American Center for Law and Justice

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)

Founded by Pat Robertson, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and its Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow quickly established themselves as key players in the right-wing movement, litigating a variety of cases at all levels, including the Supreme Court. The ACLJ has been particularly active in fighting marriage equality and defending the Pledge of Allegiance, while Sekulow has maintained very close ties to the Bush White House and played a central role in pushing for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito.

GOP Congressmen Jump On Phony Internet Scandal

Even though the right-wing conspiracy theory about President Obama handing over control of the Internet to foreign powers has been completely discredited, the myth continues to survive among conservative activists and Republicans in Congress, who have seized upon the debunked claim to attack the Obama administration.

WorldNetDaily reports today that Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice, one of the chief groups pushing the false attack, has garnered over 100,000 signatures on its petition demanding Congress take action against the phony scandal.

GOP congressmen are more than happy to help. Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois told WND that Obama is helping “authoritarian governments” push “their anti-freedom agendas” on the Internet, while Tennessee’s Rep. Marsha Blackburn warned that Obama’s move “will allow countries like China and Russia that don’t place the same value in freedom of speech to better define how the Internet looks and operates.”

As we’ve noted before, the Obama administration actually turned down requests from China and Russia to give Internet oversight to a United Nations-led panel and instead completed a sixteen year plan to relinquish oversight to a non-profit backed by the US Department of Commerce.

But Republicans and right-wing activists don’t seemed to be bothered by the fact that the administration’s decision actually represented a rebuke to countries like Russia and China, and are more than happy to gin up fears that Obama is paving the way for the censorship of the Internet.

It took just days for more than 113,000 people to sign a petition by the American Center for Law and Justice opposing the plan.

Members of Congress confirmed that in just the past few weeks, some of the possible members of the multinational body — including Russia, Turkey, China and Malaysia — either have censored the Internet in their own nations or vowed to do it.

“This isn’t a theoretical debate,” warned Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., one of several lawmakers working on one of the legislative plans.

He’s joined by Reps. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

“There are real authoritarian governments in the world today who have no tolerance for the free flow of information and ideas,” Shimkus said. “What possible benefit could come from giving the Vladimir Putins of the world a new venue to push their anti-freedom agendas?”



“This decision represents another hostile step by the administration on the heels of net neutrality and the FCC’s CIN Study that threatens our freedom of speech. Giving up control of ICANN will allow countries like China and Russia that don’t place the same value in freedom of speech to better define how the Internet looks and operates,” she warned.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which organized the petition effort, said the Obama administration is pushing into dangerous territory.

“This move would put the online liberty of Americans at great risk,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ. “By turning over this key oversight to an international community – which is likely to include countries hostile to America – the world’s most powerful instrument of free speech would be subject to censorship, could be taxed, and would make it easier for cyber-fraud schemes to expand in countries around the globe.”

Sekulow said the “success and freedom of the Internet would be in grave jeopardy if the Obama administration is allowed to carry through with its plan to turn over control of the Internet to a ‘multinational’ body.”

“Free speech is at the core of our Constitution. We’re working with members of Congress on legislation to keep the Internet – and our free speech – free,” he said.

Jay Sekulow Touts Phony Internet Scandal, Claims It Will 'Censor The Church'

As we have noted several times, right-wing groups are falsely claiming that the Obama administration has relinquished control of the Internet to a United Nations-controlled group. In fact, quite the opposite is true: Politico reports that the administration rebuffed calls from Russia and China to give authority to the United Nations-led International Telecommunication Union, and instead completed a sixteen year transition of Internet oversight to a US-backed nonprofit.

Naturally, Obama critics are now alleging that the president did the opposite of what actually occurred and handed over authority to the UN body.

Religious Right leader Jay Sekulow today emailed members of the American Center for Law and Justice to warn that “the President wants to hand over control of the Internet to a multinational group, including corrupt dictatorships in China, Russia, and Iran,” warning that the move could “mean censoring the Church if it reaches out to Islamic lands” and “exposing our own computers to greater risk of fraud and other cybercrimes.”

So there you have it: the Obama administration rejects efforts to relinquish Internet oversight to the UN, and conservative activists decide to attack him anyway by falsely claiming that he did the exact opposite of what he did.

There is simply no excuse for the Obama Administration’s latest move.

The President wants to hand over control of the Internet to a multinational group, including corrupt dictatorships in China, Russia, and Iran.

Why?

China, Russia, and Iran have all signaled they want greater control over the Internet, including control over what we see and write.

Does this mean censoring the Church if it reaches out to Islamic lands?

Does this mean exposing our own computers to greater risk of fraud and other cybercrimes?

America has kept the Internet free for a generation; let’s keep it free. Stand with the ACLJ and stand against the Obama Administration’s latest attack on your liberty.

No, Obama Hasn't Handed Over The Internet To China And Islamists

Need more proof that right-wing activists will keep pushing their conspiracy theories even after they have been thoroughly and decisively debunked?

