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Memo: Behind the Scenes, Silent Obstruction of Judicial Nominees

To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, People For the American Way
Date: May 4, 2012

Subject: Behind the Scenes, Silent Obstruction of Judicial Nominees

Senate Republicans’ systematic obstruction of President Obama’s nominees to the federal courts is by now well known. The President’s confirmed nominees have on average waited four times as long between committee approval and a vote from the full Senate than did George W. Bush’s nominees at this point in his term. The vast majority of these, once the GOP’s obstruction options are exhausted, are confirmed overwhelmingly.

What is less well known – and largely hidden in behind-the-scenes Senate procedure – is that this systematic obstruction often begins long before a nominee has been sent from the Judiciary Committee to the Senate floor. In fact, Senate Republicans are routinely using procedural tactics to delay the consideration and approval of the President’s judicial nominees by the Judiciary Committee.

This silent obstruction adds another layer of gridlock to an already gridlocked process – and it does so away from the spotlight of the media and the scrutiny of constituents.

Pre-Committee: Withholding Blue Slips

Under procedures adopted by Chairman Leahy as a bipartisan courtesy to his fellow senators, the Judiciary Committee does not consider a judicial nominee until both of that nominee’s home-state senators have submitted a “blue slip” allowing the nominee to move forward. The submission of a blue slip does not imply support of the nominee – merely that the nomination should be considered by the Judiciary Committee.

Despite the serious implications of withholding a blue slip, senators can do so without giving a reason and even without a public announcement – making it impossible to know how often the practice occurs. But several recent incidents that have been publicized show just how willing some GOP senators are to prevent unquestionably qualified and mainstream nominees from even reaching a Senate hearing.

In Arizona, a two-year-old emergency vacancy remains unfilled despite the existence of a well-qualified nominee who has been waiting since June 2011 for a Senate hearing. Rosemary Márquez, President Obama’s nominee to the District Court based out of Tucson, was rated unanimously qualified by the American Bar Association and has the support of a large cross-section of Arizona’s legal community. But Sens. McCain and Kyl have held up Márquez’s nomination for ten months by refusing to submit blue slips to the Judiciary Committee.

Márquez is not alone. In February, the President nominated Elissa Cadish, a state district court judge in Nevada, to fill an empty seat on the U.S. District Court. Cadish is widely recognized as being qualified for the federal bench, including by a unanimous panel of the American Bar Association. But Sen. Dean Heller is withholding his blue slip anyway and thus blocking the Judiciary Committee from even considering her nomination.

Heller’s objection to Cadish is this: one month before the Supreme Court overturned decades of case law to hold that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms, Cadish stated – accurately – that then-current case law did not recognize such a right. For a nominee for a lower federal court, who is expected to rely on Supreme Court precedent rather than create her own, it was a statement of fact, one that four members of the United States Supreme Court agreed with just a few weeks later. For Heller, it disqualifies her from even being considered for a federal judgeship.

Similarly, Eleventh Circuit nominee Jill Pryor is being kept from a Senate hearing by home-state Republican senators who have already acknowledged that she is qualified for a federal judgeship but want her in a different seat – one on the U.S. District Court. Georgia senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson have said that they’re fine with Pryor being a federal judge. Pryor’s skills and experience aren’t in doubt: she’s received a host of awards for her work in the courtroom and has been a leader in Georgia’s legal community. The senators’ beef is simply that they have someone else in mind for the Circuit Court seat the president nominated her to, and they seem willing to keep an emergency vacancy unfilled until they get their way.

All of these nominations are being held hostage by Republican senators who are silently filibustering them by refusing to consent to the Judiciary Committee’s even holding hearings on their merits.

In Committee: No-Shows and Routine Delays

Twice this year, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have prevented nominees from moving forward by simply not showing up at committee hearings and preventing a quorum. These “boycotts” kept the committee from holding votes on nominees who had already had hearings before the committee, further delaying already delayed nominations.

