Supreme Court

PFAW Foundation Memo: Key Cases In The Supreme Court's New Term

To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way Foundation
Date: October 3, 2013

Re: Key Cases in the Supreme Court's New Term

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has not shied away from taking on cases with enormous impact on American laws and American lives, and the term that starts on Monday will be no exception.

In just the last term, the Court’s conservative majority dismantled a key portion of the landmark Voting Rights Act, removed important anti-discrimination protections for workers, and made it harder for consumers to sue corporations that have hurt them. One exception to the Court’s sweeping conservative activism justifiably attracted plenty of attention – the decision in which conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the Court’s four more moderate Justices to strike down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. But that remarkable victory for individual freedom, which was powered by the Court’s moderates, should not obscure the Roberts Court’s larger, well-documented goal of shifting American law to benefit corporations over individuals and the privileged over the struggling.

The cases on the Supreme Court’s docket for the coming term are no less consequential. The Court will consider whether to continue its project of dismantling campaign finance regulations; it will take on yet more cases on the rights of individuals to hold corporations accountable for their actions; it will weigh laws protecting workers against abusive and discriminatory employers; it will decide whether to uphold the far-right DC Circuit’s decision striking down clean air protections; and it may limit or reverse precedents protecting women's reproductive choice.

Below is a preview of some of the most wide-reaching cases the Supreme Court will consider this year, and how the Roberts Court may choose to approach them.

MONEY OUT / VOTERS IN

McCutcheon v. FEC: The Court is being asked to eliminate aggregate federal campaign contribution limits.

You’ll be hearing a lot about this case in the coming weeks, months, and perhaps years. While Citizens United involved independent expenditures to affect elections, this case involves the aggregate caps on contributions made to candidates, political parties, and PACs. Currently, a donor’s individual contributions to a party’s candidates and affiliated committees during the 2013-2014 election cycle, are capped at $123,200 (on an inflation-adjusted basis). Without the cap, that number would skyrocket to $3.6 million, vastly increasing the influence of wealthy donors on our democracy and correspondingly limiting the influence of the people, who are supposed to be sovereign in our democracy. That is the goal of high-pocketed donor Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee, who are asking the Court to strike down the aggregate caps as violating their First Amendment free speech rights.

Beginning in the 1970’s and in a number of cases since, the Court has upheld the constitutionality of regulating campaign contributions, recognizing how important such regulations are in preventing both real and perceived corruption. That Court has also recognized the value of aggregate caps on contributions as a means of preventing wealthy donors from indirectly bypassing the individual limits. That’s why the decision was a no-brainer for the lower court judges – even the far-right Janice Rogers Brown. The fact that the Supreme Court even took the case is disturbing, suggesting that the conservative Justices’ hunger for enhancing the power of the powerful and shutting the rest of us out of our own electoral democracy has not yet been sated.

RECESS APPOINTMENTS

NLRB v. Noel Canning: The Court is being asked to severely limit the president’s power to make recess appointments.

This case challenges President Obama’s recess appointments of National Labor Relations Board members in January of 2012 on the day after the 112th Congress’s second session officially began. He acted because Republicans had been blocking the Senate from voting on his nominees, leaving the NLRB without enough members to constitute a quorum. The president bypassed this cynical GOP effort to sabotage an agency dedicated to the rights of workers by making recess appointments. The NLRB was therefore able to act, including in a case involving Noel Canning, which disputes the legitimacy of the recess appointments.

The appointments occurred at a time when the Senate was meeting for pro forma sessions for a few minutes, once every few days, to maintain the fiction that it wasn’t on recess (i.e., to prevent recess appointments). Most debate in the public and on Capitol Hill centered on the narrow question of whether the holding of the pro forma sessions meant the Senate was not in recess. Indeed, the fact that congressional Republicans insisted on the pro forma sessions indicated their recognition of the president’s broad authority to make recess appointments when the Senate is on break. Noel Canning itself noted that the DC Circuit could decide the case based on the narrow question of the relevance of the pro forma sessions, thereby bypassing even larger constitutional questions. But the DC Circuit issued a sweeping opinion overturning the understanding of presidents and senators from the country’s earliest years: The court ruled not only that recess appointments can only be made during the annual break between sessions of Congress, but also that they can only be made during the recess in which the vacancy first occurred. These restrictions would invalidate recess appointments going back to the time of President George Washington. Affirming the DC Circuit would empower Senate minorities to prevent the president from filling vital executive branch positions. Some agencies that require certain Senate-confirmed officials to be present in order to exercise their full powers (like the NLRB or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) would be crippled.

ACCESS TO ABORTION

McCullen v. Coakley: The Court may overrule a 2000 precedent upholding buffer zones around reproductive health clinics.

This involves a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot buffer zone around reproductive health clinics (with exceptions for employees, patients, and others with business there). Within this area, only those with business at the clinic (essentially, clients and employees) could stand within a certain radius of the clinic. Anti-choice advocates claim this violates their freedom of speech because it restricts only people with a particular viewpoint. The lower courts disagreed, citing the 2000 case of Hill v. Colorado, where the Supreme Court upheld a buffer zone making it illegal to approach people at clinics for the purpose of counseling, education, or protesting. That 6-3 decision analyzed the law as a content-neutral regulation of speech that was reasonable in light of the importance of protecting unwilling people’s right to avoid unwanted conversations and their right to pass without obstruction. However, two of the conservatives Justices in the 6-3 majority have been replaced by far more conservative Bush nominees:  Rehnquist (by Roberts) and O’Connor (by Alito). Since Justices Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas dissented in the 2000 case, there are five likely votes to strike down the Massachusetts buffer zone and possibly overrule Hill completely.

Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice: The Court may uphold a state “drug safety” law that restricts women’s access to medical abortions and perhaps overrule the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision protecting a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

An Oklahoma law pushed by anti-choice groups requires misoprostol and methotrexate, medications used to terminate early pregnancies, to be prescribed only as directed by the FDA; any variation from that (called “off label” use) is made illegal. But in the years since these drugs were approved by the FDA, doctors through experience have determined that such “off label” uses are more effective, safe, and convenient for women. Such “off label” uses also allow for abortion later in a pregnancy than FDA-approved use does.

The general right of a state to regulate off-label uses of FDA-approved drugs is not being contested in this case. Oklahoma’s stated goal is to protect women from unsafe and unapproved use of medications, but this is clearly a pretense for limiting women’s access to medical abortions. Under the 1992 Casey decision, states cannot place an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck the law down as obviously unconstitutional. Ominously, the Supreme Court accepted the appeal.

Because of a procedural hurdle, it is possible the case might not be heard. The Supreme Court has asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to clarify exactly which medications and under what circumstances the statute applies. Only after the Oklahoma Supreme Court responds will the Supreme Court decide whether to schedule oral arguments. If it proceeds, the case provides a dangerous opportunity for the Roberts Court to overrule Casey or, as in the more recent “partial birth abortion” case (2007’s Gonzales v. Carhart), to simply ignore Casey and open the floodgates to more restrictive legislation.

LIMITING CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY

Bond v. United States: The Court is being asked to overrule a 1920 precedent recognizing Congress’ broad authority to enact legislation implementing a treaty, and to sharply restrict congressional authority under the “Necessary and Proper” Clause.

The case involves a woman who repeatedly tried to poison her husband’s mistress and was convicted of violating a federal criminal law prohibiting the possession and use of chemical weapons, a law passed to implement a treaty on chemical weapons. Carol Bond argues that the administration of criminal justice is a purely state responsibility except for where Congress, exercising one of the powers enumerated by the Constitution (like the Commerce Clause), creates an offense against the United States. Therefore, she says, the law violates the Tenth Amendment and constitutional principles of federalism.

But a 1920 precedent says exactly the opposite. Missouri v. Holland recognized that if you have a properly signed and ratified treaty, the Necessary and Proper Clause authorizes Congress to pass laws implementing the treaty. The enactment does not have to also be based on one of the specific powers enumerated in Article I Section 8.

If the Supreme Court rules for Bond, it might do so narrowly, holding that her use of chemicals was not part of the purpose of the chemical weapons treaty. But the Roberts Court may also see this as an opportunity to issue a broad ruling that overrules the 1920 precedent and limits longstanding congressional authority under the “Necessary and Proper” Clause.

RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AND FAIRNESS

Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action: The Court is being asked to significantly weaken federal laws prohibiting housing discrimination.

In this case, a town government wants to redevelop a housing development occupied primarily by low- and moderate-income minority families and replace it with more expensive housing. Residents sued under the Fair Housing Act, alleging that the plan had a disproportionate impact on minorities.

For 40 years, the Fair Housing Act has been a key tool to address unfair mortgage lending practices, insurance redlining, discriminatory zoning ordinances, and other obstacles to equal housing. Under the FHA, a practice that has a discriminatory effect – even if it does not have a discriminatory purpose – can be judged to violate the law. This is called “disparate impact.”  All 11 circuits to have considered the question have agreed that disparate impact cases are covered under the Fair Housing Act. These cases go back to the 1970s and 1980s, and Congress has never amended the law to say otherwise. Although different circuits vary in the details, most follow a process in which, once a plaintiff shows that an action will have a racially disparate impact, the burden shifts to the defendant to show a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its actions. In some cases, the defendant must also show that it can’t accomplish the same thing with less discriminatory results. The “burden shifting” disparate approach makes it much easier to fulfill the FHA’s goal of protecting Americans from housing discrimination. HUD regulations also interpret the FHA to include claims of disparate impact. A contrary interpretation by the Roberts Court could lead to the reversal of decades of progress in eliminating housing discrimination, the goal of the Fair Housing Act.

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action: The Court will decide if states can adopt constitutional amendments prohibiting Affirmative Action in public colleges and universities.

The constitutionality of Affirmative Action is not an issue in this case. Instead, the question is whether the Constitution allows states to amend their own constitutions to prohibit Affirmative Action.

In 2006, Ward Connerly succeeded in getting an anti-Affirmative Action measure on the ballot in Michigan, and it was passed by the voters. It prohibits the consideration of race, sex, ethnicity, and national origin in individualized admissions decisions by public colleges and universities. The Sixth Circuit struck down the measure, noting that no other factors (like legacy, geographic diversity, or athletic skill) were similarly made unconstitutional. As a result, an applicant who wants her alumni connections to be considered can ask the university to adopt a legacy-conscious admission program, but an African American applicant who wants a race-conscious admissions policy must persuade the entire electorate to adopt a constitutional amendment. The circuit court characterized this as a structural burden that violates the Equal Protection Clause.

Justice Kagan is recused from this case, which may affect how the Court rules.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Town of Greece v. Galloway: Legislative Prayer – The Court will decide if a town’s consistent use of sectarian prayer at town meetings violates the Establishment Clause, even if it shows that the town endorses a particular religion.

Over the course of many years, the town of Greece, NY, officially opened monthly public Town Board meetings with prayers. For years, the local members of the clergy who delivered the prayer were always specifically invited by the town supervisor to do so. Only Christian clergy were invited and mostly sectarian prayers were delivered. When two citizens complained that it appeared the town was officially aligning itself with Christianity, officials told them that anyone who wanted to could ask to deliver the prayer and do so regardless of content. Yet the town never publicized this alleged policy, and only four times subsequently did non-Christians deliver the prayer.

The Supreme Court held in 1983’s Marsh v. Chambers that legislative prayers do not automatically violate the Establishment Clause, but that they should not be exploited to proselytize or advance any one religion, faith or belief, or to disparage any such belief. And in other contexts (like public crèche displays), the Court has ruled that under the Establishment Clause, the government may not appear to endorse any one specific faith.

