Policy Versus Personality – President Trump’s Excellent List Of Judges – What makes a good leader? This election is not about personality, it is about constitutional policy! We need a leader who is willing to stand for freedom. Tune in to hear about the President’s list of judges and much more!
Air Date: 09/21/2020
Guest: Kelly Shackelford
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
This is the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live, we’re talking about hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. And of course, the hottest topic of the day is the election coming up in just a few weeks. Now is the time to get informed to understand what’s at stake here. It’s not just a presidential election, it’s all the way down the ballot. And we as Christians have a duty to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. And we are Caesar in America, we the people, therefore we’re in charge. Therefore, as citizens, what is our duty?
Well, there’s a lot of things that fall into that duty. But a big one is voting. It’s choosing good leaders. It’s following those biblical commands and making sure that we’re engaged, that we’re not the wicked and slothful servant to bury the talent, in this case, the talent of freedom. So make sure that you’re voting. And today, we’re going to be talking about specifically the presidential race because that’s the big one. We need to be paying attention to that. But it’s an opportunity for us to really think about what makes a good leader? What are the things we’re looking for in terms of policy, in terms of appointments, and all of those things?
If you’d like to know more about our program, check out wallbuilderslive.com. It’s our main website for the radio program where you get archives of the show, you can learn about those of us that host the show. I’m Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And I’m here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders, and Tim Barton, with us, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And we’re looking at all of this from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.
Alright, fellows, later in the show, Kelly Shackleford will be back with us from First Liberty Institute. We love those guys. And we don’t talk about the election on every program here. But as we get closer and closer to November 3rd, it’s on more and more people’s minds, and it’s really important that we give people good information.
Yeah, Rick, you’re right. We will focus a lot on the elections, things moving closer to the election, but a lot of it is from different topics and areas. And the reality is we are hearing so much about this kind of stuff in the news and we always want to be able to say what is the biblical, the historical the constitutional perspective to what’s going on.
And even last week, we talked about our friend who has been an advisor to many presidents who has helped run campaigns for presidents, who’s been in the White House many, many times, he decided he was going to do a little research and he looked back all the way back to the 60s, looking at presidential elections.
And one of the interesting things he found, specifically looking at Republicans, for example, on Republican presidential campaigns and elections, he found that so often, the majority of Americans agreed with a policy position of the Republican presidential nominee or candidate. And so what he found was that if that candidate was able to keep the attention on the policies they were promoting, they generally got elected or every time they got elected since the 60s. But when the opposition, when the Democrats were able to make it a personality issue or a personality election instead of a policy election, if it was personality driven, the Democrats won based on the personality.
And he brought this up looking even this election where, as we talked about even last week with Wayne Grudem, that there’s so many people who look at a personality like a President Trump and say, man, I’m not sure if I can handle his personality, etc, etc, etc. And as Wayne pointed out, there’s so many good policy things that President Trump has done that we shouldn’t get caught up on personality and miss so many of the significant, vital things he has done.
So many people are looking at personality and we’re forgetting the more significant thing as policy, as we’ve identified before were Proverbs 14:34 tells us that righteousness exalts a nation. What impacts righteousness, is policy. Policy is what determines the righteousness of the nation. It’s not merely the personality of the leader, it’s the policy that that leader is presenting and putting forward. And this is where we need to be really clear that what is more important is not the personality of who gets elected, but the policies that they represent.
Yeah. And policies are really important dividing lines. Tim, you mentioned that it’s sometimes policy versus personality and the consultant I was talking to said, generally, is about 65% of the people that will support the policy and about 35% that don’t care about policy, they care about personality.
And so if you look at someone like Biden who has 47 years of elected office and a track record, he and the Democrat Party leadership and platform are all in support of abortion to any stage along the way, including infanticide, after birth. 70% of the nation does not support late term abortion. So if his policy is known, he’s not going to be elected. So what he has to do is say, I can’t talk about my policy. I’m going to talk about how bad Trump is, and then people will go for personality rather than policy.
Well, let me even add in, right. In Biden’s 47 years, what else has he accomplished? Well, one of the things he got done was the Crime Bill back in the 90s that now he can’t take credit for, because that is now being accused to be a racist Crime Bill, so he’s trying to backtrack from that. So really one of the most significant things he did as a representative he can’t even take credit for now because it’s viewed as being racist.
