The survey questions quoted what the lawyers obviously thought were the most extreme statements made by U.S. Reps. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Republican Gov. Matt Blunt of Missouri. Nevertheless, the majority of survey respondents came back with answers that said, in effect: Right on, we're fed up with the imperial judiciary.
This was not a poll of religious conservatives; it was a random-sample poll of the general population made by Opinion Research Corp. and commissioned by the American Bar Association. The lawyers who ordered the survey are in shock at the results.
The ABA Journal eReport quotes one constitutional law professor as opining that "the results are simply scary" and suggest "a trajectory" upward in the number of people unhappy with the judiciary. Another professor bemoans the obvious conclusion that the public has lost "general respect for the courts."
American Bar Association President Michael S. Greco views the results as showing a need for the ABA to educate the public about why we should have an "independent" judiciary. But the ABA officials who are so surprised by public dissatisfaction with the judiciary are the very ones who need to be re-educated to understand that we expect judges to respect the U.S. Constitution as written, not as they wish it had been written.
Because Harriet Miers was active in the ABA, we wonder if she shares the views of ABA officials that the American people need to be re-educated to accept judicial supremacy.
The American people are justifiably outraged by such recent federal decisions as banning the Pledge of Allegiance from public schools, banning the Boy Scouts from holding their popular Jamboree on government property, banning the marriage amendment adopted by 70 percent of Nebraskans, banning a Ten Commandments monument in a Kentucky courthouse, ruling that video games showing teens how to kill policemen enjoy the same First Amendment protection as "the best of literature," overturning the ban on partial-birth abortion, and approving the taking of private property for purposes other than "public use."
The American people recognize that we face a battle between self-government by our elected representatives versus rule by unelected judges, and we are not going to submit to judicial tyranny. Opposition to judges who reject the Constitution as written, and insist on their "independence" to make law, is fast becoming the issue to unite and build the conservative movement just as opposition to communism in the 1950s and '60s united and built the conservative movement into a powerful force that elected Ronald Reagan as president.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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