This morning, the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments of Arizona v. United States, a case that will examine key provisions of Arizona’s infamous and draconian immigration law, SB 1070. If implemented, the law, colloquially known as the ‘show me your papers bill,’ would lead to the unjust targeting of Arizonans through racial profiling and increased jail sentencing.
Because of SB 1070’s blatant assault on civil liberties, much of the nation was shocked by its passage. The United States challenged it in court, arguing that the state was unconstitutionally encroaching on the federal government’s responsibility for immigration law. Four sections of the bill were blocked by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton of Phoenix on July 28, 2010. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld Bolton’s ruling, and after Arizona appealed that decision, the case arrived at the Supreme Court, which has chosen to address yet another politically polarizing issue in this critical election year. Although the threat to the basic rights of people – both citizens and immigrants – is the subject of significant concern, the legal issue before the Supreme Court today addresses whether Arizona’s effort to make life so miserable for immigrants that they leave the state is preempted by federal law.
Below is an analysis of the legislation that People For the American Way published when participating in a statewide boycott of Arizona following the passage of the legislation nearly two years ago.
Question: How does the Arizona law, S.B. 1070, expand racial profiling? Isn't it focused only on migrant workers?
Answer: Under current law, state-local police are authorized to enforce federal immigration laws only in limited circumstances. Even so, law enforcement in Arizona and across the country already is challenged by substantial evidence of wrongful arrests, racial profiling, and discrimination. The new law would dramatically expand the problem. Specifically, the new law:
• Increases the scope of those enforcing immigration laws from a few police departments, or units within departments, to every single law enforcement officer in the entire state.
• Expands the population at risk of being stopped, arrested, and detained from a limited number – those targeted by bona fide immigration enforcement operations, or those already in police custody – to everyone who comes into contact with a law enforcement officer who has a "reasonable suspicion" someone may be undocumented.
• Virtually guarantees that Latinos and other minorities will be asked to provide proof of legal residency, and be subject to arrest and detention if they cannot do so, at far higher rates than non-minorities. Research on racial profiling shows that, not only do minority drivers experience more traffic stops than non-minority drivers, once stopped, minorities are subject to higher rates of searches, arrests, and formal charges than similarly-situated non-minority drivers.
• Provides powerful incentives for wrongful arrests, racial profiling, and other abuse by creating a private right of action against any agency that fails to uphold the new law's provisions, while at the same time indemnifying police officers from litigation brought by those who are wrongfully detained or racially profiled.
Demonstrations in support of the U.S. Justice Department took place this morning, and PFAW staff were able to attend in solidarity.
End Note: Another controversial aspect of SB 1070 is the role that ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, played in adopting the bill as model legislation and pushing it in states across the country. For an analysis of the ALEC connection and SB 1070, please read our report on ALEC in Arizona released in November 2011, “ALEC IN ARIZONA: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in the Halls of Arizona's Legislature” and the Center for Media and Democracy’s blog post on the issue.
Televangelist John Hagee stopped by WallBuilders Live today where the preacher and conservative activist told hosts David Barton and Rick Green that universities are “poisoning the minds of America’s young people” as a result of Saudi financing of “anti-American” professors. He went on to claim that the US is facing decline because of prohibitions on public school-organized prayer and legal abortion as America “in the ’60s turned our back on the very foundations of spiritual and moral greatness that established this nation and we have been going downhill ever since”:
Hagee: The American people simply do not realize that whenever they pull up to the gas pump and pay, what they’re paying, that much of their money is going straight to Saudi Arabia who’s sending it back to our universities and to interests here who are building mosques and who are sponsoring professors at America’s universities who are anti-American and anti-Israel and who are poisoning the minds of America’s young people at secular universities about the exceptionalism of America, about our destiny as a great people and about our future.
All people need to do is sit down and consider how far we have fallen in the last forty or fifty years. For instance, in 1948 the first initiatives were made called separation of church and state and then in 1960 came the edict that you cannot pray in school, and we thought that would never happen, but it has happened. We now have federal judges threatening to send children who pray at graduations to jail and then came the abortion issue, oh that will not happen, but it did happen, now we have the systematic state supported murder of 4,000 children every day in America’s abortion mills. We in the ’60s turned our back on the very foundations of spiritual and moral greatness that established this nation and we have been going downhill ever since. Now we are opening our society to the concept that Jehovah God is one of many Gods and I assure you the word of God says ‘if you deny me before men I will deny you before my Father.’ ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,’ there is one God, he’s Jehovah God, the God of Israel, Isaac and Jacob, and there is no other.
