Jun 08 2004


Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) today testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights to discuss the ‘Constitution Restoration Act of 2004.’ This legislation reinforces states rights by clarifying that the Supreme Court and district courts do not have jurisdiction to hear cases brought against a federal, state or local government or officer for acknowledging God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government. The following is Senator Shelby’s opening statement before the subcommittee.

“Chairman Cornyn, Senator Feingold and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for holding this important hearing and for having me here to discuss the ‘Constitution Restoration Act.’”

“Joined by Senators Miller, Brownback, Allard, Graham, Bunning, Lott and Inhofe I introduced S. 2323, the Constitution Restoration Act. Like millions of Americans, I believe that the Courts have exceeded their power. This legislation recognizes the rights of the states and the people as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (ninth and tenth amendments) to acknowledge God. In short, this legislation goes to the very foundation of our country and the legitimacy of our system of government.”

“Over the years, we have seen a disturbing and growing trend in our federal courts to deny the rights of our states and our citizens to acknowledge God openly and freely. These tortured legal decisions distort our constitution, our nation's history and its tradition in an effort to secularize our system of government and divest morality from our rule of law.”

“Four years ago, the Supreme Court determined that students could not engage in voluntary prayer at a school football game. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it was unconstitutional to recite the words ‘one Nation under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance and a district court in my State of Alabama ruled that it was unconstitutional to display the Ten Commandments.”

“It is unfortunate that there are so many examples to point to because the simple fact is: our government and our laws are based on Judeo-Christian values and a recognition of God as our Creator. The Declaration of Independence by which we justify the very foundation of our political system holds these truths to be self-evident: “that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights.”

“Our motto is ‘In God We Trust.' It is enshrined on our currency.”

“Our national anthem recognizes our motto as ‘In God is Our Trust.'”

“As federal officials, we each took an oath of office swearing to uphold the Constitution, ‘so help me God.' The President takes a similar one. State and local officials and our military personnel all swear a similar oath. Jurors and witnesses in our state and federal courts take an oath as do witnesses before Congress to tell the truth, ‘so help me God.'”

“Our courts, including the Supreme Court, recognize God in their official proceedings, both the House and Senate acknowledge God through an opening prayer every morning. Our public buildings and monuments honor this heritage through various depictions of the basic moral foundations of our laws and system of government.”

“My point Mr. Chairman, is that you simply can not divest God from our country. Our country has no foundation without a basic recognition that God invests us at birth with basic individual rights – such as the blessings of liberty -- that we all enjoy as Americans.”

“There is no question that the Courts have exceeded and abused their power. The ‘Constitution Restoration Act’ recognizes the rights of the states and the people to acknowledge God, as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the constitutions of the United States and the individual States.”

“This recognition is the very basis for the First Amendment prohibition against the establishment of an official church or religion. The ‘Constitution Restoration Act’ further prohibits federal courts from basing their opinions on foreign law contrary to the Constitution they are sworn to uphold.”

“The list of legal decisions abridging our right to acknowledge God is far too long. It is imperative that we exemplify how these decisions affect the lives of real people – that they are not just words on paper. I am pleased that the Committee has taken this step and will hear testimony from individuals who have had their rights abridged, and I look forward to their testimony.”

“Thank you again for holding this hearing and for allowing me to testify.”