One step closer to theocracy: The “Constitution Restoration Act of 2005.”

Remember awhile back when I mentioned plans to introduce a bill that would effectively bar SCOTUS from ruling on issues of Church and State? Well it looks like Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama (big surprise, eh?) has introduced bill S.520 called the Constitution Restoration Act of 2005 which reads as follows:

Constitution Restoration Act of 2005 – Amends the Federal judicial code to prohibit the U.S. Supreme Court and the Federal district courts from exercising jurisdiction over any matter in which relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government or an officer or agent of such government concerning that entity’s, officer’s, or agent’s acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.

Prohibits a court of the United States from relying upon any law, policy, or other action of a foreign state or international organization in interpreting and applying the Constitution, other than English constitutional and common law up to the time of adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

Provides that any Federal court decision relating to an issue removed from Federal jurisdiction by this Act is not binding precedent on State courts.

Provides that any Supreme Court justice or Federal court judge who exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of this Act shall be deemed to have committed an offense for which the justice or judge may be removed, and to have violated the standard of good behavior required of Article III judges by the Constitution.

The bill is pretty much identical to H.R.1070 introduced by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, also from AL, back on March 3rd. This bill appears to basically allow each state to determine for itself what is and isn’t a violation of the Establishment Clause and prohibits the Federal and Supreme Court from weighing in on the issue. Whether it would stand up as constitutional in its own right is questionable, but the fact that it’s been introduced at all is alarming. This doesn’t restore the Constitution, it undermines one of the most important aspects of the Bill of Rights and sets us back 200 years in the process.

24 thoughts on “One step closer to theocracy: The “Constitution Restoration Act of 2005.”

  1. You know, I always thought Lovecraft wrote the scariest stuff, that no one would ever be able to surpass him. I think Sen. Shelby should be encouraged to resign from his position and pursue a career in writing horror stories. It’s obviously his lifelong passion.

  2. A while back I was taken to task to referring to our very own homegrown zealots as ‘American Taliban’ as if my comment was awful to the extreme. Ladies and gentlemen, I do not go far enough when I accuse the neo-fascist christian branch of the religion of being as bad if not worse than the terrorists that we face in foreign lands. They are here. No need for sleeper cells because we grew up with them, are related to them, possibly partied with and dated them.

    When you are running through the cornfield trying to escape the morality enforcement squads and their dogs, remember the crank on this blog who said that we are heading into a new bloody civil war in this country. And don’t kid yourself… this one will be about slavery too.

  3. Amazing. It’s taken less than one week for my dislike of the far-right to become full-blown utter contempt.

  4. Honestly I wouldn’t mind if someone drafted a bill to grant the government the right to actively watch the churches to revoke the tax exempt status of those not adhering to those applicable laws.  That would be fun watching the news as nearly every church in the south has to close its doors because stupid preachers don’t know the limits of their free speech.  In a funny sense you all need more Christians with my particular political apathy to encourage the rest to leave things alone.  Admit it you aren’t going to win this fight through debate or any peaceful intelligent means.  You need insiders. tongue wink

  5. In a funny sense you all need more Christians with my particular political apathy to encourage the rest to leave things alone.

    Sounds like a plan, Fran.

  6. Sign of the times and writings on the wall. They show me, it’s time has come. Order of a new kind, we will all find stronger than never before.

    Things are pretty much the same like in year ‘38. Oh won’t we ever learn. This time it’s gonna be different. So let’s all join our hands and let the children sing, for the last time.

    4th Reich is rising, Can’t you see the signs?
    4th Reich is rising, For the last time.

    Let’s just press more money, don’t worry about inflation. We got to have more weapons to carry on. Unemployement and sorrow, cannot be avoided at this point. But things will be so different, when they are ruling the world…

    Ohh, that’s about the Nazies rising to power… But what’s the difference?
    If that sounded familiar to someone:
    http://www.stratovarius.com/index2.php?section=lyrics&id=19&album=1

    US borned from people who wanted to be free… to practise religion without others intervening, to live without political/religious tyrants saying what to do and think.
    So I guess this could be just called as “closing the circle”.

    Maybe its this why US citizens in general don’t know (/weren’t taught) about geography and world history… someone might notice quite many similarities to certain events of history!
    Although I wouldn’t be sure about that, average IQ of mankind seems to be lower than room temperature… in degrees of Celsius.

    If Darwin knew how “intelligent” this result of evolution is he would be spinning in his grave faster than turbocharger.

  7. If you think this bill has any chance of passage, then just pick up a copy of a nation-wide newspaper and take some time to read all the dirt being trolled up on Delay.  It’s sooooo very much related.

    Theocracy arriving?—- Don’t be so silly.

    Half the problem with the American Left (both the “Consumerist Left” and the “Real Left”) is that it hypes this very type of reactionary sentiment against such implausible bills, disregarding political reality.

