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Rulings 'Not Law of Land,' Robertson Says : Evangelist Takes Aim at Supreme Court

June 28, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Pat Robertson, head of the Christian Broadcasting Network and a potential candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, said Friday that Supreme Court rulings are "not the law of the land."

Robertson said that while he felt obligated to obey the laws of the United States and all 50 states, "I am not bound by any case or court to which I myself am not a party."

Robertson made his comments in an interview with editors and reporters published in the Washington Post. In the interview, Robertson, a graduate of the Yale Law School, outlined a theory of constitutional government at odds with much contemporary legal scholarship.

Cites Founding Fathers

Citing Presidents James Madison and Andrew Jackson, Robertson said the Founding Fathers never intended the Supreme Court to be paramount over either the executive or legislative branches of government.

"A Supreme Court ruling is not the law of the United States," Robertson told the Post. "The law of the United States is the Constitution, treaties made in accordance with the Constitution and laws duly enacted by Congress and signed by the President. And any of these things I would uphold totally with all my strength, whether I agreed with them or not."

Robertson, who has indicated he will make an announcement concerning his presidential ambitions sometime in September, outlined his views on the court and Constitution in response to a question on abortion.

Opposed to Abortion

The host of CBN's "700 Club" is an adamant foe of abortion and told the Post questioners that he believes the 1973 Supreme Court decision making most abortions legal was "based on very faulty law."

The Post reported that while Robertson said he would not seek to overturn the decision by executive action, he "left the impression that he would not feel bound to enforce it either."

Robertson also has been quoted as saying that the Constitution is "a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheist people, they use it to destroy the very foundations of our society. And that's what's been happening."

Earlier this year, in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee's annual meeting, Robertson accused the Supreme Court of being a "tyrannical oligarchy" and said "most of the trouble" facing the nation "has been brought upon us by the egregious decisions of five members" of the nine-member Supreme Court.

"The absurdity of the court system is beyond belief," he said. "We have legislation now in the form of black-robed justices."

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