Tag Archives: Supreme Court

America’s Oligarchy – The Tyranny of the Federal Judiciary

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Two key decisions rendered by the Federal Judiciary this week severely challenge not only the foundational institutions of our society, but the fundamental operation of our republic.

Judicial_Tyranny-New_Kings.pngThe U.S. Supreme Court announced this week that it opted to not hear appeals by five states regarding their traditional marriage laws. Utah, Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma all had laws on the books defining marriage as a contractual institution including a man and a woman that had been appealed to the Supreme Court from lower courts. The net effect is that judicial decisions at lower levels against those state laws will now stand, opening the way for same-sex marriages in those states.

The Supreme Court’s rationale to not hear the cases may well have been portended by Justice Antonin Scalia last month in Bozeman, MT when he said, “It’s not up to the courts to invent new minorities that get special protections that are not subject to the usual rule that you have to get the majority to agree with it.”

Even more disconcerting is the decision by three judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Idaho and Nevada’s laws supporting traditional marriage. A three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit, consisting of Judges Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter appointee from Los Angeles; Ronald M Gould, a Clinton appointee from Seattle; and Marsha S. Berzon, a Clinton appointee from San Francisco, struck down state laws reaffirming marriage between a man and a woman. Since the Supreme Court will not hear state’s appeals on the issue, same-sex marriage is a fait accompli not only for Idaho and Nevada, but inevitably in all 50 states.

tyranny3Our federal judiciary has become, arguably and disturbingly, an oligarchy. When they rule on the “constitutionality” of an issue it is assumed to be the final say in whether a vote of congress or the vote of the people via referendum or initiative is legitimized or annulled. This is not how the Supreme Court and its substrata of appellate courts were intended to operate, nor is it de facto the way it should be.

The federal judiciary, as it has evolved, has unchecked and unlimited power over the nation by either of the other branches, the executive or the legislative, or even the people. Its members are not accountable to the citizenry, since most of their appointments are for life, and they cannot be removed from the bench by a vote of the people they purportedly serve. Their ruminations and the results of their decisions are insular and they often trump the will of the people with regard to key social issues. Their decisions are presumed to be final, even though they may be at odds with the democratic majority of our citizens.

c2dc1f723d791ab0369b9fdaec38e810Herein lies the fundamental problem about the present construct of our federal judiciary as it has evolved since the founding. If, as stated in the 10th Amendment, all “rights and powers” not specifically itemized in the Constitution are held by the people collectively or by the states, what right does a court have to negate the will of the people? As it relates especially to key cultural issues like abortion, public religious displays, and definitions of marriage, should not the final court be the court of public opinion, rather than an oligarchy of judges insulated from, and not accountable to the citizenry? In most of these cases, state courts have ruled, and appeals are then made to the federal judiciary.

Thomas Jefferson portended this judicial despotism. “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.”

Justice Scalia said recently, “I question the propriety, indeed the sanity, of having a value-laden decision such as same-sex marriage made for the entire society by unelected judges.” That sentiment is echoed by Chief Justice John Roberts. “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules. They apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire,” he said. Clearly, though, the judiciary is doing just that, making the rules, when they essentially legislate from the bench.

According to Reuter’s research published in January, 2014, Democrat appointees to the federal bench are a slight majority, at 50.5% of the total federal judiciary. In their book “The Behavior of Federal Judges,” researchers Lee Epstein, William Landes, and Richard Posner, document how Democrat appointees rule on the bench more liberally than Republican appointees rule according to strict constructionist interpretations. Given that verity, and the growing majority of liberal judges in the federal judiciary, the continued unraveling of “democratic rule” by the federal judiciary in America is perhaps a forgone conclusion.

JudicialActivismJefferson clearly understood the system of checks and balances on the respective powers of the three branches of government. As he said in a letter to Abigail Adams in 1804, “The Constitution… meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” It has obviously become a despotic branch since it can overturn the will of the people as expressed even in referenda or initiatives.

Liberalism and progressivism have been able to successfully advance elements of their agenda through the judiciary that they have been unable to accomplish at the ballot box or through elected officials. Since federal judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, those positions should be recognized as the key to preserving the slight semblance of the American republic as envisioned by our founders. As it appears now, that vision is rapidly evaporating.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

Holder As a Supreme Court Justice? It Is Scary and It Is Plausible

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With the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, unquestionably the most activist – and most divisive – attorney general in the history of the country, everyone seems fixated on who will replace him, and rightly so. The position of nation’s “top cop” is one of extreme importance. As was witnessed with Mr. Holder’s tenure, a biased, activist and agenda-driven attorney general can tear at the fabric of our society. But while everyone seems pre-occupied with who his successor will be, the possibilities of Mr. Holder’s future is what has some forward-thinking people concerned.

If Pres. Obama is swift of feet – and with Valerie Jarrett as his task-master it is hard to believe that he won’t be, he will see his next nominee for US Attorney General fly through the Senate confirmation process. This will happen courtesy of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s manipulation of the confirmation vote process. Susan Ferrechio writes in The Washington Examiner:

“Democrat changes to the filibuster last year should give President Obama’s attorney general pick a gliding path through the Senate in the lame-duck session.

“Last November, Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid changed Senate rules so that nominations for Cabinet positions and most judicial posts needed only 51 votes, instead of the 60 that had been required. That means the person President Obama nominates to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder will not face a potential Republican filibuster.

“Lawmakers plan to return Nov. 12, and no matter who prevails in the Nov. 4 elections, Democrats will remain in the Senate majority until the end of the year. Democrats control 55 votes, while Republicans make up 45 of the chamber’s lawmakers.”

