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Fr. Frank Pavone
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We Govern Ourselves

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life

May 09, 2005

Justice Clarence Thomas, who now serves on our nation's Supreme Court, was confirmed for that position by a vote of 52 out of 100 Senators. He was treated poorly in the confirmation process by those who were out to destroy him.

Yet despite all the efforts to keep him off the high court, his opponents in the US Senate did not deny him an up or down vote. They understood that it was the duty of the Senate to vote on the President's nominees, and that if Senators opposed the nominee, they should simply vote "no."

But now, Senators who oppose President Bush's nominees don't even want to allow them a vote. They are delaying certain votes indefinitely, where they know the nominee would win if the vote were taken. Some commentators have recently compared this attitude to the neighborhood bully who takes the ball and runs home because he can't stand to lose.

Those who are obstructing these votes belong to a party that lost big in the last election. People across America voted according to their values – values which they want to see respected not just by the Executive and Legislative branches of governments, but by the Judicial branch as well. These voters understand that they can make their values prevail in the voting booth and often through the legislative process. They understand, too, that these values are often overturned in the Courts.

It’s time to translate electoral victories into judicial victories. It’s time to change the courts. It’s time, indeed it is long overdue, to end the reign of judicial activism that has brought us abortion on demand, challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance, a redefinition of marriage, and numerous other policies that are contrary to the will of most Americans.

We have a choice. We can either govern ourselves, or let an oligarchy of unelected judges govern us. We can either use the political capital won in the election to shape the courts, or we can continue to watch judges undo the policies made by those we elected.

Make no mistake – judges have their proper and essential role, and should be respected for it. But their proper role does not include making law. The judiciary has absolutely no policy-making power. Law is made through the legislators elected by the people.

We are at a critical moment right now. The Senate, stalled in its duty to vote on the President’s nominees, can restore order and insist that these votes take place. They need to hear from you. They need to know that this is what you want them to do. They need to understand that you are watching, and that you know the significance of this moment. Votes must take place now.

The effort to stall the votes is a preparation for the upcoming battle over a Supreme Court vacancy. Success in stalling a vote because the nominee is too conservative, religious, or pro-life is a test run for keeping others like Clarence Thomas off the Court.

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Priests for Life
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