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Study: Roberts and Alito Most Pro-Corporate Justices in 65 Years

We write frequently about the extraordinarily pro-corporate leanings of the current Supreme Court, where the Justices bend the law and twist logic in order to rule in favor of large corporate interests and against the rights of individuals harmed by those interests. In the past week, two new studies have provided powerful numbers to back up the trend.

In a report released on Thursday, the Constitutional Accountability Center found that the corporate lobbying group U.S. Chamber of Commerce has won a stunning two-thirds of the cases that it has been involved with before the Roberts Court. And this weekend, The New York Times reported on a new study from the Minnesota Law Review that found that the current Supreme Court’s five conservative justices have sided with corporate interests at a greater rate than most justices since World War II. In fact, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both George W. Bush nominees, are the two most pro-corporate Supreme Court justices to sit in the past 65 years:
 

The Times writes:

But the business docket reflects something truly distinctive about the court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. While the current court’s decisions, over all, are only slightly more conservative than those from the courts led by Chief Justices Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist, according to political scientists who study the court, its business rulings are another matter. They have been, a new study finds, far friendlier to business than those of any court since at least World War II.

In the eight years since Chief Justice Roberts joined the court, it has allowed corporations to spend freely in elections in the Citizens United case, has shielded them from class actions and human rights suits, and has made arbitration the favored way to resolve many disputes. Business groups say the Roberts court’s decisions have helped combat frivolous lawsuits, while plaintiffs’ lawyers say the rulings have destroyed legitimate claims for harm from faulty products, discriminatory practices and fraud.

Published last month in The Minnesota Law Review, the study ranked the 36 justices who served on the court over those 65 years by the proportion of their pro-business votes; all five of the current court’s more conservative members were in the top 10. But the study’s most striking finding was that the two justices most likely to vote in favor of business interests since 1946 are the most recent conservative additions to the court, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., both appointed by President George W. Bush.

PFAW

Krikorian Lays Out Strategy to 'Kill' Immigration Bill, Attacks 'Big Religion' SBC, 'Jerk' Graham, 'Water Boy' Rubio

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and a GOP witness at last month’s Senate hearings on immigration reform, laid out his strategy for stopping the reform bill on a Tea Party Unity conference call Thursday.

Krikorian told the Tea Party activists on the call that they were lined up against “all the big institutions in the country” including “Big Business…Big Labor, all the big donors, Big Government Big Education, Big Media, Big Philanthropy, Big Religion -- the Southern Baptist Convention has been roped into this as well.”

Opponents of immigration reform shouldn’t be “distracted by particular pieces of the bill” they might support, he said. Instead, “This needs to be a kind of kill-and-replace, like the fight on Obamacare response.”

“There may be parts of it that some people like, increasing some skilled immigration or guest worker programs, what have you,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of either of those things, but if they’re included in this bill it doesn’t matter because there’s so much in this bill that shouldn’t be there that’s so bad that the whole thing needs to be killed.”

All the big institutions in the country are behind this. Big Business is for this, Big Labor, all the big donors, Big Government, Big Education, Big Media, Big Philanthropy, Big Religion -- the Southern Baptist Convention has been roped into this as well. And once the bill came out, though, it became pretty clear that there’s plenty there to attack. The inevitability is not real. This in fact can be stopped, and in fact I think the approach needs to be not to sort of be distracted by particular pieces of the bill, but the whole thing needs to be killed. This needs to be a kind of kill-and-replace, like the fight on Obamacare response. Because this really is an equivalent to Obamacare and frankly probably much more consequential in the long term, much more damaging to the health of the country.

There may be parts of it that some people like, increasing some skilled immigration or guest worker programs, what have you. I’m not a big fan of either of those things, but if they’re included in this bill it doesn’t matter because there’s so much in this bill that shouldn’t be there that’s so bad that the whole thing needs to be killed.

Krikorian went out of his way to attack two of the four Republicans on the bipartisan Gang of Eight that devised the immigration reform proposal. Sen. Lindsey Graham, he said, is facing attack ads in South Carolina “both because he’s on the Gang of Eight and because he’s frankly kind of a jerk.”

He then accused Sen. Marco Rubio, the main Republican spokesperson for the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan proposal, of having “totally drunk the Kool-Aid” and acting as “Chuck Schumer’s water boy.” The best home immigration opponents have to stop the bill, he added, is to “scare [Rubio] enough to give him some kind of excuse to walk away.”