The walk-outs provided a more public accent to what was already routine obstruction by Judiciary Republicans. Committee rules allow the minority party to delay votes on nominees by requesting a one-week holdover, a provision designed to permit members who have questions about a particular nominee to get those questions answered. Under President Bush, such holdover requests were occasionally made to consider particular questions about particular nominees. Under President Obama, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have used this tactic routinely, holding over all but five of more than 150 nominees.

Conclusion

Senate Republicans have been using nearly every procedural tactic at their disposal to stall President Obama’s judicial nominees at every step in the nominations process. Very few of these maneuvers come with explanations, and those that do are often blown far out of proportion.

The result has been a record vacancy crisis in the federal courts, inexcusable delays for Americans seeking justice, and eroded trust in gridlocked Congress.

Media contact: Miranda Blue, (202) 467-4999, media@pfaw.org

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Bachmann says the 'Lord had Called Me' to Run for President to criticize Obamacare

Michele Bachmann yesterday sat down with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, two days before delivering the commencement address at Regent University (formerly CBN University), where she reiterated her claim that God called her to run for president. Bachmann, who ended her campaign following a sixth place finish in the Iowa Caucus with just 5% of the vote, told Brody that her purpose in the race was to drive the push to repeal the health care reform law, and also agreed with Brody’s analysis that she ran an “impeccable” and “mistake-free campaign.” “We were extremely careful,” Bachmann said, “and we were almost mistake free, but for those two points, Elvis Presley’s birthday and John Wayne’s birthplace.” Many might beg to differ, as she misplaced the first battle of the Revolutionary War, said the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation, called John Quincy Adams a Founding Father to back up her claim that the Founders actually opposed slavery and linked the Swine Flu to Democratic presidents, among countless others.

Lou Engle Calls for Religious Right to Channel Confederate Generals to 'Restrain' the 'Homosexual Agenda'

During his speech at the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Week of Prayer” yesterday, Lou Engle asked for support of his upcoming The Call: Virginia prayer rally, saying that Virginia should fight back against Washington D.C., just as Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson did during the Civil War. General Lee “had an anointing or something,” Engle said, “he was able to restrain Washington, he took his stand and held back those force.” Engle also pointed to Stonewall Jackson for “rallying the Virginians” against the Union as a model to fight the “homosexual agenda” and the demonic “principalities and powers” behind homosexuality. Engle said, “Raise up a stonewall to restrain the agenda that is coming out of D.C.”

Engle also tried to link the political ascendency of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to a prophecy that Cindy Jacobs, whom he called a “crazy lady” and the “scariest lady in America,” told him about Hispanics ending abortion rights in California, noting that Rubio appeared to be wearing a LIFE wristband on Election Day:

PFAW Wisconsin Recall Round-Up - May 4, 2012

The national media is focusing its gaze once again on Wisconsin, and this week it was all about the money.  Monday, April 30th, was the filing deadline for pre-primary election fundraising totals.  Wisconsin’s embattled Republican Governor Scott Walker turned in a filing that, on the surface, blew his Democratic rivals away, reporting $13 million in money raised during the January to April reporting period.

An in-depth analysis by The Huffington Post, however, revealed that approximately two-thirds of Walker’s money raised was donated by individuals and entities from outside Wisconsin.  This draws a stark contrast to his nearest Democratic rivals filings, with Tom Barrett reporting $750,000 in donations in 25 days, and Kathleen Falk reporting $1 million.  99% of Barrett’s donations came from inside Wisconsin.  Falk only had $25,862 in her account at the end of 2011.

News analysis also revealed that Walker transferred $60,000 to his legal defense fund during the pre-primary period, according to his campaign finance report.  This revelation drew criticism from One Wisconsin Now and others, as it appeared to many Wisconsinites that Walker’s campaign is using nuances in Wisconsin GAB reporting requirements to avoid revealing who donated to the legal defense fund.

Mid-week, Marquette University released polling data that indicates the public’s perception of the Governor has not improved, despite his campaign spending $21 million dollars to bolster his image and fight against a recall from office.  The situation left prominent pundits and reporters alike referring to his numbers as “almost freakishly fixed in place,” with rivals using grassroots support and a focus on issues to prepare for next Tuesday’s primary elections to take on the Governor for the recalls.

