Chaos surrounding worship services demands new justice now

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Chris Woodward, Chad Groening (

church locked down 1An attorney with a legal group dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty believes America cannot afford to wait until after the election for a new Supreme Court justice.

Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, stated during an appearance on The Todd Starnes Show on Monday "there's a few reasons" it's critical to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court as soon as possible.

"Number one, we have chaos erupting right now across the country with regard to our churches," Shackelford said. "We've got governors and mayors and people shutting down churches in the middle of the COVID, [giving] excuses that are being offered that churches are being treated differently – worse than casinos, worse than marijuana dispensaries."

That, said Shackelford, is outrageous. "We're in a fight right now [over the question]: 'Does the government control our churches?' – and we need nine justices [on the high court] because this thing is going to make it up there pretty soon," he continued.

"And for the very same reason, we've got an election coming and we've got all kinds of people talking about challenges to the election before we even get there. We need this justice on the Court because we can't have a 4-4 tie in some massive election dispute," he emphasized.


Shackelford went on to encourage people to be in prayer about the Supreme Court situation.

"God needs to pick this judge," he concluded. "This is important for the future of our country – and wow, if we pick a good judge here, it could really be great for our children and our grandchildren, and we would set the Court for many years to come."

In an op-ed on Newsweek published on Monday, Shackelford documents several of the cases his legal firm has been handling for churches being prevented by local authorities from gathering for in-person worship services.

Pundit: There's time … and it's on GOP's side

Meanwhile, a conservative political scientist says no one should underestimate the chances of President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate getting a new Supreme Court justice confirmed before Election Day.

The president has stated he's pushing for a confirmation vote before Election Day – and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to have a confirmation vote on Trump's pick. Dr. Charles Dunn, professor emeritus of government at Clemson University, says the track record of both of those leaders tells him Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement will be confirmed by November 3.

Dunn, Charles (Regent Univ.)"Both of them have winning track records," Dunn notes. "Try to think of presidents who have had more victories on more legislative issues than President Trump. Try to think of any Senate leader in recent memory who has had more successes on very difficult issues than Senator McConnell."

Timing is on the side of the Republicans right now, according to the political scientist.

"If the Democrats continue to present themselves as the nasty party, that's going to benefit the Republican Party and President Trump to take the high road against the Democrats," he tells OneNewsNow.

Most Republicans have concurred on the need for speed, and one of them offered a practical reason: The nine-member court, argued Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), must be full if called upon to decide the outcome of a disputed presidential election.

Trump said Tuesday that he will reveal his pick for the Supreme Court on Saturday. With today's announcement by Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), it appears the GOP has enough votes for confirmation.

Will it be Barrett?

A conservative activist believes a finalist for the last vacancy on the Supreme Court will get the nod this time from President Trump.


Gary Bauer, president of American Values, isn't alone in his opinion that right now the front-runner is Amy Coney Barrett, who serves on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "I know that Barrett is somebody who is deeply admired by the president – and constitutionally-oriented groups that are focused on judicial nominees think very highly of her," he offers.

Bauer points out that Barrett was considered a finalist in 2018 for Trump's second nomination to the high court, which eventually went to Brett Kavanaugh after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired.

"And there was an unconfirmed report that the president told an aide that he was 'saving' her for the Ginsberg vacancy because he thought that would be appropriate," says Baure. "So, if I had to bet, I would bet that it's going to be Barrett."

'Life is on the line'

According to The Associated Press, Justice Ginsburg's death on Friday effectively puts Roe v. Wade on the ballot in November. Judge Barrett is a Roman Catholic – and while on the faculty at Notre Dame, she was affiliated with the group "Faculty for Life" and openly affirmed her church's teaching on "the value of human life from conception to natural death."


Alison Centofante with Live Action is adamant that whoever is nominated to replace Ginsburg should not only "acknowledge science, but also the legal reason to give protection to pre-born children."

"We need to make sure that that person who is nominated and eventually appointed acknowledges that all human beings have the right to life, no matter their race or sex or age," says Centofante, who says she considers abortion "the greatest human rights abuse of our time."

"If thousands of children were dying in any other way, it would be everyone's most important issue," she continues. "Right now, life is on the line."

The pro-lifer points out that under the 14th Amendment, no person shall be deprived of life.

"And that's really pivotal here," Centofante argues. "Let's go back to what the 14th Amendment has declared; let's fix what we've gotten wrong for the last nearly 50 years at the Supreme Court level – and let's give every little girl and little boy the chance that Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself had: a chance at life, a chance to make an impact, a chance to live a life that can be remembered."


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