Take the case of the recent announcement that the federal government will relinquish oversight of the Internet to a US-backed nonprofit, which has prompted conservatives to claim that the United Nations, China, and Islamic governments will now seize control of the Internet. As it turns out, the transition has been in the making for 16 years and actually stifles attempts to increase the authority of the UN-led International Telecommunication Union.

In spite of these facts, right-wing activists are now arguing that the exact opposite is happening.

Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice today unveiled a misleading petition suggesting that the UN will take control of the Internet.

The Obama Administration is giving up American control over the Internet, handing over its most important technical functions to a “multinational” body – perhaps even the U.N.

But do we want Russia or China influencing whether we can create websites? Do we want the U.N. controlling key aspects of the world’s most powerful mode of communication – our free speech?

America has kept the Internet free. Don’t let our nation sign over our freedom to dictators.

Dear President Obama and Members of Congress,

America has kept the Internet free for decades. There is no reason to trust that dictators from Russia and China will protect our freedoms. Maintain American control and protect our online liberty.

ACT! for America, Brigitte Gabriel’s anti-Muslim group, released an even more frantic and deceptive response to the announcement, warning that the administration’s move will lead to the imposition of Sharia law on the Internet.

“Our founding fathers are turning in their grave!” the group said about the Internet oversight transition. “The truth cannot be silenced!”

WE MUST EXPOSE THIS OUTRAGE

Once again President Obama is putting you and your family at risk by giving power to the United Nations (UN) to control the Internet and muzzle YOUR freedom of speech, putting you at a risk of legal action just for expressing your view on the Internet!

If you’re a politician in Washington, and you want to bury bad news, you release an announcement late on Friday afternoon.

On Friday, March 14th, at 3:30pm, the Obama administration announced that America was surrendering control to the UN over key aspects of the Internet (control that America had because we built it in the first place).

Unfortunately, the largest voting bloc in the UN is the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a Saudi-dominated bloc of 57 nations that has waged an aggressive campaign against free speech, freedom of the press and free expression.

For an American president to betray the American public, our founding fathers, our Constitution, and throw our freedom of speech at the feet of tyrants to decide what we can and cannot say under the threat of a law suit for hate crime is unconscionable – shameful – reckless and stretches the boundaries of betrayal.

Our founding fathers are turning in their grave!

We at ACT! For America believe that truth is invincible. The truth cannot be silenced! We believe that if we can reach enough people with our message in defense of our security, our liberty and our values, America will prevail over those who want to destroy our way of life.



We know that the Jihadists not only have our country, our values and our citizens in their crosshairs, but the truth itself. And Jihad is based on the belief that the truth must be hidden, bent and broken.

It is disturbing and chilling that the Obama administration could allow the OIC, along with the Shariah doctrine to which it adheres, to suppress free speech on a global basis via control of the Internet.

Up to now, American oversight of the Internet has ensured that it has run with efficiency and openness, without political pressure.

Authoritarian governments, such as those in Saudi Arabia and Iran, have already been working to control the Internet and now they will no doubt move to fill the power vacuum caused by America's unilateral retreat.

In the future, domains could be banned and new ones not approved for groups deemed undesirable by the OIC or its members.

Let us never forget all that our founding fathers sacrificed so that we can enjoy the democratic freedoms we have today. Let us not forget how so many of them gave their lives for this and that many of them died destitute. They were willing to give everything they had. We cannot let them down. We must stand up, fight this, and inform Americans about what our president has just done. Please help us get this message out by following this link right away to make the most generous tax deductible donation you can afford.

Barbaric regimes from Khartoum to Tehran, and Damascus to Riyadh, have cut off their own citizens' Internet access in the past, but they have been unable to undermine general access to the Internet, where no one needs any government's permission to launch a website. This hallmark of Internet freedom is now endangered.

Dictators and tyrants, who have always silenced their critics and suppressed independent media, have long had a goal of “international” control over the Internet. Now the stage is set for them to achieve that goal.

UN members have called for a UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to replace America’s authority and challenge an open Internet. One critic calls the ITU “the chosen vehicle for regimes for whom the free and open Internet is seen as an existential threat.”



ACT! For America isn’t going to take this lying down. If the Internet is silenced, liberty will be silenced. If those who oppose tyranny are prevented from delivering their message, it is the same as being bound and gagged.

We must continue to confront the enemies of freedom at home and abroad.

No, The New IRS Rules Aren't Targeting Conservatives

Since the IRS proposed new regulations of political activity by 501(c)4 nonprofit groups, the Religious Right has been up in arms, claiming that President Obama wants to use the regulations to “silence the Christians,” “silence conservatives,” and “eliminate his enemies.”

The only problem with this claim is that the proposed regulations wouldn't actually target conservative groups – they would affect all 501(c)4 groups equally, including many progressive groups like People For the American Way. In fact, progressive groups have been split on the issue from the beginning, with some speaking out publicly against the proposed rules.

