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


 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

43 mins ago

Tuberville backs Alabama legislator’s bill making murder of on-duty first responder a capital offense

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville is backing HB 59, the bill passed by the Alabama Senate on Thursday that would make killing an on-duty first responder a capital offense.

The bill as amended and passed by the Senate names the proposed law in honor of slain Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sunday night.

Sponsored by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville), HB 59 passed the House previously. The amended version goes back to the chamber for expected concurrence next week.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Tuberville applauded the legislature for the bill, especially thanking the Senate for the amendment in Buechner’s memory, which was put onto the legislation by State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn).

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“I commend the Alabama Senate on their bill which makes the murder of an on-duty first responder a capital offense,” Tuberville said. “Murdering a first responder in Alabama should be classified as a capital offense. Not just police officers are covered in this bill all first responders are covered!”

The bill adds on-duty first responders to the list of murder victims that constitutes a capital offense. State law already makes the murder of an on-duty law enforcement officer or prison guard a capital offense.

Note the difference between a Class A felony murder charge and a capital murder charge: capital offenses in Alabama are punishable (unless the defendant was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime) by life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. Class A felonies are punishable by 10-99 years in prison, with stricter guidelines for offenders with prior criminal convictions.

Sells’ bill would also add on-duty law enforcement officers, prison guards and first responders as victims in the list of aggravating circumstances to a capital offense. This would make the death penalty more likely in the sentencing phase of this kind of capital offense.

In HB 59, first responders are defined as emergency medical services personnel licensed by the Alabama Department of Public Health and firefighters and volunteer firefighters as defined by existing state law.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes has said he will seek the death penalty if the man charged with Buechner’s death is convicted on a capital murder charge.

Tuberville’s vocal support for the bill came the same day as Buechner’s funeral.

“Today, as Officer William Buechner is laid to rest, we celebrate his heroic life and the ultimate sacrifice he made to protect our citizens,” Tuberville emphasized.

On Friday, Tuberville also visited Auburn Police Department Officer Webb Sistrunk, who was critically wounded in the shooting that killed Buechner.

(T. Tuberville/Facebook)

“It was such an honor for me to visit with Webb Sistrunk, one of the brave Auburn police officers who was shot earlier this week,” Tuberville shared.

Tuberville with Mark Sistrunk, the officer’s father (Contributed)

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

‘Our hero’: Slain Auburn officer’s neighborhood lights up blue to honor him

Neighbors of murdered Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner are backing the blue in a very visible way, honoring the fallen hero’s life of selfless service.

As reported by WSFA, the Opelika subdivision that Buechner and his family lived in is showing their solidarity en masse.

In a moving tribute, many of the neighborhood’s homes have replaced their regular porch lights with blue lights, shining proudly in Buechner’s memory.

Tracy McDaniel is among those neighbors paying tribute to the officer and beloved community member.

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Tracy McDaniel’s home, as contributed by her. (Sally Pitts/Facebook)

McDaniels’ home is far from the exception. One photo shows an entire street the neighborhood turned blue to honor the fallen officer.

Photo by Samantha Xaysombath Smith (WSFA/Twitter)

“William was a lot of great things. A great man, friend, husband, and father, police officer, neighbor, the list goes on,” Smith explained. “His son will grow up to learn that his daddy was a hero, and we will forever remember that he was our hero too.”

Another woman in the neighborhood, who asked to remain anonymous when speaking with WSFA, said she was aware of at least 15 homes participating in the special tribute but expected that number to increase.

“We all have rallied to find each other more lightbulbs,” the woman said, “and contact those who have been out of town or may need assistance reaching their fixtures. It’s been a true team effort.”

The lights are reportedly expected to remain on at least through Saturday, the day after Buechner’s funeral.

Buechner is survived by his wife of three years, Sara; son, Henry; and step-daughter, McKenna.

“This village we speak of, he knows we will take care of Sara and the family,” Smith added. “After all, it does take a village. We back the blue.”

There has been a GoFundMe set up for Buechner’s family.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Palmer introduces bill to stop federal funding of anti-ICE ‘sanctuary airports’

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) is taking a major stand against airports in liberal strongholds that try to subvert federal law.

Palmer’s office on Thursday announced that the Birmingham-area congressman has introduced the PLANE Act, the Prohibiting Local Airports from Neglecting Enforcement Act (H.R. 2955).

In April, an airport in Seattle, Washington, banned flights known collectively as “ICE Air,” which included flights that deported illegal immigrants or transported detainees to the appropriate detention center.

If passed, the PLANE Act would withhold federal grants from airports that violate grant agreements by attempting similar action, such as imposing unreasonable conditions or restrictions on airplanes operating under ICE or other contracted government agencies.

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“Airports that refuse to cooperate with ICE should not receive federal grants,” Palmer said in a statement.

“The rule of law must not be thwarted by so-called ‘sanctuary airports,’ especially when they potentially delay the removal of people accused of crimes like human trafficking and rape,” he added. “Political posturing cannot be permitted when an airport has agreed to cooperate with law enforcement in exchange for federal funds.”

Palmer is now serving as the chair the Republican Policy Committee, which is the fifth highest ranking leadership role amongst Republicans in the United States House of Representatives.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. VIII

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.

Enjoy.

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1. Hey Arnold! State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) caused a bit of a stir this week when he introduced a request to censure State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) for comments Rogers made during the chamber’s debate of the abortion bill. Numerous GOP House members were upset by the move, not so much for the substance of the request as much as for the timing — and the perceived motivation behind it.

