Justice Department

Justice Department Charges Anti-Immigrant Hero Joe Arpaio with Long List of Civil Rights Violations

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is something of a hero to the anti-immigrant Right. He was one of the most outspoken proponents of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law last year, in a large part because he had already been using the racial profiling tactics it authorized for years. He delighted in punishing prisoners –including protestors of his tactics – by making them wear pink underwear, a practice he commemorated last month by giving Sarah Palin her very own pair. He briefly had his own reality TV show. He was courted by the Tea Party. GOP presidential candidates, including Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain vied for his endorsement, which he ultimately gave to Rick Perry before joining the candidate on the campaign trail.

Arpaio’s reckless flair for self-promotion and disregard for civil rights have been well-known for as long as he has had national fame. But today, the Justice Department released a long and scathing report detailing the Sheriff’s record of civil rights violations, including his discrimination against Latinos and non-English speakers, “excessive use of force” and “unlawful retaliation against individuals exercising their First Amendment right to criticize MCSO’s policies or practices.”

The AP outlines some of the most shocking allegations in the report:


The civil rights report said Latinos are four to nine times more likely to be stopped in traffic stops in Maricopa County than non-Latinos and that the agency's immigration policies treat Latinos as if they are all in the country illegally. Deputies on the immigrant-smuggling squad stop and arrest Latino drivers without good cause, the investigation found.

A review done as part of the investigation found that 20 percent of traffic reports handled by Arpaio's immigrant-smuggling squad from March 2006 to March 2009 were stops - almost all involving Latino drivers - that were done without reasonable suspicion. The squad's stops rarely led to smuggling arrests.

Deputies are encouraged to make high-volume traffic stops in targeted locations. There were Latinos who were in the U.S. legally who were arrested or detained without cause during the sweeps, according to the report.

During the sweeps, deputies flood an area of a city - in some cases, heavily Latino areas - over several days to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders. Illegal immigrants accounted for 57 percent of the 1,500 people arrested in the 20 sweeps conducted by his office since January 2008, according to figures provided by Arpaio's office.

Police supervisors, including at least one smuggling-squad supervisor, often used county accounts to send emails that demeaned Latinos to fellow sheriff's managers, deputies and volunteers in the sheriff's posse. One such email had a photo of a mock driver's license for a fictional state called "Mexifornia."


The report said that the sheriff's office launched an immigration operation two weeks after the sheriff received a letter in August 2009 letter about a person's dismay over employees of a McDonald's in the Phoenix suburb of Sun City who didn't speak English. The tip laid out no criminal allegations. The sheriff wrote back to thank the writer "for the info," said he would look into it and forwarded it to a top aide with a note of "for our operation."
 

Federal investigators focused heavily on the language barriers in Arpaio's jails.

Latino inmates with limited English skills were punished for failing to understand commands in English by being put in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day or keeping prisoners locked down in their jail pods for as long as 72 hours without a trip to the canteen area or making nonlegal phone calls.

The report said some jail officers used racial slurs for Latinos when talking among themselves and speaking to inmates.

Detention officers refused to accept forms requesting basic daily services and reporting mistreatment when the documents were completed in Spanish and pressured Latinos with limited English skills to sign forms that implicate their legal rights without language assistance.

The agency pressures Latinos with limited English skills to sign forms by yelling at them and keeping them in uncomfortably cold cells for long periods of time.

These allegations are disturbing enough in themselves. But what’s even more troubling is that the person behind them has been not only held up as a hero by the Right, but has served as an inspiration for immigration legislation around the country. In a report last year, we examined the ways the anti-immigrant Right has worked to dehumanize immigrants in order “to inflame anti-immigrant sentiment and build political opposition to comprehensive immigration reform.” It should come as no surprise that Sheriff Joe is the movement’s figurehead.
 

Cross-posted from PFAW Blog

Klayman Suggests Obama Will Extort Iran For Campaign Money

Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman yesterday penned a column in Renew America floating the idea that President Obama has so far refused “to take any retaliatory military action” against Iran because he wants the Iranian regime to finance his re-election campaign. Klayman wondered if “the president’s minions,” particularly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “are shaking down the radical Islamic leadership in Iran to launder huge campaign contributions into Obama-Democratic Party re-election coffers.” Right-wing activists have previously argued that Obama’s 2008 campaign was financed by Hamas and his reelection bid by China. Klayman writes:

It came as no surprise that this week the Obama Justice Department — obviously to get ahead of the curve since news of an Iranian terrorist plot would have leaked in any event — begrudgingly disclosed that Persian-American "cut outs" of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, with likely full approval of the supreme leader, had planned to line up Mexican drug cartels to assassinate the ambassador of Saudi Arabia and attack its Embassy and the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. If such a plan had actually materialized, this would have amounted to an act of war on American soil. As it was, this brazen act, coupled with President Barack Hussein Obama's failure to take any retaliatory military action, underscores why Israel must now act on its own to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. American resolve to remove the cancer in Tehran simply does not exist.



But is there a method to Obama's madness? As I have hypothesized in earlier columns, can it be that the president's minions — including the mastermind of the Clinton Chinagate scandal in the late 1990s, Hillary Clinton — are shaking down the radical Islamic leadership in Iran to launder huge campaign contributions into Obama-Democratic Party re-election coffers — just as illegal Chinese money helped the Clintons win re-election in 1996? And, since it is increasingly likely that Ms. Hillary will replace Joe Biden as Obama's vice presidential pick in 2012, she has a real interest in using her criminal expertise in illegally laundering foreign money to win these elections. Is this why the United States has all but ignored the growing Iranian nuclear cancer, while actively supporting the overthrow of other regimes in the Middle East — including the formerly pro-American and pro-Israeli Egyptian regime of former President Hosni Mubarak?

And, let's not forget that our corrupt attorney general, Eric Holder, was a principal "bag man" during the Clinton Chinagate scandal years. He assisted then-Attorney General Janet Reno in deep-sixing any meaningful Justice Department investigation of Chinese money laundering. This is discussed in my book "Whores: Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment."



The bottom line is this, my friends. It's time to take the mullahs out, whatever the cost. Let's pray that the Israelis will now act, as the cowards in our political leadership will not. Is their inaction the result of Tehran's lining their political pockets with laundered campaign contributions, as occurred with Chinagate? I would not be surprised if this were the case, so corrupt is our government!

Geller: "Muslims Face No Discrimination In The United States"

Following Herman Cain’s meeting with a Muslim-American group where he distanced himself from his vitriolic rhetoric directed towards their community, anti-Muslim activists immediately denounced him. Now, Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of America has a new column in WorldNetDaily skewering Cain for having “apologized for speaking the truth.” Previously, Cain said that he wouldn’t appoint any Muslim-Americans to his administration and that communities have a right to ban the construction of mosques.

The Justice Department observes “a steady stream of violence and discrimination targeting Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities,” with the St. Louis Beacon reporting that “while Muslims represent less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, officials said about a quarter of religion-related workplace discrimination cases involve Muslims, as well as more than 14 percent of the overall number of federal religious discrimination cases.” But Geller contends that Muslim-Americans actually don’t face any bias in the United States, and Cain’s semi-apology renders him an unacceptable candidate:

"In my own life as a black youth growing up in the segregated South, I understand their frustration with stereotypes. Those in attendance, like most Muslim Americans, are peaceful Muslims and patriotic Americans whose good will is often drowned out by the reprehensible actions of jihadists."

