PFAW Releases Report on Center For Medical Progress’ Roots in the Radical Fringes of the Anti-Choice Movement

WASHINGTON – Today People For the American Way released a report on the anti-choice activists driving the attacks on Planned Parenthood, including in-depth background information on the history of Operation Rescue and its links with the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

The report, “Operation Rescue’s Big Break: How an Organization Rooted in the Radical Fringes of the Anti-Choice Movement Is Threatening to Shut Down the Government,” situates the CMP video “sting” within the history of the anti-choice fringe.

“While David Daleiden is relatively young and unknown, his Center for Medical Progress is rooted in a long tradition of activists who have used sham ‘investigations’ to smear abortion providers and undermine access to legal care,” said Miranda Blue, senior researcher at People For the American Way and principal author of the report. “It is no coincidence that when he started his project, Daleiden turned to Operation Rescue and Life Dynamics, two organizations that have spent decades waging campaigns of intimidation and fear against abortion providers. The Center for Medical Progress’ smear on Planned Parenthood is simply an updated version of these tactics, meant not to uncover the truth but to harass and intimidate health care professionals.”

Last month PFAW released a report, “Chipping Away at Choice,” on seven tactics anti-choice legislators and activists are using to erode reproductive health care access across the country. PFAW’s Right Wing Watch blog also monitors and documents the ongoing activities of anti-choice right-wing activists. 

Miranda Blue is available for interviews with the press. To arrange one, please contact Layne Amerikaner at media@pfaw.org.


Are You Ready For 'Ex-Gay Awareness Month'?

On Friday’s edition of “Sandy Rios In The Morning,” ex-gay activist Christopher Doyle advertised the upcoming “Safe Exit Summit” [PDF], a Washington, D.C., event honoring “Ex-Gay Awareness Month.” Prominent Religious Right groups including the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel are sponsoring the event, which includes a congressional lobby day, speeches and worship sessions.

Doyle congratulated Rios on winning the summit’s “Friend of Ex-Gays Freedom Award” last year, which she said she has prominently placed in her office, and said that this year’s event will focus on how churches “can love those experiencing SSA [same-sex attraction] the right way.”

Rios had her own idea, saying that just as churches developed crisis pregnancy centers — faux medical offices designed to deter women from having an abortion, often by peddling misleading information questioning the safety of abortions — churches should also launch “para-church organizations” geared towards dissuading gays and lesbians from homosexuality.

She noted that one leading ex-gay organization, Exodus International, “turned out to be a train wreck” when its leaders renounced ex-gay therapy.

Later in the program, Doyle shared with Rios a story about how he is currently working to “heal” a “young man” who had “over 10,000 sexual partners in his lifetime.”

Michele Bachmann Lies About Drowned Syrian Boy To Attack Refugees

Michele Bachmann joined “Understanding the Times With Jan Markell” over the weekend not only to push her latest End Times claims but also to discuss the refugee crisis resulting from the Syrian civil war.

The former Republican congresswoman and presidential candidate told Markell that Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washing up onto a Turkish beach was captured in a series of iconic photos, was not actually Syrian but from a Turkish family that was trying to reach Europe in order to secure dental benefits. Aylan, his four-year-old brother and his mother died after a boat headed to Greece capsized, three of over 2,600 migrants who have died traveling to Europe this year.

“That was a terrible tragedy but the fact is, that boy’s father and mother were in Turkey; they weren’t from Syria, they were from Turkey,” she said. “The father wanted European-style welfare benefits, he wanted for somebody to pay for the dental care for his kids.”

Bachmann’s assertion is false. The Kurdish boy’s family lived in Damascus before fleeing to Aleppo and then Kobani, each time leaving to avoid fighting. They left Kobani, where Aylan was born, for Turkey after the predominantly Kurdish city became the site of a brutal assault from ISIS forces. Close to two million Syrian refugees live in Turkey, which denies asylum to Syrians along with all non-Europeans, making it very difficult for Syrian refugees to legally rent a house or find a job since they don’t have legal status.

