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Blockbuster Decisions Coming Soon from the Supreme Court . . .Will Conservative Justices Twist the Constitution to Subvert Equal Protection?

MEMO

TO: Reporters and Editors
FROM: Jamie Raskin, Senior Fellow, People for the American Way Foundation
DATE:  May 24, 2013

RE: Blockbuster Decisions Coming Soon from the Supreme Court . . .Will Conservative Justices Twist the Constitution to Subvert Equal Protection?

The Roberts Court will soon release major decisions shaping the future of voting rights protection, affirmative action in university admissions, and the rights of marriage for gay and lesbian Americans. In each case, the promotion of equal rights under law in our society is opposed by a conservative agenda that seeks to enshrine inequality in the name of “federalism,” “color-blindness,” or “social tradition.” What is at stake in these cases is whether America continues its journey towards strong and inclusive multi-racial democracy or accepts conservative arguments that undermine constitutional and social progress.   

Congressional Protection of Voting Rights versus “Federalism Costs”:

The Voting Rights Act on the Chopping Block in Shelby County v. Holder

In Shelby County v. Holder, conservatives seek to dismantle the essential machinery of modern voting rights protection, which is the pre-clearance procedure for voting changes in covered jurisdictions. This procedure is contained in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the monumental statutory achievement of Congress in the last century. Chief Justice Roberts, in a near-miss decision on the same subject in 2009, has already expressed the sentiment of his conservative colleagues that the provision now “raises serious constitutional questions.” At oral argument in Shelby County, Justice Scalia offered his view that the Voting Rights Act has become nothing more than a “racial entitlement.” Despite broad bipartisan support in Congress for the Voting rights Act, including Section 5, the conservative legal movement is mobilized for its destruction.

Section 5 obligates covered states and jurisdictions to “pre-clear” changes affecting voting with the Department of Justice or the federal district courts in Washington. This procedure affects states and counties that were the worst offenders against voting rights and has been in place for nearly a half-century. Section 2 of the Fifteenth Amendment clearly gives Congress the “power to enforce” voting rights “by appropriate legislation.” The Court has four times—in South Carolina v. Katzenbach (1966), Georgia v. U.S. (1973), City of Rome v. U.S. (1980), and Lopez v. Monterey County (1999)—rejected invitations by states to declare Section 5 as outside of Congress’ powers under the 14th and 15th Amendments.  Thus, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and later Alaska (along with certain jurisdictions in California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota) have had to prove that proposed changes in election laws do not disadvantage minority voters. While the Justice Departments and the courts routinely approve more than 99 percent of submitted plans, the VRA remains a critical stop against laws meant to disenfranchise racial minorities. Hundreds of state plans and thousands of proposed changes have been rejected under the law, preventing a backslide in the project of building a strong interracial democracy.

But the case against Section 5 today turns on neither constitutional precedent nor text nor the facts of political life on the ground, but rather on the talk-show fallacy that a nation which twice elects an African-American president simply cannot contain any states or counties where minority voters face actual barriers to participation. Backing up this non-sequitur intuition are constitutional myths: that Congress has to treat all states and counties the same and cannot distinguish among them based on their records of committing voting rights violations. and that the pre-clearance mechanism in the Voting Rights Act and its “coverage formula” impose far too high “federalism costs” on covered areas (i.e., it allegedly takes too much power from the states). All of these taking points are supposed to justify the Court’s substituting its judgment for that of Congress and to find that Section 5 is no longer a “congruent” or “proportional” remedy, under either the Fourteenth Amendment or the Fifteenth Amendment, for threats to voting rights.  But the lower courts in this case reviewed more than 15,000 pages of Congressional findings and testimony and were convinced of the continuing need for preclearance to deal with the disingenuous disenfranchising and diluting schemes in the covered areas, including voter photo ID laws, tightening restrictions on registration and at the polls, and racist gerrymanders.  

The arguments against Section 5 appeal to the racial fatigue of Supreme Court arch-conservatives, who are willing to give state legislatures, a majority of which are in conservative Republican hands today, the freedom to restrict voting rights. The pre-clearance procedures of Section 5 are the major obstacle to this goal because they mean that all of the traditional hijinks of Jim Crow politics must be submitted in advance to federal judges or DOJ civil rights lawyers for approval. Rather than placing the burden on African-Americans and other minority voters to find lawyers and make the case against repressive practices after they go into effect, the covered jurisdictions have to affirmatively show that their innovations are not discriminatory or “retrogressive” before the damage is done. As the Supreme Court put it approvingly in South Carolina v. Katzenbach, “After enduring nearly a century of systematic resistance to the Fifteenth Amendment,” Congress chose “to shift the advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of the evil to its victims.”

The word “federalism” does not appear in the Constitution, nor does the opaque and mysterious phrase “federalism costs,” which has become the key mantra for the conservatives.  At least four Justices—and we’ll see about Justice Anthony Kennedy—appear poised to use these malleable concepts to override the clear enforcement powers that the Constitution explicitly assigns to Congress through Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment and Section 2 of the Fifteenth Amendment. Thus, the Supreme Court is on the brink of usurping Congressional power plainly granted by the Constitution by thwarting Congressional decisions to enforce the equal rights of Americans to vote and participate in the political process. 

Racial Integration, Inclusion and Diversity versus “Color-Blindness”:

Affirmative Action Walks the Plank in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

The ceaseless attack on affirmative action returns again this Term with Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a sweeping challenge to a modest use of race and ethnicity in UT’s admissions process that was adopted to correct for continuing weakness in the numbers of minority students on campus. The twist here is that most UT students are admitted through a policy guaranteeing admission to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their public high school classes. About one-fifth of the class is admitted outside of that race-neutral policy, and affirmative action plays a role in this small part of the process.   

