Action Alert!

Episode 17: A Civics Lesson for Catholics—Bob Marshall

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Sep 25, 2018

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Many Catholics have become cynical about the possibility of changing the political landscape, but perhaps we’ve given up before we’ve really tried. It’s not just about electing the right congressmen and nominating the right justices, it’s about keeping them accountable.

In this episode, former Virginia delegate Bob Marshall shares practical insights drawn from his encyclopedic knowledge of the American political tradition and from his own achievements in politics: for example, he was behind the Hyde Amendment which stopped abortion funding via Medicaid. He reminds us that “To render to Caesar, you have to know the structure of Caesar’s world.”

Did you know that Congress has the Constitutional authority to decide what kinds of cases the Supreme Court may hear? What about the possibility of amending appropriations bills to render SCOTUS decisions like Obergefell unenforceable? Have you given real consideration to the fact that local politics is the foundation for everything else? If not, you’ll want to listen to this episode.


Robert G. Marshall, Reclaiming the Republic: How Christians and Other Conservatives Can Win Back America

Jeff Mirus’s review of Reclaiming the Republic

Bob Marshall’s recent articles for The Federalist

Msgr. John Sanders, the priest who played with Duke Ellington


2:41 Bob Marshall’s political career and recent defeat

6:01 Why Bob wrote Reclaiming the Republic; natural law in the American founding

9:25 Catholics ought not withdraw from politics: Biblical precedents

13:25 Judicial branch is not the final authority on what is Constitutional; Congress’s authority to decide what cases the Supreme Court can hear

23:32 The importance of educating your representatives

26:47 Bob’s role in passing the Hyde Amendment; importance of the power of the purse

34:13 Appropriations bills can be used to keep bad Supreme Court decisions from being enforced

36:22 Our representatives avoid voting on the record so we can’t hold them accountable

39:24 How to get your representative to go on the record

41:03 The oath of office—you can’t fulfill it if you don’t read the bills you vote on!

44:15 Anti-commandeering laws, by which states can refuse to enforce federal laws

48:47 Why you should vote in primary elections

50:41 “All politics is local”: issues that affect people’s daily lives

53:18 The importance of the precinct; door-to-door campaigning tips

57:45 The role of corporations in promoting immoral policies

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All podcast music by Thomas V. Mirus unless otherwise stated.

Thomas V. Mirus is a pianist living in New York City. He is the director of audio media for and hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

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