In early April, after she went to cast her ballot in Washington, DC, NBC Latino contributor Alicia Menendez found out that someone else had also tried to cast a ballot in her name. The perpetrator was an ally of right-wing activist James O’Keefe, who has been traveling the country trying to trick Americans into thinking widespread voter identity fraud exists by committing it himself.
Menendez writes that the attempted fraud felt like a personal “violation.” But she’s not buying O’Keefe’s scare tactics:
So why are O’Keefe & company pushing a solution in search of a problem? In 2008, a wave of inspired first-time voters flocked to the polls. That level of participation and infusion of enthusiasm is good for our democracy, regardless of how those Americans vote. But some people couldn’t abide the candidates the voters chose, and so they are trying desperately to keep a similar surge of new voters from voting this year.
O’Keefe and the people who fund groups like his want to stop people who traditionally vote against their candidates, almost all Republicans, from voting at all. To do that, they are trying to re-raise the barriers to voting that we tore down in the civil rights era. They are trying to scare us into believing that there is a massive wave of “voter fraud” sweeping the country. I will not be scared into believing their myths and neither should you.
There is something honest here though: they honestly do not understand why more people don’t try to commit voter fraud. That’s because voter suppression fraud — the kind where you keep people who don’t vote your way from voting at all — has been a standard part of their playbook for years.
For more on the “voter fraud” fraud, see People For the American Way’s report, The Right to Vote Under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box.
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer went on CNN today to debate R. Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans over the Romney campaigns’ hiring of Richard Grenell, who is openly gay. Fischer, who believes that gays and lesbians should be “disqualified from public office,” repeated his claims that Grenell’s hiring is an attack on the “pro-family community” because “the homosexual agenda represents the single greatest threat to religious liberty in America today” and is a “big gain for the homosexual lobby.” Later, Fischer and Cooper debated whether sexual orientation is a choice, and Cooper compared Fischer to segregationist George Wallace who will be “left in the dustbin of history”:
Romney is campaigning on a firmly anti-gay agenda, but Fischer won’t be happy until Romney adopts a “straights only” policy for his presidential campaign and eventually the federal government.
Glenn Beck appeared alongside James Robison, Jay Richards and Jim Garlow at Garlow’s Skyline Church in San Diego, California, where he warned that America is like a “child being choked to death” because the “scary left” has been “uncorked” and given “free rein.” While holding up a copy of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, he said the left seeks to burn America “down to the ground.” Later in the talk, Beck said that the left wants to eliminate sexual mores to turn people into slaves and have government “rule over us.”
Watch highlights from the panel here:
One of the main concerns addressed during Awakening 2012 was how to outreach to young people and the Hispanic community since the Religious Right’s leadership is largely white and aging. After the passing of Chuck Colson on Saturday, Lou Engle asked God to release “hundreds with the mantle of Chuck Colson” as part of a “new generation” of activists who will be like Elijah in fighting “Jezebel’s death culture” through a “cultural revolution” while praying over a group of young people, mostly homeschoolers, who attended the conference. Towards the end, Engle started reciting the Lord ’s Prayer but changed the last word from “heaven” to “America,” praying: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in America.”
At the Awakening 2012’s panel on the “LGBT Agenda,” Lou Engle, who was not a panelist but an audience member, called for Religious Right leaders to launch a “massive concerted prayer movement” to counter the demonic “principalities and powers” behind gay rights activism. Panelists including Rena Lindevaldsen and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and former Texas board of education member Cynthia Dunbar jumped over each other in expressing their hope that Engle or another conservative would lead such a movement to stop the “two tornadoes coming to destroy America,” which he said are “the homosexual and abortion tornadoes.”
Engle, who brought The Call prayer rally to Uganda to help rally support for the country’s proposed “kill the gays bill,” lamented that he gets “blasted” over his anti-gay work and is “haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing.” Lindevaldsen agreed that “we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.”
It seems that Engle’s first prayer initiative, StoneWall Now, a “nation wide prayer movement” to “stand in the gap crying to God to restrain the homosexual ideology” isn’t going so well as its website is offline.
Engle: I think we need a massive, concerted prayer movement to deal with principalities and powers and pray that God would release laborers into the harvest field.
Barber: If there is anybody in the room who is adept that leading that ...
Dunbar: You’ve got that in your heart, with your spirit, and we’re with you.
Quinlan: We need that.
Barber: Did you volunteer yourself, Lou?
