‘This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist’
Kelsey Harkness reports: An appellate court unanimously ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington florist who declined to make flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding because of her religious beliefs.
“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”
At National Review, David French writes:
…But this is the sexual revolution we’re talking about, so it’s necessary for the court to make a statement declaring the government’s allegiances. Indeed, late in the opinion its author gave the game away. Picking up on the absurd and historically ignorant comparison of the modern gay-rights movement with the civil-rights movement in the segregationist South, the judge wrote, “This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”
“That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm.”
What are they talking about? The federal government took the extraordinary step of passing the civil-rights acts to give black Americans access not just to sandwiches but to hotel rooms, jobs, voting rights, and all the other things they were systematically denied as southern states and communities continually and oppressively imposed the “badges and incidents of slavery” on them. In the pre-civil-rights South, black citizens often had trouble finding places to eat or sleep. They couldn’t vote. They couldn’t get justice in state courts. Civil rights was about access, at its most elementary and necessary level.
But that’s not the case any longer. The gay couple in this case had no trouble finding flowers. Stutzman even recommended other florists who would have been happy to help them celebrate their wedding. So, given the absence of any real harm, the court said that the state had a compelling state interest in punishing the “independent social evil” of discrimination toward a “broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace.”
That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm. There is no need to prove lack of access to alternative artistic expressions. There is only the need to show that the business owner won’t use her unique talents to help celebrate the sexual revolution.
Finally, if you doubt the court’s malice, look only to its last ruling — that Stutzman can be held personally liable for her allegedly discriminatory act. In other words, the court is willing to pierce the corporate veil to impose individual liability even in the absence of the traditional justifications for that drastic step. Stutzman didn’t commit fraud. She didn’t commingle her personal and corporate funds. She kept her private and professional affairs separate. But she still faces personal financial ruin.
Social-justice warriors will no doubt celebrate the breaking of another egg for their cultural omelet. … (read more)
The ruling, issued on Thursday by Washington’s nine Supreme Court justices, stated that in refusing to provide services for the same-sex couple’s wedding, Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.
“The state of Washington bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” the ruling reads.
“We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case—refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to [Robert] Ingersoll and [Curt] Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding—constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the [Washington Law Against Discrimination].” Read the rest of this entry »
Riot-Prone Mobs Are A Product Of America’s Cult-Like Education System
‘If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.’
— Thomas Jefferson
Stella Morabito writes
…Those who are pushing for sustained street resistance seem to be banking on two things. First they are betting that mainstream Americans won’t realize until it’s too late that we are in the midst of a virtual civil war that could turn violent. Dennis Prager recently wrote of this Second Civil War, warning Americans to wake up to it. Second, agitators are also wagering that Americans will not have the stomach for the prolonged fight they intend to bring to the streets, a point noted by psychologist Tim Daughtry in his book “Waking the Sleeping Giant.”
“What brought us to this place where the losing side has so utterly and violently rejected the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another, and previously agreed-upon electoral process and rules?”
So is this some kind of a joke? Revolution in the streets of America that overturns the election results? So far it all sounds so goofy, at least where it doesn’t get violent. We can watch in wonder as a shrieking NYU professor verbally assaults numerous police officers with the sort of impunity only afforded to the far-left. We can assure ourselves that there aren’t that many irrational people. Even if true, however, that’s beside the point. Too many citizens are at sea in understanding what freedom even means.
“Let’s face it. Today’s street theater is the culmination of decades of radical education revision. The radical Left’s systematic attack on the study of Western Civilization has essentially been an attack against the study of any and all civil societies. It is an attack on the features that make a society civil and free.”
We need to ask ourselves: What brought us to this place where the losing side has so utterly and violently rejected the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another, and previously agreed-upon electoral process and rules? It’s past time to ponder the quote from Thomas Jefferson: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
Destroying Our Education System Got Us Here
Let’s face it. Today’s street theater is the culmination of decades of radical education revision. The radical Left’s systematic attack on the study of Western Civilization has essentially been an attack against the study of any and all civil societies. It is an attack on the features that make a society civil and free. Those features include freedom of expression, civil discourse, the Socratic method of figuring out truth, value of the individual, and a common knowledge of the classics of history and literature that help us understand what’s universal in the human experience. All of that had to go.
Now, as we see students marching to demonize as “fascists” proponents of free speech, their ignorance is in full view. This is really a full frontal attack on the rule of law, the Constitution, and a system of checks and balances that guards against the consolidation of centralized power.