Most people thought that the lawfulness of such a policy was settled for at least 25 years in 2003, when the Court decided Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, cases testing the constitutionality of affirmative action programs as practiced, respectively, at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Michigan’s undergraduate program. The majority upheld the Law School’s “holistic” use of race and ethnicity in the process to promote diversity in the educational experience because all consideration of applicants remained individualized and there were no quotas and no numerical targets used in the selection process. (The University of Texas modeled its law school’s affirmative action program after that upheld in Grutter in 2003.) Meanwhile, the majority invalidated the undergraduate plan because racial or ethnic minority status was quantified and treated as adding bonus points in a rigid numerical weighing system, a process that the Court said leaned towards being a quota system. While rejecting the college plan as a blunt instrument, Justice O’Connor found that the kind of diffuse and holistic use of minority status embodied in the law school program was permissible. She thought such affirmative action would be warranted for a period of what she predicted to be another quarter-century. Given that most public universities remained segregated through the 1950s and 1960s, this seemed like a sensible time-line.

The Grutter decision reaffirmed and updated Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the 1978 high Court decision which struck down numerical quotas for minority admission but approved the generalized use of race in the admissions process to promote the compelling interest in having a diverse student body. Grutter was met with relief and enthusiasm throughout American academia, in the business sector, by the armed services, and across American society.

Now, once again, conservatives hope to turn the Constitution against the project of equal rights and equal opportunities.  The key move is to claim that Equal Protection mandates absolute “color-blindness” and therefore forecloses any conscious efforts to build diversity and inclusion into the educational experience of students. But the history of the Equal Protection Clause demonstrates that its Framers clearly contemplated that government would seek to take account of the racial implications of official discrimination in the past to fashion consciously inclusionary policies going forward.   

Equal Protection of the Rights of all Citizens in Marriage versus “Social Tradition”:

United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry

Two significant cases raise the important issue of whether gay and lesbian Americans enjoy an equal right to marry and to enjoy all the rights of marriage. Here, straightforward understandings of Equal Protection clash with an extra-constitutional commitment to the “social tradition” of discrimination against gay people.

One case, United States v. Windsor, deals with the constitutionality of Section 3 of “DOMA,” the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which provides that the word “marriage” in any federal law or regulation—including the Social Security Act, the Internal Revenue code, immigration law, and more than 1,000 others—shall apply only to the “legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife.” This sweeping discrimination means that, although hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian Americans have won and exercised the right to marry in twelve states and the District of Columbia, the rights, benefits, and duties that they should receive as married people under federal law are categorically withheld from them. Under federal law, married couples who are gay are treated as legal strangers to one another and as unworthy of the rights enjoyed by other citizens.

This discrimination has dramatic consequences. The respondent in Windsor, Edith Windsor, was forced to pay $363,000 in federal taxes on the estate she inherited after her wife (and life partner of 40 years) died, since DOMA prevents same-sex spouses from inheriting marital property on a tax-free basis, a benefit that heterosexual couples take for granted. Windsor won a clean victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which found that discrimination against gay people triggers Equal Protection “intermediate scrutiny” and that Congress could not even demonstrate a valid, much less an important, interest for defining marriage at the federal level so as to exclude from its benefits thousands of married couples in the states.

The other case taken up by the Supreme Court  is Hollingsworth v. Perry, which tests the constitutionality of California’s infamous Proposition 8 ballot measure, which revoked the marriage rights that gays and lesbians had enjoyed in the state under a landmark California Supreme Court decision.  Proposition 8 was voided in a broad pro-marriage decision handed down by California United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, a decision that was reaffirmed on narrower grounds by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which essentially found that California had no rational basis for taking away from its gay citizens the marriage rights that it had previously granted. 

Both cases involve government refusing to recognize the equal rights of gay people, either in married couples or couples who want to get married.  With DOMA, Congress denied the same equal rights and benefits to gay married people as it offers to straight married people, and with Proposition 8, California actually revoked the marriage rights of gay people and prohibited the legislature from ever restoring those rights.  The Proposition 8 proponents even sought to use the measure to annul gays’ and lesbians’ existing marriages without their consent.  The discrimination in both cases is plain to see, all of it justified on the grounds of “traditional marriage” and “social tradition.”

The right to get married as a basic civil right has frequently been  addressed by the Supreme Court, but the Court has never addressed whether that right extends to gay and lesbian Americans, and the Court could successfully dodge the underlying issue here. 

One good possibility is that the Court will strike down DOMA as a naked Equal Protection violation, saying that states need not necessarily extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian residents but that, if states do extend equal marriage rights, the federal government may not discriminate against people who avail themselves of those rights. Pro-marriage forces expecting this result place a high burden of hope on Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has written excellent majority opinions upholding the equal rights of gay and lesbian Americans in Romer v. Evans (1996) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003). But Kennedy may instead decide purely on federalism grounds, potentially providing a fifth vote to strike down DOMA but preventing any pro-equality legal rationale from having a majority that would bind lower courts in the future.

In the California Proposition 8 case, the Court could say that states that give all of the state-law rights of marriage to gay and lesbian citizens cannot withhold from them the title of marriage; this would affect eight states in a similar situation as California. Another possibility, more remote, is that Justice Kennedy would agree to join the moderate-liberal faction in simply declaring that gay people have equal rights to marry, which would mean invalidating discriminatory  laws still on the books in the vast majority of states. Conversely, the Court might also say that there is no obligation for California to protect the right of gay and lesbian citizens to marry at all. Or, finally, it could dismiss the whole case on either standing grounds—the Attorney general of California refused to defend  Proposition 8, leaving that task to anti-marriage advocates who put the initiative on the ballot—or on the grounds that cert was improvidently granted. There are still many ways to escape the basic issue of discrimination, even though all of the momentum in the states is towards marriage equality and the rationales for discrimination have been collapsing everywhere like a giant house of cards. 