Looking forward, next Tuesday is Primary Day!  Follow our Facebook page and Twitter feed for the latest information on where to find your polling place.  Exercise your duty to Fight The Right and vote!

PFAW

Scott Walker Blames Labor Protests for Job Losses, Boasts of 'Pro-Women' Policies

Yesterday, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) stopped by Crosstalk, the flagship radio program of the far-right group VCY America (Voice of Christian Youth). While speaking with host Vic Eliason, Walker, who had pledged to create 250,000 jobs in his first term, tried to spin his disastrous record on job creation by deriding the protests by supports of collective bargaining rights in Madison last Spring as “one of the biggest challenges” to job growth:

Walker: Well it’s interesting, look at the March to march numbers, March of last year to March of this year, there’s a reason why we had some challenges there, particularly early on. In March, April and May, people can remember what was happening, thank goodness its passed now, you can remember what was happening last Spring in our state’s Capitol. There was a lot of uncertainty, particularly for small businesses, I know having held listening sessions all around this state, small business owners more than anything want certainty, they didn’t see that around the Capitol last year so that was one of the biggest challenges out there.

But the Christian Science Monitor reports that under Walker’s leadership the “state’s lead in job losses is significantly greater than the rest of the 50 states,” including 4,300 lost jobs just this March, long-after the protests took place:

Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s lead in job losses is significantly greater than the rest of the 50 states: No other state lost more than 3,500 jobs.

The majority of the losses in Wisconsin, 17,800, were in the public sector. However, the state lost more private-sector jobs, 6,100, than any other state. The only other states to report private-sector job losses in the same time period (instead of private-sector gains) were Mississippi and Rhode Island.

Governor Walker has been campaigning on a message that jobs are up in Wisconsin, responding to positive data for January and February that 17,000 jobs were added in his state. The loss of 4,300 jobs in March reversed that trend.

He attacked the state of Illinois during the interview and painted them as a laggard in economic growth:

However, Bloomberg Businessweek noted on April, 20 that Illinois is actually leading Wisconsin in job growth:

Illinois ranked third while Wisconsin placed 42nd in the most recent Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States index, which includes personal income, tax revenue and employment. Illinois gained 32,000 jobs in the 12 months ending in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found. Wisconsin, where Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs with the help of business-tax breaks, lost 16,900.

Towards the end of the interview, Walker boasted of supporting “pro-patient, pro-women” policies. However, Walker made it more difficult for women seeking justice as a result of pay discrimination lawsuits by repealing provisions of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, made it more difficult for women seeking an abortion and birth control, and defunded Planned Parenthood, which “cuts off 12,000 women who do not have health insurance from getting preventive health care” and hurts a program that saved the state money by focusing on preventative care.

Walker: In our state it is today, and will continue to be as long as I am governor, against the law for any employer to discriminate against a woman for employment or a promotion or anything else to deal with the workplace. It has been and it continues to be and it will be as long as I am the governor. They just love trying to make things out of nothing out there. When it comes to the pro-life legislation we passed, I would argue the things that we did are pro-women.

They’re pro-patient, they’re pro-women, they’re making sure that patients get all the facts at their disposal. And for those who claim to be about giving people a choice, shouldn’t it be an informed choice? Shouldn’t it be a choice without pressure from others out there?

Allen West Joins Far-Right Thomas More Law Center

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) today announced that he will be joining the Thomas More Law Center’s Citizens Advisory Board, because the group “knows the true threat to our nation posed by radical Islam and it has initiated and funded more cases challenging the Stealth Jihad being waged against our Nation than any other public interest law firm in America.” West will be joining former Republican presidential candidate and conspiracy theorist Alan Keyes, anti-choice activist Mary Cunningham Agee, and former Alabama Republican Senator Jeremiah Denton.

