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Radio interview
Alan Keyes on the G. Gordon Liddy Show
March 7, 2005

G. GORDON LIDDY, HOST: All right, ladies and gentlemen, we are back here at the G. Gordon Liddy Show. I want to tell you that one of the people I admire most in American political life is Dr. Alan Keyes. He is an American politician, a diplomat, considered one of the leading African Americans in the Republican Party. He served in the U.S. foreign service, was appointed Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, then became a United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations under President Reagan. He has run for the presidency--and I think it's too bad that he didn't get it. He is an absolutely brilliant man.

Dr. Keyes, welcome to the G. Gordon Liddy Show again.

ALAN KEYES: Hi. How are you? I'm glad to be with you.

LIDDY: I'm fine. I'm really pleased to have you on again.

One of the things that we have been following here on the show is this horrible situation down in Florida, where a woman who is not being kept alive by heroic, technical means is being permitted by a judge to be killed by her husband--to death by starvation and thirst. I know you as a highly ethical person. What do you make of this? This is a terrible situation.

KEYES: First of all, I think it is a travesty, obviously. When we start defining giving food and water to somebody as extraordinary medical procedure, parents could put their children in the closet and starve them to death, and we would call it natural death. That's ridiculous.

The very idea of what is involved here ought to be repellant to the common sense and moral logic of everybody who hears about it--and I think it does have that effect on most people.

This is not a case, by the way, where you have got clear medical determination that this is a Persistent Vegetative State. All of that is mythical. In point of fact, there is a tremendous dispute, and what is clear is that the husband has refused any kind of therapy, any kind of effort, despite medical advances that have taken place dealing with patients who are in comas. We are in a situation where, to a certain extent, all of that is being ignored, and there are a lot of ins and outs to the particulars.

The thing that really intrigues me about this, though, and the question that I keep asking people right now--because you've got a question of life and death at stake--why is it that we are simply allowing the arbitrary judgment of this judge to prevail in a situation where the life and death right of an individual is at stake? The judge is pursuing, willy-nilly, to go down a road and claim that he has this judicial power. Meanwhile, the legislature has expressed its view. The courts struck it down, but the legislature feels like this is a travesty and ought not to take place.

LIDDY: And I know the governor does.

KEYES: And the governor feels this way.

Here is the simple question: why have we come to a situation where [we have] three equal branches, and we look at a situation like this and conclude that even though the other two branches believe that a travesty and a violation of basic, fundamental, constitutional, and human rights is taking place, and we act as if they can't do anything?

That is not true, by the way. The separation of powers leaves the judges in a position where they have their opinions but where those opinions on these fundamental matters do not have to be acted upon by the executive.

Why doesn't anybody remember this?

The executive has an independent will and judgment, responsible before God and under the Constitution of the United States and Florida for what he does with that executive power. He is like somebody who cannot plead "the judges made me do it," because the judges have no right to make the chief executive do anything.

I was rereading recently this simple passage that is there in the Federalist Papers. They are talking about the nature of judicial power, right?

LIDDY: Yes, they are.

KEYES: And it says, "The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgment."

LIDDY: Yes, but Dr. Keyes, we have seen, in numerous cases now, where the judiciary has ordered the state legislatures to impose taxes for schools and things like that. We have seen a situation where, up in Massachusetts, they said, "You must issue marriage licenses to persons of the same sex." I don't see why the people are so reluctant just to say no.

KEYES: Exactly. A matter of fact, what everybody is forgetting, we have separation of powers. You cannot have separation of powers if the will of one branch is subordinate to the will of another branch. If there is a difference of view between the executive and the courts, or the legislature and the courts, the other branches can look the court in the eye and say, "No. . . ."

LIDDY: Exactly.

KEYES: "We have a separate will, we make a separate determination. We won't do what you say."

That is especially true of the executive, who, as an individual, takes an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution, and who has a separate, individual, moral obligation to act in a conscientious fashion--rather than in this case, for instance, to allow a judicial murder to take place.

Jeb Bush is, I think, under a deep, personal, moral, and constitutional responsibility. If he sits on his hands and lets a judicial murder take place, he cannot plead that somebody else made him do it. He has a position that gives him the independent will and authority, and if a judge is doing something he regards as a travesty, he is under an obligation not to allow it to take place.

LIDDY: Indeed. And when we consider the relative authorities of the legislative branches and the judiciary, if we look to the federal situation in our federal Constitution, the Congress has the constitutional right to limit the appellate jurisdiction of the federal courts. So, if anyone should be superior, it would be, I would think, the legislature, which expresses the will of the people and is responsive to them.

