Family Research Council

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Judicial Watch has released a "Special Report on Judge Sotomayor's Connection to the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund."
  • Rick Warren will reportedly be attending Islamic Society of North America's annual convention in Washington, D.C. over the Fourth of July weekend.
  • Carrie Prejean is seeking a book deal.
  • Gary Bauer says that Sarah Palin's feud with David Letterman "proves conservatives can fight pop culture and win."
  • Operation Rescue and other Wichita-based anti-abortion groups say they have received death threats in response to last month's killing of George Tiller.
  • The Family Research Council defends Bill O'Reilly's attacks on Tiller, saying "Something has been lost in the canonization of George Tiller--and that 'something' is the truth ... If Bill O'Reilly was fanning anything, it was the facts. We applaud him for drawing attention to a grisly procedure that even the most hardened pro-choice Democrats in Congress oppose.
  • Finally, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission explains that Tiller's murder was wrong because, even though "Tiller certainly was guilty of murder before God ... lawfully established civil authorities are the rightful ministers of God’s wrath. They have been granted a monopoly by God on the use of the sword, namely capital punishment and physical coercion. "

How Exactly Should The Government Go About "Discouraging" Homosexuality?

For the most part, the spokespeople for the Family Research Council manage to advocate their right-wing anti-gay agenda in manner seemingly designed to avoid controversy and appear moderate and fair-minded.

That is not to say that its agenda isn't misguided and offensive - it is - but simply to note that, by and large, people from FRC tend not to say particularly radical things that expose the hostility toward gays that underlies much of their work.

The one exception to that rule is FRC Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg, who seems to think that the best way for government and society to deal with gays is to treat them as pariahs.

Last year, during a discussion of the Uniting American Families Act, legislation which would allow same-sex partners to be united legally through the U.S. immigration process, Sprigg explained FRC's opposition to the bill by saying that the last thing the U.S. should be is importing gays:

I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.

Sprigg eventually apologized for the remark, but Sprigg continues to speak out against anything and everything that he feels might normalize homosexuality or otherwise lead to equality for gays in ways that barely conceal his contempt.

For example, today Voice of America ran an article about Frank Kameny who, in 1957, was fired from his job as an astronomer with the Army Map Service for being gay but who was on hand this week when President Obama extended some benefits to the partners of gay government employees.  The article notes that gays have made tremendous strides toward achieving equality over the last several decades but acknowledges that there are still those who are vehemently opposed to this progress and turned to Sprigg for comment:

Today, gays and lesbians do not suffer the discrimination they did decades ago. President Obama recently appointed an openly gay man to head the Office of Personnel Management, the same institution that fired Kameny for being gay 52 years ago.

Despite that, there is still a strong movement against gay rights, and in some cases, against homosexuality.

The Family Research Council in Washington is among the concerned groups. The council's policy analyst, Peter Sprigg, says he believes homosexual conduct is harmful to society.

"We should be discouraging it rather than encouraging it," Sprigg said. "And any time you give a benefit or a subsidy for a particular behavior, you're obviously encouraging it. We just feel that that's bad public policy."

Sprigg says people should not be afforded special rights for what he considers to be their chosen way of life.

"We do not believe that anyone is born gay. Evidence for genetic or biological origin for homosexuality from birth is weak to non-existent," Sprigg said.

Ignoring the obvious hypocrisy of the fact that Sprigg doesn't think people should get special rights for "choosing" to be gay while they do deserve special rights for choosing to be ... say, Christian, I'm curious to know just what Sprigg thinks that the government should be doing in order to "discourage" homosexuality? 

Tax it?  Oppress it?  Make it a criminal offense?

It's one thing to argue that the government should not be recognizing the validity of gays and their relationships or granting them equality - that's offensive as it is - but it is even more offensive to claim that the government should be actively "discouraging" homosexuality and I'd really love to know just what exactly Sprigg has in mind.

