An enduring lesson I’ve learned in politics is that one man cannot solely defy a corrupt system or illegal acts of usurpations. It takes a movement — or a platform of joint interests — to work together. It’s time Republicans fight back using the platform of state governments, or step aside for a movement that will do so.
In my Constitution Day essay, I boil down all of the problems with our system to two essential flaws:
Taken together, the voice of the people and republicanism are dead because the federal bureaucracy and judiciary control every aspect of people’s lives in this large and diverse country. Hence, what we have is social transformation without representation.
It is quite evident that the balance of power will not be restored to a proper equilibrium on its own without states and their elected representatives in Congress working together both to empower states and put the executive and judiciary in their respective places. Sadly, congressional Republicans have become worse than useless. State Republican parties, for the most part, are no better: They have willingly submitted to this tyranny and have even enforced the tyranny against the few brave souls in the states who are willing to defend the Constitution.
State GOP cowards let conservative heroes rot
There is no better example of this dynamic than what is happening in front of our eyes (while conservatives remain silent) with Judge Roy Moore in Alabama. Last month, Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary (COJ) — an unelected and unaccountable body — suspended Moore at the behest of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), for issuing orders to probate judges to follow Alabama state law, the original injunction of the state Supreme Court, and the U.S. Constitution with regard to issuing marriage licenses.
Although a majority of the nine-person panel (consisting of political hacks) supported removing Judge Moore, they failed to garner a unanimous vote required by law to remove a sitting chief justice. In a shockingly unprecedented move, the majority concocted a scheme to “suspend” him indefinitely without calling it a removal. This has the effect of keeping him chained to his office and subject to all the ethical requirements (e.g., he cannot practice law elsewhere), while preventing him from hearing cases or earning a salary.
This case should have never been heard by this oversight body because it did not involve corruption but a mere political question that the voters should decide.
Freeze-frame right here. The governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general are all Republicans. The party controls the state House and Senate with supermajorities, 72-33 and 26-8, respectively. The eight other judges on the supreme court are elected Republicans. So this case should never have gotten off the ground because if the Republican Party truly stood for the rule of law, for federalism, for the Constitution, and for a state’s plenary power over marriage, all of these officials would have immediately moved to protect Judge Moore.
But this is not just about Moore or the legal definition of marriage. This is about whether we are a “United States.” Are we a nation comprised of states or not? If a federal judge can — in an act of disobedience against the Constitution and in defiance of federal law, history, and tradition — redefine marriage, religious liberty, immigration law, election law, and even gender itself, then what is the purpose of having an Alabama?
Sadly, the Republican Party at the national and state levels is full of leaders who couldn’t care less about anything other than their own personal political fortunes. While the Alabama state party issued a strong statement in support of Judge Moore, most of the officials who can actually do something are out to lunch.
Rather than having a state executive who represents “Alabama values,” Gov. Robert Bentley is a little too preoccupied to care about marriage, judicial supremacy, or state sovereignty. In fact, he has his own marriage issues. Bentley is being investigated right now by the state’s House Judiciary Committee for a possible impeachment on allegationsthat he was using state funds and state-owned planes to have an affair with his assistant — a woman much younger than he and also married with young children. The governor had been married to his wife for more than 50 years before she divorced him.
What about the Attorney General, Luther Strange? He is planning to run for governor and close to the Establishment folks at the Business Council of Alabama and would never dare utter a word about this issue.
In other words, many Alabama Republicans are a lot like national Republicans a.k.a., Democrat-lite.
Thus, Judge Moore is left out to dry.
Unprecedented treatment of anyone who crosses ‘the system’
Judge Moore’s only recourse was to file an appeal with the state supreme court, the very panel to which he was elected to serve. While the eight members did the right thing and recused themselves from the case, five of the members acting under the leadership of Judge Lynn Stuart are engaging in further lawlessness.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.