Deborah Jordahl’s night of horror began on Oct. 3, 2013, when her nocturnal peace was broken by the “Boom! Boom! Boom!” of fists banging on the front door, ordering her to open up.
When she did, a life-altering assault began after a swarm of armed men barged into her peaceful home.
They were, in fact, officers with guns and a battering ram. They rushed into her living room and barked commands. Her children were roused from their sleep, bleary eyed, with armed deputies standing over them.
Officers gathered her family together in one room, where they guarded them as if they were members of a drug gang that had been busted. Strangers searched their house, seizing computers and cellphones, which they soon confiscated and carried out the door.
As a conservative political strategist in Madison, Wis., who’d played a significant role in Gov. Scott Walker’s landmark reforms of public-sector unions, Jordahl probably never imagined what her conservatism would cost her. Milwaukee’s Democratic prosecutors were fishing for dirt on Walker, and Jordahl was seen as a Walker ally.
As she would later recount to the good government Wisconsin Watchdog organization, the greatest pain of the ordeal was watching her “little girl” — her 15-year-old daughter — sit in her pajamas on the living room couch weeping as a deputy warned her not to tell any of her friends that their house had been raided.
At one point, Jordahl decided she’d had enough. She got off the sofa to call her attorney. But the sheriff’s deputy assigned to guard her stepped in. “She backed me down on the sofa and told me I could not call anyone,” Jordahl recalls.
The experience of Jordahl and other families caught up in the Badger State’s infamous “John Doe” raids were later chronicled by the National Review as “Wisconsin’s shame.”
When the Wisconsin Supreme Court reviewed the Walker probe in July 2015, it apparently agreed with that characterization.
In exonerating Jordahl and everyone else ensnared in what appeared to be a politically motivated reprisal, the court found that prosecutors had relied on an “unconstitutional” pretext for their raids, declaring it “unsupported in either reason or law.”
Using the mechanisms of government, whether at the state or federal level, to persecute people for their political activities sounds like something you’d expect to hear coming out of Russia, China, or Iran — not the United States of America. But “Wisconsin’s shame,” as its been called, vividly illustrates the vital role that the judicial branch plays as the last, best hope of protecting individual liberty.
Conservatives, already stung by the IRS targeting operation that attempted to mute anti-Obama organizations in the run-up to the 2012 election, are keenly aware that after seven years of President Obama’s tactic of pushing the legal envelope on everything from the individual mandate to illegal immigration to the definition of marriage, the integrity of the rule of law in America now hangs in the balance.
Consider: A Clinton victory this November would mean 12 consecutive years of radical liberal rule — and a federal bench stacked with hundreds of left-leaning judicial appointments.
A de facto third Obama term by Hillary would cement a barrage of extreme actions meant to transform the spiritual and cultural fabric of America. That 12-year span, by the way, would likely turn into 16 years, given the advantage any incumbent president has in winning re-election.
If that happens, Hillary’s last day in office would be in January 2025. At that point, Democrats would have controlled all federal judicial branch appointments for 24 of the last 32 years — with George W. Bush’s eight years in office the only Republican exception in over three decades of Democratic rule.
So what would a post-Obama, post-Clinton America look like? A liberal Clinton Court would rubber stamp all the Obama administration’s unconstitutional policies.
A Clinton Justice Department would work to ensure any malfeasance occurring during Obama’s presidency never saw the light of public exposure. Emboldened and empowered, the Clinton administration would be free to continue flouting the Constitution.
Don’t just imagine the federal agents at the front door confiscating your only protection against criminals, and then hauling you off as a criminal yourself.
You want to start a local conservative group because you are concerned about our growing debt? Keep an eye out for the IRS. Have an idea or innovation that would benefit countless people? Try starting a business with countless regulatory tentacles squeezing you in their ever tightening embrace. For Second Amendment champions, restrictions on open carry and magazine capacities might be the least of their worries.
This haunting version of what life could be like in just a few years appears increasingly realistic for the majority of Americans who are watching their most precious freedoms erode right before their eyes.
Almost daily, we find ourselves barraged with reports that evoke a collective “What is happening?” sentiment across America.
The Supreme Court just recently heard a case in which more than half the states in the country are challenging President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty order for illegal immigrants — an order he originally said he could not legally execute, before he decided unilaterally to “change the law.”
It would seem to be a no-brainer that any court, with any understanding of the Constitution, would have to strike this order down. Two lower federal courts have already done so.
But Supreme Court watchers fully expect the current eight-member court to be evenly divided on this case. While that means the lower court ruling blocking Obama’s dictum will stand, what if the case is re-argued next year with Hillary Clinton having filled the ninth seat on the high court’s bench?
The outcome is obvious: The unconstitutional order would be deemed lawful, and the national security of the United States would then be placed in even more peril than it already is.
Remember President Obama’s executive orders regarding guns and background checks? Those directives in the eyes of most legal scholars were unconstitutional. But if those cases reach the Supreme Court during a Clinton administration, a court majority fashioned by Mrs. Clinton could be expected to uphold Obama’s orders.
2016 AND SCOTUS
With the 2016 election just months away, the Supreme Court will clearly be an issue debated by both presidential and Senate candidates.
So far, Republican senators have been able to hold the line, unwavering in their insistence that the voting public should play a key role in selecting the next Supreme Court justice through their votes for president and U.S. Senate.
As laudable as this may be, the solid red wall in the Senate can only hold so long.
If Hillary Clinton is elected she will stack the court with a liberal majority that would leave our country unrecognizable within a few short years.
One sign of her thinking: Earlier this year she praised the idea of nominating Obama himself to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
The New York Times recently conceded that a Supreme Court featuring Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, would be the most liberal court in 50 years.
Obama’s allies have portrayed Garland as a congenial, intelligent, nonideological moderate.