So this is again, where he has to focus not on what he’s done or hasn’t done, but it has to be a referendum on President Trump’s personality, which is why he wants to stay a far away from policy, largely speaking as he can. Even with his idea of Coronavirus or COVID, he says, well, President Trump hasn’t done a good job, and I would handle it differently. I would do better. He has yet to say what he would do differently or what he would have done better…
He can’t because that will change to a policy debate and he can’t win on a policy debate.
And that’s the point, right? Is it the argument is not what is the better policy? The argument is Trump is a bad person and we don’t like him, and we need to get him out because he’s a bad person. We’re just ignoring the more important thing, is what is Trump’s policy that’s already been in place? And what has he already accomplished? Because he’s done a lot of really impressive things…
That’s right. And there’s so many other things. I mean, you can’t have Biden talking about defund the place which he supports because 65% of the nation wants the police funded even greater, so he loses there. Same with Judges. How come Biden has not come out with a list of Judges he would nominate to the US Supreme Court? Because they’re so radical, nobody would get behind him. Well, very few would. But on the other hand, you have Trump who came out with this list of 20 guys he would put on the court.
And our friend Kelly Shackleford, Rick, you mentioned earlier, but Kelly was part of helping create that list and vet the people on that list and make sure that they were rock solid and that they are constitutionalist and they have the right value system. So Trump recently came out with that list and it is a remarkable list. We thought it’d be great to have Kelly on to talk about that, because this is another policy thing that needs the Trump personality. The type of Judges you’re going to happen in the next 30, 40, 50 years is much more important than the personality of who the President is.
And frankly, you need a president with the personality willing to fight for good Judges, that will go to bat for that truly originalist, conservative constitutional Judge and not somebody that just middle of the road. So in both cases, here we get the right personality and more importantly the package, as Wayne Grudem told us about last week. Stay with us, folks, Kelly Shackleford to talk about, specifically the judicial list from which President Trump will be choosing Supreme Court Justices should he win a second term. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
The Founding Fathers of America made a habit of reading through the Bible once a year. There’s no better source of wisdom and it is applicable to every issue in our lives. What a great time for us as American citizens to take this time. If you’ve got extra time at home now, if you’re quarantined at home and you’re looking for something to do, what better thing could there be to do than to read through the Bible, maybe for the first time in your life?
I tried to make this a habit several years ago and I had a new tool to start doing that with and it was called the Founders’ Bible. It gave me a chance not only to read through the Bible once a year, but also to learn history while I was doing that. And what I love about the Founders’ Bible is that as I’m reading that Scripture, then all of a sudden, there’ll be an article inserted right there by that Scripture about what the Founding Fathers learned from that specific verse or chapter and how they applied it to launch our new. It’s a really fun way to learn. It’s incredibly empowering and it has answers for today. The Bible is full of all the right answers for today, in fact, it’s the only source that has all the right answers.
So, if you haven’t read through the Founders’ Bible, I challenge you and encourage you get a copy of the Founders’ Bible today, it’s available at wallbuilders.com. And we even have a digital version, so you can do this on your phone or iPad or computer. Check out the Founders’ Bible today, make it a part of your regular reading throughout the year. But right now, is a great opportunity to redo the Founders’ Bible. Check it out today at WallBuilders.com.
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Too often today, history education excludes great black heroes from the American founding such as Lemuel Haynes.
Haynes, abandoned as a baby, pioneered churches across upper New England. He became the first black American to pastor a white congregation, to receive an honorary master’s degree and to be ordained by a mainstream Christian denomination, the Congregationalists. He was a soldier during the American Revolution and in his churches on George Washington’s birthday, he regularly preached sermons honoring George Washington. Even late in his life, he expressed his willingness to go back to battle if necessary to protect America, which he called a “Sacred Ark”. American history is filled with numerous examples of black heroes who are largely ignored by mainstream education today.
For more information about pastor Lemuel Haynes and other colonial patriots, go to wallbuilders.com.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us, Kelly Shackleford back with us from First Liberty Institute. Kelly, thanks for some time this morning, man.
Hey, happy to do it.