In a blog post today, the American Center For Law and Justice (ACLJ) freely admits this, announcing, “Thankfully, this time some groups on the Left are starting to see just how invasive and damaging to free speech (everyone’s free speech) this proposed rule would be.”

But in the very same blog post, ACLJ associate counsel Matthew Clark insists that “[t]he new rules are clearly an attempt to legitimize the targeting of conservative groups, giving color of law to the Obama Administration’s mission to silence conservative viewpoints in the social welfare arena.”

In fact, the ACLJ has a petition on its website claiming that the Obama administration wants to use the rules “to crack down on the free speech rights of conservatives.”

So which is it? Is the Obama administration using the proposed regulations to “silence conservative viewpoints” or would the rules affect “everyone’s free speech” equally?

This is beginning to sound a lot like the previous IRS “targeting scandal,” in which conservative groups claim they were politically targeted despite the fact that the program in question also affected plenty of progressive groups.

No, The FCC Is Not Going To Be Stationing Monitors In Local Newsrooms

Last week, Ajit Pai, a Republican nominee serving on the Federal Communications Commission, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he alleged that the FCC was planning to "send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run" in newsrooms all over the nation.

Predictably, the claim has been picked-up by all sorts of folks on the Right who are now warning that it is part of an attempt by the Obama administration to shut down conservative media outlets; most recently Glenn Beck, who spent a large portion of his radio broadcast today freaking out about it, at one point declaring that he would renounce his citizenship if this is what America is becoming:

As luck would have it, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler recently sent a letter to the chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee explaining that the right-wing fear-mongering over this study is totally overblown and inaccurate, as the FCC "has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters."

As Wheeler explained, the FCC has a legal obligation to identify "market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the provision and ownership of telecommunications services and information services" and make a report to Congress. The study in question aims to identify the "access/barriers to [Critical Information Needs] in diverse American communities" within "FCC regulated markets."

Beneath all the jargon, as far as we can determine the study will allow the FCC to monitor "television, newspaper, radio, and Internet" reports in communities of varying sizes at various periods in order to determine if there are barriers in place in the given media market that are preventing entry by entrepreneurs and small businesses. As part of this study, researchers working on it will interview "corporate management, local management, and lower level employees" at various media outlets in order to "ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to under-served populations."

The FCC is not going to be stationing agents in local news stations all over the country in order to monitor their reporting, as the Right has been frantically proclaiming. As Wheeler explained in his letter, the study is designed merely as "a tool intended to help the Commission consider effective, pro-competitive policies that would encourage new entrants" and is currently being modified so as "not [to] go beyond our responsibilities."

Will this clarification from the FCC stop the Right from continuing to make feverishly overblown and politically charged claims about the study? If history is any indication, most certainly not.

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/23/13

  • Al Mohler told a Mormon audience that "I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together."
  • The ACLJ now says the IRS scandal was the result of "some very ugly, very targeted statements by the president of the United States" in conjunction with a “climate of hostility” created by congressional Democrats and the media.
  • If you are an anti-gay Christian, the Liberty Counsel wants you to know that they are "standing for your liberty."
  • Comedy, Concerned Women For America style.
  • Finally, the folks at AFA are none-too-pleased with remarks made by Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Bryan Fischer uses it as an opportunity to vent: "The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) are in fact part of an evil conspiracy to celebrate behavior that according to Romans 1 is 'contrary to nature,' consists of 'shameless acts' and causes participants to 'receiv(e)...in themselves the due penalty for their error.'"

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/8/13

Fox News vs. Fox News on Imprisoned Pastor in Iran

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes claimed today in a Fox Nation blog post entitled “Why Won’t Obama Call for Iran to Release American Pastor?” that the Obama administration “has not done anything to help free” Rev. Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who is being held in a notorious Iranian prison:

The wife of an American pastor held captive in an Iranian prison for nearly a year said the Obama Administration has not done anything to help free her husband – and the law firm representing the family believes it’s because the pastor is a Christian who converted from Islam.

However, this contrasts with what Fox News reported in January of this year:

Although the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement Sunday the administration is "deeply disappointed that Saeed Abedini has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs.

"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini."

Meehan added that the State Department remains in close contact with Abedini.

The State Department also called for Abedini's release.

"Mr. Abedini's attorney had only one day (January 21) to present his defense, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini's trial," spokesman Darby Holladay said in a statement.

State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said in a January press conference that Iran should “release” the pastor and condemned “Iran’s continued violation of the universal rights of freedom of religion.”

We remain very concerned about U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, who is detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day to present his defense. And we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and the transparency of his trial. We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal rights of freedom of religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini’s human rights and to release him. We are in close contact with his family as well and we’re actively engaged in the case.

