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Florist Who Declined Gay Wedding Request Loses Her Case, Promises Appeal to the Supreme Court

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‘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.”

— Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.

Lawyers for Stutzman told The Daily Signal they plan to appeal the Washington state Supreme Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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)

[Read the full text of David French’s essay here: ‘Washington’s Supreme Court Imposes Its Progressive Faith on a Christian Florist‘]

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.

[Read the full story here, at dailysignal.com]

“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.

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Prior to the incident, Stutzman enjoyed a close relationship with Ingersoll, serving him for many years.

“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 »

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[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Slow-Walk the Executive Order Appeal, Fast-Walk Gorsuch Nomination

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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. … “

Read more

Source: National Review


REWIND 2010: President Obama Insults Supreme Court Justices to Their Face at State of the Union Address 

 

WASHINGTON, JAN. 28, 2010—  It is not unusual for presidents to disagree publicly with Supreme Court decisions. But they tend to do so at news conferences and in written statements, not to the justices’ faces.

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.

President Obama’s approach at the State of the Union address Wednesday night was more personal, and he seemed a little self-conscious about it.

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.

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Several justices, in the first two rows, were sitting right in front of the president when he attacked the campaign finance ruling. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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.

Peter G. Verniero, a former justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, said neither end of the exchange helped the prestige of the United States Supreme Court.

“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 »


Obama Halts Immigration Amnesty Push in Court, Bows to Incoming Trump Administration 

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In documents filed with a federal judge in Texas the Justice Department said that in light of the new management that will take over next year, the case should be suspended.

 reports: The administration has already taken the first step to accommodate President-elect Trump’s positions, agreeing Friday to take a timeout on President Obama’s push to kick-start his 2014 deportation amnesty.

“Given the change in Administration, the parties jointly submit that a brief stay of any further litigation in this Court before beginning any further proceedings would serve judicial efficiency and economy so that the parties have a better understanding of how they might choose to move forward.”

In documents filed with a federal judge in Texas the Justice Department said that in light of the new management that will take over next year, the case should be suspended.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Times]

“Accordingly, the parties respectfully submit that further proceedings on the merits of this case, including the submission of a schedule for resolving the merits, should be stayed until February 20, 2017,” the Justice Department and lawyers for Texas said in a joint request of Judge Andrew S. Hanen.

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Judge Hanen had halted Mr. Obama’s expanded amnesty in February 2015, just two days before it was to go into effect, ruling that the administration broke administrative law. An appeals court twice upheld his injunction, as did the Supreme Court, in a 4-4 deadlock decision this summer.

The injunction remains in place while Judge Hanen was to hear full arguments — but both sides now say President-elect Trump should have the chance to weigh in. Read the rest of this entry »


Workplace Democracy Gets Ambushed

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The National Labor Relations Board’s new election rule runs roughshod over the rights of nonunion workers.

Peter Schaumber writes: You may have heard of the National Labor Relations Board’s new “ambush election” rule—so-called because it hurriedly schedules union elections within as little as two weeks, depriving employers of the time needed to learn about the union and express their views to employees.

But what you may not know is that the rule requires an employer to provide union organizers with the personal cellphone numbers and email addresses of its employees before they vote in a union election. So much for the right to privacy.

It doesn’t seem to matter to the Obama-era NLRB that a worker may have provided this personal information on condition that it be kept confidential and used only in an emergency. Read the rest of this entry »


Supreme Court to Hear Obamacare Case Over Subsidies; Could Redefine the Law

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The Supreme Court will wade into the fight over Obamacare once again, this time deciding whether subsidies tied to the overhaul should be restricted to certain states under a strict reading of the law.

Justices announced Friday they would take up King v. Burwell, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

“The Supreme Court has the opportunity to reaffirm the principle that the law is what Congress enacts, not what the administration or others wish Congress had enacted with the benefit of hindsight.”

— Jonathan Adler, one of the key architects of the legal challenge

The King lawsuit is one of several that says the Obama administration stretched the meaning of the Affordable Care Act by allowing every health exchange in the nation to dole out premium tax credits to qualified Americans.

“The law’s opponents say Obamacare’s architects used the subsidies to entice states to set up their own exchanges instead of asking the federal government to do it for them. To cover their tracks, they say, the IRS issued a rule to make it clear that all states could enjoy the subsidies.”