Rubio needs to be the focus, not so much of attack, although he does kind of need to be attacked. Rubio needs to be, it needs to be made clear to him he’s got to back off this bill. I’m not sure that’s possible. He’s completely, totally latched himself to Chuck Schumer at this point. But, you know, it seems to me it’s at least possible, offering him and a lot of other Republicans an opportunity, a way of backing out of this thing. Because especially if Rubio backs out, if he somehow, and it’s going to be hard at this point, but if he were to walk away from this and say, ‘Look, I tried, it just didn’t work,’ the whole thing is over, it’s collapsed and there’s just no chance the Democrats have of getting this through.

So, in a sense, Rubio really is the key guy. And your  question is, the question, the way it would have to be presented to Rubio, is, ‘Are you the conservative ambassador to this Gang of Eight writing this bill, or are you Chuck Schumer’s ambassador to conservatives?” And I’m afraid he’s the latter. He’s now Chuck Schumer’s water boy, making the case for the bill that the Democratic staff, Schumer’s staff, wrote, and making the case for it to conservatives to try to get enough people basically, you know, silenced enough that this thing can get through the Senate. That’s the real danger and that’s where it seems to me the pressure has to be applied.

There are some people running ads in South Carolina, for instance, against Lindsey Graham, both because he’s on the Gang of Eight and because he’s frankly kind of a jerk and because he’s up in 2014 and there are people talking about primarying him. My point is that making Rubio feel the heat isn’t going to get him to change his mind. He’s totally drunk the Kool-Aid.  I mean, I can’t put it too strongly: he is Chuck Schumer’s water boy. He is Chuck Schumer’s assistant in tearing out this amnesty. And he just thinks that all the rest of it doesn’t matter as long as he can get everybody amnesty. And remember, everybody’s amnesty first, within a few months of this bill passing. Everything else is just promises. ‘If, you know, we get everyone amnesty then we can get our message to Hispanic voters,’ or something. It’s a complete fantasy. He’s totally bought into it. The point is to scare him enough to give him some kind of excuse to walk away, that’s what my point is.
 

 

Top North Carolina Anti-Gay Activist Mulls Senate Run

The pastor who helped organize and finance the campaign to pass North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church, is pondering a run for US Senate against Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, a marriage equality supporter.

As reported by Jeremy Hooper, Harris, who leads North Carolina’s Baptist convention, emphasized that the Amendment One campaign wasn’t just about marriage but attacking the gay community:

Harris also preached that God would mourn the anti-gay amendment’s defeat:

His church also promoted a column by his wife that put marriage equality advocates in the same category as Nazis and eugenicists, argued that people are gay as a result of sexual abuse, warned that the supporters of the “gay agenda” like Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry are warping the minds of children and contended that gay youth are simply deluded.

Harris has informed his congregation about his potential run for Senate, the Charlotte Observer reports:

Harris, 47, met in Charlotte last week with about 70 people from around 20 North Carolina counties who are trying to draft him to run.

“I’m certainly humbled and flattered by the confidence that these folks have expressed,” he said. “It’s a little bit overwhelming to be honest. Right now we’re doing two things. One … doing a lot of listening to people and the second and most importantly to me is just to pray and seek God’s leadership … and see if that’s his plan for me.”

Harris announced that to his congregation at the end of Sunday’s service, and walked off to a standing ovation.



Last year, Harris campaigned heavily for Amendment One, which recognizes marriage between a man and a woman as the only valid union recognized in the state.

He has hosted Republican precinct meetings at his church and last year brought in a number of prominent conservative speakers, including former presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

A few weeks ago, Harris met with GOP consultant Tom Perdue of Atlanta, onetime chief strategist for former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, now the state’s Republican chairman. Among the many GOP candidates Perdue has helped were former U.S. Sens. Paul Coverdell of Georgia and Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Fischer: 'Homosexuality in the End Is Going to Be Responsible for the Collapse of the Western Economy'

Bryan Fischer is a big fan of Niall Ferguson’s bogus claim (which he has since renounced) that John Maynard Keynes did not care about how his economic policies impacted future generations because, as a gay man, he didn’t plan to have children.

The American Family Association spokesman took issue with Tom Kostigen of Financial Advisor, whom Fischer called a member of the “pro-sodomy gestapo, the gaystapo,” for criticizing Ferguson when he is in fact “exactly right” for blaming the 2008 financial crisis on the gay community.

