Supreme Court Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:49:52 -0400 Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:49:52 -0400 Supreme Court Turns Back Texas Attempt To Undermine Roe <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>A 5-3 majority of the Supreme Court today <a href="">struck down</a> parts of a sweeping anti-choice law passed in Texas in 2013. The case dealt with the law&rsquo;s targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) provisions that <a href=""> created burdensome and unnecessary regulations on clinics </a> that would have forced the vast majority of the state&rsquo;s providers to close. The law not only threatened Texas women&rsquo;s access to safe and legal abortion, but was a calculated assault on Roe v. Wade and was the product of decades of anti-choice efforts to undermine the decision without overturning it.</p> <p>From the beginning, the law&rsquo;s proponents claimed that these regulations were simply meant to protect women&rsquo;s health, though they often did a pretty bad job of staying on message. During oral arguments in the case, for instance, the state&rsquo;s solicitor general <a href="">argued</a> that women burdened by Texas&rsquo; law could simply drive over the border to New Mexico, which does not have the same regulations, undermining the whole argument that the idea was to protect women&rsquo;s health.</p> <p>And already, the law is proving to be actually detrimental women&rsquo;s health: <a href="" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link"> One study found </a> that since the law&rsquo;s passage, hundreds of thousands of women in Texas &ldquo;have tried to self-induce their abortions without medical assistance, making it more common in Texas than in other parts of the U.S.&rdquo;</p> <p>As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her concurrence to the decision, &ldquo;it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.&rdquo;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s hardly been a secret within the anti-abortion movement that the Texas law was meant to cut off access to abortion rather than to shut down unsafe clinics.</p> <p>At a <a href="">Pro-Life Women&rsquo;s Conference</a> in Dallas this weekend, many speakers alluded to the spate of TRAP laws across the country, including the one in Texas, as a sign that their movement was winning. In one revealing exchange during a panel about anti-abortion politics, Texas anti-abortion activist Carolyn Cline held up a brick that she said she had gotten from a pastor friend who told her it was &ldquo;the last brick in the lot&rdquo; of a facility that had been closed by HB2, prompting enthusiastic applause.</p> <p>Moments later, Arina Grossu, who works on anti-abortion issues for the Family Research Council, argued that pro-choicers should support laws like HB2 because they are meant to protect &ldquo;women&rsquo;s health and safety&rdquo; while at the same time portraying it as a sign that the movement to end legal abortion is winning.</p> Miranda Blue Anti-Choice Arina Grossu C4 Carolyn Cline Reproductive Health Supreme Court Texas Family Research Council Fighting the Right 75776 Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:49:52 -0400 Supreme Court Supreme Court Immigration Decision A Win For Anti-Immigrant Group Working Behind The Scenes <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>Earlier today, <a href=""> a deadlocked Supreme Court </a> left in place a lower court decision blocking an Obama administration effort to grant temporary deportation relief to millions of immigrants. One group cheering on the decision was the Immigration Reform Law Institute, <a href="" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link"> the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform</a>, which <a href="!IRLI-Praises-SCOTUS’s-Decision-Stopping-the-President’s-Executive-Actions-Granting-Amnesty-and-Work-Permits/qyawj/576c19230cf233125dbd12a5"> declared</a>, &ldquo;IRLI will continue to work with patriotic state governments and grassroots activists to beat back the Administration&rsquo;s drive to dissolve national sovereignty, the rule of law, and economic justice for America&rsquo;s most vulnerable citizens.&rdquo;</p> <p>In fact, IRLI, which is a key player in <a href=""> a network of immigration groups </a> that grew out of the vision of a single white nationalist activist, has done much to shape the legal battle that led to today&rsquo;s decision. The group noted today that it had &ldquo;advised the Texas Attorney-General&rsquo;s office on key facets of the case&rdquo; that the state had brought against the federal government &ldquo;and filed a total of six friend-of-the-court briefs.&rdquo; In fact, documents show that IRLI had an influential role in shaping the direction of Texas&rsquo; challenge, as well as the legal movement that it sprang out of.</p> <p>The Center for New Community wrote <a href="">in an April report</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Leaders within an organized movement of anti-immigrant activists have not only publicly advocated against President Obama&rsquo;s executive action to grant Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), they have also been closely involved in crafting and mobilizing a legal challenge to the initiative ever since it was announced. This is not a new strategy for the antiimmigrant movement, which has long used the legal system to fight for its twin goals of dramatically reduced immigration levels and policies that support attrition through enforcement or outright deportation&mdash;all in support of the long-term goal of preserving the United States&rsquo; white majority.</p> </blockquote> <p>CNC outlined the work that IRLI did to advise Texas on the case through Kris Kobach, a former IRLI staffer who is now the secretary of state of Kansas but who remains &ldquo;of counsel&rdquo; to the organization:</p> <blockquote> <p>Neither Kobach nor IRLI are formally representing any of the plaintiff states in the case, but evidence, as described below, suggests Kobach has been involved since the case&rsquo;s beginning.</p> <p>On November 22, 2014, two days after President Obama&rsquo;s announcement, The Washington Post reported that Kobach has already begun drafting a lawsuit. The Post&rsquo;s Eli Saslow reported that Kobach had been speaking at a community forum in Tonganoxie, Kansas, the night of the President&rsquo;s announcement. Saslow described the situation as &ldquo;the most pivotal moment of [Kobach&rsquo;s] career.&rdquo;</p> <p>As news of the president&rsquo;s announcement circulated, Kobach discussed it with the Tonganoxie group. &ldquo;He tells the group he has already begun drafting a suit as the lead attorney, with plans to file it in early December,&rdquo; The Post reported. &ldquo;Texas is interested in being a plaintiff. So are a few other states.&rdquo; The Post added that Kobach&rsquo;s lawsuit had &ldquo;40 or 50 pages already written.&rdquo;</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p>The morning of December 3, Kobach appeared on Wichita radio host Joseph Ashby&rsquo;s program. During the interview, Kobach reiterated his involvement in the lawsuit. &ldquo;I am playing a role,&rdquo; Kobach said. &ldquo;I don't know if I'm taking the lead or not, but as many people know, instead of spending my spare time golfing I do litigate.&rdquo; Kobach added, &ldquo;litigation is beginning and I am involved in assembling plaintiffs and attorneys around the country to get this done.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hours later, The Texas Attorney General&rsquo;s Office announced the legal action.</p> </blockquote> <p>We wrote about the record of IRLI and FAIR in a <a href="">recent report</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>FAIR&rsquo;s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), has helped craft anti-immigrant legislation around the country, including <a href="" target="_blank"> Arizona&rsquo;s infamous &ldquo;self-deportation&rdquo; measure SB 1070 </a> and <a href="" target="_blank"> efforts to end the 14th Amendment&rsquo;s guarantee of birthright citizenship </a> . In 2010, Think Progress <a href="" target="_blank">wrote</a> that &ldquo;IRLI has been behind most, if not every, local legislative immigration crackdown over the past few years.&rdquo; Much of this work was<a href="" target="_blank">driven by IRLI lawyer Kris Kobach</a>, who <a href="" target="_blank">joined the group in 2003</a>. Kobach is now secretary of state of Kansas, but <a href="" target="_blank">remains</a> &ldquo;of counsel&rdquo; to IRLI. He <a href="" target="_blank">served as an advisor to</a> Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign, when Romney espoused the doctrine of &ldquo;self-deportation.&rdquo;</p> <p>FAIR&rsquo;s current president is Dan Stein, who has worked for the organization <a href="" target="_blank">since 1982</a>. Stein has framed the immigration debate in racial terms, <a href="" target="_blank">calling</a> the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which <a href="" target="_blank">eliminated a quota system</a> that favored Northern Europeans and shut out Asians and Africans, an attempt to &ldquo;retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance&ldquo; in the country. He has warned that President Obama&rsquo;s immigration policies will cause the U.S. to &ldquo; <a href="" target="_blank">fall apart</a>&rdquo; like Iraq and once <a href="" target="_blank"> speculated </a> that the U.S. has seen so few terrorist attacks under President Obama because terrorists see him as an &ldquo;ally&rdquo; and &ldquo;don&rsquo;t want to embarrass&rdquo; him.</p> <p>While Stein has hinted at immigration restriction as a tool of white nationalism, FAIR has openly associated with people who explicitly advocate for the U.S. to remain a white-dominated nation.</p> <p>A <a href="" target="_blank"> short-lived television program </a> produced by FAIR in 1996 featured interviews with well-known white nationalists Sam Francis, Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow, and a common area of discussion was that the immigrant &ldquo;invasion&rdquo; would destroy America. Stein, interviewing one guest, <a href="" target="_blank">wondered,</a> &ldquo;How can we preserve America if it becomes 50 percent Latin American?&rdquo; In a 1991 interview for an article on the higher birth rates among Asian and Latino immigrants than among native-born Americans, Stein said, "It's almost like they're getting into competitive breeding. You have to take into account the various fertility rates in designing limits on immigration.&rdquo; Six years later, he <a href="" target="_blank">told the Wall Street Journal</a>, &ldquo;Certainly we would encourage people in other countries to have small families. Otherwise they'll all be coming here, because there's no room at the Vatican.&rdquo;</p> <p>Over a period of 10 years in the 1980s and 1990s, FAIR <a href="" target="_blank"> took in more than $1 million </a> from the Pioneer Fund, which SPLC <a href="" target="_blank">describes</a> as &ldquo;a eugenicist organization that was started in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who wanted to pursue &lsquo;race betterment&rsquo; by promoting the genetic lines of American whites,&rdquo; and for several years afterward continued to receive support from individual leaders of the fund.</p> </blockquote> Miranda Blue C4 Election 2016 Immigration Reform Law Institute judicial nominations Kris Kobach Supreme Court Federation for American Immigration Reform Fighting the Right 75701 Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:40:41 -0400 Supreme Court Trump: All My Judges Will Be 'Picked By The Federalist Society' <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="612" height="380" alt="" src="" /> <p>Today on &ldquo;<a href="">Breitbart News Daily</a>,&rdquo; Donald Trump lashed out at his conservative detractors who have continued to criticize him even after he all but clinched the GOP presidential nomination.</p> <p>Trump, who said that such foes decided to &ldquo;immediately stop talking about me and my views&rdquo; following the terrorist attack in Orlando, accused the &ldquo;jealous&rdquo; and &ldquo;pathetic&rdquo; Mitt Romney and others of trying to put Hillary Clinton in the White House.