The anti-gay and anti-Muslim group started by Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan is best known for its legal defeats, including its failed challenge to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, unsuccessful lawsuit against Planned Parenthood to “require it to declare a link between abortion and breast cancer,” and failed defense of the Dover, Pennsylvania school district where they argued “that federal law recommended that students learn alternatives to evolution such as the teaching of intelligent design.” After the disastrous Dover decision, Rick Santorum defected from the group’s Citizens Advisory Board, even though he stars in an ad for the Law Center, because of what he called their “huge mistake in taking this case and in pushing this case to the extent they did.”

Seeing that West has his own rabidly anti-Muslim views, he should fit right in, and last month Tom Lynch of the Law Center told Concerned Women for America’s Chelsen Vicari that Islam is a Trojan Horse trying to “destroying America” that is simply “disguised as a religion,” and that nobody should trust Muslims because they are lying because of Taqiyya:

A lot of Americans are ignorant and that’s why I want to talk about this subject today, about this internal subversion or what we call a stealth jihad. If you go back in history, I mean today the Trojan Horse here in America is Islam, it’s entered America disguised as a religion, it’s ultimate objective is political, and that is to destroy America and to establish an Islamic nation under Allah and Sharia law.



With Taqiyya, if you’re following the Qur’an and your religion, that means that you can lie. So how can you really trust anybody that might be appeasing to our Constitution, our Christianity, or our country?

Pat Robertson Describes How God Built the Christian Broadcasting Network

Yesterday, Pat Robertson delivered a speech as part of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Week of Prayer” where he described how God directed him to create CBN during a gathering of people at Cape Henry, where Christopher Newport’s ships made landfall in 1607. Robertson said that God transferred the anointing of the English settlers to him so he could launch CBN and “reaffirm his claim over this land.”

Watch:

Robertson: I don’t care what the liberals have to say about this, America started as a Christian nation, it didn’t start as a heathen nation, it belongs to Jesus Christ, it’s his, it’s his country. What we need to do on a day like this is to reaffirm his claim over this land. We went down and had a celebration some years ago and we had folks dressed in costumes of various countries and areas of the world and they symbolically brought from a ship a seven foot oak cross and we laid our hands on it and prayed, and I have experienced the anointing of the Lord on a number of occasions with miracles and thousands of people coming to the Lord, but I never had anything like what I experienced that day. The power of God came on me so strong I could hardly stand up. God was saying, ‘you asked for it and I’m going to give it to you, we’re going to transfer the holiness that was here to this cross, you’re going to take it down to that new place you’re building and this is going to be a fulfillment of the prayers of those people, you’re going to take the Gospel all around the world.’ God had a plan, he saw CBN here.

UPDATE: DOJ takes step forward with latest hate crime indictment

President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law on October 28, 2009. Two and a half years later, its sexual orientation protections are being use for the first time.
PFAW

Engle Tells Robertson that Prayer Defeated the 'Homosexual Agenda' in California

Like his fellow Proposition 8 supporters Che Ahn and Jim Garlow, Lou Engle maintains that their prayers led to the reversal of marriage equality in California in 2008 and a “sovereign appointment” with former San Francisco mayor (and current Lt. Gov.) Gavin Newsom “to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda.” While speaking today with Pat Robertson on the 700 Club to publicize the upcoming The Call: Virginia, which Robertson has endorsed, Engle said his September, 2010 prayer rally in Sacramento “removed” the state’s governor from office. However, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had already made the decision not to run for re-election in November, 2009, and Democrat Jerry Brown won the gubernatorial race later that year.

Watch:

Robertson: Tell me one example where prayer that you know of—I know many—changed things in a nation?

Engle: I look at my own story and my prayer history in California, on a forty day season of fasting and prayer, God spoke to me that I needed to contend with those heavenly powers through humility and fasting. We believe, two stadium gatherings, a forty day fast across California, the governor of California, right after The Call in Sacramento, was removed from office, also put me in front of Gavin Newsom in a sovereign appointment to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda. It’s actually changed so much, in my life and with the journey that I’m in, let alone many, many, stories of prayer changing history.

Robertson: One more time, Fredericksburg, Virginia, a linchpin state, there’s people coming all around the nation to join The Call.

