Press Attacks on Judicial Nominee Distract from Real Threat


Prof. William Wagner

WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at SAU

A media firestorm erupted over the Administration’s appointment of Brett J. Talley to serve as a Federal Judge.

While probably not my first choice, he has more relevant federal court experience than the press is willing to fully recognize. After Mr. Talley graduated from Harvard Law School, his service as an attorney included Federal Judicial Clerkships where he worked with Federal Judges to research and write judicial opinions etc… These are among the most prestigious legal positions a young lawyer can attain.

I personally prefer some additional legal life experience before elevating someone to the federal bench. But by strategically attacking the experience level of the nominee, the media distracts us from a far more important point. Certainly, many Federal Judges came to the bench with the federal trial experience lacking here. These judges, with all their experience, however, violate their oath of office with impunity and exercise power well beyond their Article III authority to decide disputes. This, in my view, is one of the greatest threats to the Republic.

In deciding disputes under Article III, Judges must say what the law is, and then apply the law to resolve the dispute. Instead, too many Judges, under the guise of constitutional interpretation, say what they personally would prefer the law to be. They then judicially “enact” that preference to create, with no political accountability, social, economic, or national security policy, imposing their personal policy preferences on millions of citizens. This abuse of power, encouraged by politicians who have no courage to enact such policy, knowing they will be held politically accountable in the next election, has, in part, pushed this great nation into ideological civil war.

Those on the left must come to understand that when their policy preferences are enacted into law by an unelected, politically unaccountable authority, the policy only has legitimacy for them. Oblivious to this truth judges on the left increasingly abuse their power to impose their devolutionary social engineering on the citizenry. Unless the Congress begins to use it’s constitutional power to check the abuse of the judicial power soon, I fear for the future. If we can return to a nation where the left and right in Congress enact policy (perhaps after spirited and civil debate), there is hope for the nation. If not, the Rule of Law will cease to exist and history does not paint a pretty picture when that happens.

About the Author

Prof. William Wagner
WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at SAU
Professor Wagner holds the WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at Spring Arbor University. He has a special interest in building and preserving environments where Christians may share the Good News of Jesus, free from persecution and oppression.

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