“He was a narcissist, he was a hedonist and he was a homosexual,” Fischer said, “his view of history is very shortsighted, short-circuited, he cared about himself and his generation exclusively; so homosexuality in the end is going to be responsible for the collapse of the Western economy.”

Watch:

Religious Right Activists Continue to Level Attacks on Jason Collins

Opponents of gay rights are not letting up on their attacks against Jason Collins following the NBA player’s decision to come out of the closet. Called2Action’s Steve Noble ranted in a radio commentary about the media coverage of the Collins story: “It’s gay this, it’s gay that, I’m so tired of gay; I’m so tired of gay, I’m just tired of gay.”

So Jason Collins, the has been, lying NBA player comes out of the closet as a homosexual and he becomes instantaneously a hero and gets a call from the President like he just landed on the moon. ESPN commentator Chris Broussard, however, comes out of the closet as a Christian and becomes America’s most wanted and is hated and slammed across the liberal media. Things, that make you go: hmmm? What about poor Tim Tebow in all of this? Tim Tebow just got cut from the Jets the other day. I guess if Tim Tebow wants to turn his career around, you know what he needs to do, he needs to start liking men and stop following Jesus and then badda bing, the NFL will just bow down at his feet and he’ll be a national hero, get a call from the President and a multimillion dollar contract the next day. Is anybody else’s head spinning out there? It’s gay this, it’s gay that, I’m so tired of gay; I’m so tired of gay, I’m just tired of gay.

Linda Harvey of Mission America cited Noble’s analysis and said that “Jason Collins should feel shame and a desire to change, not pride.” She also called Collins an “ex-heterosexual,” seemingly unaware that closeted gay men who date women are still gay.

As it turns out, [Jason] Collins is actually an ex-heterosexual. Since he had a relationship with a woman, his ex-fiancée, who told reporters she had no idea about this other side of him. Some might say that this is bisexuality but it really reveals an anything-goes sexual behavior that once again is an evidence of choice, not something inborn. Many in our politically correct media will of course refuse to see this and connect the dots. Let me refer to a couple of Christian commentators who had insights on the Jason Collins situation. Steve Nobel of Called2Action Ministries sent out an e-newsletter with his headline, “Why is this news and why did the President of the United States call him?” Noble went on to say, “I’m so tired of ‘gay this’ and ‘gay that,’ aren’t you?” Yes Steve, you’re not alone in thinking we’ve heard enough deceit about a sinful, high-risk behavior. It’s not like race, no one is born this way, and Jason Collins should feel shame and a desire to change, not pride.

Liberty Counsel’s always-distasteful Matt Barber used his column in WorldNetDaily to compare Collins to a polo player who is has “a thing for his horse”:

It’s all so confusing.

How do you get a call from the White House? Sandra Fluke? Jason Collins? I see a theme developing here. Declare sexual liberation from all that archaic “morality” stuff and – ring, ring – “Barack on line one.”



And all is well in the “progressive” time-space continuum.

But, lest you worry about Jason Collins’ incredible act of courage going otherwise unlauded by this president and his mainstream media, I shall hasten to comfort you. For Mr. Obama also heaped spoonfuls of sparkly-sweet sugar upon Jason’s hate-tattered brow at a frenzied news conference. CBS News describes it thusly: “President Obama told reporters he ‘couldn’t be prouder’ of NBA player Jason Collins, who one day earlier announced he was gay. Mr. Obama said Collins is ‘a role model’ to be able to say, ‘I’m still 7-foot-tall and can bang with Shaq, and deliver a hard foul.’”

Um, right, exactly. If we can’t be proud of sodomy, what can we be proud of?

Seriously, I’d encourage the next pro athlete engaged in some other hitherto-considered-deviant-sexual-lifestyle to ride the wave.

Who knows, in today’s ever-”progressive” culture, I could see President Obama awarding the Medal of Honor to the first polo player courageous enough to admit having a thing for his horse.

A Wake-Up Call for Governor Corbett: GOP Lawmaker Opposes Electoral College Plan

We already knew from our canvassing these past few weeks that the Pennsylvania GOP’s electoral vote-rigging plan is unpopular with Pennsylvania voters. Now, thanks to a People For the American Way video, we know that this opposition isn’t just coming from the voters -- it’s also coming from crucial Republican state senators. At a town hall meeting in New Hope, state Sen. Charles McIlhinney told constituents that he thought the electoral college scheme, sponsored by Sen. Dominic Pileggi, was “poorly thought out” and that he wouldn’t support the bill. Senator McIlhinney pointed out that it would “set Pennsylvania back” by diminishing its significance in the electoral college, putting its influence on a level with smaller states.