So said presidential candidate Herman Cain, as he apologized for speaking the truth.

He spoke out against Shariah. He said that local people could and should resist the construction of Islamic supremacist mega-mosques. And it's true: It is not an infringement of the freedom of religion to resist a Muslim Brotherhood beachhead in your neighborhood.



So we thought Cain knew and understood the jihad threat. But now it turns out that his seemingly strong stance was just knee-jerk political opportunism.



What Cain doesn't understand is that his lack of spine and political will and conviction has done more to hurt the counter-jihad movement than had he not said anything at all. Muslims like blacks in the segregated South? Please. Muslims face no discrimination in the United States, and black in the segregated South were not plotting terror attacks and boasting about "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within," as a captured internal Muslim Brotherhood document describes its strategy in America.

Who exactly is whispering in his ear? I'd love to know. Who got to him? Obviously, the ADAMS Center connection shows that the Muslim Brotherhood got to him. But it's a good thing we found out how weak he was. Because the only thing Herman Cain had going for him as a candidate was his apparent courage in facing the real enemy within and without. In issuing this apology, he thought he saved his candidacy; in fact, he killed it.

Peter King Witness Called Groups Defending Gitmo Detainees "Anti-American," "Al Qaeda's Useful Idiots"

Rep. Peter King (R-NY recently announced the third in his series of hearings on the “radicalization of the Muslim-American community”—the GOP’s premier venue for demonstrating the kinds of attacks highlighted in PFAW’s latest Right Wing Watch: In Focus report “The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.” As part of his hearings, King plans to call Thomas Joscelyn of the staunchly neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies as a witness. Joscelyn, from his platform as a writer for the neoconservative Weekly Standard, has questioned the patriotism of organizations and individuals who spoke out against the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, calling the ACLU “Al Qaeda’s useful idiots” and claiming that lawyers who represented accused terrorists “openly opposed the American government.”

In a 2009 column, Joscelyn called the American Civil Liberties Union “Al Qaeda’s Civil Liberties Union” and “al Qaeda’s useful idiots” because the group produced the video “Justice Denied: Voices From Guantanamo,” which featured five Muslims who were imprisoned and abused in Guantanamo Bay and never faced charges. “The ACLU has worked diligently to undermine America's stance in what was formerly known as the ‘war on terror,’” he wrote, “and has even been willing to disseminate propaganda on behalf of our jihadist enemies.” He went on to criticize the ACLU and the Obama administration for opposing the use of military commissions and supporting the right of due process under the law for accused terrorists: “The ACLU cannot tell the difference between us and our enemies--as its own propaganda shows. Therefore, it does not bode well for America's counterterrorism efforts that the Obama administration is in agreement with al Qaeda's useful idiots.”

Joscelyn also jumped on the right-wing smear campaign against Justice Department lawyers who once represented accused terrorists, writing: “Now, we don’t know what assignments these lawyers have taken on inside government. But we do know that they openly opposed the American government for years, on behalf of al Qaeda terrorists, and their objections frequently went beyond rational, principled criticisms of detainee policy.”

Joscelyn also charged the Center for Constitutional Rights with “crude anti-Americanism” because the group condemned bias against Muslim Americans. He also questioned whether accused terrorists should receive any legal representation at all:

CCR’s statement calls to mind the debate some months ago about the role of lawyers in the war on terror. Some have argued that by representing “unpopular” clients they are merely adhering to a noble legal tradition in the same manner as John Adams, who defended British soldiers years prior to the Revolutionary War. Granted, some lawyers probably are compelled by their own notions of legal principle. But not all of them are.

John Adams sought to create a free society in which all faiths can be practiced and none are enforced by the state. He succeeded.

This nation’s second president probably would not appreciate CCR’s smear of the nation he helped found. And CCR is not just standing up for the “right” of a terrorist to receive a fair trial. The organization doubts whether John Adam’s America can be fair to Muslims at all.

Who's Who in Today's DOMA Hearing

Cross-posted on PFAW blog

Senate Republicans have called Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, David Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund and Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center as witnesses in today’s hearing on the “Defense of Marriage Act.” The groups these witnesses represent have a long record of extreme rhetoric opposing gay rights:

CitizenLink, Focus on the Family’s political arm, is a stalwart opponent of gay rights in every arena:

• Focus on the Family has consistently railed against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, demanding the discriminatory policy’s reinstatement.

• The group claims anti-bullying programs that protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived youth in schools amount to “homosexual indoctrination” and “promote homosexuality in kids.”

• The group insists that House Republicans investigate the Justice Department over its refusal to defend the unconstitutional Section 3 of DOMA.

The Ethics and Public Policy Center is backed by the far-right Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the Koch- backed Castle Rock Foundation, all well-known right-wing funders.

• George Weigel of EPPC wrote in June that “legally enforced segregation involved the same kind of coercive state power that the proponents of gay marriage now wish to deploy on behalf of their cause.”

• Ed Whelan spearheaded the unsuccessful and widely panned effort to throw out Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision finding California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional on the grounds that Walker was in a committed same-sex relationship at the time of the decision.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which bills itself as a right-wing counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, is dedicated to pushing a far-right legal agenda:

• The ADF has been active on issues including pushing "marriage protection," exposing the "homosexual agenda" and fighting the supposed "war on Christmas."

• The ADF claims 38 “victories” before the Supreme Court, including: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited money on elections in the name of “free speech” and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000), which allowed the Boy Scouts to fire a Scout Leader because he was gay.


Barton Lies Again, Says Obama Dropped The Ball On Child Pornography

David Barton never lets the facts get in the way of his promoting of right-wing view of history and political causes, no matter the issue. Today on his radio show WallBuilders Live with co-host Rick Green, the pseudo-historian claimed that under President Obama the Department of Justice stopped prosecuting cases of child pornography because the department has reduced its attention to obscenity. The de-emphasis on obscenity cases started well before the Obama Administration, as Religious Right groups even complained that the Bush Administration wasn’t prosecuting enough obscenity cases.

Barton told co-host Rick Green that the Justice Department has now “encouraged” licentiousness and that the department is turning a blind eye to people who “use underage kids on these movies.” But earlier this year the Associated Press reported that prosecutions for child pornography are rapidly increasing, and just since the beginning of this year the Justice Department announced convictions in at least 19 cases involving child pornography.

Barton: We’ve got laws against illegal pornography, and you can’t stop all pornography but even the liberals recognize that some pornography is over the top.

Green: I mean an easy one is child pornography.

Barton: Simple. And you’ve had this Administration in three years has not prosecuted a single what’s called ‘obscenity,’ which is hardcore pornography. Not a single case. Now what’s that tell all the pornographers and all the movie guys and all the internet guys what they can do?

Green: Do whatever you want now

Barton: Man, we can push the limits, we can get over the top, we can use underage kids on these movies, we can do snuff movies because they’re not prosecuting nothing. So what we got today is—

Green: They’ve basically given a license for licentiousness—

Barton: Exactly. They’ve encouraged it, and that’s what happened with the Justice Department.

