Commentary: Judicial branch has been under GOP assault for years


The Republicans have a history of attacks on the Constitution.

One of the three legs that support our democracy, the judiciary is the branch dependent upon the others to enforce its rulings. Federal judges are intended to be insulated from public opinion and not subject to political pressures. The judicial branch has been under assault by Republicans for years. Their flagrant behavior is nothing new, just attracting more attention now because their current presidential nominee is outspoken about wanting to get his way in a trial affecting his sham university. For the last eight years, we have seen the Republicans do everything in their power to raise their own agenda at the expense of the rest of the country, by unabashedly opposing every initiative that the President has proposed. For years we have heard talk about activist judges and strictly reading the Constitution, mainly when there is a ruling they disapprove.

The Republican nominee has made a direct assault on a standing, respected federal judge. Many Republicans are protesting Trump’s words about a judge presiding in a case against his fake university, where he accuses the judge of being biased because Trump wants to build a wall to keep immigrants from crossing the U.S. southern border. The judge, a native Hoosier, has Mexican roots. Perhaps this is just a ploy to influence the case, or maybe he fears what may be uncovered during the trial, but this is a shocking attack against the system of laws in this country.

We have Senate Republicans who are currently denying the president’s constitutional right to nominate Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy under the fallacy that Obama is too far along in his term to nominate a replacement. Clearly a partisan move, but they cloak it under the banner of wanting the people’s voice to be heard, despite the fact that the popular votes for the last two presidential elections leave no doubt about the people’s choice of leadership.

There is a backlog of federal, district and circuit courts judgeships left unfilled because Republicans refuse to approve them. These judges are nominated by the Obama administration and other lawmakers, and must be approved by the Senate. If fulfilling their constitutional duty by doing their jobs was a priority for the Senate Republicans, we would not have the polarization and politicization of the judiciary that we now have and less of a logjam in the federal courts. Instead of performing the responsibilities outlined in the Constitution, which the Republicans claim to revere, they favor their political will over these responsibilities. To demonstrate their affection, the House Republicans even read the Constitution at the beginning of the 112th Congress in 2012, an idea from Mr. Goodlatte, our own representative. He stated that it was a good idea to remind everyone about the expansion of the federal government, but should have reminded his party of their duties. It is a useful document, when you can use it to support your views.

Don’t forget the Supreme Court decisions that the Republicans did not protest. They were happy to receive the presidency when the court awarded the victory to Bush. No Republican protested when the Supreme Court legalized political bribery by allowing the Citizens United decision to open the floodgates and allow money to flow into the political process. We now have institutionalized bribery as a result of this decision.

If Trump is blatant about race, what does that say about the Republicans and their denial of anything Obama proposes? While Republicans cluck about Trump’s statements, they are guilty of their own form of racism and deceit. Rather than reflect the popular will, they pretend that their preferences carry more weight that the wishes of the citizenry.

Although Republicans persecuted Bill Clinton when he was president, the degree of hate and propaganda have hit a fever pitch under the current president. Is it just a coincidence that their hate has hit a fever pitch since we have the first black president?

After all, isn’t this is the same party that brought us McCarthy and the Red Scare, Nixon’s secret plan to end the Vietnam War, denial of science, promotion of hot-button social issues, the Wall Street debacle, and the destabilization of the Middle East with the never-ending war in Iraq? Are they now upset that Trump may expose their agenda against the judicial branch by being too honest about his intentions?

Steve Foreman is a Front Royal resident.