This should be a wake-up call for Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett. He’s already facing a tough re-election battle, and it’s clear that this electoral college scheme is not a winner for him -- the comments from Sen. McIlhinney are just further evidence of this.  But clearly, it seems like Gov. Corbett thinks staying silent on the issue will mean that no one will notice. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t work like that: we know his silence reveals his tacit support for the plan, and the longer he leaves it, the clearer it becomes. Governor Corbett has been hiding from his own party’s policies for a while now, but with these comments from Sen. McIlhinney -- a prominent member of the committee that would be the first to consider the bill -- the reality’s catching up with him. It’s time to either come out and support the bill or admit, like Sen. McIlhinney did, that his party got it wrong on this one.

Watch our video of the Senator’s comments here:

PFAW

Pat Buchanan Claims Immigration Reform, Latino Voting Will Lead to 'Erasure of the Southern Border'

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has been one of the Right’s most reliably xenophobic voices against immigration reform. On Friday’s McLaughlin Group, Buchanan was at it again, claiming that immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would  “lead to the erasure of the southern border of the United States” and the creation of an “entirely different U.S.A.” because of increased Latino voting in border states.

“Let me tell you, if you get amnesty and the path to citizenship that the Mexican president wants, that will lead to the erasure of the southern border of the United States, because the Hispanic population in all those border states is going to be decisive in elections and they will begin to demand that to people, shut up about immigration and let it come forward, and when that happens you’re going to have an entirely different U.S.A.,” he said.
 

Fischer: Obama Plans to Forcibly Disarm Christians

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is convinced that President Obama’s pledge to “keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” a remark he made while speaking in Mexico City, is actually a veiled attempt to lay the groundwork to forcibly “disarm people of the Christian faith.”

Fischer said that Obama is “setting up the stage to take guns away from evangelicals” and classify them as terrorists: “‘You believe in Jesus Christ?’ ‘Yes I certainly do sir.’ ‘Give me your gun, we’re coming into your house and taking your guns, you’re dangerous, you’re a threat you’re an extremist, you’re a terrorist threat, we can’t let you have a gun.’”

Watch:

Tom Tancredo Attacks 'The Shrine of Multiculturalism' with Bogus Ben Franklin Quote

Former congressman and anti-immigrant activist Tom Tancredo took to WorldNetDaily on Friday to warn that Americans are a “vanishing breed” who might “disappear” as a result of multiculturalism in the public school system. He said that progressive are using schools to make Americans “worship at the shrine of multiculturalism” and consequently lose their American identity.

Tancredo backs up his argument with a Benjamin Franklin quote which he says illustrates that Americans have become a “fundamentally different people.”

Unfortunately for Tancredo, the quote actually isn’t from Franklin himself, but the character Benjamin Franklin in the musical “1776.”

America as a continent, a region and as a political entity may well survive for centuries, but the American who has created and populated this nation is a vanishing breed. Is it possible for America to survive while Americans disappear?

Yes, it is possible. As our character and culture change, we become a different nation, like an alien being taking over a human body. It looks the same, but the soul is different. As what it means to be an American changes, we are justified in wondering whether the nation’s Founding Fathers – or Alexis de Tocqueville or Teddy Roosevelt – would recognize the new Americans who celebrate not a special American identity and American destiny but our “common humanity” and “oneness” with the world’s collective misery.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the first to speak of Americans as a new people who required a new nation. For Franklin, what propelled Americans toward independence was not the Stamp Act or the Tea Tax or the quartering of British troops in the homes of colonists. America was destined to be a separate nation because we were a new people on the face of the earth.

In 1776, a fellow Pennsylvanian, John Dickinson, asked Franklin, who had been an early advocate for independence, exactly why the colonies should separate from the mother country. Franklin replied:

“We have spawned a new race here in America. It’s rougher, simpler, more violent, more entrepreneurial, and less refined. … We require a new nation.”

Benjamin Franklin understood that Americans were a fundamentally different people, a new people in the history of the world. Thus, to Franklin, independence from England was both natural and inevitable.