She went on to cite a claim made by Lebanon’s education minister that two of every 100 Syrian refugees are ISIS militants posing as refugees, and agreed with Markell’s claim that accepting Syrian refugees is “national suicide.”

Bachmann: God May Destroy America Over Gay Marriage Just Like Sodom

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann is not backing away from her End Times prophecies about how President Obama and gay rights advocates are paving the way for America’s destruction and the Apocalypse, returning to “Understanding the Times with Janet Markell” this weekend to issue her latest warning.

Denouncing “Barack Obama’s dangerous policies,” Bachmann said that the president is putting America in God’s crosshairs:

When we raise our fist to a holy God and say that we are going to redefine marriage, we are going to be okay with paying a Planned Parenthood to cut up innocent baby parts and sell them for research, that clearly is a problem and as we have seen God render judgment in the days of Noah, in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah and so forth throughout history, what the prophets have told every generation is that there is a just God and the people must repent and turn to him. So too in this day of wickedness in our own culture, we need to do the same. We need to repent and we need to confess because a holy Savior is coming to save us and redeem us from this sin-sick world.

Markell said that we are so close to the end that she wondered if the two could witness “the Lord’s literal return even before we finish this broadcast.”

Markell said that while Iranian leaders are “End-Times-focused,” “apocalyptic-oriented,” “excited about the End Times” and “looking for a Messiah,” churches in America have failed to preach about “what the Bible has to say about the incredible Last Days that we are in.”

“Islamic countries are obsessed with End Times and bringing about End Times,” Bachmann replied, claiming that Christian pastors in America must “also observe the times that we live in and explain it from a biblical perspective.”

She added: “Christians all across the United States feel the pulse of something is happening.”

Far-Right's Choice For Speaker Tied To Disgraced Duggar Leader

While House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is rounding up votes to seal his bid to succeed John Boehner as speaker of the House, far-right congressmen are backing an insurgent bid by Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., who tried to unseat Boehner earlier this year.

Webster could also win support from the Religious Right, as he has, in the words of University of North Florida professor Julie Ingersoll, “aligned himself with organizations and individuals who advocate the application of biblical law to contemporary society, including wives submitting to their husbands.”

Specifically, Webster has long history of collaborating with the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a ministry founded by Bill Gothard. Ingersoll writes that Webster’s speeches to Gothard’s group emphasized that “God is on his side and that God opposes his opponents,” even “attribut[ing] the fact that he has often run unopposed to God’s intervention as a result of these prayers.”

Most controversially, Webster spoke at one IBLP event about the need for wives to submit to their husbands and for husbands to be the heads of their households, which, as Sarah Posner notes, is strongly in line with Gothard’s views about the dominance of male authority. Posner writes:

[S]ubmission is a central tenet of Gothard's teachings. His evangelical critics have described the insular world of Gothard's organization as "a culture of fear" and Gothard's teachings as a "parody of patriarchalism," the "basest form of male chauvinism I have ever heard in a Christian context," and "anti-woman." The core of Gothard's authoritarian teachings is a chain of command of spiritual authority from God to the husband and father, who is responsible for seeing to his wife's and children's obedience in order to ensure their eternal salvation.

Last year, Gothard faced accusations of sexual harassment from 34 women and charges that he engineered a cover-up of abuse claims.

While GOP leaders like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry have also worked with Gothard groups, his best known disciples are the Duggar family, which recently faced its own sex abuse scandal. Gothard’s teachings on patriarchy and sexual abuse, which appeared to blame women survivors, drew controversy in the wake of the Duggar scandal.

Even Michael Farris, a Religious Right activist and leader in the conservative Christian homeschooling movement, felt compelled to condemn Gothard and Doug Phillips, another Christian patriarchy movement leader embroiled in a sex scandal, claiming that their teachings are “truly dangerous.”