Equal Protection versus the Politics of Inequality

As we await the Supreme Court’s decisions in these cases, Americans should not miss the big picture of this constitutional moment.  In a society that disenfranchised African-Americans and other minorities for centuries and discriminated openly against racial minorities and the gay and lesbian population, we are living through giant progressive changes in political democracy and voting rights, educational opportunity, and marriage rights for all. Yet, in politics, as in physics, every action creates an equal and opposite reaction, and a huge ideological undertow has formed on today’s Supreme Court, which has replaced the values of the long-ago Warren Court with commitments to corporate power over government and government power over people. What is at stake in these cases is whether the Supreme Court will interpret the Constitution to be the instrument of equal protection for all or will twist it to make it the guarantor of inequality and injustice.

* * * * * * *
Jamie Raskin, a Senior Fellow at People for the American Way Foundation, is a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law and a State Senator in Maryland.


 

 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett Just Can't Find ANY Latinos

Sometimes, Governors ‘say the darndest things.’  In a roundtable discussion hosted by the Al Dia Spanish language newspaper at The Union League of Pennsylvania Wednesday, PA Gov. Tom Corbett let it slip that he didn’t ‘have any’ Latinos serving in his administration.

MODERATOR: Do you have staff members that are Latino?
CORBETT: No, we do not have any staff members in there. If you can find us one, please let me know.
MODERATOR: I am sure that there are Latinos that…
CORBETT: Do any of you want to come to Harrisburg? See?!

Could Gov. Corbett really not “find” any Latino Pennsylvanians to serve on his staff? The latest numbers indicate that there are 719,000 people in Pennsylvania who identify as Latino or Hispanic according to the Pew Research Hispanic Center.  That’s just over 6% of all Pennsylvanians, and growing. 

While talking about representing all Pennsylvanians, Corbett and Pennsylvania Republicans continue to overlook the Latinos all around them. Really, Governor, you couldn’t ‘find’ any qualified Latinos to serve on your staff?  Or is it that you aren’t really looking?

PFAW

Todd Akin Lectures Republicans on How to Win

You know the Republican Party is lost when failed GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin of “legitimate rape” fame takes to the conspiracy theory website WorldNetDaily to lecture his fellow conservatives on how to win elections. Akin, who received just 39 percent of the vote against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in a state Mitt Romney won by ten points, claims that the Republican Party is struggling because it is not conservative enough. Because we all know Akin would have defeated McCaskill if only he was more conservative!

In the column, Akin links secular government to violence, warns that the Democratic Party is turning the US into the Soviet Union and calls on conservative activists to run on their strict opposition to abortion rights, which obviously paid dividends for Akin.

We here at Right Wing Watch commend Akin’s efforts and hope future right-wing candidates follow in his path of disastrous election defeats. After they lose they can always write for WorldNetDaily. Just ask Rick Santorum.

Like a patient with an injury, the Republican Party is surrounded by many advising doctors who prescribe conflicting “cures.” Because, these cures can’t all be right, we should review our history for examples so that we choose the right one.

We have all heard the group of advisers who think the cure is that the Republican Party should become less conservative and more like the Democrats. They fault imperfect candidates who aren’t moderate enough. While no candidate is perfect (including me), this cure doesn’t explain why more moderate Republican Senate candidates lost in 2012 than conservatives. Through the lens of history, we see that the GOP needs the principled identity conservatives afford, that conservatism is a winning platform, and that conservative principles are what undergird America’s freedom. The Republican Party should boldly stand on its conservative values. This is the true cure.



The conservative position is a winning platform. While some argue that Republicans must become more pragmatic to create a winning platform, history says otherwise. The conservative Republican Presidents Lincoln, Coolidge, Eisenhower and Reagan were all very popular. They had a passion and confidence from standing on principle. In contrast, Nixon, Dole, McCain and now Romney were less comfortable defending conservative positions, and were less successful. A “fire in the bones” is more convincing than dry statistics.



The recognition of a Creator is core to conservative belief. Our founders fought the biggest military power in the world because they believed, as Jefferson said, “our liberties are the gift of God.” In sharp contrast, the Democrats last year tried to kick God out of their convention! President Washington, in his Farewell Address, asserted, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.” Ignoring Washington, our liberal courts have censored school prayer and the words “Thou shalt not kill” from classrooms. How has the loss of these conservative principles been working for us?

From painful experience, our founders understood the importance of limited government; therefore, they gave us a written constitution and the rule of law. Conservatives agree. In contrast, liberals and Democrats show a deep and abiding faith in their all-powerful government. The Soviet Union provided their citizens with food, health care, housing, education and employment, the same things the liberals are doing here in the U.S. The liberal’s blind faith ignores the lesson of the last century. A government that can give everything can also take everything. Communist governments alone killed more of their citizens than those who died in two World Wars. Big government is more deadly than war itself. America’s success has been tied to the conservative principle of limited government.

The founders, like conservatives today, placed a high value on individual life and liberty. However, they paid a terrible price for ignoring slavery. What will be the cost of ignoring the killing of over 50 million unborn Americans? Democrats support abortion and use the power of the government to force everyone else to be part of paying for it, all in the name of “choice.” Conservatives believe that abortion waters down our moral currency and cheapens life.

Finally, our founders and conservatives today stress individual responsibility. My parents’ generation labored and sacrificed to pass on a brighter future to their children. They believed in private property and hard work, and took a dim view of socialism and dependency. The Obama administration is burning over a trillion dollars a year in deficit spending on a $3.5 trillion budget. Our addiction to handouts will create poverty and dependence and leave our children in economic slavery. We must not trade our inheritance of freedom for the golden chains of dependency to the welfare state.

For these and many other reasons, the Republican Party needs to embrace conservatism. It needs to stop apologizing for the fact it stands on principle and needs to stop eating its own. It should boldly communicate that the prosperity and freedom we enjoy come from conservative principles.

