07.12.2013 0

Congress Must Stop the Obama Court-Packing Plan

Conservative Action Project

The Conservative Action Project, chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese and former Congressman David McIntosh, is designed to facilitate conservative leaders working together on behalf of common goals. Participants include the CEO’s of over 100 organizations representing all major elements of the conservative movement-economic, social and national security.

 Current Event:

President Obama is seeking to add three new judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, one of the most important but most underworked courts in the country. The move is a transparent attempt to evade our traditional system of checks and balances, turning an evenly divided court into a political rubber stamp for overreaching executive orders and agency actions.

Action:

· Congress should pass legislation to reduce the size of the D.C. Circuit to fit its actual workload. Legislation to this effect has been introduced by Senator Charles Grassley in the Senate and Rep. Tom Cotton in the House.
· The Senate must reject any new nominee to the D.C. Circuit, regardless of that nominee’s party, background, or philosophy.
Issue in Brief:

The D.C. Circuit’s workload has been in consistent decline in the last decade. According to United States Courts statistics, the number of pending appeals in the D.C. Circuit declined more than 10% between September 2005 and September 2012. There has also been a significant decline (more than 14%) in the number of cases filed in the D.C. Circuit. In fact, the court’s workload is now so low that it is not uncommon for the court to cancel argument dates because there are not enough cases.

But the court, which is largely responsible for reviewing the actions of the ever-growing administrative state, has served as one of the most effective checks on President Obama and his extreme agenda. According to liberal activist Nan Aron, “The court is critically important – the majority has made decisions that have frustrated the president’s agenda.” President Obama and his Democratic allies have been especially hostile to the D.C. Circuit since it invalidated his non-recess appointments to the NLRB, after he tried to circumvent the constitution’s advice and consent process. Similarly, the court has been criticized by liberals for invalidating a burdensome and illegal EPA rule which would have shut down power plants and increased American energy costs.

Federal courts have been a very low priority for most of President Obama’s tenure. But he has learned that a court that abides by the Constitution and traditional legal principles is a serious threat to his plan to insulate the administrative state from accountability. Here are just a few examples of cases President Obama would like to see decided by a politically motivated D.C. Circuit:

The lawsuit filed recently by a group of small business owners in six states seeking to invalidate a key IRS regulation imposed by Obamacare.

A constitutional challenge to Dodd-Frank, the massive bill that institutionalized taxpayer funded bailouts for big banks.

A challenge to the HHS contraceptive mandate, which forces religious organizations to violate their deeply held religious beliefs, or pay crippling fines.

Lawsuits challenging EPA regulations designed to stop fracking, the oil and gas extraction technique that has yielded a significant decrease in energy costs.

Lawsuits against IRS officials who wrongfully targeted American citizens because of their viewpoints.

To guarantee the desired political outcome in such cases, President Obama seeks to do exactly what President Franklin Roosevelt did when his agenda faced constitutional problems in the Supreme Court: pack the court with allies who will decide cases on the basis of politics instead of the Constitution and traditional legal principles. Or, as Senator Chuck Schumer put it, Democrats “will fill up the D.C. Circuit one way or another.”

One way they plan to “fill up the D.C. Circuit” is to put pressure on Republican Senators who fear that Majority Leader Harry Reid will use this opportunity to abolish the filibuster, destroying the minority party’s ability to debate important legislation. But no Senator should fall for that trap. Republicans have treated President Obama’s judicial nominees fairly, confirming more than 111 of them during the 112th Congress, more than during any other Congress in 20 years. According to President Obama, his nominees have waited “three times longer to receive confirmation votes than those of my Republican predecessors.” But that is simply not true. During his entire first term, President Obama’s appellate nominees waited an average of 240 days from nomination to confirmation. By contrast, President George W. Bush’s nominees waited an average of 283, and some waited for years.

