REINS Act Will Check Executive Overreach, Restore Constitutional Balance

As a new Congress begins, Republicans have made it clear that regulatory reform is a priority that puts the interest of all Americans first, especially concerning the economy.

It’s been said that sometimes government rules “have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.”

It is in fact President Barack Obama who made that statement in 2011 in his appeal “to strike the right balance” in executive rulemaking.

In an outstanding contradiction to the spirit of these words, the current administration brought our regulatory burden to a bloated $1.88 trillion in 2015—meaning that on average, each U.S. household is bearing an annual economic weight of $15,000. This underscores the reality that unchecked regulations smother business and family finances without distinction.

That’s where the REINS Act comes in.

Federal agencies currently have the power to make “major rules”—ones that have an economic impact of $100 million or more—without the oversight of Congress or the signature of the president. The REINS Act would put in place meaningful checks on agency overreach by requiring congressional approval and the president’s signature for major rules.

Absent these checks, we fall victim to oppressive regulations like the Department of Labor’s overtime rule, which hurts the very people it is trying to help and imposes unworkable burdens on businesses, universities, and employees.

In 2015, the Department of Labor raised the salary threshold under which people are eligible for overtime from $23,660 to $47,476. While the rule seems like it would provide more overtime pay to more people, the economic effect is that it smothers job creators.

With their administrative resources consumed by tracking more information with less flexibility, it turns out that businesses have to cut jobs as a result of the overtime rule. Even if businesses raise salaries above new overtime levels to avoid additional administrative costs, they are still left with less money to pay salaries overall—which means they can support fewer jobs.

As it stands, the Congressional Review Act of 1996 represents the only recourse Congress has for reversing harmful rules without having to scale the great wall of the filibuster. All but one of the joint resolutions of disapproval that Congress has passed under the Congressional Review Act have been vetoed by the president.

As a tool for checking executive overreach, the Congressional Review Act is begging for improvement, which the REINS Act offers by amending the original legislation.

If the overtime rule had been subject to a vote by Congress before it was enacted, as the REINS Act would require, American workers could have been spared the consequences of the heavy-handed and poorly-crafted regulation. Yet support for the REINS Act is not merely practical—it is also constitutional.

Article 1 of the Constitution assigns the responsibility of lawmaking to a House and Senate made up of elected officials, and it does so in order to ensure that the people who are affected by federal laws and regulations have a say in how those rules are made.

Without the balance that the REINS Act offers, Americans and their economy remain subject to the decisions and missteps of unelected bureaucrats, who seem agonizingly unable to “strike the right balance” between helpful and harmful rules.

Executive agency overreach is, at heart, a constitutional issue, and one that the REINS Act remedies in a way that reformers in both parties should be able to support. If made law, this legislation would require agencies to submit their major regulations for congressional approval before they could go into effect, and both chambers would be required to accept or reject the rule within 70 legislative days.

The president’s signature would also be required for any of Congress’ joint resolutions on a major rule to take effect. Agency regulations with economic impacts of under $100 million would remain unaffected by the REINS Act.

The bill is not retroactive, so Republicans haven’t devised it as a way to blot out the actions of a previous administration and the agencies it oversaw. It’s also not unwieldy from a legislative perspective, adding only 50-100 votes to the congressional calendar each year.

What we’ve done is to craft a way to move forward with legislative business and restore accountability to the legislative process while better protecting our economy from suffocating regulations that Americans never voted to enact.

The current president has said balance in federal regulations is necessary, and President-elect Donald Trump has said the REINS Act will help guarantee that balance, promising that he would sign this “major step toward getting our government under control” were the bill to reach his desk.

The REINS Act brings transparency, accountability, and constitutional balance to the branches of government regardless of which party controls those branches, and it returns power to the electorate by making sure that their votes have a voice in major federal rulemaking. (For more from the author of “REINS Act Will Check Executive Overreach, Restore Constitutional Balance” please click HERE)

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On Election Day, ‘We the People’ Tell the Government What to Do

In urging the delegates to a New York convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1788, Alexander Hamilton emphasized the principal strength of the new Constitution: “Here, sir, the people govern.”

