BREAKING: Judge Orders Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis to Be Released From Jail 

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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

CNN reports:

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.

Case appealed

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 »


Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm Sentenced to 8 Months in Prison

Michael-Grimm

Former Staten Island rep pleaded guilty to tax fraud last year

Rebecca Davis O’Brien reports: Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who pleaded guilty last year to tax fraud, was sentenced Friday to eight months in prison and one year of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen issued the sentence in federal court in Brooklyn Friday morning. Mr. Grimm, a Staten Island Republican, is scheduled to surrender Sept. 10.

Mr. Grimm was charged in April 2014 in a 20-count indictment that alleged he schemed to hide more than $1 million in earnings and employees’ wages at a Manhattan restaurant he ran before becoming a congressman in 2011. The charges stemmed from a probe into Mr. Grimm’s campaign financing.

In December, Mr. Grimm admitted that he had underreported to federal and state tax authorities what the restaurant, Healthalicious, earned between 2007 and 2010, court records show. He also admitted using a portion of the underreported receipts to pay employees off the books. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Boston Bomber Apologizes, Admits Guilt for Deadly 2013 Attack

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Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday apologized for the deadly 2013 attack at a hearing at which he was to be formally sentenced to death.

“I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done, irreparable damage,” Tsarnaev, 21, told a federal court.

“I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done, irreparable damage…In case there is any doubt, I am guilty of this attack, along with my brother.”

It was the first time that the ethnic Chechen, who did not speak in his own defense during his trial, had addressed the court.

Tsarnaev

“In case there is any doubt, I am guilty of this attack, along with my brother,” Tsarnaev said, standing at the defense table. Read the rest of this entry »


Another Court Victory Against Obama’s Illegal Executive Order Granting Amnesty

border-meltdown3

Judge Denies Obama’s Request to Let Immigration Policy Stand

 reports: A Brownsville-based federal judge on Tuesday denied the Obama administration’s proxyrequest to let a controversial immigration program proceed while the issue plays out in the courts.

United States District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that his initial decision to halt the president’s November executive action — which seeks to grant deportation relief and a work permit to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including a portion of the 1.6 million currently living in Texas — was the right one.

“Having considered the positions of all parties and the applicable law, this court remains convinced that its original findings and rulings in the Order of Temporary Injunction and Memorandum Opinion and Order issued on Feb. 16, 2015…were correct.”

Hanen initially ruled that the White House violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the way federal policies are crafted and how much input the public gets.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has called Obama’s action “beyond any president’s authority,” and says it “would inevitably cause irreparable harm to our state, imposing border-meltdown5hundreds of millions of dollars in costs on Texas.”

Gov. Greg Abbott, the state’s former attorney general, filed the lawsuit against the Obama administration in December before being sworn in as governor. Texas is part of a 26-state coalition that challenged the executive action.

Hanen blocked the measure in February and the Obama administration immediately requested that the judge delay his own order. But on Tuesday, Hanen reiterated that wasn’t going to happen. Read the rest of this entry »


Fred Bauer: Pluralism vs. Sectarian Secularism

founders-pluralism

The debate over religious liberty has brought out some odd readings of American history

Fred Bauer writes: A number of forces are fueling the current debate about religious liberty in the United States: among them, good-faith efforts to promote the continued improvement of the Union, senses of cultural grievance, anti-religion paranoia, ignorance, self-righteousness, opportunism, partisanship, and new-wave authoritarianism. However, it might be helpful to see this debate as taking place against the backdrop of a clash between two different views of the role of religion in public life. On one side stand sectarian secularists, who want to remove religion from public life altogether, and on the other stand pluralists, who support a more open society.

“Leaving aside the religious and political beliefs of Americans before 1776, appeals to the divine suffuse American culture and politics. Many of the Founders — along with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless others — would have a bone to pick with those who say that our foundational rights do not come from God.”

[Read the full text here, at National Review]

Modeled in some respects on the French tradition of laïcité, sectarian secularism holds that appeals to religious ideas have absolutely no place in the public square, and its adherents will ridicule as out of bounds any appeal to the divine. This position goes well beyond a separation of church and state, which is about distinguishing the institutions of religion from those of governance, and instead suggests that the religious and the political should be entirely separate spheres. Unlike a more moderate and open-minded secularism, sectarian secularism seeks to police the bounds of public debate by rendering religious approaches to politics illegitimate.