While a court-ordered plan to redraw Florida’s congressional map is seen as endangering Webster’s chance at re-election by adding more Democratic voters to his district, Posner describes how Webster told participants at Gothard events that God is protecting his district to make sure that conservatives are in the majority:

Webster boasts of how his “commitments,” based on Gothard’s teachings, cause his enemies to fail. In the [Advanced Training Institute] video, he recounted making “commitments” that included never watching TV in a hotel room, getting up early in the morning, and praying for a “hedge of thorns of protection” around his Florida district so that he would win reelection. (Both Webster and Gothard have made much of the fact that for several of his reelection bids in the Florida legislature, Webster ran unopposed.) Webster said that he prayed for anyone considering a run in his district to “lose interest.”

That “that hedge of thorns has protected me all these years,” Webster continued, even when his political opponents referred to him and allies as “conservative, gun-toting Bible thumpers.” He claims that “pride is so destructive,” yet seems quite proud that his “hedge of thorns” has made his political career a success.

Razing Ruth, another anti-biblical patriarchy blog, describes Gothard’s teaching on the “hedge of thorns”:

Bill Gothard teaches that Satan can gain “jurisdictional authority” over a person’s soul. When a father or husband, as the authority and spiritual protector of the family, fears that this (Satan attempting to get ja) has happened or may happen, the man is instructed to “pray a hedge of thorns” around his wife/family/son/daughter. In doing so, Gothard teaches that the man will have created a “stronghold for Christ.”

We will see how far Webster’s rhetoric on spiritual warfare and biblical authority takes his campaign for speaker.

Paranoia-Rama: Obama's Election Theft, Pope Francis' Diabolical Scheme And Cashing-In On Kim Davis

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

While some Religious Right groups are busy trying to turn Kim Davis into a modern-day martyr, other conservative activists are addressing more pressing concerns, such as Pope Francis’ murderous agenda, ISIS infiltration of American churches and looming cannibalism.

5) Welcome To America, Pope Francis!

Alex Jones welcomed Pope Francis to the U.S. the only way he knows how: by ranting that Francis is bent on turning Americans into slaves and paving the way for the death of at least one billion people.

Jones added that he was “going to vomit” while thinking about the fawning media coverage of the “slimebag” pope.

4) Kim Davis, Still The No. 1 Martyr

Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, is back in the news for losing yet another legal challenge and reportedly altering marriage licenses as part of her crusade to bar her county office from issuing marriage licenses to eligible couples.

Naturally, Davis' defenders are using her flouting of the law to raise money.

Liberty Counsel, the extreme anti-gay group that is representing Davis, put it this way in a fundraising email: “The American Civil Liberty Union’s motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not their clients’ license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis. They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy!”

Another conservative group, the Family Research Council, said in a fundraising email that Davis’ plight would lead to mass persecution of Christians.

Consider that carefully. If "politically correct" government officials will put a Christian like Kim in jail for the faith we all SHARE -- well, what plans do they have in store for YOU?

Depending on the circumstances, they'll do whatever is necessary to drive Christianity from influence in America by indoctrinating your children or grandchildren . . . ruining your job or career . . . getting you to compromise your faith . . . go silent . . . shut up . . . affirm sexual immorality . . . or deny key parts of the Bible.

3) ISIS Everywhere!

While groups like the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel are on the lookout for phony cases of anti-Christian persecution, televangelist Jim Bakker thinks that people should really be investigating all of the ISIS terrorists who have stealthily joined every church in the U.S.

Pitching survivalist food buckets, Bakker told his audience to watch out for future troubles because “ISIS has already infiltrated every single church in America.”

2) From SNAP To Cannibalism

Bakker is far from the only one trying to stir up fears in order to sell merchandise. Chuck Holton of the NRA radio show “Frontlines,” for instance, warned this week about a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack.

Along with killing nine out of every 10 Americans, Holton said, an electromagnetic pulse attack will lead to people be “eating each other in the streets, because when you have these sort of systemic issues in our government of nearly half of the people in the United States receiving some sort of subsidy from the government, imagine what happens when all the EBT cards start flashing zeroes.”

Watch via Media Matters:

1) Indisputable Proof Obama Stole The 2012 Election

According to at least one poll, half of all Republicans believe that ACORN, which hasn’t existed since 2010, stole the 2012 election for President Obama.

Those still trying to find proof of this massive fraud finally have some convincing evidence, courtesy of “Trunews” host Rick Wiles.