With Justice O’Connor having been replaced by Justice Alito, the Court’s Establishment Clause cases may take a sharp turn to the right. There may now be a majority that would vastly expand government’s ability to endorse not only religion in general but also specific sectarian beliefs.

WORKERS’ RIGHTS

Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. and Wal-Mart Stores: The Court is being asked to rule that the statute of limitations to challenge an employer’s denial of disability benefits begins to run before the claim has finally been resolved.

Julie Heimeshoff had been working for Wal-Mart for nearly 20 years when she developed pain and fatigue due to fibromyalgia and other conditions. Within a few months, she was unable to work and she filed for long-term disability benefits, which Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company administers for Wal-Mart. Heimeshoff’s disability claim was denied.

Courts interpreting the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) have ruled that under the law, you cannot challenge the denial of benefits until you exhaust your remedies under your company’s benefits plan. Wal-Mart and Hartford’s plan sets a three-year statute of limitations for those who are denied benefits to sue, beginning as soon as Hartford requires the employee to provide proof of their disability. So the clock was ticking while the mandatory internal resolution process continued. In 2007, Heimeshoff was informed that Hartford was still denying her claim, and that this was its final decision. She sued in 2010, within three years of this final determination but more than three years after she was first required to prove the extent of her disability.

The Court will decide if a benefits plan can require the clock to start ticking before the plan has resolved the claims, or whether the clock can start ticking only when the worker has exhausted her plan remedies and can actually sue. In other words, does ERISA let employers and insurers impose a plan that makes it harder for employees to vindicate their ERISA rights in the courts?

Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall: The Court is being asked to limit the ability of workers and management to make agreements that facilitate the formation of unions.

In this case, a company and union agreed that management would remain neutral on efforts to organize workers to form a union, let the union have limited access to non-work areas to talk to employees, and give the union the employees’ names and home addresses for the same purpose. In return, the union promised that it would not picket, boycott, or act to economically harm the business. Such recognition-process agreements are fair and orderly ways to facilitate union organizing that benefit both workers and employers.

The question is whether this violates Section 302 of the Taft-Hartley Act, which makes it a criminal act for an employer to “pay, lend, or deliver … any money or other thing of value” to a labor union seeking to represent employees. The law was adopted in the 1940s to prevent corruption from distorting the process of forming a labor union. The employer and the union assert that their agreement is legal, because the employer’s agreement is not a “thing of value” as contemplated by Taft-Hartley. To the contrary, they claim that it furthers the statute’s goal of encouraging peaceful and honest labor organizing. But Mulhall claims the agreement falls within Taft-Hartley’s criminal provisions.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

EPA v. EME Homer City Generation and American Lung Association v. EME Homer City Generation: The Court is being asked to strike down EPA rules on cross-state air pollution.

The Clean Air Act requires states to adopt plans that not only bring their own states into compliance with federal safety standards, but also prevent pollution that “contributes significantly” to air pollution in downwind states. Under the law, states that fail to implement a sufficient (or any) plan must then implement a plan designed by the EPA.

In this case, the EPA designed such plans, which reflected the extreme technical complexity of the issue. Based on the administrative record and its expertise on environmental health, the agency concluded that the new rules would prevent 13,000-34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 400,000 cases of asthma. They would also save $280 billion a year in healthcare costs.

Utility companies appealed, and a divided D.C. Circuit panel struck down the rule. The dissent accused the court’s majority of “disregard[ing] limits Congress placed on its jurisdiction, the plain text of the Clean Air Act (‘CAA’), and this court’s settled precedent interpreting the same statutory provisions at issue today.”  The majority’s decision has been cited by some as an example of judges imposing their own ideologies over the technical expertise of a federal agency.

HOLDING CORPORATE WRONGDOERS ACCOUNTABLE

Daimler Chrysler v. Bauman: The Court may make it harder to sue foreign corporations doing business in a state over events that happened elsewhere.

DaimlerChrysler is a German corporation being sued in a federal court in California for human rights violations by a wholly-owned subsidiary in Argentina. The subsidiary (Mercedes-Benz Argentina) allegedly identified “subversives” at the plant for the country’s military dictators, knowing that they would then be kidnapped, detained, tortured, or murdered as a result. Former plant employees or their surviving family members sued the parent company in California.

Under the Due Process Clause, a state cannot bring a defendant into its courts unless that party has sufficient “minimum contacts” with the state. That is called “personal jurisdiction.”  In this case, DaimlerChrysler has a wholly-owned subsidiary that regularly does business in California: Mercedes-Benz USA. The 9th Circuit said the court had personal jurisdiction over the parent company because it had engaged in substantial and continuous corporate activity in the state for years via the subsidiary.

The Supreme Court is being asked to reverse that ruling. In a world where people’s lives are affected by the actions of enormous multinational corporations operating around the world through a seemingly endless number of subsidiaries, many will be interested in how the Court decides this case.

Lawson v. FMR:  The Court may limit which whistleblowers are protected from retaliation under a post-Enron reform law.

The 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a securities reform law passed by Congress after the Enron collapse, protects “employees” of publicly traded companies who expose fraud by publicly traded companies. The term “employees” is at issue in this case.

At issue in this case is whether individuals working as contractors to publicly traded companies are considered employees for the purpose of protecting them from retaliation as whistleblowers. In this case, individuals who exposed alleged fraud involving Fidelity mutual funds were retaliated against. The mutual funds are owned by their shareholders and registered with the SEC. However, the whistleblowers were not employees of Fidelity’s funds, because those funds have no employees of their own. Instead, all the funds’ day-to-day work is done by privately owned “investment advisers” with names like Fidelity Management and Research Co. and Fidelity Brokerage Services. This is not an uncommon setup for mutual funds. So the whistleblowers were employees of Fidelity’s contractors, not of Fidelity itself, and those contractors are not publicly traded.