D.C. Circuit Vacancies: One Down, Three to Go

Senate Republicans kept Sri Srinivasan from getting a committee hearing until ten months after his nomination, and even tried to filibuster him before allowing a unanimous vote to confirm him to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
PFAW

“Fix Our America” Takes Off in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, California, a group of specialists in media, advertising and entertainment, joined by business people, lawyers, and civic activists have founded an organization that is running advertisements based solely on the need to amend the Constitution to fix our political campaign finance system.  The group, Fix Our America, has begun the process of running the following advertisement on airwaves in California, and is seeking to run more ads in other media markets across the country:

These advertisements are boosting the amendment dialogue in California, a state that has witnessed much grassroots amendment activity yet is still in need of deep reform.  Just days ago, Los Angeles voters approved Ballot Measure C, which called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, with 77% of the vote; last year, the California state legislature passed an amendment resolution “to restore constitutional rights and fair elections to the people”; and since the Citizens United decision came down in January 2010, over 75 California municipalities have called on Congress and the states to pass and ratify an amendment to overturn Citizens United.

California does not stand alone.  The amendment movement is well underway and gaining momentum in states across the country.  Fix Our America is yet another example of the American people joining together in protest of the fundamental threat that corporate and special interest campaign spending poses to our democratic institutions.  In the words of Fix Our America’s Declaration of Principles Statement, “Americans deserve the best. Instead, we have been saddled with a system that … leaves all of us at the mercy of those who buy legislation and policy to suit their narrow interests.”  The time has come to fix that.
 

PFAW

PFAW Statement on Confirmation of Sri Srinivasan to D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON --  People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement on the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Sri Srinivasan to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit:

“We congratulate Mr. Srinivasan on his confirmation to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“The fact that Senator Reid was forced to file cloture in order to secure an agreement with Republicans to vote on a nominee whom they enthusiastically support is a sign of how far Senate Republicans have taken their mindless obstruction.

“Unfortunately, the Senate GOP is already looking ahead to further obstruction of this critically important court, one-quarter of whose active judgeships still remain vacant. Having prevented President Obama from filling a single seat on the D.C. Circuit until today, they are now threatening to strip the three remaining vacant seats from this important court rather than allow the president to fill them. This promised obstruction is purely politically motivated and cannot be allowed to succeed.”


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Rep. Trent Franks Compares Anti-Choice Movement to Abolition of Slavery, Ending Holocaust

Rep. Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, joined Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and anti-choice activist Lila Rose on an FRC webcast yesterday  on “exposing America’s late-term abortion industry.” Franks, who recently introduced a bill that would institute a national ban on the rare practice of abortion after 20 weeks, compared his fight against reproductive rights to the ending of the Holocaust and the abolition of slavery. “We are the ones that rushed into Eastern Europe and arrested the Holocaust, we are the ones that said no more to slavery after thousands of years, and by the grace of God,  we’re going to be the ones that say that we’re going to protect our own children,” he said.

When Perkins asked him to elaborate on the stakes of his bill, Franks answered that if it fails, “I would suggest to you that we undermine everything that America was ever dreamed of to be and we step into that Sumerian night where the light of compassion has gone out and the survival of the fittest finally prevails over man…If we turn our backs on this, I’m afraid we’ve broken the back of what America really is.”

Rethinking the IRS Mess

Amid Congressional hearings and an unending stream of pointed fingers, what is the real takeaway from the unfolding IRS mess?  United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard has the answer, arguing that our country needs to rethink the role of corporate money in our elections by passing a Constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United decision.

In an In These Times article Tuesday, Gerard called for such an amendment, writing that

“while every politician in Washington is cursing the carbuncle, hardly one has complained of the cancer killing the patient. Allowing unlimited, unaccounted-for corporate spending in elections is a malignancy threatening the life of the republic.”

PFAW President Michael Keegan has also spoken out about the danger of allowing the IRS misdeeds to be held up as an example of the perils of oversight writ large.

 In a Huffington Post piece last week, he noted,

“The danger of this frame is that it will discourage the IRS from fully investigating all nonprofit groups spending money to influence elections. And it will distract from the core problem behind the IRS's mess: the post-Citizens United explosion of undisclosed electoral spending.”

As both writers remind us, the IRS should never base its work on the political leanings of applicant groups.  But where our real focus should lie in this national dialogue is on how to strengthen transparency and accountability in all electoral spending.
 

PFAW

E.W. Jackson: Obama Condones Anti-Semitism and Terrorist Attacks Against Israel

Virginia Republican Lt. Governor nominee E.W. Jackson has consistently implied that President Obama is a secret Muslim, and in a 2010 American Thinker column went even further by arguing that President Obama condones anti-Semitism and terrorist attacks against Israel by Hamas.

After accusing Obama of remaining “silent” over Hamas rocket attacks against Israel in addition to Helen Thomas’ statement that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine,” Jackson writes that “given his close association with Islam and with one of Louis Farrakhan's best friends, his silence must be interpreted as consent.”

When people say "I hate to say I told you so," they rarely mean it. What they really mean is, "I was right, and I am glad to tell you so." A year ago, I wrote,

Obama apparently sees the world and Israel from a Muslim perspective. Those who think clearly about these issues must conclude that President Obama is influenced by a quiet strain of anti-Semitism picked up from elements of the black community, leftist colleagues, Muslim associations and Jeremiah Wright. For the first time in her history, Israel may find the President of the United States openly siding with her enemies. Those who believe that Israel must be protected had better be ready for the fight.

I really do hate to say "I told you so." I did not vote for Barack Obama, but I hoped he would surprise me and not be the kind of president that his background portended. Most Americans, even those who didn't vote for him, wanted to believe that he would transcend the negative forces which might have influenced his thinking. Perhaps the anti-Semitism to which he had been exposed had not gotten into his intellectual DNA. He attempted to reassure us.