Hailing Gay Spokesman's Resignation, Religious Right Keeps up the Pressure on Romney

Following the resignation of openly gay Romney campaign foreign policy spokesman Richard Grenell, who was roundly criticized by conservative activists for his sexual orientation, the Romney campaign has tried to spin the issue by saying that his resignation had nothing to do with him being gay. However, the campaign told him to keep quiet on a major foreign policy call with reporters and never defended him from the attacks. When Grenell announced his resignation he noted, “My ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign.”

As one Republican adviser told the New York Times that while campaign staffers didn’t see Grenell’s sexual orientation as an issue, “they didn’t want to confront the religious right.”

After Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association called Grenell’s resignation a “huge win” for the Religious Right, he later wrote that since Romney is partial to “political convenience” over “political conviction,” conservatives must keep up the pressure on him “since the governor has demonstrated in the Grenell affair that he is maneuverable”:

So Romney went the full Etch-A-Sketch on us twice. He campaigned in the primary as a champion of natural marriage. Then as soon as he locked up the nomination, he shook the tablet clean and hired a same-sex marriage zealot as his spokesman. Then when the windsock shifted directions again, he shook the tablet once more and all traces of Richard Grenell disappeared. If the governor is not careful, he's going to sprain his wrist one of these days shaking that thing.

Gov. Romney is a politician rather than a statesman. While he will not do the right thing out of political conviction, he will do the right thing out of political convenience. This represents both a great challenge and a great opportunity for the pro-family community, since the governor has demonstrated in the Grenell affair that he is maneuverable.

The Grenell resignation represents a huge win for the forces defending the family in America, since it will be a long time before the governor appoints another homosexual activist to a prominent position in his campaign.



Since Gov. Romney will do the right thing when it is politically expedient, it's our job to make it politically expedient for him to do the right thing on as many issues as possible. Let's get cracking.

Yesterday, conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd also welcomed the news of Grenell’s resignation, saying that Republicans shouldn’t hire God-hating gays because they intend to trample over the rights and freedoms of Christians.

Like Fischer, Mefferd also went after Romney, saying that since “he evolves all the time, he flips all the time, he comes to new understandings all the time” and “doesn’t seem to have much of a core,” he may be willing to side with either “gay activists” or opponents of gay rights depending on who carries the most political weight.

Mefferd said, “I don’t what to be misunderstood on this, but if you continue to push the Republican Party to the left on the gay rights issue, we’re all dead—I mean, not dead literally—but Christians will pay the price for this”:

I think it was appropriate that he resigned, I think it was inappropriate to put him in that position in the first place as the presumptive presidential nominee for the GOP, the reason I say this and I’m going to reiterate it because I want to be clear what my objection is, my objection is the whole issue we’re seeing in our culture with gay rights trumping freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and it’s on the march, and we’ve seen it in a lot of different instances across the country. I think it’s foolish for the party that has stood up in defense of marriage so strongly, oh by the way the Democrats stood up for marriage once upon a time in DOMA although it’s fallen out of favor now, but you can’t be the party of freedom and the Constitution if you’re not going to understand that the Constitution enshrines the First Amendment and not gay rights.



When you have people who are gay activists on the Republican side, what happens? What do you think is going to happen? You’re going to have people, especially somebody like Mitt Romney, he evolves all the time, he flips all the time, he comes to new understandings all the time, this is the problem with having a nominee that doesn’t seem to have much of a core and that ends up being a problem for people who actually want principle to trump votes. Not every Republican feels that way, by the way, and I’m not trying to be mean to individual people, I don’t what to be misunderstood on this, but if you continue to push the Republican Party to the left on the gay rights issue, we’re all dead—I mean, not dead literally—but Christians will pay the price for this.



They hate the Bible, they hate God, they hate you, but that doesn’t mean we have to roll over and die, it doesn’t mean we have to be quiet on the issue, it’s about freedom, it’s about freedom for Christians to follow the word of God.