Hey, so many different cases and things you all are involved in. But today, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the President’s list of judges. This was a big, big issue in 2016, frankly, went over a lot of us to not just vote for him, but be excited about what can happen and he followed through on that. And now we’ve got some additional folks on the list. And I guess, Kelly, what are we looking at if he wins again, well, whoever wins, we’re looking at two, three, potentially on the court?
I think so. Yeah. We obviously won, but I mean, the odds are, we’re talking two and maybe even three, I mean, which is really going to decide whether the court is controlled by more conservative justices or liberal justices and the big, big difference on a ton of issues, obviously.
And this list, I mean, it’s awesome. It’s a Grand Slam. And we were asked to help form that list with the President, we did and I’m telling you, so we know these people. And I think something changed, you know, as long as Rick, we’ve been looking at this stuff, you know how the Republican side worked, which is sort of the, hey, let’s pick somebody who’s really good but doesn’t have a track record so the other sides can attach them.
And right, you know what, if you’re 50 years old, and you don’t have a track record, maybe you’re not so strong on whatever it is that people are assuming you’re strong on. And so what we said is, look, it’s time to pick people who have already shown courage and being strong on life on religious liberty, their traditional philosophy.
And so that list are people who have done that. Those are people that we aren’t going, God, I hope they are that way. They’ve already proven it and so they’re not going to drift on the court. And that has never been done before.
And so what the President did was really unusual and really strong and I think sends a real strong signal, so it makes it really clear. If you’re voting on Judges, if you’re on the liberal side, and what you want is more Justices who think the Constitution is a living, breathing document that needs to be read into today in a way to make it relevant, then you don’t want Trump’s list. Instead, you want the more conservative Justices who think the Constitution and all statutes should be read as to their words and their original meaning and the Judges shouldn’t be changing things to make them the way they want them to be, then you want, you know, on the Trump side. So but it’s a clean, clear differentiation now for people and nobody even on the Republican side has ever done anything as strong as this list of 20 that the President just did.
You know, Kelly, just a little bit of history on this to realize how big a deal this is. You were saying, Republicans typically go with what is viewed as a safe pick, somebody they can get through the Senate and not have a knockdown, drag out, but guarantee that they get them through and hopefully they’ll be good. And that was not even, I mean, maybe a 50/50 on the results. I mean, Reagan did that and we got bad Supreme Court Justice out of him and good Supreme Court Justice out of him. Bush did the same thing, we got a mixed bag. Trump in his first four years did not do that. And I’ve lost count how many times you and I’ve talked about this on our program of all of the great Judges that have been appointed in the last four years and not just have good Judges on the bench, the good results as a result of that, the cases that you’ve won, the cases that the Supreme Court that have been won. I mean, the results speak for themselves over the last four years.
They do and really, you know, if you look at the Trump appointments, they’ve been incredibly strong and that we moved religious liberty in some really important ways. The Bladensburg Cross, a decision at the Supreme Court really changed about 50 years of precedent where the government really almost had to be hostile to religion, which is not what our founders meant, and that’s now been really thrown out and changed and we’ve gone in a whole 180.
So some of these major, fundamental constitutional rights are being, I would say, restored by some of the recent decisions. But there have been some that conservatives didn’t like, right. They didn’t like the Bostock decision, which dealt with Title VII and reinterpreting the word sex to mean not just male and female, but transgender and all this.
And so I think what that did, though, is sort of it caused some real angst. I mean, a lot of people said, wait a second, we’re trying to get good people in the court, and they looked at the president and they said, we want judges who were not going to have to worry about flipping, and that’s what led… And in fact, it was not too long after that the President tweeted it. This wasn’t announced from his attorneys. This wasn’t announced in the White House Counsel’s Office or anywhere else. It was the President on his own, tweeted that he was going to do a new Supreme Court list, and I think he’s clearly responding to the bait saying we’re tired of this game of the past.
And so this list of 20, you’ve never seen Supreme Court picks like this. I mean, it’s hard for people to understand, but take James Ho, James Ho’s a brilliant attorney as these all these people are, really the highest credentials of anybody we’ve ever seen in appointments. But Jim Ho’s, a court for Justice Thomas, very bright, but he’s already got opinions out on sanctity of life, religious freedom, the Second Amendment, campaign finance, racial quotas, transgenderism, I mean, we could keep going. But you could see he’s already got opinions on all these things.
