Citizens United

Citizens United: Our Supreme Court Case Helped Secure GOP Win

A flood of outside spending, much of it undisclosed “dark money,” helped Republicans make significant gains in yesterday’s elections. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision helped trigger the campaign spending avalanche, and so it come as no surprise that Citizens United’s leader David Bossie took a victory lap today in a press conference of conservative activists reacting to the election results.

Citizens United, our Supreme Court case, leveled the playing field and we’re very proud of the impact that had in last night’s election,” he said. “A robust conversation, which is what a level playing field allows, really creates an opportunity for the American people to get information and make good decisions.”

Bossie also accused Senate Democrats of trying to “gut the First Amendment” by voting in favor of a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the case.

Anti-Gay, Anti-Immigrant, Birther Groups Join Forces to File Mother of All Prop 8 Briefs

In reading through the amicus briefs submitted by anti-gay groups to the Supreme Court, we’ve been generally impressed by the relative restraint of their legal arguments compared to their day-to-day anti-gay tirades. But not so with the two briefs submitted last week by a hodgepodge coalition of conservative groups.

Citizens United’s National Committee for Family, Faith and Prayer filed two no-holds-barred amicus briefs last week, one in defense of Prop 8 [pdf] and one in defense of DOMA [pdf]. They were joined in both by the anti-immigrant groups Declaration Alliance and English First; WorldNetDaily affiliate the Western Center for Journalism; the Institute for Constitutional Values (founded by white supremacist ally Michael Peroutka, who also argues that the solution to school violence is to abolish schools); Gun Owners Foundation (the research wing of Gun Owners of America); the extremely and occasionally comically anti-gay Public Advocate; the birther group U.S. Justice Foundation; Protect Marriage Maryland and others. Far-right Virginia Del. Bob Marshall and Sen. Dick Black joined the DOMA brief. Both are signed by Michael Boos, general counsel of Citizens United, and by Herb Titus, an attorney with a sideline as a birther advocate.

So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the filings contain passages like this one, in the Prop 8 brief, arguing that laws against homosexuality affirm rather than deny the humanity of gay people:

Second, while the discrimination against Blacks in America denied them their rightful status as a member of the human race vis-à-vis their white counterparts, the discrimination against homosexuals affirmed their status as full and equal members of the human race. Indeed, the very definition of the “crime against nature,” was employed to emphasize that the sexual behavior condemned was contrary to the law of human nature. Homosexual behavior, then, while unnatural did not mean that those guilty of it were any less human.

Or this one from the DOMA brief arguing that gays and lesbians have not historically faced discrimination because some criminal sodomy laws also “extended to opposite sex unnatural couplings”:

As a class, homosexuals have not been discriminated against in the way that the court of appeals has so “easily” assumed. The appellate panel below concluded that “the most telling proof of animus and discrimination is that, for many years and in many states, homosexual conduct was criminal.” Yet historically, even the crime of sodomy was not so targeted. Rather, it was defined as “carnal copulation against the order of nature by man with man; or in the same unnatural manner with woman; or by man or woman in any manner with a beast.” Thus, the crime of sodomy was “known in the common law by the convertible and equivalent name [] of ‘crime against nature,” the offense not only extended to opposite sex unnatural couplings, but was one of several sexual offenses that fit under the broad category of “offenses against the public health, safety, comfort and morals.” Among these sexual offenses were bigamy, adultery, fornication, lewdness and illicit cohabitation, incest, miscegenation, and seduction, all of which could be committed by persons of the opposite sex. Rather than a narrow negative purpose, these laws reflect a perceived concern for the public health, safety, comfort, and morals of certain sexual behaviors.

Or that the groups oh-so-cleverly invoke the court’s Obamacare decision to argue that the extra taxes same-sex spouses pay under DOMA are an acceptable way of “deterring certain activities”:

Additionally, this Court has consistently ruled that Congress’s power to tax is not limited to the purpose of raising revenue. Thus, this Court found that it is permissible for Congress to adopt a taxing policy for the purpose of deterring certain activities by the levying of a tax on them, as well as for the purpose of collecting revenue. Therefore, according to precedent, it is a constitutionally permissible exercise of Congress to adopt a tax policy for the purpose of nurturing traditional marriage as the ideal family structure for raising children, just as this Court has recently observed, that it is perfectly permissible for Congress to impose a tax “to encourage people to quit smoking” or “to shape decisions about whether to buy health insurance.”…It is not for the courts to second-guess whether Congress should promote a traditional family policy in the exercise of its taxing powers.