</p> <p>&ldquo;Even though I&rsquo;m going to appoint great judges, you know, we could have as many as five judges, and she&rsquo;s going to appoint super radical liberals and I&rsquo;m appointing, you know, you saw the 11 names I gave, and we&rsquo;re going to have great judges, conservative, all picked by the Federalist Society,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>Last month, <a href="">Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees</a> crafted by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, two far-right groups.</p> <p align="center"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> Brian Tashman C4 Donald Trump Supreme Court Federalist Society Fighting the Right 75131 Mon, 13 Jun 2016 17:15:58 -0400 Supreme Court Jeff Sessions: Keep 'Secular Mindset' Off The Supreme Court <p>Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned in a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition&rsquo;s Road to Majority conference today that &ldquo;the courts are at risk&rdquo; in the upcoming presidential election, lamenting that at least one current Supreme Court justice displays a &ldquo;secular mindset.&rdquo;</p> <p align="center"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Sessions said that as the committee&rsquo;s ranking member during the confirmation hearings of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, &ldquo;I felt, like so many of you, the court hasn&rsquo;t been performing in a way we like it to.&rdquo;</p> <p>He repeated a criticism of Sotomayor that conservatives had leveled at her during her confirmation hearings, expressing dismay that she had approvingly <a href="">quoted</a> legal scholar Martha Minow&rsquo;s observation that in the law "there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives &mdash; no neutrality, no escape from choice in judging," an acknowledgment of the hidden assumptions and biases that all judges bring to the law.</p> <p>Sessions said the quote &ldquo;still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;You see, this is a postmodern, relativistic, secular mindset and I believe it&rsquo;s directly contrary to the founding of our republic,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;So I really think this whole court system is really important,&rdquo; he added later in the speech, &ldquo;and the real value and battle that we&rsquo;re engaged in here is one to reaffirm that there is objective truth, it&rsquo;s not all relative. And that means some things are right and some things are wrong, and we&rsquo;re getting too far away from that in my opinion and it&rsquo;s not healthy for any country and it&rsquo;s really not healthy for a democracy like ours that&rsquo;s built on the rule of law.&rdquo;</p> Miranda Blue C4 Delaware Election 2016 Jeff Sessions judicial nominations Supreme Court Faith and Freedom Coalition Fighting the Right 75031 Fri, 10 Jun 2016 15:07:28 -0400 Supreme Court Grassley Revives 'Wise Latina' Canard To Defend Trump's Racism <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="1191" height="513" alt="" src="" /> <p>Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has taken the lead in the Senate GOP&rsquo;s effort to block Judge Merrick Garland&rsquo;s Supreme Court nomination <a href=""> in the hope that a President Donald Trump will be the one to name the late Justice Antonin Scalia&rsquo;s replacement</a>.</p> <p>Grassley&rsquo;s blockade became even more problematic this week when Trump launched a racist assault against a federal judge who is hearing a fraud case involving his Trump University. Trump <a href="" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link"> claimed </a> that the judge, who was born in Indiana to parents who emigrated from Mexico, had an &ldquo;<a href="" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link">inherent conflict of interest</a>&rdquo; in the case because he is &ldquo;Mexican&rdquo; and Trump is &ldquo;building a wall.&rdquo; The presumptive GOP presidential nominee later <a href="">acknowledged</a> that using the same logic, it was &ldquo;possible&rdquo; that a Muslim judge should also be disqualified from hearing a case involving him.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s comments drew widespread condemnation, including from <a href="">some of his fellow Republicans</a>, but Grassley, apparently, didn&rsquo;t see the problem. In a conference call with Iowa reporters today, Grassley <a href=""> equated </a> Trump&rsquo;s comments with <a href="">Justice Sonia Sotomayor&rsquo;s famous &ldquo;wise Latina&rdquo; remark</a> that became a right-wing flashpoint during her 2009 confirmation hearings:</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;I think that you don&rsquo;t have any more trouble with what Trump said than when Sotomayor said that &mdash; when she was found saying in speeches that, quote, &lsquo;A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,&rsquo;&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t hear any criticism of that sort of comment by a justice of the Supreme Court.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Grassley didn&rsquo;t pull this comparison out of thin air: The same comparison has been <a href=""> popping up all over the right-wing media</a>.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a flashback to 2009, when conservatives latched on to a<a href=""> speech</a> Sotomayor had given in 2001 in which she disagreed with the idea that a judge isn&rsquo;t influenced by his or her personal background:</p> <blockquote> <p>Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. &hellip; I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, &hellip; there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.</p> </blockquote> <p>What Sotomayor&rsquo;s critics often chose to ignore was that she went on to say that while a judge&rsquo;s personal experience can&rsquo;t help but influence how they see the world, a good judge tries to look beyond the myopia of personal experience to understand the lives of others:</p> <blockquote> <p>I &hellip; believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. &hellip; [Nine] white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.</p> <p>However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.</p> </blockquote> <p>Sotomayor later <a href="">clarified</a> in the face of right-wing criticism: &ldquo;I want to state upfront, unequivocally and without doubt: I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging. I do believe every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge, regardless of their background or life experience."</p> <p>It shouldn&rsquo;t be surprising that Grassley and some of his allies on the Right are reviving the &ldquo;wise Latina&rdquo; attack on Sotomayor as they attempt to defend Trump. In fact, Trump&rsquo;s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel are not that different from <a href=""> how the Right attacked Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings</a>, claiming that simply because she had spoken proudly of her Latina heritage and acknowledged that a person&rsquo;s background can shape how they see the world she would be driven by &ldquo;identity politics&rdquo; rather than the law.</p> <p>Some claimed explicitly, and many others implicitly, that Sotomayor, who had graduated from Princeton and Yale and had served for many years as a federal judge, was not as qualified as a white judge with a similar record. Pat Buchanan, who is now an enthusiastic cheerleader for Trump, was one of those who made the claim explicitly when he<a href=""> wrote</a> that white Americans &ldquo;pay the price of affirmative action when their sons and daughters are pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors.&rdquo;</p> <p>We wrote in a <a href="">report</a> after her confirmation:</p> <blockquote> <p>Sotomayor&rsquo;s &ldquo;wise Latina&rdquo; remarks were taken out of context to imply that she was some kind of ethnic supremacist, and her ruling in the Ricci affirmative action case was wildly distorted to suggest that she was a judicial activist who lived to use the law as a club against white men. Pundits like Rush Limbaugh and elected officials like Tom Tancredo called her a racist. Pat Buchanan charged her with having a &ldquo;race-based&rdquo; approach to justice and having demonstrated &ldquo;a lifelong resolve to discriminate against white males.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>On the first day of Sotomayor&rsquo;s confirmation hearings, columnist Eugene Robinson <a href="">observed:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Republicans' outrage, both real and feigned, at Sotomayor's musings about how her identity as a "wise Latina" might affect her judicial decisions is based on a flawed assumption: that whiteness and maleness are not themselves facets of a distinct identity. Being white and male is seen instead as a neutral condition, the natural order of things. Any "identity" &mdash; black, brown, female, gay, whatever &mdash;has to be judged against this supposedly "objective" standard.</p> <p><br /> Thus it is irrelevant if Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. talks about the impact of his background as the son of Italian immigrants on his rulings &mdash; as he did at his confirmation hearings &mdash; but unforgivable for Sotomayor to mention that her Puerto Rican family history might be relevant to her work.</p> </blockquote> <p>This seems to be the attitude of the Trump campaign, whose top operative has <a href=""> said</a> that picking a woman or person of color as a vice presidential nominee would amount to &ldquo;pandering&rdquo; and whose list of potential Supreme Court picks were <a href="">all white and mostly men</a>. According to Trump, it seems, only white men can be unbiased and qualified. And Grassley seems to think that&rsquo;s just fine.</p> Miranda Blue C4 Charles Grassley Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Election 2016 Iowa judicial nominations Supreme Court Fighting the Right 74896 Wed, 08 Jun 2016 16:53:43 -0400 Supreme Court Pat Toomey's SCOTUS Obstruction Backed By Only 18% Of Pennsylvanians <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="650" height="366" alt="" src="" /> <p>Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has joined other Senate Republicans in refusing to hold a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, even going so far as to make <a href="">misleading claims</a> about Garland&rsquo;s record as a judge.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, Toomey&rsquo;s stance may be hurting him among Pennsylvania voters.</p> <p>Public Policy Polling <a href="">released a poll today</a> showing strong support in Pennsylvania &mdash; even among Republicans &mdash; for Senate hearings on Garland&rsquo;s nomination.</p> <blockquote> One issue that continues to complicate Toomey's reelection prospects is the vacant Supreme Court seat. 53% of voters want to see it filled this year, compared to only 38% who think that should wait for the next President. More importantly though, 66% of voters want there to be confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland's nomination to just 18% who think he should be rejected out of hand. Democrats (79/9), independents (56/14), and even Republicans (52/31) think that Garland deserves a hearing. By a 23 point margin voters say they're less likely to vote for a Senator who opposes confirmation hearings on Garland's nomination- just 22% say that stance would make them more likely to vote for someone, compared to 45% who say it would make them less likely to.</blockquote> <p>Just yesterday, Toomey said that Donald Trump&rsquo;s racist attack on a federal judge of Mexican descent was <a href="">&ldquo;deeply offensive,&rdquo; &ldquo;ridiculous&rdquo; and &ldquo;outrageous.&rdquo;</a> He is nonetheless apparently comfortable holding the vacancy on the Supreme Court open for a possible President Trump.</p> <p>He isn&rsquo;t the only Republican senator whose re-election chances are being harmed by the party&rsquo;s decision to block Garland from even being considered for the Supreme Court, with polls in <a href="">several</a> <a href="">key</a> <a href="">states</a> finding the GOP&rsquo;s stance to be overwhelmingly unpopular.