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.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The group of right-wingers who gathered to protest David Letterman yesterday were outnumbered by members of the media, but still managed to get lots of attention for saying things like Letterman "rapes children with his mouth."
  • Senator John Ensign has admitted that he had an extramarital affair with a member of his campaign staff and stepped down from his position as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is asking organizers of the "Jindal for President Draft Council" to disband the organization.
  • The Family Research Council is predictably unhappy with President Obama's decision to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, calling it a violation of the Defense of Marriage Act.
  • A former Regent University law school assistant dean who was convicted of sex acts with underage girls has been ordered to serve 16 years in prison.
  • Changes really are afoot at Focus on the Family: Men no longer have to wear ties and women no longer have to wear skirts or dresses.
  • The Christian Defense Coalition and others are organizing a prayer vigil at George Tiller's now-closed clinic. The vigil is not for Tiller, but rather to pray "that no abortions would ever be performed in the city again."
  • Finally, John Lofton wants it made clear that even though Tiller's work was entirely legal, it was actually illegal:
  • [K]illing by abortion of innocent human beings, in their earliest stage of development, was mass murder. Murder can never be "legal" because God's Law prohibits it. Thus, none of Tiller's abortions were "legal."

    To those who say Tiller's mass murders were "legal" because abortion has been made "legal" by various "laws" and/or court rulings, this assertion is also false. Man-made "laws" that contradict God's Law are not law.

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.

The Right's Hate Crimes Conundrum

One of the main points I have tried to make in my various posts on hate crimes legislation is the obvious hypocrisy of the Religious Right as they decry the so-called "special protections" that such legislation would grant to gays while simultaneously ignoring the same "special protections" they already have as Christians under existing hate crimes legislation. As I wrote a few weeks ago, "It seems that, for the Religious Right, the predominant theme of late has been 'special rights for me, but not for thee.'"

The Right basically has two options in opposing protections for sexual orientation: explain why gays don't deserve the same protection offered to religion and race or call for the elimination of hate crimes laws entirely.

The latter, according to Tiffany Stanley of Religion News Service, seems to be the tactic of choice for at least some Religious Right groups:

With a Democrat-controlled Congress and a president who has indicated his support for the Matthew Shepard Act, time may be running out for its opponents. To stop the legislation, a few Christian leaders have suggested repealing all hate-crimes law, which would undo historic protections for race and even religion.

"The entire notion of hate-crimes legislation is extraneous and obsolete," said Matt Barber, director of cultural affairs with the conservative nonprofit Liberty Counsel, adding that he believes hate-crimes laws are unconstitutional.

...

"All violent crime is hate crime," said Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs at Family Research Council here in the capital. "What drives an individual to commit a violent crime but hate for their victim?"

Frankly, if they really believe that all hate crimes laws should be repealed, then these groups need to explain why the existing enhanced penalties for a racist who burns a cross on someone's lawn or a neo-Nazi who burns down a synagogue are "extraneous and obsolete."   Good luck making that case.

But there are others, like Focus on the Family, who say they don't support doing away with existing hate crimes laws, but just don't think gays should be protected:

If, as opponents of the bill say, gays and lesbians do not deserve hate crime protections, then who does?

Focus on the Family does not favor repealing hate-crime laws, but sees sexual orientation and gender identity as changeable, unlike race, for instance, said Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for the Colorado-based group.

While Horne acknowledges individuals can change their religion, that category is the exception to the rule because "the government has historically protected religion since the founding of this country."

So it is perfectly fine that hate crimes laws protect people on the basis of religion because the government has always protected religion, but gays don't deserve similar protection despite the fact that there are nearly 2.5 times as many violent hate crimes targeting individuals because of their sexual orientation as there are violent crimes targeting individuals because of religion?