Nuland reiterated the call for his release just last week:

[W]e remain concerned about Mr. Abedini. We raise this at regular intervals. We also remain deeply concerned that the Iranians have not yet granted access to him by our Swiss protecting power. We continue to believe he should be released immediately.

Brian Thorn of Media Matters points out that the American Center for Law and Justice’s Jordan Sekulow praised the White House and the State Deparmtnet for their “strong statements” to “secure the freedom of Pastor Saeed.” “Thanks to the State Department and White House for their statements today and involvement to secure Pastor Saeed’s freedom,” Sekulow said.

Thorn also notes that White House spokesman Jay Carney also condemned Abedini’s imprisonment.

Well, I can tell you a couple of things. One, that we remain concerned about Saeed Abedini, who is, as you mentioned, detained in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs. The State Department is in close contact with his family and is actively engaged on this case. As you know, Mr. Abedini's attorney had only one day to present his defense. And earlier this week, Mr. Abedini was not allowed to attend his own trial, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of that trial. We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom or religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini.

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/26/13

  • Jeremy Hooper: In equality vs. discrimination debate, writing is on the wall; 70+ leading conservatives put it in a brief, too.
  • Chris Rodda: Barton Admits Getting Gun-Toting Students Story from Louis L’Amour, but it’s OK Because L’Amour Said it Really Happened.

Pat Robertson on Obama's Victory: 'What is Going On with the American People?'

The Christian Broadcasting Network put on an election night special and host Pat Robertson appeared to be dumbfounded that President Obama won re-election. Robertson’s guests included Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, Regent University vice president Paul Bonicelli and Romney adviser Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, the legal group Robertson founded. Barnes reassured Robertson that even if Obama wins, the President “hardly has a mandate for anything” because “this was a status quo election,” as apparently Barnes thinks any incumbent who gets re-elected doesn’t have a mandate. But Sekulow said that Obama will likely appoint two or three justices to the Supreme Court and will use the power of the executive branch to push new “encroachments on liberty and freedom.”

Robertson, who throughout the program held out hope that Karl Rove’s prediction that Romney could win Ohio would materialize, was stunned that Obama was the winner: “What have they got? He doesn’t seem to have any program and yet he’s been able to win a re-election, what is going on with the American people?” Bonicelli said that Americans will spend their next four years “regretting this decision” and Robertson warned that the U.S. is looking more like Western Europe and even Zaire.

Watch highlights here:

Of course, Robertson should not have been surprised since earlier this year God told him who would win the election.

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/9/12

  • Jeremy Hooper: Harry Jackson calls gay families 'discombobulated, Frankenstein structures.'
  • Warren Throckmorton: David Barton’s Founders’ Bible: John Adams and the General Principles of Christianity.
  • Judd Legum @ Think Progress: Republican Candidate In Arkansas Says Parents Should Seek Death Penalty Against ‘Rebellious Children.’

 

Religious Right Groups Laud Paul Ryan, Highlight Anti-Choice and Anti-Gay Voting Record

Conservative leaders hailed Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan, the far-right congressman, to be his running mate, emphasizing his opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights.

Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance said that besides his one-time vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, she is excited “to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’”

Paul Ryan is a great choice. He has one little blip in that he voted for ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) a long time ago but voted right on the marriage amendment and supports the unborn. Plus, I get to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’ Bonus.

Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition commended Ryan’s “100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record.”

Mitt Romney choosing Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee is an inspired, outstanding selection. Paul Ryan is a rare and exceptional public servant who combines the courage of his convictions with a sharp intellect and a winsome personality. I have known him since he worked for Jack Kemp at Empower America in the early 1990s, worked with him in passing sound budgets in the House, and am proud to count him as a friend. He is a person of devout Christian faith who has a 100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record in his 14 years in Congress. He will excite and energize social conservatives, who will play a critical role in the outcome of the elections.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is proud that Ryan “believes that social, fiscal and national security conservatism is indivisible.”

Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan shows that he is serious about getting America's fiscal house in order. Paul Ryan's voting record also suggests that he believes that social, fiscal and national security conservatism is indivisible. Paul Ryan's philosophy clearly includes the understanding that America's financial greatness is tied directly to its moral and cultural wholeness.

As a member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, he has been a defender of religious expression in the public square. Paul Ryan has spoken out strongly against President Obama's abortion drug and contraception mandates as an affront to religious liberty. He has articulately described how the President's government takeover of health care has pushed aside our First Amendment right of religious freedom.

We look forward to hearing Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit so that the conservative grassroots will have an opportunity to hear more about their agenda on the critical issues facing our country including religious liberty, marriage, the sanctity of human life as well as fiscal responsibility and national security.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjore Dannenfelser hailed Ryan’s rejection of a “culture war truce.”

“By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “A longtime pro-life advocate and a strong fiscal conservative, Congressman Ryan has insisted that there can be no ‘truce’ when it comes to advancing the rights of the unborn and achieving fiscal responsibility. He has a pristine pro-life voting record and will be an asset to Governor Romney’s campaign.