Colson: Gay Equality Will Destroy Democracy

Chuck Colson is warning Americans that gay-rights supporters are on their way to destroying democracy. With their “un-democratic schemes” and “a scorched-earth policy,” Colson claims that the gay-rights movement is not only the most serious menace to religious liberty but is also the gravest threat to “the democratic process and the rule of law.” Colson points to the decisions by the Department of Justice and the law firm King & Spalding not to defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, the decision by the Department of Homeland Security to put the deportation of gay foreigners married to Americans on hold, and a Navy memo (which was withdrawn) to allow same-sex marriages on bases. Colson writes:

Gay-rights groups have begun a scorched-earth policy against anybody who opposes their agenda. And the ultimate victim may be democracy itself.

For two years now, I’ve warned that the drive for so-called “gay marriage” was the greatest threat to religious liberty we’ve ever faced. But I think I may have underestimated the threat, because now I fear the democratic process and the rule of law are endangered as well.



But hostile criticism and boycotts are one thing. Ignoring federal law is another. Case in point: The Obama administration stopped the deportation order for a gay immigrant because the Justice Department feels that the man could be considered a spouse of another man under U.S. immigration laws. This, of course, is nonsense, because under DOMA, the federal government can’t recognize same-sex marriages. But evidently, the law, the will of Congress, and the will of the people don’t matter anymore in the Obama White House -- if the issue at hand is so-called gay “marriage.”

And now the head of Navy chaplains has issued a memo that would permit Navy chaplains to perform gay “marriage” ceremonies in states that permit so-called same-sex “marriage.”

The problem with that, of course, as Tom McClusky at the Family Research Council pointed out, is that Navy chaplains are federal employees, and Navy chapels are federal facilities. Performing same-sex marriage ceremonies would violate DOMA.

But, as McClusky said, “When you have a president who doesn’t believe the Defense of Marriage Act is a law he needs to follow, it’s no surprise that the military would follow his lead.”

No surprise, but horribly dangerous. So-called gay “marriage” was rejected in all 31 states where the people got to vote! So the gay-rights groups, so far, are carrying the day by doing an end-run around the people, taking their case to the courts, coercing corporations, and now law firms, and finding a willing accomplice to their un-democratic schemes in the White House.

I can’t say this forcefully or clearly enough: Wake up, America! When the executive branch of government rules by fiat and chooses not to enforce the law of the land, the democratic process and the consent of the governed are no longer possible.

Newman Warns That Obama Is Turning America Into Communist China, Will Ban Easter

Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman charges President Obama with turning the US into a “draconian, tyrannical” country over the Department of Justice’s prosecution of militant abortion clinic protesters who violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. According to the Associated Press, “the Obama Justice Department has filed six lawsuits under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, mostly to seek injunctions and fines,” including a lawsuit against “a Pennsylvania man who posted on the Internet the names and addresses of abortion providers and extolled his readers to kill them.”

Newman, who has rejoiced at the death of abortion doctors and leads one of the most radical groups in the anti-choice movement, tells the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that he expects the government under Obama will eventually prosecute Christians for celebrating Easter:

"It's chilling in the fact that the administration is solely going after good, peaceful pro-life individuals who have sidewalk counseled in front of abortion clinics for decades, in order to silence their ability to reach women and children in their most desperate hour," Newman laments.

So he stresses that Americans should realize that the Obama administration is singling out peaceful Christians for their belief in life. They should also recognize, he says, that the administration is attempting to prosecute them.

"This is a draconian, tyrannical sort of system that is being put in place," the Operation Rescue president contends. "If we don't take note and stop it now, we can only project forward a few more years, and it's going to look like communist China, where an expression of an Easter celebration is going to land somebody in jail."

Barton: DOMA Loss Will Lead To "The Indoctrination Of Kids"

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins joined David Barton and his co-host Rick Green on WallBuilders Live to discuss the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). After the Justice Department decided to stop defending the discriminatory law, finding it unconstitutional, opponents of marriage equality immediately went on the attack. Perkins said that Barton’s Christian nationalist view of history proves that more fundamentalist Christians need to become involved in politics because “we were the voice in the process as this nation was founded,” and if the courts find DOMA unconstitutional then “religious freedom will be lost.” Barton, who previously maintained that “homosexual indoctrination” is already taking place in schools, later added that a defeat for DOMA in the courts will lead to “the indoctrination of kids.”

Perkins: We’re not new to this game, this is not something we just discovered, that all the sudden we have a voice in the process. We were the voice in this process as this nation was founded. And if we don’t once again exercise that voice, I think, I know David has said it and I know you have as well and I see it, if we don’t exercise that voice now as Christians we’re gonna lose it in the very near future.

This is a prime example, because if DOMA falls, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, that’s the only thing protecting these twenty-nine states that have marriage amendments, thirty-one states have voted on it, twenty-nine have amendments, and if this falls those amendments are in jeopardy. And we have already seen that when this agenda goes forward and same-sex marriage gets taught in our schools, our children would be taught that homosexual marriage is the same as traditional heterosexual marriage and homosexuality being on par with heterosexuality, and religious freedom will be lost.



Barton: Tony’s right on what’s at stake here. If DOMA goes down, this thing affects not just marriage, but it also affects preachers in the pulpit, it affects education, it affects schools, it affects our children, it affects religious freedom. This is a big deal in what it impacts, it’s not just ‘oh that’s alright I’m gonna stay married’ no this is gonna change the whole culture and the indoctrination of kids and everything else, so it really is a big deal.

Colson Slams Lady Gaga for ‘Born This Way’

Following Focus on the Family’s staunch criticism of Lady Gaga over her new song ‘Born This Way,’ Chuck Colson is now attacking Gaga for claiming that sexual orientation is not a choice. The Religious Right leader also goes after Attorney General Eric Holder, who recently announced that the Justice Department will no longer defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act and said that a person’s sexual orientation should be considered comparable to sex, religion, race, and national origin. Colson quotes conservative writer and Gaga-critic Frank Furedi in arguing that since Gaga transformed herself from into a pop-sensation, gays and lesbians can similarly transform themselves into heterosexuals:

Do people choose to be gay, or are they born that way? Here’s a tip: Don’t turn to Lady Gaga for an answer.

According to Vogue magazine, Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way” is more than “an unbelievably great dance song”; it is “destined to be the anthem of every gay-pride event for the next 100 years.” It only took the well-known pop star 10 minutes to write the song and its explanation of same-sex attraction. At least that’s what Lady Gaga told Vogue.

That being the case, we shouldn’t expect too much nuance and thoughtfulness from someone best known for wearing meat as a dress and making an obscene gesture at a Mets game. Still, Lady Gaga has unintentionally raised some important questions which go far beyond sexual orientation.



As regular BreakPoint listeners know, the link between same-sex attraction and genetics is far from established. But what’s baffling is the way the singer -- and the culture she represents -- holds two conflicting viewpoints at the same time. After all, performers like Lady Gaga are the masters of reinvention. They are constantly shedding identities and personas, whether for financial gain or as a matter of self-expression. So to then insist at the same time that reinvention and redefinition is impossible and that identity is fixed is literally incoherent.