The federal government gets its mandate from the American people. You are in charge. Express your will: vote.

You help govern your country through the exercise of your right to vote. As the U.S. Supreme Court has said: “No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live.”

When he first became president in 1885, Grover Cleveland stressed in his inaugural address the public trust held by every voter:

He who takes the oath today to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States only assumes the solemn obligation which every patriotic citizen—on the farm, in the workshop, in the busy marts of trade, and everywhere—should share with him. The Constitution which prescribes his oath, my countrymen, is yours; the government you have chosen him to administer for a time is yours; the suffrage which executes the will of freemen is yours; the laws and the entire scheme of our civil rule, from the town meeting to the state capitals and the national capital, is yours. Your every voter, as surely as your chief magistrate, under the same high sanction, though in a different sphere, exercises a public trust.

In his farewell address to the American people in 1989, President Ronald Reagan echoed the words of Cleveland a century earlier, emphasizing that the American people remain in charge of their government:

Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: ‘We the People.’ ‘We the People’ tell the government what to do; it doesn’t tell us.

On behalf of your fellow citizens, we ask you to choose carefully in deciding upon the representatives, senators, president, and state and local officials who will make our laws. Your choice, along with the choices of your fellow citizens, will determine what America is to become. You, your fellow citizens, and future generations will live in the America you choose.

Conservatives will do tomorrow and the next day exactly what we did yesterday and the day before: We will continue to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

We know our principles and we adhere to them. That is our public trust. The American people can count on us, just as we count on the American people.

God bless the United States of America and its people. Now, go vote. (For more from the author of “On Election Day, ‘We the People’ Tell the Government What to Do” please click HERE)

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At Stake: The Constitution

This election is about a lot of things, but it is fundamentally about the U.S. Constitution and whether federal judges will adhere to their oath to “… faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me … under the Constitution and laws of the United States,” or dilute, attack and destroy our founding document.

That the Constitution is on the ballot in the persons of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who hold differing views of it and have pledged to appoint radically different judges to federal benches, is revealed in a recent op-ed for Slate by Richard Posner, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

In his op-ed, as reported by The Washington Times, Judge Posner claims to see “absolutely no value” in studying the Constitution because “18th-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century.” I suspect if they had seen modern culture with our fixation on Kim Kardashian, they might have retreated to England.

Even the Bill of Rights, says Posner, “do not speak to today.”

Wow. Freedom of speech, assembly, the press, religion, no warrantless searches and more are outmoded concepts? Who knew? (Read more from “At Stake: The Constitution” please click HERE)

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No, the Constitution Isn’t Outdated

Time tests quality, and the fact that our Founders’ creation has outlasted so many other regimes signifies their skill and prescience.

But for others, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Constitution’s age is a mark against it. Asked in a 2012 interview whether Egypt’s new government should look to other constitutions for guidance, Ginsburg replied, “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa.”

She added that Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms might also be a good place to start, as it is “much more recent than the U.S. Constitution. … It dates from 1982.”

More recently, this summer, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner wrote in an op-ed for Slate that he “[sees] absolutely no value to … studying the Constitution.” His reasoning: “Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century.”

Time tests quality, and the fact that our Founders’ creation has outlasted so many other regimes signifies their skill and prescience.

The left frequently claims that political science, like the natural sciences, is continuously advancing. Accordingly, a competently crafted constitution written in the early 1980s must almost certainly be better than a constitution written in the late 1780s. After all, the framers of Canada’s charter had the benefit of nearly two centuries of societal developments that our Founders could not have foreseen.