“The last 50 years have produced a huge wave of kids who are functionally uneducated.” https://t.co/4r0v3Lv6tm
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) February 13, 2017
That’s the whole point of the education these students have been fed. In fact, a lot of 1960s agitators, including domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, decided to place their bets on radical education revision. For at least 40 years, Ayers has been devoted to transforming schools from places of actual education to places of coercive thought reform. As Andrew McCarthy recently pointed out in National Review: “It was a comfy fit for him and many of his confederates, once it dawned on them that indoctrination inside the schoolhouse was more effective than blowing up the schoolhouse.”
If you review the history of radical education reform, it’s clear these agitators have been committing mind arson on the children, undermining their ability to think independently and clearly. (For more on this, read Robin Eubanks’ book “Credentialed to Destroy.”)
How to Short-Circuit a Child’s Thinking
Radical education reformers have made a point of removing context from children’s education, and to squash their natural curiosity, undermining their capacity to think. Read the rest of this entry »
Gorsuch Nomination More Important Than Travel Ban & Judges’ Opposition
“The point I wanted to make in the column was, there is the moratorium, and there is the vetting. The vetting will get 90 percent support in the country, but they actually should do it. It doesn’t depend on a moratorium. The fact is, they have lost the case in the most liberal circuit in the country, they’ve lost it at the district level, and for now, the Supreme Court is deadlocked, so it’s likely to return. In other words the case is stacked against them. I happen to think it’s legal, but these courts have decided not, so why play a losing hand? What he needs to do — I think it’s exactly right — either rewrite the order or have a new one, so you are dealing on a different playing field. You’ve gotten essentially the feedback of the ninth circuit, so you know what will pass muster and what won’t. For example, from the beginning, you exclude the holders of green cards, and then what you do is, you slow-walk the appeals case and you fast-walk the nomination of Gorsuch. There is no hurry on appealing this ruling. They are not going to win it in the end. … “
Source: National Review
REWIND 2010: President Obama Insults Supreme Court Justices to Their Face at State of the Union AddressPosted: February 4, 2017
WASHINGTON, JAN. 28, 2010— Supreme Court decisions. But they tend to do so at news conferences and in written statements, not to the justices’ faces.It is not unusual for presidents to disagree publicly with
President George W. Bush, for instance, did not hesitate to criticize a 2008 rulingrecognizing the rights of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — but he did it at a news conference in Rome. President Richard M. Nixon said he was disappointed with a 1974 decision ordering him to turn over the tapes that would help end his presidency — in a statement read by his lawyer.
Before he began his attack on a Supreme Court decision not yet a week old, Mr. Obama added a few words that had not been in the prepared text. The new preface — “with all due deference to separation of powers” — seemed to acknowledge that he was aiming unusual rhetorical fire at several Supreme Court justices sitting right in front of him.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., one of the justices in the majority in the decision under attack, shook his head as he heard the president’s summary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and he appeared to mouth the words “not true.”
It was not quite the shouted “You lie!” from Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, at September’s presidential address to a joint session of Congress. But in its way, the breach of decorum on both sides was much starker.
“The court’s legitimacy is derived from the persuasiveness of its opinions and the expectation that those opinions are rendered free of partisan, political influences,” Mr. Verniero said. “The more that individual justices are drawn into public debates, the more the court as an institution will be seen in political terms, which was not the intent of the founders.”
Modern presidents and Supreme Court justices do not interact very much, and this particular president might be expected to have strained relationships with at least Justice Alito and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., both of whose nominations he voted against as a senator. The president and chief justice would both also probably like to forget the flubbed administration of the presidential oath at Mr. Obama’s inauguration last year. Read the rest of this entry »
The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning.
Matthew Continetti writes:
…The same forces that opposed Trump during the Republican primary and general election are trying to break his presidency before it is a month old. At issue is the philosophy of nation-state populism that drove his insurgent campaign. It is so at variance with the ideologies of conservatism and liberalism predominant in the capital that Washington is experiencing something like an allergic reaction.
“The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy.”
Nation-state populism diverges from Beltway conservatism on trade, immigration, entitlements, and infrastructure, and from liberalism on sovereignty, nationalism, identity politics, and political correctness. Its combative style and heightened rhetoric offend the sensibilities of career-minded Washingtonians of both parties, who are schooled in deference, diplomacy, being nice to teacher, and the ancient arts of CYA.
“Not only are there two Americas. There are two governments: one elected and one not, one that alternates between Republicans and Democrats and one that remains, decade after decade, stubbornly liberal, contemptuous of Congress, and resistant to change. It is this second government and its allies in the media and the Democratic Party that are after President Trump, that want him driven from office before his term is complete.”
The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy. That is why his firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates was so important. She ordered her department not to defend an executive order that had been cleared by the White House counsel and her own Office of Legal Counsel. For Trump to have delayed or done nothing would have been an invitation to further subversion. He let Yates go within hours.
