Gingrich, Barton, Bachmann, Huckabee Team Up for Religious Right Webcast

John Stemberger is the President of the Florida Family Policy Council who has recently become a cause célèbre for the Religious Right because he is facing both a $10 million defamation lawsuit and misconduct complaint stemming from his actions during the Rifqa Bary saga in 2009.

A legal defense fund has been set up with the backing of the Newt Gingrich, Jerry Boykin, David Barton, Tony Perkins, and Lou Engle ... and according to this flyer [PDF], many of these leaders -  along with Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, and Haley Barbour - will be joining Stemberger for a "Florida Family Council Special Event" later this month in the form of a live webcast broadcast to churches around the nation entitled "Rediscover God in America":

History is clear: the founders of our country drew their inspiration, wisdom, and direction from the Bible. Beginning in colonial times, church leaders spoke to their congregations about the events and issues of the day in the context of Biblical truth. Rediscover God in America will lay a foundation of critical knowledge for your congregation. They'll learn how to interpret and assess current events in light of God's Word, as our founding fathers did, and how to respond Biblically and take action that aligns with His truth.

A just and prosperous nation is born and sustained by truth, not compromise. Join with thousands of churches across the nation! Bring the truth about God and America to your congregation and community.

Porter's Fetus Stunt Falls Flat

Yesterday, we noted that Janet Porter of Faith2Action had announced that Ohio's House Health Committee would hold a hearing on her "Heartbeat Bill" which "will feature proponent testimony from the youngest to ever come before the committee--a nine-week old unborn baby."

Today, Porter's stunt was put into action and turned out to be a bust, as the heartbeat of 9-week old fetus was pretty much undetectable:

State lawmakers in Ohio have seen ultrasound images of two fetuses as proponents of what would be the most stringent abortion law in the nation pushed their proposal.

The bill would ban abortions after the first heartbeat can be medically detected.

Two young mothers were given ultrasounds in a packed room at the Statehouse as part of a House committee meeting Wednesday. The heartbeat of a fetus at 15 weeks gestation was easily detected. The heartbeat in a fetus of nine weeks gestation was difficult to detect.

UPDATE: WBNS-10TV has footage from inside the hearing room as the ultrasounds were performed:

Right-Wing Activists Malign Goodwin Liu Even As Conservative Legal Minds Support His Confirmation

Legal scholar Goodwin Liu, President Obama’s nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is receiving a second hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Liu, who is an Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the Berkeley School of Law and a renowned legal scholar, has unsurprisingly found himself to be a top target of right-wing activists.

Ed Whalen of the Nation Review accuses Liu of “trying to fool senators and get himself appointed to the Ninth Circuit, where he would (among countless opportunities for mischief)” overrule California’s Proposition 8. In addition, a coalition of right-wing groups including the Judicial Crisis Network, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel, American Values, the Center for Military Readiness, the Media Research Center, the Traditional Values Coalition, Americans for Limited Government, and Citizens United have signed on to a memo condemning Liu for representing the “extreme liberal agenda of judicial activism.”

But Richard Painter, the Associate Counsel to the President during the Bush Administration, points out that while many ideological right-wing activists oppose Liu, prominent conservative legal minds like John Yoo, Ken Starr, and Clint Bolick endorse his confirmation and corroborate Liu’s qualifications. “The attacks are rife with extravagant and tendentious readings of Liu’s record,” Painter writes, “and they are based on selective quotations of Liu's writings that even then don’t prove the point”:

Liu's opponents have sought to demonize him as a "radical," "extremist," and worse. National Review Online's Ed Whelan has led the charge with a "one-stop repository" of attacks on Liu. However, for anyone who has actually read Liu's writings or watched his testimony, it's clear that the attacks--filled with polemic, caricature, and hyperbole--reveal very little about this exceptionally qualified, measured, and mainstream nominee.

Far from being radical, Liu's view probably comports with the intent of the framers who bequeathed the Constitution to their descendants with the intent that it be a useful document. Few if any of our ancestors would have intended that we run our businesses, farm our land, educate our children, or live our lives exactly the way they did, even if they did intend that the Constitution give us principles of self-government that would last for generations. Liu's perspective may be more realistic than that of some of his opponents; his view is certainly not radical.

In sum, Liu is eminently qualified. He has support from prominent conservatives. He would fill a judicial emergency vacancy, and he would add important diversity to the bench. He is pragmatic and open-minded, not dogmatic or ideological, as his support for school vouchers shows.

