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Cruz And Rubio Sign Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court To Weaken Roe

Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida are among the 174 members of Congress who have submitted an amicus brief yesterday urging the Supreme Court to uphold a Texas anti-abortion law that threatens to close most of the abortion providers in the state.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (previously called Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole) on March 2, considering whether sweeping abortion restrictions in Texas present an unconstitutional “undue burden” on women seeking abortions or whether they are merely meant to protect women’s health, as their backers claim. The case is a critical test of the anti-choice movement’s long-term strategy to weaken Roe by gradually chipping away at abortion access in the states, often by claiming that burdensome regulations are meant to protect the health of women seeking abortions.

Texas’ law was written in consultation with Americans United for Life, the national group that is leading the charge to eliminate abortion access via restrictive state laws. The regulations imposed by the law included specifications on things like hallway width and even on water fountains, along with unnecessary and sometimes untenable hospital “admitting privileges” requirements for abortion providers. If upheld by the court, the law would likely close all but a handful of Texas’ abortion clinics, creating a model for other conservative states to follow. Texas’ lieutenant governor at the time the law was passed, David Dewhurst, boasted that it would “essentially ban abortion statewide.”

Yet Texas lawmakers and their attorneys are sticking with the story that the law is a reasonable regulation meant to protect patients’ health, allowable under the framework laid out in the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. And that is the argument that the brief by Cruz, Rubio and their fellow members of Congress makes too, claiming that doctors “disagree” on the necessity of the regulations and so Texas legislators merely “decided to strike a balance that gives first priority to women’s health and safety, choosing to risk erring on the side of safety rather than on the side of danger.”

As an example of the supposed necessity of such regulations, the brief cites Kermit Gosnell, the Pennsylvania abortion provider who was convicted of a number of appalling crimes related to his shoddy practice. Gosnell was not only operating in an entirely different state, it was clear that his crimes were the result of insufficient enforcement of existing regulations on clinics rather than insufficient regulation.

In a statement about the amicus brief, Rubio started off with the Gosnell case, claiming that the Texas law “best protects the safety and well-being of women who choose to have abortions, and serves as a model for other states to follow,” adding that such measures are stop-gap until “we can put an end to abortion and protect life once and for all.” Cruz also raised the specter of Gosnell, claiming that “the most zealous abortion advocates, nothing—not even women’s health—can be allowed to stand in the way of abortion-on-demand.”

Rubio and Cruz, like the law they are defending, are deliberately skirting around the point. Rubio supports banning abortion in all circumstances, while Cruz has backed a radical “personhood” laws that would ban all abortion and could even risk outlawing some types of birth control. At the same time, Cruz backed then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s refusal to accept federal Medicaid expansion that would have insured more than one million people while Rubio has tried repeatedly to take away insurance coverage for contraception from some women. It’s hard to believe that Rubio and Cruz’s position in Whole Woman’s Health stems from a sudden interest in women’s health rather than a concerted strategy to eliminate abortion rights.

Congressional Republicans Promote 2016 'Ideas' Strategy, Warn Against Trump At Heritage 'Conservative Policy Summit'

The Heritage Foundation’s political advocacy affiliate, Heritage Action for America, held an all-day “Conservative Policy Summit” on Wednesday, during which Heritage staff and supporters heard from nearly two dozen conservative Republican members of Congress. Heritage's president, former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, reaffirmed one of the organization’s longstanding principles — that you can’t legitimately call yourself an economic conservative if you aren’t also a social conservative.

The morning consisted of speeches on “conservative policy pillars” – House Speaker Paul Ryan on leadership, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa on defense, Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina on social policy, and Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska on economic policy. The afternoon was built around panel discussions on the House Freedom Caucus, the freshman class, differences in the workings of the House and Senate, and the state of the conservative movement. What was meant to be a closing debate on the filibuster between Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Sen. Mike Lee turned into a moderated conversation with Lee — who defends the filibuster against frustrated right-wing House members — when Goodlatte didn’t show.

Ryan’s opening speech set a mostly high-minded tone, saying conservatives must address Americans who are hurting and convince them that a conservative pro-growth agenda offers them more promise than “failed” liberal policies. He called for a “clarifying election” that would, like Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory, come with a mandate to enact conservative policies. Ryan warned that with one more progressive presidency “liberals will lock in all their gains” — and that Democrats’ refusal to deal with entitlement reform would ensure monetary and fiscal crises.

