Right Wing Leftovers - 8/21/13

  • Brian Camenker says Scott Brown will never be president because "losing to that idiot Elizabeth Warren, that's like the mark of Cain forever as far as I'm concerned."
  • San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan stands by her anti-gay comments and will not apologize.
  • On his radio broadcast today, David Barton claimed that IRS audits are unconstitutional.
  • Peter LaBarbera says Gov. Chris Christie's signing of legislation banning "ex-gay" therapy for minors is "a craven capitulation to the secular political correctness of this age that celebrates homosexuality and extreme gender confusion as 'civil rights.'"
  • Finally, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire has been fired from his job as a football coach yet again.

The Weekly Standard’s Selective History of the DC Circuit

The Weekly Standard has a long piece in its latest print issue defending Senate Republicans’ threat to filibuster President Obama’s three nominees to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It’s no surprise that the Standard is backing Republican obstruction, but the extent to which they must dance around the facts in order to do so is remarkable.

The piece, written by Adam J. White, a former clerk of ultra-conservative Reagan nominee and now senior D.C. Circuit judge David Sentelle, gives an extensive history of the D.C. Circuit…but leaves out a few major details.

Here are the highlights of the Weekly Standard’s selective history of the D.C. Circuit.  

1. What Caitlin Halligan filibuster?
    
White incorrectly notes that President Reagan had seven D.C. Circuit nominees confirmed during his two terms in office (he actually had eight nominees confirmed) and correctly notes that President George H. W. Bush had three. But he doesn’t quite explain the reason that only one of President Obama’s nominees has so far been confirmed to the court:

Later that year, the president finally made two nominations for the court—former New York solicitor general Caitlin Halligan and respected Supreme Court litigator Sri Srinivasan—but he made no substantial effort to secure their confirmations before the 2012 election. After his second inauguration, the Senate unanimously confirmed Srinivasan; the White House withdrew Halligan’s nomination, at her own request.

White neglects to mention that President Obama’s first nominee to the D.C. Circuit, Caitlin Halligan, didn’t just “withdraw” from consideration – she was nominated five times when Republicans kept refusing to allow the Senate to vote on her nomination and actually forced the Senate to send the nomination back to the White House.  She also faced multiple Republican filibusters based on completely made-up charges in a nomination struggle that lasted two and a half years. The idea that nobody made any effort to get Halligan confirmed is as preposterous as the explanations Republicans seized on to justify prohibiting the Senate from voting on her nomination.

2. What ideological agenda?

White mocks progressives for suggesting that “the D.C. Circuit is reflexively, ideologically antiregulatory”:

Similarly, those who seize on the court’s rejection of a single EPA rule, in EME Homer City, as evidence that the D.C. Circuit “has morphed into a hotbed of activist judges” (as a blogger for the liberal American Constitution Society put it) lack any sense of perspective. The same D.C. Circuit has affirmed the vast majority of the Obama administration’s greenhouse gas regulations, a regulatory program that far exceeds the cross-state air pollution rule at issue in EME Homer City in terms of cost and scope. Again, whether one agrees or disagrees with the decisions, they offer no plausible basis on which to suggest that the D.C. Circuit is reflexively, ideologically antiregulatory.

Perhaps he should read these words by Bush nominee Janice Rogers Brown, who last year took the opportunity of a routine case about the milk market to unleash a broad invective against the government’s power to regulate commerce, in which she accuses courts that uphold government regulation of putting “property at the mercy of the pillagers”:

America’s cowboy capitalism was long ago disarmed by a democratic process increasingly dominated by powerful groups with economic interests antithetical to competitors and consumers. And the courts, from which the victims of burdensome regulation sought protection, have been negotiating the terms of surrender since the 1930s.

Civil society, once it grows addicted to redistribution, changes its character and comes to require the state to feed its habit. The difficulty of assessing net benefits and burdens makes the idea of public choice oxymoronic. Rational basis review means property is at the mercy of the pillagers. The constitutional guarantee of liberty deserves more respect - a lot more. [internal quotations and citations removed]

And it’s not just words. This skewed interpretation of the Constitution has led the D.C. Circuit’s Republican-nominated judges to issue any number of anti-worker, anti-consumer opinions, including the recent one holding that requiring companies to inform employees of their rights under the law violates the free speech rights of employers.

