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Above The Law

Exclusive commentary by Greg Lewis /
November 11, 2003

Since the early part of the 20th century, leftists have seen themselves as being above the law. A clandestine meeting of the Communist Party of America held in Bridgman, Michigan, in mid-August, 1922, was a defining event for the left in America. In a written report that was among thousands of documents seized during a government raid on that meeting, it was explicitly stated that the "Communist party in its revolutionary outlook does in no country feel itself bound by the existing laws." This resulted at the time in the formation of "legal" and "illegal" branches of the Communist Party. The "illegal" branch was recognized to have ultimate decision-making power and was charged with directing the so-called "legal" branch, whose purpose was to give the party a public presence acceptable to Americans while also serving as a blind for the party's true (read "illegal") agenda.

Well, the Democrats are carrying on the tradition of the illegal branch of the Communist Party very well, thank you. From the cowardly way in which Dems in the Texas state legislature fled with their tails between their legs across the Texas-Oklahoma border in order to illegally (although Texas Republicans aren't pursuing a strategy of prosecuting them) thwart a vote on redistricting, to the Chuck-Schumer led illegal filibusters of President Bush's legislative program and his judicial appointees, Democrats are defining themselves as Marxist to the core, and they're using the time-honored Marxist tactic of subverting the laws of our country to do it.

The Democrats' filibustering of Bush's nominations of federal judges goes to the heart of their seeing themselves as above the law. It works in a similar way to the concept of the judiciary envisioned by William Z. Foster in his chilling 1932 book, Toward Soviet America. Foster was a committed communist, a labor leader who founded and ran an organization called the Trade Union Educational League and became National Chairman of the Communist Party of America. In his book, Foster lays out a vision of what America would be like under communist rule. His description of an American Soviet judiciary is particularly telling: The legal system, as Foster envisioned it, would "be free of the pest of lawyers." The purpose of the court system would be to come to "speedy" and "correct" decisions, decisions which reflected the fact that they were handed down by "class-courts, definitely warring against the class enemies of the toilers." In other words, the American Soviet legal system would be a tool for the imposition of Communist principles on the American people. Such a court system would be at the service of the Communist political agenda; it would eschew entirely any attempt at impartial justice.

It sounds, actually, a good deal like what the federal court system has become in the hands of liberal activist judges today: a sytem which exists for the purpose of promoting a political agenda at the expense of interpreting the law and ensuring that justice is done. At the forefront in the fight to preserve an activist liberal federal court system is New York Senator Chuck Schumer. He has spewed some of most vitriolic lies and perpetrated nothing less than character assassination against several Bush appointees. Even people such as Al Sharpton (at least until his regrettable waffling on this issue) who would be expected to parrot the party line, especially on this point, are breaking ranks and demanding that the nominations of eminently qualified people such as Charles Pickering, Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, and, most recently, Sandra Brown, be allowed to come to the Senate floor for an up or down vote. In a recent Village Voice commentary, even Nat Hentoff deplored the Democrat tactics, and a Wall Street Journal op ed piece coined the term "Schumerism" to describe the regrettable extra-legal methods Dems are employing to subvert the nomination process.

Democrats' actions are illegal in two ways. First, the filibuster that Schumer and other Democrats are leading is arguably illegal under Senate rules of debate. But second, and perhaps even more important, legislation from the bench, as it is currently practiced by many liberal activist judges, bypasses the legislative process altogether, in effect becoming a system where, as in Foster's Toward Soviet America, the judicial system exists for the purpose of arriving at "correct" decisions. Criteria for selecting federal judges have since the early days of our republic focused on nominees' personal qualities, including judicial temperament and willingness to uphold the constitution. Democrats, with Schumer leading the charge, have polticized the process immeasurably. Now the litmus test for a judge has become how well he or she will uphold the "laws" that have come into effect because of the decisions of liberal activist judges, with abortion law being the centerpiece. Any appointee is a candidate for filibuster if there is the slightest question whether he or she will find in favor of the leftist agenda Democrats promote. That encompasses almost anyone President Bush might nominate.

The Democrats' greatest fear seems to be that Republicans will use federal judgeships in the same way they themselves do; that is, to promote a political agenda rather than uphold the U.S. Constitution. Those fears center, in other words, on Republicans' having no more sense of right and wrong, of legality and illegality, than Democrats do. What this translates to, in the final analysis, is that Democrats fear a judicial system in which the laws of the land will actually be upheld and in which their own illegal manipulation of the Constitution and the rules of the Senate will not be allowed to continue.

It's not yet time to outlaw the Democratic Party, as the Alien and Sedition Acts did the Communist Party earlier in the last century. It's probably better to have the Dems out in the open where we can better tell what they're up to. That they're up to contravening the laws of this country is clear. Their desperate clinging to the diminishing power they have left all but demands they go outside the law, since there's no way they can get their agenda approved legally. Americans have too much good sense for that.

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