Phillip Jauregui wants to restore our governing document

There’s a congressional candidate from Alabama who’s a little out of the ordinary. His oddity comes not from the fact that he’s an attorney or a well-known figure in recent national events. It’s his commitment to the Constitution that makes him a rarity among congressional candidates and current members. That and his commitment to action: “The courts have literally betrayed their oaths to the Constitution and, … [members of] Congress are not keeping their oaths if they simply stand around and watch the Constitution being destroyed.”

Phillip Jauregui, 34, is campaigning in the Republican Primary for the 6th District of the U.S. House of Representatives. He hails from Birmingham, has two children and is married to Jennifer. Jauregui has been in private practice since 1998. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Attorney General for the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Assistant Legal Advisor to former Governor Fob James, attorney for former Chief Justice Perry Hooper, and was a clerk with the Alabama Supreme Court. He graduated from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law.

Familiarity with Jauregui in Alabama and across the United States stems from his involvement with the legal cases of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and the well-known Montgomery Ten Commandments monument. Jauregui first began working with Moore in 1995, when he was a legal advisor to James in the earlier Ten Commandments case when Moore was a circuit judge. He also served as Moore’s campaign manager in the 2000 chief justice race in which Moore was elected. In the recent cases, Jauregui served as Moore’s lead counsel, arguing the appeal of Moore’s removal from office before a specially-selected Alabama Supreme Court.

Jauregui serves on the Prison Fellowship of Alabama Council, part of a national ministry headed by Chuck Colson. He also serves on the Sav-A-Life board, a pro-life ministry that provides counselling and other assistance to women who might otherwise undergo abortions. Jauregui is a member of the Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, where he also serves as a trustee.

The campaign Jauregui runs is focused on constitutional restoration. He wants Congress to take responsibility for its role as the legislative body–and to fiercely protect that authority from federal judges. He says that, if Congress is acting only as “an ad hoc body that makes policy recommendations to the Supreme Court, then Congress is not being Congress.” The Constitution must be restored to its place as the primary governing instrument of our nation. He fears that existence of Americans as a free people is threatened by judicial tyranny.

Congress must be true to the Constitution. Jauregui points out that congressmen don’t take oaths to get themselves re-elected or to keep their majority party status in Congress; instead, their oaths are to protect and defend the Constitution. In order for congressmen to uphold their oaths to the Constitution by limiting judicial abuse, Jauregui advocates four steps.

The first thing he says Congress must do is to simply “limit the court to its constitutional jurisdiction.” Instead of taking direction from the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, Congress should act as a separate body, making its own decisions about law. When the courts overstep their authority, Congress can also further limit their jurisdiction.

The second thing Congress can do to restrict abuse by the courts is to restrict funding. Jauregui suggests that the resolution the House of Representatives passed in the Montgomery Ten Commandments monument case is a good method of blocking enforcement of unconstitutional rulings by courts. In that case, the House said that it would not allocate any funds to the enforcement of the federal judge’s order to remove the monument. Similar restriction of funds in other cases could render out of control judges powerless to enforce their rulings. Jauregui said, “Congress has the authority–and, as a matter of fact, has the duty–to restrict funding” in cases where the courts try to tell Congress how to do its job.

The third thing Jauregui wants Congress to do is to “discipline members of the court who are refusing to confine themselves to their constitutional role as judges.” The Constitution provides for the impeachment and removal from office of judges who do not serve under good behavior. Jauregui said, “Judges are not behaving well when they defy their oaths and anoint themselves as legislators over Congress.” “… If they don’t … respect congressional action which is gentle, then maybe the only thing they’re going to respect is removal from office.” He said that impeachment is a discipline of last–but real–resort that should be used judiciously and strategically.

Jauregui’s fourth idea for accountability is the passage of laws by Congress to deal with particular court cases. Such a law would identify Congress as the lawmaking body, state that the court’s purpose is to decide controversy–not to make law–and identify rulings in specific cases as void. Jauregui said, “According to Chief Justice Marshall in 1803 in Marbury v. Madison, if a ruling is repugnant to the Constitution, it’s void. The same way with a statute. If Congress does something that’s repugnant to the Constitution, it’s void. If a federal judge issues an order that is repugnant to the Constitution, that order is void. Judges, too, … take an oath to the Constitution and they are bound to it. … Accordingly, other officers … who have taken oaths to the Constitution … are bound to the Constitution, not to federal judges who have unbound themselves from their oaths to the Constitution and are now declaring war against it.”

Jauregui sees the Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 as one means of reigning in runaway federal judges. If the act doesn’t pass in the current class of Congress, Jauregui would make it his first priority, if elected. He said, “I feel so strongly about it that I would have to talk with the leadership in Washington–congressional leadership–and I would tell them, ‘This must be our number one priority.’ And I would say that very respectfully and I would want them to make it the number one priority but if they did not, then I would have to say, ‘Then you’re not leading.’ And, I would then look for other leaders in Congress who would then make this their number one priority.”

On other issues, Jauregui is similarly conservative. He opposes the continuation of “most favored nation” trading status for China: “The main reason is that they’re persecuting the Church…” Jauregui also opposes abortion: “Life begins at conception and the taking of that life is wrong.” He is against stem cell research on materials from aborted babies because the children haven’t given their consent and also because using fetal tissues creates an incentive to kill children. “There are plenty of other ways we can do medical research without desecrating the bodies of innocent babies,” Jauregui said.

One issue on which Jauregui differs from many other conservative leaders is his position on the Federal Marriage Amendment. The proposed amendment would define marriage as solely between a man and woman. Jauregui doesn’t believe this is enough. He says all the blood, sweat, and tears needed to pass such an amendment wouldn’t be well spent if it simply allows homosexual marriage to go forward under the name of civil unions.

He is even more adamant that this issue doesn’t require such an amendment at all. “The whole reason we’re dealing with this crisis in marriage today is because of what the US Supreme Court did last summer in Lawrence v. Texas. And what the court did in Lawrence v. Texas was absolutely unlawful and unconstitutional.” Jauregui believes what the Supreme Court did was illegitimate and that, because it was illegitimate, it should be ignored. Instead of the knee-jerk reaction of a constitutional amendment, Congress should “…stand up and be Congress and say, ‘No, we won’t allow you to do that.'” He also said, “I think it’s ridiculous if we allow the courts to do something illegitimate and then we treat it as legitimate and force ourselves to correct it through this long process, it’s the wrong way to go. The best way to handle it is to recognize what they’ve done is illegitimate, period.”

While others have been talking, Jauregui has been doing. We know very well that talk is cheap these days. But, Jauregui has actively worked to assist justice in Alabama and the nation. Many a congressman can introduce or co-sponsor a good bill, but making sure the right thing is done by fighting for the passage of that bill is quite another. We’ve long suffered the games of politicians who promise the moon and deliver nothing more than muck. Jauregui’s a man who is committed to doing the right thing whether he loses re-election, is expelled from Congress, or is vilified by the unsavory elements of the American Civil Liberties Union or Southern Poverty Law Center and their lot. He’s counted the cost and he’s willing to pay the price. He’s not interested in a political legacy–a godly one will do just fine.

He’s a leader committed to submission to the Supreme Ruler of the world. Jauregui understands that no judge, no president, no legislator can make right what God has declared wrong.