The district court ruled that interpreting “employees” so narrowly as to exclude contractors like the ones in this case would defeat the purpose of the law. However, the First Circuit reversed that decision. Now, the Supreme Court will decide.

Edit Memo: Blockbuster Case Kicks Off New Supreme Court Term: The McCutcheon Steamroller

In the wake of landmark rulings in the Supreme Court’s last term, this coming Court term is shaping up to be at least as consequential.

How Big Money Bought North Carolina for Extremists

In the years since Citizens United, North Carolina has provided a clear example of what happens when a small number of corporate interests, allied with a far-right base, are allowed unbridled influence over elections.

Warren Warns of ‘Corporate Capture of Federal Courts’

At an AFL-CIO convention this weekend, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called out the increasingly pro-corporate lean of the U.S. Supreme Court. Politico reports:

On the opening day of the AFL-CIO’s convention, Warren — the highest-profile national Democrat to address the gathering here — warned attendees of a “corporate capture of the federal courts.”

In a speech that voiced a range of widely held frustrations on the left, Warren assailed the court as an instrument of the wealthy that regularly sides with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She cited an academic study that called the current Supreme Court’s five conservative-leaning justices among the “top 10 most pro-corporate justices in half a century.”

“You follow this pro-corporate trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Business,” Warren said, drawing murmurs from the crowd.

The study that Warren was referring to is a Minnesota Law Review study that found that the five conservative justices currently on the Supreme Court have sided with corporate interests at a greater rate than most justices since World War II. All five were among the ten most corporate-friendly justices in over 50 years. Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts were the top two.

The Supreme Court majority’s consistent twisting of the law to put the interests of corporations over those of individuals is one of the main characteristics of the Roberts Court, but it is not the only extremely influential court with such a pro-corporate bent. In fact, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to which President Obama has nominated three highly qualified candidates, has been following the same trend, also because of the influence of judges named by George W. Bush.  This is the court whose ultra-conservative justices declared that cigarette label warning requirements violate the free speech rights of tobacco companies and that requiring that employers inform employees of their right to unionize violates the free speech rights of the corporations.

While there is not currently a vacancy at the Supreme Court that could affect its balance, there are three at the DC Circuit.  That is why Senate Republicans are working so hard to keep them empty.

PFAW

McCutcheon v. FEC Activist Toolkit

McCutcheon v. FEC is a money in politics case with huge implications for our democracy.

Faith and Freedom Coalition Warns Democracy No Longer Exists As A Result Of Gay Marriage Cases

Faith and Freedom Coalition executive director Gary Marx has written a column for the Christian Post in which he claims that the Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8 have made our democracy only an illusion. After accusing the court of “dismantling American democracy” in their gay rights decisions, Marx lambastes the justices for turning America into “a nation where democracy is a mere visual effect used to spawn a perception of self-rule that no longer ultimately exists.”

“The Supreme Court has now served notice to liberty advocates that it is game on,” Marx writes. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans favor marriage equality, he claims that “traditional marriage activists” actually “vastly outnumber their opponents” and will prevent the court’s attempt “to trump the political will and wisdom of its citizens.”

If there was any doubt that the Supreme Court of the United States continues to vastly overextend its powers in ways that are dismantling American democracy and liberty, this summer's decisions striking down a core component of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and remanding California's Proposition 8 should settle the question.

How great is this threat? Put it this way: No component of American liberty or democracy is inherently safe if, as it did earlier this week, the highest court in our land is permitted to trump Constitutional principles and the political will of the American people with a progressive political and social agenda rooted in neither.



The stakes in this current cause could not be much higher. When a portion of the Supreme Court can flippantly toss aside the political will of the people on issues that are rightfully empowered to the people to decide, as this Court now has done, we no longer reside in a nation guided by our people and laws. Rather, America becomes a nation where democracy is a mere visual effect used to spawn a perception of self-rule that no longer ultimately exists.

This is the bad news for liberty loving Americans. But the Supreme Court's rulings bring good news too. Contrary to the image depicted in mainstream media, the American people are awakening to the reality of its elitist, progressive courts – and it is a reality, as Justice Antonin Scalia properly argued in his dissenting view on DOMA, that is "jaw dropping". In striking down the will of elected Members of Congress and a President of the United States (with DOMA) and the people of California (with its Proposition 8 ruling), the Supreme Court has now served notice to liberty advocates that it is game on. That is a calling that the American people will surely answer.

Additionally and importantly, the rulings in no way settle much of anything as it relates to the future of traditional marriage. DOMA may be no longer, but we at the Faith and Freedom Coalition intend to work with its advocates and a growing grassroots movement of Americans who support its principles, to ensure its basic tenets are otherwise upheld. The rulings also will certainly further inspire the efforts of traditional marriage activists, who now vastly outnumber their opponents, to work to elect state and federal legislators who will defend the treasured and traditional definition of marriage while ensuring that the nation's courts no longer serve to trump the political will and wisdom of its citizens.

Bauer: Supreme Court's 'Judicial Terrorism' on Gay Marriage Puts America on 'The Verge of Criminalizing the Book of Genesis'

Gary Bauer yesterday marked the anniversary of the shooting at the Washington D.C. office of the Family Research Council, the group he used to lead, by asking members of his Campaign for Working Families to work against marriage equality.

He compared the attempted shooting by Floyd Lee Corkins, who was convicted of committing an act of terrorism, with the “judicial terrorism” of the Supreme Court in the two recent marriage equality cases: “while Corkins thankfully failed in his attack on FRC, five liberal justices on our Supreme Court committed an act of judicial terrorism that struck at the very foundation of our constitutional republic.”