As Richard Stengel, former president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, wrote in a splashy 2011 article in Time magazine:

Here are a few things the Framers did not know about: World War II. DNA. Sexting. Airplanes. The atom. Television. Medicare. Collateralized debt obligations. The germ theory of disease. Miniskirts. The internal combustion engine. Computers. Antibiotics. Lady Gaga.

Stengel’s list is instructive as it gives the reader a sense of the changes liberals think our Constitution does not adequately account for. Take for instance: “airplanes, the atom, the internal combustion engine, and antibiotics.” These all represent technological or scientific innovations unknown to the Founders that, purportedly, have some relevance to structuring a government.

Some scientific and technological changes do require that we think carefully about the Founders’ intent when they were writing the Constitution. For instance, new technologies allow police to peer into homes without physically entering them, intercept an email or a text message, or track your car from their computer back at the precinct. Whether these things constitute a search or seizure of citizens’ “houses, papers, and effects” under the Fourth Amendment is an important question the Founders do not answer for us directly.

But by no means are we merely left to guess how the Constitution speaks to these modern conditions. Through the Founders’ own writings contained in the Federalist Papers, notes on the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention and correspondence, thoughtful judges and legal scholars get a clear sense of the spirit behind the words on the page.

Given the Founders’ concern that government would use warrantless searches to harass and condemn political dissidents, it is hard to imagine James Madison or Alexander Hamilton would approve of warrantless wiretaps, drone flyovers, and email dragnets conducted by federal agencies.

Other items on Stengel’s list—sexting, miniskirts, and Lady Gaga—belong to another category of societal development liberals often refer to when questioning our Constitution’s continued relevance: shifting social norms.

What they typically forget is our Constitution was never meant to address every new cultural development nor freeze American society in place as it existed at the turn of the 18th century. The Founders knew that the societal concerns and policy questions particular to their time would eventually be resolved and new issues would arise to take their place.

While the Constitution was not meant to steer the development of American culture in every sense, the Founders did think a free society demanded certain qualities of character among the citizenry: habits of self-governance, respect for the rights of others, and reverence for the law. But within those brackets is allowed some latitude for culture to develop organically and locally without the heavy hand of government at the helm.

While the Founders took special care to ensure the Constitution’s foundation could survive new developments in technology and society, the durability of the document owes as much to what the Founders knew about human nature and worked into our foundational text as it does what they recognized they could not foresee and left to future generations.

Our Founders believed government must be strictly restrained because those attracted to political power rarely restrain themselves. The Founders knew even the power of the majority should not be total, since infringements of individual liberty authorized by 150 million voters are often no more just than those authorized by a single ruler.

As Madison writes in Federalist 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”

When men and women sprout wings and halos, or seraphim and cherubim descend from the heavens to run our government, then it might be time to question the continued utility of our Constitution. But as long as human nature remains subject to the same failings the Founders wisely identified, we should be skeptical of liberal doctrines that allow the powerful to interpret the extent of their own power and protect only those individual liberties a bare majority approves of.

As yet, the heavens have not parted, and human nature is still as fallible as it was 229 years ago. Thankfully, our nation was blessed with a generation of men who had insight to perceive the essential character of man vis-à-vis government and the wisdom to craft institutions rooted in those unchanging realities. (For more from the author of “No, the Constitution Isn’t Outdated” please click HERE)

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How We Lost the Constitution

Let’s talk for a bit about the so-called “narrow” and “common sense” compromise being put forward by Democrats — and a few Republicans, notably Susan Collins (R-ME), to block people from buying guns if they’re “on a terror watch list.”

Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, it’s not.

And the reason it’s not has nothing to do with letting terrorists have guns. Nobody in their right mind wants to have someone who is an actual terrorist walk into a gun store and buy a firearm — or 10.

Rather, we blew it when we allowed the creation of “watch lists” that are (1) secret, (2) constrain people (e.g. “no-fly” lists) and (3) have no due process protections of any sort associated with them.