KEYES: Well, the argument that was made in the Federalist Papers--and I was reading, by the way, from Federalist 78, in case anybody in your audience wants to take a look at it--but the argument that was made in the Federalist Papers was very clear, in terms of there being three separate and, in the sense of will and independence, equal branches, in the sense that the legislature has its own independent authority to determine the nature of the laws, and ultimately even to impeach the judges, and so forth; and the executive has the sole and separate responsibility for action, that is, for using the active arm of the state to do anything.

The judiciary does not have a share in that executive power. And under our systems of separation of powers, to give the judiciary that share--which some people have been doing tacitly and by argument--is to establish a clear and direct tyranny.

And this where I think we have come. We are dealing right now with a tyranny of the judges, in which they get to make decisions, force the execution of those decisions, just as if they had been elected to wield the executive power.

This is destroying the fundamental concept of separation that guarantees our liberty as a free people. And I think it is being done across the board, in Ten Commandments cases, in all kinds of cases, where executives need now to revisit the question of the separation of powers and wake up to the truth that they have a separate obligation--it is not just a right--they have a separate obligation to exercise their conscientious, independent judgment when the judiciary is ordering something or it issues an opinion that they believe is in contravention of basic constitutional law and right.

LIDDY: I am speaking with Dr. Alan Keyes. His doctorate is from Harvard University. And as I told you folks, he is one of the most articulate and accurate thinkers in the nation. Dr. Keyes, you mentioned the recent decisions of the Supreme Court. Mr. Justice Kennedy's decision with respect to persons who commit crimes prior to reaching their 18th birthday [exempting them from] execution and so forth. It is intellectually incoherent. I don't see how any person who has any command of the English language and of logic can be other than just befuddled by what he is trying to do here.

KEYES: Two things happened in that case. You have a judge basically saying that he--or the judges, by their own authority--can impose laws that haven't been passed by our legislature, and practices that aren't respected by our legislature or in any way representative of our people, can impose them by judicial fiat. That is what happened in this case. And [they are ruling] that it can be in an area that has traditionally been regarded as the exclusive prerogative of the legislature. If they can determine particulars like this, at what age shall we apply this penalty or that penalty, why not have the courts deciding everything?

The people say these are issues of rights and equity. Anything can be construed as an issue of right. Even the question of what the tax rate ought to be could be argued to be an issue of equal right. And if that is the case, then the judges have the right to decide what the tax rate should be, and simply to take over the government. That is why we are going down a road here that is dangerous.

LIDDY: And in some instances, they have actually done that in some state courts.

Dr. Keyes, what do you make of the Supreme Court of the United States, which is supposed to be interpreting the United States Constitution, going abroad and saying, "Well, what do they do in Sweden? What does the U.N. like?" and actually averring to treaties which we have rejected! I don't understand that.

KEYES: I think it is quite clear that you have courts now that are running wild, and that are imposing their dictation on the country, without regard to the Constitution, without regard to the laws. Under our system, laws can only be made by representative legislatures.


KEYES: And if you start imposing laws from the bench, you have destroyed our representative system of government.

I think people ought to be outraged. They ought to see that our whole system is being destroyed.

When you can take that abuse and apply it to the particular case where you are allowing an individual to be murdered--that is to say, by positive act of omission, to be done to death--I don't see how anyone in this country feels safe anymore. Because that means, if somebody gets a judge on their side and decides to target you for death, you have had it. And they are claiming that nobody else can intervene to stop that.

LIDDY: In ancient Rome, they would execute criminals by chaining them to a rock somewhere and letting them starve and thirst to death. And that is exactly what is being done down here.

KEYES: And I don't understand--in Florida, you have a lot of people going to Florida to retire, you have elderly folks. If we are in a situation now where a family member can get a determination from a judge and say, "OK, I now have the right to let this person who needs care starve to death," I don't know why anybody who has reached their senior years would feel safe. If somebody has a motive to do them to death, they could find the judicial process, and put some judge in their pocket, and they will get it done.

When you are in that situation, and you are telling me that, in the face of everybody looking at it and saying, "No, that's a travesty," we are helpless to intervene? That's nonsense.

A chief executive like Jeb Bush--who sees that going on in his state, who sees essentially what amounts to a kind of judicial lynching taking place, of an innocent person being done to death by a court decision--is under an obligation due to his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution to move in and do something.

He has the executive power. The judges do not have executive power. And he can use that executive power conscientiously to safeguard the integrity of constitutional right. That's what he ought to be doing in this case, not waiting on the courts to decide.

And if people say the chief executive could abuse that power--no. The legislature has the right to remove the chief executive when he gets abusive.

These are active obligations. We cannot have the separation of powers if the branches don't actively use their powers and act according to their responsibilities.

LIDDY: Dr. Keyes, once again you have very articulately spelled out what is at stake here. I want to thank you. We've run out of time. I want to thank you so much for visiting the show again.

KEYES: I'm glad to do it. Thank you.

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