No doubt, We the People will have to suffer through two more years of an activist Department of Justice, one too pre-occupied with “social justice” to give a second thought to “justice for all” or “blind justice.” Of course, it is hard to imagine a more divisive social justice activist than Eric Holder. Nevertheless, I am sure the man – or woman – who takes the helm at the DoJ will provide adequate protection for the Obama Administration, just as Mr. Holder did.

The question now is this. What is Eric Holder going to do? Mr. Holder, as it the case with the total of the Obama Administration sans Joe Biden, is a young man in political terms. His has a long and influential future ahead of him as the first Black activist US Attorney General. My fear is that Mr. Obama may want to reward his political “bag man” with a nomination to the US Supreme Court. And while it is not a sure thing, it is a possibility.

New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait reports that while Progressives wish to see Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retire so that President Obama might seat another Progressive activist on the US Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg is none too fast to agree:

“If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court. [The Senate Republicans] took off the filibuster for lower federal court appointments, but it remains for this court. So anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided.”

Mr. Chait continues:

“The facts Ginsburg describes are true, but the conclusion she takes away from them is almost certainly wrong…

“It is true that Republicans retain the right to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee. They may use this power to restrain the president from nominating a particularly objectionable figure, as both parties have done in the past. But if they use it as a generalized blockade, stopping Obama from nominating any mainstream Democratic figure, then Senate Democrats would almost surely enact another rule change. If Senate Democrats won’t sit still for Republicans using the filibuster to take away Obama’s right to appoint a federal judge, they surely wouldn’t sit still as Republicans prevent Obama from filling a Supreme Court seat…”

To wit, it is not only possible, but plausible that Mr. Obama, at the insistence of Valerie Jarrett and the Chicago Progressive machine, could nominate his trusted social justice foot soldier – before the new Congress is convened – to his just reward as a candidate for the position of United States Supreme Court Justice. All they need to do is to move the arguably less radical Ruth Bader Ginsburg out of the way to usher in Eric Holder, who would unquestionably serve as the most radically ideological justice ever to serve on the court.

So, the ultimate question for those who honor the Constitution is this. What is to be done to defend against this scenario becoming a reality?

One avenue to travel is to execute an all-out assault on every incumbent Senate Democrat running for re-election; an assault that would send the message that should they agree to confirm Mr. Holder as a Supreme Court Justice, extremely well-funded recall campaigns will be launched in the most vicious of manners against each and every one of them.

Another avenue that could be traveled is to take a page out of the Texas Legislature’s Democrat handbook. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could instruct the total of the Senate Republicans to refuse to return to Washington, DC, after the 2014 Midterm Election in an effort to refuse Mr. Reid a quorum call. Of course, Mr. Reid being the slippery politician that he is might find a way around that.

But one solid avenue would be for Republicans to thoroughly examine the constitutionality of the idea of the impeachment of a United States Supreme Court Justice. Fortunately, there is a wee bit of latitude in the US Constitution for this measure.

Article III, Section 1 of the US Constitution states clearly:

“The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.” (Emphasis mine)

That Mr. Holder was found to be in Contempt of Congress during his tenure as the attorney general, it is fair to say that he exhibited “bad behavior” during that time. In accepting a nomination to the US Supreme Court – and assuming the Reid-led Senate would confirm him, he would be taking the Oath of Office as a US Supreme Court Justice under false pretenses, as his past performance proved beyond doubt that he repeatedly violated the US Constitution by ignoring equal justice under the law for all Americans.

None of these choices are optimal but each presents a possible solution. And each should be considered seriously. An Eric Holder nomination to the US Supreme Court would be a direct threat to the United States Constitution, and one we can ill-afford.

COS Proposes Bizarre Solution to rein in the U.S. Supreme Court

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Constitutional Convention advocates recommend a fundamental transformation of the U.S. Supreme Court by modeling it after the European International Court on Human Rights (ECHR).

Convention of the States National Director, Michael Farris recommends, “If the Supreme Court loves their national law, we’ll fix them this way.” Farris continues that we turn the Court into a 50-judge panel serving 8-year terms. This models the ECHR that appoints 46 judges; one for each member nations. Farris says that the Supreme Court reviews things on paper, because the “important stuff is done on paper anyway.” He continues, “If you don’t like their decision, you don’t like who they are, you get a new one.”

The ECHR can change national law through influencing change through “soft law”. According to University of Law, if national law conflicts with international law, the ECHR provides the ability for lawyers to pressure the national legislators to change their laws, aligning them with international law.
While we may not all agree with all the decisions of our highest Court, to fundamentally transform our U.S. Supreme Court into a system incapable of holding a sustained view and more difficult to overcome political pressure is certainly no improvement.

In other words, the rulings placed on the U.S. Supreme Court will change our laws to reflect international law…not constrain politicians and lawyers to the Constitution. The Supreme Court will become a token court, even more subjective to political pressures. Under the ECHR model, individuals, corporations, local, state and federal government brought before the court may in fact be even less constitutional.

Constructing a Supreme Court as such creates a roving system, making the U.S. Supreme Court extremely political. The courts authority will be wrapped in international bureaucracy and political framework and departs even farther from protecting individual rights and interpretation of the Constitution. This dilutes the balance of power, politicizes the U.S. Supreme Court and injects an international bureaucracy into our court system.

Exactly what the founders attempted to avoid.

Here are two questions that should be asked.

