GOP Moves To Intimidate & Control U.S. Fed Courts
By Katherine Yurica
America Stands on the Edge of A Grave Constitutional Crisis Linked to Pat Robertson
How the GOP congressional faction is executing a plan to intimidate and control the U.S. Federal Courts
In an extraordinary moment of history, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist pointedly criticized Congress for passing legislation that encroaches upon the federal judges' sentencing prerogatives. The legislation, called the PROTECT Act by Mr. Rehnquist, was passed in the spring of 2003, but received little public notice since it was tacked onto the Amber Alert bill as an amendment. But the legislation has serious implications for the checks and balance system of the United States government.
What is at stake is whether America will continue to have an independent judiciary or whether the federal judicial system will be subject to the will of congress through the use of intimidation. The battle lines have been drawn, but what is probably unknown by most of us is that congress is following a blueprint that originated in an unlikely place: it was a gift born on American television.
The PROTECT Act came into being through the "Feeny Amendment" (after Republican Tom Feeney of Florida sponsored the act). It requires the United States Sentencing Commission to maintain a judge-by-judge record of sentencing departures (deviations from the congressionally approved sentencing guidelines) and to send those records to the U.S. Attorney General's office. Congressional committees would then have access to the records through the Justice Department. In short, it's an ingenious way of intimidating judges and to keep them within the letter of the law; as such, it represents a disavowal by congress of judicial discretion.
The Judicial Conference of the United States, chaired by the Chief Justice and consisting of twenty-seven federal judges, is the policy making body of the court system. It voted unanimously to ask Congress to repeal the amendment. Senator Edward Kennedy, worried about the balance of power between the three independent branches of the U.S. government is introducing a bill to repeal the act. However, the controlling faction of congress has no intention of repealing the legislation.
The plans to revamp the U.S. Government began in 1985
The struggle that the Chief Justice brings to our attention in his annual report did not begin in 2003. The policy and the plans to implement a governmental revamping were stated publicly by Pat Robertson in 1985.
In the early 1980's I began to tape record and transcribe Robertson's 700 Club because the topics discussed were decidedly political and involved grass-roots political recruitment for and against office holders. Robertson's plans were breathtaking. He outlined a long-range program to gain nothing short of control of the government of the United States. The goal was to control the country by the year 2000.
I amassed over 1,200 pages of pertinent transcripts over a period of years. In 1985 I recorded Mr. Robertson's revamping plan for the Supreme Court. I might add that Robertson has the dubious talent to make even murder sound reasonable, as the excerpts from my book, The New Messiahs show.
Robertson's plan to take over every office in the United States was not as hair-brained as one would imagine. According to Tim LaHaye (co-author of the Left Behind series of novels) who appeared on Robertson's show and outlined the plan, there were 110,000 fundamentalist churches in America. If each church sponsored one candidate for office, the Robertson faction would control every elective office in the U.S. since there were only 97,000 offices.
Before total power could be accomplished, however, the Robertson faction had to gain control of the Republican Party. Once the Republican Party was conquered, and it would be, Robertson would and did use millions of dollars donated to the cause by Robertson's 700 Club viewers, to pour funds into congressional campaigns.
By 1992, Robertson's faction distributed 40 million copies of the "Family Values Voters Guide" to more than 100,000, churches nationwide. By 1994, the GOP took control of Congress and gained control of the Republican Party in at least 31 states.
According to Robertson, once the GOP faction consolidated its control of congress, they were free to develop "the true Constitutional" vision of the three branches of government (executive, legislative and judiciary). With the selection of George W. Bush for president of the United States in 2000, the reactionary faction of the Republican Party experienced the flush of power and fulfillment.
The judiciary as target
Robertson's first target was always the judiciary. He prayed for the death of the justices who wrote decisions he disliked. He opened the floodgates of hatred in America on his national television show, targeting so-called "liberal activist" judges. Millions of followers did not ask and did not question what their spiritual leader said.
Robertson wanted to reduce or eliminate the power of the judiciary. He denied that the Constitution provides a system of checks and balances between three separate and equal branches of government. He stated the Supreme Court "usurped its power" to review the constitutionality of legislation when John Marshall made a "power grab and took it." Chief Justice Marshall's famous decision in 1803 (Marbury v. Madison) was and is reprehensible to Robertson.
In fact, Robertson went further: he denied that the judiciary is a co-equal branch of the government. Instead, he saw the judiciary as a department of the legislative branch, which he believed was the dominant center of power in the nation. His reasoning went like this: Since Congress has complete authority to establish the lower federal courts and to establish "the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court," the court system is necessarily subordinate to the legislative. Robertson's idea was that congress could control the court by using its power to intimidate. For example, he said, "Congress could say 'There's a whole class of cases you can't hear' and there's nobody can do anything about it!"
His political plan included two concepts that revamp our government:
First, Americans must be ruled by "godly" men in the legislative branch-not by laws.
Secondly, Congress should limit the power of the courts.
If the Supreme Court hands down a decision that is offensive to congress and the president, Robertson said they should: "Absolutely ignore the court," he said, "It's time they do it."
Robertson's final coup de grace to the courts was that Congress should use every punitive measure available to control and intimidate federal judges to get them in line. If necessary, Robertson said, Congress should increase the number of Supreme Court Justices to "fifteen or cut it down to seven or five," whatever suited the congressional majority at the time-for by increasing or decreasing the number of judges sitting on the court-congress can effectively control a wayward panel of judges. For the power to establish the number of justices can be twisted into a means of firing judges by a simple majority of congress or by adding additional judges to the bench, it can be a means of diluting the influence of the original sitting judges.
Tom DeLay's Role
If one couples Robertson's devious attack against the American judiciary with the power behind the congressional throne, Tom DeLay, the Republican Majority Whip in the House, one finds that DeLay is a compliant follower of Robertson's scheme. Twelve years after Robertson first posted his revolutionary plans on the air waves, Tom DeLay was actively proposing that judges be impeached for "liberal activist" decisions and for making "bad law."
DeLay not only advocated impeachment as a means to control and intimidate, he named judges he targeted as "examples" to Time Magazine reporters in 1997.
No wonder then, with this background, plus the widely reported stunning intimidation of those Republican representatives in Congress who had the courage to vote against the Medicare Bill, that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was compelled to admonish Congress:
"[S]ide-by-side with the broad authority of Congress to legislate and gather information . is the principle that federal judges are not to be removed from office for their judicial acts. The subject matter of the questions Congress may pose about judges' decisions, and whether they target the judicial decisions of individual federal judges, could appear to be an unwarranted and ill-considered effort to intimidate individual judges in the performance of their judicial duties."
The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court has expressed the same concerns I have raised over the intimidation directed against House Representatives for voting their conscience on the Medicare bill. Is it not apparent that we are in a Constitutional crisis of enormous import to the future of America? Our nation is going down-- not with revolutionary guns blazing--not with a bang, but with the power of a seditious idea, and not even a whimper is raised against it from the American corporate press. May God help us.
Katherine Yurica was educated at East Los Angeles College, U.S.C. and the USC school of law. She worked as a consultant for Los Angeles County and as a news correspondent for Christianity Today plus as a freelance investigative reporter. She is the author of three books. She is also the publisher of the Yurica Report.
Rogue Republican Dons in Congress
Excerpts from The New Messiahs
Chief Justice Attacks a Law as Infringing on Judges by Linda Greenfield of the New York Times
The Annual Report of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
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