As Wiles explained on his radio show this week, secretive forces must have rigged the election for Obama, because he personally didn’t know anyone who voted for him, and therefore something nefarious must be at work!

Why November 8, 2016 is Judgment Day for the Supreme Court -- and Our Rights

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

What would have happened if a President McCain had appointed conservatives to the Supreme Court, instead of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, before the Court ruled on marriage equality in the Obergefell case? And what if a President Kerry had filled the seats that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito took before the Court decided theCitizens United campaign finance case? Clearly both those rulings would have come out very differently, with enormous consequences for all Americans. As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Roberts-Alito Court and as the 2016 elections get more and more attention, these examples and many more should alert us that Election Day 2016 is truly judgment day for the Supreme Court and for Americans’ rights and liberties. 

Today, People For the American Way released a comprehensive report, Judgment Day 2016, which looks at pivotal Court decisions since Roberts and Alito joined the Court that were decided by a single vote. Many have seriously harmed the rights of ordinary Americans and promoted the interests of powerful corporations. Examples include Citizens United, the ruling striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act inShelby County v. Holder, the decision allowing corporations to claim religion and  deny contraceptive coverage to women in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, and the holding reinterpreting the Second Amendment and severely limiting efforts to limit gun violence in District of Columbia v. Heller. All these and many other decisions could be overruled or limited if a progressive justice replaces just one conservative on the Court, significantly blunting the right-wing judicial assault on a broad array of our rights and liberties.

But there have also been many critical 5-4 decisions over the past ten years where the Court’s  moderate justices, usually joined by Justice Kennedy, have succeeded in protecting Americans’  rights and liberties. In addition to Obergefell, which found a constitutional right to marriage equality, examples include Massachusetts v. EPA, where the Court upheld EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases; Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama, which invalidated a state redistricting scheme that used race to harm minority voters; and Boumediene v. Bush, which narrowly ruled that prisoners detained at Guantanamo can challenge their detention through habeas corpus petitions. All these and many other rulings could be overturned or limited if a right-wing justice replaces just one of the moderates on the Court. A Supreme Court with a far-right supermajority would put more and more of our rights at risk.

Why is this particularly important now? During the first term of whoever is elected President in 2016, four Supreme Court justices - including extreme conservative Antonin Scalia, conservative swing vote Anthony Kennedy, and moderates Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer - will be over 80 years old. Given that the average retirement age for justices since 1971 is 78, the odds are overwhelming that the President elected next year will be able to nominate one or more justices who could produce a critical shift in the Court’s ideological balance.

Leading presidential candidates from both parties have already recognized the importance of future Supreme Court appointments and made clear their intent to nominate justices in accord with their views on crucial constitutional issues. In criticizing the Court’s recent 5-4 decision in Obergefell striking down discriminatory marriage bans, for example, Republican candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio pledged to appoint to the Court “people with a proven record of judicial restraint” and “justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood,” in the hope of undermining or reversing the Court’s decision. On the other hand, in criticizing the Court’s 5-4 decisions striking down federal campaign finance law in Citizens United and part of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, Hillary Clinton pledged to “do everything I can to appoint Supreme Court justices who protect the right to vote and do not protect the right of billionaires to buy elections.”

PFAW’s report carefully reviews 5-4 decisions in eleven key areas where the next President and Supreme Court justice could make such a crucial difference to all Americans. These include money in politics; civil and voting rights (including immigration); LGBT rights; reproductive freedom and women’s rights; workplace fairness; protecting the environment; religious liberty; gun violence; marketplace and consumer fairness; access to justice; and protection against government abuse. In addition to past 5-4 rulings in these areas that could be limited or overruled, the Court is quite likely to be deciding cases on these and other key subjects in the years to come.