In his much-hyped speech in Cairo, reaching out to the "Muslim World," Obama drew a moral equivalence between the "suffering" of the Palestinians and the Holocaust against the Jewish people. He said, "Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust." But he went on to say, "On the other hand, it is also undeniable that Palestinians ... have suffered in pursuit of a homeland."

To equate these two vastly different historical realities borders on the delusional. There is no equivalence between a systematic effort to annihilate the entire Jewish people and the problem of "dislocation" -- as Obama refers to it -- of the Palestinians. If there is any similarity at all, it is that many Palestinians, like the Nazis, want to kill all Jews.



Helen Thomas, an Obama devotee, recently said the Jews need to "get the hell out of Palestine." Obama is silent. For years, Jews in Israel could hardly sleep for fear that Hamas rockets would land in their homes. Yet when Israel takes reasonable action to search ships to prevent weapons from entering Gaza, she is condemned. Obama is silent. Reuters doctored the pictures of the recent blockade confrontation -- editing out weapons in the hands of the ship's crew -- so as to perpetuate the narrative of Israeli aggression. Obama is silent. Perhaps if he had not spent twenty years in the church of a rabid anti-Semite, President Obama's muteness would not speak so loudly. However, given his close association with Islam and with one of Louis Farrakhan's best friends, his silence must be interpreted as consent. I wish I were wrong about this president, but facts are stubborn things.

E.W. Jackson: Liberals Treated Juan Williams Like a 'Slave' Because They Blamed America for 9/11

In 2010, NPR fired analyst Juan Williams after he told a Fox News host that he was afraid of flying with people in “Muslim garb.” The episode quickly became a rallying cry for the right, including for E.W. Jackson, now the Virginia GOP’s nominee for lieutenant governor. Shortly after the episode, Jackson wrote a column for American Thinker accusing liberals of treating Williams like a “slave” who “dares to leave the plantation of liberal orthodoxy.”

This “lashing” of Williams, Jackson wrote, happened because “the far left -- which NPR represents -- does not have the same visceral reaction to the suffering inflicted on Americans on 911 because they believe we brought it on ourselves.”  A “normal response” to 9/11, Jackson writes, was displayed by passengers of a plane who were “traumatized” when a number of Muslims on their flight decided to pray before boarding, in what Jackson calls “a bizarre display calculated to disturb those who witnessed it.”

When escaped slaves were caught, they were lashed into submission. This was intended not only as a warning to that particular slave, but to the entire plantation of black servants to stay in their place.  Liberals do the psychological equivalent of this to any black person who dares to leave the plantation of liberal orthodoxy. After working over a decade for liberal National Public Radio, Juan Williams was summarily fired, publically ridiculed and told to see a psychiatrist. Liberals have a proprietary attitude toward blacks and other minorities. When anyone one of us dares contradict leftist thought, they try to punish us severely.

One of my daughters saw a group of Muslims board a plane and sit in different sections. Their behavior caused her such anxiety that she got off the plane and took another flight. My daughter is not a racist or a bigot. We are black and have Muslims in our family. Are we to believe that it is bigotry to admit that the terrorist acts of 911 actually terrorized us? Signals which remind us of that horrific day evoke anxiety, a normal human response to terrible trauma. An entire flight was traumatized when a group of Muslims decided to have open prayers in an airport just before boarding a plane. The passengers became frightened by what seemed a bizarre display calculated to disturb those who witnessed it. Were they also bigots?

Two things are at play here. First, the far left -- which NPR represents -- does not have the same visceral reaction to the suffering inflicted on Americans on 911 because they believe we brought it on ourselves. America, in their view, is imperialist, greedy and militaristic. Therefore, we do not dare ascribe fault to any group but ourselves. It is alright to say "extremists" attacked us on 911 because America has its own extremists. It is not acceptable to identify those extremists as Muslims. Liberals do not view Juan Williams' expressed "feelings" as intellectual honesty, but as proof of his own and America's bigotry. That is the warped thinking of the left.

The way he was fired demonstrates that it had nothing to do with any objective assessment of his professional conduct. A man who worked for them for ten years had become a political enemy and they meant to harm him financially, emotionally and professionally. When a slave escaped from the plantation, it wasn't merely a case of one slave being a problem. That slave became a threat to the institution of slavery and to the master's way of life. The response was brutal or the slave was sold off, i.e., fired. The attempt to break free was a personal affront to the slave master. "After all," he thought, "I've been good to my slaves. Why would they want to be free?"

[Emphases are mine]

McConnell Bobs and Weaves on Judicial Nominations

McConnell tries & fails to justify filibuster of DC Circuit nominee Srinivasan, and throws a GOP-supported 10th Circuit nominee under the bus in the process.
PFAW

Huelskamp Reveals Ignorance on Benghazi, Immigration Reform

During an interview with conservative talk show host Steve Deace last night, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) once again showed us the art of eschewing well-established facts in favor of right-wing talking points. First, Huelskamp talked to Deace about Benghazi, where he demanded answers to questions that have already been answered, and then claimed that the lack of answers to those questions prove there is a cover-up.

“Who made the decision that someone should die, who refused to send support to protect our ambassador, the information officer and two ex-SEALS, somebody made that decision and they’ve covered it up for eight months,” Huelskamp asked, warning of a “cover-up that probably extends to the highest levels of the administration.” He also admitted that the House Republican leadership “said there is no more to Benghazi…we’ve found out everything we can find out.”

Maybe if Huelskamp listened to the hearings he would’ve learned that the call not to send special forces to Benghazi during the attack came from Special Operations Command Africa and not Obama administration officials. Furthermore, the team was told to stand down because they would not have arrived in time to prevent the deaths in the compound and their mission shifted to securing the airport.

Even a senior Republican aide mocked the “crazy stuff” coming from GOP members regarding Benghazi: “Four more M-4s [rifles] inside the annex doesn’t change that outcome. In fact, they might have just created more casualties.”