The request came as the body was attempting to address a “ten-minute” calendar of bills. The aim of a ten-minute calendar is to quickly dispose of some of the more mundane pieces of legislation with the idea being that each member gets ten minutes to pass their bill or else the House moves on to the next item. As soon as Mooney introduced his letter of censure, the environment in the chamber became hostile, resulting in an adjournment and the end of the calendar. Dozens of members lost the opportunity, at that point at least, to pass their individual pieces of legislation, including an anti-human trafficking bill and legislation to help feed needy children in the state.

Some members wondered why Mooney waited nine days to introduce his letter. His letter was dated May 13 and not introduced until May 22. This event came on the heels of Mooney previously sending out a campaign letter to supporters questioning the ideological bearings of his fellow Republican legislators. When asked if Mooney had expressed any of these concerns to the GOP caucus at-large prior to his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, one member responded, “No. He had not.”

2. A tale of two cities. As Mooney spent the week trying to burnish the type of outsider credentials attractive to Club for Growth, another one of his colleagues spent his week in D.C. trying, presumably, to lay a similar foundation. State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) was boots on the ground in the nation’s capital this week. Dismukes has let it be known that he was contemplating his own run for the U.S. Senate. He has done a fair job of keeping those cards close to the vest, although his trip to Washington would lend to the notion that he continues to have interest in a federal office.

The mathematical side effect of Dismukes’ absence nearly reached a heightened level of consequence. Consideration of any legislation prior to the passage of both budgets requires a 3/5 vote of those in the body voting. The lottery failed this week because it did not receive the required 3/5 threshold of those voting. In Dismukes’ absence from the state, someone voted his machine on his behalf as an abstention rather than simply not voting at all. He was the only legislator to vote to abstain. This still raises the threshold of required votes.

There were 90 total members that voted — which means the lottery needed 54 votes to proceed. It only received 53. Had someone not voted Dismukes’ machine and 89 members had voted, the lottery would still have needed 54 votes but by a much slimmer margin since 3/5 of 89 equals 53.4. That’s how close the lottery came to advancing to full consideration by the House.

3. Is broadband really a priority for members of the Alabama House? While the state legislature’s budget negotiations have been relatively smooth so far this session, there is one major issue that has seemingly popped up at the last minute.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Senate Finance and Taxation Education Chairman Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) put $30 million in the Senate-passed Education Trust Fund Budget for the state’s rural broadband grant program established last year by State Senator Clay Scofield’s (R-Guntersville) landmark legislation.

As the legislature continues to work on beefing up last year’s legislation through Scofield’s SB 90 this year, the House is now seemingly set to slash the broadband funding approved by the Senate. The House Ways and Means Education Committee this week approved an education budget that cut the broadband funding by 73%, dragging the total down from $30 million to only $8 million.

Proponents of the larger number have said that there is not a better use of one-time money than to expand broadband services across the state. Will Chairman Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) and the House at-large work with the Senate and restore the important broadband funding?

4. Art of the Deal. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) once again proved his master negotiating skills this week, securing a crucial disaster relief package deal against seemingly insurmountable differences between the increasingly polarized factions in Washington, D.C.

This package will provide much-needed aid to many in the Yellowhammer State, including those in southeast Alabama devastated by Hurricane Michael.

Shelby bridged the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, while even managing to get President Donald Trump to drop his demands to include non-disaster related earmarks in the package — a concession that was key to getting enough votes in the Senate and House. The legislation quickly passed the Senate 85-8 Thursday before a lone House member objected to its unanimous passage on Friday. The House can take the legislation up after Memorial Day on Tuesday, when it is expected to overwhelmingly pass that chamber and then be signed into law.

One keen observer told Yellowhammer News that this type of achievement will not make nearly the number of headlines it should back at home, but once again Shelby has delivered for his state as he continues to cement his legacy as “Alabama’s greatest statesman.”

3 hours ago

Alabama legislature passes bill to ensure accuracy in meat labeling

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate on Thursday took steps to ensure that the definition of “meat” when applied to food labeling should only apply to products sourced from livestock on farms and ranches and harvested through processing; the bill clarifies that laboratory-grown products may not be labeled as meat, protecting Yellowhammer State consumers from potentially misleading packaging.

In a unanimous vote, the Senators passed HB 518, sponsored by State Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens) and State Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay). The bill was previously passed by the House 97-2 and now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk.

“This is proactive legislation to ensure clarity in food labeling. Around the country, there are more and more companies trying to market lab-grown products as meat, which is misleading since they aren’t derived from actual livestock production,” Sessions said in a statement.

Sessions pointed out that the nutritional and safety risks of foods developed in labs from animal cell cultures are still unknown.

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“These new lab-produced foods are, at best, synthetic meats, and their nutritional effects are unknown right now. Let’s see how the science develops through further research, and make a clear distinction between meat that is farm-raised on the one hand, and lab-based products on the other,” he advised.

The beef cattle industry represents a $2.5 billion industry in Alabama and is the number two agricultural commodity in the Yellowhammer State, with over 20,000 cattle farms. Beef continues to be a favorite protein among consumers worldwide, with exports of American beef representing an $8 billion industry by itself.

“The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association represents over 10,000 members across the state. As alternative proteins enter the marketplace in coming years, we think it is imperative that the integrity of all meat labels are protected and clear for consumers when they go to the meat case,” Erin Beasley, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattleman’s Association, commented.

She concluded, “The passage of this bill is a win-win for the consumers who love to buy beef, and the cattlemen who work hard to produce a high-quality product. We would like to thank the Alabama Legislature for the support of this bill, and especially Senator David Sessions and Representative Danny Crawford for carrying the bill.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn