Dems: Give Them a Bench, They'll Take a Mile

Dems: Give Them a Bench, They'll Take a Mile

Dems: Give Them a Bench, They'll Take a Mile

April 16, 2021

Packing the courts isn't the only way Democrats can get what they want. And they know it. As disastrous as adding four more justices to the Supreme Court bench would be, threatening it is almost as effective. Joe Biden learned that from the man he desperately wants to be: FDR. The 32nd president wanted to overhaul the judicial branch, too, and never managed it. But what he did do to the courts was just as beneficial in the end -- he scared them.

Like Biden, Franklin Roosevelt didn't take kindly to the constitutional roadblocks to his liberal agenda. After a little while, he was so tired of conservative justices undermining his Big Government expansion plans that he floated the idea of taking over the court. Congress opposed the idea, but in the end it didn't matter -- the threat was enough. "Progressives never had to carry out their threats..." the Wall Street Journal points out. "All they had to do was encourage judges to consider the advantages of judicial 'restraint' and 'deference' to the political branches." That message was enough. "Unnerved by the bullying, some Supreme Court justices lost their courage," Columbia University's Philip Hamburger explains. They tried to "save the court" from Roosevelt's radical makeover by trending liberal.

Not much has changed, unfortunately. One look at Chief Justice John Roberts tells us that. A lot of legal experts think his liberal streak is nothing but a desire to protect the court's status quo. If he can show the Left that the justices are "moderate enough," then maybe he can stop them from adding seats. But that's a fool's errand. Today's Democratic Party doesn't want a "moderate court," or even a divided one. They want a full-on activist court that will do their bidding no matter what the constitution allows. "After more than a century of progressive threats," the Journal warns, "the justices have backed away from much of the Constitution already... Will they now smash what is left?"

Look, Senator Roger Marshall said on "Washington Watch," "We've had nine Supreme Court justices since 1870. But now the Democrats are upset that we have a 5-4 ratio of so-called 'conservatives' and 'liberals' on the court. And frankly, [it's] probably a stretch -- based on some of their votes -- to call some of these folks 'conservatives.' But Democrats can't win by the rules, so they're going to change the rules. They're going to grab power." It's incredible, he pointed out, just how blatant the other side has been. "The first test of leadership is that you don't try to grab more power when you have the opportunity." Democrats can't help themselves.

Of course, after the huge uproar over her party's new court-packing bills, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed, "I have no intention to bring [the legislation] to the floor." But moments later, when a reporter asked about Joe Biden's commission to revamp the Supreme Court, Pelosi agreed that "it's an idea that should be considered. It's not out of the question." The moral of the story, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday night, is: don't trust her. "Do not trust Nancy Pelosi when she says she will not move it." This is about control, he insisted. "They have two branches right now. The only thing that holds them back from their socialist views going forward... is the Supreme Court..."

In the meantime, the justices are human. They read the newspapers. They see where the pressure is coming from. The message from the Left is: If you don't conform to our radical policies, then we're going to add four more people who will. That's what politicizes the courts, Marshall insists. "And even some liberals would agree that it jeopardizes the legitimacy of the courts in the minds of the American people. That's why [our] job is so important," he argued. "I still believe that you and I represent the values of the supermajority of Americans... the sanctity of life, the God-given values of freedom of speech, freedom of religion... So we've got to gird up our loins, as they say, and speak loudly now."

As the WSJ warned, "There is little value in a court that's been corrupted by fear." But there's also little value in citizens who are too consumed by fear to stand up for what's right. And in this moment, that's what this nation needs: people who refuse to be intimidated, who speak truth -- and hold our leaders to it.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

States Drop the Gloves with the NCAA

April 16, 2021

At the end of the day, maybe the NCAA did conservatives a huge favor. Earlier this week, the woke collegiate sports association tried playing hardball with states that want to protect girls' sports. But so far, all they've done is motivate them!

The NCAA has been one of the biggest bullies on the liberal block for years. But after a half-decade of successful cultural hostage-taking, it's getting harder and harder to scare Republicans away from common-sense bills. This past week, their threat about pulling tournaments from states that don't embrace their radical ideas about gender failed spectacularly. In the shadow of Georgia, where conservatives made a collective decision to stand up and fight, no one seems willing to give the Left a second glance.

Republicans from Florida to Alabama have not only found their voice -- they've found their nerve. Led by conservative voices like Senator Rick Scott (R), who met the NCAA's threat with one of their own, states have been more emboldened than ever to do what's in the best interest of their daughters. Within 48 hours of the league's warning, two states thumbed their nose at the organization, sending legislation to protect girls' sports out of their legislature and onto their governors' desks.

In Alabama, the proposal was met by almost zero resistance -- passing out of the Senate by a lopsided (and bipartisan) 25-5 vote. Like the supermajority of his colleagues, Republican State Senator Garlan Gudger (R) refused to be swayed by the NCAA, insisting that the bill was "important" to the "integrity of women's athletics." Thanks to the overwhelming support in the state, the proposal is headed to Governor Kay Ivey's (R) desk for signature.