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“This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: ‘Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country’.”

[Also see – Religious Liberty and the Left’s End Game]

This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: “Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country.” Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not “our country.” In a later Facebook post, Cuomo continued to insist that the language of the Declaration was not really part of American life: “Because the US does not draw on divine authority for recognition of rights.

“Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not ‘our country’.”

[Also see – RFRA: Now More than Ever]

Founding documents were the beginning of course but the first amendment in that seminal constitution, which has infinitely more authority than the dec of indep obviously keeps faith out of government.” Cuomo is far from an outlier here. The past few weeks alone have offered numerous examples of attempts to stigmatize religious references in public debates. The sectarian secularists have defined once and for all what the U.S. is: a society where religion should be kept in the closet and not influence politics or policy-making.

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“Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike.”

[Read the full text here, at National Review]

Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike. Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it. Indeed, pluralists believe that such a sealing off is practically and philosophically impossible.

“Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it.”

From a pluralist perspective, religion can perhaps never be fully separated from politics. Politics is shaped by broader philosophical principles about the ends of human existence, and one’s religious beliefs will undoubtedly influence one’s understanding of these principles. If one believes that all men and women are made in the image of a divine Creator, that will likely lead to a different set of principles from those that one would espouse if one believes that some people are innately better than others. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: District Court Declares Obama Immigration Amnesty Unconstitutional

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Andrew C. McCarthy writes:

“I wonder how the Republican establishment will take this: A federal court has the gumption to declare the obvious — namely, that Obama’s immigration policy is unconstitutional, just as Republican candidates argued while seeking votes during the recent midterm election campaign — only three days after 20 Republican senators astonishingly joined with the Democrats to endorse Obama’s policy as constitutionally valid.”

(read more)

[Also see – Chris Christie Prediction: ‘In 2017, there won’t be an Obamacare‘]

From Jon Adler‘s analysis on Judge Schwab’s opinion at the Volokh Conspiracy

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Jonathan H. Adler:

Earlier Tuesday, a federal court in Pennsylvania declared aspects of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy unconstitutional.

According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals.  As a consequence,  Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

‘The Tennis Court Oath, 20th June 1789’, by Jacques Louis David (1791) ©Bridgeman Art Library

This is the first judicial opinion to address Obama’s decision to expand deferred action for some individuals unlawfully present in the United States. [I’ve now posted the opinion here.]

The procedural background of the case is somewhat unusual.   Read the rest of this entry »


Feds to File New Charges Against Leland Yee

Leland Yee, Ron Calderon

For Breitbart.com, William Bigelow reports:  California State Senator Leland Yee, who has been charged with wire fraud and conspiring to import firearms, may be facing new charges from the federal government.

Although U.S. Attorney Susan Badger said that the government “is anxious to start discovery,” the government stated that there will be additional charges in a superseding indictment. Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer gave the government until July to file the charges.

Without naming names, the government stated, “Of particular note, the government is continuing to pursue its investigation of RICO violations as well as additional substantive criminal violations.”

Read the rest of this entry »


N.Y. Judge Rules NSA Phone Surveillance Legal

The judge says the government learned from its mistakes on 9/11. | AP Photo

The judge says the government learned from its mistakes on 9/11. | AP Photo

NEW YORK — A federal judge on Friday found that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ telephone records is legal and a valuable part of the nation’s arsenal to counter the threat of terrorism and “only works because it collects everything.”

U.S. District Judge William Pauley said in a written opinion that the program “represents the government’s counter-punch” to eliminate al-Qaida’s terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications.

“This blunt tool only works because it collects everything,” Pauley said. “The collection is broad, but the scope of counterterrorism investigations is unprecedented.”

He said the mass collection of phone data “significantly increases the NSA’s capability to detect the faintest patterns left behind by individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations. Armed with all the metadata, NSA can draw connections it might otherwise never be able to find.”

He added that such a program, if unchecked, “imperils the civil liberties of every citizen” and he noted the lively debate about the subject across the nation, in Congress and at the White House.

“The question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is. But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of government to decide,” he said.

Read the rest of this entry »