Can a nation remain exceptional if it evolves into a mirror image of the old world, the corrupt and tyrannical world from which its early immigrants sought refuge? How much accommodation and compromise can a nation endure without losing its special character and becoming, in modern jargon, “part of the problem, not part of the solution”?

This is a new question Americans never before had to ask. For 200 years, Americans took our special mission for granted, and fortunately, so did the rest of the world. We were Ronald Reagan’s “City on a hill,” and we were proud of it.

The new question for Americans in the 21st century is whether we even want to be a distinct race and a distinct nation, a beacon of light in the darkness. The question has become, not whether we have lost that quality that made us different but whether we should care one way or the other.

This doubt and this questioning of our place in the world is the cumulative product of three generations of progressive education of our elites. Beginning in the mid-20th century, our schools began teaching the devaluation of our history and doubt about our character as a different kind of nation.

Our new progressive culture asks us to worship at the shrine of multiculturalism, where “American Exceptionalism” is cast into what Marx called the “dustbin of history.”

America maintained its exceptionalism for 200 years because it attracted a special kind of immigrant as well, people similar in spirit to the first colonists – individuals drawn to the promise of Franklin’s entrepreneurial individualism. They didn’t come just for employment and with the intention of sending a third of their earnings back home and then returning there some day. They came wanting to be not laborers, but Americans.

Ronald Reagan was an optimist on the question of America’s destiny, and many conservatives still echo that optimism. Yet, the case for a weary pessimism grows stronger each day.

Senate Republicans Treating President Obama’s Judicial Nominees Exceptionally Poorly, CRS Study Finds

A new study from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service [pdf] quantifies the extent to which Senate Republicans have been stalling President Obama’s judicial nominees. Through this persistent obstruction, Senate Republicans have kept the chamber mired in gridlock, thrown the federal courts into an historic vacancy crisis, and prevented President Obama from restoring ideological balance to a system still dominated by George W. Bush nominees.

The study finds that President Obama’s judicial nominees – including those with no partisan opposition – face extraordinary wait times for simple yes-or-no votes from the Senate.

CRS notes that “President Obama is the only one of the five most recent Presidents for whom, during his first term, both the average and median waiting time from nomination to confirmation for circuit and district court nominees was greater than half a calendar year.” In particular, the study notes, the wait times for district court nominees – whose decisions do not bind other courts and who have historically been approved quickly and without controversy – have shot up in the past four years:

Where President Obama’s judicial nominees face the greatest delays is between approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee and a vote from the full Senate. Because the Senate must have unanimous consent or invoke cloture to hold an up-or-down vote, senators in the minority can quietly filibuster judicial nominees for months without giving a reason for delaying the votes. For instance, Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma, who was nominated to a seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, was forced to wait nine months for a vote from the full Senate, despite the fact that he was supported by both of his home state’s conservative Republican senators. In the end, he was confirmed unanimously.

Perhaps the starkest example of Republican obstruction under  President Obama is the gridlock that completely unopposed judicial nominees have faced. CRS finds that President Obama’s unopposed district court nominees have waited nearly three times as long for a Senate vote as did President Bush’s and nearly six times as long as President Clinton’s. His unopposed circuit court nominees have waited over four times as long as President Bush’s and seven times as long as President Bush’s.

It’s important to note also that many more of President Obama’s nominees would count as unopposed – making these numbers even more dramatic -- if Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah hadn’t spent a year opposing every one of President Obama’s judicial nominees in protest of a completely unrelated issue.

 

PFAW

Robertson: Gays Can Change Just Like Murderers and Rapists

Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson insisted that gays and lesbians can “change their sexual preference” just like murders, rapists and thieves can change themselves. He later warned that the U.S. is on the verge of adopting hate speech laws.

Robertson, who has repeatedly promoted ex-gay therapy, said that just as gay people can change their orientation, “a murderer can change, a rapist can change, a thief can change.” Robertson was reacting to a case in Ecuador, where a politician was found to have violated his country’s electoral code’s prohibition on discrimination by making anti-gay remarks.

Watch:

Kobach Seeks to Expand Own Power Over 'Election Fraud' Cases

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the driving force behind draconian anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and Alabama and a rising national figure on the Right, is close to a major victory on one of his other pet projects – gaining attention for the mythical problem of “election fraud.”