Bauer said that the court dismissed the “consent of the governed” and “rejected thousands of years of Judeo-Christian understanding” in their rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. “It seems as though America is on the verge of criminalizing the Book of Genesis,” Bauer continued, warning that along with the health care reform law the “danger to religious liberty cannot be overstated.”

But while Corkins thankfully failed in his attack on FRC, five liberal justices on our Supreme Court committed an act of judicial terrorism that struck at the very foundation of our constitutional republic. The court's liberal majority accepted a radical redefinition of marriage and imposed its morality on the rest of society.

In doing so, five unelected judges rejected thousands of years of Judeo-Christian understanding, as well as congressional statutes, and set the stage for invalidating the will of the people in more than two-dozen states that have voted to maintain the traditional definition of marriage. Does the consent of the governed matter at all anymore?

It seems as though America is on the verge of criminalizing the Book of Genesis. And with Obamacare's assault on conscience, the danger to religious liberty cannot be overstated.

Phyllis Schlafly Was 'Extremely Offended' and 'Personally Insulted' By DOMA Decision

Eagle Forum founder and anti-gay activist Phyllis Schlafly was “extremely offended” by the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, because of “all the nasty names” she claims the court’s majority called DOMA’s proponents.

Speaking with Steve Deace yesterday, Schlafly said that it was “inappropriate, unprecedented and really nasty” for Justice Anthony Kennedy to find that DOMA’s passage had anything to do with “animus against gays.”

“I feel personally insulted by what Justice Kennedy said,” she added.

Deace: You wrote an interesting reaction to the US Supreme Court, I guess we would call it ‘opinion,’ but it really looked to me, Phyllis, like five justices, and Anthony Kennedy in particular, chose to write what amounts to an anti-Christian polemic disguised as a legal opinion. And it seems like you sort of got the same vibe from what they wrote.
 

Schlafly: Well, I was extremely offended at all the nasty names he called us. I just think it’s so inappropriate, unprecedented and really nasty for the justice to say that the reason DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, was passed, and those who stand up for traditional marriage is that they have animus against gays, they want to deny them equal dignity, that we want to brand them as unworthy, we want to humiliate their children, we have a hateful desire to harm a politically unpopular group. I just think, I feel personally insulted by what Justice Kennedy said. I don’t think that’s true, the idea that anybody who stood up for traditional marriage is guilty of all that hate in his heart is just outrageous.

Later in the interview, the two discussed Hobby Lobby’s suit against the health care law’s mandate that they provide their employees with insurance that includes birth control coverage. Deace claimed that the Obama administration is making “a clear attempt to eradicate the worldview that stands in opposition to statism.”

Schlafly agreed: “Well, I think you’re right, and that’s why I think Obama is definitely trying to make this a totally secular country where you’re not permitted to reference God in anything that anybody else can hear.”

It goes without saying that if the president is trying to eliminate public references to God, he’s doing a very poor job of it.

Deace: Well, and I think you look at something like religious freedom, you’ve got the Obama regime trying to tell companies like Hobby Lobby that your freedom of religion, when you walk into corporate headquarters there at Hobby Lobby, you no longer have the freedom of religion. So you have to do what we tell you to do, even if it violates the moral conscience of your religion, the Bill of Rights ends when you walk into your corporate headquarters. What we see going on in the US Military, for example. We’re seeing unprecedented threats to religious liberty. I know this is something you’ve written about as well. And I think this is a clear attempt to eradicate the worldview that stands in opposition to statism.

Schlafly: Well, I think you’re right, and that’s why I think Obama is definitely trying to make this a totally secular country where you’re not permitted to reference God in anything that anybody else can hear.

NOM's Schubert: Supreme Court Is 'Shredding The Constitution'

In an interview with Steve Deace yesterday, Frank Schubert, the top campaign strategist for anti-gay groups including the National Organization for Marriage, accused the Supreme Court of “shredding of the Constitution” with its “horrendous” court decision on Prop 8. Schubert was upset that the ruling cleared the way for attorneys general not to defend certain laws.

However, administrations from those of Harry Truman to George W. Bush (including Ronald Reagan) have refused to defend laws they believe are unconstitutional. “It’s going to come back I think and wreak havoc in lots of other areas,” Schubert continued. 

He also called the Windsor decision “preposterous” and claimed it “calls into question the integrity of the governmental process itself. These judges have now put themselves as our supreme overlords, the overseers of our conduct.”

Jacobs: God Preparing 'A Whole Lot of Shaking' To Punish America for Gay Marriage Decisions

Self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs delivered an ominous warning to America while speaking with fellow televangelist Jim Bakker, describing a message she received from God that the country will face divine punishment over the Supreme Court’s rulings on marriage equality. “Recently in the United States we’ve had these Supreme Court decisions that are against biblical marriage, and the Lord said to me, ‘duck your head, duck your head.’ I said, ‘oh God, duck my head?’”

Jacobs asserted that God plans to “put a mark upon” believers — “as long as you’re tithing” — and bless them because “there’s a whole lot of shaking getting ready to happen.”

“I prophesied that there was going to be a lot of disasters that were going to come” such as Hurricane Sandy, Jacobs claimed, lamenting that no one listened to her. “I mean I don’t want them to come, it’s not like I’m saying ‘oh great they’re coming,’ but the point is a prophet has to say what is to come, it’s like you’re reporting.”

“We have displeased the Lord and the earth is going to answer,” Jacobs said.

Watch:

Staver: Justice Kennedy Acted Like Dred Scott Judge In DOMA Ruling

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel continued to level attacks against the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision. On Janet Parshall’s radio show last week, Staver compared Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in Windsor, to former Chief Justice Robert B. Taney, infamous for writing the Dred Scott ruling.

The Liberty University Law School dean told Parshall that the court decided wrongly in part because “our history has actually criminalized homosexual behavior” and alleged that Kennedy decided to “label everyone who believes and affirms in the natural created order of marriage between a man and a woman as a bigot and a hater.”