You don’t have to guess. You know where he’s been. Both when he was in Texas, and working with the Attorney General and the things he worked on there, and then now on the Fifth Circuit for the last two years.
Exactly. And when he gets a case on sanctity of life, what does he say in there? Well, typically in the old days, people would kind of avoid saying anything because they didn’t want to mark themselves, that’s a judge who doesn’t do that. He does exactly what Clarence Thomas would do. He says, this is what the Constitution says and if people don’t like it, I’m sorry. But this is what the Constitution says. This is what we’re following.
And for instance, own sanctity of life. He said, it, this is not in the Constitution. And how many Judges are willing to say what obviously needs to be said and to look at the actual words of the Constitution and say, my job is to go by the original meaning of the text, not to put things into the law of the Constitution that aren’t written? If you want to add those things, that is up to the people. That’s not up to me a Judge to usurp that authority. That’s the kind of Judges we want. And there’s a whole number of people like that on the list. So it really is different for people who don’t understand. Just know this is a really strong list.
And again, if you’re on the liberal side, you’re going to hate it. But are you on the conservative side, this is about as good as it was, it’s as good as it’s ever gotten before.
And some of the folks on there we know well from working with in the US Senate. So I mean, he’s got Ted Cruz on there, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, I mean, these are champions for everything we’ve been talking about.
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, do you ever think you’d have to worry about what Ted Cruz would do on any of these big issues? I mean, that’s exactly the kind of Judges that are on that list too. Just really different. And, you know, Rick, I think this is neat, not only because, at least people are saying, let’s pick the judges we want and let’s make it clear, and let’s have people with a record. But this sends a signal, there’s been over 200 federal Judges confirmed under Trump. And those Judges are now looking at this list and saying, this is what gets elevated. And so that’s a real strong message to those Judges that don’t hide, don’t be political and avoid hitting a tough decision, do your job, look at the text, say what the Constitution says, don’t go with the PC stuff and with whatever the pressure is, be real and be Clarence Thomas, you know? And so I think that’ll have an effect upon all of the judges because they now see this is the standard.
That’s good. Oh, that’s so good. Well, before I let you go, put the whole thing in context. I mean, we talked about this in 2016, the difference between, you’re not really voting back then for Hillary or Trump, you’re voting for 4,000 appointments all through all the departments, the Judges, all of those things, and which team is going to be in there. Same thing again, right, I mean, this is 4,000 appointments for the next four years, either by Trump who’s proven to make good appointments, or by Biden, who we know through the Obama years would support bad appointments. On the court level, we’re talking another 200 or 300 federal Judges in addition to the couple of potential Supreme Court Justices, right?
Yeah, you’re talking about control. Let’s say Trump were to win reelection, you’re probably going to have conservative control the courts for the next 30 years as a result of that, if that were to happen. Now that’s at the Supreme Court, but down below, probably the same. Because he’s going to have another 200 or so, I think there’ll be another 50 this year that would be confirmed. And so take things, if people sometimes, they have a hard time understanding what all this means.
Take the Ninth Circuit out of San Francisco, my prediction is if Trump were to win reelection, the Ninth Circuit would flip to a conservative circuit. And that is in San Francisco, it would be the Federal Court of Appeals that was over California; California would be under a conservative Federal Court of Appeals. Can you imagine? I’m sure their heads would explode. But so that’s the kind of change we’re talking about. And a number of the other circuits would flip too.
So, they’ve already had over half of them, now are conservative-control, but a number of the other ones would be that way. So it’s a big deal when it comes to Judges, you’re talking about both the Supreme Court and the lower courts as well.
And Kelly, this is not hypothetical. You guys do this almost in a data driven way on your website. You follow these Judges. You follow the appointment process. You keep people informed on this. Tell us how folks can support First Liberty. Because I mean, just this information is something that we should be supporting you for. But you’re also involved in all these cases, going before the Supreme Court at the local level, helping people that are having their religious liberties attacked, so many great things you guys are doing. What can we do to help First Liberty?
I would encourage to just go, you spell it out, firstliberty.org and you can go the website. I would encourage people, go down just a little bit and you can sign up for being on our “Insider Alert”, where you’ll get an alert once a week as to what’s happening in the whole area of religious freedom, the new battles, the cases, the big decisions, things to pray about, the Judges. And so that’s the easiest way, is just get involved. You can pray for the cases that you see.