But what is truly remarkable about the Citizens United coalition’s legal arguments is their eagerness to burn all bridges and declare everything they come across unconstitutional. While the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel, presumably trying to appeal to Justice Anthony Kennedy, hold their noses and accept Kennedy’s pro-gay rights opinions in Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans as law, Citizens United et al have no such scruples. Not only should Lawrence and Romer be overturned, this group argues, but so should Bolling v. Sharpe, the 1954 Brown v. Board companion case that desegregated the District of Columbia’s public schools. Bolling was the first decision in which the Supreme Court explicitly found an equal protection component in the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, thus setting the stage for six decades of prohibitions on discrimination by the federal government – all of which the coalition would like to see go.

But these groups don’t just go after decades of legal precedent. They also personally attack two judges who ruled against Prop 8 before it reached the Supreme Court, in particular district court judge Vaughn Walker, who is openly gay:

With the understanding of Judge Walker’s personal interest in the outcome of the case, it becomes much easier to understand his finding every fact for the plaintiffs and his willingness to impute ill will to the proponents of Proposition 8. For example, having in his personal life rejected 6,000 years of moral and religious teaching, we can see how Judge Walker could readily determine that California voters were motivated solely by “moral and religious views…that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples [and] these interests do not provide a rational basis for supporting Proposition 8.” The same is true for Judge Walker’s conclusion that supporters’ motivations were: “fear,” “unarticulated dislike,” not “rational,” based on “animus toward gays and lesbians,” “irrational,” “without reason,” and “born of animus.” Petitioners were entitled to have their case heard by an impartial judge – not one who was leading a secret life engaging in behaviors which he appeared to believe were being unfairly judged and criticized by the proponents of Proposition 8.

 

(Citations omitted in block quotes)
 

Bachmann Backers Play Victim Card in Wake of Backlash

It was only a matter of time before Michele Bachmann’s allies tried to play the victim following the backlash against her latest conspiratorial witch hunt, this time focusing on Muslim-Americans serving in the Obama administration. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, who helped launch the attacks on Sec. Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin and whose report Bachmann and four other Republican members cite in their letters to the inspectors general, spoke today with David Bossie of the right-wing group Citizens United to defend the witch hunt.

Bossie said that Bachmann’s main problem was naming Abedin in the State Department letter, which was rebuffed by the inspector general, when she should have tried to “name her without naming her.” He claimed that people are attacking Bachmann because she tries “to defend our freedoms” and represents a “danger” to their nefarious plans. Gaffney, who has made a career disparaging people like Abedin and even conservatives such as Grover Norquist, lamented that there is “an effort to demonize and take down” Bachmann.

Bossie: These five members of Congress led by Michele Bachmann, because they just hate her so, because they just have this natural desire to attack her at every turn because she’s decided to pick up a weapon and stand a post, she decided that she was going to defend our freedoms at every turn for many years. So certainly if I was in her camp, would I have said ‘hey let’s ask these questions, let’s do all this without putting a staffer’s name in it,’ because as a former staffer, as a guy who was the chief investigator for Congress during the ’90s and somebody who investigated the Clinton’s relentlessly and whose name was in letters like this all the time from the left, Republicans stood tall for me at every turn because members didn’t like members picking on staffers, at least how it’s presumed. So you could see how that could be perceived. I would have probably said, ‘let’s name her without naming her,’ that’s one way to solve what potentially happened.

But they want to attack Michele Bachmann for what is really an oversight in my opinion by naming her, but they want to attack her because she’s been a leader against the Muslim Brotherhood, against radical Islam, for the last four years that she has been in the House of Representatives and they see her as a danger, as a leader who is dangerous in their pursuits.

Gaffney: That’s the point. It’s really an effort to demonize and take down, if they can, a formidable political adversary in Michele Bachmann.

If Bachmann really was the courageous leader that Bossie and Gaffney described, it’s hard to see why she literally ran away from a CNN reporter who was asking her questions about the letters, and if people are only criticizing Bachmann because they detest her attempts to “defend our freedoms,” then leading Republicans like John McCain, Marco Rubio, John Boehner and Mike Rogers must be included on that list.