</p> Brian Tashman C4 Merrick Garland Pat Toomey Supreme Court Fighting the Right 74886 Wed, 08 Jun 2016 15:40:30 -0400 Supreme Court Pat Robertson: Marriage Equality Makes It Harder To Fight 'Radical Islam And The Other Forces Of Secularism' <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="1200" height="600" alt="" src="" /> <p>In August of last year, shortly after the Supreme Court handed down the landmark Obergefell marriage equality ruling, televangelist Pat Robertson <a href="">discussed the ruling</a> with Steve Strang, the founder of the Pentecostal magazine Charisma, on his podcast.</p> <p>Robertson warned that &ldquo;the homosexuals don&rsquo;t want equality, they don&rsquo;t want equal treatment, what they want is to destroy everybody who disagrees with them.&rdquo; He predicted that there will be &ldquo;a vendetta&rdquo; against &ldquo;any organization that disagrees with homosexuality,&rdquo; saying that &ldquo;what was done to Bob Jones University, that&rsquo;s just a warm-up of what&rsquo;s going to happen unless there&rsquo;s something dramatic that takes place.&rdquo; (Bob Jones University lost its tax exempt status in the 1980s <a href=""> because of its rules barring interracial dating</a>.)</p> <p>Robertson told Strang that with rulings like Obergefell, the Supreme Court has broken down America&rsquo;s defenses against &ldquo;radical Islam and the other forces of secularism trying to destroy us&rdquo;:</p> <blockquote> The Supreme Court, to think that we&rsquo;ve got five men and women, five unelected people who are controlling of the moral destiny of this nation and they&rsquo;re stripping us of the defenses that we have to have against radical Islam and the other forces of secularism trying to destroy us. The Supreme Court is making it more and more difficult to assert these foundational values.</blockquote> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> Miranda Blue Anti-Gay C4 Marriage Equality Pat Robertson Stephen Strang Supreme Court Charisma Christian Broadcasting Network Fighting the Right 74801 Tue, 07 Jun 2016 12:54:51 -0400 Supreme Court Elizabeth Warren Report Slams GOP Obstruction Of Nominees <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="1191" height="513" alt="" src="" /> <p>Since Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley is making sure that the committee he runs completely ignores Merrick Garland&rsquo;s Supreme Court nomination, one might think that he&rsquo;s using the extra time to at least process the president&rsquo;s many circuit and district nominees. Not!</p> <p>While Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell&rsquo;s brazen and unprecedented refusal to consider Garland has drawn a great deal of attention, &nbsp;PFAW has long reported on how <a href="">this obstruction</a>, far from being <a href="">unique to Garland</a>, is an extension of how the Senate GOP has treated President Obama&rsquo;s <a href="">lower court nominees</a> for most of his time in office.</p> <p>Today, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made a tremendous contribution to the national conversation, <a href="">issuing a new report</a> entitled <a href="">Going to Extremes: The Supreme Court and Senate Republicans&rsquo; Unprecedented Record of Obstruction of President Obama&rsquo;s Nominees</a>." The senator covers how Republicans have worked hard <strong>not</strong> to thoughtfully vet both judicial and executive branch nominations, but to slow down their confirmations as much as possible, or block their confirmations altogether.</p> <p>She uses Senate Republicans&rsquo; own statements about the Garland nomination to show the disingenuousness of the rationales for obstruction they present to the public and demonstrates that their obstruction is unprecedented. And with a prosecutor&rsquo;s efficiency, she makes the powerful case that the GOP has consistently and deliberately slow-walked or blocked altogether the president&rsquo;s circuit and district court nominees, as well as his executive branch nominees.</p> <p>Supported with facts and figures from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, Sen. Warren&rsquo;s new report is a devastating indictment of a political party that has misused the confirmation process to prevent the executive and judicial branches from functioning effectively to protect consumers and workers, hold large corporations accountable, and protect equality.</p> <p>As she notes in the report&rsquo;s conclusion:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">From the moment the Supreme Court vacancy arose, Senate Republicans linked arms in an attempt to deny President Obama the full authority of his office in the final year of his presidency. They cynically claimed they wish to &ldquo;let the people decide,&rdquo; but the people have already decided. Twice. They elected President Obama in 2008 by nine million votes and re-elected him in 2012 by five million votes. Republicans&rsquo; statements over many weeks have made clear that their true interest is what it has been for the past eight years: to block and hinder President Obama at every turn, dragging out or blocking outright the confirmation of nominees across the government and the courts.</p> <p>As the report shows, the GOP has a shameful record of obstruction going back to President Obama&rsquo;s first days in office.&nbsp; The unprecedented blockade against Garland is only the apex of a pattern that has gone on for years.</p> <p><a href=""><em>Cross-posted from the PFAW blog.</em></a></p> Paul Gordon C4 Charles Grassley Chuck Grassley judicial nominations Lower Federal Courts Mitch McConnell Obstruction Obstructionism Supreme Court Supreme Court nominations Fighting the Right 74721 Mon, 06 Jun 2016 14:34:59 -0400 Supreme Court Roy Moore Ally: States Have A 'Duty' To 'Nullify' Marriage Equality Decision <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="480" height="360" alt="" src="" /> <p><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">John Eidsmoe, the prominent Christian Reconstructionist attorney who works for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore&rsquo;s Foundation for Moral Law, joined conservative radio host Jerry Newcombe on his <a href="">show </a>Thursday to discuss Moore&rsquo;s stand against the Supreme Court&rsquo;s marriage equality decision, which has gotten him <a href="">suspended </a>from his post.</span></p> <p>Eidsmoe accused Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg of staging a &ldquo;political coup&rdquo; by choosing not to recuse themselves from hearing the Obergefell case and declared that state courts and state legislatures have the "duty&rdquo; to &ldquo;nullify&rdquo; the decision.</p> <p>Eidsmoe first justified Moore&rsquo;s actions claiming that the Supreme Court decision applied specifically to four states, not Alabama.</p> <p>&ldquo;But even more than that,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;what I think we&rsquo;re gonna argue here is that this particular decision is so egregious that the state courts, state legislatures and the like have a right and a duty to nullify and disregard it.&rdquo;</p> <p>He claimed the decision was &ldquo;without constitutional support,&rdquo; &ldquo;arrived at by illegitimate means,&rdquo; and &ldquo;seeks to redefine the institution of marriage.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think any governmental body, especially a group of unelected judges, has the authority to redefine God&rsquo;s institution of marriage,&rdquo; Eidsmoe said.</p> <p align="“center”"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Eidsmoe also compared Alabama courts&rsquo; rejection of Obergefell to the Wisconsin Supreme Court&rsquo;s rejection of the Dred Scott decision.</p> <p>He criticized Ginsburg and Kagan for not recusing themselves because they had previously performed weddings for same-sex couples.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s really only one reason that they refused to recuse themselves,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;and that&rsquo;s they knew that their votes were needed to get a 5-4 majority in this case, and it is as raw a political coup as you could ever imagine, complicated by the fact that it is by those who are supposed to be considered the least dangerous branch of government and the least likely people that you&rsquo;d think would be undermining our constitutional system with a coup.&rdquo;</p> <p align="“center”"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> Nabi Dressler Alabama Anti-Gay C4 Jerry Newcombe John Eidsmoe Marriage Equality Roy Moore Supreme Court Foundation for Moral Law 74671 Fri, 03 Jun 2016 17:06:24 -0400 Supreme Court David Barton: Voting Biblically = Voting For Donald Trump To Name Supreme Court Justices <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p><a href="" style="line-height: 20.4px;">David Barton</a><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">, the oft-discredited Religious Right &ldquo;historian,&rdquo; Republican political operative and head of a failed Ted Cruz-supporting Super PAC, </span><a href="" style="line-height: 20.4px;">appeared</a><span style="line-height: 20.4px;"> on the American Family Association&rsquo;s &ldquo;Today&rsquo;s Issues&rdquo; this morning.</span></p> <p>Barton&rsquo;s message mirrored that of other Religious Right figures, <a href="">like televangelist James Robison</a> and <a href="">dominionist Lance Wallnau</a>, who are insisting that evangelicals go to the polls and vote for Trump no matter how flawed a person and candidate he might be. A few weeks, ago Barton told Christians that their job was to get more engaged in electing God-fearing candidates to office by <a href="">&ldquo;teaching ourselves and others to think and act biblically.&rdquo;</a> Today he made it clear that means voting for Donald Trump.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Barton, who claims to find biblical justification for his opposition to minimum wage laws, progressive taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes and unions, not surprisingly has a Bible verse that he says mandates a vote for Trump:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">For me, the number-one thing for me in every federal election is Isaiah 1:26, the righteousness of the land is determined by the judges in that land. And since we already have Justice Scalia down, and we have three more that are of age, of concern, you&rsquo;re looking at potentially four judges, and do I want Hillary appointing my judges? Absolutely, unequivocally not. There is not a snowball&rsquo;s chance I get a good judge out of that. That is just not gonna happen.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">With Trump, we got a list of 11 folks, 11 of whom are better than anything Hillary will ever propose, 10 of whom are absolutely rock stars, from our standpoint. So when I look at Isaiah 1:26, this is an easy thing. It&rsquo;s still difficult for me in so many other areas, because I want to join my vote to someone who does recognize that he needs God, that he has sinned at least once in his life, and of course that&rsquo;s the thing Trump said &mdash; &lsquo;I don&rsquo;t know of any reason I need to ask God for forgiveness. I&rsquo;ve never asked him for forgiveness.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s a difficulty, but at the same time, that does not mean that we won&rsquo;t get the right kind of judges, and that in my estimation is the key thing for any federal election.</p> <p>Barton warned Christians that they could find faults in and reasons not to vote for any person, even biblical figures like Lot and Noah who were used by God in spite of their flaws. And he insisted that judges are &ldquo;the number-one biblical issue.&rdquo;</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">The first question, there is not an option sitting this out. That is not optional in any way, shape, fashion or form. Second thing is when you vote, you have to vote biblically, and the number-one biblical issue is judges. And on those two things alone you got all the information you need to be able to vote.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Later in the <a href="">discussion</a>, Barton insisted that we are not to hold our&nbsp;civil leaders to the same standards as our&nbsp;religious leaders and that the Bible actually lays out the different qualifications for&nbsp;each. Barton cited Exodus 18:21 as God's&nbsp;standard that voters are&nbsp;to use for choosing political leaders:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"><span id="en-NIV-2021">But select capable men from all the people&mdash;men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain&mdash;and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.