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On The Federal Judiciary

WHEREAS, Some federal judges have undermined and supplanted the United States system of limited government by presuming to write and impose new laws upon America’s citizenry rather than interpreting law according to constitutional intent; and

WHEREAS, This tendency by some unelected judges to legislate from the bench subverts the foundation of our democracy, “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and moves the nation closer to being governed by an elite class, unaccountable to the American people; and

WHEREAS, Some of the worst decisions put into law during the last half century have been handed down by federal judges who hold no valid constitutional or legislated authority to make such decrees; and

WHEREAS, Examples of this judicial activism include, but are not limited to, the United States Supreme Court’s approval of abortion on demand in Roe v. Wade (1973) and its declaration that a popularly held moral disapproval of homosexual sodomy was insufficient grounds for laws prohibiting that behavior in Lawrence v. Texas (2003); and

WHEREAS, Judges increasingly invoke foreign courts and foreign law as partial justification for their opinions, e.g., Atkins v. Virginia (2002); Lawrence v. Texas (2003); Goodridge v. Massachusetts (2003); and, most recently, Roper v. Simmons (2005); and

WHEREAS, In recent years the president has appointed judges he believes are strict constructionists, who would interpret the Constitution rather than make law; and

WHEREAS, The Constitution is clear regarding the nomination and confirmation process: “He (the president) shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court and all other Officers of the United States” (U.S. Constitution, art. 2, sec. 2); and

WHEREAS, Many United States senators have recently defaulted on their explicit constitutional responsibility to vote as a body to confirm or deny the president’s appointees to various positions in the federal court system by filibustering the confirmation of some of the president’s judicial nominees or by engaging in other acts of obstruction; and

WHEREAS, These obstructionist activities have disproportionately targeted nominees who hold biblical convictions on issues such as the sanctity of life and the definition of marriage; and

WHEREAS, This dereliction of duty constitutes a deplorable and intolerable impediment to good government; and

WHEREAS, It is likely that the president will have the opportunity to appoint one or more Supreme Court justices during the remainder of his term, setting off an intense battle unless fairness is restored to the judicial confirmation process; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 21-22, 2005, call on the United States Senate to return to the constitutionally established principle and two-hundred-year-old practice of basing “advice and consent” decisions on a simple majority vote of the Senate; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon all future presidents to nominate strict constructionist judges who will interpret rather than make law; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists and all members of the Body of Christ to provide their United States senators with verbal and written encouragement to stop the obstruction of judicial nominees; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend Tennessee Senator Bill Frist for courageously standing in the gap in his position as Senate majority leader, defending the appointment of fair and impartial judges to the federal bench and insisting upon their right to a vote of confirmation by the full Senate.