Robertson, Engle Hope 'The Call: Virginia' Heals Wounds from the Civil War

It appears that every time Lou Engle leads a The Call prayer rally, the future of America is at stake. Later this month, Engle will be bringing The Call to Fredericksburg, Virginia, this time with the help of televangelist Pat Robertson. Engle said that his rally intends to “intercede on behalf of the blood that has been shed as a result of racism and abortion and ask for God’s mercy on behalf of our nation” by praying at Civil War sites, and Robertson claimed the event is part of a “spiritual battle which can only be won by overwhelming prayer”:

Lou Engle says Virginia has always been instrumental in the great shifts in American history. It has always risen as a lead state in this nation - how Virginia goes affects the whole nation. Virginia is an “in the gap” state (as described by the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 22 of those who intercede before God on behalf of the needs of His people). The hope is that as the nation gathers in Fredericksburg, Virginia on May 26th, 2012 that God will use Virginia as a revival catalyst, a wall of intercession will be built, and God will show this nation an undeserved mercy. Lou feels that we are being brought into another great crisis in American history. We are in a “hinge of history moment” where we need to cry out to God for the Blood of Jesus to cleanse us for the sins of this nation. The word Lou received from God is, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” God has shown him the “house divided” is the racial tension in this country. Also, he received prophetic revelation that the grace period for abortion is coming to an end and we must atone for the shedding of innocent blood. This bloodshed has its roots in American history. Lou says in Appomattox and Fredericksburg, Virginia is where much blood was spilled in this country during the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. That is a part of the significance of rallying in prayer where much blood was spilled – to intercede on behalf of the blood that has been shed as a result of racism and abortion and ask for God’s mercy on behalf of our nation. Also, Fredericksburg is located 50 miles south of Washington, D.C. and Lou feels that God wants people to intercede “right at the gate” of our nation’s capital. This is our hope: “God save America.” Through fasting and prayer during this critical hour, we dare to believe that God again will show us His mercy.

TheCall has had gatherings and events since its founding twelve years ago that coincide with the racial tension and abortion issues. TheCall Detroit interceded for and has seen reconciliation among the races. TheEstherCall was recently held as 39 women (representing the 39 years since the Roe v Wade decision) who had either had abortions or were survivors of abortions. They prayer walked for 250 miles for 21 days to intercede for life and the consideration of the health care law that would offer insurance coverage for abortions. After the May 26th event in Fredericksburg, TheEstherCall will have a time of prayer and communion at Appomattox, VA and a declarative word over Washington, D.C. Unexpectedly, this will be happening around the time the Supreme Court will be making a decision concerning the health care bill.

Pat Robertson also received a word from God during the New Year 2012:

“Your country will be torn apart by internal stress. A house divided cannot stand…This is a spiritual battle which can only be won by overwhelming prayer. The future of the world is at stake because if America falls, there no longer exists a strong champion of freedom and a champion of the oppressed of the world. There must be an urgent call to prayer.”

Robertson believes the Lord is calling each of us to pray for America and we need a great move of the Holy Spirit to cover our nation…to bring repentance, godliness, and unity to this land that we love. He supports TheCall in Fredericksburg, VA and hopes people will be a part of standing in the gap for America. He believes with all of his heart that praying in unity is exactly what God wants us to do right now. Although as a nation we’re facing a time of maximum stress and peril, Robertson says God Almighty hasn’t given up on this land. Our God is love and His desire is salvation, not judgment. Robertson urges everyone to stand together in this battle as we fast and pray for the future of our country.

Abstinence Activist Says Sex-Ed is Based on 'Ignorance' and Leads to 'Self-Destruction'; 'Church Ladies are having the Best Sex'

Leslee Unruh, the founder of Abstinence Clearinghouse and a staunch anti-choice activist, today appeared on Truth that Transforms, the flagship radio program of Truth in Action Ministries, to discuss the falling teen pregnancy rate. The Centers for Disease Control noted [pdf] that “strong pregnancy prevention messages directed to teenagers” and the “increased use of contraception” may “have contributed to the recent birth rate declines.” However, states with abstinence-only-until-marriage policies continue to see higher rates of teen pregnancy compared to states with schools that teach comprehensive sex-education.