“Pro-life voters are a key demographic and help secure victory in critical elections,” continued Dannenfelser. “The addition of a second strong pro-life leader to the ticket energizes the pro-life base – we are thrilled with this pick.”

The Catholic Association called Ryan an “excellent choice” since “he has been thoughtful and articulate in applying Catholic principles to the other challenges facing America.”

We believe Governor Romney has made an excellent choice. As a smart, serious Catholic, Congressman Ryan has been steadfast on issues of fundamental principle – defending religious liberty, life, and traditional marriage.

In addition, he has been thoughtful and articulate in applying Catholic principles to the other challenges facing America.

The American Center for Law and Justice’s David French noted Ryan’s opposition to reproductive rights.

In the next days and weeks, there will be a lot of attention on Paul Ryan’s economic expertise and experience with fiscal reform. He became famous in political circles for the “Ryan budget” and for his fearlessness and effectiveness in challenging President Obama in the midst of the Obamacare debate. But what many may not know is that Paul Ryan is a man completely committed to the cause of life.

Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families is glad this “youthful, forward-looking ticket [is] reminding us that with the right choices America's best days are still ahead of us.”

Just moments ago, Governor Mitt Romney formally announced his selection of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate. He made the announcement at a naval museum in Norfolk, Virginia, with the USS Wisconsin as his backdrop. This is a bold choice, and I am very excited about this pick!

The selection of Paul Ryan shows Governor Romney is serious about confronting the fiscal challenges facing our country. It shows the kind of talented and experienced team Governor Romney will put together that will work for American exceptionalism.

Ryan is a strong conservative. He is pro-life and believes in traditional marriage. Of course, what he is most known for is entitlement reform and stopping the growth of government. He's 42 with a young family.

So this will be a youthful, forward-looking ticket, reminding us that with the right choices America's best days are still ahead of us. It will be a stark contrast to Obama's failed tax and spend policies that are taking us down the dead-end road of European-style socialism. It's clear which presidential ticket is serious about making real change!

Jay Sekulow Continues to Push False Claim that Obama is Threatening Military Voters

Yesterday we noted that Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice is pushing a bogus charge, initially leveled by Mitt Romney’s campaign, that President Obama is trying to suppress the military vote in Ohio. The Obama campaign is challenging a new state law pushed by Republicans which limited early in-person voting to military personnel. The lawsuit’s goal is to expand early in-person voting to all eligible voters, including 900,000 veterans, not to limit military voting.

Even the Romney campaign’s general counsel admits that the lawsuit is not about excluding military voters but expanding the voter pool, as Washington Post’s “The Fact Checker” reports: “As for the memo from Katie Biber, who serves as general counsel to the Romney campaign, the plaintiffs’ argument of arbitrariness and unconstitutionality relates only to Ohio’s exclusion of civilians from the later voting deadline, not to the privilege granted to service members…. Again, the emphasis throughout the Democratic complaint is that Ohio should protect the Equal Protection Clause by ordering the state to extend the later deadline to civilian voters.”

But while Romney’s own general counsel cannot honestly defend the campaign’s preposterous claim, Jay Sekulow is standing by the debunked allegation.

Yesterday on Jay Sekulow Live, he berated Obama over the phony charge and said the ACLJ will file an amicus brief opposing the Obama campaign’s challenge. Sekulow even added to the already manufactured claim by saying that the Obama campaign wants to restrict the voting of “military men and women serving overseas,” even though the law only covers in-person early voting, and the challenge to it could in no way restrict the right of any service member to vote.

I want people to understand this, folks, the Obama administration has initiated this lawsuit, I should say to be particular the Obama re-election committee, it’s Obama for America, has filed suit against Ohio because Ohio is trying to accommodate military men and women serving overseas. I want you to think about that for a moment. The Obama administration or their re-election committee has filed a federal lawsuit to stop a law that would allow for an accommodation for men and women serving in the military serving overseas to vote. How does that make you feel? I hope you get outraged as I am on this and that’s why we’re not just talking about it because on this broadcast we don’t just talk about it we’re taking direct action but this is where you come in, I want all of the states to come to the aid of Ohio and you can do that with me so no matter where you are living, we want you on this brief.



You got the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States’ re-election committee, filing a lawsuit to stop an accommodation. I want people to understand this. The Commander in Chief of the United States has his re-election committee file a federal lawsuit against the state of Ohio and the state of Ohio with wide bipartisan Democratic and Republican support passed legislation accommodating military men and women so that they’re vote will actually count. And the Obama re-election committee says ‘well we think that is arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional.’

ACLJ Promotes Bogus Claim that Obama is Suppressing Military Voters

President Obama’s campaign is suing Ohio after Republicans changed a voting law that ended early in-person voting, while leaving intact the right for service members to show up to the polls early. But Republicans, including Mitt Romney, say that the lawsuit meant to restore voting rights of most Ohioans would somehow hamper the right of soldiers to vote early, an obviously false and dishonest claim. Fox News has repeated the debunked talking points, and now Jay Sekulow, an early Romney backer, today emailed members of the American Center for Law and Justice stating that “Obama obstructs military voting rights.”