Later, Huelskamp and Deace discussed the Senate immigration reform bill where he said if a reform bill fails due to Republican resistance to creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants it would be Obama’s fault because Republicans don’t want to give him “a voting bloc of 11 million new voters to the Democratic Party.”

He then decried the bipartisan Gang of 8 for voting together on amendments, which he said proves that they want to create. “a voting bloc that is going to have an unlimited take on the Treasury and then they’re going to buy their votes for a whole generation or two or three.”

The congressman bases his concerns on the Heritage Foundation study, authored by a racist researcher, that uses such faulty data analysis that even Republicans have denounced it.

I just had a private meeting with some constituents in very difficult situations, they came here—one of them illegally and a few others in different situations—and the question I had for them was, ‘Do you think that you deserve citizenship? Well, absolutely. I said but how about if I told you that a bill wouldn’t pass unless you were just given legal status, would you pick no bill?’ The reason I asked them this is, think about that, I don’t think the President wants any immigration issue to pass unless it gives a voting bloc of 11 million new voters to the Democratic Party. I think that’s what it comes down and frankly people are going to get hurt.



When you have a welfare state, an insecure border and you’re talking about giving amnesty, that’s three strikes. Tie on top of that the tremendous Heritage study that shows this massive drain on the economy, $6.2 trillion cost of this, this is staggering, this would probably the worst decision since ’86 if we’re going to head down this path. When you see those amendments I mean that calls out that the real purpose here is a voting bloc that is going to have an unlimited take on the Treasury and then they’re going to buy their votes for a whole generation or two or three.

Like Letting Serial Killers Teach Preschool: The Top 5 Religious Right Claims on the Consequences of Lifting the Gay Scouts Ban

As the Boy Scouts of America consider lifting a ban on openly gay scouts, here’s a look at Right Wing Watch’s collection of recent claims from the Religious Right on what might happen if that shift were to occur.  Relying on outlandish predictions and harmful lies, right-wing personalities are linking gays in the Boy Scouts to everything from sexual abuse to North Korean nuclear threats.

Here are highlights of Right Wing Watch’s recent reporting on right-wing opposition to lifting the ban on gay members in the Boy Scouts:

5. Swanson: Allowing Gays in Boy Scouts Like Letting Serial Killers Teach Preschool (February 2013)

There was no way that Generations Radio hosts Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner were going to miss out on the debate over whether the Boy Scouts should allow openly gay members.  Allowing openly gay Boy Scout leaders, Swanson says, is no different than letting convicted child molesters or serial killers teach preschool. The Boy Scouts, Buehner warns, are not far from “opening a new summer camp called Camp Sandusky.”

4. Keyes: Gay Boy Scouts Will Force Other Scouts to be Gay (May 2013)

Former ambassador and perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes argues that if the Boy Scouts change the policy, then straight Boy Scouts will be forced to acquiesce to the “sexual advances” of their gay peers in order to avoid being “viciously accused of unrighteous bigotry.” Once they deny their faith and turn gay, Keyes warns, they will “slip into a whirlpool of compulsive sensual indulgence, moral guilt and spiritual confusion.”

3. Buster Wilson Claims Gays in the Boy Scouts Will Lead to Abuse, Death and the Destruction of America (January 2013)

Talk show host Buster Wilson, formerly of the American Family Association, claims that gay men sometimes have “as many as a hundred or more partners” and will put Boy Scouts in “compromising” situations. He even argues that a ban on gay scouts is a good thing because excluding them will prevent them from being bullied and contemplating suicide.  Wilson warns that if the U.S. continues to “succumb to the pressure of political correctness from the forces on the side of the homosexual agenda,” then God may “rain down destruction” on America as he did to Sodom.

2. Santorum: Dropping Gay Ban Will 'Murder' the Boy Scouts (February 2013)

Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum warns that ending the Boy Scouts’ national ban on gay members could kill the group, and the group’s board would have “its fingerprints on the murder weapon.”

1. Southern Baptist Leader Fred Luter Links North Korean Threats to Gay Marriage, Boy Scouts (March 2013)

Fred Luter, president of the Southern Baptist Convention: “I would not be surprised that at the time when we are debating same-sex marriage, at a time when we are debating whether or not we should have gays leading the Boy Scout movement, I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that we have a mad man in Asia who is saying some of the things that he’s saying.”

As Immigration Bill Advances, Common Sense Faces off with Extremism

Last night the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to advance immigration legislation that creates a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.  It is expected to come to the Senate floor for debate in June. 

As the bill moves forward, Republicans in Congress will have to make a choice between casting their lot with the majority of their party and country in supporting common-sense reform or with anti-immigrant extremists attempting to stand in the way of progress.  As Right Wing Watch has documented, right-wing activists continue to push damaging, outrageous lies about immigrant communities.  Maria Espinoza, director of a project linked to the nativist Numbers USA, proclaimed that “no one is immune to the illegal who drives wildly drunk, or the wanna-be gang-banger who needs to machete innocent citizens to gain entry and respect into the Latino or other gangs.” Center for Immigration Studies director Mark Krikorian has called GOP immigration reform supporters “useful idiots” and claimed that “Native-born Hispanic Americans, who make up most Hispanic voters, have a majority of the children that are born to them are illegitimate, very high rates of welfare use.”

As the GOP works to change their party’s image for Latino voters, they face a choice between standing with those on the far-right fringe such as Krikorian and Espinoza or standing with the bipartisan majority pushing for much-needed change.

PFAW

E.W. Jackson: Obama 'Sets Himself Up as Some Sort of King or Dictator'

E.W. Jackson argued at a Tea Party rally last year that President Obama is trying to become a “dictator” and intent on leading “the most lawless administration that this nation has ever seen.” The Republican nominee for Lt. Governor of Virginia, who has suggested that Obama is an atheist Muslim Communist, told the Tea Party audience that unlike the founding fathers Obama “doesn’t believe” in the Constitution, freedom or America, maintaining that “for the first time” in US history a president “sets himself up as some sort of king or dictator.”