At issue is a phrase in the law that says the subsidies are reserved for people who used an exchange “established by the state,” which challengers took to mean the 15 exchange set up by 14 states and the District of Columbia. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Federal Appeals Court Panel Says Most Obamacare Subsidies Illegal

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Crash and burn for Obamacare?

 reports: In a potentially crippling blow to Obamacare, a top federal appeals court Tuesday said that billions of dollars worth of government subsidies that helped 4.7 million people buy insurance on obama-exec-oHealthCare.gov are not legal under the Affordable Care Act.

“Now, Obama and Company will look for John Roberts to pull their fat out of the fire again. I am afraid he will.”

— Wesley J. Smith

[Obamacare Fed Exchange Subsidies Fall]

In its decision, a three-judge panel said that such subsidies can be granted only to people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia — not on the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov. Plaintiffs in the case known as Halbig v. Burwell argued that the ACA, as written, only allows that often-significant financial aid to be issued to people who bought insurance on a marketplace set up a state.

[Also see: Good News: Americans No Longer Required to Obey Laws, Regulations, or Court Decisions]

[White House on Obamacare Ruling: Letter of the Law Doesn’t Matter]

[See the court document here]

The decision is certain to be challenged by the Obama Administration, and does not immediately have the effect of law. But if it is ultimately upheld, it would cause insurance rates for those people who lost the subsidies to dramatically rise. Read the rest of this entry »


BENCH UPDATE: Bloggers Have First Amendment Protections, Federal Appeals Court Rules

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) Jeff Barnard reports:  A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.

The appeals court ruled that the trustee was not a public figure, which could have invoked an even higher standard of showing the writer acted with malice, but the issue was of public concern, so the negligence standard applied.

Read the rest of this entry »


Supreme Court weighs taking up concealed-gun case

A day after the Senate voted to begin debate on new gun control measures, the Supreme Court is expected to consider a new appeal aimed at loosening state restrictions on firearms.

The justices are meeting in private Friday to discuss adding new cases for the term that begins in the fall. Among them is an appeal of a federal court ruling that upheld New York’s strict licensing scheme for carrying concealed weapons in public.

The National Rifle Association and 20 states are backing an appeal by five New York residents who claim that the state law violates their constitutional gun rights. The challenge comes nearly five years after a landmark Supreme Court decision in favor of gun rights — and four months after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn.

The court could say as early as Monday whether it will hear the case.

Legal scholars say the issue of whether people have a right to be armed in public is likely to win high court review at some point. The court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller focused mainly on the right to defend one’s own home, but it left for another day how broadly the Second Amendment may protect gun rights in other settings.

In November, less than three weeks before the Newtown shootings, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a state law that requires those who want to carry handguns to show a special need for self-protection. Other states with gun laws like New York include California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Another federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., has since upheld the Maryland law, while challenges are pending to the laws in California, Hawaii and New Jersey.

Alan Gura, an Alexandria, Va.-based lawyer who is representing the New Yorkers, as well as the challengers in several other states, said that by upholding such state laws, lower courts are undermining constitutional protections for gun owners.

Gura said the appeals court rulings on the New York and Maryland laws, “if left unchecked, will accelerate the lower courts’ resistance” to the Supreme Court’s endorsement of gun rights.

“The issue here is a large and obvious one that predated Newtown and it will continue to be a big issue going forward,” Gura said. He declined to speculate on whether the Newtown shootings might affect the Supreme Court’s decision.

But University of California at Los Angeles law professor Adam Winkler, an expert on the legal dispute over guns, said the time may not be right for the high court’s review. “The justices have to be cognizant of the politics of guns at this moment in time. Newtown makes it less likely the justices will want to wade into the gun issue,” he said.

Another factor that often influences the justices’ decision to take up a case is when lower courts come to different conclusions about the law’s meaning. Gura’s clients and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, defending the law, disagree about whether there is a split among federal appeals courts.

In December, the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the only statewide ban on carrying concealed weapons, in Illinois. The court gave state lawmakers until June to adopt a law that takes account of the ruling. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has said she will wait to see what the state legislature does before deciding whether to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Gura said the Illinois ruling “brings this split into sharp relief at the federal appellate level.”

But Schneiderman said the decision in Illinois stressed the unique nature of the state law that was struck down and contrasted that law with the statutes in New York and elsewhere that give officials wide discretion in deciding whether to grant permits to carry guns in public.

The case is Kachalsky v. Cacace, 12-845.

via Supreme Court — Fox News