Kansas’ legislature is poised to grant Kobach’s office the power to prosecute election fraud cases that it identifies, a responsibility previously reserved for county and federal prosecutors. Kobach claims that prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office are neglecting these cases because of “a very full plate.”

But a look at even a few of the cases Kobach claims that prosecutors are neglecting tells a very different story. In February, Kobach told The Topeka Capital-Journal that he had referred eleven “slam dunk” cases to prosecutors, none of which had ended in convictions. But one of the prosecutors responsible for following up on those cases found that most were isolated incidents involving people who were just confused about the voting laws:

Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe took exception to some of Kobach's characterizations in his testimony on behalf of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association. Howe said Kobach's bird’s-eye view of widespread voter fraud crumbles when investigated by those on the ground.

For instance, Howe said one double-voter his office investigated was an elderly man showing "the early stages of dementia." Howe's office notified the man's family rather than prosecute him.

Another alleged double voter was a developmentally disabled man.

“Are we supposed to prosecute that case?" Howe asked. "I chose not to.”

This fits with the pattern. In 2011, Kobach claimed that there had been 221 incidents of voter fraud in Kansas between 1997 and 2010. Yet just seven of these resulted in convictions.

Kobach now claims that he has identified at least 30 cases of illegal double voting in the 2012 election by finding people with the same name and birthdate who voted in two separate states. Such matching tactics have in the past have resulted not in legitimate voter fraud convictions, but in embarrassing errors and mass wrongful disenfranchisement.

Kobach’s issue with the state’s prosecutors seems to be not that they haven’t properly investigated voter fraud – but that they have failed to promote the conspiracy theory about widespread voter fraud that, when it becomes popular, benefits people like Kris Kobach and the policies they pursue.
 

FRC's 'Stand with Scouts Sunday' Warns Gays Are Unclean and a Sign of the End Times

Last night, the Family Research Council held a “Stand with Scouts Sunday” event, featuring politicians such as Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Steve Palazzo, to oppose a proposed resolution that would end the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay members who are under the age of eighteen.

The event included an address by pastor Robert Hall of Calvary Chapel Rio Rancho, who warned that the push to end the ban on gays is a sign of the End Times and will ultimately make America “self-destruct.” FRC president Tony Perkins argued that the BSA should fear what happened to the military after it repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, even though all reports so far have found no problems as a result.

Boy Scouts who participated in the webcast described homosexuality as unclean and expressed fears that he might “have my buddy come on to me.”

Watch highlights here:

Rep. Palazzo: If Boy Scouts Don't Maintain Anti-Gay Policy 'Then What Do We Stand For as a Country?'

Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS) has been working with the Family Research Council to defeat efforts to allow gays under the age of 18 into the Boy Scouts and appeared yesterday on FRC’s “Stand With Scouts Sunday” webcast. The congressman said he would do anything he could “to protect the Boy Scouts from this popular culture, this liberal agenda that is being crammed down their throat,” arguing that “the Boy Scouts are actually being bullied worse than any group or organization that has ever been bullied before.”

“They are being harassed and at the end of the day they are also being ridiculed by some in the liberal media,” he added. Palazzo asked if America cannot tell the Boy Scouts to “stand strong” and preserve its ban on gay members, “then what do we stand for as a country?”

Later, Palazzo said that the organization must “remove the agitators who are trying to corrupt the Boy Scouts of America and bend to popular culture.”

Watch:

GOP Senator on Key Committee Opposes Pileggi’s Electoral College Bill, Calls it ‘Poorly Thought Out'

NEW HOPE, Pa. – At a town hall meeting here Wednesday, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, a Republican member of Pennsylvania’s Senate State Government Committee, spoke out against fellow Republican Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s scheme to change the way Pennsylvania apportions its electoral votes. McIlhinney said Pileggi’s bill was “poorly thought out” and “makes no sense to me whatsoever.” He added, “I won’t support it.”

McIlhinney is a member of the Senate State Government Committee, which would be the first to review Pileggi’s bill.

Rep. Allyson Schwartz and former congressman Joe Sestak have both denounced the plan. Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to state a position on the bill and whether he would veto it if it passed the legislature.

“Governor Corbett has not been forthright with the public on whether he favors legislation rigging future presidential elections in favor of one party over another and costing the state millions in economic activity. Despite his reluctance to clearly articulate a position on disenfranchising millions of Pennsylvanians, it is clear that his tacit approval will not stand well with voters or even with some members of his own party,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way.