These are all unconstitutional, I remind you, to the extent they apply to American citizens.

Now it happens to be completely constitutional for The President (via the State Department) to bar anyone that is not a US Citizen from entering the country — whether by air, train, boat, car, walking or teleportation. Not only is there no Constitutional problem with doing so it is explicitly authorized by statute and no less than Jimmy Carter did exactly that during the Iranian Hostage Crisis (I’ll bet you know what group of people he banned too, right?)

Today politicians on both sides of the aisle — including Obama — like to claim that this is not “who we are.” Did they forget Carter?

It sure sounds like it.

The problem with “Secret Lists” is that there is no way to know if you’re on one up front and, if you discover you are (while trying to board a plane or buy a gun, for example) your liberties are infringed without due process of law and, often, without any means of challenge.

The government claims that disclosing this information means that their investigations may be “thwarted.” And? The issue isn’t that they have a list of people they’re watching — that’s called investigation and is part and parcel of any legitimate law enforcement agency. No, it’s the disability they impose without due process, without trial and without, in many cases, anything that would be regarded as actionable evidence of a crime.

If the government wishes to conduct investigations before getting warrants, that’s part of police work.

But imposing disabilities, including barring people from getting on a plane or buying a gun when you cannot make the case that a crime is in the process of being committed is unconstitutional, impermissible in a free society and must be stopped in its entirety.

Those who argue otherwise are IMHO not Americans and to the extent they’re in positions of political power they are not only not American they’re violating long-standing law (18 USC 242 and 42 USC 1983) and must be both civilly sued and criminally prosecuted for their crimes. (For more from the author of “How We Lost the Constitution” please click HERE)

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Watch: What Does ‘We the People’ Really Mean? A Constitutional Scholar Explains

Do you know the difference between a democracy and a constitutional republic? Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett wants to clear up any confusion.

Barnett, director of Georgetown’s Center for the Constitution, wrote the book “Our Republican Constitution” to explain what the founders really meant by “We the People” in the U.S. Constitution.

During a recent visit to The Heritage Foundation, we caught up with Barnett to talk about the book and why he’s pessimistic about the outlook of the U.S. Supreme Court following Antonin Scalia’s death and President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.

“There’s a lot at stake with the next Supreme Court justice, but I can already tell you, I believe that fight has been lost,” Barnett said. “We have to decide how we’re going to survive under a court that is hostile to how we think.” (For more from the author of “What Does ‘We the People’ Really Mean? A Constitutional Scholar Explains” please click HERE)

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Park Ranger Tour Guide Puts Progressive Spin on Constitution, Founders

Guidon_of_the_United_States_National_Park_Service.svgA “chief of operations” at the National Park Service in Philadelphia who offers guided tours of Independence Hall stunned a group of tourists this week by declaring that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were the product of “class elites who were just out to protect their privileged status.”

PJ Media reports that Mary “Missy” Hogan, a federal employee earning at least $95,000 annually in salary and benefits, raised some eyebrows among the visitors in her tour group Monday afternoon at Independence Hall, with factual inaccuracies and disparaging comments about the Founders and the Constitution.

Several visitors in that group reported that Hogan explained to them that “the Founders knew that when they left this room, what they had written wouldn’t matter very much.” Hogan also told them that the “most important part of the Constitution written at Independence Hall was the ability to change it.”

And therein is the dead giveaway that Hogan is a progressive activist: the leftist insistence that the Constitution is a living document designed to be changed with the times according to the whims of the progressive agenda.

Hogan also got her facts wrong when she told the tour group that “King George III paid more attention to Parliament” than the colonists “because they were right there and could remove him from office.” Wrong. As J. Christian Adams of PJ Media points out, Parliament did not possess the power to remove the king from office then, and does not now. (Read more from “Park Ranger Tour Guide Puts Progressive Spin on Constitution, Founders” HERE)

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University Officials Agree to Rip up Constitution in Undercover Video

Conservatives have long accused academics of shredding the Constitution, figuratively speaking, but a Project Veritas sting operation recently caught them doing it literally.

