Concerned Women for America

Right Wing: Campaign Promises Only Valid When Made to Us

Yesterday, President Obama extended some benefits to same-sex partners of US government workers, but progressive groups and activists were decidedly unimpressed.  We released a statement calling it a "very small step in the right direction" and urged the president to live up to his own rhetoric about being a "fierce advocate" for gay and lesbian Americans and many others issued similar statements.

On the opposite side, Religious Right groups blasted the move, calling it an affront to traditional marriage and a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act while accusing Obama of pandering, with the Family Research Council saying he was using taxpayer funds to "placate an angry portion of his base" while Concerned Women for America called the move an "outrageous abuse by the president to benefit his supporters and quell their criticism of him.”

In fact, the idea that President Obama was somehow caving to a bunch of gay rights whiners seems to be predominant theme of the Right's response:

A Christian pastor and staunch opponent of same-sex "marriage" says President Obama threw a bone to homosexual activists yesterday, but they're acting like "playground bullies" because he's not moving quickly enough to enact their top priorities ... Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, believes President Obama issued the directive in order to placate homosexual activists who are upset that the Obama Justice Department defended DOMA in a legal brief earlier this month -- a move that was at odds with Obama's campaign pledge to repeal DOMA.

Apparently, the prospect of activists trying to hold a president to his campaign rhetoric is completely foreign to the Right ... or at least it is now that they are no longer in power because, in case they have forgotten, when George W. Bush was in office and making nominations to the Supreme Court, they were very very vocal in demanding a “return on their investment” and crowed repeatedly about how Bush had kept his promise when he nominated John Roberts. And when Bush later nominated Harriet Miers, the Right went absolutely bonkers, accusing him of betraying the very voters who had put him in office, forcing Miers to withdraw her nomination and then, when Bush subsequently nominated Samuel Alito, the Right went back to crediting him for once again living up to his promise.

It is especially hypocritical of Jackson, of all people, to be claiming that activists are acting like "playground bullies" for holding President Obama to his promises, considering that, ahead of the 2008 election, Jackson told Jay Sekulow that if John McCain were to win the election, they were going to make sure that McCain knew that they got him elected and that they expected a significant return on their investment (skip ahead to the 3:25 mark):

Sekulow: Senator McCain becomes President-elect McCain, what's the message? What is the message you say to him as President-elect?

Jackson: Well, I think you say to him "we got you elected." If he gets elected, it's only going to be because Christians turned out en masse at the last minute, without being really wooed by him, and then we need to say "look, we have several key priorities, we need to protect life" and we can go down the list of things that we're very concerned about. But we need access - most people don't realize that we did not have as much access to President Bush in the last term that we should have had by rights, having put him in 2004.

The Right Joins Hands To Stop Hate Crimes Legislation

Last week we noted that Religious Right groups were planning on making a coordinated push to stop hate crimes legislation by threatening to "shut down the Capitol Switchboard to stop this dangerous bill that will criminalize Christianity and protect pedophiles."

Now, it looks like a variety of groups and leaders have done just that and banded together to send a letter to the Senate begging members to join their colleague Sen. Jim DeMint in filibustering the bill: 

This week, a letter is being hand-delivered to every member of the United States Senate imploring conservatives to join Senator Jim DeMint's filibuster of the pending Hate Crimes bill, which would criminalize preaching the Gospel and put preachers in the crosshairs.

The letter explains that, in its current form, the Hate Crimes legislation would: "Silence the moral voice of the Church" -- "Punish principled dissent from the homosexual agenda" -- "Be a savage and perhaps fatal blow to First Amendment freedom of expression" -- and "Empower the left and encourage it to move forward with even more radical measures."

The letter is signed by more than 60 conservative leaders, including some of the leading lights of the Values Voter movement, among them: James Dobson (Focus On The Family), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), Gary Bauer (American Values), Hon. Tom DeLay (former Majority Whip, U.S. House of Representatives), Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle Forum), Mat Staver (Liberty Counsel), Wendy Wright (Concerned Women for America) and Rick Scarborough (Vision America).

Vision America President Dr. Rick Scarborough commented: "We are urging Senators to join DeMint (R, SC) in filibustering this pernicious -- one might almost say 'toxic' -- legislation. As Values Voter leaders, we are saying this vicious assault on the Church and the First Amendment must not and will not be allowed to succeed."

The press release didn't include an actual copy of this letter, which is rather odd.  Presumably, the letter has not been finalized or sent yet but, when it is and it is made available publicly, we'll be sure to write it up.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • You know what Lou Pritchett? You scare me.
  • Barbara Simpson has been too lazy to get her TV set up for the digital conversion, so now she's mad at the government.
  • Thanks to the Alliance Defense Fund, a local ministry will now be able to hand out religious literature at St. Louis' upcoming PrideFest.
  • Sam Brownback's main primary challenge for Governor has now dropped out.
  • Anti-choice activists are going to recreate the Civil Rights march across the Pettus Bridge in Alabama along with Alveda Kind and 70 pro-life organizations.
  • Sen. Jim DeMint is set to endorse Marco Rubio's bid for Governor of Florida.
  • This column from Kathryn Jean Lopez says that Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America used to work for Operation Rescue, which is something we didn't know.
  • Speaking of K Lo, she is transitioning to a new position at the National Review.
  • President Obama was in Illinois addressing the American Medical Association ... and Peter LaBarbera was there protesting the "radical homosexual agenda."
  • Finally, Pat Boone declares ""Like it or not, believe it or not, the end times seem to be drawing near."

The Religious Right: Always The Victim

It was just over a week ago that Dr. George Tiller was murdered and today his family announced that the clinic he operated in Kansas would be shutting down permanently:

The Wichita clinic of slain abortion provider George Tiller will be "permanently closed," his family said Tuesday.

Operations at Women's Health Care Services Inc. had been suspended since Tiller's death May 31. In a statement released by his attorneys, Tiller's family said it will close, effective immediately.

...

Randall Terry, who founded the original Operation Rescue group, responded to news that Tiller's clinic would remain closed with, "Good riddance." He said history would remember Tiller's clinic as it remembers Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.

"What set him apart is that he killed late-term babies," Terry said. "If his replacement was going to continue to kill late-term children, the protests would continue, the investigations would continue, the indictments would continue."

In the days that followed, right-wing anti-choice activists were lamenting that Tiller's murder would undermine their cause, warning that "pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws," and saying that Tiller was murdered because anti-choice activists feel "helpless" and under attack.

But what has been most remarkable about this is the way that the Right has tried to use Tiller's murder to claim that they are being victimized

Operation Rescue will not stand by and act as if this organization's Pro-Life message has been silenced by Mr. Roeder's egregious act and insidious statements. Operation Rescue will continue to advocate for the sanctity of human life, born and unborn.

While Operation Rescue recognizes the Obama Administration's endeavor of protection of abortion providers we caution that this protection should not be used as a ruse to conduct a witch-hunt against the Pro-Life movement. Neither persecution nor adulteration of the rule of law can be tolerated pursuant to this sad event.

Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright made a similar complaint

Late Friday afternoon, the DOJ made it clear that it believes other individuals or groups may have been involved in Tiller's shooting on Sunday, May 31. The agency's press release stated it will "work tirelessly to determine the full involvement of any and all actors in this horrible crime, and to ensure that anyone who played a role in the offense is prosecuted to the full extent of federal law." (See earlier story)

Is it a legitimate investigation -- or a political payoff from the Obama administration to the pro-abortion movement? Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, believes politics could be a motive. But she suspects there may be more behind the announced investigation than meets the eye.

"This may be more of a nefarious effort than it appears on its face," she exclaims, "that in fact, the Department of Justice may be trying to smear pro-lifers, as if we all belong in the same camp, as if we all advocate violence, when it's [actually] just the opposite."

You really have to marvel at the Right's ability to take the cold-blooded murder of the man they routinely demonized as the incarnation of the absolute wickedness of abortion and turn it into a pity party for themselves.

What's Norm Coleman Up To?

I have to say that, in the six years that Norm Coleman was in the Senate, I don't ever recall him showing up at right-wing events and hob-nobbing with grassroots activists.

But times have changed, apparently:

Norm Coleman will be joined by Phyllis Schlafly, Rush Limbaugh's brother, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's son - a Roman Catholic priest - at a gathering this week in St. Louis for a conference on conservative principles.

Coleman will be the keynote speaker for the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference, which began Wednesday and concludes Thursday at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis.

...

Coleman is scheduled to speak Thursday at a luncheon with an introduction by political commentator and author David Limbaugh, brother of talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Underwriting the event is the conservative American Issues Project, a nonprofit group that has aired political ads, including one linking candidate Barack Obama to 1960s radical William Ayers.

...

The Rev. Paul Scalia, a Catholic priest of the Arlington, Va., diocese and the Supreme Court justice's son, will host a prayer breakfast featuring Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America; Joe Ortweth of Missouri Family Council; and Don Hinkle of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent will speak on national security.

Kris Kobach, a candidate for Kansas secretary of state who has helped draft laws sanctioning illegal immigration, will discuss judicial selection in Kansas. Kobach is an attorney and University of Missouri law professor.

For the record, Grover Norquist is also attending.

O'Reilly Was Not Alone In Targeting Tiller

Bill O'Reilly is deservedly getting lots of attention for his years-long vicious crusade against George Tiller:

But it should be pointed out that O'Reilly had a lot of company in this effort to demonize Tiller, as Religious Right groups had been targeting Tiller for years and regularly holding him up as the epitome of the "evil" that is reproductive choice.

For instance, just last month, more than two dozen right-wing groups and activists sent a letter to Senators opposing the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, citing among their primary concerns her "ties" to Tiller:

Governor Sebelius has long close and personal ties to notorious abortionist George Tiller, known for performing late-term abortions in Kansas, include donations from Mr. Tiller of hundreds of thousands of dollars to PACs and organizations controlled by the Kansas Governor. She has also repeatedly interfered in cases brought against Mr. Tiller, including recruiting a candidate to replace the state attorney general who was originally prosecuting the abortion doctor.

Signatories of the letter included the likes of Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Jim Backlin of the Christian Coalition, Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Brian Burch of Fidelis, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, and Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.

The fact of the matter is that, for years, right-wing groups sought to make Tiller the face of the abortion fight and a quick search of several of the leading organization's websites demonstrates just how often they citied Tiller in their own anti-abortion efforts.

For instance, Tiller's name was mentioned dozens if not hundreds of times on the websites of organization's like Focus on the Family, Faith 2 Action, Vision America, American Family Association, Christian Coalition, American Center for Law and Justice, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, the Traditional Values Coalition, and the Alliance Defense Fund where he was often referred to with terms like "accused serial abortionist," the most notorious abortionist in America," "George (the Killer) Tiller," and "Tiller the Killer."

There are at least 78 mentions of the name "George Tiller" on the Family Research Council website, often in connection with statements like this from March of this year:

The trial of notorious Kansas abortionist, George Tiller, is now underway. During his career as an abortionist, Tiller has performed over 80,000 abortions, among them thousands of viable, third-trimester babies. Women travel to Kansas from all over the world to obtain late abortions they cannot get elsewhere. Tiller's body count is greater by far than all the American troops killed in Vietnam ... This man should be in jail. Whatever the outcome of the trial now underway, the fact is that jail is the only appropriate place for 'doctors' who kill children" ... May George Tiller finally be brought to some semblance of justice!

But perhaps no organization outside of the single-issue groups like Operation Rescue made Tiller a bigger target than did Concerned Women for America, which has more than 200 mentions of him on its website, including this column by Janice Crouse from just a few weeks ago:

The bloodshed of the thousands of late-term abortions that Dr. George R. Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, performs each year vastly eclipses the death toll from the struggle over the slavery contest in Kansas in the years immediately prior to the Civil War. The slaughter in Tiller's abortion clinic - by his own account he has performed over 60,000 abortions, with a "special interest" and focus on "late-term" abortions - should justly revive the label of "Bleeding Kansas."

It is hard to know what is in the mind of someone like George Tiller, the abortionist who for years has routinely killed the babies of women in the last stages of their pregnancies - seven, even eight months along ... Tiller takes upon himself the role of God and condemns to death any innocent child whose mother chooses to label it as "unwanted." Then he executes them.

As I've been reading the coverage of Tiller's murder over the last two days, I've been asking myself "why do I even know his name?"  

I don't know the name of even one other women's health provider in this country, yet I was well-aware of George Tiller ... and that is because, for years, the Right had demonized Tiller and his perfectly legal practice, turning him into the poster boy for the abortion debate writ large, and routinely holding him up as the incarnation of the absolute wickedness of abortion. 

George Tiller and the DHS Report

It was just a few weeks ago that the Religious Right was up-in-arms over the report released by the Department of Homeland Security called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [PDF] because it contained this footnote:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Because of this passage, Religious Right leaders immediately began decrying the report as not only "offensive to millions of Americans who hold constitutionally-protected views opposing abortion" but also an outright attack on Jesus Christ:

[Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America] tells OneNewsNow the report is a direct attack on the church. "[It's] a direct assault on the basic principles of religious beliefs that have been here since the time of Christ," she argues. "These are the things that Christ died on the cross for."

Within days, groups like the American Center for Law and Justice and the Family Research Council were using the report in their fund-raising efforts:

Today, federal employees whose salaries we pay are issuing reports from the Department of Homeland Security that say some conservatives are a grave threat to America. Why? Because we oppose abortion and the massive growth of the federal government. Do they no longer see Al Qaeda or the Taliban as the greatest threat to Americans' liberty? Apparently they are now targeting us. I remind DHS and all who read this that we oppose all violence or lawbreaking. But speaking out is an American right we will not give up!

...

Will you help Family Research Council (FRC) fight excessive government and defend your rights with a donation today? 

Soon calls began to emerge for an investigation into the drafting of the report, and that was quickly followed by the launching of an ad campaign supported by various right-wing groups demanding DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's resignation:

Among the groups sponsoring the ad were Operation Rescue, the American Family Association, Faith2Action, Vision America, Americans for Truth, Liberty Counsel, Traditional Values Coalition, and others. 

All of the caterwalling eventually lead DHS to pull the report ... but in light of the details emerging about Scott Roeder, the man arrested in the killing of physician George Tiller, it seems as if the report - far from being an offensive attack on Christians and anti-choice activists - was remarkably timely and accurate.

The real irony here is that the report itself focused almost entirely on violent anti-government extremists and militia groups, never mentioning anti-choice activists outside of this one isolated footnote.

But it was that footnote that the Right seized upon, repeatedly and intentionally misrepresenting what is said in order to generate controversy over the report, culminating in this sort of fear mongering from the ACLJ ... which is now blowing up in their face:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has labeled you, a member of the pro-life community, THE MOST DANGEROUS DOMESTIC TERRORIST

Targeting Sotomayor With Right Wing Myths

One thing that has always amazed me about the Right is its ability to discover obscure but outrageous anecdotes and quickly transform them into evidence that Christians and conservatives are under attack. 

Years ago, I remember reading an Ann Coulter column in which she related the sad tale of one Raymond Raines, who supposedly received a week's detention for simply praying before lunch in the school cafeteria.  The story hung around for years and was regularly trotted out by the likes of Newt Gingrich and David Limbaugh whenever it served their purposes, despite the fact that it was completely untrue.

Ever since then, I have been fascinated by how these stories pop up in right-wing news outlets and are immediately taken as gospel by the Right, which uses them to further their political agenda. 

As a prime example, take this new column by Sandy Rios, former president of Concerned Women for America, explaining why Sonia Sotomayor must be defeated:

It was Good Friday when the knock came on the door at the home of Pastor David Jones and his wife, Mary. San Diego County officials were hot on the trail of reportedly suspicious activities taking place inside the couple’s home each and every week.

Mrs. Jones, the co-conspirator, was interrogated vigorously. “Do you sing? Do you say ‘Praise the Lord?’ Do you say ‘amen?’” San Diegans can be relieved their county officials are in hot pursuit of major trouble makers. Especially on Good Friday. How could authorities possibly sit by and allow homes to be the centers of meal sharing and Bible Study in the midst of unsuspecting, at-risk neighbors?

The Joneses were warned that if they did not pay for an expensive Major Use Permit, normally used for the city to conduct studies on environmental impact, traffic patterns, etc., their weekly gatherings of 15 would have to stop. And if they did not stop, there would be escalating fines and “then it will get ugly.” Seems like it already has.

Meanwhile, down in Louisiana, a man was reportedly stopped by police and held for questioning and a background check for displaying the notoriously offensive “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper sticker. Christopher Gadsen, a Revolutionary War era general designed “Don’t Tread on Me” for a flag representing the need to defend America’s rights from tyranny. Ben Franklin loved the symbolism Gadsen used of the rattlesnake and the rebellion. Good thing Franklin wasn’t traveling in Louisiana, bearing that flag on his carriage, when those police were out to catch “right wing extremists.” Imagine … Homeland Security urging the nation’s law enforcement to protect the homeland from those who want to protect the homeland. Is there a category for that?

Or for that matter, for this: Debbie McLucas is a hospital supervisor at Kindred Hospital in Mansfield, Texas. Her husband and sons have all served in the military. Her daughter is currently stationed in Iraq as a combat medic. In honor of Memorial Day, Debbie did the unthinkable: She hung a three-by-five foot American flag in an office she shares with three other supervisors. One was quite offended. So offended, she took down the flag all by herself. Take that, Debbie McLucas. The hospital refused to support the display, claiming other patients and visitors were also offended.

...

These three stories currently in the news represent the types of issues that may very well end up in the United States Supreme Court ... What’s at stake with the nomination of a judge like Sonja Sottomayor [sic] are real-life consequences for ordinary American citizens. What we don’t need is a justice taking the bench with the notion that somehow the Constitution doesn’t mean what it has always meant, who proceeds to twist it to reflect his or her own viewpoint—a justice like Sonia Sotomayor.

Of course, if you bother to track down some non-right-wing news coverage of these anecdotes, you inevitably end up with far more rational explanation of what actually happened.

Here is what happened with the Jonse' and their Bible Study:

Every Tuesday night about 15 people drive to Jones’ Bonita home to eat dinner and discuss the Bible. They usually park on Jones' property, he said, but sometimes that parking spills out into the cul-de-sac.

Last month, someone filed a complaint about the number of cars.

A county code enforcement officer visited the house and asked Jones' wife about the weekly Bible studies.

"She said, 'Do you say amen?' and my wife said, 'Well, yes,'" Jones recalled.

"And she said, 'Do you say praise the Lord?’ she said, 'Well, yes but what does that have to with it?'" Jones said.

10News asked the county official about the officer's line of questioning.

"Did the officer actually do that? Is that part of the requirements to ask those questions?" Reporter Joe Little asked.

"Obviously, I wasn't there, so I can't tell you exactly what was said. However, what our officer was trying to do is establish what the use is so that we know what regulations to actually utilize," explained Chandra Wallar of the county's land use and environment group.

Wallar said it's the officer’s job to determine what kind of event is hosted at Jones’ house to decide what part of county code the event falls under.

And here is what happened with McLucas and her flag:

A Texas hospital owned by Louisville-based Kindred Healthcare drew online criticism after a Dallas television station reported that it wouldn't let a supervisor display a large U.S. flag in her office.

But Kindred said yesterday that the incident has been portrayed inaccurately, giving the false impression "that we do not respect the flag or the sacrifice it represents."

According to the TV report, Debbie McLucas hung a 3-by-5-foot flag last week in the office she shares with the other three supervisors at Kindred's hospital in Mansfield, Texas. Later her boss told McLucas that an officemate found the flag offensive and that some patients' families had also complained, the report said.

Kindred said "this was simply a dispute between two employees who shared a small workspace, one of whom removed the flag because of its size." Both employees have had family in the military, the statement said.

As for the tale of some motorist being pulled over for having a "Don't Tread On Me" sticker on his car, that can't even be verified because it is based almost entirely on a WorldNetDaily article in which WND withheld "the driver's name and the relative's name at their request" and was itself largely based upon an American Vision blog post:

Our friends at The Patriot Depot just received a call from Rosemarie in Ball, Louisiana alerting Patriot Depot that her brother-in-law was stopped by small town Louisiana police and detained by the roadside for half an hour. A background check was conducted to determine whether he was a member of an "extremist" group. Why? Her brother-in-law (name not disclosed for privacy) had purchased and displayed a conservative "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his car.

So did this actually happen?  There is no way of knowing ... though, personally, I am not particularly inclined to give too much credence to fourth-hand hearsay that originated with the brother-in-law of "Rosemarie in Ball, Louisiana."

Yet, for the Right, these sorts of completely unverified and/or fundamentally misrepresented myths are  presented as established fact which are then used to explain why Sonia Sotomayor is unfit to sit upon the Supreme Court.

If At First You Don't Succeed, Start Another Right Wing Group

Everyone knows that conservatives and Republicans are struggling at the moment and trying to figure out how to regain their influence in politics, motivate their supporters, and start winning elections. 

Nobody seems to be able agree on a course of action or any sort of messaging ... but what they can agree on apparently is that what they need are new groups. 

A few weeks back a new group called The Faith and Freedom Institute emerged in order to combat "satanic wickedness" and return America to a foundation of Biblical principles.  Since that is pretty much the mission of every other right-wing group, why this new one is needed is beyond me. 

And just last week we found out that Tony Perkins, Richard Land, Wellington Boone, and Harry Jackson were launching something known as Call 2 Fall ... which seems to be some sort of Lou Engle-less version of "The Call."  Again, why this new duplicate effort is necessary remains a mystery.

Now, via Dan Gilgoff, we find out that yet another new right-wing effort in underway:

As religious conservatives are receiving some cold shoulders from the Republican Party, they're beginning to launch new political organizations of their own. Tonight, coinciding with his debate with Doug Kmiec at the National Press Club—an exchange that began here on God & Country—conservative Catholic legal scholar and activist Robby George will be unveiling one of them: the American Principles Project.

The group's website says it will hold Republicans to account on conservative positions:

The message of the 2006 and 2008 elections is not that the American people want to be governed by the ultraliberal and statist ideology of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid; rather it is that Americans will not tolerate Republicans and "conservatives" who refuse to honor in practice the principles they purport to affirm—Republicans and "conservatives" who expand government, spend our tax dollars wantonly, do nothing about out-of-control judges who undermine democracy, and sit idly by as marriage is redefined and further weakened.

The key difference between this group and others cropping up to chart a course forward for the GOP is that the American Principles Projects counts opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage among its top priorities.

The American Principles Project seems to be a response to the National Council for a New America, which angered the Religious Right when it unveiled its agenda for the remaking the GOP which contained no mention of the social issues like gay marriage and abortion that make up the core of their mission.

The confusing thing about this is that there are already dozens of right-wing groups for whom opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage are their top priorities.

In fact, this mission statement from the American Principles Project could, literally, apply to just about every other right-wing group currently in existence:

The United States of America does not need new principles. It needs renewed fidelity to the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. These are timeless principles: truths that we hold, in Jefferson's immortal words, to be, "self-evident." They are, moreover, universal principles, not the historically contingent beliefs or customs of a particular sect or clan or tribe. They are rooted in the nature of man as a being who, by virtue of his God-given dignity and rationality, owns the right to participate in the great project of self-government as a free and equal citizen. Whatever others may say, we at the American Principles Project and all who join with us reaffirm the truth that each and every member of the human family is, "created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

If these timeless principles are to be restored and our national commitment to them renewed, then a new voice is needed in American politics, a voice that is unafraid to stand up for what is right and speak out against what is wrong. Indeed, that "voice" must be nothing less than millions of American voices raised in unison in defense of political liberty and economic freedom, the sanctity of human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, and the sovereignty and security of our nation.

The Right already has dozens of national and state-based organizations committed to this very same mission.

Has anyone at the American Principles Project ever heard of the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, the American Family Association, or the Traditional Values Coalition? 

What exactly is this new group going to bring to the table that these various other groups don't? 

Whatever the conservative movement's problems might be at the moment, I can assure them that their dilemma is not rooted in the fact that there are just too few groups pressing the right-wing agenda.

Understanding Sotomayor’s Reversal Rate

The Washington Times seems to have serious problems doing simple math.  Just last month, they published a editorial claiming that President Obama was the “second-least-popular president in 40 years” when, in fact, the very poll it cited showed that Obama’s standing was “well above the historical norm for all approval ratings.”

And now we get this equally inane claim from the Times today:

With Judge Sonia Sotomayor already facing questions over her 60 percent reversal rate, the Supreme Court could dump another problem into her lap next month if, as many legal analysts predict, the court overturns one of her rulings upholding a race-based employment decision.

Three of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sotomayor for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the Supreme Court were reversed, providing a potent line of attack raised by opponents Tuesday after President Obama announced he will nominate the 54-year-old Hispanic woman to the high court.

"Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senates duty to do so," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

So the Supreme Court granted review in a total of five cases where she authored the majority opinion and reversed the decision in three of them, giving her a 60 percent reversal rate … which is actually quite good considering that, in recent years, the Supreme Court has reversed more than 70% of all the cases it has heard.

But more importantly, as the article points out, Sotomayor wrote 380 majority decisions in her 11 years on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, the vast majority of which didn’t get reversed by the Supreme Court. In fact, only five even ended up there and thus her three reversals out of 380 decisions gives her a reversal rate of exactly 0.00789473684.

The only “problem” for Sotomayor here is the Times’ pathetic lack of math skills.  

Right Wing Reaction to Sotomayor

So, anything happen while I was on vacation? 

Oh yeah, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.  And guess what?  The Right already doesn't like her:

Family Research Council:

"President Obama has chosen a nominee with a compelling personal story over judicial pick with a solid constitutional judicial philosophy. A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution and its sound application to public life.

"Judge Sotomayor's failure to premise her decisions on the text of the Constitution has resulted in an extremely high rate of reversal before the high court to which she has been nominated.

"With that fact in mind Judge Sotomayor appears to subscribe to a very liberal judicial philosophy that considers it appropriate for judges to impose their personal views from the bench. President Obama promised us a jurist committed to the 'rule of law,' but, instead, he appears to have nominated a legislator to the Supreme Court.

Focus on the Family:

"From what we know about her, Judge Sotomayor considers policy-making to be among a judge’s roles, no matter what the law says," said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at Focus on the Family Action. "She disregards the notion of judicial impartiality."

...

Hausknecht said: "The president's professed desire for judges with 'empathy' rather than impartiality might deny the country what the Founding Fathers intended and wrote into the Constitution — judges who dispense justice without regard for the status of any party that comes before them."

Traditional Values Coalition:

To no one’s surprise, President Obama has nominated an individual who supports his position of deciding cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law. Although Sotomayor spoke strongly of the importance of the rule of law and principles of the Founding Fathers, her previous decisions contradict this, as do the previous statements and promises of President Obama.

...

Judge Sotomayor fits the “empathy” qualification. During a law conference, she has openly bragged that she views her role as a judge as a policymaker and activist who will impose her leftist political views on the rest of us. She may have empathy for the poor, gays and minorities – but she is likely to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. She is clearly the ideal nominee for President Obama but will be a disaster for our legal system.

Concerned Women for America:

CWA President Wendy Wright said, "A necessary quality for a Supreme Court justice is to be committed to equal treatment of the law, regardless of ethnicity or sex. Sonia Sotomayor has an extensive record and several troubling opinions where she seems willing to expand certain 'rights' beyond what the Constitution establishes and the appropriate Supreme Court precedent. Revealing her immodest bias, she stated that a 'Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.' Congress needs to thoroughly vet Judge Sotomayor and Americans deserve enough time to evaluate her record and her announced bias for certain people. Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senate's duty to do so."

Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA's Policy Director for Legal Issues, said, "Much has been made in the media about a Hispanic woman being nominated, but the truth is that none of that should matter as the Senate fulfills its 'advise and consent' role. What matters are the judge's judicial temperament and her view of the Constitution. We must determine if Judge Sotomayor will respect the Constitution as written or legislate from the bench. She has made some disconcerting statements that should require everyone to examine her record with an open mind and reach some conclusions. For example, she said once that 'policy was made at the appellate level,' a very dangerous way of looking at the role of a judge for those of us who value our freedoms as guaranteed in the Constitution."

Judicial Confirmation Network:

"Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

"She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America's firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

"She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court."

Committee for Justice:

Having told colleagues that I thought President Obama was too smart to pick someone with as much baggage as Sonia Sotomayor, I was surprised to learn of her nomination. Many other people were surprised as well, given both the widespread expectation that Obama would choose an intellectual heavyweight and Obama’s own recent statement that he would not make gender or race the major factors in his selection. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley summed it up well on MSNBC yesterday, expressing bewilderment that Obama chose Sotomayor when heavyweights like “[Seventh Circuit Judge] Diane Wood would have met all his criteria.”

The only plausible explanation for Sotomayor’s selection is that the President was boxed in by demands from Hispanic and women’s groups that he pick one of their own. What else could explain his choice of a nominee who presents such a big target for conservatives and so clearly forces red state Democratic senators to choose between the values of their constituents and those of the nominee?

Priests for Life:

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, says he has just one question about Judge Sonia Sotomayor as she is nominated by President Obama for the Supreme Court: "Does justice include the right to tear the arms and legs off of babies, crush their skulls, and treat them as medical waste?"

"We all draw the line somewhere. An avowed racist or anti-Semite is not acceptable on the Supreme Court. Why should we give a pass to the violence of abortion?"

Operation Rescue:

"Just as Obama has attempted to abuse the process of law in reshaping America to the far left, so too Sonia Sotomayor believes in the abuse of judicial authority having stated that courts can create social policy," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "This philosophy dangerously overreaches the duties of the judicial branch and flies in the face of the separation of powers doctrine."

"Sonia Sotomayor is a far left ideologue that blurs the lines between the legislature and judiciary and will surely be a rubber stamp for Obama's radical abortion agenda, which is opposed by the majority of Americans."

Organized for Life:

Peter Shinn, National Director of Organized for Life, commented that, "Sonia Sotomayor is out of step with the American people. Quoted in 2005 as believing that policy comes from the bench, she stands counter to the American people's desire to end the tragedy of abortion."

Ruben Obregon, President of Organized for Life, added, "In nominating Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama chose to further his own pro-abortion agenda rather than seek common ground on the abortion issue. Instead of faithfully representing America's views, President Obama has added another reliably liberal member to the Court who will continue to impose the Court's will on the people. Pro-life activists, the Davids in this epic battle for life, can only stop the Goliath of the White House by banding together and signing the petition at www.stopsotomayor.com."

Vision America:

Scarborough warned: "At age 54, Sotomayor could be a member of the United States Supreme Court for the next 20 years -- or longer. As a dedicated liberal, we know her views on abortion, gay marriage and reverse-discrimination -- whether or not she's ruled directly on these issues."

"That much power simply can't be bestowed by a compliant Senate," Scarborough observed. "This nomination must be stopped dead in its tracks. Sonia Sotomayor isn't a 'centrist,' she's a disaster at every level."

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Women are best protected by the rule of law -- and blind justice. Their rights are most endangered when personal preference, ideology or painful personal history inform judgment. Susan B. Anthony and her early feminist compatriots fought for a human rights standard sustained only through blind justice. When evidence of personal preference appears in any Supreme Court nominee's judgment, it should give all women pause. Given what we know about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's own judicial philosophy -- including her support of policymaking from the bench -- Americans should be concerned about the role of personal preference in her overall judicial philosophy.

When it comes to protecting all human life, one group is never served by undermining the rights of another. Women will never be served by ignoring the rights of unborn children. Judge Sonia Sotomayor's record of support for judicial activism offers little comfort that she will be a friend to the unborn on the Supreme Court. As the Senate fulfills its Constitutional role to 'advise and consent,' Senators should ask the hard questions to thoroughly assess Sotomayor's judicial temperament, and reaffirm the authentic feminist standard of blind justice for all."

Randall Terry:

"The filibuster trail was blazed by President Obama, VP Biden, Majority Leader Reed, Sec State Clinton, and other Democrat leaders in 2005 with Justice Alito. Do GOP leaders have the courage and integrity to filibuster an activist, pro-Roe judge?

"The Democrats have two weak links in their chain; Senators Nelson (NE) and Casey (PA) who both declare they are 'pro-life.' The question of conscience and courage is on the table: will they choose babies' lives or party loyalty?"

Ken Blackwell:

The White House is telling us all about Judge Sotomayor’s compelling personal story — and it is an amazing story of what is possible “only in America.” But compelling personal stories are not the question. Miguel Estrada, whom President George W. Bush nominated to the D.C. Circuit appeals court and was planning on nominating to the Supreme Court, had a compelling story as a Hispanic immigrant who legally came to this country not even speaking English. Democrats filibustered Mr. Estrada.

Supporters point out that Judge Sotomayor was first appointed by George H.W. Bush for the federal trial court — before Bill Clinton elevated her to the Second Circuit appeals court. That’s true, but George H.W. Bush also gave us Justice David Souter, so clearly he wasn’t too careful about putting liberals on the federal bench. We can’t allow the left to hide behind the Bushes.

But when it comes to gun rights, we don’t need to guess. Judge Sotomayor has put in writing what she thinks. President Obama has nominated a radically anti-Second Amendment judge to be our newest Supreme Court justice.

There are a number of pro-Second Amendment Democratic senators from deeply red states, including Mark Begich from Alaska, Jon Tester and Max Baucus from Montana, Ben Nelson from Nebraska, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad from North Dakota, and Tim Johnson from South Dakota.

These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court. Second Amendment supporters will now be up in arms over this radical anti-Second Amendment nominee, and you should never underestimate the political power of American gun owners.

Mike Huckabee (after first mistakenly calling her "Maria Sotomayor"):

The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is the clearest indication yet that President Obama's campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bi-partisan way were mere rhetoric. Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the "Extreme Court" that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the "feelings" of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.

Richard Viguerie actually issued three different releases, including this one:

"The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor unites all wings of the conservative movement--economic, foreign policy, social, traditional, neocon, and libertarian--in a way we haven't seen since the early Clinton years.

"Judge Sotomayor frightens all conservatives. As the debate over her nomination heats up, conservatives will provide the primary opposition to Sotomayor and will quickly launch a massive educational campaign using direct mail, the Internet, talk radio, cable TV, You Tube, and other forms of new and alternative media.

"It was sad to read that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's comment on the Sotomayor nomination reflected the typical reaction Americans have come to expect from Republican politicians when he said that Republicans will reserve judgment on Sotomayor.

"No wonder conservatives now look to talk show hosts and other unelected conservatives for leadership, rather then wet-finger Republican politicians who always seeming to be waiting to see the direction of the political winds.

"It remains to be seen how active and effective Republican politicians will be on this historic fight, but conservatives are on the field, engaged, and ready to battle President Obama and all U.S. Senators who support Sotomayor."

This collection is actually just a fraction of the statements made in opposition to Sotomayor by right-wing groups, but it's more than enough to drive home the point that they appear intent on doing everything they can to oppose her nomination.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Pat Robertson says that gay marriage is "the beginning in a long downward slide" toward legalized child molestation.
  • Is Joe the Plumber really so fed up with the GOP that he's going to leave the party?
  • Richard Viguerie dismisses the entire GOP "listening tour" because it being driven by all "the people who caused the problem in the first place."
  • It looks like all the efforts to ideologically purify the Republican Party are not quite going according to plan.
  • Finally, it appears as if a bunch of right-wing leaders are gathering this week to plot strategy on fighting left wing media bias:
  • The invitations to the event came from the invitation committee of the “Conservative Leadership Summit to Confront Media Bias.” The committee is made up by a high-powered group of nationally known figures that include Mr. Irvine, mentioned above; Gary Bauer, American Values; Bill Donohue, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America; Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum; Morton Blackwell, The Leadership Institute; Brent Bozell, Media Research Center; and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Every President But Bush Is a Godless Heathen

The National Day of Prayer was established back in 1952 and it wasn't until 1988 that President Reagan decreed that it would be held on the first Thursday of May.

Well, today is the first Thursday of May and, as I noted the other day, President Obama will be issuing the proclamation but won't be holding an official White House event.  That is a change from the last administration, when George W. Bush hosted White House observations annually.

The official Bush events were themselves an anomoly, because no president had ever done anything like that.  But apparently the fact that Bush alone among presidents did it means that it is now a tradition for which Obama can be slammed for desecrating by the likes of the Family Research Council:

A presidential spokesman did make it clear that there would be no NDP event at the White House. That, of course, is a break with the tradition of the Bush administration, which hosted an annual NDP event at the White House.

Should we be surprised? Concerned? No and yes. While there is a long history of Presidents praying and calling the nation to prayer (dating all the way back to George Washington), a de-emphasis on prayer in this administration should not come as a surprise. What can we expect of an administration whose policies cheapen human life, increase dependence upon government and threaten religious freedoms?

And Vision America:

The theme for this year is "Prayer... America's Hope" and is based on the verse from Psalm 33:22 which states: "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Unfortunately for our nation, our current President apparently doesn’t agree. In his press conference on April 6 in Turkey, President Barack Obama stated, "One of the great strengths of the United States is... we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

So perhaps it’s not surprising that President Obama has now cancelled the annual public observance of the National Day of Prayer! For the last eight years, prominent evangelical and other spiritual leaders were invited to attend an event in the East Room of the White House. But this year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs announced the Obama administration plans to recognize the National Day of Prayer on Thursday with a paper proclamation, rather than a public event at the White House.

Not to be outdone is Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, who sees the decision as proof that Obama has no faith and hates everything for which America stands:

"For those of us who have our doubts about Obama's faith, no, we did not expect him to have the service," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America. "But as president, he should put his own lack of faith aside and live up to the office."

Referencing a remark the president made at a recent press conference in Turkey that Americans "do not consider ourselves a Christian nation," she added: "That was projecting his own beliefs, but not reflecting what the majority of Americans feel. It's almost like Obama is trying to remake America into his own image. This is not a rejection of Shirley Dobson; it's a rejection of the concept that America is a spiritual nation and its foundation is Judeo-Christian."

Allow me to just point out once again that there have been 12 presidents obligated to proclaim a National Day of Prayer and exactly one of them, George W. Bush, held annual observances at the White House ... something even the sainted Ronald Reagan did not do.

Yet somehow this return to tradition by Obama is seen by the Right as a sacrilege and proof of his own "lack of faith."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Gov. Bobby Jindal has not yet decided whether to accept an invitation to this year's Values Voter Summit.
  • Carrie Prejean is getting some unwelcome attention, which she claims is an attempt to belittle her Christianity.
  • Rep. Michelle Bachmann seems to generate a lot of press coverage mainly because journalists "write about the planes that crash, not the ones that land safely [and] Michele just happens to be a plane that crashes a lot — often more than once a week."
  • Randall Terry vows further disruption at Notre Dame.
  • Is there a Birther civil war brewing?
  • Utah Sen. Chris Buttars has gotten a spot on the Interim Senate Judiciary Committee which "is responsible for hearing the bills that are presented in the judiciary and passing or defeating or amending those bills," despite being booted from the same committee a few months ago for his anti-gay tirade.
  • While we are all for encouraging and rewarding active Seniors, we probably wouldn't be naming someone Senior Citizen of the Year for starting a local chapter of Concerned Women for America.
  • Finally, how soon before we start hearing the Right scream and yell about the US military destroying these Bibles?

Right Wing Reaction to Souter's Retirement

Here's a quick collection of early right-wing reactions to the news that Justice David Souter will be retiring from the Supreme Court at the end of this term - it will continue to be updated as new statements are released:

Wendy Long (Judicial Confirmation Network):

1. The current Supreme Court is a liberal, judicial activist court. Obama could make it even more of a far-left judicial activist court, for a long time to come, if he appoints radicals like Diane Wood, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. A new Justice in this mold would just entrench a bad majority for a long time.

2. If Obama holds to his campaign promise to appoint a Justice who rules based on her own "deepest values" and what's in her own "heart" — instead of what is in the Constitution and laws — he will be the first American President who has made lawlessness an explicit standard for Supreme Court Justices.

3. The President and Senators need to be careful about, respectively, nominating and appointing a hard-left judicial activist. Americans who elected Obama may have done so out of fear for the economy or other reasons, but they did not elect him because they share his views on judges. By a margin of more and 3 to 1, Americans want Supreme Court Justices who will practice judicial restraint and follow the law, not jurists who will indulge their own personal views and experiences in deciding cases.

4. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has pointed out, a judge who decides cases based on her personal and political views, instead of what the law says, will have a hard time fulfilling her oath to dispense justice impartially. Senators have a constitutional duty to rigorously scrutinize the nominee on this score, and vote "no" if the nominee cannot establish that she will follow the law, rather than her own values and beliefs, as the President has suggested.

Ed Whelan:

Souter has been a terrible justice, but you can expect Obama’s nominee to be even worse. The Left is clamoring for “liberal lions” who will redefine the Constitution as a left-wing goodies bag. Consider some of their leading contenders, like Harold Koh (champion of judicial transnationalism and transgenderism), Massaschusetts governor Deval Patrick (a racialist extremist and judicial supremacist), and Cass Sunstein (advocate of judicial invention of a “second Bill of Rights” on welfare, employment, and other Nanny State mandates). Or Second Circuit judge Sonia Sotomayor, whose shenanigans in trying to bury the firefighters’ claims in Ricci v. DeStefano triggered an extraordinary dissent by fellow Clinton appointee José Cabranes (and the Supreme Court’s pending review of the ruling). Or Elena Kagan, who led the law schools’ opposition to military recruitment on their campuses, who used remarkably extreme rhetoric—“a profound wrong” and “a moral injustice of the first order”—to condemn the federal law on gays in the military that was approved in 1993 by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, and who received 31 votes against her confirmation as Solicitor General. Or Seventh Circuit judge Diane Wood, a fervent activist whose extreme opinions in an abortion case managed to elicit successive 8-1 and 9-0 slapdowns by the Supreme Court.

...

American citizens have various policy positions on all these issues, but everyone ought to agree that they are to be addressed and decided through the processes of representative government, not by judicial usurpation. And President Obama, who often talks a moderate game, should be made to pay a high price for appointing a liberal judicial activist who will do his dirty work for him.

The American Center for Law and Justice:

“The reported retirement of Justice Souter marks the beginning of President Obama’s legal legacy – a legacy that will move this country dramatically to the left,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “With reports that Justice Souter will step down at the end of the term, President Obama now has a green light to begin reshaping the federal judiciary. Based on the appointments at the Department of Justice, it’s clear that President Obama will name a Supreme Court nominee who will embrace an extremely liberal judicial philosophy. There’s no illusion here – President Obama is poised to reshape the nation’s highest court. Once a nominee is named and the confirmation process begins, it’s important that the nominee faces full and detailed hearings – with specific focus on the nominee’s judicial philosophy including how the nominee views the constitution and the rule of law. The American people deserve nothing less.”

Operation Rescue:

"Operation Rescue will actively oppose any nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court that will disregard the lives of the pre-born and uphold the wrongly-decided case of Roe v. Wade.

"Obama received greater than expected opposition to his nomination of extremist pro-abort Kathleen Sebelius to HHS. He can only expect that opposition will continue to grow if he has the poor sense to appoint a justice that will promote abortion from the bench.

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Elections have consequences, and the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation battle is likely to further entrench President Obama's dedication to the abortion agenda. The President has said he would like 'common ground' on abortion policy. This is an especially relevant objective when you consider yesterday's release of public opinion data by the Pew Research Center showing a sharp decline in support for legal abortion. Choosing a judicial nominee who wants to enshrine the right to an unrestricted abortion in the United States Constitution would certainly be a step in the wrong direction. Appointing an abortion extremist to replace Justice Souter on our nation's highest court will continue the trend of activist court decisions do little reduce abortion in our nation."

Americans United for Life:

Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, promised her group would help lead the charge against any pro-abortion activist Obama may name to the high court.

“We will work to oppose any nominee for the Supreme Court who will read the Freedom of Choice Act into the Constitution in order to elevate abortion to a fundamental right on the same plane as the freedom of speech," she told LifeNews.com.

Yoest said the jurist Obama names to the Supreme Court will tell the American public whether he is serious about reducing abortions or keeping it an unlimited "right" that has yielded over 50 million abortions since 1973.

“This nomination represents a test for a President who has expressed a public commitment to reducing abortions while pursuing an aggressive pro-abortion agenda," she said. "Appointing an abortion radical to the Court -- someone who believes social activism trumps the Constitution -- further undermines efforts to reduce abortion."

Priests for Life:

Upon hearing news reports of Justice David Souter's retirement from the US Supreme Court this June, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented, "This will unleash a Supreme battle. Judicial activism in our nation has given us a policy of child slaughter by abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Now the left will scream about 'no litmus tests' on abortion, but the fact is that all of us observe litmus tests at all times. If a racist or terrorist is unfit for the highest court in the land, why would a supporter of child-killing be any more fit? This is the question we will pose again and again during the process of replacing Justice Souter."

Richard Land:

Land told Baptist Press, "This retirement will, of course, not impact the court's balance. President Obama will undoubtedly nominate someone who is as liberal as, if not more liberal than, liberal David Souter, and thus you will just have an old liberal replaced by a young one. President Obama's ability to sell himself to the American people as a centrist will be hampered severely by his nomination of what will inevitably be a radically liberal justice."

Committee For Justice:

Given the economic crisis, your ambitious legislative agenda, and your promises to rise above partisanship, one would think you would eschew a bitter, distracting confirmation fight and a sparking of the culture wars by naming a consensus nominee that moderate Republicans and Democrats can embrace. While we remain open to evidence to the contrary, it is our belief that potential nominees such as Sonia Sotomayor, Kathleen Sullivan, Harold Koh, and Deval Patrick are so clearly committed to judicial activism that they make a bruising battle unavoidable.

We realize that, in the past, you have said that you want judges who rule with their hearts and you have even expressed regret that the Warren Court “didn’t break free” from legal constraints in order to bring about “redistribution of wealth.” But now would be a good time for you to clarify if you feel that you may have gone too far by endorsing judicial activism. For example, you could make it clear that you agree with Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent statement that “judges should make their decisions based only on the facts presented and the applicable law” (response to written question from Sen. Arlen Specter).

We also hope that you resist the pressure you will inevitably face from the various identity groups that dominate the Democratic base. It would be a shame if you chose a nominee based on their race, gender, or sexual identity, rather than focusing exclusively on qualifications and judicial philosophy.

We remind you of your opposition to gay marriage, your commitment to individual Second Amendment rights, your support of the death penalty, and the great value you place on the role of religion in society. We hope you will not contradict those positions by choosing a Supreme Court nominee who has questioned the constitutionality of the death penalty, expressed an extreme view of the separation of church and state, or wavered on the questions of whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and an individual right to own guns. Also, given your promise to move the nation “beyond race,” it would be hard for you to explain the
nomination of someone who has expressed support for racial preferences, which polls indicate are now even more unpopular as a result of your election.

While many Americans – including some conservatives – are willing to give your experiment in using honey to coax cooperation from other nations a chance, the public is also looking for reassurance that our nation’s interests and sovereignty will always come first. Thus, now would be an awful time to choose a Supreme Court nominee who believes that American courts should put greater reliance on foreign law.

Finally, we remind you that, in the first year of his Administration, George W. Bush successfully nominated two former Clinton nominees – Roger Gregory and Barrington Parker – to the appeals courts in an effort to set a bipartisan tone. Now would be the perfect time for you to match the previous President’s gesture by renominating three unconfirmed Bush appeals court nominees who have bipartisan support – Peter Keisler, Judge Glen Conrad, and Judge Paul Diamond. Such a gesture would engender good feelings among Senate Republicans and would set a positive tone heading into what might otherwise be a bitter confirmation fight.

Concerned Women for America:

"The anticipated retirement of David Souter from the U.S. Supreme Court launches a national debate over the proper role of judges," stated Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America. "President Obama stated during the campaign that judges should rule according to 'empathy' for preferred classes of people, such as homosexuals and some ethnic groups, but not others. America, however, is a nation founded on the belief that we are all created equal and that the rule of law provides justice for all by following a written Constitution, not the whims and feelings of judges. Senators must live up to their constitutional duty to fully examine any nominee to determine if they respect the Constitution above their own opinions."

Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA's Policy Director for Legal Issues, said, "If President Obama's nominee is in the mold of his recent choices, Senators and citizens must be engaged now more than ever in the confirmation process. Several of President Obama's nominees put forth as 'moderates' by the White House have turned out to be outside the mainstream upon careful review. This is why Senators must be diligent and take the time to closely examine whether each candidate will abide by the Constitution or make the Court their personal fiefdom."

Family Research Council:

In the speech that catapulted Barack Obama to fame in 2004, the young Democrat said, "There is not a liberal America or a conservative America. There is a United States of America." Five years later, the same man will face his biggest test to prove it: the nomination of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Since the election, Washington has been prepared for a vacancy on the high court, most likely from the aging, Left-leaning justices. Yesterday, reports confirmed that Justice David Souter, 69, will be the first to exit, giving the new President his first crack at reshaping the Supreme Court. Will he plow ahead with a pro-abortion, anti-faith radical (as he did with 7th Circuit Court nominee David Hamilton) this early in his presidency--or will he bide his time on a full-blown congressional war and nominate a judge that both sides can agree on?

As a candidate, Barack Obama prided himself on his ability to work with conservatives. His first 100 days, however, have been a case study in unilateralism. When asked why he moved away from bipartisanship, the President dodged the question and said, "Whether we're Democrats or Republicans, surely there's got to be some capacity for us to work together, not agree on everything, but at least set aside small differences to get things done."

On Wednesday, President Obama decided his best way to "get things done" was to use congressional rules to block any meaningful participation by Republicans on controversial policies like health care reform and education. While those decisions can be overturned, lifetime appointments cannot. As both sides are painfully aware, nothing in this administration's legacy will withstand the test of time like President Obama's judicial nominees.

To that point, the White House would be wise to take into account the growing public consensus on the sanctity of human life. While some people are pointing at social conservatives as the cause of the Republicans' woes, a new poll suggests that the GOP's platform on life may be its biggest appeal. According to the most recent Pew Research Center poll, American support for abortion is experiencing its steepest decline in at least a decade. Since last August, the proportion of people who believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases has dropped from a small majority--54%--to 46%. The drop is particularly noticeable in the youngest generation (18-29) whose support for abortion dropped by five points (from 52% to 47%) in just nine months. The conservative trend is even affecting women. Fifty-four percent said abortion should be legal in most or all cases last summer, while less than half (49%) feel that way today.

 Traditional Values Coalition:

The U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of taking a huge lurch to the far left with the exit of Justice Souter from the Court. Souter is certainly no loss for Constitutionalists, but he will most likely be replaced with someone far worse. During the election, President Obama stated that he wanted to appoint judges who had “empathy” and who understood what it was to be poor, black or gay. He clearly stated that he wanted judges who would not confine themselves to the Constitution or to the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

From Obama’s public statements, it is clear that he will appoint a Justice who views the U.S. Constitution like a Wikipedia entry that can be edited, revised and distorted for the political agenda of the Justice. Obama wants a Supreme Court nominee who will ignore the Constitution; use his “feelings” to determine legal decisions; use foreign law to impose a liberal political agenda; and use the power of the Court to redistribute the wealth. The President has stated that he believes the Courts should be used to promote “economic justice,” – code for judge-ordered income distribution.

President Obama once mentioned former Chief Justice Earl Warren as the ideal person to serve on his Supreme Court. Warren was one of the most notorious left-wing judicial activists in our nation’s history. The President is likely to appoint a Justice who believes in the use of foreign law in interpreting cases that come before the Court. The use of foreign law in issuing rulings in American court cases will undermine self-government and destroy our Constitutional government. Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have an important role in advising and consenting to such nominations. They must seriously challenge the political views of anyone chosen by Obama for this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. No nominee who believes in using foreign law in making court decisions has any place on the Court. Our self-government depends upon it.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Both the NRCC and the RNC have responded to Arlen Specter's defection with a rousing "good riddance" ... and a plea for donations.
  • Mike Huckabee responded to the news by saying it just goes to prove the importance of his PAC and electing "Republicans who will not sell their values for votes."
  • Concerned Women for America, the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Liberty Council, and others have officially come out in opposition to the confirmation of David Hamilton, while Gary Marx says Hamilton's nomination "does not bode well" for their hopes that Obama would nominate moderates.
  • It looks like Michael Steele's control over the RNC is getting weaker by the day.
  • Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, and the Susan B. Anthony List all say that, despite Kathleen Sebelius's confirmation, they are not giving up the fight.
  • You know what we don't see enough of?  Gambling interests attacking the Christian Coalition for its hypocrisy.
  • WorldNetDaily profiles Michael Ferris, the man who made home-school popular, founded Patrick Henry College, and drafted the Parental Rights Amendment.
  • Once again I must ask: can Michelle Bachmann go one day without saying something moronic?  And once again the answer is no.
  • Right-wing anti-marriage darling Carrie Prejean was hobnobbing at Liberty University today with Jerry Falwell Jr. before heading off to join Matt Barber and Mat Staver on their radio program, thus officially completing her transformation from D-list celebrity to A-list Religious Right hero.

The Facts, Well They're Sort of Irrelevant Here

The news from today’s right-wing press conference on the Hate Crimes legislation: no news at all, in case you were expecting any. GOP Representatives Louie Gohmert of Texas and Trent Franks of Arizona joined by Bishop Harry Jackson and spokespeople from other groups including the Traditional Values Coalition and Concerned Women for America for another opportunity to spread lies about the intent of hate crimes legislation. Even with explicit First Amendment protections for clergy and religious communities written into the Hate Crimes legislation, the right wing’s dishonest talking points remain the same: The Hate Crimes bill will threaten religious teachings on morality and First Amendment rights as pastor’s sermons could be considered “hate speech.” And, of course, pastors could be prosecuted for “conspiracy to commit a hate crime.”

We got a copy of the talking points handed out by Rep. Louie Gohmert’s people:

“The Hate Crimes bill creates a new Federal “Thought Crime.” The Hate Crimes bill will require criminal investigations of a suspect’s philosophical beliefs, politics, biases, religion, membership in organizations, activities of those organizations, and any past statements.”

And perhaps one of the most ridiculous talking points comes from the Traditional Values Coalition, who says “the ‘moral’ of this law, if it has one, is that child molesters and those who only ‘date’ dead people need to be protected but is open season on pastors and churchgoers:”

“Ensures that crimes against a transgender, drag queen or a gay man are treated more harshly than a sexual assault on a child. It will make pedophiles a protected class who can claim federal protection if they are injured by a parent as a result of molesting a child.” Read more

Who needs facts when you can just make stuff up (and when you’re getting paid to do it). For the real facts on hate crimes, People For the American Way and the African American Ministers in Action put together a helpful 2-pager on the legislation.

Franks and Gohmert Team Up With the Religious Right

It what seems to be becoming a regular occurrence, Rep. Trent Franks has decided to hold a press conference where he will once again be surrounded by a gaggle of right-wing leaders. 

Just last month Franks held a press conference on the need for the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act where he was joined by Rep. Michell Bachmann and people like Wendy Wright, Rob Schenck, and Clenard Childress.

Today, he's participating in an anti-hate crimes press conference where he will again be joined by Wright, Harry Jackson and, of all people, Lou Sheldon:  

HATE CRIMES AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

1:30 p.m. April 28, Terrace, Cannon Bldg. New

GOP Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Trent Franks of Arizona hold a news conference to discuss their opposition to hate crimes legislation (HR 1913), which they say would "pose frightening threats to religious freedom."

Agenda:

HR 1913 — Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009

Participants:

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.

Harry Jackson, chairman, High Impact Leadership Coalition, and senior pastor, Hope Christian Church

Louis P. Sheldon, chairman, Traditional Values Coalition

Wendy Wright, president, Concerned Women for America,

Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention

Maureen Wiebe, legislative director, American Association of Christian Schools

This list of participants is a real doozy - just yesterday, Wright was speculating that the timing of the swine flu scare was "a political thing to push the [Kathleen] Sebelius nomination through," and Jackson will just be coming off his role in leading the anti-marriage rally in DC today.  

But it is Sheldon's inclusion that is the real head-scratcher because, generally, members of Congress (and frankly most other leaders of the Religious Right) go out of their way not to be seen in public with the likes of him. 

And given the types of things he and his organization say, it is not hard to understand why:

The main purpose of this “hate crime” legislation is to add the categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” “either actual or perceived,” as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality on an ever-expanding continuum. Will Congress also protect these sexual orientations-zoophiles, pedophiles or polygamists?

Gender identity includes such gender confused behaviors as cross-dressing, she-male, drag queen, transvestite, transsexual or transgender. Under the Act, neither “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” are really defined. How can a law be enforced if the new classes receiving special protection remain undefined?

The sexual behaviors considered sinful and immoral by most major religions will be elevated to a protected “minority” class under federal law.

Once “sexual orientation” is added to federal law, anyone with a bizarre sexual orientation will have total protection for his or her activities by claiming that Congress sanctions their appearance, behavior or attitudes.

Inevitably this will negatively affect the performance of co-workers who are forced to work alongside of individuals with bizarre sex habits. Imagine working next to a person who gets sexual pleasure from rubbing up against a woman (Fronteurism) or enjoys wearing opposite sex clothing. These are “sexual orientations.”

Apparently this is the sort of language and anti-gay militancy with which Reps. Franks and Gohmert will willingly associate themselves. 

I'm just surprised that they didn't get Mat Staver to join them because if they are rounding up anti-gay fear mongers to oppose hate crimes legislation, Staver would have fit in perfectly:

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: "Sexual orientation and gender identity include pedophilia and every imaginable deviant fetish. Cross-dressers and pedophiles find refuge in this so-called hate crimes bill, while veterans and grandmas are left to fend for themselves. Obviously, this bill is not about the prevention of crime but is all about pushing a radical sexual anarchy. This bill will crush free speech and trample free exercise of religion."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Politico reports that there is a rebellion brewing among the GOP's base and that "activists and officials say the party is as resolute as ever, if not more so, on cultural issues – regardless of the soundings of some party elites."
  • Carrie Prejean continues to capitalize on her anti-gay Miss USA fame and has signed on with "one of the country's premier Christian PR firms, A. Larry Ross Communications—which represents such evangelical powerhouses as Rick Warren."
  • You know the times they are a changing when Promise Keepers starts opening its events to women.
  • YouDiligenceTM is teaming with Focus on the Family to provide Internet safety services to families who want to protect their children from online predators and cyber-bullies and inappropriate online exchanges. Maybe they should have put this in place a few weeks ago.
  • Mike Huckabee says George Soros is behind the Obama administration's decision to release the torture memos.
  • Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright wonders if the timing of the swine flu scare was "a political thing to push the [Kathleen] Sebelius nomination through." Seriously. Glenn Beck makes the same allegation.
  • Finally, there is this, which speaks for itself:
  • Utah County Republicans defeated a resolution opposing well-heeled groups that a delegate claims are pushing a satanic plan to encourage illegitimate births and illegal immigration.

    Don Larsen, a Springville delegate, offered the resolution, titled "Resolution opposing the Hate America anti-Christian Open Borders cabal," warning delegates that an "invisible government" comprised of left-wing foundations was pumping money into the Democratic Party to push for looser immigration laws and anti-family legislation.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Media Matters points out that Bill O'Reilly doesn't know what he is talking about and has the photographic evidence to prove it.
  • Speaking of Media Matters, they want you to vote for the "the worst media moment of Obama's first 100 days" - it's going to be a difficult choice.
  • Dan Gilgoff reports that Rick Warren is eager to clarify his stance on gay marriage and Prop 8 and has this interesting quote from Wendy Wright: "'I hope he is not intimidated by the tactics of homosexual activists,' says Concerned Women for America's Wright. 'He has a unique ability to present biblical truth on marriage to a wider audience.'"
  • David Neiwert says that Chris Simcox's past will haunt his GOP primary bid against Sen. John McCain.
  • Dominic Holden tries to figure out why Gary Randall of Faith and Freedom is opposing gay rights and just what he's doing with all the money he's been raising.
  • Steve Benen notes that Michael Steele is now coming under fire from RNC members for failing to attack President Obama and Democrats as "socialists."
  • Pam urges everyone to save the date of October 10, the day that Matt Barber will be the featured speaker at Americans For Truth’s annual banquet.
  • Finally, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are calling on the United States Chief of Naval Operations to investigate the fact that Gordon Klingenschmitt "is attempting to create the false impression that he is still an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces."
Syndicate content

Concerned Women for America Top Posts

Founded by Beverly LaHaye, wife of Religious Right activist Tim LaHaye, as a counter to the progressive National Organization of Women, Concerned Women for America (CWA) describes itself as "the nation's largest public policy women's organization." CWA opposes gay rights, comprehensive sex education, drug and alcohol education, and feminism, while advocating what it calls "pro-life" and "pro-family" values. MORE >

Concerned Women for America Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 03/17/2011, 5:18pm
I assume that if Tim Pawlenty becomes president, he'll move immediately to defund Minnesota Public Radio. Is Suffolk University really going to require all freshmen in the College of Arts and Sciences to take a class called "Boiling Mad: the Tea Party" that will use Joseph Farah's as part of the curriculum? It is good to see House Republicans are tackling the important issues facing this nation. Be sure to sign up to join Concerned Women for America's vitrual prayer chapters. Finally, it seems that Bryan Fischer is now just turning his Twitter feed into... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/16/2011, 11:24am
Sandy Rios, the president of the Culture Campaign and a former head of Concerned Women for America, is repulsed that progressives are protesting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting legislation. Since the group Organizing for America, a Democratic National Committee division that is closely tied to Obama’s presidential campaign, supports the peaceful Wisconsin protest movement, Rios claims that it is responsible for death threats made against Walker and his Republican allies. She goes on to compare Obama and organized labor to Hamas and Hezbollah for opposing Walker... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/16/2011, 10:41am
Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute is outraged that the government is studying sexual behavior and the rate of sexually transmitted infections. In fact, Crouse is upset that the government is using the term “sexually transmitted infection (STI),” which the health community believes is the most accurate term since sexually transmitted diseases are infections that show symptoms. She is also upset that the terms “straight,” “gay,” and “lesbian” were included in the study. Crouse is even angered that... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/04/2011, 6:31pm
The Family Research Council is overjoyed that House Republicans will step up to defend DOMA. Lila Rose and the Susan B. Anthony List are touring the country in their effort to de-fund Planned Parenthood. I am genuinely confused by Alan Keyes' latest WND column. Trent Franks for Senate? I guess the Christian Anti-Defamation's Boycott didn't work so well, which is why Larry Grard had to sue. Finally, Concerned Women For America's concern for child prostitutes means they should be arrested and jailed by the police. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/04/2011, 3:06pm
There are few "mainstream" anti-gay activists operating today that can match Matt Barber for shear anti-gay vitriol.  In fact, it was his attacks on gays that turned Barber into a Religious Right celebrity in the first place, eventually landing him a job with Concerned Women for America before Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel lured him away and gave him a position as Associate Dean at Liberty University and Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel. And Staver snapped up Barber because he shares his anti-gay views and because of their endless anti-gay attacks, Liberty... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/04/2011, 11:40am
When the Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice will end its defense of the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Religious Right groups were naturally apoplectic. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council likened President Obama to a Middle East dictator, the Traditional Values Coalition blasted the “unprecedented power grab,” and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel said Obama “betrayed the American people.” However, the government will continue to enforce DOMA and the move by the Department of Justice was not without precedent,... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/02/2011, 11:54am
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 >
Brian Tashman, Friday 02/25/2011, 11:14am
After the Obama administration announced that it will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because the law is unconstitutional, groups opposed to marriage equality immediately sprung into action. The Family Research Center, Concerned Women For America, and Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink swiftly demanded that Congress pass a resolution to takeover the legal defense of DOMA. “Marriage advocates are ready to defend God’s design,” said Jennifer Mesko of CitizenLink, “They are calling on Congress to intervene and defend DOMA.”... MORE >