When the two political arms of government — the executive and legislative branches — start taking the ship of state into dangerous waters, it's up to the judicial branch to set it back on its proper course.
But President Joe Biden is working overtime to make the federal court system just as politically toxic as Congress and the White House.
The Washington Times reported that as of Christmas Eve, the Biden White House had nominated 73 individuals to the federal bench — one more than what then-President Donald Trump had nominated within the same timeframe in 2017.
"Among them are 21 former public defenders and 16 former civil rights lawyers," The Washington Times said.
Appointing more judges to the federal court system took on an added urgency when the president's commission on the Supreme Court voted to send Biden a report taking "no position" on court-packing — and Biden abandoned any plan to pack the high court on his own.
One of Biden's latest appointees is causing special concern.
Nancy Gbana Abudu is Biden's nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which includes Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
"This is an extraordinary appointment," said Leslie Proll, senior adviser on judicial nominations for NAACP. "Nancy Abudu's nomination addresses a breathtaking gap in representation on this Southern appellate bench. Her substantial voting rights expertise will be a welcome addition to this court, which has an outsized voting rights docket and is pivotal to protecting our democracy."
But alarm bells began going off over Abudu's current position. She serves as the deputy legal director for strategic litigation at the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center.
Prior to that she was at the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, as well as the ACLU's Voting Rights Project.
What may be most troubling is her view of citizenship.
Citizenship has its privileges, chief among them the power to elect political leaders. Not according to Abudu, apparently. She believes that showing proof of citizenship in order to cast a ballot amounts to voter suppression.
"Obviously, we do a lot when it comes to voter suppression, which includes five priority areas: photo ID, proof of citizenship, restrictions we see when it comes to registration ... early voting as well as absentee voting and the restrictions we see when it comes to criminal convictions," she said in a 2011 interview, as reported by The Daly Wire. "We also do a lot with student voting."
Chief Justice John Roberts emphasized the importance of maintaining the independence of the federal courts from what he called "inappropriate political influence," in his year-end report he released Friday.
It came amid widespread political criticism of the Supreme Court, as well as calls to dramatically restructure it.
"Decisional independence is essential to due process, promoting impartial decision-making, free from political or other extraneous influence," said Roberts. Equally important, "The Judiciary's power to manage its internal affairs insulates courts from inappropriate political influence and is crucial to preserving public trust in its work as a separate and co-equal branch of government."
A U.S. District Court judge demonstrated the importance of the federal court system and the Constitution as a check against the excesses of raw political power Monday, when he enjoined the U.S. Navy from separating a group of Navy SEALs from the service for refusing a COVID vaccine on the basis of their strongly-held religious convictions.
"Our nation asks the men and women in our military to serve, suffer, and sacrifice. But we do not ask them to lay aside their citizenry and give up the very rights they have sworn to protect," U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in approving a preliminary injunction against the mandate as applied to the 35 service members who sued.
"Every president since the signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has praised the men and women of the military for their bravery and service in protecting the freedoms this country guarantees," O'Connor said.
"There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment [freedom of religion]. There is no military exclusion from our Constitution."
O'Connor concluded that "Punishing SEALs for simply asking for a religious accommodation is purely vindictive and punitive."
A strong judiciary, using the Constitution of the United States as its Bible, is our most effective and important check on the power of the other two branches. Accordingly, its function, especially during times of crisis, is to remind us of what the rules are, and that above all else, we have to abide by them.
The founders never intended that the Constitution should no longer apply when people get sick. Now if someone could inform the president of this, that that would be great.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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