Furedi sees this incoherence as in keeping with the way that “identity politics” has “fluctuated between the individualistic celebration of choice and [the] . . . quest for legitimacy.” As a libertarian, Furedi worries that we are on our way to seeing ourselves as “slaves to our biology” instead of as beings capable of “making our own world” and “choosing who we want to be.” And he’s right to object! This idea is spreading. After all, Attorney General Holder, explaining why the Administration will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, said that sex orientation is an “immutable characteristic.”

But for the Christian, thinking in terms of dichotomies such as “nature versus nurture” and “genetics versus free will” is the real problem. For us, it’s not either-or. Who we are cannot be reduced to any one thing. For instance, Christianity teaches that biology and the rest of creation has a great deal to teach us about how we should live. This is part of what we mean by “natural law.” An obvious example is the biological facts that lie behind the teaching that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But saying that biology is somehow normative is not the same thing as saying that is determinative. We are free to choose how we behave, both for good and for ill.

Hartzler Introduces Gratuitous Bill to Require Obama to Enforce DOMA

Just days after Rep. Steve King (R-IA) announced plans to cut funding to the Department of Justice because it will no longer defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has introduced legislation requiring the Obama administration to enforce DOMA. Hartzler accuses President Obama of “selectively enforcing our laws” and “breaking his word to the American people,” which could lead to “chaos.”

Of course, Hartzler’s argument is totally baseless: the Defense of Marriage Act will continue to be enforced, even though the Department of Justice decided that it will no longer defend the law in court. As Reuters reported, “In a filing on Monday, DOJ attorneys reiterated that Obama told executive agencies to enforce the law until Congress repealed it -- even though the administration would no longer defend its constitutionality in court.”

But that hasn’t stopped Hartzler, whose political career is based on her vehement opposition to gay rights, from offering her specious legislation:

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) is the lead sponsor of legislation calling on President Obama and his Department of Justice to respect the law and enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“President Obama’s decision to order his Justice Department to stop defending DOMA is not a surprise but it is disappointing,” Hartzler said. “Once we start going down the road of selectively enforcing our laws we are headed for chaos. President Obama took an oath to uphold the laws of the United States and he is breaking his word to the American people.”

“The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was enacted through large majority votes in both the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Clinton,” added Hartzler. “President Obama is subverting the will of the representatives of the people. The good citizens of the 4th Congressional District are expected to follow the law and President Obama should not put himself above the law."

In 2004, Hartzler served as state spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage, which supported Missouri’s defense of marriage amendment. That amendment passed with the support of 71 percent of the state’s voters.

DOMA Decision Becomes Test Of GOP Fealty To Religious Right

When news broke that the Obama administration had decided to stop defending DOMA in court because the law in unconstitutional, the Religious Right went nuts and immediately swung into action to get Congress to step in and take up the fight.

But as both the Washington Post and New York Times report, the GOP establishment doesn't appear particularly eager to wade into this battle:

President Obama’s decision to abandon his legal support for the Defense of Marriage Act has generated only mild rebukes from the Republicans hoping to succeed him in 2012, evidence of a shifting political climate in which social issues are being crowded out by economic concerns.

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that after two years of defending the law — hailed by proponents in 1996 as an cornerstone in the protection of traditional values — the president and his attorney general have concluded it is unconstitutional.

In the hours that followed, Sarah Palin’s Facebook site was silent. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was close-mouthed. Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, released a Web video — on the labor union protests in Wisconsin — and waited a day before issuing a marriage statement saying he was “disappointed.”

Others, like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, took their time weighing in, and then did so only in the most tepid terms. “The Justice Department is supposed to defend our laws,” Mr. Barbour said.

Asked if Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana and a possible presidential candidate, had commented on the marriage decision, a spokeswoman said that he “hasn’t, and with other things we have going on here right now, he has no plans.”

But if the GOP thinks it can sit this one out, it had better think again because its Religious Right base is demanding that Republican leaders and candidates step up and make this a central issue heading into 2012:

Angered conservatives are vowing to make same-sex marriage a front-burner election issue, nationally and in the states, following the Obama administration's announcement that it will no longer defend the federal law denying recognition to gay married couples.

"The ripple effect nationwide will be to galvanize supporters of marriage," said staff counsel Jim Campbell of Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group.

On the federal level, opponents of same-sex marriage urged Republican leaders in the House of Representatives to intervene on their own to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, against pending court challenges.

"The president has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. "It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the president's neglect of duty."

Conservatives also said they would now expect the eventual 2012 GOP presidential nominee to highlight the marriage debate as part of a challenge to Obama, putting the issue on equal footing with the economy.

...

Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, suggested that House Republicans would risk alienating their conservative base if they did not tackle the marriage issue head-on.

"The president was kind of tossing this cultural grenade into the Republican camp," he said.

"If they ignore this, it becomes an issue that will lead to some very troubling outcomes for Republicans."

DOMA Decision Becomes Test Of GOP Fealty To Religious Right

When news broke that the Obama administration had decided to stop defending DOMA in court because the law in unconstitutional, the Religious Right went nuts and immediately swung into action to get Congress to step in and take up the fight.

But as both the Washington Post and New York Times report, the GOP establishment doesn't appear particularly eager to wade into this battle:

President Obama’s decision to abandon his legal support for the Defense of Marriage Act has generated only mild rebukes from the Republicans hoping to succeed him in 2012, evidence of a shifting political climate in which social issues are being crowded out by economic concerns.

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that after two years of defending the law — hailed by proponents in 1996 as an cornerstone in the protection of traditional values — the president and his attorney general have concluded it is unconstitutional.

In the hours that followed, Sarah Palin’s Facebook site was silent. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was close-mouthed. Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, released a Web video — on the labor union protests in Wisconsin — and waited a day before issuing a marriage statement saying he was “disappointed.”

Others, like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, took their time weighing in, and then did so only in the most tepid terms. “The Justice Department is supposed to defend our laws,” Mr. Barbour said.

Asked if Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana and a possible presidential candidate, had commented on the marriage decision, a spokeswoman said that he “hasn’t, and with other things we have going on here right now, he has no plans.”

But if the GOP thinks it can sit this one out, it had better think again because its Religious Right base is demanding that Republican leaders and candidates step up and make this a central issue heading into 2012:

Angered conservatives are vowing to make same-sex marriage a front-burner election issue, nationally and in the states, following the Obama administration's announcement that it will no longer defend the federal law denying recognition to gay married couples.

"The ripple effect nationwide will be to galvanize supporters of marriage," said staff counsel Jim Campbell of Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group.

On the federal level, opponents of same-sex marriage urged Republican leaders in the House of Representatives to intervene on their own to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, against pending court challenges.

"The president has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. "It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the president's neglect of duty."

Conservatives also said they would now expect the eventual 2012 GOP presidential nominee to highlight the marriage debate as part of a challenge to Obama, putting the issue on equal footing with the economy.

...

Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, suggested that House Republicans would risk alienating their conservative base if they did not tackle the marriage issue head-on.

"The president was kind of tossing this cultural grenade into the Republican camp," he said.

"If they ignore this, it becomes an issue that will lead to some very troubling outcomes for Republicans."

Religious Right Reactions to DOJ's DOMA Decision

Earlier today it was reported that President Obama had ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

So far, reactions from the Religious Right have been few and far between but we are going to post them here as they trickle in:

National Organization for Marriage:

“We have not yet begun to fight for marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.

“The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in Wisconsin and Indiana to prevent a vote, or unilaterally declaring homosexuals a protected class under our Constitution, as President Obama just did,” said Brown. “We call on the House to intervene to protect DOMA, and to tell the Obama administration they have to respect the limits on their power. This fight is not over, it has only begun!”

...

“On the one hand this is a truly shocking extra-constitutional power grab in declaring gay people are a protected class, and it’s also a defection of duty on the part of the President Obama,” said Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of NOM, “On the other hand, the Obama administration was throwing this case in court anyway. The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the court room who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests.”

FRC:

"It's a dereliction of duty,'' said Tom McClusky, senior vice president of Family Research Council Action. "Whether they agree with the law or not is irrelevant...The Obama administration has purposely dropped the ball here."

AFA:

"I think it's a clear sign that we simply cannot avoid engaging on the social issues," Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the group, told TPM. "Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on social issues and that would be fine if the homosexual lobby was willing to lay down arms, but they're obviously not and this proves it. A truce is nothing more than a surrender."

Fischer said he was not surprised by the president's decision.

"Frankly I was surprised that President Obama pretended to be a defender of natural marriage as long as he did," he said.

He said that the White House move should serve as "a wake-up call to all conservatives that fundamental American values regarding the family are under all-out assault by this administration. It ought to represent a clarion call to man the barricades before we lose what is left of the Judeo-Christian system of values in our public life."

Focus on the Family:

Tom Minnery, a vice president with Focus on the Family, said the Obama administration did not aggressively defend the Defense of Marriage Act in any case. "If the federal government will not defend federal laws, we're facing legal chaos," Minnery said. "If the administration can pick and choose what laws it defends, which law is next?"

"We would hope Congress uses the tools at its disposal to counter this decision and defend marriage," Minnery said.

ADF:

“Typically, when a law is challenged, the government has a duty to defend the law, and typically they do so with the most vigorous possible defense,” said Jim Campbell, attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund. “In this case, we’ve seen executive branch officials refuse to do so.”

Official FRC statement:

"This decision by President Obama and the Department of Justice is appalling. The President's failure to defend DOMA is also a failure to fulfill his oath to 'faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.' What will be the next law that he will choose not to enforce or uphold?

"Marriage as a male-female union has been easily defended in court and overwhelmingly supported by the American people. There is absolutely no excuse beyond pandering to his liberal political base for President Obama's decision to abandon his constitutional role to defend a federal law enacted overwhelmingly by Congress.

"With this decision the President has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress. It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the President's neglect of duty," concluded Perkins.

Liberty Counsel:

Today President Barack Obama instructed the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, and the Department of Justice to cease defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “This is outrageous and unthinkable that the President would abandon the defense of marriage,” said Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “President Obama has betrayed the American people by his refusal to defend the federal law that affirms what many courts upheld as constitutional, namely, that marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Staver.

...

“Regardless of President Obama’s own ideological agenda, as President, he and his Attorney General have a duty to defend lawfully passed legislation, especially when the essence of the law has been upheld by many courts. Thirty states have passed marriage amendments affirming marriage as one man and one woman. Today President Obama has abandoned his role as President of the United States and transformed his office into the President of the Divided States. He has been the most divisive president in American history. He has today declared war on the American people and the fundamental values that are shared by most Americans. His radicalism resulted in the historical push-back in the 2010 elections. His radicalism today will come back around when the people respond to this betrayal in 2012,” said Staver.

TVC:

“The Obama Administration has been sabotaging marriage in direct contradiction to his campaign promises. Today, President Obama takes his most unprecedented step yet, choosing to rule and reign through executive decree in what could only be called a supra-constitutional act. After massive defeats at the polls in November, a total repudiation on health care, and staring down a cost-cutting Congress, Obama is looking to secure what little base remains. Obama’s actions today are an unprecedented grab for power and perhaps the most audacious in the 235 year history of the American republic.

“President Obama believes he has “concluded” that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, as passed along by Attorney General Eric Holder -- effectively asserting that Obama may rule by whim and decree.

“We are a nation of laws, not whims.

“Virtually every state in the country has overwhelmingly passed laws and state constitutional amendments protecting marriage. This unprecedented power grab demands the immediate reaction of the United States House of Representatives, who must do everything possible to fight back against what can only be described as a despotic and alarming attack on the rule of law.”

Catholic League:

Now Obama is officially on record as president opposing the defense of marriage. Thus does he pit himself against the 1996 law that was signed by President Bill Clinton, and opposed by only 15 percent in the House and 14 percent in the Senate. He also stands in opposition to the over 30 state initiatives affirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Now that Obama is totally out of the closet, it will spur a genuine effort to adopt a constitutional amendment affirming the integrity of marriage.

Gary Bauer:

The president is the chief law enforcement officer, not the chief justice! It is not up to Barack Obama to determine which laws he likes and which laws he doesn’t. It is his responsibility to enforce the law until the nation’s highest court decides the law does not pass constitutional analysis.

But this president sees things very differently — he’s here to fundamentally transform America, by, among other things, redefining marriage ...

Today’s news should put to rest any suggestion that Obama has moved to the center. He has just aligned himself with the most radical elements in the culture war who are trying to redefine normalcy.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow, but I have to be honest with you: I’m worried our side has gone back to sleep. Financial support for our work has dropped significantly. But the left is energized. Obama suddenly feels free to abandon the law and let the militant homosexual rights movement force same-sex “marriage” on every state in the nation. A liberal politician is urging the unions to “get a little bloody” in the streets.

The Tea Party protests have ebbed while the left-wing radicals are fired up. The momentum seems to have shifted back to the left. Men and women of faith must remain engaged in the public policy battles of the day. The culture war is real and only one side can prevail.

Religious Right Reactions to DOJ's DOMA Decision

Earlier today it was reported that President Obama had ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

So far, reactions from the Religious Right have been few and far between but we are going to post them here as they trickle in:

National Organization for Marriage:

“We have not yet begun to fight for marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.

“The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in Wisconsin and Indiana to prevent a vote, or unilaterally declaring homosexuals a protected class under our Constitution, as President Obama just did,” said Brown. “We call on the House to intervene to protect DOMA, and to tell the Obama administration they have to respect the limits on their power. This fight is not over, it has only begun!”

...

“On the one hand this is a truly shocking extra-constitutional power grab in declaring gay people are a protected class, and it’s also a defection of duty on the part of the President Obama,” said Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of NOM, “On the other hand, the Obama administration was throwing this case in court anyway. The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the court room who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests.”

FRC:

"It's a dereliction of duty,'' said Tom McClusky, senior vice president of Family Research Council Action. "Whether they agree with the law or not is irrelevant...The Obama administration has purposely dropped the ball here."

AFA:

"I think it's a clear sign that we simply cannot avoid engaging on the social issues," Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the group, told TPM. "Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on social issues and that would be fine if the homosexual lobby was willing to lay down arms, but they're obviously not and this proves it. A truce is nothing more than a surrender."

