Watchmen On the Wall - FRC

Prayer Targets: President's SCOTUS Nominee; Taxpayer Funding; Big Changes for Life & Liberty


January 25, 2017

Stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ has set you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Gal. 5:1) 

Dear Praying Friends,

It was made known this week that President Trump will decide on his first nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, February 2.

Travis Weber, Director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty and Chris Gacek, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Regulatory Affairs, are both attorneys and public policy experts with remarkable educational and career résumés. Travis and Chris collaborated to write Supreme Court Nominations: Filling Justice Scalia’s Seat and Beyond. Here is the introduction:

Since the founding of this Republic 240 years ago, it has been understood that first and foremost governments are put in place to secure the inalienable rights bestowed upon us by God, our Creator. These rights cannot be taken away from any American by any government. Our Constitution was adopted to preserve these rights and to institute a just government that will also provide those benefits enumerated in the Preamble to the Constitution.

The primacy of law-making by our elected representatives and the adherence to the rule of law by the executive branch form the keystone of our governmental framework. Over the past two hundred years, the power of the judiciary has grown to the point that it now threatens the separation of powers between the branches. The power of the legislative branch to make our laws has been challenged most directly by the courts. We must now confront a crisis of governance created by our judiciary and, more specifically, by the Supreme Court, which have grasped powers they were never intended to possess. In the period since the New Deal era, the Supreme Court has become an almost unchallengeable, unreviewable super-legislature. The Founding Fathers did not risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor so that someday we would be ruled over by an oligarchic, self-aggrandizing body of lawyers.

The primacy of law-making by our elected representatives and the adherence to the rule of law by the executive branch form the keystone of our governmental framework. Over the past two hundred years, the power of the judiciary has grown to the point that it now threatens the separation of powers between the branches. The power of the legislative branch to make our laws has been challenged most directly by the courts. We must now confront a crisis of governance created by our judiciary and, more specifically, by the Supreme Court, which have grasped powers they were never intended to possess. In the period since the New Deal era, the Supreme Court has become an almost unchallengeable, unreviewable super-legislature. The Founding Fathers did not risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor so that someday we would be ruled over by an oligarchic, self-aggrandizing body of lawyers.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia was one who was ever cognizant of the danger of an activist Court. Just last year when the Court imposed same-sex marriage on the nation in Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Scalia wrote in dissent:

“I write separately to call attention to this Court's threat to American democracy ... Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court ... This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.” (Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584, 2626-27 (2015) (Scalia, J., dissenting).

Justice Scalia himself would agree that outstanding judicial nominees should recognize limits to the judicial power created by Article III of the Constitution. Such nominees for all federal judicial positions, including the U.S. Supreme Court, should only be those who respect the judiciary’s proper place within the Constitution’s governmental framework -- one that recognizes the irreducible role of the States (federalism) and the irreducible role of the Congress and the President (separation of powers). We owe him no less than replacing his empty seat with a justice who holds to the same philosophy.

When interpreting the Constitution, members of the judiciary must look first to the text of the Constitution, and their decisions must conform to the Constitution’s original meaning as understood at the time a constitutional provision’s language was adopted. Similarly, those interpreting statutes and regulations must look to the text of the documents and assess them in light of their meaning at the time they were enacted or adopted.

The legitimacy of our government lies in the fact that it expresses the will of the American people through their elected representatives. Judicial activism undermines the sovereignty of the American people, the rule of law, and a proper understanding of the Constitution. This is true whether it occurs through an inappropriate reliance on foreign law, the Court’s projections of “popular opinion,” or some other means by which the Court imposes its policy preferences on the law.

President Trump may have the opportunity to choose a couple more Supreme Court justices, shaping the Court for the next generation. Also, over 100 vacancies currently exist in the federal courts that the president must fill. He has a remarkable opportunity to appoint originalist justices and judges like Antonin Scalia, who will bring back judicial restraint to our highest Court and powerfully impact the entire American judiciary system. Please continue to pray for such an outcome in the months and years ahead.

 

  • Pray that President Trump will hear God’s guidance as he deliberates this week. May his choice, as he has promised, be a jurist in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia! Pray that future SCOTUS appointments will also be in this mold -- not only pro-life, but committed originalists who will bring judicial restraint back to the whole court and abruptly end the activism that has characterize it for a generation. May this standard be used to fill over 100 vacant seats in the federal court system -- the pool from which future Supreme Court justices are chosen. May the Lord preside over every Senate confirmation hearing! Pray that all this will lead to the reversal of radical decisions like Roe v. Wade! (Dt 30:19; Ps 126:1-3; Jn 10:10-13; Jas 5:12)

 

No More Government Funding for Abortion! -- On Monday, President Trump made good on his pro-life assertions by reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. dollars from going to any foreign group that performs abortions or “actively promotes” abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. Originally an executive order by President Reagan and restored by President George W. Bush after President Clinton reversed it, President Obama had suspended the policy almost the moment he stepped foot in the Oval Office. Following President Trump’s pro-life lead overseas, on Tuesday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the long sought measure to assert and expand the Hyde Amendment to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion here at home, including abortion funding through Obamacare premium subsidies. This important bill still needs to pass in the Senate. If it does, we have every indication that President Trump will sign it (see Trump Says Adios to Obama’s Mexico City Stance ; Making Good on More Pro-Life Promises; Senate Fight Promised by Abortion Advocates; More To Do).

  • May God move upon the conscience of every U.S. senator! May God continue to grow the already existing majority of Americans who do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortion. May every senator hear from those people, listen, and represent them with their votes. Pray for President Trump that he will continue to be courageous in fulfilling his entire pro-life agenda! (Psalm 110:3; Jn 16:8)

 

Free Speech Fairness Act -- Originally introduced last September, this bill promises to fix the unconstitutional elements of the 1954 Johnson Amendment, the IRS gag rule on pastors, churches, and non-profit organizations, keeping them from speaking freely about elections and candidates, politics, and public policy. Ironically, many liberal-progressive candidates have been endorsed from pulpits for years. It is only when conservative churches do it that it gets flagged. FRC’s Watchmen Pastors have participated in Alliance Defending Freedom’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday project, seeking to draw the IRS into a religious liberty lawsuit. However, with President Trump making the repeal of the Johnson Amendment a religious liberty priority during his presidential campaign, it has renewed hope of passing needed legislation without going through the courts. Sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) in the House and Sen. James Lankford (R-Ok.) in the Senate, we pray the Free Speech Fairness Act receives bi-partisan support. It is time to remove the IRS muzzle from ministers (FRC; ADF).

 

  • Pray Congress will make this a priority and pass it quickly so that the president can sign this law! (Isa. 58:1; Jn 9:4)

 

America and Israel -- President Obama did not leave office without one more outrageous action against Israel. In the closing hours of his presidency, he sent $221 million to the Palestinian Authority (Read: Liberals are turning against Israel; Obama’s Last Hours).

  • May President Trump and Congress undo the damage President Obama did to Israel and our relationship with Israel over the past eight years. May the president keep his promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem despite pushback from the State Department! (Ps 122:6; 137:5; Joel 3:2)


Finally, please pray over the Pro-life events that will be taking place in Washington and across the country this week. 1) Pro-life Americans will participate in the annual March for Life, Friday, January 27. 2) Some churches will observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on January 29 (Get resources for your church HERE). 3) ProLifeCon, FRC’s annual event to showcase new initiatives by social media pro-life activists, will be webcast beginning at 8:30 AM ET (register HERE). 4) The National Memorial for the Unborn Prayer Service will take place the same morning, 8:30-10:30 AM. Thank you for praying!