3. What Bush nominees?

White closes with a repeat of the Republican talking point that there is no need for the vacancies on the D.C. Circuit to be filled, no matter who is nominated to fill them. He repeats the claims of right-wing activist Carrie Severino that “several” anonymous current D.C. Circuit judges have said that the court’s vacancies don’t need to be filled. (It would seem that these are the same anonymous judges that Sen. Chuck Grassley claims to have polled after he had already concluded the seats should be eliminated.)

Furthermore, a According to Carrie Severino in National Review Online, several of Judge Garland’s  colleagues anonymously informed the committee that “the Court does not need additional judges” to handle its workload. “If any more judges were added now, there wouldn’t be enough work to go around.”

Although Sen. Grassley trotted out the anonymous quotes during a Senate hearing, he conspicuously refused to include the responses he got to the questionnaire he’d secretly sent to DC Circuit judges in the public record. The thing is, actual, non-anonymous authorities have come out to say that yes, the D.C. Circuit’s seats do need to be filled. Citing the court’s uniquely challenging caseload, former D.C. Circuit judge Patricia Wald wrote an op-ed (under her own name!) calling for the confirmation of both of the then-pending nominees and for the full staffing of the court. “There is cause for extreme concern that Congress is systematically denying the court the human resources it needs to carry out its weighty mandates,” she wrote.

Even Chief Justice John Roberts has explained that because of its unique place in the justice system, the D.C. Circuit’s workload cannot be compared to that of other federal courts.

White goes on to claim that the anonymous claims that no more judges are needed “are confirmed by the federal judiciary system’s official data.” But his numbers aren’t exactly right. He claims that the court now has 17 judges hearing cases – in fact that number is 14: eight active judges and six judges who have taken semi-retired senior status.

The judges’ anecdotes are confirmed by the federal judiciary system’s official data. Since 2001, the court has added four judges (to “replace” four who took senior status). In that same period of time, the court’s workload has remained virtually constant: 1,319 pending cases in March 2001, 1,315 in September 2012. The nation’s courts face many genuine personnel shortages; the federal judiciary formally designates some courts as “judicial emergencies,” a list published on the judiciary website (and linked by the Justice Department’s own website). The D.C. Circuit is nowhere among them; with 17 judges now hearing cases, it has by far the lightest “per capita” appellate caseload in the country.

The points of comparison that White picks in an attempt to illustrate the court’s supposedly consistent caseload are misleading, at best.   The fact that the court had 1,319 pending cases in March 2001 and 1,315 in September 2012 is meaningless for the current debate. 

Instead, let’s look at the caseload in the spring of 2003 when Republicans supported the confirmation of George W. Bush nominees John Roberts and Miguel Estrada to the 9th and 10th seats. Two years later, Republicans successfully pushed to confirm Janet Rogers Brown and Thomas Griffith to the 10th and 11th seats, when there were 1,313 pending cases. Fast forward to today, when the GOP is claiming that no more than eight judges are needed on the D.C. Circuit, and the court has 1,456 pending cases. That is a whole lot more cases for a whole lot fewer judges to process.

4. What obstruction?

White concludes by saying that there is “no reason for the Senate to accelerate its own review or confirmation” of the three D.C. Circuit nominees:

The D.C. Circuit does not “need” President Obama to appoint more judges. President Obama wants to appoint more judges. As a matter of presidential prerogative, that is a perfectly fine reason to nominate judges—but it is no reason for the Senate to accelerate its own review or confirmation of nominees.

The thing is, nobody’s asking the Senate to confirm these nominees in the dark of night. Each is getting a public hearing and answering pages of written questions from senators. What the Senate GOP is threatening to do is deny these nominees up-or-down votes for reasons having nothing to do with the nominees themselves. White provides no justification for filibusters of these nominees who the president has used his “presidential prerogative” to nominate.
 