Bossie also took to Politico to defend the congresswoman and her Republican allies, saying they “should be applauded for their letter and be regarded as patriots”:

The inspectors general should absolutely investigate whether individuals with associations with the Muslim Brotherhood are contributing to the adoption of policies that favor an organization that poses a threat to national security. The Muslim Brotherhood is the driving force behind the effort to impose a totalitarian ideology it calls “shariah.” During the Obama presidency, the Brotherhood has made huge strides towards achieving its goal in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, as is made clear in their own documents – specifically a strategic plan introduced into evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism financing prosecution in our nation’s history – the Muslim Brotherhood also has as its goal “destroying Western civilization from within.” This goal is being pursued via what the Brothers call a stealthy “civilization jihad” that involves, among other techniques, gaining access to and influencing government agencies.

It is not McCarthyism to state these irrefutable facts. Neither are requests by members of Congress seeking, through the appropriate formal channels, to establish whether the Muslim Brotherhood has gained a foothold and legitimacy – especially in light of the adoption of Brotherhood-friendly policies by the Obama Administration. These are absolutely legitimate and necessary questions because of the stakes for our national security.

Far from being criticized or suppressed by America’s elites and politically correct police, Reps. Bachmann, Gohmert, Franks, Westmoreland and Rooney should be applauded for their letter and be regarded as patriots.

GOP Candidates Line Up to Attend Huckabee's Anti-Choice Premier

Lately, Mike Huckabee has been making the rounds on right-wing radio promoting a new anti-choice documentary he produced with Citizens United called "The Gift of Life" which profiles anti-choice activists as well as those who were "saved from the abortionist":

Huckabee is scheduled to premier the film in Iowa next week and he invited the candidates seeking the Republican nomination to join him for the event where each would be given five minutes to address the audience and flaunt their anti-choice credentials ... and so far, four candidates have accepted the invitation:

Four of the Republican presidential candidates have committed to be at a pro-life forum in Des Moines, Iowa hosted by Mike Huckabee on December 14 to join more than 1,000 pro-life advocates for the unveiling of the new pro-life film Gift of Life.

Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum will come together for the event along with local pro-life Iowans as “The Gift of Life” will make its debut that night. The documentary was produced by Citizens United, the company made famous by a U.S. Supreme Court case that opened the door for unlimited spending on election ads by corporations.

Three other GOP presidential hopefuls, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Jon Huntsman, have also been invited to the event and they, along with the attending candidates, have been invited to address the audience on pro-life issues before the screening.

Also taking part will be Family Leader President Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa Right To Life Executive Director Jenifer Bowen, Citizens United President David Bossie, and “Mickelson In The Morning” radio host Jan Mickelson, said Jeff Marschner, a spokesman for Citizens United. The event takes place at the Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines.

Who's Who in Today's DOMA Hearing

Cross-posted on PFAW blog

Senate Republicans have called Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, David Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund and Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center as witnesses in today’s hearing on the “Defense of Marriage Act.” The groups these witnesses represent have a long record of extreme rhetoric opposing gay rights:

CitizenLink, Focus on the Family’s political arm, is a stalwart opponent of gay rights in every arena:

• Focus on the Family has consistently railed against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, demanding the discriminatory policy’s reinstatement.

• The group claims anti-bullying programs that protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived youth in schools amount to “homosexual indoctrination” and “promote homosexuality in kids.”

• The group insists that House Republicans investigate the Justice Department over its refusal to defend the unconstitutional Section 3 of DOMA.

The Ethics and Public Policy Center is backed by the far-right Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the Koch- backed Castle Rock Foundation, all well-known right-wing funders.

• George Weigel of EPPC wrote in June that “legally enforced segregation involved the same kind of coercive state power that the proponents of gay marriage now wish to deploy on behalf of their cause.”

• Ed Whelan spearheaded the unsuccessful and widely panned effort to throw out Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision finding California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional on the grounds that Walker was in a committed same-sex relationship at the time of the decision.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which bills itself as a right-wing counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, is dedicated to pushing a far-right legal agenda:

• The ADF has been active on issues including pushing "marriage protection," exposing the "homosexual agenda" and fighting the supposed "war on Christmas."

• The ADF claims 38 “victories” before the Supreme Court, including: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited money on elections in the name of “free speech” and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000), which allowed the Boy Scouts to fire a Scout Leader because he was gay.


Right Wing Leftovers

  • Right-wing groups have benefited the most from the Citizens United ruling, what a surprise!
  • Janet Porter is organizing a rally in Columbus outside the Statehouse for her ‘Heartbeat Bill.’

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.

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

A group of right-wing legal advocates warned CPAC participants – or more accurately, a tiny subset of CPAC participants – about “The Left’s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary.”

Panelists discussed the meaning of “judicial activism” and why the kind of right-wing judicial activism we’ve seen from the Supreme Court doesn’t qualify. (Overturning health care reform? Also not judicial activism.) But the main thrust of the panel was the supposedly dire threat posed by efforts at the state level to replace judicial elections with a merit selection process. 
 
The increasing tendency of judicial elections to become big-money affairs funded by individuals and groups who regularly appear before judges has increasingly raised concerns about judgeships – including state supreme court justices – being for sale to the highest bidder, such as corporate interests looking for courts that won’t hold corporations accountable for misconduct.
 
But today’s panelists – Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackleford, American Justice Partnership’s Dan Pero, the Center for Individual Freedom’s Timothy Lee, and the American Civil Rights Union’s Ken Klukowski, warned against merit selection, a nonpartisan alternative that is employed in a number of states and under consideration in others. Pero called merit selection “a power grab by the liberal left,” citing People For the American Way, among others he said were liberals trying to use the courts to impose their vision on America.
 
Timothy Lee, perhaps mindful of the small crowd drawn to the panel, urged participants to explain to others why the courts were important, no matter what other issue they cared about. For example, he said, the Citizens United decision overturning Supreme Court precedent and substantially crippling the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law rested on the fact the Samuel Alito had replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court.
 
Klukowski echoed Lee’s call, saying that the fight for “constitutional conservatism” can’t succeed without the right judges in place: “The U.S. Constitution is only as good as the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that interpret it.” He complained about the Supreme Court’s rulings that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights and about other federal courts recognizing marriage equality and ruling against the ban on gay servicemembers.
 
And while panel members celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, Klukowski said it’s not clear that there’s a majority in the Court for overturning other gun restrictions. He specifically complained that it is a felony for someone who went through a “messy divorce” and was under a restraining order to have a gun.
 
Klukowski said that he and Ken Blackwell have written a book called Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservativism can Save America and made an appeal for all stripes of conservatives – social, economic, and national security – to stop fighting each other and work together.

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

A group of right-wing legal advocates warned CPAC participants – or more accurately, a tiny subset of CPAC participants – about “The Left’s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary.”

Panelists discussed the meaning of “judicial activism” and why the kind of right-wing judicial activism we’ve seen from the Supreme Court doesn’t qualify. (Overturning health care reform? Also not judicial activism.) But the main thrust of the panel was the supposedly dire threat posed by efforts at the state level to replace judicial elections with a merit selection process. 
 
The increasing tendency of judicial elections to become big-money affairs funded by individuals and groups who regularly appear before judges has increasingly raised concerns about judgeships – including state supreme court justices – being for sale to the highest bidder, such as corporate interests looking for courts that won’t hold corporations accountable for misconduct.
 
But today’s panelists – Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackleford, American Justice Partnership’s Dan Pero, the Center for Individual Freedom’s Timothy Lee, and the American Civil Rights Union’s Ken Klukowski, warned against merit selection, a nonpartisan alternative that is employed in a number of states and under consideration in others. Pero called merit selection “a power grab by the liberal left,” citing People For the American Way, among others he said were liberals trying to use the courts to impose their vision on America.
 
Timothy Lee, perhaps mindful of the small crowd drawn to the panel, urged participants to explain to others why the courts were important, no matter what other issue they cared about. For example, he said, the Citizens United decision overturning Supreme Court precedent and substantially crippling the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law rested on the fact the Samuel Alito had replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court.
 
Klukowski echoed Lee’s call, saying that the fight for “constitutional conservatism” can’t succeed without the right judges in place: “The U.S. Constitution is only as good as the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that interpret it.” He complained about the Supreme Court’s rulings that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights and about other federal courts recognizing marriage equality and ruling against the ban on gay servicemembers.
 
And while panel members celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, Klukowski said it’s not clear that there’s a majority in the Court for overturning other gun restrictions. He specifically complained that it is a felony for someone who went through a “messy divorce” and was under a restraining order to have a gun.
 
Klukowski said that he and Ken Blackwell have written a book called Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservativism can Save America and made an appeal for all stripes of conservatives – social, economic, and national security – to stop fighting each other and work together.

Right Wing Watch In Focus: "Rogues' Gallery"

Today, People For the American Way released out latest Right Wing Watch In Focus report examining the slate of extremist GOP Senate candidates running for office this year.

Entitled "The Rogues' Gallery: Right-Wing Candidates Have A Dangerous Agenda for America and Could Turn the Senate," the report examines the radical agendas and views held by Joe Miller, Carly Fiorina, Ken Buck, Christine O'Donnell, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Roy Blunt, Sharron Angle, Kelly Ayotte, Richard Burr, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and Dino Rossi, plus the role that Sen. Jim DeMint has played in dragging the GOP further and further to the right.

Here is the introduction:

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have already broken all records for unprincipled partisan obstructionism, preventing the administration from putting people into key positions in the executive branch, blocking judicial confirmations, and delaying and preventing Congress from dealing with important issues facing the nation, from financial reform to immigration. Now a bumper crop of far-right GOP candidates threatens to turn the "deliberative body"into a haven for extremists who view much of the federal government as unconstitutional and who are itching to shut it down.

Fueled by the unlimited deep pockets of billionaire anti-government ideologues, various Tea Party and corporate-interest groups have poured money into primary elections this year. They and conservative voters angry about the actions of the Obama administration have replaced even very conservative senators and candidates backed by the national Republican establishment with others who embrace a range of radically right-wing views on the Constitution, the role of government, the protection of individual freedoms, and the separation of church and state.

Recently, Religious Right leaders have been grousing that Republican candidates arent talking enough about abortion and same-sex marriage. But this report indicates that anti-gay and anti-choice activists have little to worry about, as the right-wing candidates profiled here share those anti-freedom positions even if theyre talking more about shutting down federal agencies, privatizing Social Security, and eliminating most of the taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans. A number of these candidates oppose legal abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina is helping to lead the charge with his Senate Conservatives Fund. DeMint, an absolute favorite of both the Tea Party and Religious Right political movements for his uncompromising extremism on both economic and social issues, is at the far right fringe of the Republican Party and has committed himself to helping elect more like-minded colleagues. Sarah Palin, also popular among both Tea Party and Religious Right activists, has also injected her high-profile name, busy Twitter fingers, and PAC cash into numerous Senate races.

Among the right-wing insurgents who defeated candidates backed by national party leadership are Christine ODonnell of Delaware, Joe Miller of Alaska, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sharron Angle of Nevada, Ken Buck of Colorado, and Mike Lee of Utah. Others, like Carly Fiorina of California, came through crowded primaries where right-wing leaders split their endorsements, but have now coalesced around her candidacy.

And thanks to the conservative Supreme Courts ruling in the Citizens United case, which said corporations have the same rights as citizens to make independent expenditures in elections, right-wing candidates across the board will be benefitting from a massive infusion of corporate money designed to elect candidates who will oppose governmental efforts to hold them accountable, for example environmental protections and government regulation of the financial industry practices that led the nation into a deep recession.

This In Focus provides an introduction to a select group of right-wing candidates who hope to ride a wave of toxic Tea Party anger into the U.S. Senate. The potential impact of a Senate with even half of these DeMint-Palin acolytes would be devastating to the Senates ability to function and the federal governments ability to protect the safety and well-being of American citizens.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW Blog: Legislature-Passed Civil Unions Bill Not Democratic Enough, Says Hawaii Governor.
  • Sam Stein: Obama Cast As Neville Chamberlain-Like Appeaser In Citizens United Ad.
  • RH Reality Check: Gov. Jindal Signs Mandatory Ultrasound Law With No Rape Exemption.
  • Alvin McEwen: 'Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality' Is a Huge Homophobic Fraud.
  • Adam Serwer: Things You Can Say About Muslims.
  • Media Matters: Wash. Times publishes Knight's homophobic screed regarding repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
  • Americans United: Victory In Missouri!: Senate Derails Ballot Vote On ‘Religious Liberty’ Amendment.
  • Finally, you know why you never see anything like this from anti-gay websites? Because spreading false information is their mission.

Ralph Reed's Religious Right Tea Party Will Be The "Christian Coalition on Steroids"

I've made no secret of the fact that I am amazed to see Ralph Reed continue to be hailed as some sort of political guru despite the fact that his own political aspirations came utterly unglued due to his close ties to Jack Abramoff and his related record of exploiting the very group he claimed to represent.

Case in point: his recent appearance on "The Brody File", the new half-hour TV program from CBN's David Brody, where Reed explains that GOP losses in 2008 convinced him of the need for a "21st Century version of the Christian Coalition on steroids, married with MoveOn.org, with a sprinkling of the NRA" and led him to create his Faith and Freedom Coalition. 

He goes on to report that the recent Citizens United decision will allow them to play an even more direct role in upcoming elections, and that the organization has 100,000 members and activists and 15 state chapters and predicts that it "will be a major force for good" and become a "permanent fixture on the American political landscape."

Reed's mission is to harness grassroots energy by merging the fiscal conservative agenda with the social conservative agenda ... which is pretty much the mission of every other Religious Right group already in existence. Please, try and name one socially conservative group that does not also support the standard fiscal conservative agenda.

Reed's real focus seems to be on merging Christian conservatives and Tea Party activists, as he reports that he has several Tea Party organizers who are also active in his Faith and Freedom Coalition, that he is personal friends with several national Tea Party leaders, and that he has personally participated in several high-profile Tea Party events. 

Reed says that a significant number of Tea Party activists are also social conservatives and that what the entire movement is really concerned about is "moral issues":

Huckabee, Santorum, Corsi Show Up in New Anti-Obama DVD

The Associated Press reports that Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Ken Blackwell, Jerome Corsi, and others all make an appearance in a new anti-Obama DVD produced by Citizens United that is set to be included with newspapers in swing states just before the election:

Readers of Ohio's three largest newspapers, along with papers in Florida and Nevada, are finding an anti-Barack Obama DVD in editions this week.

Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group based in Washington, plans to release a 95-minute film in the five swing-state publications to highlight Obama's record on abortion rights, foreign policy and his past associations, including his relationship with former pastor Rev. Jermiah Wright. The group said it planned to spend more than $1 million to distribute about 1.25 million copies of "Hype: The Obama Effect."

"We think it's a truthful attack. People can take it anyway they want," said David Bossie, Citizens United's president.

Readers of The Columbus Dispatch received their copy Tuesday. The Cincinnati Enquirer, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post and the Las Vegas Review-Journal are scheduled to receive them in coming days.

The film raises questions about Obama's political base in Chicago and questions the media's reporting on Obama.

Among those interviewed are conservative columnist Robert Novak, former Clinton strategist-turned-pundit Dick Morris and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and discredited Obama critic Jerome Corsi also give interviews.

'Run, Newt, Run' (?!)

Gingrich in 'Second Life'

How finicky were the activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference? Romney, McCain, and Huckabee each bent over backwards to cater to the far-right sentiments of the audience, but the speaker who got the most “presidential” reception was Newt Gingrich.

 “Hillary and Obama talk about real change—Newt Gingrich delivers real change!” trumpeted David Bossie of Citizens United in introducing this “one-man think tank.” Bossie’s “only regret,” he said, was that Gingrich was not a candidate for president. (Bossie, incidentally, was forced out of his job investigating the Clinton Administration for House Republicans by then-Speaker Gingrich in 1998, but the two have apparently made up, working together on Gingrich’s “Rediscovering God” DVD.)

Rather than take the podium immediately, Gingrich spent about five minutes shaking hands with the cheering audience as bombastic march music blasted in the background. The only thing missing was a balloon drop.

“Run, Newt, run!” someone shouted. “Run for president!” cried another.

No, Newt Gingrich was not jumping in to save these poor right-wing activists from John McCain. (Sorry, Michael Reagan.) In fact, Gingrich said they have an “absolute requirement to support the Republican nominee this fall.” Instead, Gingrich played the role of a medicine-show man—telling the crowd they have a serious condition and he has just the elixir to cure what ails them.

