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Steve King Warns that Health Care Reform will 'Nationalize our Soul'

Appearing on the Family Research Council’s webcast On Trial: Freedom vs. Government Healthcare, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) called on the Supreme Court to overturn the 2010 health care reform law, which he referred to as an attempt by the government to “nationalize our soul.” King told FRC president Tony Perkins that the government intends to “take over our skin and everything inside it.” He also knocked the tax on tanning beds in the health care overhaul.

Watch:

King: You know when I look at this and this whole picture of you seeing the expansion of the nanny state here in America and the administration reaching into every aspect of our lives, the Obamacare piece addresses about 1/6 of our economy and a great big chunk of our American freedom and liberty. I define it this way, the sovereign thing that we have is our own soul, and the federal government hasn’t yet figured out how to nationalize our soul. They did figure out how to nationalize some investment banks, some insurance companies, some car companies and our skin and everything inside it. That’s Obamacare—it’s a nationalization—it’s a government takeover of our sovereign responsibility to manage our own health. Not only do they take over our skin and everything inside it, but they put a ten percent tax on the outside if you go to a tanning salon, Tony.

Family Research Council Prays Against 'Homosexual Tyranny'

Pierre Bynum, the Family Research Council’s National Prayer Director, is asking members to pray to “reverse laws and regulations that promote and reward homosexual practice.” The FRC, which said a State Department initiative to prevent anti-LGBT violence abroad was “exporting homosexuality by extortion,” criticized USAID for a policy which “strongly encourages” contractors to prohibit job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Furthermore, the FRC asked for prayers against a decision by the Obama administration to ask Blue Cross Blue Shield to provide full benefits for a federal employee’s same-sex spouse following a ruling by a judge which found that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. “It is not too late for God to reverse the momentum of the homosexual movement in America,” Bynum writes.

Homosexual Tyranny, Bureaucracy Style - Despite the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which President Obama and the Justice Department have chosen to ignore, Federal agencies are now promoting same-sex partner benefits for those legally united and otherwise. Benefits are not being provided to opposite-sex unmarried partners. This month, the Office of Personnel Management authorized BlueCross BlueShield to give health benefits to the lesbian "wife" of a female government lawyer, following a District Court ruling DOMA unconstitutional.

We know that the State Department is promoting homosexuality overseas. Now the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has sent World Vision a letter saying a new federal policy "'strongly encourages' all contractors to develop anti-discrimination policies covering employees' sexual orientation." It is not too late for God to reverse the momentum of the homosexual movement in America.

May God-fearing politicians, unintimidated by homosexual activists, speak truth with wisdom regarding homosexuality and its impact upon children, families and society! May God raise up leaders who will reverse laws and regulations that promote and reward homosexual practice (Ex 18:21; 2 Kg 22:1-23:28; Eze 33:7-9; Heb 13:4, 6; Acts 6:9-13, 51-60; Jude 7).

Cameron: 'Secular Totalitarianism' is 'The Greatest Threat We Face Today'

Kirk Cameron’s new film Monumental used dubious history to plead with Americans to return to the era of the Pilgrims and therefore restore faith, liberty and freedom. Cameron didn’t approach the project with much critical thinking, which should surprise no one based on his last, failed attempt at American history, but history wasn’t the point of Monumental. The point of the film was to present a Religious Right view of history that will encourage current conservative activists and make converts of new ones.

The overriding theme of Monumental is that America’s problems are a result of secularism, which leads to the loss of freedom and a dependence on government rather than God, and while promoting the film Cameron warned that secular humanists are “importing their secular humanist faith and religion and morality and imposing it on everybody else” as part of their “anti-Christian agenda.” He used his interview with Piers Morgan, where he was roundly criticized for his remark that homosexuality is “destructive,” to claim that his rights are literally being taken away, which he says confirms the point of his movie. Cameron, who earlier on the 700 Club compared criticism of him to a public stoning, told WORLD Magazine that “secular totalitarianism” is intent extinguishing freedom and the Founders’ “principles of freedom they found in the Bible”:

While Cameron acknowledges that many teachers and professors may simply be repeating what they were taught when it comes to the pilgrims and the founders that followed them, he maintains that others are intentionally mischaracterizing them. "They are contending for a different worldview, they're contending for a politically correct, secular-humanist worldview where it's necessary to erase and rewrite history," he argues, adding, "The greatest threat we face today is the secular totalitarianism of our current system."

Cameron defines secularism as a form of religion where the highest authority is man himself, and insists that the modern convention of a government and culture scrubbed free of all Christian influence is the opposite of the original American dream. "[The founders] wanted a system that allowed individuals to live out the principles of freedom they found in the Bible. They believed if they could govern themselves according to God's ways, to raise their families to love God and others, it would produce the sweet fruit of liberty and blessing and freedom, and other people would be attracted to their success and want to come join them," he says. "So their idea was to build the country from the ground up, not the top down, and build it from the inside out."