Undercover video released last week showed administrators at Yale, Cornell, Syracuse, Vassar and Oberlin agreeing to rip up copies of the Constitution handed out off campus after an investigator posing as a student described the document as “triggering” and “oppressive.”

“Well, I think that the Constitution means things to different people; like you said it is a flawed document and the people who wrote it are certainly flawed individuals in my mind,” Cornell lead Title IX investigator Elizabeth McGrath says on the video.

Ms. McGrath agrees to rip up the hand-held copy of the Constitution and run it through a shredder after the female “student” asks, “Is there any way that maybe like we can get rid of it somehow or I can just see that like maybe it will be like therapy for me, like if you can like shred it or something?”

Project Veritas president James O’Keefe, known for his undercover video operations against ACORN and the National Public Radio, said the videos showed that the willingness to cut up the Constitution was “not an isolated incident.” (Read more from “University Officials Agree to Rip up Constitution in Undercover Video” HERE)

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Oklahoma Governor Rejects Supreme Court’s Ten Commandments Ruling [+video]

Gov. Mary Fallin on Tuesday said the Ten Commandments monument will stay at the Capitol despite a court ruling that said it violated the state Constitution and must be removed.

Fallin said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to reconsider its 7-2 decision, which was handed down last week after a challenge by the ACLU of Oklahoma on behalf of three plaintiffs.

In addition, lawmakers have filed legislation to let people vote on whether to remove a portion of the state Constitution cited in the ruling. Article II, Section 5 of the constitution reads:

“No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such,” according to the Oklahoma Constitution.

The court said the monument was obviously religious in nature and an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths. The constitution bans the state from using public money or property for the benefit of any religious purpose, according to the opinion. (Read more from “Gov. Mary Fallin, Monument Unmoved by Supreme Court’s Ten Commandments Ruling” HERE)

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Dignity, the Constitution, and the Bible

As noted in this writer’s most recent article, the Supreme Court decisions of the last fifty years which have declared social conservative positions related to sexuality to be unconstitutional in law have their ultimate source in the court’s own moral intuition (and that of a like-minded academic world), not the text of the Constitution. Like the court’s separation of church and state decisions from the mid-twentieth century on, which are less concerned with impartiality between religions and more concerned with striking a balance between religion and irreligion, they were simply imposed by the court on an unwilling nation, and maintained against popular protest by a cultural elite on the strength of its own conviction.

As noted in the previous article, the “right of privacy” which lies at the heart of the court’s decisions on sexual relations was cast in personal terms, as a right to sexual choice in the intimacies of marriage, and this was soon expanded, although not by good logic, to a general right of privacy held by individuals. In the crucial Eisenstadt decision (1972), it appears to have been claimed that equality demands that the rights of married persons be held by all persons (which would really abolish marriage if consistently applied, as indeed, many years later, seems to be happening). All of the concern for personal feelings and dignity in the most intimate matters of life of the original Griswold decision (1965) was carried over in later decisions from an argument about the private nature of marriage into arguments about personal freedom and dignity for all persons in making choices about sexual behavior.

It is from this viewpoint that we now are confronted with the claim that the demands of the sexual revolution override the classic freedoms of the First Amendment. Freedom of religion is disregarded where SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) laws apply; freedom of association is threatened by campus non-discrimination requirements and barely survived in the Boy Scouts of America vs. Dale decision of a decade and a half ago; freedom of speech and of the press are in much better shape in this country, with hate speech laws not allowed by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the hate speech doctrine, in which truth is no defense, is a doctrine used by the cultural left in advancing the sexual revolution, and has been enacted into law in other countries. In an appallingly perverse twist, the right of privacy, which is the legal weapon of sexual license, and was supposed to guarantee personal dignity, is now the ultimate justification for denying privacy and dignity to most persons in public rest rooms, lest a tiny minority be subjected to indignity (in their own minds).