    This bill, and their defense of it, is the rope the Radical Religious Republicans need to hang themselves before the 2006 Election.

    Be not afraid, but rejoice.

  8. Rob,

    Perhaps it’s not so much the chance that the bill will see codification, but that they’re actually CONSIDERING it.

    It’ a scary thought that a judge somewhere could mete out a sentence like say…stoning and the prisoner, his lawyer, or his family couldn’t go to federal court as the judge has invoked god as the lawgiver responsible for this punishment.

  9. Rob I didn’t think the Congress would be so stupid as to try and pass “Terri’s Law” either and you can see how wrong I was about that. The rammed that one through so damn fast it made my head spin and the President made a special trip back to Washington just to sign that one bit of legislation.

    So, yeah, there was a time I’d have laughed with you at the thought of something like this bill standing a chance in Congress, but not anymore.

  10. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . .

    SCOTUS would have to strike this one down, ummm, who’s packing SCOTUS?  wink

  11. Before everyone starts taking off their Birkenstocks and slamming them against their SUV’s in protest of the impending theocracy, consider the following elements of Congressional *reality* . . .

    1) This bill was brewed up by less-than-powerfull members of Congress. Sometimes small factions within the legislature produce “ideological bills” designed to facilitate this or that campaign in their particular region, or more to the point, their region’s specific demographic (e.g., Ultra-Right Christian).  Could it be that this bill (which has less sponsors than the last) was merely created for political campaign purposes—and the sponsors knowingly understand it lacks any chance of passage?

    2) Albeit, the TSchiavo bill did pass, yes, under the the now rapidly deteroiating leadership of Delay.  But, more importantly—-> WAS IT ENFORCED ?

    Congress could just as easily pass a law mandating that all infants be barcoded at birth (not a bad idea, actually wink, but enforcement is another matter entirely.  Enter the Judicial Branch, or even Executive—never mind the police, or the masses themselves.

    I love how people, on both the Consumerist Left and Radical Religious Right make out that Congress or the Executive or the Judicial branches have reached some new historic low.  Yet, we’ve been here before, and each time our Constitution, and it’s participants, have always pulled-through—and saved our democracy from the contemporary, albeit paper, tigers of the day.

    I, too, would be concerned about an impending theocracy, if:

    1) American society largely supported such silliness
    2) America was a 1 Party State

    We’s just not there folks.  So…
    Fight and shout and protest and work against those issues that stand a chance of passage. Congressionally imposed theocracy sure ain’t one of them.

  12. I will shout from the mountaintops my personal distain for such radical legislation. How dare the polititians try to supplant the wisdom of the founding fathers with thier own near-sighted radical agenda. Personally, I’ll take the wisdom of Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, and thier ilk over the machinations of a former extermintor from Texas!

  13. You can try to deny whatever you wish, but having a “majority” of our Senators & Congressmen AND the fucking President along with most of his staff a bunch of Bible thumping Fundies IS a BIG threat.

    What was the vote BTW in the Senate on taking “Under God” OUT of the Pledge?

    A phrase added to it illegally just 50 years ago and is clearly Unconstitutional without any doubt whatsoever, yet the vote in the Senate was, *drum roll please*
    99-ZERO!
    Then recited it on the steps of the Senate building shouting “UNDER GOD!!” as loud as they possibly could in their most Fundy voice with the veins popping out of their necks, then proceeded to their “morning prayer”

    What fucking planet do you live on there Rob?

    One im on has a bunch O insane Fundies obviously taking over the government, on my planet we have a Fundy president that talks to his little invisible friend & is doing everything possible to breach the wall between church & state forcing religious bills through with executive orders, the vast majority of the Senate are Religious Reich zealots, large percentage of Congress are Religious fanatics, up until recently had way over the top Fundy lunatic as Attorney General that anointed himself with fucking Crisco and thought calico cats were Demons. DOH!

    Well sure am glad your planet isn’t on the edge of theocratic rule, but there is no mistaking that this one is.

    Here are just a few of bills currently trying to be passed by these lunatics any ONE of which could be disastrous if passed.

    There are a number of bills currently in the House which reflect the Christian Reconstructionist agenda. These include bills to weaken the judicial branch and protect “religious freedoms”:

    H.R.3920 – Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004 – To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court.

    H.R.3190 – Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties Act – Declares that among those powers reserved to the States and their political subdivisions are the powers to display the Ten Commandments, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and to recite the national motto on or within property owned or administered by them.

    Declares that: (1) the Pledge of Allegiance shall be, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and justice for all.”; and (2) the national motto shall be, “In God we trust.”

    Excepts from the jurisdiction of Federal courts inferior to the Supreme Court the display of the Ten Commandments and the use of the word “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

    H.R.3799 – Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 – Amends the Federal judicial code to prohibit the U.S. Supreme Court and the Federal district courts from exercising jurisdiction over any matter in which relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government or officer of such government by reason of that element’s or officer’s acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.