  • Why promote the European Court of Human Rights as the Supreme Court model for our justice system?
  • How does a roving Supreme Court justice system fix the problem of an overreaching government?
  • Supreme Court Prayer Ruling Protects Freedom of Religion and Speech

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    “Some desire to enthrone a rigid secularism as the state religion while suppressing all other views. In contrast, ordered liberty allows free expression for all.” — Mark Tooley, IRD President
    WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled today that legislative bodies such as city councils can begin their meetings with prayer.
    The court ruled 5 to 4 that Christian prayers given before meetings of the town council of Greece, New York did not violate the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of religion.
    IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
    “We can be grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court in ‘Greece v. Galloway’ upheld freedom of speech and religion by affirming the right of a town council to hear unrestricted prayer by local clergy. Kudos to groups like the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Becket Fund for their court briefs and advocacy.
    “Sadly, the court ruling was narrowly 5-4. And more religious groups should have actively spoken to the issue. Some actually filed briefs against the town council’s allowing unrestricted prayers.
    “Some desire to enthrone a rigid secularism as the state religion while suppressing all other views. In contrast, ordered liberty allows free expression for all. Religious freedom remains under attack, and all persons who cherish freedom of speech and religion should prepare for future battles.”

    Are You Smarter Than a Supreme Court Judge?

    Stevens’ idea for amending the Constitution is a loser, too.

    Stevens’ idea for amending the Constitution is a loser, too.

    April was not a good month for Americans that still believe the Supreme Court is a font of legal wisdom. Former Justice John Paul Stevens authored an Op–Ed in the WaPost proving you can be ignorant of history, blinded by ideology and confused regarding the plain meaning of words and still get to wear the black robe.

    Stevens’ essay was titled ‘The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment.’

    And no, Stevens’ five words weren’t “you can’t have a gun,” but that’s a good guess.

    He began his effort in problem–solving by using the left’s favorite technique: Use distorted statistics to shock the public and advance a disingenuous argument: “Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents.”

    That’s a big number. Almost as big as the total number of Americans killed each year in car crashes. What Stevens purposely leaves out is the fact that 19,392 — or six in ten — of those deaths were suicide!

    Once the suicide is removed from the total, it become obvious that riding in a car driven by a cell phone–wielding woman is much more dangerous than living in Virginia where people are allowed to carry guns openly. And cell phones aren’t protected by the Constitution.

    What Stevens should be calling for is federal suicide control. If Congress would stop listening to the mortuary lobby and pass an effective law banning suicide — or at least get the ball rolling by creating suicide–free zones (this alone would speed up Metro travel in DC) — we could eliminate almost two–thirds of the gun deaths overnight.

    The rest of the country could experience the safety and tranquility that residents of Detroit and Chicago currently enjoy in their gun–free cities. Once suicide is outlawed only criminals will kill themselves, surely a win–win.

    But suicide doesn’t generate much news coverage so publicity–seekers aren’t interested in this sensible step to prevent unnecessary death.

    Stevens contends the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment was ‘settled,’ much like global warming science, until the NRA went rogue. “For more than 200 years… federal judges uniformly understood that the right…was limited in two ways: First, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.”

    That’s accurate without being truthful, since for two centuries neither states nor the federal government were trying to ban types of weapons, restrict the sale of weapons or impose ownership restrictions. So who would file a suit to stop an infringement that didn’t exist?

    As for not imposing a limit on state or local governments, Stevens proves his knowledge of the Constitution is limited. If what he wrote is true then the Bill of Rights wouldn’t prevent states and cities from limiting speech, searching without a warrant and shutting down the newspaper if it criticized Barack Obama.

    Stevens then lurches from urging judges to butt out because, “Public policies concerning gun control should be decided by the voters’ elected representatives, not by federal judges.” To complaining that those same legislators aren’t doing enough to seize weapons from the law abiding in the wake of Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook.

    Before gracing us with his five–word prescription for domestic gun bliss, Stevens’ last contribution is to completely misrepresent the Bill of Rights and specifically the 2nd Amendment. He claims the amendment “was adopted to protect the states from federal interference with their power to ensure that their militias were “well regulated.” This is ludicrous on its face. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to protect individual rights and without those 10 amendments the Constitution would not have passed.

    The obvious plain language of the 2nd protects an individual right to own weapons, but that’s evidently too subtle for a retired Supreme Court justice.

    Then Stevens graces us with his solution: His amended amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

    If anything those five words would initiate an explosion of litigation.

    In Athens a citizen was subject to military service until age 60. I figure I can pull a trigger until well into my 90’s. Sixteen–year–olds often served in militias, too, so many underage restrictions go by the board, thanks to Stevens.

    As a serving militia member I will need my weapons at hand in case of a sudden call out. That makes militia members immune to any restrictions on carrying a firearm. I can carry in schools, courtrooms, national parks, football stadiums and even Toby Keith’s.

    Stevens evidently believes the same legislators who aren’t passing the gun laws he wants are suddenly going to come down hard on militias. Historically militias were locally based and locally run without interference or control from the state government.

    Each militia decided what weapons to carry, uniforms to wear, method of selecting officers and how often to meet. With Judge Stevens help you can think of the new militia as the Shriners with sidearms.

    And as for what weapons to carry, let’s look at the world’s best–known militia the Taliban. The Talibs have RPGs, fully automatic rifles, grenades, heavy machine guns and donkeys. Everything the well–equipped American militia member could want, except for the donkey.

    Stevens’ ‘solution’ removes age restrictions, expands the scope of weapons allowed for personal ownership and eliminates most geographic restrictions on where weapons can be carried. It’s the exact opposite of what Stevens wants, but not an unusual outcome for leftist social engineering.

    If it weren’t for those boring monthly militia meetings, I would support him 100 percent.