Fischer said he was not surprised by the president's decision.

"Frankly I was surprised that President Obama pretended to be a defender of natural marriage as long as he did," he said.

He said that the White House move should serve as "a wake-up call to all conservatives that fundamental American values regarding the family are under all-out assault by this administration. It ought to represent a clarion call to man the barricades before we lose what is left of the Judeo-Christian system of values in our public life."

Focus on the Family:

Tom Minnery, a vice president with Focus on the Family, said the Obama administration did not aggressively defend the Defense of Marriage Act in any case. "If the federal government will not defend federal laws, we're facing legal chaos," Minnery said. "If the administration can pick and choose what laws it defends, which law is next?"

"We would hope Congress uses the tools at its disposal to counter this decision and defend marriage," Minnery said.

ADF:

“Typically, when a law is challenged, the government has a duty to defend the law, and typically they do so with the most vigorous possible defense,” said Jim Campbell, attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund. “In this case, we’ve seen executive branch officials refuse to do so.”

Official FRC statement:

"This decision by President Obama and the Department of Justice is appalling. The President's failure to defend DOMA is also a failure to fulfill his oath to 'faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.' What will be the next law that he will choose not to enforce or uphold?

"Marriage as a male-female union has been easily defended in court and overwhelmingly supported by the American people. There is absolutely no excuse beyond pandering to his liberal political base for President Obama's decision to abandon his constitutional role to defend a federal law enacted overwhelmingly by Congress.

"With this decision the President has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress. It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the President's neglect of duty," concluded Perkins.

Liberty Counsel:

Today President Barack Obama instructed the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, and the Department of Justice to cease defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “This is outrageous and unthinkable that the President would abandon the defense of marriage,” said Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “President Obama has betrayed the American people by his refusal to defend the federal law that affirms what many courts upheld as constitutional, namely, that marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Staver.

...

“Regardless of President Obama’s own ideological agenda, as President, he and his Attorney General have a duty to defend lawfully passed legislation, especially when the essence of the law has been upheld by many courts. Thirty states have passed marriage amendments affirming marriage as one man and one woman. Today President Obama has abandoned his role as President of the United States and transformed his office into the President of the Divided States. He has been the most divisive president in American history. He has today declared war on the American people and the fundamental values that are shared by most Americans. His radicalism resulted in the historical push-back in the 2010 elections. His radicalism today will come back around when the people respond to this betrayal in 2012,” said Staver.

TVC:

“The Obama Administration has been sabotaging marriage in direct contradiction to his campaign promises. Today, President Obama takes his most unprecedented step yet, choosing to rule and reign through executive decree in what could only be called a supra-constitutional act. After massive defeats at the polls in November, a total repudiation on health care, and staring down a cost-cutting Congress, Obama is looking to secure what little base remains. Obama’s actions today are an unprecedented grab for power and perhaps the most audacious in the 235 year history of the American republic.

“President Obama believes he has “concluded” that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, as passed along by Attorney General Eric Holder -- effectively asserting that Obama may rule by whim and decree.

“We are a nation of laws, not whims.

“Virtually every state in the country has overwhelmingly passed laws and state constitutional amendments protecting marriage. This unprecedented power grab demands the immediate reaction of the United States House of Representatives, who must do everything possible to fight back against what can only be described as a despotic and alarming attack on the rule of law.”

Catholic League:

Now Obama is officially on record as president opposing the defense of marriage. Thus does he pit himself against the 1996 law that was signed by President Bill Clinton, and opposed by only 15 percent in the House and 14 percent in the Senate. He also stands in opposition to the over 30 state initiatives affirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Now that Obama is totally out of the closet, it will spur a genuine effort to adopt a constitutional amendment affirming the integrity of marriage.

Gary Bauer:

The president is the chief law enforcement officer, not the chief justice! It is not up to Barack Obama to determine which laws he likes and which laws he doesn’t. It is his responsibility to enforce the law until the nation’s highest court decides the law does not pass constitutional analysis.

But this president sees things very differently — he’s here to fundamentally transform America, by, among other things, redefining marriage ...

Today’s news should put to rest any suggestion that Obama has moved to the center. He has just aligned himself with the most radical elements in the culture war who are trying to redefine normalcy.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow, but I have to be honest with you: I’m worried our side has gone back to sleep. Financial support for our work has dropped significantly. But the left is energized. Obama suddenly feels free to abandon the law and let the militant homosexual rights movement force same-sex “marriage” on every state in the nation. A liberal politician is urging the unions to “get a little bloody” in the streets.

The Tea Party protests have ebbed while the left-wing radicals are fired up. The momentum seems to have shifted back to the left. Men and women of faith must remain engaged in the public policy battles of the day. The culture war is real and only one side can prevail.

Religious Right Outraged By Changes To Passport Application

The State Department has announced that, beginning in February, the spaces for "mother's name" and "father's name" on passport applications will be replaced with "parent one" and "parent two" ... and, of course, the Religious Right is outraged:

“Only in the topsy-turvy world of left-wing political correctness could it be considered an ‘improvement’ for a birth-related document to provide less information about the circumstances of that birth,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wrote in a statement to Fox News Radio. “This is clearly designed to advance the causes of same-sex ‘marriage’ and homosexual parenting without statutory authority, and violates the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, agreed. “It’s part of an overall attempt at political correctness to diminish the distinction between men and women and to somehow suggest you don’t need both a father and a mother to raise a child successfully,” said Jeffress. “(This decision) was made to make homosexual couples feel more comfortable in rearing children.”

UPDATE: Apparently FRC is so outraged by this that they had to release an statement:

"Only in the topsy-turvy world of left-wing political correctness could it be considered an 'improvement' for a birth-related document to provide less information about the circumstances of that birth. Yet that is the result of the State Department's decision to remove the words 'mother' and 'father' from Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.

"The dictionary defines 'birth' as 'the emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent' or 'the act or process of bringing forth young from the womb.' Since science has yet to create an artificial womb, in the human species that 'body' or 'womb' always belongs to a female parent, i.e., the mother. And since science has yet to master human cloning, the newborn human being has always received half of his or her genetic inheritance via the sperm of a male parent, i.e., the father. It would be helpful if a certificate related to 'birth' would identify which is which.

"This is clearly designed to advance the causes of same-sex 'marriage' and homosexual parenting without statutory authority, and violates the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But it does so at the expense of fundamental biological reality – and social reality as well. The State Department's abolition of motherhood and fatherhood would be almost comical, if it did not fly in the face of the mounting social science evidence that children are most likely to thrive when born into a family led by their own married biological mother and father.

"President Obama's Justice Department is purposefully failing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the courts, so it is little surprise that his State Department would show the same disrespect for U.S. law. The House of Representatives should take their oversight rule very seriously and intervene in both these circumstances."

