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Ethics In Government

by David P. Schippers


Talk by David P. Schippers at CMF Anaheim Conference 2002. A trial attorney for 40 years, he was the Chief Counsel to House Mgrs. charged with the impeachment trial of President Clinton.

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Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, St. Louis, MO, August 2002

A little over 200 years ago, our forefathers, who were not timid men, founded an idea that was unheard of — the theory that free men could actually govern themselves! And so — they provided us with the United States of America! Now they weren't wild-eyed idealists or the type of people who were just dreamers. They were well skilled and had a great deal of experience not only in government but in religion, in politics and in war. So when they founded the government, they gave us a Constitution that, with a few amendments over the years, has served as the Constitutional basis for the government of the greatest nation in the history of mankind.

But our fathers were not just coming up with a theory; they were not coming up with a Constitution that would give everybody the right to do whatever he pleased. No, they founded this country on certain fundamental principles, the first of which is that there is an eternal and unchangeable norm; we call it a moral code against which all of the acts of nations, of citizens, and of public officials are to be measured. Second, and just as important, was the idea that all public officials must be held to a certain level of honor, integrity and courage. Third, and most important — every nation, human being, public official must be responsible for his or her own acts and the consequences that flow there from. Those were the three key provisions on which our fathers founded this country. They are three provisions that today are virtually laughed at. People are not responsible for their own acts.

The founders also were religious men. If anybody had told the people at the Constitutional Convention "you're not allowed to say a prayer or you're not allowed to invoke the name of God" they would have thrown him out the window in Philadelphia. They recognized that all legitimate power and sovereignty comes from God through the people. They also recognized that we are a wounded race. They knew of original sin — this is the sin that nobody expects us to accept any more and they knew of man's propensity for evil. So what did they do? They set up our system of checks and balances, separation of powers. They knew that if the governed are not controlled, that they will end up in anarchy. Now the government of the people of the United States could be controlled in two ways. One, they could control themselves or two, they could be controlled.

Freedom consists not in doing whatever you want or whatever you please; freedom consists in doing what you ought to do. And therein lies the basis of our republic. People will be controlled either by themselves or by others. And if people will not control their passions, their passions will control them. As Edmund Burke put it "their passions form their feathers" and they become slaves to their passions and eventually to a totalitarian government.

They also recognized that government itself and those who control the government must be controlled. They knew that people who are in power tend to grab more power. As Lord Acton said "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely". So they formed these methods of controlling the government and those who govern in the Constitution — as I said, checks and balances, separation of powers.


One of the main methods by which they control the Presidency was the power of impeachment. Anyone who reads the accounts of the Constitutional Convention — the actual minutes of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 — will see that there is one idea that flows throughout the entire Convention and it is this: men in power cannot be trusted with that power. The founders thought the problem would be in the House of Representatives because they thought it would have all the power in the world. During the corruption of 1992-2000, we saw that the House of Representatives was not the problem — the President was.

Even in an impeachment, the Constitution separates the power of impeachment. The House of Representatives can charge a President with high crimes and misdemeanors, but only the Senate can convict him of those crimes and misdemeanors. And then only after a trial. That is the power that was used against President William Jefferson Clinton. The House of Representatives did exactly what they were supposed to do. I heard Senators, including the Senator from West Virginia, saying "well, we're not going to have a circus like they had in the House of Representatives". You know what the circus was? It was your elected Representatives in the light of God and man, with a television camera on them, debating, fighting, calling each other names and voting to impeach the President. Contrast that with the Senate that slipped off into a quiet room, closed the doors, wouldn't let anyone see what they were doing and when they came out, they voted 100-0 to make certain that William Jefferson Clinton wouldn't be convicted. I am thoroughly convinced that the morality, the courage, the honor of the Senate of the United States and as a result of the country itself, reached its nadir on February 12, 1999 — Lincoln's Birthday. Because on that day, the Senate of the United States — charged constitutionally and by an oath to do equal and impartial justice — performed what I considered to be the most cynical, cowardly and dastardly political act in the history of the United States. For without looking at one word of evidence, without talking to one witness, without even talking to the people who had done the investigations, without talking to the people from the House who had done the investigations, the Senate of the United States voted to acquit Clinton on all counts. That was the nadir, the lowest point.

Now we all know, and I think most will agree, that the nation was harmed by the Clinton Administration. But let me tell you that you haven't the faintest idea of how badly we were harmed. We're just beginning to see what happened. William Clinton wants to know what his legacy will be, well, I'll tell you Mr. President — it's 3,000 dead Americans on the streets of New York — that's your legacy. Because what he and his ilk did was to destroy our military completely: our military was really incapable of doing anything with the exception of the Special Services who for some reason he wasn't able to get. Secrets, military secrets, secrets of high military intelligence material, high scientific material were sold to our possible future enemies. Clear signs of eminent danger to the United States and the security of the people were ignored and covered up. And worst of all, the Clinton Administration so emasculated our intelligence gathering ability that 9-11 was the ultimate result of that emasculation.

These things are not said for political reasons. Everything is backed by facts and those facts are starting to come out. One major fact is that the Oklahoma City Bombing was an Iraqi terrorist attack on the United States. We have identified John Doe #2; he left Oklahoma City after bombing the Muir Building and went to work — guess where — Logan Airport. And he was there on 9-11. He has disappeared since then. There was information all over the United States as early as April that there was about to be a massive attack on lower Manhattan and everybody ignored it.