Watch:

FRC Blames Rise in Military Sexual Assault on DADT Repeal

In his daily email yesterday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins expressed concern about the rising rate of reported sexual assault in the military….which he blamed on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

President Obama is finally admitting that sexual assault is a serious problem in the military--but what he hasn't conceded is that his policy on homosexuality helped create it. According to a new Pentagon survey, most of the victims were not female (12,000 incidents), but male (14,000)--highlighting a growing trend of same-sex assault in our ranks. Although the Defense Department says it "recognizes the challenges male survivors face," one of the biggest problems is their silence in reporting it. The Washington Times, one of the first to highlight the discrepancy, explains that the Pentagon's attention is largely focused on the females experiencing abuse "overlooking the far greater numbers of men, who, according to the survey, are being victimized but not reporting it."

How could this happen? Well, for starters, the Obama administration ordered military leaders to embrace homosexuality--completely dismissing the concerns that it could be a problem to have people attracted to the same sex, living in close quarters. What's more, explains Marine Capt. Lindsay Rodman, the statistics aren't reliable and may be hiding thousands more cases of service-based abuse. "The truth is," she writes in the Wall Street Journal, "that the 26,000 figure [of victims] is such bad math--derived from an unscientific sample set and extrapolated military-wide--that no conclusions can be drawn from it." Except one, perhaps, which is that groups like FRC were right to be concerned about the overturning of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Sexual assault of males in the military is a serious problem. But it hasn’t been caused by President Obama’s “policy on homosexuality” and neither is there any documentation of “a growing trend of same-sex assault in our ranks.”

Not only is the rate of sexual assault much higher for women in the armed forces than for men, since they make up a much smaller percentage of the active-duty force, but the recent increase in sexual assault has primarily impacted female servicemembers.  According to CNN, “The Defense Department data from 2010 to 2012 found that the prevalence of unwanted sexual contact increased for active duty women and remained unchanged for active duty men.”

Yesterday, Perkins’ colleague Jerry Boykin similarly blamed the increase in reported sexual assaults on the repeal of DADT and the policy allowing women in combat.

E.W. Jackson Warns Same-Sex Marriage Leads to Bestiality: 'Adam and Steve' Becomes 'Adam and a Bull'

During a sermon last October, Virginia GOP Lt. Governor nominee E.W. Jackson added to his long list of virulently anti-gay remarks by warning that marriage equality for gays and lesbians will result in the legalization of man-animal unions. Jackson warned the crowd that if they don’t stop “Adam and Steve” it is going to “soon be Adam and a bull,” arguing that their family, school and community may be “overwhelmed by the torrent of wickedness” if they don’t stop same-sex marriage.

Watch:

The Tea Party Letter Signers' Other Advice on Immigration Reform

A coalition of Tea Party and other right-wing activists sent a letter to the Senate yesterday calling the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan immigration reform plan “unsalvageable” and urging senators to scrap it altogether. While the media has focused on better-known signers of the letter – including right-wing talkers Erick Erickson, Michele Malkin and Laura Ingraham – many of the letter’s signers were all too familiar to us here at RWW.

Here are eight other pieces of advice on immigration reform from signers of the Tea Party letter.

  1. No one is immune to the illegal who drives wildly drunk, or the wanna-be gang-banger who needs to machete innocent citizens to gain entry and respect into the Latino or other gangs. We have uncovered the fact that Americans are under assault, a fact under-reported by the press, and unconnected by our elected leaders at all levels of government…. Insist that our elected officials remember that ‘We, the People,’ not the illegal aliens, are their constituents. And that the racism perpetrated by illegal invaders upon Americans of all ethnic backgrounds is real.”  
    -- Maria Espinoza, director of a project linked to the nativist Numbers USA intended “to honor and remember Americans who have been killed by illegal aliens”

  2.  “Native-born Hispanic Americans, who make up most Hispanic voters, have a majority of the children that are born to them are illegitimate, very high rates of welfare use. So this is a description of an overwhelmingly Democratic voter group. Not all of them, obviously, because there’s a big group and there’s a lot of differences among them. But generally speaking, Hispanic voters are Democrats, and so the idea of importing more of them as a solution to the Republican Party’s problems is kind of silly.”
    -- Center for Immigration Studies executive director Mark Krikorian on why Republicans shouldn’t bother appealing to Latino voters

  3. “Having this amnesty is suicide for the Republican Party because they’re going to vote Democratic, and that’s why the Democrats are pushing it. And the reason is because they come from a country where there’s no tradition or expectation of limited government…. They think government should be there to give orders and solve their problems and give them a handout when they need it.
    -- Phyllis Schlafly, who has also expressed nostalgia for the days of “Irish, Italian, Jewish” immigration

  4. If this country becomes 30 per cent Hispanic we will no longer be America."
    -- Vision America's Rick Scarborough, who also contends that AIDS is divine punishment for homosexuality

  5. “This British Conservative Party has watered down traditional conservatism to such an extent that some conservatives have formed an alternative, the English Defense League (EDL), which has spawned the British Freedom Party. This group has been strongly attacked in the media, here and abroad, as “far-right” or worse. But I had the opportunity to meet their leaders, Kevin Carroll and Tommy Robinson, at the 9/11 conference in New York City sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer which was designed in part to organize resistance to global Islam and safeguard our right of free speech against the advance of Sharia, or Islamic law. … Carroll and Robinson want a patriotic alternative to the British Conservative Party that will promote traditional values.
    -- Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaidrecommending that the Republican Party emulate the English Defense League, a violent, radical nativist group

