In God We Trust

I find this non-ruling interesting: The U.S. Supreme Court was asked to review whether the words “In God We Trust,” written prominently in large block letters on the Lexington, N.C. county government center, violated the so-called separation of church and state.

As an aside, I’ll keep saying this until the news media gets it: there is no constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. If you think you’re suddenly converted to Christianity by walking under the words “In God We Trust,” then you’re too easily influenced. You’re not converted into a mosquito when you attend the Clute, Texas, Mosquito Festival, either.

Anyway, an appeals court said the words were fine just the way they are:

A U.S. appeals court ruled that the lawsuit failed to show that the display had no legitimate secular purpose, that it has the effect of endorsing religion or that it has resulted in an excessive entanglement of government and religion.

The appeals court said Congress first authorized the phrase “In God We Trust” on coins in 1865, and Congress made it the national motto in 1956. It is inscribed above the speaker’s chair in the U.S. House of Representatives and above the main door of the U.S. Senate chamber.

Of course the opposition appealed; the opposition was two lawyers who had hired lawyers to represent them. The more time in court, the better. The U.S. Supreme Court basically said, “Nah, not interested. Next!”

I suspect that “In God We Trust” will be stricken from coins within my lifetime, but it’s refreshing to see that it won’t be happening this year.

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Our Next Contestant for Supreme Court Is…

Bush has nominated Samuel Alito for Supreme Court of the United States. I like him for the following reasons:

  • He’s Italian and Florence is a beautiful city.
  • He has decades of conservative judicial opinions under his belt.
  • Harry Reid doesn’t like him.

No matter who Bush nominates, there is going to be a fight. I’m just glad Bush decided to fight the other team this time.

Best rundown on the various bloggers opinions and Alito’s background is at Michelle Malkin, but more at Brutally Honest, From the Bleachers, GOPUSA, Little Miss Attila, Powerline, and Right Voices.

Polipundit’s rundown of the expected meltdown is good, too.

The Religion of Harriet Miers

Bush has gone an additional step too far. Last week in the face of criticism, he defended Harriet Miers with a wink and a nod. “Trust me,” he said. I don’t because Bush isn’t always conservative, especially on fiscal matters. So I announced my opposition to Harriet Miers, not because I don’t think she’s a swell person, but because she doesn’t appear to have made strict constructionism and constitutional law as a priority in her life. How will she rule on important issues? I think the issue to to important for a “trust me” type of response.

So yesterday, Bush goes a step further and says that we should support her because Harriet Miers is religious.

Well, by golly, I can’t tell you how offended I am by that. Don’t get me wrong, I love religious people. I happen to think I’m a religious person. I think people who build their faith in Jesus as a central tenet in their life are among the finest, morally upright people I come in contact with.

But this isn’t about whether Harriet Miers is a likeable person, a faithful person, or a religious person. Is she a qualified person? I don’t have any idea. She may be a darn fine lawyer, but apparently she’s spent her life representing other people’s views. How will she rule on the Supreme Court using her own views?

Nobody knows. I need more than a “trust me, she’s one of us” winks to support this nomination, and I’m offended that Bush thinks his religious conservative base will support Harriet Miers just because she goes to church.

If Roe vs. Wade is overturned by this next Supreme Court, I want it to be for the right reason. Sure, as a Christian I am appalled at abortions, but Roe vs. Wade was a political ruling that incorrectly abridged the right of states. Harriet Miers must have a firm grasp of constitutional law to understand why Roe vs. Wade is wrong from an intellectual standpoint, not just a moral standpoint. The Supreme Court should not the seat of a theocracy, even if it’s my faith they share.

No Longer Giving Bush the Benefit of the Doubt

I have to admit that after nearly 5 years of being a Bush supporter, I’m having trouble recently continuing to support him.

Until 9/11, I though Bush was mostly ineffectual, stymied by the Democrats whenever he tried to accomplish anything. Bush was still a far better choice than Al “Mr. Internet” Gore, though.

9/11 changed the political landscape, and with the war in Afghanistan, I rallied behind Bush to give my full support to Bush. Afghanistan was handled very well, I thought.

And then onto Iraq. While I had some questions – I believed (in fact, I still do believe) that Iraq had WMD’s, I didn’t believe Iraq was an imminent threat to the US. Still, Saddam Hussein was a problem that had to be taken care of eventually. He was working on nukes, killing hundreds of thousands of his own people, and supporting terrorism with a whole lot of oil money. After the President gained the approval of Congress, I threw my support behind Bush again. I held nothing but disdain for those Democrats in Congress that voted for the war and then criticized the President about it.

I’m still a supporter of Bush on the war in Iraq. As bad as the suicide bombers are, they haven’t killed a fraction of the people Saddam killed, and a working Muslim democracy can only be good for the region and the US. And so in 2004 I voted happily for Bush over John “What’s My Position Today” Kerry.

But along the way, Bush took advantage of my support. I agreed with the tax cuts to stimulate the economy, and even reluctantly supported some spending increases in war time to keep the economy moving. But the prescription drug benefit went way overboard, adding a new entitlement on the way to a socialized healthcare system (and if you like the way the government handled the Katrina aftermath, you’ll love national healthcare). Before that, I was disappointed he didn’t veto McCain-Feingold that I thought was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. Bush apparently wanted to rely on the Supreme Court to strike it down, which to my surprise upheld it.

But I was still a supporter, and though John Roberts for Supreme Court was an excellent choice. But while he was gaining my approval there, he lost it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. What are we up to, $200 billion promised in relief? That’s $400,000 per family. We’d be better off just giving each family $400,000 and leaving New Orleans underwater. And this on the heels of a massive transportation bill with a new record for pork projects.