In remarks that may have been intended for his Heritage Action hosts and members of the Freedom Caucus, Ryan urged conservatives not to engage in a “circular firing squad” or waste time fighting over tactics or impugning one others’ motives. “We can’t let how someone votes on an amendment to an appropriations bill define what it means to be conservative, because it’s setting our sights too low,” he said.

Ryan also said Republicans must not be merely oppositional. He suggested that conservatives who promised to repeal Obamacare while Obama was still in office were merely setting themselves up for failure. He said House Republicans are putting together a five part ideas-based agenda that will define the year in the areas of national security, jobs and the economy, healthcare, poverty and opportunity, and restoring the Constitution.

Rep. Mark Walker, a Southern Baptist minister, was introduced by Heritage’s Jennifer Marshall as a champion of the right-wing social agenda on marriage, abortion and religious liberty. Walker said the country was founded on traditional values, but that decades of liberal policies have led to the “undoing” of communities: “The federal government has hijacked the American Dream and the family has been decimated.”

Walker said Congress must “eliminate every taxpayer dollar that goes to Planned Parenthood,” saying, “There is no other freedom-robbing, opportunity-destroyer and life-killer that is more intentional than Planned Parenthood.”  Walker did not directly address the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling or the resistance to the ruling being pushed by some social conservatives. In a question about how to make marriage fashionable, he said the church has to do its job in teaching the truth about family.

Walker said people are right to be angry about some things, like classrooms indoctrinating students with “progressive secularism,” and said that anger can be a powerful motivator if properly targeted. He urged people to be discerning and compassionate in order to more effectively make the conservative case. “It’s okay to be a loud voice as long as you’re doing more than just making noise,” he said.

Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a former college president tasked with talking about economic freedom, said that the American idea of limited government and conservatives’ commitment to the free market are grounded in “an anthropological claim about human dignity.” Like other speakers, Sasse denounced what he described as regulatory overreach. He disputed the characterization by former Democratic Rep. Barney Frank that government is “another word for the things we choose to do together.” No, said Sasse, government is not community, but compulsion, power and force.

Sasse seemed to criticize Donald Trump’s campaign without mentioning the candidate by name (something Ryan had also done), saying it was wrong to think that government power or a single election can fix things.

A lot of what is happening in the Republican electorate right now is the downstream effects of the tribalism of race, class and gender identity politics on the left, that some of the right have decided, well, if they’re going to have an identity politics, maybe we should have an identity politics. And that is an abandonment of the American idea. We already have one post-constitutional party in this country; we don’t need a second one. And so the idea that there is a strongman that can save us isn’t true. It’s understandable why it can be attractive, but it isn’t true. And so if you pretend that if only we gave more power to one guy in Washington, but he was the right guy, everything would be fixed, I submit to you that that act is the act of saying everything is already lost in the American experiment. Because what America needs is a constitutional recovery, not a Republican Barack Obama.

A panel with members of the House Freedom Caucus — what moderator Fred Barnes referred to affectionately as the “Bomb-thrower Caucus” — included Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Raul Labrador of Idaho, Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. A common theme of their remarks was that Republicans in Congress have lost the trust of the American people by overpromising and under-delivering because too many of them get to D.C. and get talked into being a “team player.” Members of the Freedom Caucus and panel of House freshmen all seemed optimistic that the House would function more effectively under the speakership of Paul Ryan than it did under deal-maker John Boehner.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia talked about the new Article I project that has been launched by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and others, which is designed to limit the regulatory power of federal agencies and the discretionary power of the president. (Lee and Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas described the Article I project in National Review this week.) Later in the day Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona also mentioned the project, saying he hoped it would reinvigorate the constitutional balance between the legislative and other branches.

But in spite of the perils they said face America, panelists were positive about the state of the conservative movement. Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama noted that the conservative movement today has many assets that Ronald Reagan didn’t, including a national network of state-level think tanks and advocacy organizations, political groups devoted to candidate recruitment and training and grassroots mobilization, and GOP control in most statehouses and legislatures. Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia, who waged the right-wing insurgent campaign that defeated former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Republican primary, predicted a conservative wave election. And Rep. Bill Flores of Texas said the conservative movement is strong, as reflected in the success of “outsider” candidates in the Iowa caucuses and the majorities in the House and Senate — there’s just “one big step to go.”