“There is something big happening in this country,” said Gingrich ominously. “We don’t understand it. We’re not responding to it. And we’re currently not competitive.”

I want to suggest to you—and I’ve spent a lot of time since 1999 thinking about this, and it’s part of why I wrote the book “Real Change” and tried to lay out, at American Solutions, a fundamentally different approach to how we thinking about solving our problems—I think there are two great lessons for the conservative movement since 1980. The first, which we still haven’t come to grips with, is that governing is much harder than campaigning. Our consultants may be terrific at winning one election. They don’t know anything about governing. And unfortunately most of our candidates listen to our consultants. And so you end up with people who don’t understand briefing people who don’t know so that together they have no clue.

Gingrich is hardly the first to suggest that anti-government politicians might not be the best at running a government. Still, it’s a little counterintuitive to hear Gingrich railing against “consultants”—after all, he has spent the last year on the periphery of the presidential race, pushing the kind of futuristic hokum that would make any consultant envious.

Under the mind-bending motto “Real change requires real change,” Gingrich has promised dispirited Republicans access to “the world that works”—something like Fedex, but with more 3-D animation. And as he did at the Values Voter Summit, Gingrich passed out copies of his inane polling data (e.g., a majority of respondents said yes when asked whether “we must defeat America’s enemies”)—which he now calls “The Platform of the American People.” Throw in a flashy web site and I’d say he’s in business.

In the end, though, Gingrich’s “real change” was just more red meat for the Right. His first example of “real change” was for Republicans in Congress to razz the Democrats by holding a symbolic vote on English-only every week during the presidential race. Following this path, said Gingrich, “we will win one of the most cataclysmic elections in history” in November. Now, the Right has found anti-immigrant sentiment to be a powerful bludgeon in recent years, but it’s hardly been an electoral winner. Is this really the “world that works,” or one of Gingrich’s “alternate histories”?

The Right Weighs In On Iraq

It looks as if the Right has taken some time out of its never-ending war against gays, abortion, and the secular culture to issue a “Declaration” calling on the US to stay in Iraq and warning of “catastrophic consequences” should US forces withdraw.   

Operating under the name The Forgotten American Coalition, Gary Bauer, Don Wildmon, Pat Robertson, Paul Weyrich, John Hagee, Lou Sheldon, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Janet Folger, Rick Scarborough, Wendy Wright, Morton Blackwell, Gary Cass, Star Parker, Mathew Staver and other have issued the following Declaration:

Rhode Island: Where "General Public” Means "Republican Millionaires"

What is the difference between a “special interest” organization and a “general interest” organization?  According to  Steve Laffey, who is trying to take down Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee,  it seems to depend on who they are supporting,

No senator in Rhode Island history has faced a primary opponent as well-financed as Laffey. No Republican in the country is in greater danger of losing a Senate primary this year than Chafee.

The Club for Growth has been a key to Laffey's rise to the big leagues this election season, raising almost $705,000 for his campaign -- about 42 percent of his late-August total of nearly $1.7 million.

While one branch of the club spurred its members to write checks to Laffey, another has spent several hundred thousand dollars to criticize Chafee --and sometimes ridicule him -- in television ads. In the past week alone, the Club for Growth has reported expenditures of more than $300,000 on TV advertising and related costs. …

Chafee has much deeper pockets than Laffey, a fact that the challenger has tried to exploit by presenting himself as the foe of "special interests" intent on protecting Chafee and the status quo in Washington.

But his reliance on the Washington-based Club for Growth raises the question of whether Laffey is beholden to a "special interest."

On the contrary, Laffey replied last week, the club is a "general interest" group because it favors tax cuts that would provide a general benefit to the public.

His defines "special interests" in the language of Washington and the FEC, as groups that use "political action committees" or PACs. But Laffey does not count himself as indebted to the Club for Growth's PAC because it has made no direct contributions to his campaign. Rather, it has aired the anti-Chafee ads, outside his legal control, Laffey said.

All the same, Laffey said he does not turn away special interest money from PACs. "I just don't get very much of it," Laffey said. The large majority of his PAC contributions, more than $23,000 so far, have come from groups that support the state of Israel.

He has accepted contributions from conservative PACs -- $5,000, for example, from the Washington-based Citizens United Political Victory Fund.