</span></p> <p>Trump obviously does not meet these qualifications in any way, but Barton is going to vote&nbsp;for him anyway &ndash; and tell other Christians it is their duty to do the same. &nbsp;</p> Peter Montgomery 2016 Candidates American Family Association David Barton Donald Trump Election 2016 Supreme Court Fair and Just Courts Fighting the Right 74621 Thu, 02 Jun 2016 16:26:59 -0400 Supreme Court Larry Pratt: If Conservatives Lose The Supreme Court, We May 'Have To Resort To The Bullet Box' <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="1200" height="800" alt="" src="" /> <p>Larry Pratt, the executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America, said on his &ldquo;<a href="">Gun Owners News Hour</a>&rdquo; radio program this weekend that if a Democrat wins the White House and the Supreme Court starts issuing decisions in favor of gun regulations, conservatives may turn to the &ldquo;bullet box&rdquo; to rectify the situation.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Pratt was interviewing Robert Knight, a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, who warned that &ldquo;if a liberal Democrat is elected president, then there goes the Supreme Court, it could be two, three, four justices, and I think the Second Amendment would be in great peril if that happens.&rdquo;</p> <p>Pratt responded that if such a court interprets the Constitution in ways that conservatives don&rsquo;t like, they may have to restore &ldquo;proper constitutional balance&rdquo; through the &ldquo;bullet box&rdquo;:</p> <blockquote> <p>And at that point, we would have to come to an understanding, which we&rsquo;ve been sort of taught, it&rsquo;s been taught out of us, that the courts do not have the last word on what the Constitution is. They decide particular cases, they don&rsquo;t make law. Their decisions, unlike the Roe v. Wade usurpation, don&rsquo;t extend to the whole of society, they&rsquo;re not supposed to. And we may have to reassert that proper constitutional balance, and it may not be pretty. So, I&rsquo;d much rather have an election where we solve this matter at the ballot box than have to resort to the bullet box.</p> </blockquote> <p>Knight responded: &ldquo;Well, there&rsquo;s impeachment, too.&rdquo;</p> <p>Pratt has previously hinted at his willingness to use violence against Supreme Court justices with whom he disagrees, issuing a warning to Merrick Garland, President Obama&rsquo;s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, saying that &ldquo;<a href="" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link">the Second Amendment is all about people like Judge Garland</a>.&rdquo;</p> Miranda Blue American Civil Rights Union C4 Election 2016 gun lobby Gun Owners of America Larry Pratt Robert Knight Supreme Court Fighting the Right 74441 Tue, 31 May 2016 13:36:42 -0400 Supreme Court RNC Faith Liaison: Supreme Court Will Bring Religious Right Voters To Trump <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>The Republican Party&rsquo;s faith outreach director, former South Carolina GOP chair <a href="">Chad Connelly</a>, <a href="">says</a> conservative Christians will vote for Donald Trump based on the future of the Supreme Court.</p> <p>The biggest thing on evangelicals&rsquo; minds, I think, is the fact that we&rsquo;re gonna be looking at a Supreme Court that could be vastly different going forward. And electing somebody like Hillary Clinton, who is obviously biased against the things that most evangelicals, Christians believe in, would be disastrous for religious liberty, for property rights, gun rights, religious freedom and stuff like that. I think it&rsquo;s gonna settle out just fine and our folks will go our way.</p> <p><a href="">Connelly told CBN&rsquo;s Heather Sells</a> that his friends and fellow church members had been split among Republican candidates, but that voters have now &ldquo;given us two choices.&rdquo; Trump&rsquo;s plans to meet with Religious Right leaders and activists next month are, said Connelly, a sign that Trump knows you &ldquo;don&rsquo;t leave anybody out, especially not the base.&rdquo;</p> <p>Connelly travels the country encouraging pastors to register their congregants to vote and convince them to cast ballots based on a &ldquo;biblical worldview.&rdquo; Like speakers at virtually every Religious Right gathering, he said that what&rsquo;s happened to the country &ldquo;is literally our fault&rdquo; because pastors haven&rsquo;t preached aggressively enough. &ldquo;Voting is not political,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s spiritual. It&rsquo;s our witness and testimony to the community of what we believe in.&rdquo;</p> <p>He said he doesn&rsquo;t think conservative pastors going to sit on the sidelines any more. He tells pastors, &ldquo;Get your people registered and talk to them about the issues of the day and then make sure they go vote those issues in the voting booth.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>I spoke at a church&hellip;not long ago where the pastor kind of apologized to his congregation before he introduced me. He said he&rsquo;d been preaching for 39 years and had never tried to connect the dots of the things going on with biblical worldview, and he said, &ldquo;that&rsquo;s gonna change.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Asked whether Trump should apologize to Latino Christians who have been offended by his rhetoric, Connelly said, &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll leave his campaign decisions to him&rdquo; and pivoted back to the Supreme Court.</p> <blockquote> <p>I&rsquo;ve been with Latino and African American and Anglo pastors all over the nation and they see this Supreme Court deal as a very big thing. You know the next president&rsquo;s gonna probably appoint two, maybe three, and potentially four Supreme Court justices. That&rsquo;s a 50-year decision for Christians out there.</p> </blockquote> <p>To those conservative Christians who aren&rsquo;t happy with their choices, Connelly says, &ldquo;no man&rsquo;s perfect.&rdquo; But he says that people who are upset about Planned Parenthood and &ldquo;judges rewriting God&rsquo;s definition of marriage&rdquo; should realize that &ldquo;the Republican Party is the natural home for people of faith.&rdquo;</p> <p>Says Connelly, &ldquo;I mean, let&rsquo;s face may be 100 years before the&nbsp;other party swings back and pays any attention to Christian values and biblical values like you and I care about.&rdquo;</p> <p>Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd <a href="http://http/">also cited the Supreme Court</a> in defending his decision to meet with Trump in June:</p> <blockquote> <p><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">This election is about who will appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices. This election is about the dignity of human life from the womb to the tomb. This election is about the most significant religious freedom concerns in American history. I'm not about to sit at home on Election Day because I'm accountable to God and, I believe, I am accountable to my fellow Americans to vote. This is why I am meeting with Donald Trump, and why I would be willing to also meet with Hillary Clinton.</span></p> </blockquote> Peter Montgomery 2012 Candidates Chad Connelly Donald Trump Election 2012 Marriage Equality Religious Liberty Republican Party Ronnie Floyd SCOTUS Southern Baptist Convention Supreme Court Fair and Just Courts Fighting the Right Religious Liberty 74361 Thu, 26 May 2016 17:34:24 -0400 Supreme Court The Garland Effect Continues To Haunt Senate Republicans <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>North Carolina Senator Richard Burr is the latest Republican Senator to face a spate of terrible poll numbers, in part based on the unprecedented obstruction of Merrick Garland&rsquo;s Supreme Court nomination.</p> <p>A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina <a href="">finds</a> that &ldquo;Burr's lead is just 3 points at 39% to 36% for [Democratic candidate] Deborah Ross, and 8% for Libertarian Sean Haugh.&rdquo; Furthermore, &ldquo;Burr continues to be pretty unpopular with only 28% of voters approving of the job he's doing to 40% who disapprove.&rdquo;</p> <p>Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley&rsquo;s decision not to do their jobs and hold hearing for Merrick Garland are acting like an anchor around Burr&rsquo;s poll numbers in the state.</p> <p>PPP notes:</p> <blockquote> <p>One issue that's shaping up to cause trouble for Burr right now is that of the vacant Supreme Court seat. 58% of voters in the state think Merrick Garland deserves confirmation hearings for his nomination to the Court, compared to only 24% of voters who are opposed to that. By a 17 point margin voters say they're less likely to vote for a Senator who is opposed to hearings- only 25% say that stance would make them more inclined to vote for their Senator, compared to 42% who say that would make them less likely to.</p> </blockquote> <p>Burr is just the latest Republican Senate candidate to face electoral peril stemming from his caucus&rsquo;s acquiescence to their leadership&rsquo;s obstructionist strategy.</p> <p>At the beginning of May, <a href="">we pointed to</a> the myriad of sinking poll numbers and electoral prospects of a number of Republican senators. Now Richard Burr can add his name to a list that includes Rob Portman (OH), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Ron Johnson (WI), Pat Toomey (PA), and even John McCain (AZ) whose reelection chances have been harmed by the GOP&rsquo;s Supreme Court obstruction.</p> <p>Grassley has been<a href=""> hurt by the obstruction campaign as well </a>,with his&nbsp;approval&nbsp;rating&nbsp;in his home state falling to just 47 percent.</p> <p>For Mitch McConnell, this strategy was premised on the theory that the punishment from the conservative base of the Republican Party if Garland were confirmed to the court would be greater than the penalty from the electorate at large for not taking any action on President Obama&rsquo;s appointment.</p> <p>This latest polling suggests that if Republicans continue their intransigence, it will cost them their Senate Majority, and McConnell his present leadership role.</p> <p>At the beginning of the month we <a href="">stated</a>, &ldquo;If McConnell doesn&rsquo;t reverse course soon and begin confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland soon, the question will be how many Senate seats he is willing to&nbsp;sacrifice to placate his party&rsquo;s far-right flank.&rdquo;</p> <p>Now that number is six and counting.</p> Ari Rabin-Havt C4 Merrick Garland richard burr Supreme Court Fair and Just Courts 74271 Wed, 25 May 2016 15:06:37 -0400 Supreme Court Steve Deace: Conservatives Using Supreme Court As 'Fig Leaf' As They 'Sell Their Souls' To Trump <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>After Donald Trump <a href="">released a list of 11 people</a> he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, some conservatives who had been wary of supporting the presumptive GOP nominee began <a href="">using it as an excuse to rally behind him</a>. But <a href="">not all of Trump&rsquo;s conservative critics are convinced</a> that he would actually pick from the judges on his list, many of whom were <a href=""> hand-picked by the conservative Heritage Society</a>.</p> <p>Among the skeptics is Steve Deace, the conservative Iowa talk radio host and <a href="">vocal Trump critic</a>, who <a href=""> said on his radio program yesterday </a> that he did not believe Trump would actually nominate any of those judges when push comes to shove and that conservative activists are just using the Supreme Court list as a &ldquo;fig leaf&rdquo; as they &ldquo;sell their souls&rdquo; to Trump.</p> <p>Deace&rsquo;s guest, Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review, predicted that Senate Democrats would never allow the confirmation of &ldquo;a true originalist in the mold of Clarence Thomas&rdquo; and that Trump would end up compromising on his court picks.