“How dare this court. How dare Justice Kennedy. How dare he actually give those kinds of labels to people,” Staver said. “I think the court crossed the line to illegitimacy by doing so and I think it put itself in the same category as Chief Justice Taney in the 1857 Dred Scott decision in which they said blacks were inferior human beings not entitled to citizenship, as they did in the 1927 Buck v. Bell case that said ‘sorry Carrie Buck, Virginia has a right to forcibly sterilize you.’”

Charisma: Fight Against Gay Rights Resembles Fight Against Nazism

Pastor Larry Tomczak sure does like comparing gay rights advocates to Nazis. The Charisma columnist this week claimed that, like Nazi Germany, gay equality threatens the church and “would imperil us all—our children, our grandchildren and our future as a nation.” He praises “courageous” African countries that “outlaw homosexuality” for “standing strong amidst this moral storm” of President Obama, WNBA player Brittney Griner and “unscriptural, squishy, spineless” Christians.

Naturally, Tomczak ends the column by quoting Winston Churchill’s speech on the imminent Nazi attack on Britain.

The landmark Supreme Court ruling on gay “rights” did not redefine marriage, but it did give the rationale to deconstruct marriage.

Those of us standing up for traditional marriage now find ourselves portrayed as bigots for simply upholding marriage as it has stood for over 5,000 years of Western civilization! It’s unbelievable, but true.



All Christians are called to be salt and light, but if leaders choose calm over courage instead of addressing these issues for any number of reasons—“Just keep things positive,” “Don’t scare people off,” “We’re in a building program and can’t risk offending big donor,” Just preach the gospel; steer clear of politics,” “It’s all going down anyway,” “Why invite trouble or controversy?” “I’m warning all of you on staff that this would be a deal-breaker if you start talking about these kind of issues”—marriage as the central pillar of our civilization will be forever lost. We just cannot sit on the bench, mute in the midst of the defining moral issue of our generation, as the people will follow suit.

That’s what happened in Nazi Germany as pastors (with the exception of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and a remnant) were intimidated into silence and their flocks emulated their example. Adolf Hitler chortled derisively behind closed doors, knowing he’d discovered the key to railroading his plans through: “They [German pastors] will submit. … They are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.”

Granted, we are not facing the Fuhrer, but redefining marriage means redefining religious liberty, and that would imperil us all—our children, our grandchildren and our future as a nation.



Alan Chambers, Rob Bell and Jim Wallis crisscross the country advocating for an unscriptural, squishy, spineless approach to this hot-button issue of homosexuality. The WNBA No. 1 draft pick from Baylor Baptist University, Brittany Griner, invites girls to follow her lesbian example as a new role model in USA Today. Even our president holds nothing back in pronouncing, “God bless you!” at America’s No. 1 abortion provider’s convention, then flies to Africa after the Supreme Court ruling in order to promote gay rights there after last telling them, “Africa’s future is up to Africans!”

Thank God for our courageous African counterparts who aren’t capitulating but are instead standing strong amidst this moral storm. Thirty-seven nations there outlaw homosexuality, and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Africa’s first female president, boldly stands to say she opposes decriminalizing homosexuality in her country. “We’ve got certain traditional values in our society that we’d like to preserve,” she says.



Will you ask God to help you speak up as America is going down? We need to pray and foster another great revival before it’s too late. As Winston Churchill told his flock in England’s “darkest hour” as they faced the extinction of their democratic freedoms, “I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. … If we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age. … Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its commonwealth last 4,000 years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”

Dan Cummins: America Divided Between 'Gay Zones' and 'Free Zones'

Pastor Dan Cummins of Come Pray With Me has worked with a variety of Religious Right groups, including Newt Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership, Rick Perry’s The Response USA and Tony Perkins’ Watchmen on the Wall, and organized his own prayer rally in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

But soon, Cummins warns, such organizations may not exist.

In a Charisma column today, Cummins writes thats gays will drive the church “underground” and turn churches into “government community centers.”

Cummins claims that the Supreme Court has created a divide in America similar to the Korean DMZ and the Berlin Wall, called “the Rainbow Curtain.” He says that the justices “from their judicial lair” have “set off a catalytic charge toppling traditional marriage” and now “the collapse of America’s moral infrastructure has been irreversibly set into motion.”

Residents of states with marriage equality are now “hostages” to a government that will use “foreign troops” to put them “re-education camps,” he argues. 

“Like a surreal scene from Red Dawn, America woke up on June 26 to a divided nation, with 95 million of its citizens in 13 states held hostage to judicial legislation, trapped behind the Rainbow Curtain,” Cummins writes. “What’s ahead for those in the gay zones who refuse to comply with Kennedy’s dictates—re-education camps for homophobic racists? Will Big Sis employ foreign troops invading through our unsecured borders to enforce the transition into this brave new world?”

He hopes that the new “refugees” will “flee with their families into neighboring free zones,” asking, “Where are Patrick Swayze and his pack of Wolverines when we need them?”

He calls on anti-gay activists in “gay zones” to “become forearmed” as society unravels into a gay dystopia and “the choking dust clouds from the collapse of the last societal pillar of biblical, natural marriage stop rolling through the streets of our cities and states.”

After World War II, Stalin installed an iron curtain around Russia, keeping his capitalist neighbors from eavesdropping. The Chinese accessorized their Cold War condo with a bamboo curtain, deterring pesky peeping toms from the West.

Soon Mr. Khrushchev, keeping up with his Commie neighbors, built a privacy wall and gated community, secluding East Berliners from greedy, free-market entrepreneurs soliciting door to door. Not to forget Kim Il-Sung’s ensemble of razor wire and land mines across North Korea’s 38th parallel to discourage those JW and LDS types from indoctrinating the folks.