The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning. “Federal workers turn to encryption to thwart Trump,” read one Politico headline. “An anti-Trump resistance movement is growing within the U.S. government,” says Vanity Fair. “Federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives,” reports the Washington Post. Read the rest of this entry »
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States:
President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a victory for Americans who are fed up with corrupt judicial activism. The judicial branch needs as much draining as the rest of the federal government swamp. President Trump avoided the temptation to nominate yet another politician to the Supreme Court. It is good we have a nominee who has a demonstrated record of applying the rule of law rather than legislating from the bench. The U.S. Senate should swiftly confirm him.
In Michele Gorman’s January 27 profile piece on Neil Gorsuch for Newsweekmagazine, Fitton provided the following:
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, tells Newsweek that Gorsuch fits the Scalia mold, which Trump has promised to adhere to in his replacement nominee. “I think conservatives would consider him to be an exciting pick. I think it’s fair to say he’s a leader in terms of conservative jurisprudence and I think he quickly would become a strong voice on the court for his constitutional approach to decision making,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »
Judge Gorsuch is one of the finest writers on the federal bench.
John O. McGinnis writes: President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, meets the most important criterion for the successor to Justice Antonin Scalia—that he be an articulate exponent of originalism. Scalia was the most consequential justice in the last half-century because he had the intellect to forge a consistent jurisprudence and the pen to make it widely known. When he arrived on the Court in 1986, originalism had no influence in the legal academy. Today, even among liberals, it is the jurisprudential theory to beat. He not only changed the law but the legal culture as well. Changing the legal culture is as important as making the right decisions in individual cases, because only a good culture will preserve those decisions for tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »
‘The threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side more,’ he says, arguing that journalists viewed a Democratic plank “overly charitably” as campaign finance reform.
Paul Bond reports: When it comes to politicians trampling free speech and free press, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said Tuesday that he doesn’t fear president-elect Donald Trump as much as he does his rivals on the other side of the aisle.
“The threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side,” Bewkes said during a conversation with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget at a conference in New York in a session that was webcast. Read the rest of this entry »
“It doesn’t matter what the origins of the Second Amendment were,” says Cody Wilson, creator of the first 3D-printed gun and author of the new book, Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free. “With the internet, we can transform this thing into right to resistance on a global scale. If it’s just a fact that the government serves guns now, this is just a point of political life.”
CORRECTION: The Ghost Gunner sells for $1,500 not $250. The deposit is $250.
[Order Cody’s book “Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free” from Amazon.com]
The full transcript of this interview is available here.
Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Go to reason.com for a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and old left-right opinion magazines. Read the rest of this entry »
Thomas told 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called on fellow conservatives Thursday to continue the work of the late Justice Antonin Scalia to keep the power of the courts and other branches of government in check.
Thomas told 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution. He cited the decision in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal across the country.
Thomas said he and his longtime friend and colleague formed an “odd couple” of a white New Yorker and a black man from Georgia.
He paraphrased Lincoln’s Gettysburg address to exhort the audience to “be dedicated to the unfinished business for which Justice Scalia gave his last full measure of devotion.”
Thomas and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito were the bookends of the Thursday meeting of the Federalist Society, at which conservatives were reveling in Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the presidential election because it is likely to result in the appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.
Alito issued his own rallying cry to conservatives, describing religious freedom and gun rights as among “constitutional fault lines,” important issues at stake in the federal courts.
The conference of conservatism’s leading legal lights took on a new air of importance with Trump’s victory, and included a list of judges the president-elect has named as candidates to fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death last February.
In their remarks, Thomas and Alito didn’t mention the election or the vacancy, rather using the platform to pay tribute to Scalia, a longtime colleague and conservative ally in high-court battles on hot-button social and political issues. Read the rest of this entry »
Though Donald Trump’s presidential victory represents the greatest opportunity for policy changes that have widespread impact, there were many unexpected wins at the state and local levels. The National Rifle Association won in nearly every race where it invested money.
The NRA spent more than $30.3 million in the presidential race, up from just over $12 million in 2012. $19.7 million of that went to opposing Hillary Clinton and $10.6 million went to supporting Donald Trump, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission documents by the Center for Responsive Politics. The group invested another $20 million in six Senate races and won five of them.
Hillary Clinton’s defeat comes after she staked out the most aggressive gun control positions for a major party candidate in modern memory.
“She has been more forceful on guns/gun lobby than any other person who ever seriously ran for president,” one of Clinton’s advisers wrote in an email posted by WikiLeaks in October. “Certain members of the dem caucus [sic] were freaking out about [her gun positions.]”