“The teen birth rate increased during the height of the federal investment in abstinence education,” Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy told Salon. “Researchers who have looked at it closely over the past several years tend to believe it is contraception that is making the difference.”

Upset about the positive attention given to the role contraception is playing in lowering the teen birth rate, Unruh told Truth that Transforms host John Rabe that comprehensive sex-ed programs, particularly those which include discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity, are actually going to lead to the “self-destruction” of society and are “based on profound ignorance about human nature.” She maintained that “all the data” backs abstinence-only-until-marriage education, adding, “you know what, the church ladies are having the best sex.”

Rabe: This isn’t just basic biological information this is really ideological indoctrination form a very liberal standpoint, isn’t it?

Unruh: Exactly and you know the information is really designed to have all kinds of family, regardless of how many people were involved, it’s about [sexual] orientation, gender identity, it’s out there, and I’ll tell you it’s really based on profound ignorance about human nature and what makes for a healthy family. It really is the next stage in really the self-destruction of what we call the traditional family and a healthy society. So it’s a fight worth getting involved in and fighting for our kids.



Unruh: All the data is there, and it is time for everybody to recognize it, both in the church and in the public sector that you know what, the church ladies are having the best sex!

The Partisan Advantages of Citizens United

 

Just how much has Citizens United altered the electoral landscape? While the overall amount of outside money in politics has risen dramatically with each passing election cycle, the Citizens United decision eliminated restrictions on corporate and special-interest spending to influence or elections. The result shows that the new rules have stacked the deck in favor of Republicans.

This chart from the Center for Responsive Politics shows how, while spending by outside groups has been on the rise since the 90’s, it was not until 2010 Supreme Court decision that conservatives saw a sudden, major advantage in outside-expenditure spending on their behalf:

Total Liberal vs. Conservative Outside Spending, Excluding Party Committees

As Ian Milllhiser at Think Progress notes, the much of the 2012 spending on Republican candidates went to intra-party contests during the primaries, though it will likely continue through the general election. But the overall trend is clear: As a result of the Citizens United, Republicans will continue to enjoy outsized spending on their behalf by corporations.

PFAW

Record-Breaking Effort to SEC: Disclose Corporate Spending on Elections

Until a constitutional amendment can overturn Citizens United, progressives around the country are working on various legislative workarounds to address the flood of corporate money being spent to influence our elections. While only a constitutional amendment can restore to the American people the authority to regulate such spending, there are several ways to compel companies to disclose their political spending to the public and bring much-needed accountability to corporations that use their vast treasuries to sway our elections.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has the rulemaking authority to require corporations to disclose their political spending to their shareholders. This is significant because so many Americans are shareholders in one form or another: if you own a 401(k) or similar retirement account, you’re a type of shareholder; and the companies you invest with could be spending your money to support candidates or fund attack ads – all without your knowledge.

The American people have told the SEC to do its job. Yesterday, we broke the record for total number of comments submitted to the SEC on a particular rule: 178,000 Americans have written to the SEC, telling them to protect Americans from the undue influence of wealthy corporations and special interests. PFAW supporters contributed a sizeable chunk of about 24,000 signatures to the effort.

The Corporate Reform Coalition, a group of progressive organizations including PFAW, Common Cause, Public Citizens, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending and others has been pushing a consumer-driven campaign to ask corporations to refrain from engaging in political spending. We are also pursuing legislative solutions like the Shareholder Protection Act as well as other means to help shine light on the influence of corporate money in our democracy.

PFAW

Alec Baldwin Talks Bork

Last night, actor and PFAW board member Alec Baldwin appeared on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, where they discussed, as the host put it, “the number one reason to vote for president”: the United States Supreme Court.

Baldwin noted that the Supreme Court affects the daily lives of all Americans, and that the prospect of Mitt Romney making lifetimes appointments to that institution is nothing less than “scary,” especially with Robert Bork as his top judicial advisor.

