(CNSNews.com) – A more conservative justice could have occupied the open Supreme Court seat in the early 1980s that went to Sandra Day O’Connor – if White House officials had heeded Paul Weyrich’s objections during a crucial meeting.
This recollection came from Pat Robertson, the televangelist who founded the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), during a dinner tribute to Weyrich held at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Robertson and other long-time friends, colleagues and admirers of the conservative activist shared their thoughts by way of video.
The misgivings Weyrich had expressed about O’Connor turned out to be well-founded, Robertson said. Moreover, Weyrich’s willingness to stand on principle, even if it put him at odds with presidents and leaders of his own party, was instrumental to the success of the conservative movement, said Robertson.
Weyrich first came to Washington, D.C., more than 40 years ago to work as a press secretary to Sen. Gordon Allot (R-Colo.).
While serving on Capitol Hill, Weyrich became acquainted with Joseph Coors, whose grandfather had founded the Coors Brewing Company. Together they worked to build and fund an independent research organization that would help influence policy. This endeavor eventually grew into the Heritage Foundation.
Weyrich also played a major role in founding the Coalitions for America, the Council for National Policy, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Free Congress Foundation.
But the conservative leader was honored and recognized not only for what he built but also for what he helped to prevent. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) praised his long-time friend and ally for safeguarding American sovereignty and independence.
Without Weyrich’s leadership the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Law of Sea Treaty, and immigration amnesty bills could very well have come into reality, Inhofe said.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) credited Weyrich for launching a new conservative movement that was “inconceivable” in the 1970s. Moreover, the “Contract with America,” which helped usher in a Republican majority in 1994, may not have happened if Weyrich had not been a player on the national scene, Gingrich said.
For his own part, Weyrich was reluctant to identify himself with some of the notable achievements of the conservative movement cited during the dinner.
“I don’t deserve this kind of tribute,” he said. “I am absolutely amazed that all of you feel this way – but I’m very grateful that you do.”
The credit really belongs to the talented people in the movement who Weyrich helped identify and promote in the movement.
“If I get credit for anything, it is perhaps the ability to pick good people who have produced widely over the years,” said Weyrich. “I could not have done what little I have done – and it is little in the scheme of things – without their help.”