Fischer Tries To Mock Rep. Carol Shea-Porter And Fails Miserably

As we have noted several times before, self-awareness is not one of Bryan Fischer's strong suits and his cluelessness was on full display once again this afternoon when he attempted to mock Rep. Carol Shea-Porter for saying that the corporate tax rate in America was "just a suggestion."

The point that Shea-Porter was making was entirely accurate, as she was simply acknowledging that the effective tax rate actually paid by corporations is far lower than the set federal rate.  In essence, the tax rate is "just a suggestion" because corporations don't really pay that.

But Fischer played a clip of Shea-Porter making this true statement and then mocked her for it, saying "tell that to Martha Stewart, tell that to Bernie Madoff, tell that to who knows how many people are in prison for treating the tax code as if it were just a suggestion."

Of course, Stewart went to prison for insider trading and Madoff went to prison for running a massive Ponzi scheme ... so any connection between these examples and the issue of corporate tax rates exists only in Fischer's "twisted mind":

Beck: 'If Anyone Does Anything In This Company Because Of Global Warming, They're Fired'

Outraged that employees in his organization had begun placing recycling bins throughout The Blaze's headquarters and studio and replaced individual water bottles with a water cooler, Glenn Beck brought the Vice President of Studio Operations onto his radio program today to explain why these changes were taking place.

When she claimed that doing so was saving the company money, Beck not only didn't buy it but also didn't really care and instead issued a new company-wide policy that any employee who buys a compact fluorescent light bulb when non-CFL options are available will be fired.

"Global warming is a pile of crap," Beck declared, adding that he would be issuing a memo informing everyone that "if anyone does anything in this company because of global warming, they're fired":

Barber: 'It May Be A Time For Civil Disobedience'

Matt Barber appeared on the "Today's Issues" broadcast this morning to discuss his most recent column about a bakery in Oregon which has had a complaint filed against it for refusing to provide a wedding cake to a same-sex couple.

In light of this and similar instances around the country, Barber declared that it has become obvious that gay marriage and religious liberty cannot coexist and so "in much the same fashion as did the civil rights activists of old - Martin Luther King and others - Christians are going to have a decision to make; it may be a time for civil disobedience."

"Christians have been persecuted for 2000 years by radical leftists," he said, adding that just as King spent time in jail, anti-gay Christians today might have to suffer the same fate, knowing that they will be rewarded by God for upholding his law and refusing to "pretend that somehow a man can marry a man, a woman can marry a woman."

"You guys can put on two tuxedos or two wedding dresses and play house and get pretend married 'til your heart's content," Barber said, "but marriage is what God says it is.  We can no more change the laws of gravity than can we change the laws of marriage": 

NOM’s Brian Brown Brags About Supporting Anti-Gay Work Abroad

Last year, when some internal planning documents from the National Organization for Marriage were released as part of court filings, public attention focused on the group’s explicit racial wedge strategies designed to foment tensions between LGBT and African American communities. But the documents also revealed NOM’s desire to play globally: they talk of “Internationalizing the Marriage Issue” and working “to halt the movement toward gay marriage worldwide.”

In an email sent yesterday, NOM President Brian Brown brags explicitly about supporting the international work of the World Congress of Families, a project of The Howard Center for Religion Family and Society, and making a pitch for donations to the group. Here’s Brown’s quote:

The World Congress of Families is THE group standing up for the family around the world.  They have done amazing work in uniting all of those who stand for the truth about marriage and family.  It has been an honor to partner with WCF and to be a part of their most recent Congress in Australia and regional conference in Trinidad and Tobago.  I wholeheartedly endorse their work and urge you to financially support their efforts.

Just who is Brown so proud to be raising money for? In just the past several months, World Congress of Families spokesmen have:

  • praised new anti-gay laws in Russia and said Russians “might be the Christian saviors to the world"
  • called that the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act a “travesty” that would encourage pedophilia and doom America to “extinction”
  • portrayed undocumented immigrants as “parasites, criminals, potential terrorists and the arrogantly unassimilable”
  • warned that President Obama will soon be pushing conservatives into “cattle cars” as part of his plans to “crush dissent.”

The World Congress of Families, of course, defines “natural family” in a way that excludes same-sex couples: “the term 'natural' precludes incompatible constructs of the family as well as incompatible behaviors among its members.” The Howard Center hosted a symposium in Washington, D.C. earlier this year in which a parade of right-wing speakers claimed that the real “war on women” comes from “those who present themselves as champions of women’s rights.”

WCF summits and regional gatherings held around the world - -this year’s was held in Sydney, Australia --  are a magnet for speakers from American Religious Right leaders like Peter LaBarbera who share anti-choice and anti-LGBT equality strategies with their international allies. As Brown mentions in his fundraising pitch, WCF held a Caribbean conference in Trinidad in June. Among the long list of American religious right figures speaking, in addition to Brown, were Janet Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America and WCF’s own Don Feder.

Next year’s World Congress of Families conference will be held in Moscow. Perfect.

Klingenschmitt: Madonna Is Possessed By A Demonic Spirit Of Adultery

On his most recent "Pray In Jesus Name" program, "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt dedicated an entire segment to investigating the question of whether pop star Madonna is possessed by demons.

Citing lyrics from her song "Revolver," which he judged against the "Warning Against the Adulterous Woman" from Proverbs 7, Klingenschmitt concluded that, in fact, Madonna is possessed by a demonic spirit of adultery.

Klingenschmitt then added that he has heard of people being cured of liver cancer after repenting for this sin of pornography, before politely declining Madonna's invitation to engage in intercourse because he has been happily married for 22 years:

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/20/13

Right Wing Leftovers - 8/20/13

  • Because Glenn Beck is convinced that all of human history operates in repeating cycles, he is now equating what is happening in the US and the Middle East to the fall of the Roman Empire.
  • Apparently Herman Cain's "CainTV" is still (barely) operating.
  • The Obama family got a new puppy and The Daily Caller felt it was important to point out that "the Obamas do not have any white dogs."
  • Why does CBN's David Brody insist on including his own twitter handle in his tweets?
  • John Piper does not approve of the phrase "Boston Strong" because it is "God-neglecting, God-ignoring, God-minimizing, human-exalting, city-exalting, nation-exalting, it’s evil."
  • Finally, we were a little surprised to see Sen. Rand Paul in Janet Porter's forthcoming "Criminalization of Christianity" documentary:

CIS Wonders Why 'Handsome Illegal' in Zuckerberg Ad Wants Path to Citizenship

The Center for Immigration Studies was not taken with the ad that Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us put together profiling Alejandro Morales, a DREAMer who wants to serve in the Marines:

CIS fellow David North wrote in a blog post yesterday entitled “That Handsome Illegal Wanting to be a Marine – Tell It to the President!” that Morales should just give up on a roadmap to citizenship. North grants that Morales is “handsome, and frankly admirable,” but argues that instead of fighting for citizenship, the DREAMer should push for the Pentagon take advantage of a loophole in federal code and allow him to serve in the military without granting him any sort of legal status.

“If the DREAMers really want to enlist, and feel thwarted, why aren't they demonstrating outside the Pentagon, or the White House?” he demands.

Remember that handsome, and frankly admirable, young illegal who wants to be a Marine? The one in the Mark Zuckerberg TV ad reported on by my colleague Jerry Kammer?

The impression from the ad is that the nation needs to pass the omnibus immigration "reform" bill so that he can enlist.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is no need for a 1,200-page piece of legislation, involving the admissions of millions of people a year as immigrants and nonimmigrants, to bring the young man and the Marines together.

The Secretary of Defense currently has the power, under law, to deem that it is "in the national interest" to issue a ruling allowing an illegal, or a bunch of them, to enlist in the services. The legal citation is here. So, if the DREAMers really want to enlist, and feel thwarted, why aren't they demonstrating outside the Pentagon, or the White House?

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