  6. “And sadly, what we’re seeing in many of these populations – and I don’t mean to pick on the Somalis, they just happen to be worth picking on – is that they are in fact sort of ghettos in places like Minnesota, where they contributed substantially to the election of the first Muslim Brother – oh, excuse me, first Muslim – to the United States Congress. Keith Ellison from Minnesota. But the concern that I have is that this group is not simply establishing itself and over time becoming a force to reckon with politically in this country. It’s also incubating two things: jihadists…and the other thing is they’re incubating Sharia.
    -- Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney, birther and the originator of Michele Bachmann’s smears against Muslim civil servants

  7. “Is this one of those backdoor opportunities to allow people in the next five months to get the opportunity to vote? Will we see Janet Napolitano and the president come out with a new edict that says since we allow these people to be here legally, we’re now going to allow them to vote? How far down the rabbit whole will it go?”
    -- Former congressman Allen West

  8. "I know the solution. Take a plane load of them and dump them in Somalia. Make no secret of it and tell the illegals, every time we catch them, that is where they are going. 99% of them will head back to the border on their own."
    -- Judson Phillips, prominent birther and head of Tea Party Nation

Other signers of the letter include Gary Bauer, who has warned that gay rights and pro-choice policies will lead to “God taking his hand of protection off of our country”; Elaine Donnelly, one of most hyperbolic opponents of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; Ken Eldred, a top financier of the Seven Mountains Dominionism movement; Brigette Gabriel, who warns that elementary school classrooms are becoming “recruiting ground[s] for Islam”; David Horowitz, who thinks that conservative activist Grover Norquist is a secret Muslim who has “infiltrated” the Republican Party; and the American Family Association's Sandy Rios who said last month of President Obama, “I don’t think he loves the country like people who were born and did grow up here.”

Boykin Ties Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to Rise in Sexual Assaults in the Military

Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin yesterday chatted with Frank Gaffney for an entire program about the forthcoming “Islamic Republic of America” where Boykin’s granddaughters are forced to wear burkas. After his usual anti-Muslim ramblings, Boykin explained that the Islamic conquest of America can only take place once people lose “traditional American values.” He argued that the Obama administration is trying to get rid of such values by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the ban on women in combat, which he linked to an increase in reported sexual assaults.

It’s important to understand that this administration in particular has sexualized the army, I mean there’s been so much of this social engineering that all revolves around gender and sexual behavior. What we’re doing though is we are setting ourselves up for absolute failure. Yes, sexual assault is at an all-time, unprecedented high. But then when you look at the fact that we have repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell so that we’ve mixed people of the same sex with same-sex attraction at a time when our military is under great stress, that’s a problem; now we’re trying to put women into ground combat roles where you cannot violate the laws of nature, plain and simple, and we’re going to put women into units where there is absolutely no privacy, where you are inviting exactly what is occurring already, and that is sexual assault, sexual attraction and all of these things.

What is this all about? Why are we doing this? Well the answer is the people that are making these decisions do not care one thing about military readiness; in fact I would say most of them don’t even understand military readiness. They have an agenda and they are fulfilling that agenda by going after the military, which at the end of the day still maintains very traditional American values. While we’ve got people in the military that do some bad things from time to time, at the end of the day we still have the uniform code of military justice and it still finds, for example, adultery to punishable under the uniform code of military justice; at one time sodomy was punishable under the uniform code of military justice. It has maintained very traditional American values and what this is is an assault on the last bastion of traditional values in America because you can’t change this society until you change the military.

Barber: Satan Behind Obama Administration's Gay Rights Efforts, Bringing America Back to Days of Noah

Yesterday, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber appeared on VCY America’s Crosstalk with Vic Eliason to continue to push his claim that the gay rights movement is Satanic and meant to destroy society just like in the days before Noah’s flood.

He told Eliason that “this celebration of aberrant and deviant sexual behavior, homosexuality and cross-dressing particularly” goes back “before even Sodom and Gomorrah to the days of Noah,” lamenting that “America has finally flipped.” Later, he continued his diatribe and alleged that Satan is behind the Obama administration's support for LGBT rights in order to spread “deception.”

Eliason: I cannot believe Matt, I’ve lived a long time, I’m seventy-seven, and I cannot believe that I’m living in a country where this stuff is going on, it’s nauseating.

Barber: It’s pretty scriptural though, isn’t it? Scripture says woe to those who call evil good and good evil. Scripture also says there is nothing new under the sun. This celebration of aberrant and deviant sexual behavior, homosexuality and cross-dressing particularly, it goes back before even Sodom and Gomorrah to the days of Noah. So there’s nothing new under the sun but now America has finally flipped.



Barber: This is spiritual warfare, it is that simple, it is that black and white, it is good versus evil. Scripture says that the Prince of the World is the enemy and the Prince of the World is very shrewd and he operates on deception, he needs deception to get by. Well that’s the whole progressive movement, they operate on deception. That’s why we see so much deception coming out of this Obama administration with a progressive, complicit media that are pushing political correctness, changing the story, will not report the facts, will not report truth and so that’s what it boils down to, it is absolutely spiritual warfare.

After arguing that President Obama is “pushing the hyper-sexualization of children in public schools by obsessing about aberrant sexual behaviors and teaching children that they’re normal and good and proper,” Barber said that gay couples are merely “two people who want to play house” and are in “rebellion against God.”

This president is the most radical secularist president in American history, without even a close second. He is a progressive radical, a secular humanist, secular socialist and he is pushing this moral relativist worldview that is central to the progressive agenda and pushing the hyper-sexualization of children in public schools by obsessing about aberrant sexual behaviors and teaching children that they’re normal and good and proper. More importantly here, by redefining words or words that don’t fit within their agenda, words that identify the reality that you have a mother or a father. Every single human being who is born on this planet has a mother and a father. It takes two, a male and a female, in order to have a child. Just because two people want to play house and pretend that they’re a married couple, a man and a man or a woman and a woman, guess what, they still have to bring in a third party, whether it’s two lesbians with artificial insemination or two homosexual males through having to adopt from somebody who naturally had children. It’s an assault on truth, it’s an attack on truth and it’s rebellion against God.
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