Engle: In 2006, we did 50 days and 50 nights of intercession of seven young people, we were given a dream of two tornadoes coming to destroy America and they were the homosexual and abortion tornadoes. In the dream I was given a sight to raise up intercession to confront those tornadoes.
Engle: And Bound4Life was raised up but I'm haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing, I’ve tried, I’ve gotten blasted.
Barber: It’s time.
Engle: I don’t know how to do it but I am crying out to God for an answer.
Lindevaldsen: Meet with us afterwards ... we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.
The far-right group Concerned Women for America has continued its campaign against the Violence Against Women Act, calling it “a boondoggle for feminists” and alleging that it supports the “homosexual agenda” by ensuring that LGBT victims aren’t turned away from shelters. Republicans in Congress have been working to block reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, even though the law has been a success in helping spouses report domestic abuse and incidences of domestic violence have been on the decline since it was signed into law. The group said in an email:
It is astounding that the left's "war on woman" has some senators afraid to oppose a bad bill simply because it's titled, "The Violence Against Women Act."
This legislation, which is normally a boondoggle for feminists groups, has become even more political this Congress. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925, creates new protections for homosexuals. In order to receive federal grants, domestic violence organizations have to agree to embrace the homosexual agenda. It also expands categories of who is eligible to receive services.
These broad definitions actually squander the resources for victims of actual violence by failing to properly prioritize and assess victims. According to Dr. Janice Crouse, Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, VAWA currently does not address the 30 items on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of risk factors for intimate partner violence. Further broadening programs dilutes precious help and resources even more.
The Violence Against Women Act spends over $400 million each year. According to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), VAWA fails to ensure that the money being spent is not wasted on ineffective programs. He said that random audits by the Inspector General found repeated irregularities and misconduct, including unauthorized and unallowable expenses in 21 of 22 grants.
After President Obama announced his support for the Student Non-Discrimination Act, Gordon Klingenschmitt went back on the attack against the anti-bullying bill, in an email message warning that the “sick and perverse” legislation will “give homosexuals and perverts protected status,” “mandate pro-homosexual recruiting of kids in public schools,” promote “child abuse” as “homosexuals will have full control of classrooms” and even allow for harassment and “sexual assault”:
If we lose this fight, then public, private and even religious schools will be forced to accept and teach a pro-homosexual agenda, or face lawsuits. One agenda even encourages students to 'experiment' with homosexuality. Pro-homosexual students will soon harass Christian students, making sexual assault protected as 'freedom of self-expression.'
As sick and perverse as it is to "re-educate" six to twelve year olds to reject their parents' faith, and encourage them to embrace homosexual sin as normal, this is only the beginning of child abuse promoted by Obama's cronies at the Homosexual Rights Campaign.
Not only is Sen. Franken's perverse child-recruiting legislation dangerously close to passage, it now has official public support from President Obama. The White House told the Washington Blade "the president supports the goals of the Student Non-Discrimination Act" [aka Homosexual Classrooms Act] and Mr. Obama boasted: "I hosted the first White House conference on bullying prevention and many in my Administration, including myself and Vice President Biden, participated in the It Gets Better Project that [recruits] young people who are [confused about] their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity."
If we lose the battle to stop S. 555 or H.R. 998, we will lose our kids in all 50 states. Homosexuals will have full control of classrooms, and kids. Let's demand Congress stop Sen. Al Franken in his tracks, right now.
The controversial Senator is also the driving force behind S. 555 and H.R. 998 which would "re-educate" elementary school children in all 50 states to accept homosexual sin as normal, against the teaching of their parents' faith. Both these bills are an attempt to give homosexuals and perverts protected status, and mandate pro-homosexual recruiting of kids in public schools (or else the school loses funding).
This is also true in DC, where Homosexuals are trying to push pro-gay bills on elementary children very quietly and without spotlight or attention. Your petitions to Congress expose their evil, and deny them any stealth ability. YOU shine the light on their dark sinful deeds.
Three days after the Day of Silence, held on Friday, April 20, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel on Freedom’s Call railed against the “radical homosexual agenda” for promoting “homosexuality and other deviant lifestyles” in schools. As we found in our updated report, Big Bullies: The Right-Wing’s Anti-Anti-Bullying Strategies, Liberty Counsel has been at the forefront of opposing efforts to combat bullying and suicide among youth, and Staver today said that the Day of Silence, a day where students remain silent to show solidarity to students facing anti-LGBT bullying and discrimination, is a “dishonest” and “radical” project by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to “use American students as pawns in their attempt to transform our society”:
Staver: The radical Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network staged a so-called Day of Silence in schools across America. The goal was to disrupt the classroom learning environment in order to send a message in favor of the radical homosexual agenda. It is unfortunate that GLSEN would seek to use American students as pawns in their attempt to transform our society. We need to understand that the Day of Silence campaign is not about securing equal rights for anyone, but rather it is a concerted effort to force society to accept the practice of homosexuality and other deviant lifestyles. The facts are homosexual behavior raises some very serious public health concerns, as reported by numerous organizations including the Center for Disease Control. Not only is GLSEN being dishonest concerning the negative effects of homosexuality, they are also attempting to remove any voices that would suggest otherwise. America’s students deserve better.