Wendy Wright: There’s No Discrimination in America, Except for that Committed by “Homosexual Activists”

Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Women For America, in the conservative publication The American Thinker ridicules the Obama Administration’s claims that bigotry and inequality still exist in the U.S., but goes on to claim that the Religious Right represents the actual victim of discrimination at the hands of “homosexual activists.” Such fatuous allegations are nothing new from Wright, who participated in the “Green Dragon” series that believes the environmental movement is surreptitiously trying to destroy Christianity and dismissed a study which showed that the children of same-sex parents are as “well adjusted” as their peers because it didn’t conform to her anti-gay prejudice.

In her article, “What Obama Thinks of America,” Wright is incensed that the Obama Administration still believes that discrimination survives in the U.S. and facetiously asks “Which American laws or institutions enshrine discrimination?” However, she then blasts the Obama Administration for not confronting the “homosexual activists” who are leading “a campaign of harassment, threats, vandalism, and attacks on employment against people who support traditional marriage, with particular venom toward religious people.” Essentially, Wright and the CWA strongly endorse discriminatory laws and bigoted views that target gay and lesbian Americans, but in her opinion proponents of anti-gay bigotry like herself are the real victims of intolerance:

Sometimes the best way to find out what a person thinks about you is to find out what he tells others.

That's why the report on America's human rights record filed by the Obama administration with the U.N. is particularly interesting.



What comes through is that President Obama's crew thinks America is congenitally discriminatory, and his administration is bravely soldiering into this morass against the unwashed masses to create an equal society.

As the report states, "[w]ork remains to meet our goal of ensuring equality before the law for all." Which American laws or institutions enshrine discrimination? Not mentioned. No matter -- when you're convinced that Americans are bigots, there is no need to provide proof.

The administration crows in the report about passing the incredibly divisive and unconstitutional health care act. It devotes a section to the bill, with glowing aspirations of how it will end the discrimination of a racist medical system. (Remember, these people see everything through the filter of race or identity politics -- even health care.)

Yet religious freedom (in which the U.S. excels in contrast to other countries) gets a few measly paragraphs with boilerplate generalities. Whereas the health care bill earned details like how many Asian-American men suffer from stomach cancer, the examples of a defense of religious freedom were a Native American primary school student's right to wear his hair in a braid and a Muslim girl's right to wear a hijab.

Maybe this administration is not keen on religious freedom. The issue is so old-school...yesterday's news...Christian. And it inconveniently conflicts with one of President Obama's priorities highlighted in the report, a priority that threatens religious freedom -- privileges for those who engage in homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender behavior.

Homosexual activists conducted a campaign of harassment, threats, vandalism, and attacks on employment against people who support traditional marriage -- with particular venom toward religious people. The vile assaults on Carrie Prejean for merely expressing her views pulled away the curtain that had been hiding how homosexual activists routinely treat decent people who dissent. It raised the question: Who is the aggressor, and who is victim?

Did you get that? "In each era of our history" -- that is, America is historically and inherently bigoted. Makes you wonder why they'd want to live here.

LGBT advocates (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) claim that sexual orientation is an inborn identity, like skin color or ethnicity, and they excoriate people who use the term "gay lifestyle" because it implies choices and actions. Yet the report's first boast of tackling discrimination against this group was the striking down of a law criminalizing sodomy. Apparently, particular actions do define homosexuality.

Wright goes on to argue that the Justice Department intentionally lost the Massachusetts cases challenging the constitutionality of the Defense Of Marriage Act, a charge which Focus on the Family thinks deserves a congressional investigation by Darrell Issa, and that any move towards equality for gays and lesbians actually represents prejudice:

Remember, since he ran for president, Obama has claimed that he does not upport same-sex "marriage." Yet he opposes the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the clearest federal statute that protects marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Obama's Justice Department sabotaged its defense of DOMA in a legal challenge, making such weak arguments that it guaranteed a loss. And he opposed California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. So Obama opposes federal and state measures that define and enforce traditional marriage.

That's where the report to the U.N. really gets interesting. It states, "Debate continues over equal rights to marriage for LGBT Americans at the federal and state levels, and several states have reformed their laws to provide for same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships."



President Obama is, as he said in his inaugural address, remaking America. Too bad his image of America -- and what he wants to turn us into -- is so prejudiced.

Focus on the Family Wants House Republicans to Investigate the Justice Department over DOMA Cases

Tom Minnery, Vice President of Government and Public Policy at CitizenLink (formerly Focus on the Family Action), is insisting that House Republicans investigate the Justice Department over their handling of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, in order to fulfill the desires of the GOP’s Religious Right supporters.

Earlier this year, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders brought two separate cases to a federal judge in Boston contesting DOMA’s constitutionality. The Justice Department defended DOMA and argued that the law is constitutional, but the Judge ruled otherwise and found that the law was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause and the Tenth Amendment.

Infuriated by the judge’s ruling, Religious Right activists were so assured of DOMA’s constitutionality that they maintained that the Justice Department must have intentionally mishandled the cases and purposefully lost. Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council said that “in part, this decision results from the deliberately weak legal defense of DOMA that was mounted on behalf of the government by the Obama administration,” and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and David Barton of WallBuilders recently discussed why they believe the Justice Department “threw the case.”

Today, Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery called for social conservatives to be more demanding of congressional Republicans than they were when Republicans previously had control of Congress:

On Nov. 2, 2010, the Republicans again won control of the House, by an even larger margin than they did in 1994. It was once again a severe rebuke of the policies of the Democratic Party. We hope it won’t again cause a severe misreading of results by conservative Christians. What we learned in 1994 was that simply having power isn’t enough. What matters is what is done with that power.

Minnery goes on to say that the Religious Right should push the House Committee On Oversight and Government Reform, to be led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), to investigate the Justice Department’s management of the DOMA case to show that the GOP is serious about opposing marriage equality:

Will there be comprehensive hearings by House oversight committees on the unwillingness of the Justice Department to thoroughly defend, as the Constitution requires, legal challenges to federal laws? I have in mind the Defense of Marriage Act. The Justice Department has failed to provide an adequate defense against lawsuits seeking to tear away this law.

He also resuscitated the false claim that the government is using taxpayer funds to subsidize abortion, asking, “Will they try hard to undo health care reform, aiming specifically at its vast expansion of government-paid abortions?”

While Issa has already said that his committee may launch inquiries into everything from climate change science to consumer protection efforts to the Justice Department’s handling of the “New Black Panther Party” case, Minnery and other Religious Right activists will work to pressure Issa to include the DOMA cases among his growing lists of investigations.

 

Mat Staver Claims that Obama’s “Radical” Support for Same-Sex Partner Benefits Led to “Tidal Wave Against Him”

Liberty University Law School Dean and Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver joined David Barton and Rick Green on WallBuilders Live to denounce Obama and the Justice Department for failing to win cases on Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), which a federal judge in Boston ruled unconstitutional in July. Staver believes that Obama’s record of supporting gay rights undermined government action to effectively defend DOMA, and Staver went on to attack Obama for extending a number of health benefits to same-sex partners of eligible federal employees. According to Staver, Obama’s support for such benefits displays his “radical, liberal policies” that he believes voters overwhelmingly oppose and rejected in the midterm election:

He’s writing these executive orders as though that is able to change law, it’s not able to change law. What Obama’s trying to do is use a sleight of hand, an under the table kind of approach, to in fact change the law through these executive orders. He’s acting as though the law’s on his side, that it would include benefits for homosexuality and transsexuals and others. So he is forcing that through the system even though the laws are to the contrary. This is exactly what ultimately resulted in this tidal wave against him on Tuesday during the midterm elections, his radicalism and his forced agenda on the American people despite the fact that the people of America reject those radical, liberal policies.