And now Harriet Miers for Supreme Court – what was Bush thinking? Better yet, what is Miers thinking? Conservatives have been focused for decades trying to return the Supreme Court to a strict constructionist court, and finally with two openings on the court, our time had arrived. When it comes to Miers’ views though, nobody seems to know a thing about her, and Bush just tells us to trust him.

After Bush has spent federal money like a drunken sailor, I don’t trust him to do what’s best. Does Harriet Miers even have a basic grasp of Constitutional Law 101? We don’t know.

Bush has counted on right wing conservatives for two long, and disappointed us too many times in the last year for us to trust him on this important point. I urge Senate Republicans to vote down Meirs and insist Bush nominate a true, proven conservative for the position.

This will, of course, prompt a fight with liberals, but that’s not a bad thing. Can conservatives hold their own in an ideological battle against liberals? I think recent elections show that the vast majority of the country supports conservative ideals and will turn out and vote for conservative candidates. Better to defend ourselves against liberals than capitulate and alienate the conservative base.

Secular Bigotry

Manual Miranda in OpinionJournal has a strong criticism of the questioning of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. While we all expected chest-puffing and posturing from the Senators, we didn’t expect illegal religious bigotry to be so acceptable. Excerpts:

Article VI of the Constitution prohibits a religious test from being imposed on nominees to public office. The clause was motivated by the experience of Catholics in the Maryland colony and Baptists in Virginia who had been the targets of Great Britain’s two Test Acts. These infamous laws of intolerance sought to prevent anyone who did not belong to the Church of England from holding public office. The Test Acts did not say that Catholics could not hold office; the bigotry was more subtle. Officials questioned would-be public servants to determine whether they believed in particular tenets of the Catholic faith.

Hours later, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California made it worse: “In 1960, there was much debate about President John F. Kennedy’s faith and what role Catholicism would play in his administration. At that time, he pledged to address the issues of conscience out of a focus on the national interests, not out of adherence to the dictates of one’s religion. . . . My question is: Do you?”

How insulting. How offensive. How invidiously ignorant to question someone like Judge Roberts with such apparent presumption and disdain for the religion he practices. The JFK question is not just the camel’s nose of religious intolerance; it is the whole smelly camel.

Additional quotes from Judge and Jewry:

I mean how grotesque is it that the Left feels free to indulge openly in half-century-old religious prejudice? This is not some crazy person standing outside with a rusty hanger–it is a United States Senator in her official capacity on national television. And this is no off-the-cuff blurt–these questions are excruciatingly researched and drafted and worded and reviewed and approved and choreographed by teams of liberal lawyers and advisors both on her staff and off. She–the senator who keeps harping at this hearing that her concern is the protection of people of faith–thinks an obnoxious question born of religious bigotry is legitimate because it was posed in 1960?

There’s more from Concerned Women of America, the Catholic Culture of Life Foundation, the Catholic League, Fidelis, so go read it.

John Roberts Replaces Karl Rove

What happened to all the Karl Rove stories? Karl Rove go *poof* as the news media gears up to oppose John Roberts for the Supreme Court.

The Karl Rove stories were just like the Tom DeLay stories. There was no meat to them, no substance, just media frenzy looking for something to damage Bush. The DeLay stories about inappropriate travel all disappeared when it was obvious the Democrats had far more egg on their collective face. Likewise, there’s no “there” there to the Karl Rove Stories. Let me summarize –

  • There may not have been a crime committed. The same news organizations pushing to fire Karl Rove simultaneously argue no crime was ever committed as they try to spring their reporter from jail. Valerie Plame wasn’t deep undercover, hadn’t been for over 5 years, all her neighbors knew her identity, her husband probably outed her in the first place.
  • Rove didn’t disclose her identity anyway. Apparently the media disclosed it to Rove, and Rove agreed with the media.
  • What about the President’s promise to fire the leaker? If the media had bothered to do their homework, they’d have discovered that Bush said no such thing.

    THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There’s leaks at the executive branch; there’s leaks in the legislative branch. There’s just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

No substance to the story. *Poof* So they gear up to pounce on John Roberts instead.

And pounce they will. Special interest groups are planning to spend $50 million in advertising so far to oppose his nomination.

My prediction is that there will be a lot of huffing and puffing by the Democrats, but that Roberts will be approved by October. For one thing, the Democrats have realized that the filibuster is a losing proposition and it’s giving the Democrats the image of obstructionism. And second, this same Senate approved Roberts for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2003 with Democratic support.

It’s a very strategic move by Bush – if the Democrats oppose him now, they risk exposing their hypocrisy if 2 years ago John Roberts was perfectly acceptable. And conservatives deserve a conservative to be appointed, just like Clinton deserved to have ultra-liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Court. Conservatives ought to get past their worry that anything conservative will send the liberals into a tizzy. As Sean wrote last night in an email this fictional White House conversation:

“Hey, Rummy, how should we spin this Roberts character tonight?”

“Damnit, Dick, I think we should line the cage with NYT metro additions and let the parrot poop land where it may!”

“Uh, Don, I don’t think I follow”.

“Look, Dick, lets tell ’em that we want to trigger a tumultuous tantrum of tremendous tripe from the left”.

“Sure Rummy, but lets loose those lousy alliterations, and I think W will wise-up well.”

“Damn, veep, no more schnapps for you, ok, but its sort of along the lines of Nattering Nabobs of Negativity, you know…sort-of.”

“Hmmm, let’s just tell the Dems to ‘bring it on’ – it worked for OBL’s boys in Iraq.”

“Sure, sure….you know, I love this job, Dick”.

“Me too Don”.