The Obama re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that gives members of the military a few extra days to vote prior to Election Day.

Our heroes in the military sacrifice so much for us and face considerable risks that often make it more difficult for them to vote.

It's outrageous that the President's re-election campaign would oppose giving them extra consideration to exercise their right to vote.

They are serving to protect our right to vote; we need to stand up now to protect their voting rights. The ACLJ is filing an amicus brief, and we would like you to stand with us.

The ACLJ even started the “Committee to Defend Military Voting Rights” based on an entirely manufactured threat to military voting.

The Obama Re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that gives members of the military a few extra days to vote early. Men and women in the military sacrifice dearly for our country and they deserve and have the lawful and constitutional right to additional consideration.

Stand with the U.S. military. The ACLJ will file an amicus brief backing the Ohio law - giving our military men and women an opportunity to cast their ballots in a constitutional manner. Add your name to our brief defending the voting rights of the U.S. military today.

This challenge by the Obama Re-election Campaign is not only unconstitutional, but it is also offensive to millions of Americans. Our military heroes deserve to have this lawful courtesy extended to them - not more roadblocks making it even more difficult for them to participate in the election.

New Report on African Politics Features RWW Research

Political Research Associates released a new report yesterday to shed light on the activities of Religious Right organizations in Africa – activities that often fly under the radar of American media.

Exporting similar tactics used to influence voters and policymakers in the United States, a broad coalition of far-right groups have invested heavily on outposts in African nations. These groups use their outsize influence to push for radical legislation banning all rights for LGBT persons and curbing reproductive rights.

The report authored by Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest originally from Zambia, investigates the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, the Mormon-led Family Watch International, and the Roman Catholic Human Life International, as well as a network of Christian dominionists known as the Transformation Movement or New Apostolic Reformation. The report details ACLJ's efforts to influence the constitution-writing process in Zimbabwe and Kenya, and the anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive justice activities of the other groups in such countries as Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.

The report lays out a detailed explanation of why the Christian right enjoys sizable influence on the African continent, and issues ten recommendations for protecting human rights and developing an infrastructure for the long term.

RWW’s own Brian Tashman is featured in the report, in an article which explores the role of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a right-wing legal group founded by Pat Robertson and led by Jay Sekulow.

His research sheds light on its extensive network (and questionable accounting practices) and opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights at home and abroad:

The ACLJ is now one of the principal legal advocacy groups in the conservative movement, along with the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel, the Liberty Institute, and the Thomas More Law Center. The group has built strong partnerships with many Religious Right groups, including the Christian Defense Coalition, Faith and Action,5 the American Family Association,6 and WallBuilders. Its reach has expanded globally with affiliates in countries including France, Israel, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.



The Better Business Bureau says the ACLJ does not meet ten of its twenty standards for charity accountability, citing problems with oversight, compensation, accuracy of expenses, financial transparency, and disclosure; even the founder of the conservative Rutherford Institute has criticized the group’s financial mismanagement.9 An Associated Press investigation found that since 1998, the ACLJ and Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE), Sekulow’s family-controlled charity, “have paid more than $33 million to members of Sekulow’s family and businesses they own or co-own.”

Barber: No 'Christian in Good Conscience' can Support Obama; Trust Romney to Appoint Right-Wing Judges

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber and his boss Mat Staver were consistent critics of Mitt Romney and endorsed Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary, but now Barber is out with a new column begging the Religious Right to coalesce behind Romney and today spoke to Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice about his new found support for the former governor. Barber ironically began the interview by commenting that the ACLJ, like him, was probably bothered by Romney’s inconsistent record, even though both Jay and Jordan Sekulow vigorously supported Romney both times he ran for president and ACLJ attorney David French founded the group Evangelicals for Romney.

He said he came around to supporting Romney because of his pledge to nominate right-wing judges. “The one word that made the decision for me is judges,” Barber told Sekulow, warning that if Obama can make more appointments to the judiciary then he will create a “radical, secular, socialist, European-style nation.”

Barber went on to claim that he couldn’t “imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama.” Or as Barber puts it in his column, “any Christian who votes for Mr. Obama will get to take that up with God.”

The one word that made the decision for me is judges. Probably the most significant thing that any president can do for better or for worse and this may not be how our Founding Fathers intended it but it is the reality we live in is to appoint judges, particularly United States Supreme Court justices. The next president, either Barack Obama, radical secular socialist, or Mitt Romney, center-right Republican, the next president is going to appoint at least probably two, potentially three United States Supreme Court judges. That will affect law, public policy, our culture at large in perpetuity, for as far out as we can see for decades, it literally will make the difference. This next election I think is the most important election we ever faced in our lifetimes, it will make the difference based on Supreme Court appointments alone between an America that we can recognize, that at least resembles what our Founding Fathers intended, versus a radical, secular, socialist, European-style nation, which is the goal of Barack Obama.