“It’s time for the governor to step up and tell Pennsylvanians whether he sides with the best interests of the voters or with the interests of the Republican Party leadership.”

Last month, People For the American Way delivered over 100,000 petitions urging Corbett to reject Pileggi’s plan.

A transcript and video of McIlhinney’s remarks are below.

Question: I just had a question about a bill that Senator Pileggi had, that we have been hearing a lot in the press about, that changes the electoral college votes.  What is your stance on that? What is your position on that and why?

Senator McIlhinney: The electoral college….What they are trying to say is that you have a proportionate amount of votes you need…or  we have 20 electoral college votes and they should be based upon a proportionate of the number of people who voted in Pennsylvania.

Now, under that system, I could never see a Presidential candidate ever getting more than 11 to 9, no matter who it is. Because I am never going to see a candidate win 75% of the vote in Pennsylvania. So you could never even get more than 11 let alone 20. Which makes no sense to me whatsoever.

What you’re saying is you’ll have two….It will force us into a state that will only have two electoral college votes depending on which way you go with it. So, I won’t support it. I don’t think it’s gonna come up.

But that’s the logic is to say that every vote should count. So, even if your candidate lost, you’re still gaining him some electoral college votes in that electoral college….but it really was poorly thought out, if I can say that.

I respect Senator Pileggi a lot but I wouldn’t support it. And it really would set Pennsylvania back to a state like a small state like Vermont or Ohio…well not Ohio.
 

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Rick Perry Urges Boy Scouts to Oppose Gay 'Pop Culture' Like Sam Houston Resisted Slavery

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) appeared in the Family Research Council’s “Stand With Scouts Sunday” webcast last night where he told FRC president Tony Perkins that the Boy Scouts of America must resist those trying to “tear apart” the organization’s values and replace them with the “flavor of the month”—homosexuality.

He warned the BSA against becoming “more like pop culture” and urged scout leaders to channel the spirit of Sam Houston, whom Perry said lost his governorship because he was “against slavery” and opposed secession.

Watch:

Wisconsin Republicans Try to Limit Power of Courts Blocking Their Agenda

Last week, we reported on the creative and constitutionally questionable efforts by Iowa Republicans to punish the state supreme court justices who issued the state’s landmark marriage equality ruling.

Now, Wisconsin Republicans are up to something similar, seeking to strip county circuit court judges of the ability to issue preliminary injunctions on laws that may be unconstitutional. The measure, which was introduced last month and had public hearings yesterday, is widely seen as a reaction to judicial injunctions on efforts by state Republicans to impose voter ID requirements and limit collective bargaining rights.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains:

With some of their major legislative achievements thwarted by trial courts in the past two years, Wisconsin Republicans have been looking for ways to rein in local judges, particularly in liberal areas such as Dane County.

Since 2011, circuit court judges have blocked all or parts of laws backed by Republicans that required voters to show photo ID at the polls, limited collective bargaining for public employees and expanded the governor's power over administrative rules. Under a measure announced last month, such injunctions would be automatically stayed as soon as they were appealed - meaning laws that were blocked would be put back in effect until a higher court issued a ruling.

The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Council is now warning that the bill is likely unconstitutional.

Incidentally, one of the bill’s sponsors is state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who last year tried to get a state public health agency to list single parenthood listed as “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”
 

Congressmen Scalise and Gohmert Fall for Debunked Fox News Story on Supposed Plan to Court Martial Christians

Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes likes to report on culture war issues and frequently highlights examples of supposed anti-Christian persecution. He plucks the examples from Religious Right media outlets, which then turn around and point to Starnes’ Fox News stories for validation.

Fox example, one recent Starnes story alleged that a New York school was forcing girls to kiss each other as part of an anti-bullying seminar. But the ‘forced lesbianism’ story was baseless [PDF], and the school superintendent had to write to Starnes to urge him to, you know, report stories accurately [PDF].

In another instance of shoddy journalism, Starnes claimed that the military was deliberately blocking access to a Southern Baptist website as part of a “Christian cleansing” of the armed forces by the Obama administration. Well, as it turns out, the website was automatically blocked over malware issues and the Southern Baptist Convention’s own director of information systems acknowledged that malware on the SBC website, not any anti-Christian animus in the military, was responsible for the mishap.

So it came as no surprise to learn that a new Starnes column about the military getting ready to court martial Christians, since picked up by organizations like the Family Research Council, was also completely groundless.