    U.S. Supreme Court Denies Rehearing On German Homeschooling Case

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    PURCELLVILLE, Va., March 3, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — On the morning of March 3, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied review in the appeal of Uwe and Hannelore Romeike after years of fighting for asylum in the American court system. The Romeikes are a German homeschool family who fled to the United States in 2008 to avoid losing custody of their children to the German government. According to Germany’s highest court, the German ban on homeschooling is designed to insure that religious homeschoolers do not become a “parallel society.”
    Michael Farris, Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association and lead counsel for the Romeikes in the appellate courts, said, “While this is the end of the line for normal legal appeals, we are not giving up.”
    The initial immigration judge hearing the case granted the Romeikes’ request for asylum in 2010 on religious freedom grounds.
    The Obama Administration appealed that decision and prevailed on two levels of appeals.
    Prior to today’s denial, the Supreme Court had ordered the United States Solicitor General to respond to the Romeike’s petition. The case had also been carried forward for one week on the Court’s conference schedule—normally a sign of some interest in the case by the Court.
    Describing HSLDA’s plans for the Romeikes, Farris said, “We will pursue changes to the asylum law in this country to insure that religious freedom is once again vigorously protected in our policy. I am just glad that the Pilgrims did not face this anti-religious policy when they landed at Plymouth Rock.
    “After all, the Pilgrims left England to find religious freedom, but they left Holland to find a place that was both safe for their children and which provided religious freedom,” Farris noted. “These are the very values which our nation today has decided to abandon.”

    Supreme Court Sits on German Homeschool Asylum Case

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    PURCELLVILLE, Va., Feb. 24, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — In an unexpected turn, the United States Supreme Court has apparently decided to continue thinking about Home School Legal Defense Association’s German homeschool asylum case, Romeike v. Holder. The case had been scheduled for review by the Court on Friday, February 21, 2014, and HSLDA expected to see the case on the Court’s order list today either granting or denying cert. However when the list was released at around 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 24, 2014, Romeike was missing.
    Michael Farris, HSLDA chairman and principal attorney for the family, was guarded but positive in his reaction to the Court’s action.
    “It’s not no,” he said. “And it’s not abnormal for the Court to hold over discussion of some cases from time to time. Sometimes they hold cases based on upcoming decisions. Or they may want more time to discuss the case. It’s impossible to know precisely what the Court is doing, but we remain hopeful.”
    In 2010, Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the Romeikes asylum, ruling that the United States should “be a place of refuge” for the family. But the Obama administration revoked that asylum in 2012. HSLDA appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld the administration’s position.
    HSLDA has been representing the family since they began their legal quest for asylum in 2008. When Uwe and Hannelore left Germany with their children, they were fleeing persecution in the form of crushing fines, loss of custody of their children, and criminal prosecution for homeschooling.
    The importance of the Romeike case is underscored by experience of another German family—the Wunderlichs. A family court judge in Darmstadt, Germany, has refused to return legal custody to the parents of the four children who are now attending public school by court order. The judge in that case cited German Supreme Court cases that have said that homeschooling endangers the welfare of children.
    HSLDA’s director of international relations said that this is what the Romeikes would face if the U.S. Supreme Court declines their case and they are sent back.
    “Germany persecutes homeschooling families under the color of law. German courts refuse to intervene,” Mike Donnelly said. “Even the European Court of Human Rights has declined relief. This is an important human rights issue where the United States Supreme Court’s voice is needed to uphold the fundamental notion that parents have a fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.”
    Hopeful that the Supreme Court will elect to hear the appeal, Farris affirmed HSLDA’s commitment to this family. “The Romeikes are modern day pilgrims,” he said. “We are determined to fight for their freedom until our last breath. There is no way I will stand by and see this family deported to Germany to be mistreated.”

    Roberts Rules Again…Poorly

    Now comes news that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has doubled down on his middle finger to the American citizenry by turning away – without comment, which the SCOTUS gets to do – an emergency stay request, filed by the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons and the Alliance for Natural Health USA, to block the implementation of Obamacare.

    In an almost ignored story, FOX News reports:

    “Chief Justice John Roberts turned away without comment Monday an emergency stay request from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. and the Alliance for Natural Health USA.

    “They asked the chief justice Friday to temporarily block the law, saying Congress had passed it incorrectly by starting it in the Senate instead of the House. Revenue-raising bills are supposed to originate in the lower chamber. They also wanted blocked doctor registration requirements they say will make it harder for independent non-Medicare physicians to treat Medicare-eligible patients.

    “Still pending is a decision on a temporary block on the law’s contraceptive coverage requirements, which was challenged by a group of nuns.”

    With an overwhelming number of Americans standing against the implementation of this law, an ever increasing realization of consequences that make the law he most expensive entitlement program ever launched, and the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional manipulation of the law’s provision via executive caveat, Chief Justice Roberts had a golden opportunity to rectify his atrocious ruling that allowed for this law to become binding to the American people. Again, Mr. Roberts has cheated the American people from the benefits of constitutional justice.

    Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution states clearly:

    “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills…”

    That The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) originated out of the US House of Representatives as the Service Members Home Ownership Act (HR3590), which has absolutely nothing – nothing – to do with health insurance mandates or so-called reforms. Per the Obama Administration’s own Justice Department rebuttal to a suit brought on the same subject by the Pacific Legal Foundation:

    “…attorneys for the Justice Department argue that the bill originated as House Resolution 3590, which was then called the Service Members Home Ownership Act. After passing the House, the bill was stripped in a process known as ‘gut and amend’ and replaced entirely with the contents of what became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    “Using HR3590 as a ‘shell bill’ may be inelegant, but it’s not unconstitutional, according to the government motion.”

    So, the Obama Administration admits that the bill was foisted on the American people disingenuously and nefariously, Justice Roberts ruled it a tax, and yet Roberts refuses to allow the Supreme Court to hear a case that examines and rules on the constitutionality of exactly the unconstitutional aspects everyone says exist.

    The big question is this. Why is Chief Justice John Roberts running interference for the Obama Progressives?