A Christian non-vote is a vote for Barack Obama in that it fails to affirmatively cancel out an Obama vote. I can’t imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama. That leaves a final choice, and that is to get out, vote for Mitt Romney, and get out the vote for Mitt Romney.

Rep. Jeff Landry Baselessly Claims the Obama Administration offers Muslim Airline Passengers 'Waivers' to bypass TSA Screenings

Today on Jay Sekulow Live, Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) discussed with the American Center for Law and Justice’s Chief Counsel an amicus brief that the ACLJ is putting together on behalf of the congressman in the lawsuit against the Obama administration’s mandate for health insurance plans to include contraception coverage. Landry maintained that the Obama administration is showing its “hypocrisy” by mandating that religiously-affiliated hospitals and universities cover contraception in their health insurance plans while also “granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings.”

The congressman’s allegation that the Obama administration is giving Muslim passengers “special rights as they go through the TSA screening” doesn’t seem to have any basis in reality, as the TSA on its website gives no mention of religious exemptions and TSA administrator John Pistole testified that anyone who wants to avoid a pat down based on religious reasons is “not going to get on an airplane.”

Sekulow: How big of a deal, how big of an issue is this both in the body politics [sic] and among your constituents?

Landry: Down here in south Louisiana this is huge, this is very important to my constituency. I think the biggest problems that a lot of Americans are having out there is the hypocrisy of this administration. Remember, this is an administration who has no problem granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings. Look, as they believe that there is a need to grant them special rights as they go through the TSA screening based upon their religion, that’s fine, I’m ok with that. But then don’t turn around and attack Christians when they stand up and say ‘listen, we believe that the policies you’re putting in place violate our religious freedoms as well.

Landry warned that if the contraception mandate, which he called a “dangerous” exercise of power, is upheld then there will be “no limit to what the federal government can do”:

This strikes at the very foundation of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, if we allow the federal government to violate this principle there is no limit to what the federal government can do thereafter.



To me this is one of the biggest cases brought forth in the country in a long, long time. I got to tell you, my hat’s off to the Catholic bishops around America, they have gotten to the point where they understand that this exercise that is going on with the federal government is a dangerous one. If they allow this to happen, if we allow this to happen as Americans, as Catholics, as Christians, there is no limit to where the government goes from here. You know, Jay, to me that is the biggest danger, that should be the biggest concern, I mean where does it stop after this?

Rep. Trent Franks says Abortion Rights Supporters are on the 'Wrong Side' of 'History and Eternity'

Last week, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) appeared on Jay Sekulow Live to voice support for his PRENDA bill, which would ban abortion on the basis of gender. Franks admitted that the legislation was essentially a ruse to push the criminalization of all abortions, and while PRENDA received a majority of votes it failed to pass because it needed a two-thirds majority to pass under the suspension of the rules. Franks intends to bring the bill up again for a vote.

On Thursday, Franks told American Center for Law and Justice executive director Jordan Sekulow, who was sitting in for his father, that opponent of his bill will be “on the wrong side of justice and the wrong side of humanity, both in history and eternity.” Back in 2009, Franks dubbed President Obama an “enemy of humanity” due to his support of abortion rights.

Sekulow: People are calling this show, congressman, and saying ‘why is this so controversial? How is this even having to be debated?” But we’re one of those countries, congressman, that has no laws on this whatsoever.

Franks: That’s true. There’s a lot of reason why this gives the left indigestion. It shouldn’t. They should just say, ‘you know what this is a good bill and we’re going to vote for it because if we don’t we’re going to find ourselves on the wrong side of justice and the wrong side of humanity, both in history and eternity.’ You know this is a serious, serious issue.

Ironically-Named 'Military Religious Freedom Protection Act' Opens the Door for Conservative Scare-Tactics

After the American Center for Law and Justice hosted Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) to promote his bill that he claims would help stop Obama from “using the military as a guinea pig” for the “radical homosexual agenda,” Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ sent an email alert to members claiming that if Huelskamp’s Military Religious Freedom Protection Act fails to pass Congress, then “military chaplains could be required to perform same-sex marriages”:

Soon military chaplains could be required to perform same-sex marriages.

To continue ministering to the men and women who are putting their lives on the line for our country, military chaplains would have to violate their faith.

The Senate is considering legislation to protect religious liberty in our military, and we must act now for these strong men of faith.

The House of Representatives has already passed legislation that protects the religious liberty of everyone serving in the military – especially chaplains. The Senate is days away from taking up similar legislation, and we must act quickly.

Religious liberty is a foundational right, and we should expect our elected officials on both sides of the aisle to support it. President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage may be driving his policy, but it should not affect the religious freedom of our men and women who risk their lives to protect our rights and freedom.