The Supreme Court’s edicts, which have the effect of constitutional amendments, have substantially brought this deplorable loss of freedom and democracy to pass. While it is sometimes possible to enact laws that defend religious freedom, liberty of conscience, and unborn children into law, they can only be very modest, even when passed by Congress, and even then are faced with legal challenges in an environment in which protecting conscience and life is held to be aggressive, irrational, and a personal attack. To repeat, the Supreme Court’s decisions on sexuality have no basis in the text of the Constitution, which does not mention marriage, the family, or sexual behavior, and which was enacted by people who considered that traditional Judeo-Christian sexual morality was correct for all mankind for all time. The court’s contrary reasoning is that freedom and equality are constitutional ideals, and now we know better about sexuality than the framers of the Constitution (although a large part of the public disagrees, including many very well informed people).

The court’s real claim to power rests on “substantive review” of laws, which is based on the claim that the Fifth Amendment (guaranteeing liberty), and the Fourteenth Amendment (guaranteeing the equal protection of the laws) mandate not only the equal application of laws to all citizens, but also fair law. Used by the court in the era of laissez-faire capitalism to invalidate laws aimed at restraining that view of economics, it was repudiated by the court appointed by Franklin Roosevelt in order to protect the New Deal, only to be practically revived in the second half of the twentieth century to protect the sexual revolution. While Justice William O. Douglas, the author of the Griswold decision, “declined” the “invitation” to revive substantive review generally, he effectively did so on sexual issues. The only other Roosevelt appointed justice remaining on the court, Hugo Black, commonly regarded as a liberal, delivered a devastating rebuke in his dissent:

“I repeat so as not to be misunderstood that this Court does have the power, which it should exercise, to hold laws unconstitutional where they are forbidden by the Federal Constitution. My point is that there is no provision of the Constitution which either expressly or impliedly vests power in this Court to sit as a supervisory agency over acts of duly constituted legislative bodies and set aside their laws because of the Court’s belief that the legislative policies adopted are unreasonable, unwise, arbitrary, capricious or irrational. The adoption of such a loose, flexible, uncontrolled standard for holding laws unconstitutional, if ever it is finally achieved, will amount to a great unconstitutional shift of power to the courts which I believe and am constrained to say will be bad for the courts and worse for the country. Subjecting federal and state laws to such an unrestrained and unrestrainable judicial control as to the wisdom of legislative enactments would, I fear, jeopardize the separation of governmental powers that the Framers set up and at the same time threaten to take away much of the power of the States to govern themselves which the Constitution plainly intended them to have.”

Doesn’t the Ninth Amendment say that there are rights not mentioned in the Constitution? It has to be kept in mind that this amendment was enacted shortly before judicial review made its very modest appearance in the Marbury vs. Madison decision (1803; in which the Court actually declared unconstitutional a law expanding its own authority), and certainly well before the doctrine developed into its monstrous form of today. The Founders certainly did not intend for the Supreme Court or other courts to invalidate state laws they thought violated rights not mentioned in the Constitution. Justice Black explained in his dissent that the framers were warning that the Constitution was not to be understood as saying that:

“those rights which were not singled out [by the Bill of Rights] were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government [the United States], and were consequently insecure.”

The Tenth Amendment speaks of powers (saying that the federal government has only the powers explicitly granted it), while the Ninth Amendment speaks of rights (saying that there are rights held against the federal government, enumerated in the Bill of Rights, but these do not mean that any power unaffected by the Bill of Rights is held by the federal government).