Now, in the midst of the American culture war, behind another curtain of sorts—a life-size photographic scrim concealing a facelift to the Supreme Court’s crumbling west façade—Justice Anthony Kennedy has ordered a redecorating of the nation’s landscape with a bold, colorful and inclusive statement—the Rainbow Curtain—a polyamorous blend of gender-on-gender suited for a post-moralist motif designed to safeguard the modern American family from the narrow-minded views of those “animus”-filled Founding Fathers.

From their juridical lair, the liberal Gang of Five recently set off a catalytic charge toppling traditional marriage—the last principled pillar upholding Uncle Sam’s home. Just how long his 237-year-old colonial manor can remain standing minus its moral supports intact is anyone’s guess. But the collapse of America’s moral infrastructure has been irreversibly set into motion by five legislating justices.

As the new civil rights movement packs the neighborhood streets, shouting, “Move that bus,” is America ready for the extreme home makeover the LGBT architects have designed for the evolving modern family?

Like a surreal scene from Red Dawn, America woke up on June 26 to a divided nation, with 95 million of its citizens in 13 states held hostage to judicial legislation, trapped behind the Rainbow Curtain and forced to accept the moral dictates of the elitist ruling party—a pentagram of liberal judges on the Supreme Court.

Many of those hostages, like California’s residents, were disenfranchised of their constitutional votes in the process. What’s ahead for those in the gay zones who refuse to comply with Kennedy’s dictates—re-education camps for homophobic racists? Will Big Sis employ foreign troops invading through our unsecured borders to enforce the transition into this brave new world?

What stark new realities are ahead for those behind the Rainbow Curtain? Will Americans become refugees in their own country as they flee with their families into neighboring free zone states? Where are Patrick Swayze and his pack of Wolverines when we need them?

The Supremes striking down Proposition 8 and partially ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) have given the prize—marriage without borders—to the LGBT crowd and thrown the pro-biblical marriage community a legal bone by kicking the can back to the free zone states to argue it out in court.

What does this mean for the 70 percent of the U.S. population living in the free zones? Watch what happens to the families, businesses and churches in the gay zones who refuse to comply with Kennedy’s court. Be forewarned and become forearmed.



The new persecution of the church will be in the form of prosecution of the church. This legal martyrdom will be slow, painful and expensive. Some churches, especially in the gay zones initially, will fold under the financial strain.

The end result for any church refusing complicity to the court’s opinion will be loss of tax-exempt status. The IRS will not only control America’s health care but her religious institutions as well. For those churches indebted by hefty mortgages, the outcome of losing membership and their tax-exempt tithes will be potentially fatal. As foreclosed church properties flood the real estate market, they will be prime choices for government community centers.

You say this can’t happen in America? We were saying similar things 10 years ago about same-sex marriage and 40 years ago about abortion. Wake up!

Maybe China is the new model for American society. When the choking dust clouds from the collapse of the last societal pillar of biblical, natural marriage stop rolling through the streets of our cities and states, we will witness the aftermath left by Justice Kennedy’s ruling upon our families, churches and religious freedoms.

Will there only be two churches left in America when that time comes—the state church, with its complicit clergy complete with gay members, and the underground church of Jesus Christ? Take heart—the greatest revival in the world is now taking place in the underground church of China. Maybe revival is coming to America after all. Either way, you had better get a Bible.

Huelskamp: Supreme Court Legalized Polygamy

Yesterday, while speaking with Janet Mefferd, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) expanded on his claim that the Supreme Court Justices who ruled on Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act should’ve flunked law school.

Huelskamp said Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision on DOMA was “outrageous” and based on smearing gay rights opponents: “If you’re writing for the left and you’re not gonna follow the Constitution you have to make it up as you go along so you inject name-calling into a constitutional decision, I mean that’s an outrageous decision.”

He also called Chief Justice John Roberts’ ruling on Prop 8 “crazy” and described it as an example of left-wing bias. Huelskamp even argued that the DOMA ruling effectively tossed out state laws barring marriages between a mother and her daughter, adding that “polygamy should be allowed under this decision.”

“What’s the impact on our children? That’s what the left doesn’t care about,” Huelskamp said, repeating his earlier claim that “children will be hurt” by the rulings. “That’s why this is showing up in these decisions that you know what just because two adults or three adults desire one thing that doesn’t mean it’s best for our children.” 

The congressman also told Mefferd that Republicans are too timid in their opposition to gay rights and should also focus on the “fiscal impact” of gay marriage and what he believes is the legalization of polygamy: “There’s a real big fiscal impact, we’re going to extend 1,100 benefits to homosexual and polygamous couples, perhaps, what’s the impact on that?”

Gallagher: Supreme Court DOMA Decision a 'Declaration of War' Against Half of America

Not content with just claiming that Justice Anthony Kennedy has proclaimed a “fatwa” against opponents of gay marriage, National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher is now blasting the Supreme Court for issuing a “head-on declaration of war against at least half of the American people.”

In an interview with Lars Larson, Gallagher said that the court’s pro-marriage equality rulings limit the “democratic rights” of activists who seek to ban same-sex unions and argued that the justices could “not name” where gay and lesbian couples are protected in the Constitution.

Keyes: Case for Gay Marriage Same as the Case for Slavery

Alan Keyes believes that Justice Antonin Scalia didn’t go far enough in his dissent in Windsor, the decision which struck down a key component of the Defense of Marriage Act, maintaining that he should’ve argued that gay marriage, which Keyes called a “tyrannically defined fabrication,” is unconstitutional.

According to Keyes, gay marriage advocates are using the same line of reasoning of slavery proponents who argued that “the notion of unalienable rights did not apply to black people” and did so “by denying black people their share in human nature.” “In like fashion, the advocates of homosexual so-called marriage now seek to deny the nature of marriage” and “override right and justice as endowed by the Creator.” Since same-sex unions violate God’s laws, Keyes reasons, it is therefore unconstitutional and allow government to undermine unalienable rights.

