Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sekulow a Sucker?

Pat Robertson worried aloud on The 700 Club Friday that, despite Jay Sekulow's gung ho campaign for Judge John Robert's confirmation as Chief Justice, Roberts might be another David Souter. He has reason to worry.

Sekulow, of course, heads up one of Robertson's favorite creations, the American Center for Law and Justice, or ACLJ (get it? ACLJ). Early on the White House enlisted Sekulow to convince the Christian Right to go all out for Roberts. And that Jay has done with all the fundagelical fervor he can muster. Last Friday night he hosted a two-hour primetime special on TBN plugging Roberts' confirmation. Practically glowing with self imprtance, he trotted several Republican senators and congressmen and two former attorneys general (Ashcroft and Meese) across the stage. All drove home the same message: This is a pivotal moment in American history, and John Roberts will move the Court dramatically to the Right.

I have to say, however, that I seem to remember Ronald Reagan using Jerry Falwell in much the same way when he nominated Sandra Day O'Connor. That didn't work out so well for the fundies.

One of the few pieces of solid information about Roberts to come out of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this past week is that Roberts is a great admirer of Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson (1941-1954). Jackson authored the majority (6-3) opinion in the 1943 case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, in which the Court ruled unconstitutional West Virginia's requirement that Jehovah's Witness children salute the flag, and thus violate their religion, or face expulsion from school. He wrote the following:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

Uh oh.

When he appointed Justice Jackson Chief Prosecutor for the United States at the Nuremberg Trials, Harry Truman knew what he was doing. I'm not sure Jay Sekulow does.


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