    Article III, Section 1 of the US Constitution states:

    “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

    One has to ask, with the caveat that Supreme Court Justices “shall hold their offices during good behaviour” we should all be asking – and asking our elected officials: What shall be done about Chief Justice Roberts; “bad behaviour”?

    Thomas More Society Petitions U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Autocam’s Obamacare Case

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    KENTWOOD, Mich., Oct. 15, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Today, the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, joined forces with Catholic Vote Legal Defense Fund and a Michigan law firm, to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review and reverse the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ recent decision, denying the claims of Autocam, an international automotive manufacturer, and its owners, that Obamacare’s so-called “HHS mandate” abridges their federal constitutional and statutory rights to the free exercise of their religious faith as well as other legal rights. John Kennedy, CEO of Michigan-based family-owned company, Autocam, joined the company as well as its other family owners to urge the Justices to rule that the government has no right to require that Autocam purchase group insurance coverage, providing its employees with morally objectionable contraceptives, including abortifacients (e.g., the so-called abortion pill, Plan B, and “Ella”), and sterilization.

    Kennedy and his children, Paul, John, Margaret, and Thomas Kennedy, all faithfully embrace the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that contraception, abortion, and sterilization are serious wrongs. The HHS mandate, therefore, forces these petitioners to flout their deeply held religious convictions and operate their company in a manner that they sincerely hold to constitute grave wrongdoing.

    Prior to the government’s implementation of the HHS mandate, Autocam had specifically designed a health insurance plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan to exclude contraception, sterilization, abortion, and abortion-inducing drugs, in full accord and harmony with its owners’ profound religious beliefs.

    “Forcing citizens to violate their conscientious religious beliefs makes a mockery of the very notion of religious freedom,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. “This cannot be tolerated in a society that professes to honor fundamental civil liberties.” Even apart from the constitutional rights to free exercise of religion and free speech, the company and its owners are also protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening the free exercise of religion, absent a compelling interest for doing so and then only by resort to the least burdensome means. But the petitioners for Supreme Court review contend that providing insurance for birth control or other products or services that are widely available and affordable hardly qualifies as a compelling interest, and that even if that interest were deemed compelling, the government could have opted to use other means — such as providing free contraceptives, abortifacients, or sterilizations free of charge, or subsidizing their cheap and easy accessibility for all those desiring them, without burdening or curtailing anybody else’s religious liberties.

    The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the lawsuit on the ground that conducting business for profit is somehow wholly divorced from the religious beliefs of the business or its owners and operators. But Brejcha criticizes this ruling as reflecting a crabbed and unduly narrow view of religion, confining it to the sacred space inside the four walls of houses of worship. He argues that that morals as well as money-making have a key role to play in the marketplace; that religious faith shapes, informs and sustains one’s morals; and that a robust or meaningful religious faith must be practiced as well as professed in every aspect of life. He concludes, “Indeed, our criminal laws demand that American businesses as well as their owners act in accord with myriad laws designed to serve the public welfare and the common good, rather than maximization of profits. People of faith must not be coerced to check their religious liberties at the door when they enter the commercial marketplace.”

    Read the Autocam petition filed with the United States Supreme Court here.

    German Homeschoolers Asylum: Home School Legal Defense petitions US Supreme Court

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    HSLDA_LogoPURCELLVILLE, Va., Oct. 10, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Today the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is filing a petition with the United States Supreme Court to hear Romeike v. Holder, the German homeschooling asylum case.

    In April 2013, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the Obama Administration’s revocation of asylum granted to the family in 2010.

    The original immigration judge, Lawrence O. Burman, granted the Romeike family asylum on January 26, 2010, under the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) because Germany’s national policy of suppressing homeschooling violated their religious faith and because German authorities were improperly motivated to suppress homeschoolers as a social group.

    In its ruling against the Romeikes, the Sixth Circuit rejected the judge’s findings, stating that Germany’s harsh treatment of homeschoolers did not amount to persecution and that the German authorities were not motivated by an improper purpose.

    HSLDA Chairman and principal author of the petition, Michael Farris, said that the Court should intervene for the sake of justice.

    “The United States should be a place of asylum for those who are persecuted because of their decision to follow their core religious beliefs,” he said.  “Parents, not the government, decide first how children are educated. Germany’s notorious persecution of families who homeschool violates their own obligations to uphold human rights standards and must end.”

    Farris argues that there is a clear split in the treatment of human rights standards among federal circuits and that there is confusion among the circuits about how to determine when a law that applies to everyone and doesn’t appear discriminatory can still be used to persecute certain groups.

    “In virtually all other circuits,” Farris said, “the Romeikes’ chances of success would have been decisively higher. But in this case, the Sixth Circuit created a new standard that dramatically departs from its own, as well as the Supreme Court’s, jurisprudence in U.S. asylum law. The Supreme Court needs to settle this area of law.”

    This case is important to HSLDA’s mission to advance freedom for persecuted homeschoolers, said Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly.

    “Germany’s clear violations of human rights standards in the area of homeschooling have been going on for over a decade,” he said. “German authorities recently seized the Wunderlich children and are prosecuting others — seeking outrageous jail terms — just because of homeschooling. Germany’s repression of homeschooling freedom is infecting other European nations and our country should send a message that the United States will provide a refuge for victims of persecution even from ostensibly free democratic countries like Germany.”

    Without minimizing the reality of physical persecution and other types of human rights violations in other countries, HSLDA argues that the imposition of crushing fines, seizure of children, and disproportionate criminal penalties over homeschooling amount to persecution. The brief argues that the German Supreme Court’s explicit approval for unequal treatment of homeschoolers for religious or philosophical reasons clearly violates human rights standards that the United States must recognize.

    The petition places considerable reliance on the statements of the highest courts in Germany that explain that the purpose of the repression of homeschoolers was to prevent “religious and philosophical minorities” from developing into “parallel societies.”

    Human rights standards make it plain that, although a nation may require compulsory attendance and may impose reasonable rules related to educational quality, no nation my exercise philosophical control over a child’s education contrary to the parent’s beliefs. “These human rights protections were written in response to Germany’s practices in the Nazi era,” Farris added. “It is impossible to distinguish the German desire for philosophical conformity today from that of the 1930s. Children do not belong to any government in any decade.”

    Evangelicals Swing Both Ways on Social Issues

    Obama Show Papers

    Obama Show PapersA significant proportion of the US population feels marginalized and suffers from perceived widespread disrespect. Their desires are discounted and in some instances actively discouraged by state, federal and local government. Families are either split or prevented from coming together, which results in children who are denied the benefits of a two–parent family. Circumstances beyond the control of these individuals have put them in the shadows, outside the mainstream of American society and at the mercy of an often cruel and heartless public.

    And that’s why Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Public Policy Center have both come out in support of homosexual marriage. As Daly said in an interview with Christianity Today, “What are the solutions to help get these families together, get them in a lawful state, one that can be recognized, and then move forward? I think that is a healthy situation for the country. Let’s get behind this, not play politics with it left or right and not fearmonger with it. These are people that need dignity. Even though in some cases they’ve broken the law, there’s always that heartfelt story out there where you just tear up looking at what they’re facing now. We need to do what’s humane.”

    No wait. That’s the quote Daly used in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. As of the time this post was written Focus and the Southern Baptists still oppose homosexual marriage. But can someone point out to me why their reasoning on illegal aliens doesn’t apply to homosexuals, too? Both groups have been in an unlawful relationship for a number of years and they want to either escape worldly consequences in one case and Biblical responsibility in the other.

    I know the Bible says welcome the stranger and not welcome the sodomite, but when you base your theology on feelings instead of Truth, there is no difference in the two situations. A plain reading of the Bible shows marriage is one man to one woman and homosexuality is prohibited — occasionally by fire and brimstone. And strangers are to be welcomed as individuals by individuals, but nowhere does it say stealth invasions in violation of the law are to be encouraged. In fact, I would challenge anyone to show me where in the Bible a law breaker or sinner is rewarded for his or her transgression?

    Or for that matter, where people are encouraged to emulate a class of law breakers in the future?

    The situation is simply not there. Illegals aren’t mentioned by name in either testament, but if we can’t apply observations or analogous situations from the Bible to modern life, then the book is dead and useless.

    Look at how similar both situations are. Both population groups feel put upon. Homosexuals and illegals want to come out of the shadows and gain the stamp of approval from government and society at large: A marriage license in one case and documentos de ciudadanía in the other.

    If Daly and my own Southern Baptist governing body are to be consistent, then they have to either support both or oppose both.

    Prior to the Supreme Court decision that branded people like me who oppose the perversion of God’s institution of marriage as hate–filled bigots, Daly and Focus helped to produce an e–book that contained five questions and answers about same sex marriage that outlined their opposition. The irony is the same questions and answers apply to illegal aliens, but they support legalizing them.

    Here are the questions and answers with the marriage–related in regular text and the illegal–related in boldface.

    1. Why does marriage matter to the government? Why do borders matter to the government?

    Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage ensures the well-being of children…Government recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for having and raising children. Borders protect citizens from the incursions of lawbreakers great and small and it makes sure the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship go to people who have earned it. Defending the borders is one of the principle responsibilities of government.

    2. What are the consequences of redefining marriage? What are the consequences of redefining citizenship?

    Redefining marriage would hurt children. Decades of social science-including very recent and robust studies-show that children do better when raised by a married mom and dad.

    Redefining marriage would further separate marriage from the needs of children. It would deny as a matter of policy the ideal that a child needs a mom and a dad. Redefining citizenship would hurt the rule of law. Separating citizenship from the responsibility to obey the law only encourages future disrespect for the law and future illegal immigration. Ideally law–abiding individuals make better citizens.

    3. Why do you want to interfere with love? Why can’t we just live and let live? Why do you want to interfere with ambition?

    Marriage laws don’t ban anything; they define marriage. Immigration law doesn’t ban ambition, it only defines where one is allowed to be ambitious.

    4. Isn’t denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry the same as a ban on interracial marriage? Aren’t immigration law supporters just using the law as an excuse for bigotry?

    No. Racism kept the races apart, and that is a bad thing. Marriage unites the two sexes, and that is a good thing. Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. No. Immigration law is color–blind, but it cannot be geography–blind. The fact that most illegal border crossers come from countries adjacent to the US does not make the enforcement of the law biased, no more than spraying for mosquitoes means you oppose flying.

    5. Why doesn’t government just get out of the marriage business altogether? Why doesn’t government get out of the employment verification business altogether?

    Marriage is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life…A study by the left-leaning Brookings Institution found that, between 1970 and 1996, $229 billion in welfare expenditures could be attributed to social problems related to the breakdown of marriage. A good job is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life. Illegal immigrants are exploited by employers and compete unfairly with low–income workers. Americans would be happy to do the work now taken by illegals if the pay rates were not distorted and artificially depressed by law–breakers. Employers who circumvent the market and rig the system against the people who need the jobs the most, create unemployment which increases stress on families and marriages.

    There is no intellectual consistency in Daly’s or the SBC’s position on illegal immigration and homosexual marriage. Daly contends, “When you look at it, the immigration issue is not just a legal issue. We respect what needs to be done there and hopefully we can strengthen laws, enforce laws and do all the things that we need to do in that way, because it’s important for a country to establish its borders and maintain its borders. But when you look at the family impact now and the stories we’ve received over the past year or two, it’s pretty tragic what’s occurring.”