</p> <p>Deace agreed. &ldquo;Why does anybody believe, anybody, unless they just want to be deceived, why does anybody believe that he would follow through on any of those things?&rdquo; he asked.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is being done to offer a fig leaf to give conservative leaders and conservative voters who supported Ted Cruz permission to cross over and to say &lsquo;We can now vote for Trump,&rsquo;&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And they have plausible deniability, if he doesn&rsquo;t nominate any of those guys, then they&rsquo;re victims later on, &lsquo;Well, we went with his words, we had no other alternative, there&rsquo;s nothing else we could do, we didn&rsquo;t want Hillary to win, it&rsquo;s all on his head.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s what this is. It&rsquo;s nothing more, nothing less, than a fig leaf to give Ted Cruz&rsquo;s conservative infrastructure permission to sell their souls and to bow the knee and kneel before Zod.&rdquo;</p> <p align="center"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> Miranda Blue C4 Donald Trump Election 2016 Iowa judicial nominations Steve Deace Supreme Court Fighting the Right 74061 Fri, 20 May 2016 12:08:17 -0400 Supreme Court Rick Perry: Back Trump Because Of The Supreme Court <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="800" height="531" alt="" src="" /> <p>Yesterday, Breitbart legal editor and former Family Research Council official Ken Klukowski guest-hosted the FRC&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="">Washington Watch</a>&rdquo; radio program, where he interviewed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell about the presidential election and the future of the Supreme Court.</p> <p>Both Perry and Blackwell urged listeners to get behind Donald Trump, saying that while potential Trump nominees to the bench would emulate the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a Democratic president like Hillary Clinton would nominate more people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.</p> <p>When Klukowski asked Perry, who attacked Trump as an <a href="">unchristian</a> <a href="">demagogue</a> before <a href="">endorsing him</a>, to &ldquo;make the case for Mr. Trump,&rdquo; Perry replied: &ldquo;Let me make it as a simple as I can. Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump. Supreme Court appointment.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;This isn&rsquo;t about just the next four years,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;as a matter of fact, it&rsquo;s not about the next eight years, if we were to have a candidate that won successive terms. This is about the next 40 or 50 years because of those Supreme Court appointments. Listen, Hillary Clinton, we know exactly what she&rsquo;s going to appoint, she&rsquo;s going to appoint an individual, a raging liberal, an individual that keeps the left happy.&rdquo;</p> <p>He said that no matter how Clinton governs, &ldquo;we know what she&rsquo;s going to do on the Supreme Court&rdquo; since the &ldquo;activists in the Democratic Party, they&rsquo;re going to force an individual upon this country through that presidential appointment of the Supreme Court of the most absolute radical, making laws from the bench, as you can imagine.&rdquo;</p> <p>Klukowski said Clinton &ldquo;wouldn&rsquo;t need any forcing&rdquo; to make such an appointment, &ldquo;she&rsquo;d be leading the charge, they&rsquo;d be chasing to catch up in terms of getting a committed liberal like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another one of those on the Supreme Court.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Or [Sonia] Sotomayor, I think Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s appointments to the Supreme Court would make those individuals look almost moderate,&rdquo; Perry said.</p> <p align="center"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state and a vocal conservative activist, said voters in the presidential election will determine &ldquo;the direction of the Supreme Court.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;If they choose Hillary Clinton, we know what they will get: an expansion of abortion rights, more stringent gun control laws, a vanishing capital punishment, a continued attack on religious liberty,&rdquo; he warned.</p> <p>Praising the <a href="">list of potential high court nominees</a> Trump released yesterday, Klukowski said that several jurists on the list are &ldquo;some of the most conservative judges in the country&rdquo; while &ldquo;all of them are conservative of one stripe or another.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;When you&rsquo;re voting for the president, you&rsquo;re also going to be voting for the U.S. Supreme Court,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p>Blackwell said that in this election, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the courts, stupid.&rdquo;</p> <p align="center"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> Brian Tashman C4 Donald Trump Election 2016 Ken Blackwell Ken Klukowski Rick Perry Supreme Court Fighting the Right 74031 Thu, 19 May 2016 16:45:51 -0400 Supreme Court House GOP Attempts To Strip LGBT Workforce Protections <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="800" height="536" alt="" src="" /> <p>Over and over again, we have heard about <a href="">the supposed demise of the Religious Right</a> and <a href="">how the Republican Party will stop focusing on issues like LGBT equality and abortion rights</a>, especially in the age of Donald Trump.</p> <p>As Ari <a href="">noted last week</a>, these claims come at a time when women&rsquo;s &ldquo;access to birth control is still a matter of public debate and gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals can still face discrimination across wide swaths of our country in the workplace, in housing, and even when attempting to access basic services.&rdquo;</p> <p>Trump, the candidate <a href="">hailed</a> <a href="">by</a> <a href="">some</a> <a href="">pundits</a> for minimizing such social issues, just put out a list of <a href="">anti-abortion</a>, <a href="">anti-LGBT</a>, <a href="">ultraconservative jurists</a> he would pick from when choosing his Supreme Court nominees.</p> <p>The release of the list comes after <a href="">Trump has made repeated vows </a>to use the judicial nomination process to <a href="">challenge the Roe v. Wade and Obergefell rulings</a>, the landmark decisions on abortion and marriage equality, respectively.</p> <p>Indeed, anyone paying attention to the actions of House Republicans over the last few days can see that the party is still committed to undermining LGBT rights.</p> <p>&ldquo;During debate on a military spending bill, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to nullify a provision in a separate bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, that the House passed late Wednesday,&rdquo; Jennifer Bendery of the Huffington Post <a href="">writes </a>today. &ldquo;The provision opens the door to government contractors citing religious liberty as grounds for firing or harassing employees who are LGBT.&rdquo;</p> <p>When the amendment was on the verge of passing, GOP leaders convinced <a href="">seven Republicans</a> to switch their votes, successfully defeating the amendment by one vote. The Associated Press <a href="">reports</a>:</p> <blockquote> The vote was 213-212. President Barack Obama has issued an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., had offered an amendment to a spending bill that would have prohibited using taxpayer dollars to violate the order.<br /> <br /> The vote for Maloney&rsquo;s amendment peaked at 217, one short of the majority needed for passage, before it began a slow, sporadic decline. Members of the Republican whip team, whose job is to round up needed votes, were stalking the House chamber&rsquo;s aisles where GOP lawmakers seat, openly pleading for support.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Need two more votes,&rdquo; Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., one of the GOP whips, said loudly as he prowled among Republicans.</blockquote> <p>Russell was the same congressman who <a href="">introduced the anti-LGBT amendment</a> that, according to the Advocate, allows groups &ldquo;doing business with the U.S. government to fire or punish any employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity&rdquo; under the guise of religious freedom.</p> <p>Also this week, Oklahoma Republican lawmakers <a href="">passed &ldquo;a bill that would make it a felony to perform abortions&rdquo;</a> and Texas Republicans <a href="">expanded their already firm opposition to LGBT rights</a>.</p> <p>But remember, the culture wars are dead!</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">House Democrats shout &ldquo;shame&rdquo; at Republican colleagues after a vote on an LGBT amendment <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; POLITICO (@politico) <a href="">May 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script> Brian Tashman Anti-Abortion Anti-Gay C4 Donald Trump Steve Russell Supreme Court Fighting the Right 74001 Thu, 19 May 2016 14:35:08 -0400 Supreme Court Trump Releases Supreme Court List, Including Conservative Dream Justices <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>Donald Trump, faced with conservative jitters over whom he would name to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, has promised to release a list of names from which he would promise to pick nominees. Today, according to the Associated Press, he <a href="">released that list</a>.</p> <p>According to the Daily Beast, <a href="">all of Trump&rsquo;s 11 picks are white</a>. Just three are women.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s list includes two possible picks whom he has frequently mentioned on the campaign trail: federal appeals court judges William Pryor and Diane Sykes. It also includes three additional people whom <a href="" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link"> the Heritage Foundation recommended </a> for Supreme Court posts after Trump said he would consult with the conservative group on his list: Raymond Gruender and Steven Colloton, both federal appeals court judges, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willet.</p> <p>Also on Trump&rsquo;s list are Thomas Lee, a Utah Supreme Court justice and brother of Republican Sen. Mike Lee; Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, a <a href="">former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia</a>; David Stras, who serves on the Minnesota Supreme Court; and federal appeals court judges Thomas Hardman and Raymond Kethledge.</p> <p>It looks like Trump has, true to his promise, picked potential justices who would advance the conservative efforts to skew the federal courts far to the right. The libertarian publication Reason, for instance, has <a href="">gushed over Willett</a> for his willingness to overthrow government regulations.&nbsp;&nbsp;(Willett, for what it&rsquo;s worth, <a href="">does not seem to return Trump&rsquo;s admiration</a>.)</p> <p>We <a href="">profiled Pryor, Sykes and Colloton</a> last month:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>William H. Pryor</strong></p> <p>One possible Supreme Court nominee whom Trump has specifically praised is William H. Pryor, selected by President George W. Bush to be on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Formerly Alabama&rsquo;s attorney general, Pryor has a history of extreme right-wing activism, severely criticizing not just women&rsquo;s right to choose under Roe v. Wade but even the constitutionality of the New Deal.</p> <p>Pryor has called Roe the &ldquo;<a href="">worst abomination in the history of constitutional law</a>.&rdquo; He has <a href="" target="_blank"> claimed </a> that with the New Deal and other measures, the U.S. has &ldquo;strayed too far in the expansion of the federal government,&rdquo; and asserted that it &ldquo;should not be in the business of public education nor the control of street crime.&rdquo; As a judge, he has helped <a href="" target="_blank">uphold a restrictive Georgia voter ID law</a> and joined just one other judge on the 11th Circuit in claiming that &ldquo;racially disparate effects&rdquo; <a href="" target="_blank">should not be enough</a> to prove a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, even though the Supreme Court has ruled precisely the opposite.