Rick Wiles Prays Obama Will Be Ousted And Sent To Prison

“Trunews” host Rick Wiles was outraged by President Obama’s appearance at a Baltimore mosque yesterday, calling the president a supporter of Islamic terrorism and asking listeners, “Why are we tolerating this criminal thug?”

Insisting that the president is not only a Muslim but “the jihadist-in-chief” who “is waging jihad against the United States from inside the White House,” Wiles said that he prays Obama “will be arrested, tried in court, found guilty and sentenced to prison for his bloody crimes against humanity.”

However, Wiles isn’t looking forward to Hillary Clinton succeeding Obama as president, calling her “a puppet of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Wiles even made a prediction that Obama will “out himself” as a Muslim before leaving office.

Diana West Decries 'Hispanization' Of US, 'Demographic Invasion' From Southern Border

Conservative columnist Diana West, a frequent guest on Frank Gaffney’s “Secure Freedom Radio” program, appeared on Gaffney’s program yesterday to discuss with guest host Jim Hanson the struggle that many European countries are having in accommodating millions of refugees and migrants from North Africa and the Mideast.

West warned that the U.S. is “deep into the same exact transition” as Europe and “we are being replaced also and our culture is being absolutely taken over in similar ways,” not only by relatively small numbers of refugees, whom she called “non-assimilable,” but by the “Hispanization” of U.S. culture through immigrants from Latin America.

“We are experiencing the exact same forces and movement here,” she said. “We’re much bigger, obviously, and the conditions are somewhat different. However, we have no border, we have massive invasions by demographic invasion coming up on the southern border in particular. This would be an effort that we are watching, my father used to use the phrase, the United States becoming the northern tip of South America. I mean, this is a sense of the Hispanization of the country.”

“And meanwhile we’re watching refugee resettlement and the Syrian quote ‘refugee’ project also coming in with population blocks, non-assimilable population blocks coming out of the Islamic world and elsewhere being imposed on communities across the country,” she added.

Pamela Geller: Olympic Fencer Competing In Hijab Is 'Islamic Supremacism'

On Saturday, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad qualified for the U.S. Olympic team, making news for becoming the first U.S. athlete who will compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab.

As far as we know, Muhammad’s choice to wear a head covering during the competition isn’t going to affect anybody else on the U.S. Olympic team, but anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller is up in arms, saying in an interview with “Breitbart News Daily” this morning that the one athlete wearing a hijab amounts to “Islamic supremacism” and “imposing Islam on the secular marketplace.”

“The Olympic team now, they’re wearing hijabs, aren’t they?” the program’s host, Stephen K. Bannon, asked Geller.

Geller confirmed that “they’ve designed special outfits for them."

“It’s more of imposing Islam on the secular marketplace,” she added, “whether it’s in the workplace, whether it’s in the school. It’s Islamic supremacism is what it is. You have even in Canada, the Mounties, they’re designing a police officer’s uniform with a hijab. This is Islamic supremacism. You know, Jewish law pertains only to Jews, canon law pertains only to Christians, but Sharia, Islamic law, asserts it’s authority over non-Muslims. This is the problem and this is something that is never discussed.”

Bryan Fischer Says All Islamic Charities Are Merely Fronts For Funding Terrorism

On his program yesterday, notorious anti-Muslim radio host Bryan Fischer criticized President Obama for speaking at a mosque, asserting that there is no such thing as an Islamic charity because all such organizations are nothing more than fronts for funding terrorism.

"There's no such thing as an Islamic charity," he said. "That's just a ruse. That is a terrorist fundraising organization. You see any Islamic organization with the word 'relief' or 'foundation' or 'charity' in it, you are looking at an organization that raises money for terror."

When Christians start a charity, Fischer asserted, the motivation is to "provide charitable relief to needy people" but when Muslims start a charity, the true "purpose is to finance jihad."

"That is it's mission," he said. "That's why it exists and this whole business about it being a charity, being a foundation, that's just a cover to try to avoid suspicion."