Like the subjects of his film, Cameron is adamant that he's willing to bear whatever personal and professional hardship he must in order to uphold the integrity of biblical doctrine on all matters, including sexuality. "One of these things I noticed when I went on Piers Morgan is how few people are willing to answer clearly on some of the questions that I was asked. ... It's been a great life lesson that Jesus was right," he laughs. "He said the world will hate you because of Me, and don't be surprised because they hated Me first. So it just confirms my confidence in God and in His goodness. I continue to want to love people and speak the truth and trust God for good results."

Traveling through Time with Kirk Cameron: Looking at America through a Religious Right Lens

After a tour of both mainstream and right-wing media outlets that largely focused on Kirk Cameron’s denigration of gays and lesbians, last night his “documentary” Monumental premiered in select theatres with little public attention.

The premiere included a live stream of Cameron in his living room right before and after the film, where he listened to praise music, gazed over food and mingled with family members and friends, while recounting how “truly sick” America has become.

Cameron admitted that he is no history buff, telling his pastor, “I feel like a dry sponge when I learn all these things.”

Just as Cameron was a “dry sponge” when learning lessons about how the banana disproves evolution, he accepted the claims of Religious Right activists posing as historians at face value.

One of whom was Glenn Beck, who appeared via satellite feed. Cameron and Beck took turns complimenting each other, with the former Fox News host lauding Cameron, “You were in Left Behind while I was reading it.” Curiously, Cameron decided against attending Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally after Brannon Howse, among others, warned evangelicals about joining forces with Beck, a Mormon.

Beck told Cameron that God told him that their mission to “wake up” America is a path they can’t veer from. “Return to me and I will protect you,” Beck says was God’s message, adding that God wants to be America’s “sword and shield.”

But the conservative celebrity appearances didn’t end there: Alveda King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece and a Religious Right activist, was in Cameron’s living room as well. Cameron asked her what she thought her uncle would want people to do if he were here today, to which Alveda responded that King would want people to watch Monumental!

She seems to think that King would endorse a movie that whitewashes America’s past, as Cameron determines that America’s problems only began in the last few decades.

In the film, Cameron’s adventure starts in England, where we learn how Puritans were persecuted by the Church of England and ultimately, at great personal and familial sacrifice, made their way to Holland to find religious freedom and escape a society where the “government controlled the church.” It was a stark if simplistic look at religious persecution at a time when many on the Right are decrying the Obama administration’s “attacks on religious liberty.”

Visiting in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Cameron claims that the Pilgrims established a governmental “system of all men created equal under the law.” He then sets forth to find the Pilgrims’ “training manual” and the “secret sauce” that will be the key to stopping America’s plunge into moral and economic disarray.

He finds the “secret sauce” at Plymouth’s National Monument to the Forefathers, which was built in 1910 under the leadership of Freemasons, though from just watching Cameron’s documentary you would think the Pilgrims themselves helped construct it. The message from the monument is that faith leads to personal morality, spreading that faith creates a moral and therefore just society, and a just society produces mercy for the disadvantaged and education for the children. Cameron used the part about education to bemoan how parents can send their children to “government schools” where they are trained to be “slaves to the state,” generating an entitlement culture that breeds government dependence rather than reliance on faith. Ultimately, the “secret sauce” creates “Liberty Man,” who Cameron says is “not a wimpy religious man but a stud.”

Cameron, in seeking to find out how America went from a country of Liberty Men to a fallen people, glosses over how the mythical country of Liberty Men considered African Americans, Native Americans and women to be inferior and endorsed slavery, racism, and discriminatory and violent treatment of women. He also neglects to mention that in Plymouth religious liberty was nonexistent and religious dissenters were mercilessly persecuted. For instance, people were not allowed to become Quakers or even give aide Quakers and Quakers were even executed by the colony’s government.

Just as damning, Cameron conflates the Pilgrims with the Founders: the film gives the impression that the Founders had the same religious convictions and beliefs in the role of religion in government as the Pilgrims. Never mind that more than a few of the Founders were members of the Church of England, the very same church that Cameron noted persecuted the Pilgrims.

Cameron spoke to Christian Reconstructionist ‘historians’ David Barton and Herb Titus to find out how evil, atheist academics from Boston (scary music included) lied to Americans about the country’s Christian heritage. Barton said there is a “deliberate attempt” to hide the faith of the Founding Fathers by using “revisionism,” and Titus warned that “a nation that attempts to build a foundation not based on God’s law will ultimately self-destruct.”

The movie ended with warnings about secular government and democracy run amok, with one guest repeating the myth that Adolf Hitler was a democratically elected dictator, and Alveda King appearing once again to tell us that “America hasn’t been destroyed because we call upon the Lord.”