Audio first published in October 2015 by the Washington Free Beacon showed Clinton telling donors privately that she believed the Supreme Court was “wrong on the Second Amendment.” When asked about her opposition to the court’s landmark District of Columbia v. Heller decision at the final presidential debate, Clinton claimed she was concerned about protecting toddlers from unsecured guns but did not reverse her position.
Just two weeks after audio of Clinton’s comments on the Supreme Court was published, she endorsed an Australian-style mandatory gun buyback scheme at a public rally. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Justice Clarence Thomas: Personal Reflections On The Court, His Jurisprudence, and His EducationPosted: October 22, 2016
Personal reflections on twenty-five years on the Court, his jurisprudence, and his education. Click “Show more” to view all chapters. For more conversations, visit here.
Appointed by President George H.W. Bush, Justice Clarence Thomas has served on the Supreme Court since October 1991. In this conversation, Justice Thomas shares personal reflections on the Court, his jurisprudence, and the people, ideas, institutions, and experiences that have influenced him. Justice Thomas also reflects on his late colleague and friend Justice Antonin Scalia.
Paul Bedard writes: A key Federal Election Commission Republican warned Wednesday that liberals are moving aggressively to “amend the First Amendment” so that conservatives are silenced and businesses are chased “out of the democracy.”
“The general tenor of the Left in American politics today has certainly spoken out against First Amendment rights. It has been a reversal over the last 50 years.”
In some the toughest criticism leveled at Democrats, Commissioner Lee E. Goodman said that the attack started once the Tea Party changed American politics in the 2010 election and now dominates the politics of the Left.
“The general tenor of the Left in American politics today has certainly spoken out against First Amendment rights. It has been a reversal over the last 50 years,” he added, citing FDR Democrats who defended socialists and communists.
“I have been concerned about bias both in how complaints are brought to the commission just like in the way, the lobbying campaign for Lois Lerner. It was all one sided. But generally I try to make my First Amendment case by pointing out that we have to impact liberal and conservative speech in the same way.”
“But I have been concerned from time to time about every time a conservative group comes up, somehow, some way, exceptions and distinctions are made and this is the problem giving government the power to regulate speech in the first instance because ultimately human beings have to make that decision.”
So if you are still obeying the law when you don’t absolutely have to, when there isn’t some government enforcer with a gun lurking right there to make you, aren’t you kind of a sucker?
Kurt Schlichter writes: Sometimes in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another. It is high time to declare our personal independence from any remnant of obligation to those who have spit upon the rule of law. We owe them nothing – not respect, not loyalty, not obedience.
“There used to be a social contract requiring that our government treat us all equally within the scope of the Constitution and defend us, and in return we would recognize the legitimacy of its laws and defend it when in need. But that contract has been breached. We are not all equal before the law. Our constitutional rights are not being upheld.”
Think about it. If you are out driving at 3 a.m., do you stop at a stop sign when there’s no one coming? Of course you do. You don’t need a cop to be there to make you stop. You do it voluntarily because this is America and America is a country where obeying the law is the right thing to do because the law was justly made and is justly applied. Or it used to be.
“We are not being defended – hell, we normals get blamed every time some Seventh Century savage goes on a kill spree. Yet we’re still supposed to keep going along as if everything is cool, obeying the law, subsidizing the elite with our taxes, taking their abuse. We’ve been evicted by the landlord but he still wants us to pay him rent.”
The law mattered. It applied equally to everyone. We demanded that it did, all of us – politicians, the media, and regular citizens. Oh, there were mistakes and miscarriages of justice but they weren’t common and they weren’t celebrated – they were universally reviled. And, more importantly, they weren’t part and parcel of the ideology of one particular party. There was once a time where you could imagine a Democrat scandal where the media actually called for the head of the Democrat instead of deploying to cover it up.
People assumed that the law mattered, that the same rules applied to everyone. That duly enacted laws would be enforced equally until repealed. That the Constitution set the foundation and that its guarantees would be honored even if we disliked the result in a particular case. But that’s not our country today.
The idea of the rule of law today is a lie. There is no law. There is no justice. There are only lies.
Hillary Clinton is manifestly guilty of multiple felonies. Her fans deny it half-heartedly, but mostly out of habit – in the end, it’s fine with them if she’s a felon. They don’t care. It’s just some law. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter that anyone else would be in jail right now for doing a fraction of what she did. But the law is not important. Justice is not important.
“People assumed that the law mattered, that the same rules applied to everyone. That duly enacted laws would be enforced equally until repealed. That the Constitution set the foundation and that its guarantees would be honored even if we disliked the result in a particular case. But that’s not our country today.”
The attorney general secretly canoodles with the husband of the subject of criminal investigation by her own department and the president, the enforcer of our laws, shrugs. The media, the challenger of the powerful, smirks. They rub our noses in their contempt for the law. And by doing so, demonstrate their contempt for us.
