The opening shot in a campaign to require the federal courts to operate within their authorized jurisdiction was unveiled recently in Montgomery, Ala., as the Constitution Restoration Act.
The original sponsors of Senate Bill 2082 are Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Zell Miller, D-Ga., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. The original sponsors of the companion bill H.R. 3799 are Reps. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Mike Pence, R-Ind.
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 filed nationwide 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 held unconstitutional.
The bill's sponsors believe that federal courts lack the 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 Ten Commandments is not an "establishment of religion." 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.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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