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Has the Republican Party Learned a Lesson?

February 16, 2016

The passing of Mr. Justice Antonin Scalia has taught us again that life is precious and that we must not take it for granted. Mr. Justice Scalia’s stalwart defense of what we used to call a “strict construction” of the Constitution was invigorating and inspired us to believe that maybe, just maybe, his generation and ours may continue to enjoy freedoms that our forefathers wanted us to have and hold forever.

Somewhere between the Warren Court and the Roberts Court we saw an intrusive, aggressive, activist judiciary take control of the U.S. Supreme Court. Creative interpretations of the U.S. Constitution gave us “pneumbras” and “walls of separation” that took away from lower government the power to allow students in public schools to pray to God the Father in words that Jesus taught us, to restrict abortions, and the marriage of persons of the same sex, and to celebrate Christmas in public spaces and otherwise celebrate the Christian West.

We called these decisions “Liberal” and began to urge the Republican Party to pay more attention to whom Republican Presidents nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Richard Nixon was the worst of a series of Republican Presidents whose appointees ignored the conservative principles of the Republican Party. President Gerald Ford was little better when he gave us John Paul Stevens. But, even Ronald Reagan stupidly committed to nominating a female Justice instead of a good one. And there were other bad nominations including Mr. Justice Suter, nominated by President George H.W. Bush and Mr. Justice Roberts, nominated by President George W. Bush.

We have finally learned our lesson and Republican members of the U.S. Senate have expressed their solidarity by pledging not to confirm the nomination by President Barack Obama of Mr. Justice Scalia’s successor.

That is today.

But the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate has buckled under pressure in the past and is highly likely to do so again. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is a very weak reed on which to base our defense of limited government and it will be interesting to see where and when his resolve begins to crumble.

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