But no one has any illusions about Garland’s status as the reliable, fifth vote as part of a liberal court majority on every meaningful case for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, why would Garland enjoy the support of liberals in virtually every walk of life — academia, labor unions, anti-Second Amendment groups, and pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL?
This is the left’s idea of a centrist. Should Clinton become president, and Democrats ride her coattails to seize control of the Senate, she might fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia with someone even further to the left than Garland.
And more vacancies, both on the federal bench generally and the Supreme Court, are obviously on the way.
Justice Ginsburg has reportedly endured serious health difficulties and is anticipated to retire in the next few years. Hillary’s election could expedite that decision.
Indeed, the liberal majority would likely climb to an overwhelming six votes with the retirement of swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will celebrate his 80th birthday this coming July. At that point, the remaking of life in America could happen very quickly.
Under the Obama administration, we have already witnessed the heavy hand of government when the IRS abused its power and specifically targeted conservative citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to speak out against federal government overreach.
Here are just a few legal ramparts you can expect to see demolished and left in ruins following another long stretch of Democratic control over the federal bench:
Unbridled Environmental Regulations. We have witnessed the EPA going around Congress to abuse its power, attempting to shut down entire industries through regulatory fiat, and making it so expensive to operate a farm or a small business that family-owned enterprises have to shut down or scale back.
Occasionally, the courts have slapped down the EPA for its expansive interpretation of the Clean Water Act and other statutes. But stack the federal courts with enough liberal judges and anyone breaking with the left’s green theology will find themselves in deep trouble.
Global Warming Runs Amok. Already, liberal attorneys general in some states are organizing to investigate, shame, and possibly prosecute corporations that refuse to kowtow to left-wing environmentalists’ views on global warming. Could individuals be subject to fines or even jail time, if they refuse to subscribe to the far left’s agenda on global warming?
It’s hard to imagine, but when the judiciary is no longer moored to the founders’ intent in the Constitution, can any right be taken for granted?
Freedom of Religion. Attacks on faith already occur regularly, and have reached such levels of absurdity that entire states are under attack for simply codifying that men and women should use the appropriate restroom.
This preposterous course will only be accelerated by a President Hillary Clinton and the justices she nominates for the Supreme Court.
These attacks on our First Amendment religious liberty — and common sense — come in spite of overwhelming majorities that want to protect these freedoms, and citizens, from an extreme agenda.
Just this past November the city of Houston voted by 61 percent to 39 percent to reject an ordinance that would have allowed transgenders to use any bathroom they want, putting the privacy and safety of women and girls in jeopardy.
The city is overwhelmingly Democratic; it hasn’t had a Republican mayor in over three decades.
Thankfully, in that instance common sense won out over extreme political correctness. But when a middle school choir wanted to sing the National Anthem at the 9/11 Memorial, security guards stepped in and ordered them to cease their unauthorized “demonstration.”
In an age of political correctness, common sense is rudely shown the door.
Common sense will matter little to Clinton or the ideological extremists she puts on the Supreme Court.
The current court has already given license to those who would put honest, law-abiding people out of business simply for freely exercising their faith.
Under a Hillary court, people practicing their faith outside the four walls of a church, synagogue, or mosque may find themselves not just in court, like the Little Sisters of the Poor or Hobby Lobby, but also in debt, paying crippling fines or even facing jail time — all because of their religious beliefs.
Think it can’t happen in America? Think again.
Freedom of Speech. In a world refashioned by a liberal Supreme Court majority instituted by Hillary Clinton, the First Amendment will cease to exist as we know it. Far-fetched? Tell that to Bremerton High School Coach Joe Kennedy in Washington state.
For seven years, after every high school football game he coached, win or lose, Kennedy would go to the 50-yard line, take a knee, and say a quick prayer.
Parents often commented on what a great example Coach Kennedy was setting for the kids.
But the Bremerton School District and its lawyers saw it differently. They ordered Coach Kennedy to stop praying, telling him he could not even bow his head.
Coach Kennedy refused, saying this was a violation of his religious freedom and that he was forcing no one to pray with him.
That was not enough for the school district, and they suspended him right before the final game of the season. His case is now making its way through the courts.
Right to Life. Expect the value of life itself to be rendered meaninglessness under a Hillary Clinton court.
The current 4-4 split means the court is literally one vote away from legalizing partial-birth abortion, which is tantamount to infanticide.
When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, one of the campaign’s slogans was “It’s the economy, stupid.” It was an acknowledgement that the era’s economic recession was on the minds of most Americans.
With the Supreme Court now hanging in the balance, conservatives and Republicans — as well as freedom-loving Americans of any political stripe or inclination — should offer their own take on that theme in 2016: “It’s the court, stupid.”
Make no mistake: The untimely death of Justice Scalia means control of the Supreme Court, and the future of law in America, hangs in the balance this November. Not to mention, of course, control of the presidency and the U.S. Senate.
The stakes are enormous. Either party could score a “trifecta” by winning the presidency and the Senate, because that also means they would likely take control of the federal judiciary.
Having witnessed up close the terrible damage done to America over just the past seven years, it is my deep conviction that if the Supreme Court of the United States falls into Hillary Clinton’s hands, the great and noble American experiment, with all its success, will one day cease to exist.
Just as Deborah Jordahl’s family did in Wisconsin, we could wake up in an Orwellian nightmare where the Bill of Rights is made to weather-vane in the vengeful winds of politics.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” Ronald Reagan warned in 1964. “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same — or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
I believe Reagan’s words never rang more true than they do today.
My fellow Americans, this November it’s all on the line. We cannot afford to be silent. We must stop this.
Ken Blackwell is the former mayor of Cincinnati, Treasurer and Secretary of State for Ohio, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.