Now, about those judicial appointments…

Judicial Appointees

It seems the sole reason many conservatives and “evangelicals” are supporting Trump for President is the promise of “good” judges appointed to the Supreme Court. It is true that the high court is lurching further and further to the left and taking the Constitution with it.

But, being naturally skeptical of anything Trump promises. allow me to share a real event from recent history that illustrates what happens when politicians swear to nominate “good” judges.

The following is a true story and is an excerpt from my book – Yes! We Still Can Turn This Nation Around!:

More recently in 2005, a federal judge by the name of John E. Jones, III issued a ruling against the Dover, PA School District position on teaching Intelligent Design along with evolution. He ruled that I.D. isn’t real science and can’t be considered next to evolution. This ruling was very sad and disappointing, though not unexpected.

John E. Jones, III is from my home county. He was a “country club” establishment (Read RINO) Republican. He came from a wealthy family who owned several golf courses. After law school, he opened a law practice in the county.

In the 1980s he ran for the PA State Legislature in a heavily Republican district. He was so not liked that a conservative Democrat took the seat for the first time in decades.

Later, in the early 1990s, he ran for U. S. Congress against the previously mentioned “Barney Fife” Congressman. He also lost. His greatest margin of loss came from his home county.

Later, he heavily financially supported Tom Ridge’s bid for Governor. Sometime after Ridge became Governor, Jones was appointed to head PA’s Liquor Control Board.

After 9/11 happened and Ridge was tapped to be Director of Homeland Security, Jones’ supporters (read rich friends) pushed for his appointment to a federal judge’s position by President Bush. Nominated by then Senator Rick Santorum in 2002, he currently still holds the position.

Judge Jones came back to haunt Pennsylvania and the nation once again in 2014 when he was asked to decide on Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act. PA’s DOMA was passed overwhelmingly by the legislature in 1996 and supported by a huge majority of Pennsylvanians.

Yet, when the ACLU brought suit, Jones couldn’t wait to parrot their arguments in his decision to overturn the law. “’We are a better people than what these laws represent,’ Jones wrote of same-sex marriage bans in his ruling, drawing comparisons between the civil rights movement and the modern gay marriage movement. ‘It is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.’”

In one fell swoop, Jones thumbed his nose at millions of Pennsylvanians and hundreds of millions of Americans who still firmly believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.

His arrogance and incompetence reached new levels with that decision. But, given Anthony Kennedy’s totally unconstitutional Obergefell ruling on “same-sex” marriage around a year later, I’m sure Jones believes he is in good company.

My point in all this is to show that here is a man who had no judicial experience at any level, who was twice rejected by his own neighbors for political office, who managed to acquire a position of power in this nation. His rulings belie his inexperience.

In 2008 the World Humanist Congress gave him an award for the Dover ruling. In his acceptance speech, he blamed the Dover District for not understanding Civics and the First Amendment to the Constitution! His PR people sent the story back to our local newspaper; I assume because he thought we’d be interested in it.

To me, he still is a glaring example of the need to fix our judiciary. Why we would accept anyone with no experience in a position of such authority is a mystery to me!  (Hepler. 2016. pp 165-167.)

This story illustrates what does and can happen when we sit back and allow politicians to convince us that they “have our backs.” Our American freedoms are eroding away one court case and one federal judge at a time.

If we don’t have someone passionately committed to the Constitution, we cannot trust anyone running for office to guard our freedoms. It doesn’t matter what they promise – “a leopard can’t change its spots!”

Does anyone honestly think Donald Trump’s first priority in appointing judges to the Supreme Court will be if they are Constitutional originalists?  Or, is it far more likely a President Trump will appoint someone that he can use to make a deal with Democrats in the Senate so he can crow about his “victory” in getting his judge appointed?

Russ Hepler

Russ Hepler is a pastor, teacher, political activist, author, and conference speaker with over 30 years of experience. He holds a B.A. from Messiah College and an M.A.R. from Evangelical School of Theology. He has been an issues’ advocate, a campaign volunteer for local, state, and federal candidates, Regional Field Director for PA Christian Coalition, president of a county chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life, local Republican Committeeman, and an elected member of a town council. He is also a former and current homeschooler and taught in a Christian school (middle school History and Bible) for a number of years. He was formerly a blog writer for The Federalist Papers Project with over 900 articles published. He has been a guest on the American Family Radio program Today’s Issues with Tim Wildmon and on the Bill Martinez Live radio show. One of his sermons – Father’s Day – Where Have All the Heroes Gone? – was featured on the American Pastors’ Network. His first book – Yes! We Can Turn This Nation Around! A Practical Guide for Christian Political Involvement – was published in 2012. It has recently been updated and expanded for 2016 – Yes! We STILL Can Turn This Nation Around! An Updated and Expanded Practical Guide for Christian Political Involvement. Both works are available at He and his wife, Sherry, have founded Transformation 1202 Ministries to educate, encourage, and challenge people of faith to get involved in the political and cultural issues of our day. The ministry has a website, a blog, and a Facebook page: Turn This Nation Around.