 Conservatives clearly understand the crucial importance of the Court and the next election in all these areas, with one far right activist noting that “we cannot overstate the importance of the Supreme Court in the next election.” In fact, her group - the Judicial Crisis Network - recently launched an ad campaign criticizing Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy as not conservative enough,  and demanding that Republican candidates pledge to appoint even more conservative justices. The group noted that Court decisions affect “every aspect of our lives today” and that “the next President could appoint a new majority to last a generation.” Hopefully, statements like that will help all Americans to pay close attention to the Supreme Court in the 2016 election and to recognize that November 8, 2016 truly is judgment day.


Mike Huckabee: America Will Not Survive Gay Marriage

Earlier this month, Mike Huckabee spoke to Trinity Baptist Church’s “Calling America Back to God Rally” in Van Wyck, South Carolina. Huckabee claimed that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was illegitimate, saying that the court “cannot overturn God when it comes to the definition of what marriage is.”

“They can no more redefine the purpose of marriage then they can redefine the laws of gravity and say that we can all go floating everywhere we go and don’t need to take cars anymore,” he quipped.

Later in his remarks, Huckabee addressed Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis’ legal battle, defending her for preventing county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to eligible couples. “I think we put the wrong Democratic woman in jail,” he said. (Davis has since become a Republican).

Huckabee said that Americans have “rebelled against a holy God” and tried “to rewrite the word of God to make it tune to our lifestyle.”

“We cannot possibly survive if we defy any standard that God has given to us,” he said, before calling for a “spiritual revival” that would cause God to “give us the political reformation that we need.”

When Donald Trump 'Waged War' On Christmas

Donald Trump offered up his typical word salad to the Values Voter Summit today, but this time while hoisting his Bible in the air and claiming that it is “the reason” that he is leading among evangelical voters in Iowa and declaring that it is “the key” to saving America.

One of the threats to America, Trump said, is the so-called War on Christmas.

“The word ‘Christmas.’ I love Christmas," he said. "I love Christmas. You go to stores, you don’t see the word ‘Christmas.’ It says ‘Happy Holidays’ all over. I say, 'Where’s Christmas?’ I tell my wife, ‘Don’t go to those stores. I want to see Christmas. I want to see Christmas.’ Other people can have their holidays but Christmas is Christmas. I want to see ‘Merry Christmas.’ Remember the expression ‘Merry Christmas’? You don’t see it anymore. You’re going to see it if I get elected, I can tell you right now.”

Of course, Trump himself has waged war on Christmas:

As has the Trump Hotel Collection:

But we are just glad that Trump is ready to take on the important issues of the day… like the War on Christmas.

Far-Right Gets Its Wish: Speaker Boehner Resigning From Congress

During the 2013 government shutdown fight, Rep. David Nunes, R-Calif., referred to the extremist members advocating a shutdown as “lemmings with suicide vests.” But the far-right flank, often called the “Suicide Caucus,” has only grown in power since then and has recently gained momentum in its push to remove John Boehner, who they say hasn't done enough to fight President Obama, from his position as speaker of the House.

The "Suicide Caucus" is particularly angry that the House Republican leadership approved an increase in the debt ceiling and hasn’t successfully defunded Planned Parenthood or the Affordable Care Act. Of course, there was little Boehner could do to accomplish any of these goals, since Republicans could not override an inevitable veto from the president or overcome opposition from Senate Democrats. But the “Suicide Caucus” doesn’t exactly function according to logic.

Many of the most radical members of Congress became more organized with the formation of the House Freedom Caucus, which The Economist described as a group dedicated to making “reckless and unrealistic” demands of Boehner, “consistent with their record of attempting wild, hapless heists against both Mr. Obama and the Republican leadership.”

With Boehner announcing his resignation today, it’s important to remember that the people who have spent years calling for Boehner’s ouster also represent the far-right flank of the party. As Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., put it, “this is a victory for the crazies.”

Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who organized a failed attempt to topple Boehner earlier this year, blasted Boehner for leading a system that was reminiscent of “China, Cuba or any other communist country.” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for whom Boehner had some choice words after he ranted about the size of immigrants' calves, criticized Boehner for how he handled immigration issues, claiming that the speaker was “throwing tantrums” and “taking a shovel and digging himself into a hole a little bit deeper.” Like King, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., attacked Boehner’s leadership, claiming that he “surrendered to the left” and “let Pelosi and Reid run the House and the Senate.”