    Illegal immigration breaks at least three of the Ten Commandments. Illegals often steal the identity of citizens to get papers. They lie about their status in the country. And the motivation that brought them here in the first place was coveting a lifestyle they didn’t have.

    And what’s occurring is all self–induced. Would Daly advocate keeping a drug addict supplied with heroin so he won’t feel compelled to steal and possibly break up his family if he’s sent to jail? How about telling a wife to put up with infidelity if it keeps the family together and the children aren’t upset?

    Daly and the SBC are busy undermining their credibility and authority. It’s a shame. I expected better.

    You No-Longer Have State’s Rights! You Have Government-Provided Allowances

    chained

    chained 

     

    Whether or not everyone agrees with or supports same-sex marriage is beside the point when individual state’s are being ripped from the people and states.

    What is most important today is our government—federal, as well as state and local. It has overreached into our Fourth Amendment rights by invading our homes and lives to redefine us, now government has decided it has full rights to redefine all of our 10th Amendment states.    

    Congratulations, you no longer have State’s Rights, you have government-provided allowances!

    Whether or not Americans—gay or straight—continue to have 10 Amendment Rights, or anything written and singed into the Bill of Rights, should be of great concern to all. Facts are facts: We Americans have handed over our lives to the government that tells us it is better capable of determining our lives, life-styles, religion, how we speak, act, think, talk, spend our money, whether or not we can conduct businesses without government regulation and control, and so forth.

    We allow the government to convince us that the Supreme Court is a superlative entity so infallible; it is the second coming of Christ in nine black robes–Judicial Supremacy.

    Don’t bother trying to find that phrase in the Constitution. The supreme Court invented it in 1958 with the Cooper v. Aaron case: “[T]he Supreme Court for the first time, made the sweeping assertion that ‘The federal judiciary is supreme in exposition of the law of the Constitution.'”  And there’s  “no mention of the power of judicial review in the Constitution,” because the Founders did not want the Supreme Court to be “supreme in the exposition of laws of the Constitution.” The court upholds the law, but they are not the lawmakers:

    judicial power was to decide cases according to law. The judicial power was given to the federal courts. And that Article VI tells you when you want to find out what the law is, where to go. And the Constitution is there.

     

    But Americans took the bait, allowing the Supreme Court and Federal Government to define our lives and how we should live.

    For some bizarre reason, many Americans enjoy being shackled to a government ordered society that strips people of all free will.

    Gov Screws You

    The latest Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act was followed by the sending of Proposition 8 back to California, where it technically belongs.

    You’ll have to excuse me, I foolishly assume that California voters, who voted against same sex marriage in their state, have rights to vote freely for laws and policies they want and do not want in their individual state, which has nothing to do with the other 49 individual states.  

    Apparently I’ve been misinterpreting the 10th Amendment which states “The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    Notice “to the people,” who no longer have a say concerning their individual states and lives. Activists must decide, because the Federal Government has made activists the final arbiters of the Constitution’s laws.

    Some individuals, gay and straight, do not agree with same sex marriage. Some of those individuals do not agree with heterosexual couples living together outside of marriage.  Many voters disagree with single motherhood. Whatever one’s social views, shouldn’t individuals have rights to express those beliefs and opinions without the Federal Government invading states and mandating government judgment upon the people?

    Not according to the government. You see, if people think and act through self-determination, they understand every person is a God-created being with free thought and will. Free-thinking people will in fact determine the truth that lie within the Constitution and understand their rights. When that happens, as in 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence, all hell breaks loose and government loses its grip of control, while people gain liberty.

    That cannot be allowed in a country where government elites wish to rewrite liberty in the government’s image!

    Look what former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Professor Steven Markham of Hillsdale College says concerning activists rewriting the Constitution and Amendments:

    Proponents of a ‘21st century constitution’ or ‘living constitution’ aim to transform our nation’s supreme law beyond recognition—and with a minimum of public attention and debate. Indeed, if there is an overarching theme to what they wish to achieve, it is the diminishment of the democratic and representative processes of American government. It is the replacement of a system of republican government, in which the constitution is largely focused upon the architecture of government in order to minimize the likelihood of abuse of power, with a system of judicial government, in which substantive policy outcomes are increasingly determined by federal judges. Rather than merely defining broad rules of the game for the legislative and executive branches of government, the new constitution would compel specific outcomes.

     

    This week’s Supreme Court rulings are not truly a gay-straight issue, rather a state-by-state’s rights issue being abused in order to rip liberty from every individual’s hands, making people subjects of Washington politicians seeking the gay vote to keep politicians in power in case the black and single female poverty vote ever fails to continue its magical spell of oppression for personal power.

    If gays really think the Federal Government desiresautonomy for individual, they are kidding themselves. Gay Americans are the latest propaganda means used by greedy politicians and leftist activists seeking further erosion of the 10th Amendment for political self-gain.

    Markham notes that

    Since shortly after the Civil War, the privileges or immunities clause of the 14th Amendment has been understood as protecting a relatively limited array of rights that are a function of American federal citizenship, such as the right to be heard in courts of justice and the right to diplomatic protection. In defining the protections of the privileges or immunities clause in this manner, the Supreme Court in the Slaughterhouse Cases (1873) rejected the argument that the clause also protects rights that are a function of state citizenship, asserting that this would lead to federal courts serving as a ‘perpetual censor’ of state and local governments. This decision has served as a bulwark of American federalism. Although a considerable amount of federal judicial authority has since been achieved over the states through interpretations of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, many proponents of a 21st century constitution seek additional federal oversight of state and local laws. Their strategy in this regard is to refashion the privileges or immunities clause as a new and essentially unlimited bill of rights within the 14th Amendment. The practical consequences of this would be to authorize federal judges to impose an ever broader and more stultifying uniformity upon the nation. Whatever modicum of federalism remains extant at the outset of this century, considerably less would remain tomorrow.