Accuracy shouldn’t have been expected from a film about American history made by someone who freely admits that he had little knowledge of history and was a “dry sponge” who didn’t think critically about the nation’s past. But since Cameron’s findings easily conformed to the Religious Right view of American history and government, Monumental will surely find a place along with David Barton books and episodes of Glenn Beck that feed faux-history to conservative audiences across the nation.

Sekulow Feigns Outrage at Challenge to Conservative Justices

PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin went on Fox News last night to discuss the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act with Sean Hannity and the American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow. Unsurprisingly, Sen. Raskin didn’t get much time to make his case before he was hit with a wave of faux outrage from Sekulow and Hannity.

The subject of the outrage? Sen. Raskin had called some of the conservative justices’ questions “weak” – which somehow for Sekulow turned into “attacking the integrity of justices of the United States.”

The conversation starts about five minutes into this clip:

Sekulow’s attempt at outrage is rather stunning, since his organization, the ACLJ, exists in a large part to rail against the motivations – or, if you will, the “integrity” -- of judges and justices with whom he disagrees. When the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of marriage equality, he slammed it as “another example of an activist judiciary that overreached.” When the Senate was considering then-appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor for her seat on the Supreme Court, Sekulow said, "To call her a judicial activist is an insult to judicial activists."

Sekulow has every right to criticize justices and judges with whom he disagrees. But he doesn’t exactly have the high ground for slamming those who offer mild criticism of questions conservative justices ask in oral arguments.

For more on Jamie Raskin’s analysis of the health care case, read his piece in the Huffington Post yesterday.

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PFAW

Sandy Rios: Trayvon Martin Controversy Threatens to Break the 'Truce' between Blacks and Whites

American Values president Gary Bauer joined Sandy Rios of the American Family Association yesterday where Bauer criticized President Obama for weighing in on the Trayvon Martin case. Bauer said that Obama, who said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” and urged law enforcement “to get to the bottom of what happened,” was trying to “stir the pot” by using “disturbing” and “dangerous” rhetoric. Earlier, Rios bemoaned that Martin’s death “is threatening I think the very fiber of this truce that blacks and whites have come to over the last fifty years.”

Rios: The whole issue over Trayvon Martin is threatening I think the very fiber of this truce that blacks and whites have come to over the last fifty years. I think that tensions are getting worse, people are stoking them, and this too is an issue, a spiritual matter.



Bauer: The fact that Jesse Jackson and Sharpton would immediately attempt to exploit this and make it a racial issue, and that even the President in his public comments would stir that pot, I find that deeply disturbing and I think it’s dangerous.

PFAW’s Jamie Raskin Discusses Health Care Arguments on MSNBC

PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin joined Ed Schultz to discuss the much-watched Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
PFAW

Rebecca Kleefisch Appears on Show Whose Host Compared Unions to Terrorists, Called for Ellen DeGeneres to Be Fired for Being Gay

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch appeared Monday on the American Family Association (AFA) radio network with host Sandy Rios. AFA, which has been classified a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, recently added Rios to its lineup. 

Rios gained notoriety early last month when an incredulous Bill O’Reilly suggested she was engaging in McCarthyism for calling on J.C. Penney to fire Ellen DeGeneres because she’s gay. Earlier she wrote that accepting Ellen would lead to “the complete eradication of the traditional family and the acceptance of any sexual choice anyone wants to make.” This month she lamented that “the Jewish vote in this country is so confused” and said that secular Jews have been some of “the worst enemies of the country.”
 
This kind of thing is nothing new for Rios, as Kleefisch had to know. Last year, debating the Obama administration contraceptives mandate, Rios equated birth control and abuse counseling with pedicures and manicures. She also compared unions and the Obama campaign to a terrorist group, writing that “Organizing for America, the SEIU, the NEA and many of America’s labor unions have … more in common with the violence and intimidation of Hamas than with protecting ‘workers.’”
 
Rios, introducing Kleefisch, spoke of her Chicago roots and fondness for Wisconsin. Then, wasting no time, she began attacking Wisconsin workers and students:
You probably saw it every night on your television. You saw union members holding out in the state capitol. You actually saw them trash the state capitol. It was just an amazing thing. Playing music, there’s nothing wrong with music. It was just strange behavior. They even got out from school to do this. […]
 
They were furious. As a matter of fact, they took some steps. They threatened State Senator Dan Kapanke with recall, they did recall him. They staged protests outside of his home. They issued death threats. They sent his wife disgusting letters in the mail. They spread nails and glass all over his driveway, and they managed to get him out of office.
Following that introduction, Kleefisch gave an update on the recall effort and echoed Rios on how mean and nasty the union supporters were. Both used the despicable actions of a few to tarnish a broad-based citizen movement:
Folks spent their entire winters collecting these signatures in hopes of recalling us, essentially trying to remake a decision that the majority of voters in Wisconsin just made in fall of 2010. And voters overwhelmingly elected the governor and me because we said we’d do a budget without raising taxes. And in 2008, the Great Recession hit Wisconsin hard. People are still being pinched by it, and that’s why there was this desperate need to do a budget without raising taxes.
 
Well, the result of that is what you’ve spent the last couple minutes describing. We all got death threats, and our capitol was trashed. People were intimidated right and left. It was scary times. Even my little kids were scared to go to the capitol. People would shout at them, and you know, it’s kinda creepy when you work in a situation like that.
Kleefisch mostly let Rios do the dirty work for her, like in this exchange:
Rios: I’ll try to be clearer now about what this means. Basically unions in all of the states have been able to, through their union leadership, have been able to raise their salaries, their pensions just on and on, and their benefits without any kind of restraint.
 
Kleefisch: Well, that’s what’s called collective bargaining. And so we’ve put some restrictions on collective bargaining.
Rios sounded the alarm that “union folk from Chicago are flooding” into Wisconsin, with the backing of the Obama administration, to throw the election. Kleefisch, however, expressed confidence in her prospects, saying “I think we’re gonna win. I think we’re gonna win because if you go to the ballot box, and you vote on the facts, then you vote for us every time. Because the facts are, it worked.”
 
As Kleefisch noted repeatedly during the interview, Wisconsin is very purple state. It’s unclear, then, why she thinks appearing on a right-wing show with a notorious host will help her prospects.
 
Listen to excerpts from the show:
 
 
Listen to the entire interview here (starting at 18 minutes).

 

Fight for immigration equality extends to the customs line

Has your family ever filled out a customs form? LGBT families face a “double” standard when they travel internationally. CBP wants to make things easier.
PFAW

KOCH BROTHERS EXPOSED

More Teasers:

The Kochs in Wisconsin: Is Scott Walker the Kochs' Puppet?



Scott Walker Gets Punked by "David Koch"



Harvard Law Prof. Lawrence Lessig on How the Kochs Buy Democracy



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NOM's Real Values

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Maine's investigation of the National Organization for Marriage's campaign finance practices has resulted in the release of several internal fundraising and planning documents. HRC has posted them online where NOM-watchers are poking through them. For sheer reprehensibility, it's hard to top hiring (or at least planning to hire) someone to find and exploit children who are willing to publicly betray their gay parents.

But that kind of "ends-justify-the-means" approach to politics has been the hallmark of NOM and its campaigns in California, Maine, and elsewhere. Those who have been on the receiving end of those dishonorable and untruthful campaigns won't be surprised by much of what's in the NOM documents. But the brazenness of the language around racial wedge politics long practiced by the religious right should make it easier to expose the group's Machiavellian heart. And it may be useful in blunting their efforts to make opposition to marriage equality a "marker of identity" for Latinos and African Americans.

The NOM documents from 2009 discuss a number of organizational projects and strategies, including a "Not a Civil Right" project:

The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks -- two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.

And just in case that isn't clear enough: "Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement's allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue."

NOM's stated plans to overturn marriage equality in Washington, D.C. include an effort to "find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally."

NOM's strategists said they needed "to accomplish a sophisticated cultural objective: interrupt the attempt to equate gay with black, and sexual orientation with race. We need to make traditional sexual morality intellectually respectable again in elite culture. And we need to give liberals an alternative way of thinking about gay rights issues, one that does not lead to the misuse of the power of government to crush dissent in the name of fighting discrimination."

Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People for the American Way Foundation's African American Ministers Leadership Council, released a statement on behalf of the Council's Equal Justice Task Force calling NOM's wedge strategies "deeply cynical" and "deeply offensive."

NOM also planned to target Latinos through a "community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty queens and other glamorous noncognitive elites across national boundaries" who can help "interrupt the process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity." NOM hopes that "[a]s 'ethnic rebels' such spokespeople will also have an appeal across racial lines, especially to young urbans in America." NOM said, "Our ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of 'Anglo' culture."

NOM has had more success in some areas than others: most recently it failed in a stated priority of overturning marriage in New Hampshire, despite having made gains in the state legislature; and it failed to prevent marriage from advancing in New York. Its efforts in other states, like Iowa, are still underway. And it is pushing constitutional amendments in North Carolina and Minnesota. It also hopes to keep opposition alive "behind enemy lines" in states that have made marriage equality a reality.

But even in 2009, the top priority for 2012 was clear: defeating Barack Obama. In order for the group to achieve victory on marriage, "the next president must be a man or woman who expressly articulates a pro-marriage culture, and appoints sympathetic Supreme Court justices." In order to help achieve that objective, the group discussed plans to "sideswipe Obama" by portraying him as a "social radical" and by taking steps to "[r]aise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty and the federal level." No wonder Maggie Gallagher is such a fan of Rick Santorum -- his campaign plan mirrors NOM's.

In addition, it is utterly clear that the bishops and NOM were ready to make "religious liberty" a campaign issue well before the recent controversy over insurance coverage for contraception: "Gay marriage is the tip of the spear, the weapon that will be and is being used to marginalize and repress Christianity and the Church." NOM's documents also affirm the group's "close relationships" with Catholic bishops, with whom it would work to engage Catholic priests nationally as well as locally.

You can fault NOM for many things, but not for thinking small. NOM's planning documents discuss strategies for exporting its model and playing a major role internationally. It calls for a global "counterrevolution" against marriage equality, something that is, unfortunately, well underway, with disastrous consequences.

The Roberts Court's 2011-12 Term: Is the Roberts Court Really a Court?

This piece originally appeared on Huffington Post.

Eric Segall, a professor of constitutional law at Georgia State University, has just written a provocative book called Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court Is Not a Court and Its Justices Are Not Judges. The thesis is that the Supreme Court, unbound by any court above it, unfastened by the vagueness of constitutional text, and uninhibited by the gift of life tenure, operates like a freewheeling political "veto council" and not like any court that we would recognize as doing judicial work. Professor Segall challenges the legitimacy of the Court's decisions and essentially mounts an attack on the whole institution of constitutional judicial review except where the text of the Constitution is perfectly plain and clear.

It is easy to share Professor Segall's exasperation these days, but his argument is not wholly convincing. It understates how often our other courts--federal appeals and district courts and state courts--operate in a political vein and how often they too find themselves in deep ideological conflict. It also understates how clear, coherent, and logical the Warren Court was when it interpreted even vague constitutional language, like "equal protection" or "freedom of speech." Yet, Segall's clarion call to roll back judicial review today will be read by conservative judges as an invitation to negate and undo essential lines of doctrinal development that began in the Warren Court, especially the "right to privacy" decisions under Due Process, like Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade, which Professor Segall in no uncertain terms asserts were wrongly decided.

The claim that the Supreme Court is "not a court" distracts us from what is truly at issue today. The Supreme Court is a court alright--indeed, it is the most powerful court in America, perhaps the world, and there's not much getting around that. It takes cases and controversies, writes opinions that refer to precedents and principles, and operates with the full panoply of constitutional powers reserved to the judiciary. The problem is that it is not a court committed to the rights of the people or to strong democracy unencumbered by corporate power. Indeed, it acts with most energy vindicating the rights of the powerful and the unjust. Alas, this hardly makes it an outlier in American history.

With its 2010 decision in Citizens United, the Roberts-led Court essentially cemented the institution's return to a class-bound right-wing judicial activism. Just as the Supreme Court went to war against social reform and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s, just as it nullified the meaning of Equal Protection in sanctifying "separate but equal" in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, just as it expressed the Supreme Court's pro-slavery and racist jurisprudence in the Dred Scott decision in 1857, the Citizens United decision secured the contemporary Court's unfolding legacy as the unabashed champion of corporate power and class privilege.

The 2011-2012 Supreme Court Term

Several cases currently on the Court's docket will tell us whether the Roberts Court will accelerate its assault on public policies that advance the rights and welfare of the vast majority of "natural persons" in the country. Consider:

Legal War on "Obamacare": Health Care Reform and the Contractible Commerce Clause: Of course, the blockbuster of the Term is the cluster of cases that the Court is hearing on the constitutionality of Obamacare. There are two principal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The first, and certainly the one with the most political traction on the GOP campaign trail, is the claim that Congress has exceeded its Commerce Clause powers by compelling taxpayers to buy themselves health insurance or else pay a penalty in the program. However, the political ubiquity of this claim contrasts sharply with its feather-like legal force. Commerce Clause jurisprudence is replete with cases of Congress regulating national economic policy by compelling individuals to take actions that they would prefer not to take, such as serving customers in their restaurant that they don't want to serve or recognizing a union in their factory and reinstating workers who they fired for organizing it (see my Report for PFAW Foundation, The True Spirit of the Union: How the Commerce Clause Helped Build America and why the Corporate Right Wants to Shrink It Today, for a detailed accounting).

The ACA comes well within Congress's broad authority to address issues of national importance that affect the lives of millions of people moving and working in the streams of interstate commerce. Despite recent efforts by conservative Justices to constrict Congress's powers under the Commerce Clause, the vast majority of lawyers still believe that such powers are expansive and will be upheld even by the Roberts Court. An ABA poll of legal academics, journalists, and lawyers that allowed respondents to remain anonymous showed that fully 85% believe that the Court will uphold the ACA in full, and with a 6-3 vote seen as the most likely outcome. While the Supreme Court in the Citizens United era has been ready and willing to ignore precedent and defy logic in order to achieve its political goals, this law is so mainstream that even they are not expected to do so in this case.

The second challenge, a bit of a sleeper that saw little success in lower courts but now fascinates conservative lawyers, is that Congress has exceeded its powers under the Spending Clause and violated federalism by tying too many strings to federal Medicaid funding and thereby "coercing" states into accepting federal policies. The idea is that Medicaid has grown so big and pervasive that any conditions attached to it constitute a kind of Godfather offer that the states simply cannot refuse. From a doctrinal standpoint, the claim is somewhere between unlikely and silly, which is why no federal law or program has ever been found to unconstitutionally coerce the states under the Spending Clause . Experts in the ABA poll mentioned above predict that this outlandish argument will be rejected in an 8-1 split. A decision to strike down the ACA on this basis would be a stunning development indeed. As with the Commerce Clause issue, a decision to strike down the Medicaid expansion as unconstitutionally coercive would be recognized instantly as an exercise of political will rather than legal judgment.

Of course, should the Court uphold the ACA, as expected by most lawyers, that should not distract anyone from the damage it is doing in other ways, from the constitutional glorification of corporate political power to the continuing erosion of public health, environmental and workplace standards.

Immigration Law: the Arizona Case: Arizona v. United States addresses Arizona's efforts to develop and enforce an immigration law all its own. The statute in question provides law enforcement officers with the power to arrest someone without a warrant based on probable cause to believe that the person committed a deportable act. It also makes it a criminal offense for an undocumented immigrant to apply for a job without valid immigration papers. This presents a clear case of a law that is preempted by federal laws governing and defining U.S. immigration policy, which is committed by the Naturalization Clause of the Constitution to Congress. This case should offer no dilemma for conservatives on the Court, who almost always side with the Executive branch in preemption controversies relating to national security, police enforcement and immigration law. However, underlying all of the debate is legislation hostile to one of America's most scapegoated populations, the undocumented, and that political reality may change the legal calculus.

Attack on Labor Unions: From the repressive "labor injunctions" of the late-19th and early 20th-centuries to the Supreme Court's decisions undermining the right to organize during the New Deal, periods of judicial reaction have always included judicial assaults on the rights of labor to organize unions and fight for their interests. This period is no different, and the Supreme Court has given itself an opportunity, probably irresistible to the five conservative Justices, to take another whack at labor this Term. The case is Knox v. SEIU. It poses the question whether public sector unions must notify members of the union's political expenditures every time they happen so that employees who pay union agency fees to the union for purposes of collective bargaining only may demand a proportional rebate in advance for political expenditures. Or, alternatively, does it suffice to give an annual budgetary statement with notice of political expenditures and invite the "objectors" to seek a rebate at that point? The case, fairly frivolous on its face, but deadly serious in its political mission and reception on the Roberts Court, is obviously designed to further hobble unions and render them ineffectual political actors. The irony is that, through decisions like Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) and Communication Workers of America v. Beck (1988), the Court has granted muscular rights and powers to dissenting union members that are totally undreamed-of when it comes to dissenting corporate shareholders. Company shareholders who object to corporate political expenditures have no right to a proportional rebate of their corporate shares, much less that they must be told of such corporate treasury political expenditures in advance. While defenders of the Court's decision in the Citizens United case love to observe that the decision opened the floodgates not just on corporate treasury money but on union treasury money too (as if the two were comparable!), they never follow through and make the obvious point that corporate shareholders should, therefore, enjoy the same rebate rights against "compelled speech" as union members presently enjoy. In any event, the war on unions continues and accelerates, with the Supreme Court poised again to undercut the political effectiveness of public sector labor unions, the last meaningful bulwark of labor solidarity in America.

The Surprising Early Return of College Affirmative Action to the Court:
In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Supreme Court has, surprisingly, decided to review its holding in Grutter v. Bollinger and explore dismantling what remains of affirmative action in the next Term. The 2003 Grutter decision preserved a soft form of affirmative action at the college and university level for young people who belong to racial and ethnic minority groups, but only for a period that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested would be 25 years. Now, just nine years later, the ruling bloc is ominously poised to wipe out affirmative action entirely, a prospect we must judge a rather likely prospect given the Court's express loathing of progressive race-conscious measures and its brazen disregard for the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, whose framers clearly contemplated such measures. Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts insist that the Equal Protection Clause compels government to be "color-blind" even if seeks to remedy the effects of historical and continuing racism. This rhetorical gloss is a fundamental distortion of the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, whose framers clearly championed race-conscious measures, like the Freedmen's Bureau, to assist the historical victims of racism. The current project of using the Equal Protection Clause against racial and ethnic minorities seeks to deny any relationship between historical and present-day discrimination and continuing inequalities of opportunity.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court is, of course, still a court, no matter how much certain Justices behave like partisans. Yet, the Court's ideological politics are in full swing these days as the 5-4 conservative majority fleshes out one-sided doctrines in areas from corporate political rights to corporate commercial speech rights to affirmative action to Congressional power to union rights. This is a Court that almost always chooses corporate power over democratic politics and popular freedoms. In a Court of logic and precedent, a Court without aversion to the channels of popular democracy, the challenge to Obamacare would be a total non-starter. But here we are again, waiting to see whether the Court will follow the path of justice or the path of power.

Jamin Raskin is an American University Law Professor, Maryland State Senator and People For the American Way Senior Fellow.

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PFAW Rallies to Uphold Healthcare Law

PFAW staff and supporters joined the throngs of supporters of the Affordable Care Act outside the Supreme Court today, while the Justices were hearing the second day of arguments on the constitutionality of the law.

Hundreds of activists chanted and carried signs supporting ObamaCare. For so many Americans, the ACA is the difference between receiving potentially lifesaving healthcare services and being denied for a preexisting condition or being financially devastated by an unexpected illness.

The ACA is a practical and constitutional approach to a solving a pressing national problem, and the Supreme Court should uphold the law.

 

 

 

 

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Daniel Lapin joins Benny Hinn to 'Battle the Twin Forces of Islamic Fundamentalism and Intense Secularism' while Making Money

The Religious Right’s favorite rabbi Daniel Lapin visited Benny Hinn on This is Your Day to promote his new book, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money. The partnership between Lapin and Hinn makes a lot of sense: Lapin was involved in disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s corruption scandal and Hinn’s Word-Faith ministry is corrupt to the core, using his cash-for-healings scheme to finance his lavish lifestyle.

Lapin told Hinn that God put him on this earth “to bring ancient Jewish wisdom secrets of making money to everybody” and that he attends churches not to make money but because “it’s where the people are”…the people he wants to buy his book. He went on to tell Hinn that he is determined to fight the “assault” waged on civilization “by the twin forces of Islamic fundamentalism and intense secularism.”

Lapin shouldn’t need to lecture Hinn about making money, as the owner of a $30 million Gulfstream jet who lives in a $10 million seaside mansion in Orange County, California, and extravagant hotel rooms around the world seems to be doing quite well for himself.

Watch:

Lapin: I know that part of the purpose that I was put here for was to bring ancient Jewish wisdom secrets of making money to everybody.

Hinn: Can I ask you a question sir, why would an orthodox rabbi go to churches?

Lapin: To paraphrase Willie Sutton the bank robber, ‘that’s where the money is,’ in my case it’s not where the money is but it’s where the listeners are, it’s where the audience is, it’s where the people are.

Hinn: Oh really, so that’s why you do it.

Lapin: I believe that it is vitally important to bring the wisdom of the Torah to everybody; I believe that is what’s going to salvage civilization. I believe civilization is under assault right now by the twin forces of Islamic fundamentalism and intense secularism.

Pat Robertson Says Satan is Behind Homosexuality and Abortion Rights

Kirk Cameron was a guest on the 700 Club today to promote his new Religious Right documentary Monumental. Referring to his interview with Piers Morgan where he called homosexuality “destructive,” Cameron told CBN News reporter Heather Sells that he was “stoned, so to speak” for not bending “to the moral standards of the politically correct, those in charge.” Following the interview, Pat Robertson, who yesterday said homosexuality is “related to demonic possession,” said homosexuality and abortion rights represent the “attack of Satan” on marriage and procreation, and congratulated Cameron for his stand against homosexuality:

Did NOM Hire Someone to Unsuccessfully Find ‘Victims’ of Gay Parents?

HRC got its hands last night on a December 2009 National Organization for Marriage strategy document, which was unsealed in connection to NOM’s court challenge to Maine’s campaign finance disclosure laws.

The most explosive revelation in the document is NOM’s explicit plan to drive a wedge between the gay community and blacks and Latinos. But another part of their effort to recruit “hearts and minds” to the anti-marriage cause is also startling. Not only did NOM propose to document anti-gay “victims” of gay rights with emotional videos– a plan they implemented with a set of glossy films in upstate New York, for instance – they proposed to hire a staff member at $50,000 a year “to identify children of gay parents willing to speak on camera”:

Did NOM end up hiring someone to find children of gay parents who they could portray as “victims”? If so, it seems that a year’s worth of full-time work didn’t turn up a single child of gay parents who was willing to be portrayed as a “victim” of marriage equality.
 

Mat Staver Accuses Obama of Backing 'Forced Abortion Funding' and 'Forced Homosexuality'

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver joined Jim Schneider on VCY America’s Crosstalk on Friday where Staver derided the Obama administration as “the most radical, ideologically-driven administration in American history” in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ contraception mandate. Staver accused the administration of having a “very radical agenda that is very anti-life and anti-liberty” which he said is putting reproductive and gay rights ahead of the economy and even national security. “It is in-your-face forced abortion funding, in-your-face forced homosexuality,” Staver lamented, “and in-your-face a deconstruction of moral principles.”

Schneider: Last Friday the Obama administration announced some new rules that now would require colleges and universities to provide their student health care plans covering female students in the US, that they would have to include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery and then also said that further women of college age who don’t attend college, don’t attend school, they also would get this free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, some form of government subsidized plan. Mat, how much further is this going to go?

Staver: What we have is a president and an administration that he has gathered that is the most radical, ideologically-driven administration in American history and the ideology is very much pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights and that trumps everything, it seems to trump the economy, it trumps national security. Of all the myriad of things that the president and the administration could be working on to make America a better place, to bring more jobs and so forth, they are working on these kinds of micromanagement things to push a very radical agenda that is anti-life and anti-liberty. It’s to not just satisfy the radical fringe that supports this administration but it is to satisfy the ideology that comes with this administration, it is part and parcel of what they believe and who they are. In terms of where the end is, nothing should shock anybody at this stage in terms of where this will be going. It is in-your-face forced abortion funding, in-your-face forced homosexuality and in-your-face a deconstruction of moral principles.

David Barton Twists the Facts, Claims Secular Law Leads to Sharia

Today on WallBuilders Live David Barton claimed that a Pennsylvania judge used Sharia law when dismissing charges against a Muslim man who had been accused of assaulting a man dressed as “Zombie Mohammad.” Cathy Young in Reason writes that the judge’s decision was “probably not” improper due to conflicting accounts and a lack of evidence, although the judge did seem to go out of bounds when lambasting the plaintiff “for his disrespect for other people's culture and faith” and suggesting that he was “way outside your bounds of First Amendment rights.”

Following the ruling, the right wing immediately heralded the case as an example of Sharia law in American courts and went ahead to completely distort the facts of the case.

Conservative pseudo-historian David Barton was no exception when he covered the story today on his radio program:

First, Barton claimed that the defendant “beat the dickens out of the guy” dressed as Mohammad, while as Young points out it was “unclear” what actually happened in the altercation.

Then, Barton claimed that “the judge is himself a Muslim.” The judge, a Lutheran, was thought to have said this during the hearing, but actually said “I’m not a Muslim.” The judge quickly clarified his remarks, and Barton either hasn’t done his homework or is willfully ignoring this fact.

He went on to claim that the judge said he “can beat the dickens out of you for making fun of Mohammad because you can’t do that,” even though, again, that is not what happened. The judge said in a statement that he lectured the defendant on Islam but that it had nothing to do with his ruling:

In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.

Later in the program, Barton went even further by arguing that secular law actually paved the way for Sharia in America. He maintained that since the “God-fearing system” was replaced with a “secular system,” Sharia has come to supplant “Judeo-Christian principles.”

I was really struck with a passage that Jesus has in Matthew 12. Matthew 12 he talks about how an unclean spirit had gone out of a man and in verse 43 it says it goes through dry places seeking rest and finds none, verse 44, then he says, ‘The unclean spirit says, ‘I will return to the house from which I came.’ When he comes, he finds it empty, swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself.’ I thought, that’s that principle, if you don’t fill it with good stuff, bad stuff is going to find its way in and it will be a lot worse. So we had it filled with kind of a God-fearing system and then we made it a secular system, so now we made it seven times worse by saying, let’s take Sharia law, not only do we not want biblical stuff we don’t even want secular stuff, we want seven times worse than secular. The vacuum is going to get filled with something, and if we’re going to refuse to have some Judeo-Christian principles in there on which the founders built everything and that’s what they had as the undergirding , if we’re not going to do that, then what are we going to fill it with? Right now it appears that it is going to be Sharia.

PFAW Rallies for Corporate Political Spending Disclosure at SEC

PFAW joined a group of bipartisan organizations and public figures at a rally outside the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington today to demand that the agency use its authority to require publicly-traded corporations to disclose their political spending. Currently, corporations can use their treasuries to spend unlimited amounts to influence our elections – but that money belongs to the corporation’s investors. If you’re one of the millions of Americans with a 401 (k) or similar retirement account, it could be your money being spent for political purposes without your knowledge or approval.

That’s why disclosure is so important. Democracy depends on transparency, and until we can pass a constitutional amendment to undo the harmful effects of Citizens United and related cases that have helped to bring on the current crisis in our elections, a SEC rule requiring corporate disclosure is a powerful start. At the rally, themed “Wake up SEC,” pro-democracy groups made the case that the SEC needs to do its job and protect Americans from the undue influence of wealthy corporations and special interests. The American people are increasingly alarmed by the effects of money in politics, and we need a regulatory agency that is not asleep at the switch.

To make the point, over 75,000 people sent letters to the SEC in support of the proposed rule.

 

 

 

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