The Supreme Court's decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case must serve as a reminder of how much our constitutional liberties are at stake in this year’s elections to the United States Senate. Democrats need a gain of only two seats to have the ability to block every constitutional conservative nominated by President Trump. That would allow them to preserve a Federal judiciary now dominated by the appointees of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
The most ominous aspect of the Masterpiece decision is that it showed a court that could not reach a conclusion on whether to protect religious liberty. Therefore, the decision was made in such a way that it provided very little in the way of a precedent for the future. Jack Phillips has won (at least for the time being), but other Christians may still be subjected to punishment if they refuse to participate in immoral activities.
If the next Supreme Court vacancy is held open until a Democratic president can make the appointment, we risk seeing even previous religious victories such as Hobby Lobby being overturned.
But it is far more than religious liberty that is at stake.
Several Federal Appeals Courts have upheld state laws banning rifles commonly used for hunting and self-defense on the false basis that they are military-style “assault weapons”. The Supreme Court has not yet heard any of these cases. If the Court allows such laws to stand, then Heller’s strong upholding of Second Amendment rights can be whittled away until very little is left.
The Supreme Court in recent years has been encouragingly supportive of our First Amendment right to freedom of speech, especially political speech. However, Hillary Clinton was very explicit in saying she would appoint justices who would roll back freedom of speech, and that position has become a litmus test for Democratic candidates. Most have gone so far as to say they want to amend the Constitution so as to restrict political speech.
Trump’s executive order limiting entry of foreigners from nations with unusually large numbers of terrorists is before the Supreme Court right now. It is entirely possible that a 5-4 majority may strike it down on the obviously false grounds that it constitutes a “Muslim ban.”
The Court has never ruled on whether President Obama had the constitutional power to ignore immigration laws by allowing illegal aliens to remain and even giving them formal authorization to take jobs away from Americans. The next Democratic president can be expected to resume Obama’s policies unless the Supreme Court stops him.
“Ending mass incarceration” (i.e. releasing criminals from prison) has become the Democratic mantra. A Supreme Court controlled by Democrats might well bypass Congress and find some new “right” that opens the prison doors.
President Trump has acted vigorously to roll back the Obama-era regulations, especially those aimed at crippling the energy industry. However, the lower Federal courts are already throwing roadblocks in his way. If Trump cannot fill the courts with constitutional conservatives, Obama will end up as the winner.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer says he is optimistic about having a majority next year, and wants Democrats to campaign on the issue of being a “check” on Trump – in other words, blocking everything Trumps wants to do, especially appointing Federal judges.
Democrats need to gain only two Senate seats to put Schumer in charge, and polling shows they have good opportunities in at least Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee. They also hope to have a chance at seats in Texas and Mississippi.
Yet there is nothing inevitable about Democrats taking over the Senate. If fact, Republicans could increase their majority if they take advantage of chances in at least half a dozen states. A larger majority would all but guarantee that Trump can continue to remake the Federal courts by appointing constitutional conservatives.
That is one of FedUp PAC’s major goals for 2018. We must help give President Trump a Senate majority that will empower him for the remaining two years of his first term.
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