     

    Unlimited rights not in the Constitution are already pushed for power.

    The Federal government has poverty votes generating more black poverty via racism. Where’s the 10th Amendment right to not have government tell a particular race of human beings how and where to live because of race and skin color? It’s there, but government convinced black Americans that slavery incurred black poverty and teen pregnancy and government running black lives is the only way to become emancipated.  

    Darn Abe Lincoln for not signing that Emancipation Bill!

    Don’t forget the War On Women: Single women were convinced if they don’t vote Democrat, they will lose their breasts to cancer! Suddenly free birth control means you receive already performed mammograms in America where legalized abortion is not legal enough.

    Quick Note: Even if Roe V Wade were overturned, abortion would still be legal in Democrat controlled states, especially Massachusetts where Democrat politicians do the over-crowded planet a favor by drowning the pregnant woman with the baby.

    Then there’s the Amnesty Bill: Shock! Illegal aliens are forbidden to live in a country they illegally entered. That’s because white Republicans hate immigration and the only way immigrants can enter America is illegally.

    But that’s not enough to abolish the 10th Amendment and your stat’s rights.

    Progressive leftist activists have been clamoring to place gay Americans in the Emancipation Proclamation. Gays have been enslaved! Gays are forbidden same-sex marriage! The last time I checked marriage is not a Constitutional Amendment; marriage is not a federally mandated rule of law, rather state-by-state laws: Couples must go to their local town hall to obtain marriage licenses. But progressive activists are determined that marriage become a Federal Government law providing marriage rights.

    Look out America! Don’t think the day can’t come when D.C. mandates marriage and Americans beg D.C. for marriage licenses. Imagine being told:  “Sorry, you can’t get married if the government does not have a marriage equality quota of gay, straight, black, white, Christian, Jewish, Muslim (which will no doubt demand Sharia Law be pushed into a Constitutional amendment) polygamy marriages (don’t assume polygamists are not plotting to get their marriages federally legalized), etc.

    It could happen in America with a progressive government that signed off on the Constitution.

    We are not looking ahead, but allowing government to mandate our lives, while destroying the Constitution and our rights.

    Prop 8 Ruling Avoided: Supreme Court clears the path for gay marriage in California

    Image via LA Times
    Image via LA Times

    Image via LA Times

    The Supreme Court has ruled that California citizens who want to uphold the gay marriage ban do not have the right to appeal the lower court rulings striking down the ban.

    Proposition 8 was passed by the voters of California in 2008, but last year, the federal court of appeals deemed it unconstitutional.

    This 5-4 decision is another win for gay marriage in America.

    Kagan ’09: ‘There is No Federal Constitutional Right to Same-Sex Marriage’

    Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 2.52.24 AM

    Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.  It’s 2009, and Elena Kagan is answering questions during her confirmation hearing for the position of Solicitor General within the Obama administration. According to William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who posted this piece on March 25, this is what she had to say about gay marriage:

    1. As Solicitor General, you would be charged with defending the Defense of Marriage Act. That law, as you may know, was enacted by overwhelming majorities of both houses of Congress (85-14 in the Senate and 342-67 in the House) in 1996 and signed into law by President Clinton.

     a. Given your rhetoric about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy—you called it “a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order”—let me ask this basic question: Do you believe that there is a federal constitutional right to samesex marriage?

    Answer: There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

    b. Have you ever expressed your opinion whether the federal Constitution should be read to confer a right to same-sex marriage? If so, please provide details.

    Answer: I do not recall ever expressing an opinion on this question.

    Since gay marriage has been thrusted into the political limelight again, Jacobson has resurrected his posts about Kagan from three years ago.  Now, when Jacobson posted about Kagan’s remarks, he was criticized by some conservatives, including Hot Air’s Allahpundit, over the semantics.  National Review’sMaggie Gallagher went a bit further, and called Jacobson’s post “shameful.”  Thankfully, Gallagher’s colleague at National Review, Ed Whelan, provided Jacobson with her letter to then-Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania) at the time to clarify the issue.

    In a March 18, 2009 letter (embedded below, at pp. 11-12), which is not publicly available but which Whelan kindly provided to me, Kagan supplemented her written answers at the request of Arlen Specter. Here is the language in the letter seized upon by my critics to show that Kagan really didn’t mean what she said, and really just was opining as to the current state of the law:

    Constitutional rights are a product of constitutional text as interpreted by courts and understood by the nation’s citizenry and its elected representatives. By this measure, which is the best measure I know for determining whether a constitutional right exists, there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

    These sentences do make it seem as if Kagan walked away from her prior written statement that “[t]here is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

    But these sentences are not the full supplemental response. Immediately preceding these sentences was the following language:

    I previously answered this question briefly, but (I had hoped) clearly, saying that “[t]here is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.” I meant for this statement to bear its natural meaning.

    When the full supplemental statement by Kagan is read in context, there is nothing to suggest that Kagan was walking away from her written statement that there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

    Of additional interest is that when the Massachusetts Supreme Court found a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage, 18 Harvard Law School professors signed onto an amicus [i.e., friend of the court] brief supporting that ruling. But not Kagan.

    Now, it’s Justice Kagan, and I wonder if she still thinks that “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”  Then again, she could just hop on the bandwagon like everyone else.   Sorry Politico, but this is the real ‘gotcha‘ story.

    (H/T Legal Insurrection)

    Elena Kagan March 18, 2009 Letter to Arlen Specter

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