However, Staver would have difficulties reconciling his argument with polling: a September poll conducted by the Associated Press shows that 58% of Americans agree that “couples of the same sex [should] be entitled to the same government benefits as married couples of the opposite sex,” and 52% even support federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Staver may be using Barton’s tremendously flawed reading on how opposition to same-sex marriage impacted the midterm election, while in reality “only 1%” of voters said “same-sex marriage was the single most important issue.”

Barton’s co-host Rick Green goes on to laud Staver for his role in training Religious Right activists at the Law School of Liberty University, which was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, to use the “right Biblical worldview” to shape government, politics, and the courts:

What they’re doing in terms of raising up this next generation. Not only the lawyers graduating from Liberty Law School but think of how many more people with the right Biblical worldview coming through a school like that will want to go be the bureaucrats, and we always think of that word as a negative word but the Justice Department and all these places and all these folks that work there in the past mostly did not have that Biblical worldview because we discouraged young people from going into those arenas. But because of what Mat’s doing and other schools out there doing that kind of thing I think we’re gonna have a lot more people coming into government for good reasons.

Perhaps Green wants more appointees like Monica Goodling, the graduate of Rev. Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School, who drew attention for her Religious Right activism in the Bush Administration’s Justice Department. Goodling was implicated in the Bush White House’s drive to politicize the Justice Department and replace US Attorneys with partisan appointees. The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General “concluded that the evidence showed that Goodling violated both federal law and Department policy, and therefore committed misconduct, when she considered political or ideological affiliations in hiring decisions for candidates for career positions within the Department.” For example, Goodling fired a US Attorney as a result of rumors that she was a lesbian and denied a promotion to a prosecutor because his wife was a Democratic activist. While Goodling was not a graduate of Liberty, Regent University has the same goals of training young right wing activists for government roles to advance the Religious Right’s agenda.

House GOP Picks Ethically-Challenged Freshmen for Judiciary Committee

The House Republican Leadership recently announced that incoming Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino and Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin have been assigned seats on Rep. Lamar Smith’s Judiciary Committee. Marino and Griffin, who were profiled in Right Wing Watch’s The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress, are peculiar picks for a committee which has “jurisdiction over matters relating to the administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies, and law enforcement agencies” since both Republicans were dogged by corruption and ethics scandals prior to their successful bids for Congress.

Marino resigned from his position as a US Attorney in the wake of a brewing scandal over his ties to resort owner and convicted felon Louis DeNaples. He described DeNaples as his “close friend” and provided a reference for DeNaples when he attempted to win state approval to have slot machines at his resort.

But when Marino’s own office opened an investigation into DeNaples over his ties to organized crime, Marino's assistants discovered the reference and the Department of Justice (DOJ) transferred the case to the US Attorney of Binghamton, NY. The DOJ later launched an investigation of Marino “for allegedly violating several department guidelines” over the “reference letter he wrote to help Louis DeNaples get a casino license,” but the investigation ended once Marino resigned.

Responding to criticism about his ties to DeNaples, Marino declared during an interview that he has evidence the DOJ gave him permission to serve as a reference. However, Boryk Krawczeniuk of The Times-Tribune found that DOJ officials never gave him permission, and Marino failed to produce his “evidence.” Krawczeniuk writes that the DOJ confirmed to multiple news outlets that Marino never sought or received such permission: “an Associated Press story, quoting an anonymous Justice Department source, said the department had ‘no record’ that Mr. Marino sought or received Justice authorization to serve as a reference for Mr. DeNaples. A Justice spokeswoman confirmed the department had no such record last week to The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, which is owned by the same company as The Times-Tribune.”

Eventually, Marino backed away from his false claim that he was given permission from the DOJ, and “told the Sunbury Daily Item he never asked the Justice Department for permission to serve as a reference.”

After Marino resigned in order to end the DOJ investigations into his actions, he quickly obtained a $250,000-a-year job as “DeNaples’ in-house lawyer.” In his financial disclosure form, Marino under-reported his income and stated that his DeNaples’ salary was just $25,000 annually.

The conservative blog RedState’s Zack Oldham said of Marino’s actions: “The reality is just as bad as–if not worse than–the optics of this scandal.”

Marino’s relationship with DeNaples and his attempts to cover-up his ethics troubles were not his first encounter with ethics questions. As a District Attorney, Marino approached a judge to toss out his friend’s conviction on drug charges. After the Judge refused, the Luzeme County Citizens Voice reports that Marino “approached another judge and won the expungement, but the plan backfired when the second judge learned of the first judge's involvement in the case.”

Despite the corruption accusations, false statements, and the DOJ investigation which plagued Marino’s legal career, House Republicans still picked him for a Judiciary Committee post. Perhaps, Marino was picked due to his staunchly anti-immigrant views, as incoming Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) intends to use the committee to push a hard line agenda that includes overturning the 14th Amendment’s of birthright citizenship. Marino opposes comprehensive immigration reform, backs Arizona’s draconian SB 1070, and was endorsed by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been described as a “nativist extremist organization.” Just as Smith said that President Obama was “awfully close to a violation of [his] oath of office” as a result of his immigration policy, Marino said he would consider impeaching the President over his handling of immigration.

Like Marino, freshman Tim Griffin was forced to resign as a US Attorney and faced his own ethics questions. Griffin worked his way up through the Republican Party ranks through his work in opposition research and was known as “a protégé of Karl Rove.” He worked for the Bush presidential campaigns and has ties to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Griffin then aided efforts in the Bush White House to replace US Attorneys with partisan appointees, and then-US Attorney Paul Charlton said that Griffin “spread the rumors around the White House that Bud Cummins,” who was the US Attorney of Northeast Arkansas at the time, “was not a good U.S. attorney.”

When Cummins was fired, Griffin was appointed to take his place. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNaulty later testified that “Cummings was fired to make a place for Griffin at the urging of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers,” the former White House Counsel. Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s Chief of Staff, wrote in an email that “getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.” Former US Attorney David Iglesias, said that Tim Griffin “never should have been U.S. Attorney, he was fundamentally unqualified.”

However, Griffin resigned from his position as US Attorney when the BBC uncovered documents showing his work in “vote caging” operations in Florida while he was working for the Bush reelection campaign. Griffin tried to suppress the vote by designing and sending out “caging lists” which “were heavily weighted with minority voters including homeless individuals, students and soldiers sent overseas.”

The Arkansas Leader wrote that “The White House intended to fully consolidate the entire federal criminal justice system into its political operation” and Griffin’s “resignation or dismissal ought to be imminent.” Griffin resigned from his post as US Attorney on May 30, 2007.

Now, two former US Attorneys who resigned under the cloud of scandal will have seats on the Judiciary Committee. By selecting Marino and Griffin, the Republican leadership rewarded coveted posts to two freshmen with serious and troubling ethics questions on the committee which oversees the court system, the rule of law, and law enforcement.

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