Many, though by no means all, of his scholarly views do not align with conservative ideology or with the policy positions of many elected officials in the Republican Party. (This might not have been the case thirty years ago, but many moderates have since left the Republican Party.) Nevertheless, his views are part of the American legal mainstream. The independence, rigor, and fair-mindedness of his writings support a confident prediction that he will be a dutiful and impartial judge.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council has filed a FIOA request because they are "deeply concerned that officials at the Department of Justice were collaborating with the litigants in the Proposition 8 case."
  • Speaker John Boehner says social issues will not be ignored.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor says the House will step up to defend DOMA.
  • Anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer wants to know why the US doesn't step up and outlaw Islam.
  • Remember Larry Grard? He's suing.
  • Finally, I am excited that thrice-married Newt Gingrich is forming a presidential exploratory committee and would like to announce my new policy that so long as he maintains this ridiculous charade, I intend to routinely refer to him as "thrice-married Newt Gingrich."

Huckabee: I Answer To Janet Porter

In honor of the news that Faith2Action's Janet Porter had scheduled a fetus to "testify" on behalf of her "Heartbeat Bill" before the Ohio Legislature, we went back and dug up some unused footage from 2009 when Mike Huckabee spoke at the How To Take Back America Conference that Porter co-organized with Phyllis Schlafly and variety of Religious Right groups like the American Family Association, WorldNetDaily, Vision America, and Liberty Counsel.

At the event, Huckabee was introduced by Porter herself and upon taking to the microphone, quipped that there are two Janets to whom he obediently answers - his wife and Janet Porter:

North Carolina Marriage Equality Opponents Want To "Put A Big Letter Of Shame On The Behavior" And "Perversity"

Republicans in North Carolina are hoping to pass a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, even though gay and lesbian couples are already prevented from getting married under statute. One leading proponent of the ban believes that an amendment, which could potentially be included on the 2012 ballot if it passes the legislature with three-fifths of the vote, would pass because “the public in my opinion knows the difference between perversity and diversity” and that residents “don’t want them here.” The News Observer reports:

Supporters of a bill that would ask voters to write a ban on same-sex marriage into the state Constitution say it has its best chance at passage since they started pushing for it in 2004.

Sen. James Forrester, a Gaston County Republican, has filed the bill consistently for nearly a decade, but the proposal never made it to a full vote. Democrats held control of both the House and Senate for most of those years.

With Republicans now controlling the legislature, Forrester is looking forward to hearings and a victory.

"I think we have enough votes to get it passed," he said. Republicans hold majorities in both chambers, and similar bills in past years have drawn bi-partisan support.

The state already has a law banning same-sex marriage, but supporters of the constitutional amendment said the law isn't enough. The law is vulnerable to changes by future legislatures, Forrester said, or to a judge who thinks it's wrong.

The amendment "prevents a liberal judge from saying 'no,' " Forrester said.

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James, a longtime supporter of the ban, said the amendment would make a moral statement.

"The purpose is not just to prevent Massachusetts people coming down," he said. "It's also to put a big letter of shame on the behavior. We don't want them here. We don't want them marrying. If you're going to do it in San Francisco, it's your own business."

In an e-mail last week, James predicted easy passage. "Bet it will pass with over 60 percent," he wrote. "The public in my opinion knows the difference between perversity and diversity."

Sekulow: DOMA Decision Means "We're Now Living In a Monarchy"

I guess Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice didn't get David Barton's memo because he showed up on "The 700 Club" today to talk to Pat Robertson about the Obama administration's DOMA decision, saying that everyone should "be very concerned that we're now living in a monarchy":

Schlafly: Frances Fox Piven "Sold Obama On Socialism"

After Glenn Beck dedicated much of his television and radio programs to consistently attack Frances Fox Piven, a professor at City University of New York, the academic and her family began receiving countless death threats. In 1966, Piven and her husband wrote an article calling for a political movement among unemployed Americans, which Beck believes makes her one of the “nine most dangerous people in the world.” Now, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum is joining Beck in pushing his vituperative conspiracy theories, and suggesting that Piven is actually responsible for transforming President Obama into a socialist.

Speaking at a forum held by Missouri Republican senatorial candidate Ed Martin, who last year said that President Obama wants to “take away [the right] to find the Lord,” said that Obama “wants to take us into socialism” through health care reform. Citing Radical in Chief, whose author accuses Piven of masterminding “violent rioting,” Schlafly claims that Obama attended a “Socialist Party conference and that was where he absolutely committed to socialism, and the main speaker was this Frances Fox Piven, whom Glenn Beck has been talking about, she’s still around, and she was the speaker who sold Obama on socialism.”

Barton: Obama Has "Constitutional Authority to Declare [DOMA] Unconstitutional"

I don't put much faith in the accuracy of anything that David Barton says, but nonetheless I do want to highlight this email he just sent out from Wallbuilders refuting the Right's claims that President Obama's decision to stop defending DOMA is unlawful: