Restoring Constitutional Separation
by Phyllis Schlafly
The opening blast in a campaign to require the federal courts
to operate within their authorized jurisdiction was unveiled last
week in Montgomery, Alabama under the title the Constitution Restoration
Act. The original sponsors of S. 2082 are Senators Richard Shelby,
Zell Miller, Sam Brownback, and Lindsey Graham, and the original
sponsors of the companion bill H.R. 3799 are Representatives Robert
Aderholt and Mike Pence.
This legislation would clarify that the federal courts do not
have jurisdiction to hear cases brought against a federal, state
or local government or officer for acknowledging God. The bill
is in response to the dozens of cases that have been filed across
the country asking federal judges to declare the recitation in
public schools of the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because
it includes the words "under God," or asking that the
display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings or parks be
The bill's sponsors believe that the federal courts have no authority
to hear such cases or render such a decision. No law bans the
acknowledgment of God, and the U.S. Constitution delegates "all
legislative powers" to the Congress and none to the courts.
These lawsuits are initiated under the pretense that they violate
the First Amendment which states: "Congress shall make no
law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof." The acknowledgment of God in the
Pledge of Allegiance and the Ten Commandments is not an "establishment
For decades, the Pledge of Allegiance has been recited daily
by hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren, and depictions of
the Ten Commandments appear on thousands of public properties
including the U.S. Supreme Court. Unelected judges are assaulting
our national respect for God against the wishes of Congress, state
legislatures, and the American people.
We hear whispers in courthouse cloakrooms that lawsuits may soon
target other acknowledgments of God. Our national motto is "In
God We Trust," and it's enshrined on our currency.
In our national anthem, we sing "In God is our trust"
and "Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a Nation."
Nobody is confused about Who that Power is.
All three branches of the federal government, as well as our
military, have always acknowledged God. Congress opens each session
with a prayer; the President ends his speeches with "God
bless America"; and the U.S. Supreme Court opens each day
with "God save the United States and this Honorable Court."
All public officials, including the President and all judges,
swear an oath to uphold the Constitution "so help me God."
Most of us use that same oath when we swear to tell the truth.
In our nation's founding document, the Declaration of Independence,
America acknowledges God as our Creator, Supreme Lawgiver, Supreme
Judge, and Protector. Fortunately, we haven't yet heard of a lawsuit
asking a judge to rewrite the Declaration.
God is specifically acknowledged in state constitutions. Among
the powers reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment is
surely the power to write their own constitutions.
So how could a handful of activist judges in the last couple
of years presume to ban the acknowledgment of God from documents,
monuments, songs, expressions and practices that have been part
of our culture throughout our history? The answer is that the
federal courts, year by year, decision by decision, have been
asserting judicial supremacy over the other branches of government,
and Congress and the American people have been letting them get
by with this unconstitutional grab for power.
The federal courts have been systematically dismantling the architecture
of our unique constitutional republic with its Separation of Powers.
James Madison believed that the preservation of liberty depends
on the Separation of Powers, and that "its several constituent
parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping
each other in their proper places."
The Constitution Restoration Act affirms the Separation of Powers
by reasserting the rule, which had been properly observed by federal
courts for two centuries, that they have no jurisdiction to consider
cases involving the acknowledgment of God. As late as 1952 liberal
Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas declared: "We are
a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being."
It is long past time for Congress to mandate that federal courts
may not censor public acknowledgments of God, adding this to other
"exceptions" and "regulations" to federal
court jurisdiction. This is the way the framers of our Constitution
intended that Congress would, as Alexander Hamilton wrote, keep
the judiciary as the "least powerful" branch of government
and see to it that "judges should be bound down by strict
rules and precedents, which serve to define and point out their
The Constitution Restoration Act also orders federal courts not
to rely on foreign laws, administrative rules or court decisions.
Americans have been shocked to learn that five U.S. Supreme Court
Justices have cited foreign sources, even though it is self-evident
that U.S. judges should be bound by the U.S. Constitution and
U.S. laws, rather than foreign ones.
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