</p> <p>Pryor <a href="" target="_blank">came first on a wish list</a> of Supreme Court picks that the Heritage Foundation published shortly after Trump promised to consult them before naming justices.</p> <p><strong>Diane Sykes</strong></p> <p>Trump has also repeatedly named Diane Sykes, a Seventh Circuit federal appeals court judge appointed by President George W. Bush, as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Sykes, who previously served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and a trial court, has also won high praise from <a href="">the Heritage Foundation</a> and <a href="" target="_blank"> from right-wing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. </a></p> <p>In a series of dissents, Sykes has argued in favor of big business and against consumers and discrimination victims, including cases where she <a href="" target="_blank" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link"> tried to limit corporate liability for product defects and overturn a $1 million damages award</a>, to protect a corporation from having to defend against an employee&rsquo;s claim of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to <a href="" target="_blank"> reverse a $3.5 million bad faith judgment in favor of a Lutheran church against its insurance company</a>.</p> <p>She showed her anti-reproductive-choice views in providing a lenient sentence to two anti-abortion protesters who had to be forcibly removed from blocking the entrance to a Milwaukee abortion clinic and had previously been arrested 100 times for such offenses; Sykes nevertheless <a href="" target="_blank">praised them</a> for their &ldquo;fine character&rdquo; and expressed &ldquo;respect&rdquo; for the &ldquo;ultimate goals&rdquo; the blockade &ldquo;sought to achieve.&rdquo;</p> <p><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">She<a href=""> asserted in dissent</a> that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld even though there was extensive evidence that one of the jurors did not understand English (including a statement from the juror himself), which disqualified him from serving on a jury under Wisconsin law;&nbsp;</span>that a <a href="">prosecutor should be immune</a> from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years; and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that <a href="">the law itself could well be unconstitutional</a>, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted <a href=""> in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law </a> and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition <a href=""> despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation</a>, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.</p> <p>She asserted in dissent that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld <a href="" target="_blank">even though one of the jurors did not understand English</a>, that a <a href="" target="_blank"> prosecutor should be immune </a> from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years, and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that <a href="" target="_blank">the law itself could well be unconstitutional</a>, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted <a href="" target="_blank"> in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law </a> and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition <a href="" target="_blank"> despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation</a>, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.</p> <p><strong>Steven Colloton</strong></p> <p>The third name on <a href="" target="_blank">Heritage&rsquo;s list</a> of possible Supreme Court nominees is Judge Steven Colloton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, after previous service for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and as a U.S. attorney.</p> <p>Colloton has been at the forefront of a number of troubling Eighth Circuit rulings, including writing decisions that <a href="" target="_blank">reversed an $8.1 million award</a> to whistleblowers who helped bring a defective pricing and kickback claim against a large corporation and <a href="" target="_blank">a nearly $19 million class action judgment</a> against Tyson Foods for violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. He also <a href="" target="_blank">joined a ruling</a> making the Eighth Circuit the only appellate court in the country that found that the Obama administration&rsquo;s efforts to accommodate religious universities and other religious nonprofit objectors to the provision of contraceptive coverage under the ACA was insufficient, an issue n <a href="" target="_blank"> ow being considered by the Supreme Court</a>.</p> <p>Even more troubling, Colloton has dissented from a number of Eighth Circuit rulings that have upheld the rights of employees, consumers and others against big business and government agencies. He dissented from a decision giving African-American shoppers the opportunity to prove discrimination claims against a large department store, and then <a href="" target="_blank"> saw his view prevail </a> by one vote when the full Eighth Circuit reheard the case. In another case, he dissented from a decision finding that a city <a href="" target="_blank">had violated the Voting Rights Act</a> by improperly diluting the voting strength of Native Americans.</p> <p>Colloton dissented from rulings that <a href="" target="_blank">gave individuals a chance to prove claims of use of excessive force</a> and, in one case, that <a href="" target="_blank"> a city&rsquo;s policy to use police dogs to bite and hold suspects </a> without any warning was unconstitutional. In <a href="" target="_blank">three</a>&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">separate</a> <a href="" target="_blank">cases</a>, he dissented from decisions that employees should at least get the chance to prove in court that their employers retaliated against them for filing sex harassment, age discrimination, or other discrimination claims. In two more decisions, he&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">argued</a> <a href="" target="_blank">in dissent</a> that public employees should not have the opportunity to prove that they were retaliated against for speaking out in violation of their First Amendment rights. Yet he <a href="" target="_blank">also claimed</a> in a dissent that the First Amendment rights of a candidate for state supreme court justice were violated by a state judicial code of conduct restricting solicitation and other campaign activity in order to promote judicial impartiality and ethical conduct by judges. Even the conservative Roberts Court that decided the Citizens United case has agreed that these concerns <a href="" target="_blank"> justify solicitation restrictions in state supreme court elections</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p><em>This post has been updated to clarify the circumstances of a case in which Sykes asserted in a dissent that a jury verdict should have been upheld despite evidence that one juror was disqualified from serving.</em></p> Miranda Blue C4 Donald Trump Election 2016 Heritage Foundation judicial nominations Supreme Court Fighting the Right 73936 Wed, 18 May 2016 14:46:10 -0400 Supreme Court Ted Nugent Fantasizes About Hillary Clinton Being Shot; GOP Still Wants His Org To Vet Supreme Court Nominees <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="876" height="493" alt="" src="" /> <p>Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the Senate won&rsquo;t confirm any Supreme Court nominee <a href=""> unless that nominee has the support of the National Rifle Association</a>, which has been <a href="">stretching the truth</a> in its efforts to oppose the nomination of Merrick Garland.</p> <p>The absurdity of this position was reinforced yesterday when, <a href=""> as Media Matters reported</a>, NRA board member and perpetual loose cannon Ted Nugent posted on his Facebook page a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot, with the caption &ldquo;I got your guncontrol right here bitch!&rdquo;</p> <p align="center"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="329" scrolling="no" src="" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="500"></iframe></p> <p>This is who McConnell wants in charge of vetting Supreme Court justices?</p> <p>This sort of gleeful violence is nothing new to Nugent, who in a 2007 onstage rant <a href=""> relished the prospect of killing Clinton and then-candidate Obama</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Decked out in full-on camouflage hunting gear, Nugent wielded two machine guns while raging, "Obama, he's a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary," he continued. "You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch." Nugent summed up his eloquent speech by screaming "freedom!"</p> </blockquote> <p>Earlier this year, Nugent engaged in a <a href="">week-long anti-Semitic meltdown</a>, including <a href="" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link"> posting a Facebook meme </a> alleging that Jewish politicians and activists are &ldquo;behind gun control.&rdquo;</p> <p>Stunningly, there seems to be no organized effort within the NRA to fire Nugent, even as some NRA members have been&nbsp;<a href="">waging a</a> <a href="">campaign</a> to oust anti-tax activist Grover Norquist from the organization&rsquo;s board because they claim he is a Muslim Brotherhood agent.</p> <p>Nugent, not surprisingly, is <a href="">enthusiastically backing Donald Trump</a> in the presidential race.</p> <p>So, Senate Republicans are refusing to so much as hold a hearing on Garland&rsquo;s nomination <a href=""> in the hope that Trump will become president </a> and nominate someone who has been approved by Nugent and his organization? Sounds reasonable.</p> Miranda Blue C4 Election 2016 gun lobby judicial nominations National Rifle Association Supreme Court Ted Nugent Fighting the Right 73576 Wed, 11 May 2016 11:29:11 -0400 Supreme Court GOP Senator Disputes 'People Ought To Decide' Message On Supreme Court Blockade <p>About an hour after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia was confirmed in February, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell <a href="">shaped the tone</a> of his party&rsquo;s refusal to consider any person President Obama would nominate for the open seat on the court.</p> <p>&ldquo;The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,&rdquo; McConnell said in a statement. &ldquo;Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.&rdquo;</p> <p>The message that not allowing a popularly elected president to fulfill his official duties by nominating a Supreme Court justice was somehow letting the American people &ldquo;have a voice&rdquo; in the process <a href="">became the rallying cry</a> of Senate Republicans <a href=""> and the advocacy groups supporting them</a>.</p> <p>Occasionally, however, conservatives would slip from such messaging and reveal<a href="">the</a><a href="">real</a> <a href="">reason</a> Republicans are trying to block any consideration of a Supreme Court nominee: partisan politics.</p> <p>Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who supports the party&rsquo;s blockade but has never quite got on board with the party&rsquo;s messaging, said soon after Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland &mdash; who in any other time would be a decidedly consensus choice &mdash; that the Senate <a href=""> should confirm Garland in the lame duck session </a> if a Democrat wins the presidency in November, thus averting the risk of having the next president pick a justice who is less appealing to Republicans.</p> <p>Flake <a href="">made a similar argument</a> in an <a href="">interview on Meet the Press</a> on Sunday, saying that at least for him the &ldquo;principle&rdquo; in question was never &ldquo;that the people ought to decide before the next election&rdquo; but that &ldquo;the principle is to have the most conservative, qualified jurist that we can have on the Supreme Court.