As part of a new advertising campaign for the candy, ‘Mike and Ike’ have announced that they are divorcing so Ike can pursue a career in the arts and Mike can fulfill his dream of becoming a “music legend.” Advertisers hope that the “fight” between Mike and Ike can win the candy more attention among consumers, and it already grabbed the attention of Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who is upset that Mike and Ike are a gay couple. Perkins said today on his radio bulletin:
These days, you can't get a sugar high without experiencing a cultural low. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. There's trouble in candy land. After more than 70 years together, Mike & Ike are calling it quits. The duo is staging a gay divorce as part of a new ad campaign to draw in younger customers. In this society, even candy has an agenda! From Facebook to Tumblr, the fruity pair says, "The rumors are true. We just couldn't agree on stuff anymore." Starting this summer, the company will spend $15 million on billboards and TV commercials that poke fun at the breakup. It's just another subtle example of society chipping away at the value of marriage. And I don't know what's more disturbing--that advertisers think divorce appeals to kids or that sexualizing candy will make people buy more. After a year-long build-up, the company will reveal if the couple reconciles. Until then, look for Mike & Ike to have a distinctly liberal flavor.
As students around the country participated Friday’s “Day of Silence” to show solidarity with bullied LGBT children and teens, anti-gay activists continued to step up their efforts to prevent schools from protecting bullied students.
A new report from People For the American Way details the efforts of right-wing activists and organizations to prevent school districts from implementing strong anti-bullying policies that protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived students.
The full report can be found online at: http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/updated-big-bullies-right-wings-anti-anti-bullying-strategies
“It’s no secret that anti-gay bullying is a growing problem in our schools,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Yet anti-gay activists are determined to keep parents, teachers and administrators from confronting the problem.
“It's almost unbelievable that there are organizations dedicated to opposing anti-bullying programs, but they're out there and stronger than ever. These groups are so determined to fight every step of progress for LGBT rights that they’re willing to hurt children and teens in the process. That’s just shameful.”
The new report supplements a PFAW investigation released last year, updating it with the latest activities of the anti-anti-bullying movement, including:
Recent polling indicates the vast majority of Americans believe that corporations and special interests have too much sway in our elections – a whopping 85 % of voters said that corporations have too much influence over the political system, and 93% said that average citizens have too little. Across all parties, a full 62% specifically oppose Citizens United, the deeply flawed 2010 Supreme Court Decision that opened the floodgates to massive corporate and special interest spending in our elections.
This deep disapproval is manifest in the growing grassroots movement taking hold across the country fighting for a constitutional amendment to overturn that decision. While there’s a long way to go, the people represented in these polls are making their voice heard, and our elected officials are taking action.
The 89 members of Congress who have endorsed one of the 13 federal resolutions to overturn Citizens United introduced thus far during the 112th Congress are acting on this sentiment. These proposed amendments are diverse, and are reflective of the robust and serious debate Americans are having across the country on what constitutional approach would best solve the problem. In addition, as significant is the groundswell of support at the local and state level that far transcends this total. To name just a few, the City Councils of New York City, NY, Oakland, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Albany, NY, Missoula, MT, and Boulder, CO have all adopted their own resolutions, as have the legislatures of states like Hawaii, New Mexico and Vermont (and in Maryland, where the state Constitution does not permit the passage of non-binding resolutions, a majority of legislators in both houses have signed a letter calling for a constitutional amendment). When given the chance to vote directly, the citizens of 64 towns across the state of Vermont have passed ballot measures supporting a constitutional amendment.
So far, 91 million Americans are represented by public officials who have declared their support for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. 24 Senators, representing 75 million constituents, have sponsored or cosponsored a version of an amendment. Across the Capitol, 65 members of the House of Representatives, representing an additional 16 million people.
Progress is being made, but there’s still more work to do to fill these maps with dark shades of yellow and green. But this is a “movement moment” – and with the ever-increasing support of public officials, advocacy organizations and citizen activists, it can be done.