    Prohibits a court of the United States from relying upon any law, policy, or other action of a foreign state or international organization in interpreting and applying the Constitution, other than the constitutional law and English common law.

    Provides that any Federal court decision relating to an issue removed from Federal jurisdiction by this Act is not binding precedent on State courts.

    Provides that any Supreme Court justice or Federal court judge who exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of this Act shall be deemed to have committed an offense for which the justice or judge may be removed, and to have violated the standard of good behavior required of Article III judges by the Constitution.

    H.RES.446 – Constitutional Preservation Resolution – Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the Supreme Court should base its decisions on the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and not on the law of any foreign country or international law or agreement not made under the authority of the United States.

    H.RES.468 – Expresses disapproval of the Supreme Court’s consideration of foreign laws and opinions in its decisions. Advises the Justices not to incorporate foreign laws or opinions in future decisions and not to incorporate public opinion when performing their duty to uphold the Constitution. Urges all Justices to base their opinions solely on the merits under the Constitution.

    H.RES.568 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Judicial determinations regarding the meaning of the laws of the United States should not be based on judgments, laws, or pronouncements of foreign institutions unless such foreign judgments, laws, or pronouncements inform an understanding of the original meaning of the laws of the United States.

    H.R.2028 – Pledge Protection Act of 2003 – Amends the Federal judicial code to deny jurisdiction to any court established by Act of Congress to hear or determine any claim that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance violates the first amendment of the Constitution.

    H.R.3313 – Marriage Protection Act of 2003 – Amends the Federal judicial code to deny Federal courts jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act or the Federal statute defining marriage.

    H.R. 3893 – We the People Act – To limit the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, and for other purposes.

    And IF they get their wish of replacing at least 2 SCOTUS justices with Fundy nutjobs then the sky is the limit on the damage they can deal out carte blanche for decades.

    Dont think so?  Then wake the fuck up.

    This bullshit is permeating our society at all levels where religious zealots are forcing their lunatic beliefs on everyone whether they like it or not, Oh that’s against the law you say Rob?  well not when they keep changing the fucking laws in favor of their insanity.

    How about this one in AZ.
    http://airamericaradio.com/layout.asp?baseurl=MikeMalloyShow/4-7-05/MikeMalloy.wma

    What did Congress & Dubya Christ just get through trying to do with the Terri Schiavo fiasco?  did not succeed solely because of a good Judge, so what are they trying to do? Get rid of the Judge of course. This BTW is the problem, they have the power to do just that if not stopped on a continuous basis, & they are relentless.
    So you think the Democrats which are being denied access to meetings and the 1-2 moderate Repub. are infallible? wont make any mistakes? These lunatic Religious Reich Unconstitutional bills are being put up for vote every month, no chance of even ONE of them passing?  Get a grip.

    http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/TheDespoilingOfAmerica.htm

    Especially when shit like this goes on.

    The discussion with Rep. Smith came after Congress voted to defeat the Medicare bill but before the roll call vote was closed. Following the apparent defeat of the bill, the Speaker pro tempore, Doc Hastings, resorted to keeping the vote open, which gave faction members time to target certain congressmen. The aggressive assault on representatives occurred during this period—in the middle of the night to the early hours of the morning. Mr. Bush, we are told, stayed up during the night to make phone calls to wayward congressmen. Let’s understand that House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert with the help of other members of his faction, used the questionable ploy of extending the period of the roll call vote for over three hours to create what can only be described as a “coercive opportunity to intimidate

  14. Rob:

    I love how people, on both the Consumerist Left and Radical Religious Right make out that Congress or the Executive or the Judicial branches have reached some new historic low.  Yet, we’ve been here before, and each time our Constitution, and it’s participants, have always pulled-through—and saved our democracy from the contemporary, albeit paper, tigers of the day.

    Agreed.  Also liked the Birkenstocks line. smile

  15. Yeah,

    Lets fight all these rightwing nut jobs that want to stop things like sodomy, bestiality, pedophilia, polygamy.

  16. Lets fight all these rightwing nut jobs that want to stop things like sodomy, bestiality, pedophilia, polygamy.

    Sodomy and polygamy are in the set of activities that can be practiced by consenting adults.  Not so with bestiality and pedophilia.

  17. DecrepitOldFool, you beat me to it!  I was just about to say the same thing.  grin

    ===

    Additionally:  the Bible says sodomy is wrong (not sure what its views on polygamy are).  Not everyone is a Christian, and not every religion says that sodomy is wrong.  Therefore, any law using the Bible as a basis for a law is showing favoritism towards Christianity, and is therefore unconstitutional.  State laws that say heterosexual sodomy is okay but not homosexual sodomy are not only unconstitutional, but discriminatory too. 

    “Ah, but the Bible also says theft is wrong!  Are you saying laws against theft are unconstitutional?”

    Theft doesn’t occur between two consenting adults. 

    —Joe

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