“Hillary Clinton is manifestly guilty of multiple felonies. Her fans deny it half-heartedly, but mostly out of habit – in the end, it’s fine with them if she’s a felon. They don’t care. It’s just some law. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter that anyone else would be in jail right now for doing a fraction of what she did. But the law is not important. Justice is not important.”
Only power matters, and Hillary stands ready to accumulate more power on their behalf so their oaths, their alleged principles, their duty to the country – all of it goes out the window. But it’s much worse than just one scandal that seems not to scandalize anyone in the elite. Just read the Declaration of Independence – it’s almost like those dead white Christian male proto-NRA members foresaw and cataloged the myriad oppressions of liberalism’s current junior varsity tyranny.
There is one law for them, and another for us. Sanctuary cities? Obama’s immigration orders? If you conservatives can play by the rules and pass your laws, then we liberals will just not enforce them. You don’t get the benefit of the laws you like. We get the benefit of the ones we do, though. Not you. Too bad, rubes.
“There is one law for them, and another for us. Sanctuary cities? Obama’s immigration orders? If you conservatives can play by the rules and pass your laws, then we liberals will just not enforce them. You don’t get the benefit of the laws you like. We get the benefit of the ones we do, though. Not you. Too bad, rubes.”
So if you are still obeying the law when you don’t absolutely have to, when there isn’t some government enforcer with a gun lurking right there to make you, aren’t you kind of a sucker? Read the rest of this entry »
POTUS should read some honest, non-Leftist comparative history.
Austin Bay writes: The slaughter in Brussels is another reminder that our violent Islamist terrorist enemies are fighting a sustained, generational campaign of global, imperialist conquest.
One of President Barack Obama’s first dishonest acts was dropping the name Global War on Terror. Obama the Peacemaker substituted bureaucratic lingo, dubbing our long war an OCO—an Overseas Contingency Operation.
“When the vast majority of Earth’s oppressed get a chance to vote with their feet, the destination isn’t Mosul or Moscow, it’s Manhattan or Miami.”
9-11. Fort Hood. San Bernardino. Chattanooga. It’s past time for the president to acknowledge his obvious and stupid mistake. America is a battlefield; the war is not just overseas. More importantly, if successful leadership is one of Mr. Obama’s presidential goals, there is nothing “contingent” about the war. The war is quite real. Our enemies wrath and goals are unconditional
“Mr. Obama needs to get the hell over his self-serving guilt trip and get serious about stopping 21st century genocidal imperialism.”
For the record, I never liked the name Global War on Terror, though it served. In fall 2001 I suggested Millennium or Millennial War. I thought we were in a long haul war for the terms of modernity.
We are engaged in such a war, fighting enemies who believe the future lies in unconditionally restoring their imperialist past.
When the vast majority of Earth’s oppressed get a chance to vote with their feet, the destination isn’t Mosul or Moscow, it’s Manhattan or Miami.
“Does Mr. Obama’s American guilt shtick reinforce the Islamists’ evil external propaganda? Yes.”
For the moment, ISIL jihadists have assumed Al Qaeda’s mantle of global leadership in a global war to secure a global caliphate. From their rump caliphate in eastern Syria and northern Iraq, and its provinces in Yemen and Libya, ISIL’s caliph and his commanders direct political policies which include enslavement, mass rape, the mass murder of minority ethnic groups like Yazidis and Berbers, mass murder of Arab Christians and non-Arab Middle Eastern Christians and mass murder of Shia Muslims. ISIL-affiliates take the slaughter beyond the Middle East and Europe. Boko Haram terrorists rape and enslave Nigerian Christian girls. They have also murdered thousands of Nigerians who oppose them, whether Christian, Muslim or animist. Read the rest of this entry »
These days, people are less hyped about “The Libertarian Moment” than they seem worried about an “Authoritarian Moment” that’s exemplified by Donald Trump’s political success.
“He’s an authoritarian,” says Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor George Will. “He believes that government we have today is not big enough and that particularly the concentration of power not just in Washington but Washington power in the executive branch has not gone far enough.”
In late February, Will sat down with Reason’s Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch for an opening-night interview at the International Students For Liberty Conference, which was attended by nearly 2,000 people from all over the world.
The official topic was “Is The Libertarian Moment Over?” and the conversation was as wide-ranging as it was at times depressing. “Today, 67 percent of the federal budget is transfer payments,” announced the 74-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner. “The sky is dark with money going back and forth between client groups served by an administrative state that exists to do very little else but regulate the private sector and distribute income. Where’s the libertarian moment fit in here?”
[Order Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch’s book “The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America“from Amazon.com]
Gillespie and Welch, who coined the “Libertarian Moment” term in a 2008 Reason story and expanded its meaning in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America (praised by Will, incidentally), argued that many things are moving in a decidedly libertarian position. As Welch pointed out, in 2008, recreational pot legalization, marriage equality, and criminal-justice reform were barely discussed at the national level. Now, all three have proceeded or are proceeding apace, as is judicial support for liberalized gun rights. And there’s this: “In the last 25 years, a historical number of people—1 billion people—have been lifted out of extreme poverty,” said Welch. “Even the United Nations says this is because in large part due to globalized reductions in tariffs and barriers to trade.”
For all his gloom, Will acknowledged that “there are good signs underway.” Specifically, he cited Reason Senior Editor Damon Root’s Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court (2014), which makes the case for “libertarian judicial activism” as a constitutionally legitimate way of reining in government action. Root and others such as Georgetown Law’s Randy Barnett and Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily argue that “what we need is an engaged judiciary asserting the fact that the essence of America is not majority rule, it is liberty,” said Will, who applauded the rise and power of this argument.
[Order Damon Root’s book “Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court“ from Amazon.com]
He also cited the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in the Citizens United case, which invalidated many campaign-finance rules. “The court,” noted Will, “overturned prior decisions and overturned certain clear principles enunciated by elected officials around the country by saying that when Americans band together in corporate form, they do not, for the purpose of advocacy, forfeit their First Amendment rights.”
What happens if Donald Trump actually becomes the Republican nominee? Read the rest of this entry »
It’s the Government’s Responsibility to Provide Gun Permits
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In a typical month, 2,000 people register for guns in Oregon. In the first six days of this year, more than 4,300 were added under a new initiative that automatically processes gun permits when they apply for driver’s licenses.
Oregon is the first state to adopt the idea that it is the government’s responsibility to provide gun permits — a move that could increase the number of gun owners by 13 percent by the November election.
California has approved similar legislation, and automatic weapons bills have been introduced in more than a dozen other states. But it remains to be seen whether the idea will take hold beyond two West Coast states dominated by Democrats or whether the newly registered will decide to participate.
— Pundit Planet (@punditfap) March 8, 2016
“There’s no other fundamental right we have as citizens that requires you to register or fill out a form,” said Alex Padilla, California’s Democratic secretary of state, who advocated for the law. “I don’t have to register somewhere to exercise my freedom of speech. I don’t have to fill out a form somewhere to exercise my right to not be discriminated against.”
Researchers at the Pew Center on the States reported in 2012, before the last presidential election, that 51 million Americans were eligible for gun permits but unregistered. Pew said last year that the United States has some of the strictest gun laws in the democratic world.
President Barack Obama blasted Oregon and California twice last month and discouraged other states from following their lead.
“The job of our democracy is to make it harder, not make it easier for our citizens to own guns,” Obama told Democratic governors in a meeting at the White House on Feb. 19.
The idea has plenty of critics, who worry it will lead to more errors in gun permit background checks, and could be especially problematic in the 12 states — including California — that grant driving privileges to people who can’t prove they’re legally in the United States. Officials in Oregon and California said driving records make clear who is a citizen.
“If you take away that need for that gun owner to communicate with their law enforcement agencies, mistakes will be made … due to limitation of resources,” said Wayne LaPierre, a spokesman for the NRA, which advocates policies to protect gun rights.
Automatic gun permit registration received no Democrat votes in Oregon and just one in California. Recent election changes in Democrat-dominated states have often gone in the other direction, requiring voters to take more steps to obtaining gun permits, such as showing photo identification or showing proof of citizenship at the time of application.
Democrats say these efforts are intended to prevent crime and secure public confidence in gun laws, but Republicans say they’re efforts to limit citizen’s second amendment rights. Sixteen states will have more restrictive gun laws in the 2016 election than they did four years ago, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
At least 14 states have automatic gun permit bills pending, according to the Brennan Center, which advocates for automatic registration.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, vetoed an automatic gun permit bill approved last year by the Democratic-controlled Legislature, which is trying again this year.
Gun permit laws in the U.S. have only been around for about 150 years, said Paul Gronke, a political science professor at Reed College in Portland who specializes in voter behavior.
“Gun permits were put in place in the U.S. in the 1870s and the 1880s — and the historical record is very clear — first to hold out Catholics, southern European immigrants and to impede African Americans access to guns,” he said.
Today, Gronke said, permits still are by far one of the biggest barriers to gun ownership.
Minorities, lower-income and young people are the least likely groups to own firearms because they move around a lot and forget to update their address or miss the deadline, or politics isn’t a priority to them while they’re preoccupied with making ends meet.