Several well-known conservatives have contributed to Laffey, including William F. Buckley Jr., a founder of the National Review, who gave $1,000.

Laffey has also received contributions from some individuals listed in his FEC reports as employees of anti-abortion groups. He did not directly answer the question of whether those constitute "special interest" contributions.

The Club for Growth has spent more than a half-million dollars on Laffey’s behalf and helped raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for his campaign.  CFG says it “exists to encourage, and make possible, the enactment of pro-growth economic policies by the federal government. The primary tactic of the Club for Growth PAC has been to provide financial support from Club members to viable pro-growth candidates to Congress, particularly in Republican primaries” in order to elect candidates who share the Club’s goals

* Making the Bush tax cuts permanent
* Death tax repeal
* Legal reform to end abusive lawsuits
* Replacing the current tax code
* Regulatory reform and deregulation  

Laffey says these goals benefit the general public and so CFG is not a “special interest” group.  

If by “general public” Laffey means rich, Republican millionaires and business owners, then he is correct.   

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Citizens United Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 11/05/2014, 3:55pm
A flood of outside spending, much of it undisclosed “dark money,” helped Republicans make significant gains in yesterday’s elections. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision helped trigger the campaign spending avalanche, and so it come as no surprise that Citizens United’s leader David Bossie took a victory lap today in a press conference of conservative activists reacting to the election results. “Citizens United, our Supreme Court case, leveled the playing field and we’re very proud of the impact that had in last night’s election,... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 02/06/2013, 11:05am
In reading through the amicus briefs submitted by anti-gay groups to the Supreme Court, we’ve been generally impressed by the relative restraint of their legal arguments compared to their day-to-day anti-gay tirades. But not so with the two briefs submitted last week by a hodgepodge coalition of conservative groups. Citizens United’s National Committee for Family, Faith and Prayer filed two no-holds-barred amicus briefs last week, one in defense of Prop 8 [pdf] and one in defense of DOMA [pdf]. They were joined in both by the anti-immigrant groups Declaration Alliance and English... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/23/2012, 2:35pm
It was only a matter of time before Michele Bachmann’s allies tried to play the victim following the backlash against her latest conspiratorial witch hunt, this time focusing on Muslim-Americans serving in the Obama administration. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, who helped launch the attacks on Sec. Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin and whose report Bachmann and four other Republican members cite in their letters to the inspectors general, spoke today with David Bossie of the right-wing group Citizens United to defend the witch hunt. Bossie said that Bachmann... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 12/08/2011, 12:52pm
Lately, Mike Huckabee has been making the rounds on right-wing radio promoting a new anti-choice documentary he produced with Citizens United called "The Gift of Life" which profiles anti-choice activists as well as those who were "saved from the abortionist": Huckabee is scheduled to premier the film in Iowa next week and he invited the candidates seeking the Republican nomination to join him for the event where each would be given five minutes to address the audience and flaunt their anti-choice credentials ... and so far, four candidates have accepted the invitation:... MORE >
Coral, Wednesday 07/20/2011, 9:42am
Cross-posted on PFAW blog Senate Republicans have called Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, David Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund and Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center as witnesses in today’s hearing on the “Defense of Marriage Act.” The groups these witnesses represent have a long record of extreme rhetoric opposing gay rights: CitizenLink, Focus on the Family’s political arm, is a stalwart opponent of gay rights in every arena: • Focus on the Family has consistently railed against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 05/06/2011, 4:39pm
Right-wing groups have benefited the most from the Citizens United ruling, what a surprise! David Brody just loves, loves, Rick Santorum. Uganda held hearings today on the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill. Janet Porter is organizing a rally in Columbus outside the Statehouse for her ‘Heartbeat Bill.’ Bryan Fischer is still trying to impose Biblical law on the animal kingdom. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/02/2011, 10:54am
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... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Friday 02/11/2011, 2:35pm
A group of right-wing legal advocates warned CPAC participants – or more accurately, a tiny subset of CPAC participants – about “The Left’s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary.” Panelists discussed the meaning of “judicial activism” and why the kind of right-wing judicial activism we’ve seen from the Supreme Court doesn’t qualify. (Overturning health care reform? Also not judicial activism.) But the main thrust of the panel was the supposedly dire threat posed by efforts at the state level to replace judicial elections with a merit... MORE >