What This Country Needs Is …
Will Rogers opined that “What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.” I would say that what our country desperately needs at this moment is a clear acknowledgement that our national motto has not degenerated into a national anachronism. Is it still “In God We Trust” or is that merely past tense – “Trusted” today?
And what shall we say of the future for our children and grandchildren not to mention the future generations of Americans yet unborn? For starters, how about contacting your congressman and senator and insist that they sign on as co-authors of the Constitution Restoration Act of 2005? Here is an explanation.
What does the Constitution Restoration Act do?
- The legislation (S520 (Shelby) and H.R. 1070 (Aderholt) uses the constitutional power of Congress to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts to protect the right of government agencies and officials and the rest of us citizens to acknowledge God.
- It provides that any judge who allows such a case to be heard in his/her court will have committed a breach of the constitutional standard of “good behavior” and will therefore be subject to impeachment or removal.
- It also bars judges from relying on foreign legal codes in deciding cases.
Why is the Act so important?
- In recent years, nuisance lawsuits have been seeking to eradicate public acknowledgements of God. These suits are both a symptom of aggressively intolerant secularism and a contributing cause in creating cultural divisiveness along religious lines.
- This divisiveness becomes sharper as judges side with the secularists instead of the Constitution. Few court decisions in history have evoked the angry public responses generated by the Ninth Circuit Newdow decision declaring the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional and the Alabama decision claiming that the Constitution requires the Ten Commandments to be kept in a closet. This is not jurisprudence aligning with our Constitution; it is ideology wrapped in black robes. Removing jurisdiction from judges who engage in such folly is no more improper than taking the car keys away from a drunk.
- By keeping these nuisance suits out of the federal court system, the Constitution Restoration Act protects the nation against the only genuine threat that currently exists of an establishment of religion – the establishment of secular atheism by unelected judges abusing their power.
- Jurisprudence regarding the Non-Establishment Clause since 1947, when the Supreme Court first attempted to apply it to the states, is littered with historical errors, inconsistencies, bizarre logical leaps and, occasionally, plain incoherence.
What types of cases would be withdrawn from federal jurisdiction under this legislation?
- The Act prohibits the federal courts from hearing any case that seeks relief against an entity, officer or agent of government by reason of an acknowledgement of God as a sovereign source of law, liberty or government.
All of the following have been the subject of nuisance litigation in recent years.
- saying the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance
- using the words “God bless you” in presenting a flag to the family of a deceased soldier
- adopting a verse of Scripture or mentioning God in an official motto, e.g. “In God we trust”
- displaying the Ten Commandments in a public building
- mentioning God in a constitution (as the constitutions of 49 states do – 47 of them in the opening words of the preamble – and as the Declaration of Independence does with references to the “Creator” and the U.S. Constitution with a reference to the “Year of Our Lord”)
- retaining the names and the symbols associated with cities, counties, and geographic features that originally had a religious significance (Los Angeles, Providence, Corpus Christi, Saint Louis)
- The Act does not cover issues of prayers or religious exercises, sectarian preferences, or anything involving the expenditure of public funds.
Does this legislation violate the “Non-Establishment” clause of the Constitution?
- No, because it does not allow for the “establishment” of religion. The essence of religious “establishment” is state endorsement of a particular religion to the exclusion of all others. The acknowledgement of God is, if anything, an endorsement of religion in general, to the exclusion of none. Our nation’s charter, the Declaration of Independence, acknowledges God in four (4) different places and the Constitution itself ends by referring to the “year of our Lord….”
Does Congress have the right to remove certain cases from federal jurisdiction?
- Yes. Article III, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution establishes:“The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”
- Since the Supreme Court is the only court that has constitutional statues, and all other federal courts are the creatures of Congress, then Congress has plenary power over the jurisdiction of those inferior courts.
As for the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, Article III, Section 2 lists a small range of cases in which the Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction.“In all the other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”Therefore, except for the cases in which the Constitution specifically grants original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, Congress has complete authority to decide what cases the Supreme Court may hear.
Therefore, this bill will stop federal courts from abusing their power by censoring citizens from recognizing Almighty God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.
The first section would provide that the Supreme Court and federal district courts would “not have jurisdiction to review” a lawsuit brought against a federal, state, or local government body or officer because of an “acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government” by the government body or officer.
The second section would forbid federal courts from relying upon foreign law or foreign organizations (except for English constitutional and common law before the Constitution was ratified) when the courts are “interpreting and applying the Constitution of the United States.”
The third section provides that (a) any federal decisions relating to an issue removed by the first section of the CRA (acknowledgments of God) are not binding precedent on the state courts; and (b) that any federal justice or judge’s act that exceeds his or her jurisdiction under section I of the CRA constitutes an impeachable offense and a breach of the standard of good behavior under Article III, Section I of the Constitution.
Because the CRA contains a limit on the jurisdiction of the federal courts, not a definition of the substantive meaning of the Establishment Clause, a federal court has no power to make any substantive constitutional ruling in a case where the action challenged is, on its face, an acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty and government.
According to Section 302 of the CRA, such a court has committed an impeachable offense and has breached the constitutional standard of good behavior. While the CRA does not require the House of Representatives impeach any offending federal judge for exceeding his jurisdiction, nor does it require that the Senate convict, it leaves such action to the discretion of the House and the Senate in each individual case.
Congress has no power to limit the jurisdiction of the state courts, and that is how it should be under our constitutional federal system. But under Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the Constitution, Congress does have the power ensure that state courts do not defer to the federal courts, but only to the Constitution, as the supreme law of the land as provided for in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, under Section 301 of the CRA, the state courts would no longer be burdened by federal decisions that have held public acknowledgments of God to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution (decisions that could no longer be rendered when the CRA is enacted).
Section 201 denies to the federal courts the power to rely upon official actions of any foreign government or organization (such as Canada or the United Nations), with one exception: judges may consider “English constitutional and common law up to the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States,” from which our American common law and many of our constitutional provisions were derived. Thus, under the CRA, the ancient legal scholars and principles relied upon by the Founders in drafting the Constitution may still be considered by federal judges in interpreting the Constitution.
Check and see if you lawmaker has signed on as a co-author of the Constitution Restoration Act of 2005. Contact him/her to make respectful appeal:
House co-authors of H.R. 1070:
Further information about the Constitution Restoration Act may be found at: