New Jersey

Steve Lonegan Gets Job Pushing Gold Standard With Anti-Gay Group That Supported His Campaign

The Star-Ledger reported earlier this week that Steve Lonegan, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Senate in last year’s New Jersey special election, has a new job: leading the anti-gay, anti-choice American Principles Project’s sideline effort to bring back the gold standard.

Lonegan told The Auditor he is now the director of monetary policy for the American Principles Project, a conservative advocacy group. He plans to work to spread the gospel about what he says as the Federal Reserve’s “failed policy” and the need to bring back the gold standard.

“We will be working hard in states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to see to it that the (presidential) primary candidates in both parties are forced to talk about this issue,” Lonegan said. “They can’t hide from it.”

The American Principles Project was started in 2009 by Robert George, the intellectual leader of the anti-gay movement, to pressure Republican politicians to embrace both fiscal and social conservative policies. APP currently employs Maggie Gallagher, who founded the National Organization for Marriage along with George and served as NOM’s first president.

In his new job, it seems that Lonegan will unite the main political interests of APP’s chairman Sean Fieler, a little-known hedge fund manager who has become a major donor to the Religious Right and to social conservative causes in New York and New Jersey.

As we noted in a profile of Fieler earlier this year, the gold standard seems to be a pet project of his, so much so that an idea that is widely dismissed among mainstream economists has become a major policy platform of the American Principles Project. The issue was mentioned nowhere in the group’s original mission statement and doesn’t seem to have appeared on the group’s website until Fieler came on board as chairman in 2010.

Fieler and the American Principles Project have a history with Lonegan. Fieler is the major funder of the American Principles Fund , a super PAC affiliated with APP, which last year spent nearly $100,000 running anti-choice ads against Lonegan’s Democratic opponent Cory Booker. Fieler himself has maxed out personal contributions to Lonegan’s recent campaigns, giving his candidate committee $10,400 over the past two years.

Now, Lonegan will bring his unabashed anti-choice and anti-gay politics (remember when he speculated about whether Booker was gay?) to help unite the American Principles Project’s social and economic policy priorities.

The Star-Ledger notes that until this year, APP employed Booker’s current Republican Senate opponent Jeff Bell.

PFAW Voters Alliance PAC Endorses Bonnie Watson Coleman for Congress

People For the American Way’s Voters Alliance PAC has announced an endorsement of New Jersey Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s candidacy for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District.

Watson Coleman has served in the New Jersey General Assembly for eight consecutive terms, and serves as vice chair of the education committee. She is the first African American woman to have served as majority leader of the state assembly and is the first African American woman to serve as chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Central Committee. She has distinguished herself as a true progressive Democrat, with a wide range of endorsements from advocacy groups, public officials, and prominent supporters. If elected, Watson Coleman would be the first woman of color to represent New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives and the only female in New Jersey’s congressional delegation.

“Bonnie Watson Coleman is the type of person who stands up for fundamental rights and freedoms,” said PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager. “She is a fighter for voting rights, women’s rights, fairness, and equality for all Americans. In Congress, she’ll be a truly progressive leader that New Jersey can count on.”

Watson Coleman has distinguished herself among her primary competitors in her willingness to speak out against a wide range of Gov. Christie’s harmful policies, and against the GOP-led Congress’s assault on working families, education, and LGBT rights. She is a native of Camden, NJ, and is a long time resident of Ewing. She is married to husband William, and they have three sons. Her campaign website is http://www.bonnieforcongress.com.

###

Safe Schools Letter Campaign Wraps Another Week, Twelve Groups Have Gone on Record

The letter-a-day campaign for safe schools that PFAW is leading just finished another week, and now twelve groups have gone on record with Congress in support of safe schools legislation. Together, we are sending loud and clear the message that all students deserve far better than what they're getting when it comes to bullying and harassment in schools.
PFAW

Breaking News: Marriage Equality Coming to New Jersey

Just moments ago we heard that the New Jersey Supreme Court has refused to stay that ruling – meaning that marriage equality comes to New Jersey at 12:01 am this Monday, October 21.
PFAW

Gallagher Urges GOP To Follow Lonegan's 'Winning Strategy' And Talk More About Abortion

National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher has a curious op-ed in the Washington Post today in which she insists that Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is behind in the polls because he isn’t talking enough about his opposition to reproductive rights.

Cuccinelli sure has what Gallagher calls “conservative credentials” on the issue of choice. For instance, when he was in the state legislature, he sponsored a “personhood” bill that would have banned abortions in all circumstances and even criminalized some common forms of birth control. Cuccinelli has, understandably, been trying to run from this record in his effort to win over more moderate voters. But this, Gallagher argues, is what’s hurting him:

There is still time for Cuccinelli to turn things around, but the fact that someone with his conservative credentials speaks this way underscores that there is a conventional wisdom about how candidates ought to address, or avoid, social issues during campaigns. And Cuccinelli’s standing in the race underscores that this approach is dangerous for the GOP.

The truce strategy demoralizes the GOP base and makes it hard for the grass roots to care about Republican candidates. Conservative candidates are advised to deflect or retreat when social issues are raised, and their refusal to speak clearly and hold the line allows Democratic candidates to adopt more extreme positions, energizing their own base and unleashing a flood of money at no political cost. Democrats are confident that their opponents will not make an issue of their positions. Republican candidates’ apparent discomfort discussing such issues makes it look like they have something to hide, confirming to many voters Democratic suggestions that GOP candidates’ positions are extreme.

On an issue such as abortion, about which Americans are fundamentally ambivalent, victory depends on how “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are defined. Republicans’ self-imposed silence allows Democrats to define pro-life in ways that help them politically. Thus, Democrats do not have to justify their positions on infanticide, late-term abortions or permitting unborn baby girls to be killed just because of their gender.

Gallagher suggests that Cuccinelli instead follow the “winning strategy” of New Jersey Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, who enthusiastically attacked Democrat Cory Booker for his pro-choice record…before Booker beat him handily in the general election.

Democrats campaigned on the truce strategy in 2012 and will continue to use it until GOP candidates come up with a more effective political response. The winning strategy would be to aggressively define social issues on Democrats’ weakest grounds, to make them pay for their unqualified support of abortion on any grounds.

Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey Republican whose long-shot Senate campaign stalled when he supported the government shutdown in a blue state, nonetheless had the right idea on this issue. “What abortion would you make illegal?” he asked Cory Booker in a recent debate.

Memo to GOP candidates: The best defense is a good offense. When you are being relentlessly attacked as an abortion extremist by people who support late-term and/or taxpayer-funded abortions, self-imposed silence about your beliefs and values is not an effective political response. Calling Democrats on their own extremism is the pathway to victory.

Flashback: Steve Lonegan Says NJ Senate Election Is A Referendum On Obama

In recent weeks, as he was rising in the polls, Steve Lonegan, the Republican candidate for Senate in New Jersey, was telling anyone who would listen that his campaign was "an all-out referendum on everything [President] Obama is doing to the country."

As he told Bryan Fischer last month (about 4:00 in), if he could defeat Democratic candidate Cory Booker, it "would be the shot heard around the world" that would repudiate President Obama's entire agenda and catapult the Tea Party into the stratosphere:

What's on the ballot on October 16 is Obamacare. This is going to be a referendum vote in the state of New Jersey on the Obama agenda, on Obamacare, on traditional marriage, on the NSA intrusion into our privacy, on the IRS abuse of power, Common Core intrusion into education, all of these things are the issues in this election.

A win here in New Jersey for me, for the conservative movement, would be the shot heard around the world, it would re-galvanize the conservative movement, the Tea Party movement.  But a win by Booker, again, the Hollywood stand-in for Barack Obama, this president will parade around the country as a validation of everything he's doing to this nation and we just can't let that happen.

Last night, Lonegan lost his race by a margin of 55-44, so does that mean that Booker's election is a "validation of everything [Obama] doing to this nation"?

Rep. Scott Garrett Wonders What Obama's 'Ulterior Motive' Is In GOP Shutdown

One of NewsMax host Steve Malzberg’s favorite guests is his very own congressman, Republican Rep. Scott Garrett, who reliably offers an official parrot to Malzberg’s right-wing musings.

On yesterday’s show, Malzberg had Garrett on to discuss the government shutdown and impending debt ceiling crisis, which Malzberg of course blamed on President Obama. The president, Malzberg insisted, “wouldn’t mind the devastation” that would come if the House GOP refused to raise the debt ceiling and throws the country into default. “I just think that this president doesn’t mind inflicting the pain he’s inflicted and wouldn’t mind inflicting the devastation that would come with not meeting the debt ceiling increase,” he said.

Garrett agreed, adding, “Throughout man’s history, there are those who will call good evil and evil good and those who will not speak the truth and claim it’s the truth, and that’s what you’re obviously hearing from Secretary Lew and the president on this as well.”

The congressman went on to insist that the secretary of the treasury “calm the markets” merely by announcing that a default wouldn’t be that bad.

“You really have to wonder what is, unfortunately, their ulterior motive here,” he added.

Windsor's Echoes in New Jersey

With DOMA gone, a New Jersey trial court rules that the state's civil unions are no longer equal to marriage.
PFAW Foundation

PFAW Releases New Toolkit on Getting Money Out and Voters In to Our Democracy

We believe in a democratic system where all Americans have equal access to the voting booth and can express their views on a level playing field.
PFAW

Money Out, Voters In: A Guide to Democratic Reform

Americans today face twin threats to the integrity of our democracy: unlimited spending to influence elections and voter suppression. Find out what you can do.

How Chris Christie Is Leading A 'Sex Cult' And Turning New Jersey Into Gay Saudi Arabia

Conservative columnist Fay Voshell is out with a doozy in The American Thinker today, where she claims that Gov. Chris Christie effectively put “New Jersey on a path similar to countries like Saudi Arabia” by signing a bill banning ex-gay therapy for minors. She warns Christie is now leading a “deeply religious sex cult” that is “determined to exterminate Christian mores, attack religious liberties, and suppress free speech,” including the right to preach and evangelize.

After writing that “abusive conversion therapy [is] already going on in our public schools and workplaces” with “brainwashing” techniques like diversity seminars and sexual harassment workshops, Voshell warns that Christians in New Jersey will face “persecution” as their children will have to see a “progressive high priest as his or her counselor -- one who reinforces homoeroticism.”

“'Howl' is the progressive equivalent of the Apostles' Creed, and homoeroticism the mark of a youth liberated from conventional mores. ‘Coming out’ is almost a holy ritual, very nearly the equivalent of a bar mitzvah or first communion in the Jewish and Christian faiths,” she continued. “The Church risks being eventually banned altogether from attempts to convert people to Christianity -- just as in Saudi Arabia.”

When Chris Christie signed a law against conversion therapy directed at counseling teens experiencing homoerotic feelings, he probably didn't think he had just put New Jersey on a path similar to countries like Saudi Arabia, which forbids conversion from the prevailing Muslim faith.

But forbidding efforts to convert is essentially what the governor did. He expressly forbade conversion from the prevailing progressive religion, whose chief doctrine is that sexual behavior, including the homoerotic behavior of some children, is a sacred, infallible, and therefore unchangeable indicator of what human identity entails.



As is usual with progressives, they are dealing with a red herring while real abuse is going on right under their noses. Few seem to be noticing the reality of abusive "conversion therapy" going on elsewhere, including in our public schools. Have they noticed the abusive "conversion therapy" directed against little boys and girls who dare even to think about guns? Do any of them remember the little guy who, when he brought a cap gun to school, was interrogated for so long he wet his pants? How about the five-year-old girl who was charged with making a "terrorist threat" because she talked about shooting another kid with her pink "Hello Kitty" bubble gun? She had to undergo psychological evaluation and was handed a ten-day suspension, graciously reduced to two days. Her parents are fighting to have the incident expunged from the tyke's school records.

Shall we talk about abusive conversion "therapy" directed at adults? Does anyone care to detail progressives' abusive therapy sessions directed at males at our foremost colleges and universities? This is to say nothing about the "diversity and sensitivity" seminars in the workplace -- seminars that amount to "conversion therapy" sessions. While the purported goal is to ensure no harassment in the work environment ("harassment" vaguely defined as whatever "offends" anyone at any particular moment), doesn't everyone who has been forced to sit through the brainwashing know the intent -- namely, to convert all workers to liberal progressivism by enforcing adherence to their zealously religious maze of rules and regulations?

In addition to overlooking the abusive conversion therapy already going on in our public schools and workplaces, the law also usurps the rights of devout parents to employ a licensed therapist who retains Judeo-Christian sexual ethics. The law ensures that if your kid has expressed homoerotic feelings, he will get a progressive high priest as his or her counselor -- one who reinforces homoeroticism. There will be no licensed therapist who shares your religious views, because Christian therapists will lose their licenses. Your child will be the equivalent of a janissary, a forced convert to a religion not your own.

Further, the punitive law directed against counselors who seek to help teens work through a time of their lives which may include confusion about sexual feelings has broader implications for the church. Conservative denominations are in particular danger of overt persecution, including attempts to silence the proclamation of the gospel, which is never more than one generation away from extinction.



Christian pastors and licensed Christian therapists counsel against ways of living that the Christian way regards as sinful. They try to convert people to Christian mores. But under this new law, preaching Christian sexual ethics will be regarded as hate speech, as it already is in countries like Sweden, whose "hate crime" laws were upheld by theEuropean Court. Christian pastors and therapists can look for increased attempts by the left to forbid conversion to Christianity and its mores, as Christianity's sexual ethics are considered inherently hateful and malevolently discriminatory by the left.

And there's the rub. Progressivism, among other things, is really a competing religion, a sex cult founded on the tenets of the sexual revolution -- a religion with its own doctrines and liturgies. "Howl" is the progressive equivalent of the Apostles' Creed, and homoeroticism the mark of a youth liberated from conventional mores. "Coming out" is almost a holy ritual, very nearly the equivalent of a bar mitzvah or first communion in the Jewish and Christian faiths. Nothing should be permitted to interfere with those first sexual stirrings of youth. Certainly no therapist should attempt to "convert" any youth experiencing attraction to the same sex to heterosexuality. That would be abusive.

Churches need to wake up and see the implications of the new "conversion therapy" laws. They need to see that they are up against a deeply religious sex cult determined to exterminate Christian mores, attack religious liberties, and suppress free speech. If they don't rise up to resist the inroads of radical progressivism, if they do not take measures to protect Christian therapists, pastors, and youth leaders, the Church will be increasingly be sidelined. The Church risks being eventually banned altogether from attempts to convert people to Christianity -- just as in Saudi Arabia.

Cory Booker Hits Back At Lonegan's Bizarre Attacks

This week, we’ve learned what issues Republican candidate Steve Lonegan considers most important in the New Jersey Senate race: that maybe Cory Booker could be gay, and that Steve Lonegan does not enjoy manicures, thank you very much.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Cory Booker addressed the rumors that he’s gay in an extremely classy manner:

“And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’” (emphasis ours)

Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan responded to these tasteful and measured remarks by hitting back with playground insults and, frankly, some pretty strange thoughts of his own, in a Newsmax interview discovered by Right Wing Watch:

"It's kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don't know if you saw the stories last year. They've been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o'clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure."

Doubling down on these thinly-veiled insinuations about Booker’s sexuality, he continued to obsess over what Booker’s “fetish” might be:

"I don't like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of the day, for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his peculiar fetish. I have a more peculiar fetish. I like a good Scotch and a cigar. That's my fetish but we'll just compare the two."

Not much can be said about that, other than: what? (Also, where can I find one of these late-night pedicures? They sound super fun.)

Today, Booker responded to Lonegan’s pathetic attacks:

“’It's just disheartening to hear somebody, in this day and age, in the United States of America, say basically ... that gay men are not men, they're not guys,’ he said in an interview with HuffPost Live, referring to remarks made by Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan. ‘It's shocking to one's conscience in this country, where we believe that the content of one's character, the courage in one's heart, the strength of one's sense of purpose, the love that one has for others and their service, is what defines them. And instead he's challenging the masculinity of millions of Americans.’” 

If it was encouraging to see Booker refuse to engage in the childish and irrelevant rumor-mill politics that led to these questions in the first place, it’s absolutely fantastic to see that he isn’t backing down after Lonegan’s bizarre, homophobic and embarrassing rant. Hopefully, it’s a sign that we’re moving away from this nasty politics of hate—to a place where these types of comments are enough to sink a campaign. But please, Steve, do tell us more about your fetishes. 

PFAW

Lonegan: It's 'Weird' Cory Booker Won't Say If He's Gay; 'I Personally Like Being A Guy'

Today, the Washington Post published a piece on Corey Booker, the Democratic candidate for the US Senate from New Jersey, in which Booker acknowledged that the fact that he is not married has lead to speculation that he is gay.

Booker wouldn't confirm anything, but stated that such speculation is perfectly fine with him and, in fact, said "some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, 'So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.'"

Booker's Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, was asked about Booker's response by Newsmax's Steve Malzberg this afternoon, and said he didn't know if Booker is gay but thought it was "weird" that he was unwilling to answer the question, speculating that maybe "it helps get him the gay vote by acting ambiguous."

But Lonegan was sure of one thing: Steve Lonegan is a real man because "as a guy, I personally like being a guy" and he is certainly not one of those sorts who goes in for things like manicures and pedicures like Cory Booker does!

"It was described as his peculiar fetish," Lonegan said. "I have a more peculiar fetish: I like a good Scotch and a cigar, that's my fetish. But we'll just compare the two":

Mihet: Chris Christie May Face Divine Punishment For Having 'Declared War' On The Gospel, Helping 'Power of Darkness'

Liberty Counsel’s Harry Mihet appeared this week on VCY America’s flagship radio program Crosstalk to discuss with host Jim Schneider the New Jersey law barring the practice of ex-gay therapy on minors. Mihet’s group has filed a lawsuit to block the law, and he told Schneider that the law is really an attack on Christianity.

Mihet quoted Romans 1:32 about people who gave “hearty approval” to those who are “worthy of death,” saying that “we live in Romans 1:32 times and Gov. Chris Christie perfectly encapsulated the substance of this verse.” He argued that by signing the ban on ex-gay therapy for minors, “Chris Christie has essentially declared war” on the “message of the Gospel.”

The Liberty Counsel attorney also suggested that Chris Christie may face divine retribution for defying God: “The Bible says ‘God will not be mocked’ and I believe that and I believe there are consequences for this type of open rebellion of shaking your fist to the almighty God.”

Mihet agreed with a caller who said homosexuality is a “choice” and a “tendency that needs to be overcome,” adding that “there are thousands and thousands of people who used to be a slave to the homosexual lifestyle but who have been able to come out.” He said that he meets ex-gays “all the time” and “sees the passion with which they speak.”

“It defies all truth and logic and common sense to say that it is something that cannot be changed,” Mihet maintained.

Mihet and Schneider even agreed with a caller who alleged that gay people are possessed by demons who work as Satan minions in the Bohemian Grove.

Caller: I don’t think this is true for all homosexuals by any means but I think a lot of them have actually become demonized, especially those in high places like people in relative leadership in our government. I know a lot of them go to the Bohemian Grove where they do like a casting the care ceremony before Moloch and there’s a lot of sexual perversion there. I think a lot of these people have actually become demonized and they are working for their father who is Satan to promote the one world government.

Schneider: Thank you for your thoughts here today. We have seen situations when people rose up and doing things in opposition to Christ that we saw Jesus respond, ‘you are of your father the devil.’ Certainly we know that these are works of darkness but I so appreciate the verse you shared from Corinthians that reminds us ‘such were some of you.’

Mihet: That’s right. I think the power of the darkness in our time cannot be underestimated, I would caution to say not just with the sin of homosexuality but with any other sin that is elevated and perverted and put ahead of the word of God. We have to cling on to the word of God and the promise that it offers healing and forgiveness for every sin and every lifestyle.

Linda Harvey Says HIV Cases Among Youth Will Increase Thanks To Ex-Gay Therapy Ban, Chris Christie

Mission America’s Linda Harvey predicts that cases of HIV will rise among New Jersey youth as result of a bill signed by Gov. Chris Christie that bars the use of ex-gay therapy on minors, warning that the law will be exploited by “HIV-infected predators.” Harvey accused Christie of backing “the gay-stapo” and “fascist left-wing schemes” that are “keeping some adolescents locked into homosexuality,” which she said is a “byproduct of early sexual exposure or molestation.”

“If 12-year-olds are indoctrinated at school into thinking they are homosexual and end up the victims of advances by HIV-infected predators, maybe the governor is not too concerned,” Harvey continues. “If New Jersey HIV incidence relating to homosexual practices continues to rise among youth, perhaps he can point to some other factor.”

Gov. Christie just did their bidding for the third time in affirming anti-child, pro-homosexual actions against minors in New Jersey. He signed A 3371, a bill that bans pro-heterosexual counseling for minor children, alleging that “experts” have made a valid case for keeping some adolescents locked into homosexuality. Any alternative advice is sure to send an adolescent on a course of self-destruction, so the narrative goes.



But New Jersey is all about muscle, as teacher Viki Knox learned several years ago. Viki, you may recall, voiced her concerns on Facebook about pro-homosexual promotion to her students and within two days was the subject of intense TV coverage, New York Times stories and all the media firepower the “gay-stapo” was able to launch. Homosexual militants stood outside Union High School with bullhorns demanding her job, and they got it when she was suspended.

Chris Christie chimed in on Viki’s dilemma. He called her Facebook comments “disturbing,” not a good example for someone in an influential position, and he used it as an opportunity to call for more accountability by teachers. “I would like to see an examination of how that teacher conducts herself in the classroom,” he said.

Instead of praising a teacher who showed genuine concern for her students, including moral integrity, Christie piled on someone already the subject of a vicious smear campaign.

So now Christie favors teens being denied the opportunity to overcome homosexual desires, which are not inborn but often the byproduct of early sexual exposure or molestation. No science has found a gay gene, but Christie said he believes people are born this way and that it’s not a sin.

There are only a few reasons why an alleged “conservative” politician supports such fascist left-wing schemes. Perhaps Christie doesn’t really have much of a heart for kids. If 12-year-olds are indoctrinated at school into thinking they are homosexual and end up the victims of advances by HIV-infected predators, maybe the governor is not too concerned. If New Jersey HIV incidence relating to homosexual practices continues to rise among youth, perhaps he can point to some other factor. Not his fault.

Another possibility is Christie really believes all this and is a woefully ignorant product of East Coast group-think. But he could also be running in fear of the “gay” lobby. Yes, they are vicious. Yes, they may try to ruin your life. Yes, they distort the facts, scream over imagined slights and use outright lies to further the cause.

PFAW Statement on the Passing of Sen. Frank Lautenberg

In response to the passing of U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, the longest serving New Jersey senator, People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan released the following statement:

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid once called Sen. Lautenberg ‘one of the most productive senators in the history of this country.’ It’s not hard to see why.  Sen. Lautenberg was a true progressive hero, championing issues ranging from environmental protection to gun violence prevention.   He was not afraid to take principled stands on issues that affected everyday Americans, even when it was the unpopular position to take.

“We at People For the American Way are deeply saddened by his passing.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and we hope they can take comfort in knowing that America is a safer, healthier, more just country because of Senator Lautenberg’s life work.”

###

Senate Confirms New Jersey’s Patty Shwartz After Year-Long Delay

WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Judge Patty Shwartz of New Jersey to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a 64 to 34 vote today, over one year after her nomination was sent to the Senate floor for a vote. Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way, released the following statement:

“The absurd delay of Patty Shwartz’s confirmation is emblematic of a Republican Party determined to obstruct the American people’s business at all costs. Judge Shwartz is indisputably qualified and supported by New Jersey’s legal leaders and elected officials from both parties, including Gov. Christie and both of the state’s U.S. senators. The only thing stopping the Senate from voting on her nomination was a 13-month Republican silent filibuster supported by flimsy excuses.

“The delay in confirming Judge Shwartz is sadly not unusual. President Obama’s confirmed circuit court nominees have been forced to wait an average of 153 days from Judiciary Committee approval to floor vote. By contrast, George W. Bush’s circuit court nominees at this point in his presidency waited an average of just 37 days. This deliberate slow-walking of nominees is obstructing Senate business, exacerbating a vacancy crisis in our federal courts, and deterring highly qualified individuals from putting themselves forward to serve on the federal bench. 

“This summer, two more Third Circuit judgeships will become vacant. We hope that Senate Republicans will allow these vacancies to be filled in a timely manner.”

###

PFAWF Releases Reports on Outside Election Spending in 21 States, Organizes ‘Money Out/Voters In’ Events Across the U.S.

Out of State Money Floods Contests in 2012

Washington, DC –  Today People For the American Way Foundation unveiled new state-by-state fact sheets detailing outside spending in U.S. Senate and House races in 21 states.  Each report analyzes the outside spending totals from Super PACs, dark money groups, and out-of-state spenders in the down ballot federal races from the 2012 election cycle.  The fact sheets reveal that, on average, a majority of outside election money in these states came from Super PACs.  And in every case, a vast majority came from organizations registered outside of the state.

The release of the “Outside Spending, Outsized Influence” reports coincide with the weekend marking Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the third anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC  to draw attention to the dual threats of voter suppression and unlimited corporate and special interest money in politics. The reports – a partnership between PFAWF and U.S. PIRG – are part of the Money Out/Voters In campaign.  As part of that campaign, People For the American Way Foundation, its affiliate People For the American Way, and other organizers across the country are hosting “Day of Action” events in more than 76 cities in 33 states this weekend. Members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council will be leading Money Out/Voters In events in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.

“Last year’s elections were far and away the most expensive in history,” said People For the American Way Foundation Executive Vice President Marge Baker.  “A major reason was the influx of outside, special interest spending in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision. When big money floods our elections, it dwarfs the ability of individual Americans to have their voices heard. Just as important, when politicians push laws to suppress the vote, we turn back the clock on decades on progress to expand and improve our democracy. We need to pursue the full range of remedies to address the problem of too much money in politics, including amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United, and we need to stand up against the growing threat of voter suppression.  This weekend we are joining with allies across the country to call for a democracy that gets Money Out and Voters In.”

The states featured in the reports are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

For links to each report, please visit: http://www.pfaw.org/issues/outside-spending-outsized-influence-big-and-s...

For more information about the Money Out/Voters In campaign or the Days of Action, please visit: http://www.moneyout-votersin.org

###
 

Still No Explanation From Grassley on Judiciary Committee Delays

This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved five nominees to serve on federal district courts in New York, California and Florida and on the US Court of International Trade. A week ago, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley postponed votes on all five nominations without giving a reason, a delaying tactic that he has used on 97 percent of President Obama’s judicial nominees who the committee has voted on.

Sen. Grassley did not explain the reason for the delay last week, when a coalition of Iowa and national groups urged him to stop such routine delays. And the reason remained unclear today, as all five nominees were approved without opposition.

These five nominees now join fifteen other federal judicial nominees awaiting confirmation votes from the full Senate. The Senate has made progress by scheduling confirmation votes on four unopposed district court nominees in the past week, but that small amount of progress isn’t nearly enough to fill the gaps in overworked federal courts. Seven of the nominees still waiting for votes would fill officially-designated “judicial emergencies.”

It would be easy, of course, for the Senate to hold votes on all of the remaining nominees before the end of the year. After all, most were approved by the Judiciary Committee many months ago. But Senate Republicans have continued to stall even nominees with strong bipartisan support. All the circuit court nominees waiting for votes have the support of their home-state senators, Republican and Democratic, and nearly all of the pending district court nominees were approved by the Judiciary Committee with unanimous or nearly unanimous bipartisan support. One circuit court nominee, New Jersey’s Patty Shwartz, has been waiting nine months just for an up-or-down vote from the Senate; Federal Circuit nominee Richard Taranto has also been waiting since March.

If the Senate fails to vote on these nominees during the lame duck, the confirmation process – from presidential nomination through floor vote – will have to start all over again next year.

Notable about the district court nominees approved by the Judiciary Committee today is that all are women or people of color, representative of President Obama’s efforts to bring diversity to the federal courts. The nominees also include New York’s Pamela Chen, who would become just the fifth openly gay person to be confirmed to a lifetime federal judgeship.

PFAW

New Jersey Legislature Poised to Pass a Resolution Calling for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United v. FEC

 Today, the New Jersey legislature is poised to pass A.R. 86, which calls for a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC.

Diallo Brooks, Director of Field Mobilization at People For the American Way issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and related cases have opened the floodgates to corporate and special interest spending in our elections, placing our democracy on the auction block for the highest bidder. Citizens United must be overturned. The American people understand this and are taking action through their local and state governments, by calling on Congress to send the states an amendment to overturn this terrible decision. Today, New Jersey will join a growing chorus of voices demanding that this necessary change becomes a reality.”

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United in 2010, the movement to pass an amendment overturning the decision has grown across the United States.

  • Over 300 cities and towns across the country have passed resolutions of support.
  • 8 state legislatures have either passed amendment resolutions or called on Congress via sign-on letters (HI, NM, VT, MD, CA, RI, MA, and CT.)
  • Voters in Montana and Colorado will vote this year on resolutions challenging Citizens United.
  • 2,000 public officials have signed on to support an amendment, including President Obama, 98 Members of the House, and 29 Senators (list visible at www.United4ThePeople.org) • Fourteen resolutions were introduced in the House and Senate of the 112th Congress. • The 2012 Democratic platform supports and amendment. • 1.9 million Americans have signed petitions calling for an amendment. Coalition partners include: The American Dream Movement of Cape May County, BlueWaveNJ, Food and Water Watch, Free Speech For People, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 877, New Jersey Common Cause, New Jersey American Federation of Teachers, New Jersey Communications Workers of America, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey MoveOn Councils (Mid-Jersey, Essex, Hudson), New Jersey Main Street Alliance, New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, New Jersey Sierra Club, New Jersey Tenants Organization, New Jersey Work Environment Council, New Jersey Working Families Alliance, Public Citizen, South Jersey Democracy is for People, United Steelworkers District 4, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey For more information, visit www.United4ThePeople.org or www.PFAW.org/GovernmentByThePeople. ">www.United4ThePeople.org)
  • Fourteen resolutions were introduced in the House and Senate of the 112th Congress.
  • The 2012 Democratic platform supports and amendment.
  • 1.9 million Americans have signed petitions calling for an amendment.

Coalition partners include: The American Dream Movement of Cape May County, BlueWaveNJ, Food and Water Watch, Free Speech For People, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 877, New Jersey Common Cause, New Jersey American Federation of Teachers, New Jersey Communications Workers of America, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey MoveOn Councils (Mid-Jersey, Essex, Hudson), New Jersey Main Street Alliance, New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, New Jersey Sierra Club, New Jersey Tenants Organization, New Jersey Work Environment Council, New Jersey Working Families Alliance, Public Citizen, South Jersey Democracy is for People, United Steelworkers District 4, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey

For more information, visit www.United4ThePeople.org or www.PFAW.org/GovernmentByThePeople

Share this page: Facebook Twitter Digg SU Digg Delicious