SAN DIEGO – It is time for Congress to impeach U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones. Judge Jones ruled on Wednesday that the Boy Scouts of America must leave their aquatics center on San Diego’s Fiesta Island in which the Scouts have invested millions of dollars since 1987. Jones says that the Scouts are “an admittedly religious, albeit nonsectarian and discriminatory organization” and thus violate the constitutional “separation of church and state” by holding a public-private partnership with San Diego.
In a similar ruling last summer, Jones found “overwhelming and uncontradicted evidence” that the Boy Scouts violate the separation of church and state by having used San Diego’s Balboa Park as a summer camp since 1915. After the City of San Diego recently capitulated to the American Civil Liberties Union in legal opposition to the Boy Scouts’ use of Balboa Park, the Scouts face a third ruling by Judge Jones in which they will likely be formally evicted from the camp.
The camps in both Fiesta Island and Balboa Park are maintained and funded by the Boy Scouts of America at no cost to taxpayers. In the past few years, the Scouts have expended millions of dollars to operate and improve both venues. Even so, other groups use the island and the park, such as the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Festival held last year, and again this year on July 31 and Aug. 1, in Balboa Park.
Furthermore, the Boy Scouts are not the only organization with partnerships in the City of San Diego. A Jewish Community Center, Boys and Girls Clubs, a Korean Church, and the Girl Scouts are among dozens of non-profit organizations that hold leases for parkland and other city property.
Whether the Boy Scouts is a religious organization or not bears no legal significance for Judge Jones, because the Constitution forbids the federal government from touching the question of religion. If San Diego itself wanted to establish a citywide religion, the federal government would have no authority to approve or disapprove.
But in this case, the city has not established a religion, and neither has the Boy Scouts. Though the organization is reflective of a Christian ethic, Boy Scouts hail from every religion, creed, and denomination. In that ecumenical spirit, the Scouts have contributed millions of hours of time and priceless services to America’s communities. San Diego is an example of a city that has benefited greatly from its partnership with the Boy Scouts.
Nevertheless, Judge Jones, aware that the Scout Oath contains a pledge of “duty to God and my country,” has twice declared that the Boy Scouts of America are incompatible with government at any level. If Judge Jones’ ruling survives the Boy Scouts’ planned appeals, we can expect the repeal of the Scouts’ Congressional Charter (dated 1916), the cancellation of the 2005 National Boy Scouts Jamboree to be held on National Park land, and the exclusion of Eagle Scout candidates from service project opportunities in America’s towns and cities, among other drastic measures at the federal, state and local levels.
But instead of destroying the Boy Scouts, Americans ought to see to it that Congress destroys Judge Jones’ career as a federal judge.
Since Bill Clinton appointed Napoleon Jones to the U.S. District Court in 1994, Jones has worked hard to increase the coercive power of the federal government while destroying religious liberty. In Jones’ Boy Scouts rulings, he has absolutely ignored the Constitution that he is sworn to uphold, and he has used the authority of the federal judiciary to pummel the Boy Scouts with as much vitriol and vituperation as is becoming of a declaration of hate authored by the ACLU itself.
Congress has the power to impeach renegade activist judges like Judge Jones who have no regard for the Constitution and the rule of law. In this and other great moral issues, our Republican Congress cannot continue to sit by and allow our federal judges to trample upon our Constitution, our founding principles and our way of life.
In the past, talk-show host Bill O’Reilly, Judge Anthony Napolitano, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Claremont Institute constitutional scholar John Eastland and others have called on Congress to impeach Judge Jones. But citizens across America must take action to make it happen.