Starnes contends that Obama administration officials are working with church-state separation activists to begin kicking Christians out of the military and cracking down on their religious freedom.

As Warren Throckmorton points out, the Defense Department guidelines on proselytizing and religious bias that has so enraged Starnes and others was actually put in place in 2008 during the Bush administration and the language clearly “draws a distinction between simply speaking about one’s faith and coercion.” Throckmorton also notes that Starnes twisted a statement from a Pentagon spokesman “to make it seem as though the outcome of religious proselytizing cases would be court martial.”

The Tennessean and Stars and Stripes have also debunked the story, but don’t tell Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who in an interview with Starnes said that Obama is trying to make Christian service members leave their faith:

“Under President Obama’s military you are no longer allowed to share your faith,” he said – noting that the policy is putting Christians in a tough position. “Do you follow President Obama or do you follow God and the teachings of Jesus?”

“That’s pretty tough when your commander in chief puts you on the horn for that dilemma,” he added.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) similarly told Tony Perkins on Washington Watch earlier this week called the story “yet another attack on religious liberty that we’ve seen from the Obama administration.”

Perkins: The idea that members of the military who share their faith, directly or indirectly, could be potentially court martialed, is this stunning or what?

Scalise: It’s frightening and shocking. Unfortunately it is yet another attack on religious liberty that we’ve seen from the Obama administration and it’s just been an endless assault from so many different angles. Of course it comes off the heels of the FDA approving the morning-after pill. There are just so many things that this administration is doing that go against a lot of the Christian beliefs that this country was founded upon and I think it really needs to be pushed back hard on.

While the victimhood narrative of oppressed white straight evangelicals is beloved by the Religious Right and trumpeted by Fox News, conservative activists may want to at least try to find real incidents of persecution and real journalists if they want people to ever believe them.

King: Obama's Mexico Trip Will 'Undermine National Sovereignty and Rule of Law'

President Obama is traveling to Mexico this week to advocate for increased trade ties and cooperation on border enforcement with Mexico in advance of his push for comprehensive immigration reform. But in an interview with Steve Malzberg yesterday, Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said that Obama is actually in Mexico to “undermine national sovereignty and rule of law” by delivering a “greeting card” to Mexican nationals previously deported from the United States and telling them to “come back and try again.”

King was referring to a provision of the Senate bipartisan immigration reform proposal that would allow some people previously deported for non-criminal reasons to reapply for U.S. residency. Going further, he called the president’s trip “completely outrageous” and accused Republican immigration reform supporters of being “complicit” in the president’s scheme.

King also falsely claimed the bill would provide “instantaneous amnesty” to undocumented immigrants currently in the United States.

Malzberg: Let me ask you, since there’s nobody more active on the immigration than you, and the president of course is in Mexico, and he’s going to give his, you know, his immigration presidential stump speech down in Mexico. To me, that is so inappropriate, it just reeks of inappropriateness. What can we anticipate in his campaign to, again, push for comprehensive immigration reform down in Mexico?

King: Oh my, you know, if you read the bill, the 834-page bill, I think what the president will be doing is already written into the bill. We know that it grants instantaneous amnesty to everybody that’s in the United States illegally, with some exceptions that perhaps will materialize due to law enforcement over time. But it also, in the bill, it invites everybody who has been deported in the past to reapply to come back into the United States, it says, ‘We didn’t mean it.’

So here’s the president down in Mexico, he’s the one that’s essentially carrying the greeting card. Presumably there are people in Mexico who have been deported, he’s down there as president saying, ‘We’re going to legalize everyone that’s in America and if you’ve been deported, come back and try again, we may be able to let you back into the United States.’ I think you’ll hear that from him. This is just, it’s completely outrageous to think that a president would undermine national sovereignty and rule of law that way, and not have the utter outrage of all of Congress lined up against him. And he doesn’t even have the utter outrage of all Republicans lined up against him, because some of them are complicit.

Truth In Action Ministries Film Warns Gays 'Puts Boys At Serious Risk'

Truth In Action Ministries, which last year produced a film warning that the “radical homosexual agenda” will destroy America like an iceberg hitting the Titanic, is out with a new short film opposing gay members in the Boy Scouts. Featuring Religious Right leaders like Bob Knight of the American Civil Rights Union, Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the anti-gay activists warn that gays pose a physical and spiritual danger to children and do away with morality.

Watch highlights here:

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