And, of course, the "Suicide Caucus" treats Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as its leader, which Boehner doesn't exactly like.

The anti-Boehner caucus also got help from conservative talk radio. American Family Radio's Sandy Rios dubbed Boehner a “big liar,” AFR's Bryan Fischer compared him to Pontius Pilate and syndicated radio host Michael Savage referred to the speaker as a “deranged drunk.”

One of Boehner’s most vocal opponents was Glenn Beck, who told his listeners that they should consider themselves “done with the Republican Party” if Boehner won re-election to his post as speaker (which he did).

Beck’s choice to replace Boehner? None other than Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, the top conspiracy theorist of the House GOP.

After Gohmert tried, and failed, to win the speakership earlier this year, he explained that Americans would only turn to him to be speaker in a time of war or a similar crisis, when everyone would realize that he was the right choice all along. “The only way a guy like me could ever get elected to be speaker would be is if we were during a time of all-out war and people had figured, ‘Wow, Louie’s been right all along and maybe we should give him a chance,’” he said. “That’s the only — we’re not going to elect me in a time of undeclared war and I know that and I understood that.”

But who could better reflect the Republican Party’s decline into a hotbed of radicalism and conspiracy theories than Gohmert?

Boehner Tried to Lead the Party of Reagan, Got Fired by the Party of Trump

In response to Speaker John Boehner’s announcement of his resignation next month, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement:

“John Boehner’s resignation should put any doubts to rest that the inmates are running the asylum in today’s GOP. Throughout his career, John Boehner has been radically anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-worker and anti-regulation. At his party’s behest, he’s spent his time as Speaker taking dozens of votes to repeal Obamacare, launching frivolous lawsuits against the President, slashing the social safety net and blocking efforts at meaningful immigration reform. The fact that he’s resigning in order to avoid a coup precipitated by the idea that he’s ‘too moderate’ would be funny if it weren’t so frightening.

“Ultimately, it’s clear that John Boehner’s greatest sin wasn’t that he was too moderate, but that he tried to be a grown-up in a party that demands petulance and temper tantrums as its agenda for governing. Boehner tried to lead the party of Reagan. He got fired by the party of Trump.”


Rick Wiles Thinks Obama Stole The 2012 Election Because He Doesn't Know Anyone Who Voted For Him

End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles invited Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media onto his “Trunews” program yesterday to discuss Ben Carson's remark that he would never support a Muslim candidate for president. Wiles and Kincaid said that the Republican presidential candidate didn't go far enough, wondering why Carson didn't assert that we already have a Muslim president in the White House.

A larger conspiracy, Wiles said, must be at work, which led him to imply that the same people who are covering up the truth about President Obama's Muslim faith are the very same ones who helped Obama steal the 2012 election. Wiles knows that Obama only defeated Mitt Romney by nefarious means because he, Wiles, doesn't personally know anyone who supported the president’s reelection. 

"Barack Obama was speaking to empty coliseums, empty auditoriums," Wiles said. "Mitt Romney was attracting these huge, enthusiastic crowds. It was obvious there was momentum for the Romney campaign. So on election night with suddenly Obama to win re-election it was very weird, it was strange, it was like, where are these Obama supporters? I never met anybody that was enthusiastic about re-electing Obama and suddenly he wins re-election."

Wiles said his gut feeling told him that Obama's re-election wasn't legitimate: "There was just that feeling on Election Night, something really strange and weird and evil and corrupt just happened tonight." 

Rafael Cruz: 'Appalling' That Houston Elected A Lesbian Mayor

Rafael Cruz believes that his son, Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is on a divinely inspired mission to overturn the city of Houston's nondiscrimination ordinance. The elder Cruz, who also serves as a campaign surrogate for his son’s campaign, is not just upset that Houston approved an ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination, but is also furious that the city even elected an openly gay mayor.

In a speech earlier this month on behalf of the group working to repeal Houston’s ordinance, Cruz lit into the Supreme Court for striking down state bans on same-sex marriage, claiming that the court "had no jurisdiction to rule over marriage."

He said the court's decision on marriage, which he has blamed on Satan, should inspire more conservative Christians to run for higher office.

"It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor," Cruz said, referring to Annise Parker. He blamed the church's inability to stop a lesbian from winning elected office on the separation of church and state, which he called "a lie."

Supreme Court Nominations: An Issue Affecting All Other Issues, in 2016 and Beyond

In the past decade, scores of Supreme Court decisions addressing some of the most fundamental questions in our country have hinged on the vote of a single Supreme Court justice. Who can marry? Can everyone access the ballot box? Can women be denied reproductive health care? Can corporations flood elections with money?

In past 5-4 decisions on questions like these, from Citizens United to Hobby Lobby to Obergefell, the impact of each presidential Supreme Court nomination on our rights and liberties is clear. And for future decisions, Election Day 2016 – when Americans elect a president who will almost certainly be nominating one or more new justices – becomes a “judgment day” for our rights going forward.

A new PFAW report out today, “Judgment Day 2016,” looks at 80 5-4 decisions the Court has issued since Bush-nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito joined the Court ten years ago in key areas like money and politics; civil and voting rights; LGBT rights; women’s rights; workplace fairness; protecting the environment, and more. On a range of issues, the report underscores what’s at stake when Americans vote next November.

As principal report author and PFAW Senior Fellow Elliot Mincberg put it:

In the 2016 election, the Supreme Court is on the ballot…Our next president may very well be nominating three or more Supreme Court justices who could tip the balance in critically important cases.

You can read the report here.


Seven Times Conservatives Have Admitted They Don't Want People To Vote

Earlier this week, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said that he didn’t want “stupid” people — i.e. people who won’t vote for him — to vote at all. Then a Republican state representative in Florida was caught suggesting that the party beat Rep. Corrine Brown by redrawing her African-American-majority district to include a large population of prisoners, who are not allowed to vote in Florida.

These are just two of the instances of Republican lawmakers admitting that their electoral strategy hinges not just on winning votes, but on suppressing the votes of people who they think will oppose them.

Paul Weyrich

More than 30 years ago, an influential conservative leader explained why his movement shouldn’t “want everybody to vote.”

Paul Weyrich, an operative considered to be the “founding father of the conservative movement” because of his hand in founding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority, the Council for National Policy and other influential conservative groups, laid out the GOP’s voter suppression strategy in a 1980 speech in Dallas.

"I don't want everybody to vote,” he said. “Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Phyllis Schlafly

In 2013, North Carolina lawmakers pushed through a package of voter suppression bills , including restrictions on early voting, something that many African American voters had taken advantage of the previous year.

Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly rejoiced in the news , saying that the early voting restrictions were “particularly important” because early voting had tended to help Democrats:

The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game. The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama’s national field director admitted, shortly before last year’s election, that “early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election.”

Franklin County, Ohio, GOP

In 2012, Republican officials in Ohio repeatedly attempted to cut back early voting hours , fighting off legal challenges from President Obama’s reelection campaign.

Doug Preisse, the chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party (whose area includes the city of Columbus), put his party’s case frankly in an email to the Columbus Dispatch:

I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter turnout machine.

Mike Turzai

Before the 2012 presidential election, Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai declared that a new voter identification law would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Greg Abbott

In 2013, then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott — who has since become the state’s governor – responded to the Justice Department’s accusation that recent redistricting had discriminated against minorities by explaining that the goal was just to discriminate against Democrats and “effects on minority voters” were merely “incidental”:

DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats. It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.

Gohmert: Confirming Gay Army Secretary Will Make Muslims Think We Approve Child Sex Abuse

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, urged the Senate to block President Obama's nominee for Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, because having an openly gay Army secretary may send the message that the U.S. condones the sexual abuse of children.

In an interview with Gohmert yesterday on his “Washington Watch” radio program, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that the Senate should refuse to confirm a new Army secretary following a New York Times report alleging that U.S. officials in Afghanistan told service members to look the other way on cases of sex abuse among allied Afghan fighters. Perkins said that the Senate should tell the president that "we are not going to confirm your nominee, especially this guy."

"What do you think they will think,” Gohmert wondered, “when they hear that not only did we tolerate what was being done to their boys by people under our authority but we turn around and approve a Secretary of the Army that they as moderate Muslims believe is just an atrocious thing? They're going to think that that is quite consistent with us approving of what was going on between the older men in authority and these boys."

He added: "This is not a good move, but the president's priority has not been the lives of our military."

Mike Huckabee: Obama Wears 'Costumes' In Other Countries Yet Allows Gay People To See Pope Francis

Mike Huckabee continued his campaign of outrage against President Obama for daring to include pro-gay-rights and pro-choice Christians among the thousands of people invited to a reception with Pope Francis this week, telling Newsmax TV yesterday that the president was “disrespectful” and “not being a very gracious host.”

Huckabee was galled that Obama invited these “dissidents” to “instruct the pope on what the doctrine of the church should be,” especially since, he claimed, Obama goes out of his way to accommodate other world leads by bowing to heads of state and even “will often take on robes and various costumes to fit into the local culture.”

Obama did in fact bow to the pope when he arrived in the U.S. yesterday, following a long line of U.S. presidents who have bowed when meeting foreign leaders.

Alex Jones: Pope's Plan To Fight Climate Change Will Leave One Billion People Dead

Alex Jones is not the biggest fan of Pope Francis, telling “InfoWars” viewers yesterday that the “slimebag” pope wants to destroy America’s borders, preserve the power of pedophiles, establish a “one world religion” and turn Americans into “abject slaves.”

He also expressed just a tiny amount of displeasure with Francis’ call for nations like the U.S. to commit to fighting climate change.

“If he gets his way, a billion people will starve to death in the next ten years,” Jones said. “I’m going to vomit.”

New PFAW Report Examines Supreme Court Nominations as a Critical 2016 Election Issue

WASHINGTON – With little over a year left before 2016 election, People For the American Way released a report today analyzing recent 5-4 decisions from the Supreme Court and the effect that new Justices could have on the Court’s direction. 

The report, “Judgment Day 2016: The Future of the Supreme Court as a Critical Issue in the 2016 Presidential Election,” examines more than 80 5-4 decisions the Court has issued since President George W. Bush pushed the nation’s highest court far rightward by putting John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court in 2005-6. In light of the narrow majorities in landmark decisions such as Obergefell v. Hodges (protecting the right of same-sex couples to marry), Citizens United v. FEC (finding that corporations have a right to make unlimited campaign expenditures), Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (finding that corporations can claim religious rights to exempt themselves from federal laws about contraceptive coverage), and Shelby County v. Holder (overturning a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act), the report highlights the fact that Election Day 2016 is  “Judgment Day” for the rights of all Americans going forward.

The report reviews and analyzes 5-4 court decisions in eleven key areas:

•        Money and politics
•        Civil and voting rights
•        LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights
•        Reproductive freedom and women’s rights
•        Workplace fairness
•        Protecting the environment
•        Religious liberty
•        Gun violence
•        Marketplace and consumer fairness
•        Access to justice
•        Protection against government abuse

“In the 2016 election, the Supreme Court is on the ballot,” said Elliot Mincberg, Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, principal author of the Judgment Day 2016 report. “Closely-divided 5-4 Supreme Court rulings in recent years have wreaked havoc on Americans’ rights and, in some cases, only narrowly averted doing so. Our next president may very well be nominating three or more Supreme Court justices who could tip the balance in critically important cases. This report highlights what’s at stake for our rights when Americans cast their ballot next November.”

You can read the full report here.

Elliot Mincberg is available to speak with press. To arrange an interview, please reach out to Layne Amerikaner or Drew Courtney at media@pfaw.org.


Judgment Day 2016: The Future of the Supreme Court as a Critical Issue in the 2016 Presidential Election

Of all the important issues at stake in the 2016 presidential election, one stands out for right-wing conservatives: the future of the Supreme Court. For the future of the Supreme Court, and for the rights of all Americans, November 8, 2016, is truly judgment day.
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