The advocates of slavery in the United States often attempted to justify that institution by denying black people their share in human nature. On this account, they pretended that the notion of unalienable rights did not apply to black people, and that they therefore had no rights government was obliged to respect and secure. In like fashion, the advocates of homosexual so-called marriage now seek to deny the nature of marriage. They do so on the excuse of promoting equal treatment for homosexuals. But the necessary and intended result of their advocacy is to deny the family's functional claim to be an expression of human nature, indeed the primordial expression of its social aspect. This, in turn, allows them to deny that the individuals who make up the family are engaged in an exercise of right, according to the laws of nature and of nature's God. Once this is successfully denied, the activities arising from their exercise of right need no longer be respected as unalienable rights, antecedent to all human governments, which it is government's aim to secure.

In what amounts to an effort to overturn the whole idea of unalienable rights that gives rise to constitutional self-government, some elements of America's judiciary have moved to proclaim as law that marriage must be redefined in a way that accommodates homosexual relationships. But this means that a human relationship in no way rooted in the Creator's provision for our nature must be allowed to usurp the name, authority, and rights of the God-endowed institution.



Once this effect upon the unalienable rights of the natural family is understood, it becomes clear that the Constitution is not neutral with respect to the approval or disapproval of same-sex marriage, in the name of law. There is an explicit constitutional prohibition against denying or disparaging rights unenumerated in the Constitution but retained by the people. Since the unalienable rights of the family arise from the individual's commitment to fulfill the natural law by propagating humanity, they are certainly among these unenumerated rights. Therefore, Congress simply did its duty, in accordance with the 9th Amendment, when it moved to prevent the denial and disparagement of the rights of the natural family by judges and justices seeking to replace the natural family with a tyrannically defined fabrication.

Why did Justice Scalia fail to take note of this constitutional justification for DOMA, utterly ignored by the Windsor majority? Why, instead, did he pretend that the issue involved can simply be decided by majority vote of the people in their respective states, as if the human sovereignty that constitutes government, at any level, has authority to override right and justice as endowed by the Creator? In this respect, neither the Windsor majority nor Justice Scalia's dissent shows any respect for the premises that informed the deliberations of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution. Yet without those premises, the declared purposes and essential features of the constitution they devised cannot be properly understood.

Klingenschmitt: Justice Kennedy's DOMA Decision Is 'Blasphemy'

"Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt is predictably dismayed by the Supreme Court decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, striking down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, declaring that in striking down the legislation, the Court majority has ruled that Christians are evil.

Asserting that Jesus was inside the hearts of those in Congress who passed DOMA (and the Holy Spirit was inside President Bill Clinton when he signed it,) Klingenschmitt said that with this ruling, Kennedy looked into the hearts of those responsible for this law and declared that they had "an evil motive." 

"He's looking at Jesus in us and calling him evil," Klingenschmitt fumed. "He's looking at the Holy Spirit in us and calling it a demon.  Justice Kennedy, you are full of blasphemy":

Greg Quinlan: President Obama, Justices Kennedy and Kagan Are Secretly Gay

Greg Quinlan, an “ex-gay” activist who is slated to speak at the Family Research Council’s “Ex-Gay Pride Month” event later this July, told his personal story yesterday to Bradlee Dean and Jake McMillan of Sons of Liberty Radio.

Quinlan told the radio hosts that he once was a supporter of the Human Rights Campaign — “As I put it, what the Devil turned me to do I can now use for the Lord” — and it was during his time volunteering for HRC that he learned that Justices Anthony Kennedy and Elena Kagan are secretly gay. Kagan and Kennedy, Quinlan insisted, are “black-robed Nazis” who seek to “accommodate their own personal predilections, including their own sexuality.”

“Mr. Kennedy has a predilection on the down low,” Quinlan said, channeling Pat Robertson.

He added that President Obama is also “a down low president.” 

Quinlan later asserted that gay rights advocates seek to bring about “the end of the church,” “destroy” the US Constitution…and rise to power just as they did in Nazi Germany.

After maintaining that the Nazis were led by “the butch, masculine types that still participate in homosexuality,” McMillan asked if Rachel Maddow, whom Dean unsuccessfully sued for $50 million, “would be considered a butch or a femme.”

Quinlan answered that Maddow is both a butch (because she’s a Nazi) and a femme (because she wears lipstick): “She would definitely be a butch but she is a butch who has to be a femme, meaning she has to put on lipstick.” Quinlan and McMillan then warned that gays and lesbians are coming after children.

“We speak to it from protecting the next generation. My gosh, the crimes are horrendous and we know what the end of it is, they are always going for the schools, they want little boys,” McMillan charged. Quinlan, agreed, saying that gays and lesbians want “little boys and little girls.”

Emergency Petition to Save the Voting Rights Act

Last year, the Supreme Court severely weakened the Voting Rights Act & voter suppression laws were passed across the country. This year, we need to fix that. Add your name to the fight and tell Congress to act without delay to strengthen the Voting Rights Act!

Harvey: Children 'Suffer the Most' from Marriage Equality

Following the Supreme Court’s decisions on DOMA and Prop 8, Mission America’s Linda Harvey attacked the “clueless, immoral leadership” of the Supreme Court for breeding “chaos” and not thinking of the children.

“It’s our children, especially those children in the states and the District of Columbia where this is now legal, who will suffer the most because their access to truth is going to be denied,” Harvey said. “Homosexual militants will now have their dreams fulfilled that American children will march to this new tune.”

Harvey even called on parents in marriage equality states to take their kids out of the public school system: “Concerned parents would be wise in same-sex parents states to remove your children from the public schools, things are about to get very oppressive for people of faith.”

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