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;If we come to a point, I&rsquo;ve said all along, where we&rsquo;re going to lose the election or we lose the election in November,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;then we ought to approve [Garland] quickly because I&rsquo;m certain that he&rsquo;ll be more conservative than a Hillary Clinton nomination come January.&rdquo;</p> <p align="center"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Of course, as Flake honestly points out, the point of the Senate GOP&rsquo;s blockade of Garland&rsquo;s nomination has never been a high-and-mighty matter of principle, but has instead been a high-stakes gamble that a Republican will win the White House and be able to fill Scalia&rsquo;s seat on the court. (Something that has become even more of a gamble now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for president.)</p> <p>Even the Judicial Crisis Network, the primary outside group working to support the GOP&rsquo;s Supreme Court blockade, has quietly moved away from <a href="">its original message</a> that Republicans were stalling proceedings because &ldquo;the American people should decide&rdquo; who the next Supreme Court justice should be.</p> <p>JCN&rsquo;s chief spokesperson, Carrie Severino, <a href=""> told the Washington Post </a> yesterday that her group still opposes a last-ditch confirmation of Garland. She didn&rsquo;t mention her group&rsquo;s previous &ldquo;people should decide&rdquo; message, instead framing it as a strategic political choice, predicting that if Hillary Clinton were to become president, she would simply renominate Garland because she would not realistically be able to get confirmation of a nominee who is &ldquo;more loud and proud and out there.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>"If the idea is that Hillary Clinton would pick a new nominee, I question whether that&rsquo;s something whether even her fellow Democrats want to see," she said. "I&rsquo;m already seeing Democrats in red states who are nervous about Garland; they're not going to be calmer if a new nominee is chosen who pushes more demographic buttons, or is more loud and proud and out there."</p> <p>Severino, whom Democrats are growing more familiar with as her group bombs their states with TV ads, insisted that the party would regret it if it responded to a Clinton victory by rejecting the overtures about Garland and pushing for a new "dream" nominee.</p> <p>"Unless they win 60 votes in the Senate, they'd be hard-pressed to get an Eric Holder confirmed," she said. "I don&rsquo;t think, at the end of day, they can confirm someone better from their perspective. And his tone and calm temperament means he&rsquo;d be better as a swing vote."</p> </blockquote> Miranda Blue C4 Carrie Severino Donald Trump Election 2016 Jeff Flake Judicial Crisis Network Supreme Court Fighting the Right 73531 Tue, 10 May 2016 14:31:17 -0400 Supreme Court Republicans' Self-Inflicted Disaster On The Supreme Court Keeps Getting Worse <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="605" height="328" alt="" src="" /> <p>Senate Republicans continue to hemorrhage support for their unprecedented decision to not hold any hearings on President Obama&rsquo;s Supreme Court nominee, with a new poll from <a href="">Public Policy Polling</a> finding that Americans continue to oppose the GOP&rsquo;s obstructionism.</p> <p>The poll, conducted for Americans United for Change between May 4 and 5, finds that 58 percent of voters believe that the &ldquo;vacant seat on the Supreme Court should be filled this year,&rdquo; and that 65 percent think the &ldquo;Senate should hold confirmation hearings for the nominee.&rdquo;</p> <p>Fifty percent of voters are less likely to vote for a senator who &ldquo;opposed having confirmation hearings,&rdquo; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the architects of the obstruction plan, has a mere 11-percent national approval rate.</p> <p>One reason the GOP&rsquo;s messaging on the court vacancy has continued to struggle has been the rise of Donald Trump. A majority of voters, 53 percent, according to the poll, &ldquo;do not trust Donald Trump to nominate a new Supreme Court justice.&rdquo;</p> <p align="center"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 528px;" /></p> Brian Tashman C4 Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Supreme Court Fighting the Right 73481 Tue, 10 May 2016 11:30:37 -0400 Supreme Court Priebus: 'Donald Trump Is Not Wanting To Rewrite The Platform' <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus attempted to reassure Republicans wary of supporting Donald Trump today, <a href="" title=" Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link"> telling conservative radio host Mike Gallagher </a> that Trump is &ldquo;not wanting to rewrite&rdquo; the party&rsquo;s platform and that the election comes down to &ldquo;a conservative Supreme Court for generations.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Number one, Donald Trump is not wanting to rewrite the platform, okay?&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s just not. So all that anxiety, just take it off the table. Not willing to do that. But, you know, get into that, tell people that, that you don&rsquo;t want to rewrite, you like, you appreciate and agree with the platform the way it is.&rdquo; (Trump has <a href="">explicitly said</a> that he would want to change the Republican platform on abortion.)</p> <p>&ldquo;Second thing is,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;I think that they ought to release however many names &mdash; five, 10 names &mdash; people that would make great Supreme Court justices, from which you&rsquo;re willing to choose a justice from. You know, something that the Federalist Society and the Heritage folks &mdash; you know, solid names that we can say, okay, this is what this is about. This is what this is about. It&rsquo;s about a conservative Supreme Court for generations.&rdquo;</p> <p>Trump has promised to <a href="">release a list</a> created with the help of the conservative Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society from which he will pick Supreme Court justices, but has yet to do so. Both organizations have been <a href=""> working to skew the courts far to the right</a>. As Ed Kilgore<a href=""> wrote</a> in New York magazine yesterday, &ldquo;conservative fears about Trump's lack of fidelity to their supreme value of limited government could lead to demands for truly radical Court nominees who embrace the idea that right-wing judicial activism is needed to restrain the executive and legislative branches alike.&rdquo;</p> <p>When Gallagher asked if he thought that Trump&rsquo;s campaign would actually release this promised list, Priebus replied that he didn&rsquo;t know &ldquo;where that&rsquo;s at,&rdquo; but &ldquo;I think they&rsquo;re open to it.&rdquo;</p> <p align="center"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> Miranda Blue C4 Donald Trump Election 2016 Reince Priebus republican national committee Supreme Court Fighting the Right 73436 Mon, 09 May 2016 13:15:08 -0400 Supreme Court Here We Go Again: Roy Moore Suspended For Defying Gay Marriage Rulings <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="960" height="638" alt="" src="" /> <p>On Friday, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was <a href="">suspended from his position</a> after being charged with violating judicial ethics in <a href="">his response</a> to federal court rulings on same-sex marriage.</p> <blockquote> Despite a ruling by a federal judge in Mobile making same-sex marriage legal in Alabama last year, and in the face of a United States Supreme Court ruling last year making its legality the law of the land, Moore instructed probate judges throughout Alabama to ignore those higher courts and to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.<br /> <br /> Moore's actions led the Southern Poverty Law Center to file complaints with the commission, which acts much in the same way as a grand jury. When it receives a complaint, the commission investigates and decides whether to forward charges to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.</blockquote> <p>This isn&rsquo;t the first time Moore has been in this situation.</p> <p>Back in 2003, he was removed from the office of chief justice for flouting a federal court ruling ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the courthouse rotunda.</p> <p>The episode turned Moore into a <a href="">martyr</a> in the eyes of right-wing activists, although his newfound celebrity wasn&rsquo;t enough to help his two unsuccessful campaigns for governor.</p> <p>But in 2012 Moore returned to the Alabama Supreme Court, where he was once again <a href="">lauded</a> by the Religious Right when he tried to block same-sex marriages from taking place in the state in defiance of the federal courts.</p> <p>Moore himself has likened the Supreme Court&rsquo;s marriage equality ruling to <a href="">Nazi oppression</a> and has <a href="">tapped</a> Liberty Counsel chairman <a href="">Mat Staver</a>, the Religious Right activist who used <a href="">bizarre legal arguments</a> to defend Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her unsuccessful attempt to flout the Supreme Court on marriage equality, to <a href="">represent </a>him in the case.</p> <p>Just as Staver <a href="">likened</a> <a href="">Davis</a> to victims of the Holocaust, expect him to turn Moore, once again, into a symbol of the supposed persecution of Christians in America.</p> <p>Indeed, far-right pastor Dave Daubenmire is already <a href="">planning to hold a rally </a>in Montgomery, Alabama, to support Moore and challenge the &ldquo;uncircumcised philistine of the federal court system.&rdquo;</p> <p>Moore&rsquo;s wife, Kayla Moore, who succeeded him in leading the Religious Right legal group Foundation for Moral Law, <a href="">posted a song</a> on her Facebook page yesterday comparing her husband to actual Christian martyrs.</p> <p align="center"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="537" scrolling="no" src="" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="500"></iframe></p> Brian Tashman Alabama C4 Liberty Counsel Marriage Equality Mat Staver religious persecution rhetoric Roy Moore Supreme Court Foundation for Moral Law Fighting the Right 73431 Mon, 09 May 2016 11:40:58 -0400 Supreme Court It’s Official: The Senate GOP Wants Donald Trump To Pick The Next Supreme Court Justice <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>When Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, the Senate GOP <a href="">quickly vowed</a> to keep his Supreme Court seat open until the next president takes office. They kept that vow even after President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, somebody whom Republicans had <a href="">previously praised</a> <a href=""> as a best-case scenario </a> for a nominee from a Democratic president.</p> <p>Now, after Ted Cruz dropped out of the Republican race last night, it&rsquo;s all but certain that the next president will be Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. We can assume that Senate Republicans aren&rsquo;t hoping that Clinton or Sanders will pick the next Supreme Court justice &mdash; which means that they are holding the seat open for Trump.</p> <p>Trump has attempted to reassure movement conservatives concerned about his potential Supreme Court picks that he will choose somebody <a href=""> from a list drawn up by the conservative Heritage Foundation </a> , <a href=""> with input from the Federalist Society</a>. Those potential nominees <a href="">are bad enough</a> &mdash; but it's possible that Trump, who&nbsp;<a href=""> isn&rsquo;t known for keeping his promises</a>, couild pick someone even worse.</p> <p>However much Trump promises deference to the Heritage Foundation on the Supreme Court, the fact is that Senate Republicans are now hoping to hand over the nomination process to someone who <a href=""> believes the news he reads in the National Enquirer </a> , <a href="">chain emails</a><a href="">and racist Twitter feeds</a>; is an&nbsp;<a href="">enthusiastic birther conspiracy theorist</a>; and has <a href="">said that women should be punished</a> for seeking illegal abortions.</p> <p>Trump seems to lack even a basic understanding of how the legal system works,&nbsp;<a href="">saying that judges sign bills</a>, displaying<a href="">&nbsp;complete ignorance </a>of the central legal issue behind Roe v. Wade and opining that he would like to see the Obergefell marriage equality decision &ldquo;<a href="">unpassed</a>.