 

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“To most people, the court is an idea, they don’t realize the impact it has on our daily lives,” Baldwin said. But People For the American Way has been “drilling home the relevance of the court…this is the most abjectly politicized Supreme Court I’ve ever seen in my life,” he continued. Decisions like Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, he said, are “changing the nature of this country.”

Baldwin is helping to spread the word about RomneyCourt.com, where you can read “Borking America,” PFAW’s extensive report on Mitt Romney’s top judicial advisor – whose views are so extreme his own nomination was rejected by a bipartisan coalition more than 20 years ago.

PFAW

Matt Barber: 'The LGBT Agenda and Constitutional Rights Cannot Exist in Harmony'

Yesterday on Faith and Freedom, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber railed against—what else?—LGBT equality, warning of a “tyranny of sexually deviant rights” that will overthrow the Constitution. Barber, who previously said that the push for equal rights is part of an attempt “to impose a globalist, communist structure” and put conservatives “behind bars,” asserted that the “LGBT agenda and Constitutional rights cannot exist in harmony.”

Watch:

This tyranny of rights, this tyranny of the minority, and we’re not talking about racial minorities, neutral minorities, we’re talking about people who define their identity based upon sexually deviant behaviors and proclivities. This is a tyranny of sexually deviant rights and it’s by design to replace the enumerated Constitutional rights given by our Creator based upon the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, these so-called rights violate the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, and yes violate the expressed guarantees that we have to religious liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of association granted to us by the United States Constitution. The LGBT agenda and Constitutional rights cannot exist in harmony. At Liberty Counsel, we defend the Constitution.

Next Religious Right Prayer Event in the Capitol's Statuary Hall

Yesterday, Pastor Dan Cummins spoke to Chelsen Vicari of Concerned Women for America to publicize a May 8th prayer event, hosted by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and endorsed by Speaker John Boehner, in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall that Cummins said was inspired by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response:

CWA is sponsoring a similar event called “Prayer in the People’s House,” and Cummis mentioned that David Barton, Jim Garlow, Harry Jackson, Alveda King and Doug Stringer, all of whom also participated in The Response, will be leading the prayer meeting in the Capitol:

Cummins: As part of the activities for National Day of Prayer, we are inviting members of the Congress, of the House and Senate, and their staff, to participate in this prayer event in probably the most sacred hall of the Capitol, Statuary Hall.

Vicari: That sounds fabulous, in conjunction to this event there is an event that our listeners can actually partake in and that’s Prayer in the People’s House, can you tell us about that?

Cummins: While we are having this event in the Capitol, in fact, let me first tell you some of the speakers that will be participating in this event for our members of Congress. Dr. Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church and also Renewing American Leadership will be with us, Bishop Harry Jackson from High Impact Leadership, Dr. Doug Stringer of Somebody Cares International, Dr. Alveda King from Priest for Life, and everybody knows historian David Barton.

Barton of course is best known for his revisionist, pro-Republican writings about American history, Garlow and Jackson for their staunch anti-gay activism, King for her role in the anti-choice movement, and Stringer, who was heavily involved in putting together The Response, for blaming the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on abortion rights and homosexuality.

Romney Surrenders to Religious Right by Forcing Out Gay Spokesman

Today, Mitt Romney spokesman Richard Grenell, who is openly gay, resigned from his job on the Romney campaign. Grenell’s hiring less than two weeks ago provoked harsh criticism among Religious Right activists including the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, former FRC president Gary Bauer and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Fischer went so far as to suggest that Grenell posed a national security risk, as reported by People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.

Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, said:

“Mitt Romney is once again trying to have it both ways: claiming that he personally tolerates gays and lesbians while at the same time pandering to the anti-gay right-wing base whose intolerance is legendary. Obviously, it’s not working.

“Romney is clearly depending on Religious Right leaders to help him energize a wary base and they insist that he toe the line. But the support of those leaders comes at a price. If Romney is letting the likes of Bryan Fischer, Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer dictate all his hiring decisions, he leaves no doubt as to what kind of president he would be.

“If Romney will cave to the far-right fringe on this, is there anything he won’t give them when they ask?”

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