Despite Sekulow’s ominous message, the Washington Post reported following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell that while chaplains will be able to perform same-sex marriages in states where they are legal; they will not be required to do so:

The Pentagon will permit military chaplains to perform same-sex marriage as long as such ceremonies are not prohibited in the states where they reside, it said Friday.

Defense Department guidance issued to military chaplains said they may participate in ceremonies on or off military bases in states that recognize gay unions. Chaplains are not required to officiate at same-sex weddings if doing so is counter to their religious or personal beliefs, the guidance said.

In fact, the only way the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act significantly changes the law is by imposing a ban on the use of military installations in same-sex marriage ceremonies, prohibiting houses of worship on military property from exercising their freedom to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.

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American Center for Law and Justice Top Posts

Founded by Pat Robertson, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and its Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow quickly established themselves as key players in the right-wing movement, litigating a variety of cases at all levels, including the Supreme Court. The ACLJ has been particularly active in fighting marriage equality and defending the Pledge of Allegiance, while Sekulow has maintained very close ties to the Bush White House and played a central role in pushing for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito. MORE >

American Center for Law and Justice Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 04/04/2014, 11:35am
Even though the right-wing conspiracy theory about President Obama handing over control of the Internet to foreign powers has been completely discredited, the myth continues to survive among conservative activists and Republicans in Congress, who have seized upon the debunked claim to attack the Obama administration. WorldNetDaily reports today that Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice, one of the chief groups pushing the false attack, has garnered over 100,000 signatures on its petition demanding Congress take action against the phony scandal. GOP congressmen are... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/28/2014, 3:35pm
As we have noted several times, right-wing groups are falsely claiming that the Obama administration has relinquished control of the Internet to a United Nations-controlled group. In fact, quite the opposite is true: Politico reports that the administration rebuffed calls from Russia and China to give authority to the United Nations-led International Telecommunication Union, and instead completed a sixteen year transition of Internet oversight to a US-backed nonprofit. Naturally, Obama critics are now alleging that the president did the opposite of what actually occurred and handed over... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/26/2014, 1:00pm
Need more proof that right-wing activists will keep pushing their conspiracy theories even after they have been thoroughly and decisively debunked? Take the case of the recent announcement that the federal government will relinquish oversight of the Internet to a US-backed nonprofit, which has prompted conservatives to claim that the United Nations, China, and Islamic governments will now seize control of the Internet. As it turns out, the transition has been in the making for 16 years and actually stifles attempts to increase the authority of the UN-led International Telecommunication Union... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 02/26/2014, 1:00pm
Since the IRS proposed new regulations of political activity by 501(c)4 nonprofit groups, the Religious Right has been up in arms, claiming that President Obama wants to use the regulations to “silence the Christians,” “silence conservatives,” and “eliminate his enemies.” The only problem with this claim is that the proposed regulations wouldn't actually target conservative groups – they would affect all 501(c)4 groups equally, including many progressive groups like People For the American Way. In fact, progressive groups have been split on the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/20/2014, 4:17pm
Last week, Ajit Pai, a Republican nominee serving on the Federal Communications Commission, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he alleged that the FCC was planning to "send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run" in newsrooms all over the nation. Predictably, the claim has been picked-up by all sorts of folks on the Right who are now warning that it is part of an attempt by the Obama administration to shut down conservative media outlets; most recently Glenn Beck, who spent a large portion of his radio... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 10/23/2013, 5:33pm
Al Mohler told a Mormon audience that "I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together." The ACLJ now says the IRS scandal was the result of "some very ugly, very targeted statements by the president of the United States" in conjunction with a “climate of hostility” created by congressional Democrats and the media. If you are an anti-gay Christian, the Liberty Counsel wants you to know that they are "standing for your liberty." Comedy, Concerned Women For America style. Finally, the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 07/08/2013, 5:36pm
PFAW: The ENDA is Near: The Top Five Religious Right Claims About the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Bill Berkowitz @ Talk To Action: Watch Out Rio: Pat Robertson Launches Homophobic, Reactionary Evangelical Organization in Brazil. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Senator Cheney? Evan McMurry @ Mediaite: State Republican Tries To Ban LGBT Flag On Public Property: ‘Poke In The Eye Of A Way Of Life.’ Towleroad: Robert Mugabe Threatens Gay Couples: 'Conceive Or Go To Jail.' Jeremy Hooper: Anti-gay activist seeks CA clerks willing to put... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 03/11/2013, 4:40pm
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes claimed today in a Fox Nation blog post entitled “Why Won’t Obama Call for Iran to Release American Pastor?” that the Obama administration “has not done anything to help free” Rev. Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who is being held in a notorious Iranian prison: The wife of an American pastor held captive in an Iranian prison for nearly a year said the Obama Administration has not done anything to help free her husband – and the law firm representing the family believes it’s because the pastor is a Christian who... MORE >