No spin on the statistics will make it any easier for President Obama or Senator Reid to prove the existence of a crisis, because none exists. This is nothing more than a transparent attempt to evade our traditional system of checks and balances, turning an evenly divided court into a political rubber stamp for overreaching executive orders and agency actions. It must be stopped.

 

Signed:

 

The Honorable Edwin Meese III

Former Attorney General

President Ronald Reagan

 

The Honorable David McIntosh

Former U.S. Representative

Indiana

 

Mike Needham

CEO

Heritage Action for America

 

Tony Perkins

President

Family Research Council

 

Grover Norquist

President

Americans for Tax Reform

 

Brent Bozell

Chairman

ForAmerica

 

Colin Hanna

President

Let Freedom Ring

 

David Bossie

President

Citizens United

 

Phyllis Schlafly

Founder and President

Eagle Forum

 

The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell

President

Constitutional Congress, Inc.

 

The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.

Former Counselor to the U.S. Attorney General

President Ronald Reagan

 

The Honorable Alfred S. Regnery

Former Publisher

The American Spectator

 

William L Walton

Chairman

Rappahannock Ventures LLC

 

Bob Reccord

Executive Director

Council for National Policy

 

Morton Blackwell

Chairman

The Weyrich Lunch

 

Heather Higgins

President

Independent Women’s Forum

 

Kellyanne Conway

President

The Polling Company

 

Carrie Severino

Chief Counsel and Policy Director

Judicial Crisis Network

 

Gary Bauer

President

American Values

 

Mathew D. Staver

Chairman

Liberty Counsel Action

 

Jim Martin

Chairman

60 Plus Association

 

Nathan Mehrens

President

Americans for Limited Government

 

Duane Parde

President

National Taxpayers Union

 

Gary Aldrich

President

CNP Action, Inc.

 

Judson Phillips

Founder

Tea Party Nation

 

Gary Marx

Executive Director

Faith & Freedom Coalition

 

Phillip Jauregui

President

Judicial Action Group

 

Frank Cannon

President

American Principles Project

 

Curt Levey

President

The Committee for Justice

 

Jim Ryun

Chairman

The Madison Project

 

Phil Kerpen

President

American Commitment

 

Tom Winter

Editor-in-Chief

HumanEvents.com

 

Tim Wildmon

President

American Family Association

 

Raymond J. LaJeunesse, Jr.

Vice President & Legal Director

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.

 

Susan Carleson

President

American Civil Rights Union

 

Andrea Lafferty

President

Traditional Values Coalition

 

Lewis Uhler

President

National Tax Limitation Committee

 

Mario H. Lopez

President

Hispanic Leadership Fund

 

Craig Shirley

Reagan Campaign Biographer

 

Rev. Lou Sheldon

Chairman

Traditional Values Coalition

 

Lee Beaman

Businessman

Nashville, TN

 

Angelo M. Codevilla

Professor Emeritus

Boston University

 

Tom Donelson

Chairman

America’s PAC

 

Kay R. Daly

President

Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

 

Ralph Benko

President

Center for Civic Virtue

 

Andresen Blom

Senior Strategist

Center for Civic Virtue

 

C. Preston Noell III President

Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

 

Dan Bongino

Candidate for Congress

Maryland

 

George Landrith

President

Frontiers of Freedom

 

Gene Mills

President

Louisiana Family Forum

 

Mike Stenhouse

CEO

Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity

 

Richard Viguerie

Chairman

ConservativeHQ.com

 

Elaine Donnelly

President

Center for Military Readiness

 

Larry Cirignano

President

Faithful Catholic Citizens

 

Jim Backlin

Vice-President

Christian Coalition of America

 

Bob Adams

President

Revive America USA

 

Dr. William Greene

President

RightMarch.com

 

Paul Caprio

Director

Family PAC Federal

 

Sandy Rios

Vice President

Family PAC Federal

 

Melissa Ortiz

Founder

Able Americans

 

Catherine Engelbrecht

President

True the Vote

 

(All organizations listed for Identification purposes only)

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