One may ask where the Supreme Court finds the audacity to impose its own moral intuition on the country. The real power held by the court is that of an authority with a sacred power to discern moral truth. That is the way in which its decisions are treated by much of our society, and yet everyone, including the court, would deny that it has any sacred power. Chief Justice Earl Warren, the author much of the liberal judicial activism imposed on the country, said quite honestly in an interview with the reporter Harry Reasoner after his retirement that the Supreme Court had “only its conscience” to appeal to. This sounds noble, but why is the conscience of the Supreme Court justices superior to the very different consciences of other people, some of them very well informed?

Christians do believe that there is an authority with a sacred power to declare moral truth, namely God, and that He has spoken in the Bible. There was a time when the nation sufficiently shared this view that it was not unreasonable to enact Biblical precepts into law without further justification, but today, one can understand that people want to know why certain Biblical precepts make good laws for the state. Social conservatives endeavor to give good reasons as to why traditional morality is the best basis for society, and is a reasonable basis for law. Yet on sexual issues, the court’s finding of a right to sexual choice which is fundamental to personhood really means that Biblical doctrine cannot be enacted into law, because it would violate a right to personal dignity the court has found by its own moral intuition.

The morality of personal autonomy the Supreme Court mandates is inimical to the Biblical morality of sin and salvation, indeed, the first move in either evangelism or the religious instruction of children is to say that people are sinners who should feel ashamed and be punished. Only then is there “good news.” But it is precisely this morality and message of personal responsibility, judgment and punishment which the court’s morality of autonomy holds to be oppressive. And since it is the Supreme Court and lower courts that are decreeing a morality of personal autonomy, the wider society is now being organized around a principle of self-law (which is finally lawlessness) inimical to God’s revelation in the Bible.

This stark conflict of moralities, between the Biblical condemnation of sin and the liberationist condemnation of Biblical morality as oppressive, explains the intensity of the culture war over Biblical morality. The Supreme Court’s decisions advancing homosexual liberation, Romer vs. Evans (1996), Lawrence vs. Texas (2003), and Windsor vs. United States (2013) are all intensely hostile to Biblical morality, attacking it as hateful, demeaning, and an attack on personal dignity. While the court found it necessary to refer to such constitutional doctrines as liberty and equality, it is obvious that the real controlling consideration is the claim of personal pain. That being the object of moral condemnation is painful is certainly true, but that it is therefore wrong requires the further demonstration that the condemnation is unjust. And any examination of the justice of the claims of Biblical sexual morality, one widely held from time immemorial and reinforced by the devastation wrought by promiscuity in our day, are precluded by the claim of moral autonomy.

American Christians who are serious about obeying God now have a very difficult future. Not only will they be penalized in business and the professions by the requirement that they contribute to sinful behavior in the provision of goods and services, consideration of employment, and housing, but the Christian subculture itself, established to enable Christians to obey God in the world and provide a refuge from secularization, will be attacked as contrary to the public good and impaired or destroyed through such devices as the loss of tax exemption, loss of accreditation, and the instituting of requirements that a Biblically faithful organization cannot meet. This ominous prospect, already in some measure occurring, was outlined in a recent article discussing Senator Mike Lee’s proposed legislation to protect religious organizations.

The first and overriding consideration of disciples of Christ is to obey God, regardless of the consequences. That may mean the loss of business and professional opportunity, the loss of laudable Christian achievement already existing in these areas (as witness Catholic adoption services), and the destruction of the much of the Christian subculture. But we need to stress to the larger society when and if it does happen, that the reason is not to be found in any false analogy to racism, which rested on superficial differences between people with no firm basis in Christian doctrine, or any threat of a religion dominating society (not a serious possibility in the contemporary West), and certainly not on the text of the Constitution, but on the sensibilities of the secular left, which managed over several decades to convert its desire for sexual license into constitutional law on the basis of the moral intuition a Supreme Court receptive to its wishes. We know that the future belongs to God, and will be to His glory, but we may reasonably hope that future generations will not see sensibilities as a worthy justification of the judicially enforced sexual revolution. (“Dignity, the Constitution, and the Bible”, originally posted HERE)

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