Why is the Senate polarized? Why is the issue of judgeships “nucular”? Because this issue is a tipping point in the control of the culture. This battle is not political business as usual, but about deep meaning, where politics and religion have become inextricably linked. The real American Revolution occurred not in the 1770s but in the 1960s, when a marginal group of intellectuals began an agenda of “liberation” from traditional definitions of God and Man. This revolutionary elite gradually seized power and now determines media content, government policy and academic subject matter. To succeed, it must also control the courts, especially in a democracy, where the ballot box can bring surprises. One judge can legally thwart the will of the people.
Early in the Republic, Thomas Jefferson worried that the Courts would overstep their authority and instead of interpreting the law would begin making law. Jefferson’s worries were not unfounded. A federal judge in Nebraska recently repudiated the will of seventy percent of Nebraskans (who voted to keep marriage as the union of a man and a woman), declaring their vote “unconstitutional.” This gives new meaning to the phrase “one man, one vote.”
The present flap about judgeships occurs in a cultural context. The struggle for the courts is the struggle for ideological and, finally, spiritual control of the culture. “Right–wing extremists” must not be allowed “to roll back decades of progress on all our most cherished rights,” especially to the right to abortion. Roe v. Wade stands as the model for revolutionary change, a “law” miraculously “discovered” in the Constitution, and enforced by judicial fiat, never by popular vote or congressional debate.
The revolution has used a new technique known as “Borking” (what was done to Robert Bork). Clarence Thomas made it through, but a major success was achieved in 1993 when Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a lawyer for the ACLU and favored lecturer at the National Organization of Women, was named to the Supreme Court by a 96–3 Senate vote. The Supreme Court website says Ginsberg “leans towards the liberal side of the Court’s political spectrum.” Ginsberg actually hangs over the edge of the extreme left fringe of American society. She favors a constitutional right to prostitution and polygamy; declares that the Scouts must be gender–integrated or abolished; has proposed replacing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day by a single androgynous Parent’s Day; has called for an end to single–sex prisons; and works tirelessly for a gender–less society, liberated from all sexual boundaries. Ginsberg does not echo the voice of America’s past nor that of middle–of–the road contemporary Americans. This Supreme is a Sixties extremist revolutionary in a long black robe.
The explosive rhetoric about judges now up for appointment is a smokescreen to hide the on–going revolutionary ideological struggle to define contemporary society. Janice Rogers Brown, a brilliant black woman and daughter of share–croppers, Priscilla Owen, the Sunday–school teacher, and William Pryor, moderate conservative, are rejected as “controversial” and “terrible” judges, “extremist right–wing ideologues,” who have shown “outright hostility to the basic rights of ordinary Americans.” This over–the–top language makes Ginsberg and those of her ilk look “moderate”!
Opposition to the filibuster is dismissed as a “nuclear option,” an “abuse of power,” a “seizing of absolute control over the court and all branches of government.” For the moment, the “nuclear option” is off the table, but the compromise on circuit court judges is only preparing us for another round of “Borking,” verbally violent opposition to any conservative judge eventually nominated to the Supreme Court.
The ultimate struggle for ideological control of the nation is defined by two views of constitutional law–”strict constructionism,” which finds nothing of abortion or homosexual marriage in the Constitution, or “a living Constitution” which allows judges, like magicians, to conjure up from the Constitutional hat anything they want to impose on society.
The radicals understand that the Constitution is not a neutral document. It was written in a time and place that presupposed a theistic worldview and needs re–interpretation to fit the religious changes in our country. They cannot allow judges with religious persuasions to destroy the gains of the revolution. American citizens are living through the real civil war for the nation’s identity. The founding text of the original American Revolution is locked in a bitter power struggle with the subtext of our recent Cultural Revolution. Whichever one wins represents a genuine “nuclear option” for the direction of the culture.
Ultimately, or course, the Constitution can save no one. Only the nuclear power if Gospel can do that. However Christians need to be informed and aware of the cultural realities, for Christian citizens are called to honor God as Creator and Redeemer “in their bodies,” as salt and light, in this sinful and dark world.