security measures and taking additional steps to promote a safe learning environment for our students.  Our students’ safety and security should always remain a top priority, and I believe it is imperative that our local schools have the most appropriate resources in place in the event of an emergency.

As we look for ways to prevent these terrible tragedies, I am open to additional solutions to address the underlying issues that cause these events to occur.  That said, I remain steadfastly committed to upholding the individual right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.  Millions of Americans should not have their Second Amendment rights infringed upon due to the bad actions of a few individuals.

Rather, I believe we should focus on addressing mental health issues and combatting the role of violence in our modern culture, such as the prevalence of violent video games that normalize this behavior for our young students, and promoting commonsense solutions that will address the larger issues of mental health so that those with mental illness do not fall through the cracks.

There is still work to be done to ensure each child’s safety and well-being while attending classes. However, I am proud that we have taken this action in the House to promote a safe, secure learning environment for our children.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. 

(Image: File)

2 hours ago

Ex-Tuskegee football coach accused of selling cocaine, pot

A former assistant football coach at Tuskegee University is accused of selling cocaine and marijuana in Alabama.

U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. says in a statement that 33-year-old Ramone Jardon Nickerson was arrested Wednesday. Prosecutors say the Phenix City man was indicted by a grand jury after being found with roughly 3 ounces of cocaine, a pound of marijuana and a .40-caliber handgun March 13 in Russell County.


Tuskegee’s website says the alumnus coached cornerbacks and was a four-year starter before joining the coaching staff in 2006.

If convicted, Nickerson could be sentenced to a maximum 20 years in prison for drug trafficking charges and at least 5 years for a related gun charge. There’s no parole in the federal system.

It is unclear if Nickerson has a lawyer.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)