The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved the nomination of Maine attorney William Kayatta Jr. to sit on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. Only two committee members voted against allowing Kayatta a vote from the full Senate: Utah’s Mike Lee, who is still protesting all Obama nominees, and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who gave the following reason, according to the Portland Press Herald:
In a statement on his opposition to Kayatta's nomination, Sessions cited Kayatta's role as lead evaluator for the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary during the nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.
Sessions said Kayatta saw fit to give Kagen the highest rating despite her lack of substantial courtroom and trial experience, as a lawyer or trial judge. Sessions said the rating was "not only unsupported by the record, but, in my opinion, the product of political bias."
Yes, that’s right. Kayatta was involved in the American Bar Association’s nonpartisan rating process, which dared to call the solicitor general and former Harvard Law School dean “well qualified” for the job of Supreme Court Justice.
Sessions, one of the most outspoken opponents of Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination frequently slammed her lack of judicial experience in her confirmation hearings two years ago. He seemed to conveniently forget that the late conservative icon Chief Justice William Rehnquist also came to the High Court without having previously served as a judge – as have over one third of all Justices in U.S. history. The American Bar Association similarly found Rehnquist qualified for the job and called him “one of the best persons available for appointment to the Supreme Court [pdf].
It would be funny if it weren’t so appalling: Sessions’ grudge against Kagan runs so deep that he not only objected to her nomination, he’s objecting to anyone who who’s dared to call her qualified for her job.
Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, has turned himself from Tea Party activist to Republican congressional candidate and talked to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network this week where he explained that President Obama’s “views are socialist” and his “ideology is anti-American,” adding, “I’ll say that every day and I won’t shut up about it.” “It’s connecting the dots, it’s very simple, it’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s not much a hoopla, it’s real,” Plumber added. Plumber also backed Mitt Romney although he wished Herman Cain, whom he called a “Godly man,” was the nominee:
While speaking to Brody, he also said that after he was criticized over his conversation with President Obama, said that he was upset by a Huffington Post story about him and said that he was reassured after prayer, knowing that “God's on my side.”
After telling VCY America’s Jim Schneider about the “homosexualization” of America, Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homoseuxality went on to decry President Obama’s “blasphemous agenda” and “celebration of homosexuality.” LaBarbera called Obama a “dictator” and demanded he be “impeached,” warning that the President’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act is pushing “one of the ultimate blapshemies”:
LaBarbera: They will not enforce that latter provision of DOMA, and so this President has decided that he is judge and jury of the nation, acting like a dictator, he has decided that he is just not going to enforce the law. I believe that he can be impeached on that alone if there was enough people who had moral strength in our Congress. You can’t just decide which laws you’re going to enforce and which ones you’re not going to enforce, he has done this repeatedly throughout his administration but especially with regard to homosexuality and marriage.
We know this, the policies that he is advancing are anti-Christian: the celebration of homosexuality, undermining marriage between a man and a woman. I mean that is a blasphemous agenda, the idea that marriage, attaching marriage, this wonderful institution given by God, attaching that to the perversion of homosexuality is sort of one of the ultimate blasphemies, Jim, but that’s what he is promoting.
Later, LaBarbera spoke in even more stark terms about the President, suggesting that his presidency is “part of the judgment of America” and told a caller who wondered if Obama “is an arm of the Antichrist” that “sexual immorality” will bring about the downfall of America and civilization itself:
LaBarbera: I believe that many people see Obama’s sort of what he’s doing to the country as part of the judgment of America. We elected this man who said he wasn’t going to divide the country and lo and behold he has become one of the greatest if not the greatest president pushing immorality that this country has ever seen.
Caller: As far as Obama is concerned, I believe he is a man after Satan’s own heart, has nothing to do with the truth, he is an arm of the Antichrist, and we need something to happen. I hope it’s the Rapture.
Schneider: We are so in need of revival across this land, when we observe what’s taking place in other countries Peter, there is no guarantee that America needs to be this world superpower. When we see what’s going on in other nations, the persecution that has come to Christians, why should America be exempt from that?
LaBarbera: Right. Abraham Lincoln said America if it fell it is going to fall from within, crumble from within, and certainly historians have associated sexual immorality and other factors with the downfall of civilization and we see rampant sexual immorality, not just on the homosexual side, look at any movie rated PG-13, incredibly dirty. America has become a highly, over sexualized, perverse nation and perhaps God is just allowing us to sink and the world will go on for hundreds or thousands of more years but America will not be the great power, or the moral power certainly, than it once was.