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/3/16

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/3/16

  • If you are the sort of person who insists that Texas Supreme Court justices have the support of Kirk Cameron, then Rick Green is your man!
  • Rand Paul is the latest Republican presidential candidate to throw in the towel.
  • Donald Trump supporter Robert Jeffress says that he would have been willing to appear with other GOP presidential candidates but "Trump was the only one who asked me to pray at his events."
  • Rafael Cruz says that the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling was the "catalyst" for evangelicals coming out to vote for his son because it was "a direct frontal attack on religious liberty."
  • Dan Stein of NumbersUSA says immigrants are bringing disease: "Take a look at what happened to the Native Americans when they didn’t properly screen for contagious diseases back in 1620."
  • Finally, Linda Harvey calls upon pastors to preach against homosexuality and stop "apologizing to LGBT anarchists."

Rick Santorum Leaves GOP Race But His Bigoted Legacy Will Remain

Despite winning the 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses, Rick Santorum managed to get just one percent of the vote in Monday’s contest and reportedly plans to drop out of the presidential race in a speech tonight. According to National Journal, the former Pennsylvania senator had “spent 86 days campaigning in Iowa since the 2014 election, more than any candidate from either party,” as he attempted to rebrand himself as a “blue collar conservative” class warrior. But Santorum couldn’t escape his polarizing image as a Religious Right culture warrior.

Santorum joined his fellow GOP candidates Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee in claiming that the president can simply ignore Supreme Court rulings that he or she doesn’t like, specifically pledging to defy the court on marriage if he were to become president himself.

He personally pledged to commit civil disobedience against gay marriage and end its “promotion” in public schools, urged Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, alleged that gay marriage violates the First Amendment and said he would continue to enforce the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act.

Santorum, who believes that “our civil laws have to comport with the higher law,” argued that the gay marriage ruling was illegitimate because it went “against the natural law.” But because people didn’t heed his warnings, the U.S. is turning into a dystopian secular theocracy where Christians face widespread legal and societal persecution if they dare to defend their purported right to discriminate against gay people. Now, Santorum says that everything he once predicted, such as the imminent decriminalization of pedophilia and man-dog sex, has come true.

He also claimed that Roe v. Wade is similarly invalid because it contradicts “nature’s law” and provokes divine judgment, equating the legalization of abortion with the Holocaust and blaming racism in America on Planned Parenthood.

But at least Santorum offered us one of the more interesting moments of the campaign.

Santorum, who has routinely suggested that President Obama is aiding terrorism, faced a question from a South Carolina activist about the president’s plot to nuke the city of Charleston. He naturally responded not by putting her conspiracy theory to rest but by decrying Obama as a “tyrant” bent on destroying America.

Cruz Endorser Connects East Coast Blizzard With North Dakota Abortion Ruling

Mike Bickle, the far-right pastor whose endorsement was recently embraced by Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, joined a group of anti-abortion activists today in linking a blizzard that hit the East Coast last month to a Supreme Court decision on abortion rights in North Dakota.

Bickle joined anti-abortion activists including Priests for Life’s Alveda King, the Family Research Council’s Pierre Bynum and Mark Gonzalez of the United States Hispanic Prayer and Action Network in signing a statement distributed by the Texas based Justice Foundation calling for a month of “national prayers and repentance” leading up to the Supreme Court arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the Texas abortion laws case.

“We fear that the judgment of Almighty God, which is designed to be merciful, and the wrath of God, will come upon the United States of America,” the statement warns, noting that a blizzard hit Washington on the same day that the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling striking down North Dakota’s restrictive anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill.

These leaders agree with the statement: "We tremble for our country when we remember that God is just and that His justice never sleeps. We fear that the judgment of Almighty God, which is designed to be merciful, and the wrath of God, will come upon the United States of America. God hates the shedding of innocent blood." But there is hope for our nation if Christians will pray! "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:13-14. We believe that the role of the SCOTUS is to affirm God given rights to every individual throughout ALL stages of LIFE.

We are calling for national prayers of repentance from February 3 to March 4. On January 22, the Jonas storm, which also means Jonah, hit Washington, D.C. That same day the Supreme Court denied North Dakota the right to ban abortion and help women with child care. We urge everyone to pray every day for the Supreme Court and America to repent. From February 3 to March 4, we are urging prayer groups to cooperate in mobilizing the Body of Christ to 24/7 non-stop prayer for the SCOTUS.

On March 2, the Supreme Court will hear the Texas case which calls for ambulatory surgical centers and hospital admitting privileges. We all will have another opportunity to repent for the sin of abortion through this case.