Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday Morning Hangover From "Justice Sunday"

It's the day after Majority Leader Bill Frist's attempted coup d'état on religious freedom and separation of Church and State. I wonder if he is having any hangover type second thoughts. Like anyone who makes a complete ass of himself one day and wakes up feeling quite queasy about the recollections of his absurdities of the day before.

Dr. Frist, you won't be able to find a hangover remedy for the unpleasant physical effects you are feeling today because of your heavy usage of presumption yesterday... ThinkingBlue


Radical Right Schemes to Control Judges

The Senate has already
confirmed more than 200 of President Bush's judicial picks. The battle is
heating up, however, over a handful of the most radical, most extreme
nominations. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, looking for political
gain, has decided on a strategy to push these nominations through: Smudge
the line between church and state, twist the issue by playing the
religious card and use "piety
for profit
." Radical right-wing evangelical leaders, in the
meantime, are using Sen. Frist right back to

push their agenda
to bypass the federal
system of checks and balances to exert more ideological control over
judges. (Want to know more about the judicial battles? On Monday, American
Progress is hosting an event to

discuss the role of the filibuster
protecting minority rights and providing an effective counterweight to
presidential power, featuring: Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), Prof. Michael
Gerhardt (William & Mary School of Law), and Norman Ornstein (American
Enterprise Institute), with moderator John Podesta.

RIGHT-WING RADICALS, CAUGHT ON TAPE: This past March, two radical right-wing
evangelical leaders – Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and
James Dobson of Focus on the Family – met privately with supporters at a
conference in Washington. The Los Angeles Times obtained an explosive
audio recording of that meeting in which the two leaders laid out their
strategy to stack the courts, bypass the Constitution and destroy the
system of checks and balances in the federal government. As Perkins said,
"There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to

take a black robe off the bench
Their idea? Perkins and Dobson want to skip the constitutional process of
impeachment and remove judges who don't toe their ultra-right partisan
line using a back door method: stripping funding from their courts to
hamstring their work until they are forced out. Dobson spelled it out,
saying, "Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply
disenfranchise a court. They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or
go through battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit
doesn't exist anymore and it's gone."

RIGHT-WING OBSTRUCTION: Perkins agreed cutting off funding is a great way to
turn judges into puppets,
saying instead of going through the deliberative process of impeachment,
"just take away the bench, all of his staff, and
he's just sitting out there with nothing to do."
(Unless it's a judge who can work without a staff, of course. No wonder
Tom DeLay finds it so
"outrageous" that Justice Kennedy does
his own research on the Internet.)

DELAY ON BOARD: The plan the radical right-wing evangelical leaders are
hatching isn't falling on deaf ears. Just after this session, House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay showed he was on board, warning ominously,

"We set up the courts. We can unset the
courts. We have the power of the purse."

FIRST THE COURTS, THEN THE CONGRESS: Luckily, many conservatives in
Congress aren't so willing to go along with the plot. Perkins and Dobson
went on the attack, accusing many of them of being "squishy" or "weak."
Specifically targeted were: Sens. Olympia Snow (R-ME), Susan Collins
(R-ME), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Chuck Hagel
(R-NE). Perkins and Dobson groused that Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and
George Allen (R-VA) needed pushing, too. Dobson obviously felt he wasn't
getting the influence he was paying for, ominously saying,
"Sometimes it's just amazing to me that they seem to forget how they got here."

FRIST HIJACKS FAITH: Frist is scheduled to appear in a telecast Sunday
(sponsored by the far-right Family Research Council), beaming his
accusation that opponents of President Bush's judicial nominees are
"against people of faith" into churches and homes across
the country. Melissa Rogers, a visiting professor of religion and public
policy at Wake Forest University Divinity School charges, "Dr. Frist is
wrong to seek political advantage through this event, and

his error is compounded by his tacit approval of
these illegitimate claims
of persecution and the smearing of
others as 'anti-religious' simply because they differ on certain political
and legal issues." His fellow senators also disagree with his
participation: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) told CNN, "When we talk religion
and government, neither should become an instrument for the other.

And I see drifting here in different directions that
are, I don't think, healthy for our country.
" Sen. Lindsey
Graham (R-SC) concurred, calling Frist's planned speech "
very dangerous precedent.
That goes to a level where the Senate
has never gone before. It is a very unhealthy turn of events." But, as the
St. Petersburg Times wrote:

Frist Shows No Shame


Many true religious leaders are offended at Frist's
attempt to score political points by hijacking faith. The National Council
of Churches has criticized his participation in the so-called "Justice
Sunday" telecast; so has the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Even the top official of the Presbyterian Church USA (of which Frist is an
"active member"), Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, has come out against Frist's
manipulation of religion, saying, "Elected officials should not be
portraying public policies as being for or against people of faith."

A SPECTER OF REASON: Sen. Arlen Specter stood up yesterday to urge his
colleagues not to make a grievous mistake by invoking the nuclear option.
The senator appealed to his fellow party members to "vote their
consciences independent of party dictation." He also warned of the dire
consequences of their actions, saying:

"If we fail, then I fear this Senate will descend
the staircase of political gamesmanship and division."

FORCING A FILIBUSTER: Specter's appeal aside, the right wing of the Senate
is edging closer to activating the nuclear option by possibly forcing a
filibuster. It could happen sooner rather than later, as two of President
Bush's most extremist, radical nominees just cleared committee: Judges
Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. Owen has a long record of
extremist decisions and, as then-Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto
Gonzales put it,

unconscionable acts "of judicial activism
Brown, who was characterized by the New York Times as waging a "
on mainstream legal values that most Americans hold dear
," also
has a record of ideological extremism.
For example, she
characterized seniors on Social Security as people who

"blithely cannibalize their grandchildren

As Sen. Dianne Feinstein put it, "In my days on this committee, I have never seen
a nominee who expresses such extreme views, views that are clearly out of
the mainstream of American thought." (For more on Brown,

check out this from ThinkProgress


Dems Note 'Most Outrageous Things
Conservatives Said' on Justice Sunday

( - Sen. Bill Frist should "stop dividing Americans along
religious lines" and "stop trying to do away with the filibuster as we
know it," Democrats said on Monday, one day after Frist addressed
conservatives about the Democrats' unprecedented filibuster of judicial

In a Monday-morning message to supporters, the
Democratic Senatorial
Campaign Committee
singled out "some of the most outrageous things"
conservatives said at a Justice Sunday event, which was beamed to churches
around the nation.

The DSCC said
the following quotations "show you how out of the mainstream these people

"The majority on the Supreme Court are unelected,
unaccountable, arrogant, imperious, want to redesign culture according to
their own biases, are out of control, and I think they need to be reigned
in...I agree with Majority Leader Tom DeLay." --
Dr. James
Dobson, Founder and Chairman, Focus on the Family

"Judges find in the Constitution what's not there." --
Albert Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
On the other hand, Democrats said they were pleased to hear Frist, in
his videotaped remarks to the Justice Sunday event, "repudiate" comments
about retaliating against federal judges.

Democrats have blasted Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Sen. John Cornyn
(R-Tex.) for some of their statements on judges.

The day after Terri Schiavo died, Rep. DeLay made waves by saying
"the time will come" when the judges "responsible for this" would
have to "answer for their behavior."
assassins out there interested)

DeLay later denied accusations that he was making a veiled threat
against judges.

And Sen. Cornyn raised concerns that "recent episodes of
courthouse violence in this country" may be linked to frustration over
activist judges. Cornyn later clarified that he was not trying to justify
courthouse violence, as his critics claimed; he said he was making the
point that "the judiciary is losing the respect it needs to serve the
interests of the American people."
(calling all evangelical, anti-pro-choice, gun slingers)

In its Monday-morning message, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign
Committee thanked the 25,000 people who
DSCC said the Associated Press took note of the
opposition in its reporting on Sen. Frist's Justice Sunday speech.

"We cannot let up now," the
said. "Just because Frist chose his words a little
carefully last night doesn't mean that he's not still planning to bring
forward the nuclear option in the next few weeks."

The message tells Democrats to "be ready" for the next phase of the
campaign to retain "200 years of Senate tradition."

A vote on changing Senate rules -- to get around Democrat filibusters
of judicial nominees -- could come this week.

DSCC races to watch


Conservatives Launch, Liberals Assail Justice Sunday

Christian liberal faced off against Christian conservative on Sunday
evening with thousands rallying on either side for and against
judicial filibusters at the Senate.

Monday, Apr. 25, 2005 Posted: 6:15:45AM EST
Christian liberal faced off against Christian conservative on Sunday evening with thousands rallying on either side for and against judicial filibusters at the Senate.

Some 2,000 conservative Christians packed into the Highview Baptist
Church in Louisville Ky. for the highly-anticipated “Justice Sunday:
Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith” event – a nationwide
television simulcast hosted by the Federal Research Council and Focus
on the Family.

While hundreds of liberal Christians protested the broadcast outside
the church and across the nation, conservatives inside applauded the
evangelical heavyweights who mounted an attack against the
democrat-led judicial filibusters on President Bush’s nominees.

The telecast, which made its way into 61 million households in 44
states via Christian radio, television and Internet, drew heavy
criticism from liberal Christians and democrats because of its
endorsement by Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and its
implication that “people of faith” should counter filibusters with by
banning the practice.

According to the New York Times, liberal groups “stepped up their
attacks on Dr. Frist and the proposed rule change” that same evening.
Before a crowd of nearly 1,200 at a nearby Presbyterian church,
liberal Christians that same evening called Justice Sunday “a
declaration of a religious war” and “an attempt to hijack religion”

In light rising tensions and controversies, Perkins began the Justice
Sunday telecast by declaring on the outset: “We are not saying that
people who disagree with us are not people of faith."

Perkins told the audience that minority Democrats were forcing members
of the judiciary to choose between public service and their Christian
views by denying them a vote.

Sen. Frist meanwhile delivered a six-minute taped speech that made no
reference to faith but called on the Senate to let the stalled
nominees receive a vote.

"Emotions are running high on both sides, and it reveals once again
our country's desperate need for more civility in political life," he
said in his taped message,” he said in his message. “I don't think
it's radical to ask senators to vote."

Along the same line of argument, James Dobson, chairman of Focus on
the Family and one of the nation’s most influential evangelicals,
criticized the majority of the Supreme Court for being “unelected and
unaccountable and arrogant and imperious and determined to redesign
the culture according to their own biases and values, and they're out
of control."

Dobson, speaking from the pulpit, said the majority of the high court
does not care about the sanctity of life, and that the matter of
judicial tyranny had to stop.

Meanwhile, throughout the telecasted program, the names and phone
numbers of several senators scrolled across the screen as speakers
urged viewers to call.

Other speakers at the event included Dr. Albert Mohler, President of
the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
and Chuck Colson, President
of Prison Fellowship Ministries

For more information on Justice Sunday and the FRC, visit:

Anthony Le Fleur

Post Contributor


Frist sacrifices his integrity for the umpteenth time

Posted by


on April 24, 2005
11:47 PM (See

all posts by Leoniceno

Filed under:


In Frist's speech at Dobson's function:

Now if Senator Reid continues to obstruct the process, we will
consider what opponents call the “nuclear option.” Only in the United
States Senate could it be considered a devastating option to allow a
vote. Most places call that democracy.

The phrase was coined by Republicans, who were probably grinning and
cackling maniacally at the time. Now they're taking it back: "Just
kidding, it won't be that bad. Certainly not nuclear. It's just democracy,

I'm annoyed with Frist for a number of reasons.

1) He's speaking at an event hosted by James Dobson, of Focus on the
Family. I've expressed my opinion on Dobson on this blog in the past. Just
in case you were wondering what a 'good Christian' should think, here's
Dobson's convenient webpage,
which lays out exactly what Focus on the Family would like you to think.
See, if you follow this page, you never need to think for yourself again
for the rest of your life!

2)He's lying and he knows he's lying. He also lied and knew he was
lying when he made his video diagnosis of Terri Schiavo. He's lying now
because the Republicans coined the phrase and he knows it. Frist is more
than willing to mislead the ignorant masses, and those that have
sacrificed their power of thought to the religious right.

I expect leaders to act based upon their own knowledge of what is right
and wrong, not based on what they can get away with, and what they can
write off.

High-Tech Lynching in Prime Time


Tears fall for freedom of religion lost.

this is a Proud Liberal Site
Vote for me in


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