You can send information to others to educate them as to what’s going on. If you want, you can go and scroll down to the bottom and there’s a deals this judicial nominees and you can click through and look at all the hundreds of Judges who are up and what their background is and what slots are being filled. So you can go as deep as you want. But at the very least, get on that “Insider Alert” so that you’re involved and you can support in prayer or financially or at least to educate others as to their religious freedom.
Amen. Well, I’m going to add to that. Donate, folks, life’s fortunes sacred honor, we conservatives are sometimes too conservative on finances. We need to be investing in freedom. One of the best places you can invest is First Liberty, so make that donation today as well. Kelly, God bless you, brother. Thanks for the time today.
Thank you, Rick.
Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us and special thanks to Kelly Shackleford. Check out First Liberty Institute. Donate, get on their email list and support those guys, they do fantastic work. Back with David and Tim, guys, listen, this list may be better. Sounds like from Kelly, it is better than the list in 2016.
Yeah, there’s no question is better. And one of the reasons is better is because we had a, I would say almost a single disappointment from Justice Gorsuch. Now, Justice Gorsuch, over the last couple years, he’s probably had 150 decisions. And there’s maybe only a couple that we would take exception with maybe three or four, but you know, you’re talking 1%, essentially. So he’s been really, really good. But the one he got wrong was on Bostock, which was a really big decision. Now, it turned out he was not the deciding vote. It was a six-three. So if he had been right on that, we still would have lost because of Chief Justice Roberts.
But nonetheless, what happened was that was really kind of a blow to social conservatives. I can’t believe Gorsuch did it, he’s been so good on everything. And is this another suit? Or is this another Sandra Day O’Connor? Is this another Justice Kennedy? And so, that kind of concern, so after that, Kelly stepped in and said, let’s make sure we don’t have another flaw that’s unseen in one of these Justices.
Well, and President Trump paid attention to that as well. He saw that there was a lot of frustration from a lot of the Christians who were saying, hey, this is a problem, because we trusted President Trump to give us people who were going to be constitutionally sound, who were going to be arguably very pro-religious in what they did and, and Gorsuch really seemed to blow it. I was impressed by how well Trump listened, because that allowed Kelly to come in and say, hey, we might want to do something a little different, which is exactly what this new list reveals. And as Kelly pointed out, there’s not a single bad name list. Whereas Trump’s original list, there were some question marks, although they were certainly better than any previous and probably for Presidents for decades.
Even with Gorsuch, you’re talking still 98-99% good, but if you can get 100%, go for it. And that’s really where Kelly was. And so I was sitting right beside Kelly when the President read through the list, because Kelly said, I just got back from the White House, President’s going to announced this afternoon. And we sat there and pulled it up on live feed from the White House.
And as we went through, Kelly was elated, because all the ones had pointed out that had some kind of bad decision, they were not on the list. He had been able to help keep them off the list and so that’s to the credit of President Trump, that he really does want the best Judges on there. But this is something that Biden cannot afford to talk about, but this is something we should be talking about, because this will reshape the nation for decades to come.
And this is where we should be looking much more at policy than personality. Because Proverbs 14:34 says “righteousness is what exalts a nation”. Righteousness deals a lot more with policy than it does with personality.
Well, we’ve got to take that kind of view. It can’t just be based on personality. And there’s so many things to look at in terms of actual results, not just campaign promises, but what has actually happened over the last four years and the kind of things that will exalt the nation, the types of Judges that we have. The Scripture speaks specifically to that and the types of Judges that we would want. And the President has given us that over the last four years for the most part. And this list that Kelly talked about today is just incredible.
We sure hope you’ve enjoyed our program today and hope you’ve learned some things and hope you’ll share some things? You know, one of the most important things you can do in an election year is help inform the people in your circle. So take these programs, share them on social media, get your friends and family to go to wallbuilderslive.com and listen to these shows. We just speak the truth. We just bring the interviews and the truth to you and then we encourage you to spread it out there in the culture. We can reach so many more people whenever you’re helping us do that. It makes you a force multiplier.
So thanks for being a part of the solution, helping to restore America’s constitutional republic. And thanks so much for listening today to WallBuilders Live.