Like their southern friends, North Dakota wasted no time sending a similar message to the NCAA. "This is not about hatred or love," State Senator Janne Myrdal (R) argued. "This is about Title IX and women's rights and girls' rights to have an even playing field. This is about feminism." Others, like State Senator David Clemens (R) can't believe this is even a debate. "For us to begin to even consider things like this, to me, is beyond comprehension. What we are becoming is God ourselves -- and now we are going to create who we feel is male and female." By a 27-20 vote, the senate followed the House's lead and cleared a path to Governor Doug Burgum's (R) desk.

Things got worse for the NCAA in Florida, where the state house turned Senator Scott's response into a rallying cry, passing a proposal to ban trans-identifying athletes from competing with girls by another resounding margin: 77-40. "This is about giving women and girls an even chance to succeed," Republican state Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka cheered. She should know, she said. She went to college on a tennis scholarship that might not have been possible in today's gender chaos.

In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice (R) is on the verge of making his state the fourth to take the fight to the Left. "I just can't get through my head that it's the right thing for us at a middle school level or a high school level in our state [to make girls compete against biological boys]. Even at our college level, I support the bill there as well."

"The NCAA (who represents state universities that you subsidize) should not dictate public policy to the state legislators you elect to represent you!!" Republican Study Committee chair Jim Banks (R-Ind.) tweeted. It's refreshing to see so many state leaders agree!

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Senate's Lack of Advice Is Leading to Consent to Biden's Radical Agenda

April 16, 2021

As the old adage goes, personnel is policy. Nearing his 100th day in office, President Biden has made it abundantly clear that he plans to implement a radically liberal social agenda in America, demonstrated by who he's nominated to run the federal government.

Biden has already filled his entire cabinet faster than both Presidents Trump and Obama did before him. He accomplished this despite his nominees being, arguably, the most pro-abortion in history, and working with a 50-50 Senate in which Democrats had little to no room for error. While some Republicans stood up admirably to Biden's extreme, unqualified nominees, too many of them failed to raise legitimate opposition. Indeed, many voted to confirm these nominees, providing Biden's nominees with more bipartisan support than President Trump's received.

Now, as Biden turns his attention to filling out deputy secretary and other assistant roles, the nominees he's put forward are even more radical than the secretaries they will work for -- a far cry from the unifying positions Biden promised while campaigning.

Take, for example, Kristen Clarke and Vanita Gupta, two nominees to be assistant attorneys general at the Department of Justice. Clarke, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, has been hailed by NARAL pro-choice America, one of the largest abortion groups in the country, for her record leading efforts in the courts to block pro-life laws around the country. She's even gone so far as to call for defunding the police. Several senators pressed her on that radical record during this week's hearing: Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) questioned her past comments that religion has been used as a pretext to challenge public health laws during the COVID pandemic. Her response to Hawley's question didn't instill any confidence that she would defend the First Amendment in Biden's DOJ.

Vanita Gupta, who holds similarly radical views on abortion and policing, was also exposed for her extremism during Senate hearings. But instead of working with Republicans to settle on an acceptable nominee, Democrats have simply skirted Senate procedures to move her nomination through. When Gupta's nomination came up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, several Republicans asked to continue the debate to vet her record. Instead of allowing unlimited time for debate as committee rules permit, Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) cut off Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in the middle of his remarks to rush Gupta's vote through committee. This is another sign that Democratic leadership in Congress does not have any intention of finding unifying nominees and policies, nor will they respect the process.

President Biden has moved forward with these types of nominees for assistant secretary roles in almost every department, especially those with direct influence over policies that affect abortion and religious freedom. This week, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to vet Andrea Joan Palm as deputy secretary of HHS, and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Both nominees have ties to Planned Parenthood and will surely lead the administration's efforts to further erode federal pro-life laws.

Two nominees poised to work on international policies likewise are avid abortion proponents. Samantha Power, nominated to be USAID Administrator, sailed through committee with a unanimous vote despite a long record promoting abortion and the LGBT agenda as U.N. Ambassador under President Obama. And Wendy Sherman, Biden's pick to be the Assistant Secretary of State, was a former director of EMILY's list -- the largest pro-abortion political action committee.

While Congress holds the power to legislate and create new federal laws, it has delegated much of its power to the executive branch. Those who have the power to interpret and enforce those laws under the direction of the president often have wide-ranging powers not visible to much of the public. The people Biden has picked to implement his agenda and enforce the law (often with much discretion) are Planned Parenthood darlings, EMILY's List executives, and a collection of former Obama appointees who've already been responsible for reshaping federal laws to promote abortion and anti-family policies in recent years.

The records of these nominees are widely known, yet not a single one of Biden's nominees has been successfully blocked over their radical social policies. Neera Tanden, Biden's nominee for OMB Director, withdrew her nomination after backlash over some old tweets -- but that's been the extent of successful Republican opposition so far. Some senators are doing what they can to draw attention to the horrific records of these nominees, but no substantial effort has been made to successfully hold Biden's cabinet in check.

Despite the fact the Democrats are holding eliminating the legislative filibuster in the Senate over the heads of Republicans, it's time GOP senators start seriously offering advice and consent to the president on his nominees, rather than acting like a rubber stamp for every partisan appointee he taps. The alternative is four years of unfettered damage to life, family, and freedom as they aggressively erase the gains of the Trump administration.