&rdquo; Further showing his gravitas, he also <a href=""> engaged in right-wing conspiracy theories about Scalia&rsquo;s death</a>.</p> <p>Senate Republicans are refusing to even hold a hearing on Garland&rsquo;s nomination so that they can hold a Supreme Court seat open for months on end with the hope that Donald Trump will fill it. They have some explaining to do.</p> Miranda Blue C4 Donald Trump Election 2016 judicial nominations Supreme Court Fighting the Right 73206 Wed, 04 May 2016 11:11:35 -0400 Supreme Court GOP Taking Supreme Court Orders From Radical Gun Group <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>Among the groups pressuring Republicans in the Senate to continue their blockade of President Obama&rsquo;s Supreme Court nominee is Gun Owners of America, a gun lobby group that holds considerable sway on Capitol Hill despite its history of promoting wild conspiracy theories, frequent warnings to elected officials that they should fear assassination and deep ties to radical militia groups and white supremacists.</p> <p>GOA has circulated a <a href=""> petition </a> to its members claiming that Obama&rsquo;s nominee, Merrick Garland, &ldquo;would reverse your ability to own a gun&rdquo; and &ldquo;hates the Second Amendment,&rdquo; basing its claims on <a href="">exceedingly thin evidence</a>.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">While these attacks on Garland&rsquo;s record have been&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">widely</a><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">discredited</a><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">,&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">several</a><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">Republican</a><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">senators</a><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4px;">&nbsp;have pointed to the judge&rsquo;s supposed disrespect for the Second Amendment as a reason to oppose him.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">GOA&rsquo;s general counsel, Michael Hammond, brought these claims to an </span><a href="" style="line-height: 20.4px;">op-ed in USA Today</a><span style="line-height: 20.4px;"> on Sunday, which GOA </span><a href="" style="line-height: 20.4px;">followed up with a video</a><span style="line-height: 20.4px;"> claiming again that Garland &ldquo;hates the Second Amendment&rdquo; and that if he gets on the court &ldquo;good people will go to prison for exercising their constitutional rights.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">Obama&rsquo;s nomination of Garland, the video warns, is &ldquo;the most significant step in his sordid trail towards transforming our nation.&rdquo;</span></p> <p align="center"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>This paranoid and exaggerated language is typical of a group that has ties to the violent militia fringes of the Right and stays afloat by promoting conspiracy theories about various federal plots to snatch law-abiding people&rsquo;s guns.</p> <p>Tim Macy, the group&rsquo;s chairman and the head of a &ldquo;Second Amendment Coalition&rdquo; on Ted Cruz&rsquo;s presidential campaign, used similar rhetoric in March when he said that the Garland nomination was Obama&rsquo;s &ldquo;last-ditch effort&rdquo; to &ldquo;ruin the Second Amendment and destroy this country.&rdquo;</p> <p>The group&rsquo;s executive director, Larry Pratt, went even further when he <a href="">implied that Garland should fear assassination</a> if he displeases gun groups. &ldquo;Happily, the Second Amendment is all about people like Judge Garland, so there is a limit to how far he can go, I think,&rdquo; Pratt told radical radio host Rick Wiles.</p> <p>Pratt frequently makes similar comments. We <a href=""> wrote last year</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>In an interview last year, Pratt <a href="">said that being afraid of assassination</a> was &ldquo;a healthy fear&rdquo; for members of Congress to have, because that&rsquo;s what makes them &ldquo;behave.&rdquo; When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA&rsquo;s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear &ldquo; <a href="">the cartridge box</a>&rdquo; and accusing the congresswoman of being &ldquo; <a href="">foolish</a>&rdquo; and having &ldquo;<a href="">a hissy fit</a> .&rdquo; Later, he <a href="">boasted</a> that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are &ldquo;afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>On his weekly radio program last year, Pratt <a href="">said</a> that President Obama should learn from the example of Charles I, who was executed for treason in the 17th&nbsp;century:</p> <p align="center"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Pratt&rsquo;s view of the Second Amendment as a tool for a well-armed minority of insurrectionists to take on a government they disagree with comes straight from the fringe militia movement, which <a href="">Pratt helped shape in the 1990s</a>.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s not all. <a href="">According to the Southern Poverty Law Center</a>, &ldquo;In 1996, Pratt was forced to resign as co-chairman of Patrick J. Buchanan's presidential campaign when it was publicized that he had been a speaker at the 1992 Gathering of Christian Men in Estes Park, Colo., where he rubbed shoulders with neo-Nazis, Klansmen, adherents of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology, and other radicals.&rdquo;</p> <p>More recently, Pratt was a <a href=""> cheerleader for the armed militias </a> who staged a standoff with the federal government at Cliven Bundy&rsquo;s ranch in Nevada, saying that the incident came &ldquo;very close&rdquo; to provoking &ldquo;a civil war between the people and the government.&rdquo;</p> <p>In his role at the helm of GOA, Pratt is happy to stir up conspiracy theories and anti-government paranoia in an effort to turn his group&rsquo;s membership against any attempt at reasonable gun law reform.</p> <p>He has <a href="">humored</a> radical radio hosts who have suggested that the Sandy Hook school and Aurora movie theater massacres were inside jobs designed by the government.</p> <p>And, as we wrote last year, Pratt has plenty of conspiracy theories of his own:</p> <blockquote> <p>&hellip; He has claimed that <a href=""> Obama is building up a private security force </a> within the Department of Homeland Security <a href=""> to use for his own purposes </a> &ldquo;if he can&rsquo;t actually commandeer the military&rdquo;; warned that Obama will enlist undocumented immigrants into a private &ldquo; <a href="">Praetorian guard</a>&rdquo; and advise police officers to <a href=""> go after people with conservative bumper stickers </a> ; said Obamacare will ultimately &ldquo;<a href="">take away your guns</a>&rdquo;; feared Obama is stockpiling &ldquo;anti-personnel rounds&rdquo; because he &ldquo; <a href="">seems to view the American people as the enemy</a>&rdquo;; claimed that Obama &ldquo;<a href="">had to steal</a>&rdquo; the 2012 presidential election and even <a href=""> buys into the fringe birther theory </a> that holds that the president&rsquo;s &ldquo;real father&rdquo; was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis.</p> </blockquote> <p>Here is Pratt talking with fringe radio host Stan Solomon about <a href=""> the possibility that President Obama will start a race war</a>:</p> <p align="center"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>This is who the GOP wants to listen to on the Supreme Court?</p> Miranda Blue C4 gun lobby Gun Owners of America judicial nominations Larry Pratt michael hammond Supreme Court Ted Cruz Tim Macy Fighting the Right 73116 Tue, 03 May 2016 11:28:28 -0400 Supreme Court AUL: Stall Supreme Court Nominee To 'Roll Back Roe v. Wade' <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_teaser_astory" width="390" height="250" alt="" src="" /> <p>Anti-choice groups have <a href="">made no secret of the fact</a> that they are pressuring Senate Republicans to continue their blockade of President Obama&rsquo;s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in the hope that a Republican-nominated justice will vote to undo Roe v. Wade.</p> <p>Americans United for Life, the group that shapes the anti-choice movement&rsquo;s legal strategy, made this argument explicitly in an email today asking members to pressure their senators to keep up the blockade of Garland.</p> <p>Clarke Forsythe, the group&rsquo;s acting president, claims in the email that the &ldquo;only reason abortion advocates are pushing this nomination is to roll back the pro-life gains in courts and legislatures across the country&rdquo; and promises that &ldquo;the right Supreme Court&rdquo; will roll back Roe.</p> <p>AUL is one of <a href="">a number of anti-choice groups</a>, including the Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, Priests for Life, the clinic protest group Pro-Life Action League and David Daleiden&rsquo;s attorneys at Life Legal Defense Foundation, who have launched a website targeting Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, urging them to continue to stall Garland&rsquo;s nomination.</p> <p>Forsythe writes, under the subject line &ldquo;You Have the Power to Help Roll Back Roe v. Wade&rdquo;:</p> <blockquote> <p>Dear Friend,</p> <p><strong>Do you believe <em>Roe v. Wade</em> can be rolled back? At Americans United for Life, we know that the answer is YES &hellip; with the right Supreme Court. </strong></p> <p>For more than 40 years, we pro-life Americans have been working to overturn the destructiveness of <em>Roe v. Wade</em> and <em>Doe v. Bolton</em>, the twin cases that brought incredible devastation to mothers and their unborn children, making both vulnerable to the profiteering of a greedy abortion industry. <strong> With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court hangs in the balance today, making it vital that NO appointment to the high court occur until after the voters weigh in on Election Day. </strong> You can help make that happen.</p> <p>Please <u>click here</u> to contact your U.S. Senators, telling them to wait until after the election to deal with the opening on the Supreme Court.</p> <p>All that AUL has been working for since 1971 is at stake in President Obama&rsquo;s attempt to put a fifth pro-abortion justice on the Supreme Court. Don't let them crush democracy on the abortion issue for another two or three decades. No president has been more firmly committed to the abortion industry than Barack Obama, making his pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, the wrong choice to be added to the fragile balance in a fractured court.</p> <p>Please <u>click here</u> to contact your U.S. Senators now.</p> <p>Judge Garland is President Obama&rsquo;s pro-abortion pick to tempt some Republicans to act now to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. But it&rsquo;s important to remember that President Obama, Vice President Biden and even Sen. Chuck Schumer, <em>all</em> urged the Senate to hold the line against Supreme Court picks late in a president&rsquo;s term. <strong> The only reason abortion advocates are pushing this nomination is to roll back the pro-life gains in courts and legislatures across the country. </strong></p> <p>Please contact your Senators today, asking them to let Americans have a voice in deciding the future of the Supreme Court, through their choice of leadership. <u>Click here</u> to contact them now, and please forward this to friends and family so that we all can have a voice in whether all people are welcomed in life and protected in law.</p> <p>With so many Justices on the Supreme Court nearing retirement, the time is now to let your Senators know that it matters to you who sits on the nation&rsquo;s Supreme Court.</p> <p>Thank you for standing with Americans United for Life at this important time. We can make a difference.</p> <p>Sincerely,<br /> <br /> Clarke Forsythe,<br /> Acting President & Senior Counsel<br /> Americans United for Life</p> </blockquote> Miranda Blue Anti-Choice C4 Clarke Forsythe judicial nominations Reproductive Health Supreme Court Americans United for Life Fair and Just Courts Fighting the Right 72651 Thu, 21 Apr 2016 16:49:27 -0400 Supreme Court