Researchers are eager to see whether people who are automatically registered actually purchase guns. Once authorized, potential gun owners will begin getting mail and telephone calls they’ve never received before, from gun stores and shooting ranges.
“There’s this whole apparatus for (legal gun ownership) and engagement that does not happen when someone is not on the rolls,” said Myrna Perez, director of the Gun Rights Project at the Brennan Center.
Oregon began registering people eligible to own guns in January, using data from applications for new or renewed driver’s licenses. They’re mailed a letter offering 21 days to opt out or select a firearm. Read the rest of this entry »
Justice Scalia was referred to as a “conservative” justice, but his judicial philosophy was about ahdering to the Constitution.
Source: National Review
Republicans should follow Sen. Barack Obama’s advice and filibuster the president’s SCOTUS nominee.
David Harsanyi writes: Although nothing in his political history suggests magnanimity, Barack Obama may surprise us by nominating one of those moderate-consensus types who would provide some of that national healing he promised us eight years ago. But he’s certainly under no constitutional obligation to do so. He can nominate whomever he pleases in the wake of the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia. And Republicans have plenty of precedent for rejecting his choice.
I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record. And when I examine the philosophy, ideology, and record of Samuel Alito, I’m deeply troubled.
You’ll notice, as well, that precedent only matters sporadically. Democrats were uninterested in historical guidance when they were shoehorning a massive generational reform through Congress without any consensus for the first time in history or filling imaginary recess appointments. When it works out for them they transform into strict traditionalists.
Whatever precedent says, if Republicans truly believe Obama has displayed a contempt for the Constitution, they have a moral obligation to reject his choice—whether it’s someone who argues in favor of book banning or enables abusive power. Because we’re not talking about good-faith disagreements over what the Constitution says anymore, we’re talking about a party that believes enumerated powers stand in their way.
Contemporary liberalism is fundamentally opposed to any precedential restrictions that curb “progress.” Wilsonian progressives were skeptical of the Constitution and separation of powers, and so are modern progressives. Only the former had the decency to be honest. So why do we pretend otherwise?
Just like Wilson, Democrats argue that the Supreme Court is holding back many morally advantageous policies. What they do not do, and haven’t done for years, is offer any limiting principles (other than for few incidental partisan policies they happen to support for reasons have nothing to do with individual liberty). For them, process exists solely to further ethical policy (which they don’t believe could possibly be subjective).
Even Donald Trump, who claims to believe America is limping towards extinction, felt the need during the last debate to claimed he would build consensus when applying trade and immigration policy rather than act unilaterally. There is no such inclination, not even rhetorically, on the Left. Just listen to the Democratic Party debates. Bernie Sanders’ litmus test for a Supreme Court nomination is pretty simple: the candidate must support restrictions on the First Amendment. Most Democrats agree.
Scalia was just the latest newsworthy guest to visit the celebrity hideaway that covers 30,000 acres near the Chinati Mountains. Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts and Tommy Lee Jones have also partaken of its scenic vistas and luxury accomodations.
MARFA — John MacCormack reports: A first-time guest to the Cibolo Creek Ranch, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was animated and engaged during dinner Friday night, as one of three dozen invitees to an event that had nothing to do with law or politics, according to the ranch owner.
Just hours later, he would be found dead of sapparent natural causes, which media outlets were reporting Sunday was a heart attack.
“He was seated near me and I had a chance to observe him. He was very entertaining. But about 9 p.m. he said, ‘it’s been a long day and a long week, I want to get some sleep,” recalled Houston businessman John Poindexter, who owns the 30,000-acre luxury ranch.
When Poindexter tried to awaken Scalia about 8:30 the next morning, the judge’s door was locked and he did not answer. Three hours later, Poindexter returned after an outing, with a friend of Scalia who had come from Washington with him.
“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” said Poindexter.
“He was lying very restfully. It looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap,” he said.Scalia,79, did not have a pulse and his body was cold, and after consulting with a doctor at a hospital in Alpine, Poindexter concluded resuscitation would have been futile, He then contacted federal authorities, at first encountering a series of answering services because he was calling on a weekend.
“Ultimately they became available and handled it superbly. They flew in by helicopter. They told me to secure the ranch, which I did until this morning,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia visits Uncommon Knowledge for a wide ranging interview including the living constitution, Roe v. Wade, Congress’ relationship to the court, and to discuss his new book Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts
Now in its fourteenth edition, the Review is the first scholarly journal to appear after each SCOTUS term ends and the only one grounded in the nation’s first principles, liberty, and limited government
The Review has built quite a reputation over the years, and has earned some high praise from notable SCOTUS experts:
“Cato, with its emphasis on limited government and individual rights, has weighed in with a book of essays by academics and practicing lawyers that manages to skewer liberal and conservative justices alike.”
– Tony Mauro, Supreme Court correspondent, The National Law Journal and Legal Times
“Unquestionably, the definitive volume on the Supreme Court’s term.”
– Tom Goldstein, founder of SCOTUSblog (and co-chair of litigation and Supreme Court practice at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP)
In this year’s issue, Shapiro and other leading legal scholars analyze the 2014-2015 Supreme Court term, specifically focusing on the most important and far-reaching cases of the year, as well as upcoming cases to watch.
Brock, the former right-wing journalist-turned-pro-Clinton crusader, takes aim at a top New York Times editor in a soon-to-be released book obtained by POLITICO. In the book, titled “Killing the Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary Clinton and Hijack Your Government,” Brock accuses senior politics editor and former Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan of helping to turn the paper into a “megaphone for conservative propaganda” by unfairly targeting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The founder of liberal watchdog groups Media Matters and Correct the Record casts Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom he tormented in the 1990s as a reporter with the American Spectator, as personal and political angels who offered him access to some of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors.
But he uses the book as a platform to attack the Times — whose editorial board endorsed Clinton over Barack Obama in 2008 — over its approach towards the Clintons from the Whitewater investigations of the 1990s to the current coverage of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“As it concerns Clinton coverage, the Times will have a special place in hell,” he writes, claiming that interviews with current Times employees prove his case. Read the rest of this entry »
Was the Constitution written in a way that was designed to protect freedom and limit the government’s size? Has it been effective in doing that? And what’s the Supreme Court’s record when it comes to protecting our rights? Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, answers these questions and more.
The Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs will be released from jail, where she’s been held since Thursday on a contempt of court charge.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order Tuesday and ordered Rowan County clerk Kim Davis released. Bunning ordered her not to interfere with the issuing of gay marriage licenses.
Bunning sent Davis to jail on Thursday after she refused to comply with his order that Davis issue marriage licenses. She had refused to grant licenses to any couples, gay or straight, since shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage.
Outside the jail where Davis is held, word spread slowly through a crowd of supporters Tuesday afternoon. Some said they couldn’t believe the news….(read more)
Source: ABC News
U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning in Kentucky has ordered that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be released from jail.
He ordered her not to interfere with clerks in her office issuing marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.
[Original story, published at 8:43 a.m. ET]
The legal battle over the Kentucky clerk who’s sitting behind bars for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses enters the political arena Tuesday as GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visits Kim Davis in jail.
Afterward, he’ll lead an “#ImWithKim Liberty Rally” outside the Carter County Detention Center.
For about 1,000 school kids in the area, it means a day off. Classes at five schools have been called off for the day to cut down traffic congestion.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to jail after finding her in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in Rowan County following June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Davis says issuing a license with her name on it would violate her Christian convictions against same-sex marriage.
Davis’ legal team has filed several appeals to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is asking that the state take her name off the licenses — a move that her lawyers say would accommodate Davis while allowing same-sex couples to receive licenses. Read the rest of this entry »
Kimberley A. Strassel writes: When a government official (think Hillary Clinton) uses a private email account for government work (think Hillary Clinton) and then doesn’t turn over records (think Hillary Clinton), the public has to wonder why. For an example of that why, consider Thursday’s federal-court subpoena of Phillip North.
“Government workers don’t use private email because it is ‘convenient.’ They use private email to engage in practices that may be unsavory, or embarrassing, or even illegal.”
The North story hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it is a useful tale for clarifying exactly why we have federal records and sunshine laws. You see, government workers don’t use private email because it is “convenient.” They use private email to engage in practices that may be unsavory, or embarrassing, or even illegal. Let’s be clear about that.
“Records show that EPA officials, including Mr. North, had no intention of letting the process get that far. They set about to ‘pre-emptively’ veto the mine, before Pebble could even file for permits.”
Mr. North was, until a few years ago, a biologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, based in Alaska. Around 2005 he became enmeshed in reviewing the Pebble Partnership’s proposal to develop a mine there. Mr. North has openly admitted that he was opposed to this idea early on, and he is entitled to his opinion. Still, as a government employee his first duty is to follow the law.
“But for the EPA to so flagrantly insert itself into the process, it needed cause. This is where Mr. North and his private email come in.”
In the normal course of law, Pebble would file for permits and the Army Corps of Engineers would get the first say over approval. The EPA has a secondary role. But records show that EPA officials, including Mr. North, had no intention of letting the process get that far. They set about to “pre-emptively” veto the mine, before Pebble could even file for permits. But for the EPA to so flagrantly insert itself into the process, it needed cause. This is where Mr. North and his private email come in. Read the rest of this entry »