Third World War

As a direct result, we are now engaged in what I have to refer to as the Third World War. It is a world war; it only differs from the Second World War in that we are not fighting nations any more, we're fighting an international terrorist organization. There are people in every nation on the face of the earth, unfortunately including our own, who absolutely hate and despise everything our Founders gave us. They hate our freedom, they hate our religious tolerance, they hate our religion. They have sworn to kill every one of us: man, woman and child. And they intend to do it in the name of a perverted religion. We cannot let that happen. They want to destroy Western civilization and replace it with a seventh-century barbarism that they call a religion. Now I am not talking about all Muslims. I am talking about the lunatic fringe, the crazies who want to adopt an insane, militant Islamic government in the United States — a Taliban of the United States if you will. This is not the time then to listen to all the naysayers or the criers or the whiners and the hate America firsters; this is a time to stand together. We shouldn't be worried about the comfort of a bunch of murdering Taliban al-Qaeda fighters and ignore the safety of our armed forces.

I have heard it said recently on a college campus "nothing is worth dying for". Now to those persons I say "shame". There are things worth dying for. This country is worth dying for, Western civilization is worth dying for and our people from the time this country came into being have proved that with their lives and their blood all over the world.

We are a nation at war, and our only policy should be to wage war — strenuously, directly, as hard as we have to. President Bush said to the world "you are either with us or against us". I say to the professors on the campuses and some of the far-left liberals who follow their direction "that goes for you too Buster".

There is one thing about reaching the nadir and that is that the only way to go is up. We're seeing much more patriotism, much more courage, we're seeing people praying — publicly praying.

We see signs "God Bless America" and this is a great step. But we have a long way to go. No nation can call itself civilized as long as it refuses to protect the most innocent and the most helpless members of the community. I specifically point out unborn babies. Any country that doesn't meet that standard is demonstrating a total disregard for human dignity and unfortunately this country is demonstrating the disdain for human dignity.

Now the unborn cannot lobby in Washington, the unborn don't vote, the unborn can't protect themselves, you can't even say that they are able in any way to contribute to the common good, but each unborn child has an immortal soul; an immortal soul that was created by a specific and direct act of God Almighty and we should never forget that.

"Catholic" Politicians

I want to read something to you that was from Pope Pius XI in 1930 and it answers the question about America's so-called Catholic politicians. "Those who hold the reigns of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authorities to defend the lives of the innocent, among whom we must mention in the first place, the infant in the mother's womb. And if the public magistrates do not defend them, but by their laws and at the hands of doctors and others they permit them to die, let them remember that God is the judge and the avenger of innocent blood that cries out from earth to heaven for vengeance. Every legislator, public official and judge should heed that warning and every so-called Catholic legislator should heed it even more strenuously."

This is an appeal to the American philosophy and it directly attacks the whole abortion theory. We talk about the Constitution. The Supreme Court in Washington talks about the Constitution — the Constitution does this, the Constitution separates church and state, and the Constitution gives the right to privacy and so on. The Constitution is the method by which the government operates. The soul of this nation, the philosophy of this nation, the reason this nation has endured is the Declaration of Independence. Listen to the words of that Declaration. If you are an American, you have to back this. This is why men have died on the beaches of Normandy and why they are dying today in Afghanistan. "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal": created, and read into it "and at the instant of their creation they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among those is the right to life. At the instant of creation, every child in this country is given by God the inalienable right to life and nobody, no Supreme Court, no legislature, nobody has the right to take it away".

Another election will occur in November of 2002. Whether our children and our children's children will preside at the ultimate destruction, the ultimate demise of the American experiment or whether they will enjoy the decency, the honor, the courage, the Americanism that made this nation the most moral nation on the face of the earth is in our hands. The time has come to vocally and specifically call your elected public officials to account. Go to their meetings and say, "where do you stand?" "Where do you stand on cloning?" "Where do you stand on abortion and partial birth abortion?" If they don't stand where you want them to stand, vote against them. The time has come for us to all stand together and meet this deadly challenge and defeat it. And above all, the time has come for us to put aside party politics, party loyalties and vote for life.

Some of the officials that we should be calling into account are the Bishops. The American Bishops. There were Bishops in the early days of the Church who were eaten by lions, murdered, martyred. Our own Cardinal Mindszenty went through hell on earth for his religion. What are they afraid of? Are they afraid of being insensitive?" The time has come to be insensitive! Or the media might say "Oh, the Bishops are starting to infuse themselves into the political process". Tell that to Al Scharpton and Jesse Jackson. I say to the Bishops "why are you standing mute and not doing anything?" The time has come for them to speak out.

This country is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. There is a shrine in Washington to the Immaculate Conception. We prayed, my staff and I, every day while we were in Washington for the intercession of the Immaculate Conception. Not that we would win, but that the right thing would happen. And no matter how bad we felt when we walked out of the Senate, the Guardian Angel of the United States was watching over us and I think Mary was watching over us because had we won, Gore would be President of the United States today. There is a God.

Pray To The Immaculate Conception

I've asked people everywhere I go to pray to the Immaculate Conception and, if you can, say one decade of the Rosary. Those of you who are not Catholic, just say a prayer. Let's say one decade of the Rosary a day for the conversion of the United States. Mary will not abandon us. My faith and hope is in the God that made this nation. I pray that He will preserve and protect this nation so that in God's good time and through the intercession of the Immaculate Conception, the flag of the United States will once again wave as an emblem and a symbol of human dignity for the rest of time.

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