This is basically the Right's view in a nutshell:  gays don't deserve hate crimes protection while religion does because religion is special ... and if the government is going to try and grant similar protections to gays, they'd rather lessen penalties for racists and anti-Semites than let that happen. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Apparently Roy Moore sees nothing ironic or hypocritical about attacking Sonia Sotomayor as someone who will let her ideology get in the way of her judging. 
  • Speaking of Moore, his gubernatorial campaign picked up its first big endorsement today: Chuck Norris.
  • W. James Antle III writes that "social conservatives are currently less popular than social conservatism" and until they can figure out how to overcome that problem, they'll keep getting ignored by the GOP.
  • Former Buffalo Bills tight end Jay Riemersma has decided to run for Congress in the state of Michigan. Riemersma was also the Family Research Council Midwest Regional Director of Development.
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee declares that now is a really good time for the GOP.

The Right Plots Hate Crimes Strategy

GOProud, a new organization claiming to represent gay conservatives, formed a few months ago for the purpose of selling the conservative agenda to the gay community. 

As GOProud explains:

While hate crimes and employment protections may be worthy goals, there are many other important priorities that receive little attention from the gay community. GOProud's agenda emphasizes conservative and libertarian principles that will improve the daily lives of all Americans, but especially gay and lesbian Americans.

At the time, executive director Jimmy LaSalvia said that "if you pulled the lever for John McCain in 2008, then passing hate-crimes legislation ... is probably not your priority" and so the organization's mission was instead to focus on painting traditional conservative policies as gay-friendly policies. 

If you are confused about just what the means, this ought to clarify:

One month after successfully tucking an amendment into the credit card reform bill that expanded gun rights, a small number of Senate Republicans are looking at the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as another chance to score a victory for the Second Amendment. The possible plan — to add an amendment that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons from one state to another in accordance with concealed carry laws. The possible rationale — to defend gay rights.

“It makes sense for a group of people who would be protected by hate crime legislation to support something that would let them defend themselves before or after the crime,” said one Republican Senate aid familiar with the discussions. “It’s relevant, and we want to work together with gay groups to get the message out.”

While the aide described the discussions over a gun rights amendment to the hate crimes bill as “very fluid,” conservative and pro-gun rights gay groups outside of the Senate are ready to make a real push for it. GOProud, a new gay rights group that broke away from the Log Cabin Republicans in April, has talked with top staffers for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) about how to make the civil rights case for conceal and carry reciprocity.

“We support this because we think it’s advantageous to make it legal and relatively easy for gay people to arm themselves so they can protect themselves,” said Jimmy LaSilva, who became the executive director of GOProud after three years working on policy for the Log Cabin Republicans. “In the next few weeks we want to start highlighting some of those stories. There are people who have averted gay bashings because of their ability to use guns.”

GOProud doesn't see the need for hate crimes legislation or even necessarily support its passage, but that doesn't mean that they won't try to use it in order to advance the gun-rights agenda under the guise of a gay-friendly policy.

In related hate crimes news, Janet Porter reports that, starting this weekend, the Religious Right is going to start making a coordinated push to defeat the legislation:

This Sunday, June 14, Flag Day, pastors across America will be standing for freedom by exposing this dangerous bill that could land them in jail for the "crime" of reading from Romans.

And this Monday, June 15, leaders like Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Dr. Don Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council will be calling on their members and listeners to call their senators to stop S. 909: The anti-freedom Pedophile Protection Act. If you care about freedom, get ready to shut down the Capitol Switchboard to stop this dangerous bill that will criminalize Christianity and protect pedophiles. It's already passed the House and Obama has promised to sign it. Our last chance to stop it is in the Senate.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council has announced that Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Maggie Gallagher, and others would be gathering for an anti-marriage rally tomorrow in Albany, NY.
  • Sen. David Vitter says that his prospects of being re-elected in 2010 are "very good," despite the revelations that he had been involved with a prostitution ring.
  • The Christian Defense Coalition erected a 16 foot cross, the Star of David and a sacred symbol for the name of Jesus in front of the White House on Sunday, June 7 because "the group is troubled and finds hypocritical that President Obama would highlight religious liberty and freedom at his recent speech in Cairo, yet here in America he chooses to cover up Christian religious symbols and trample on religious liberty."
  • Only in Texas is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a woman with a "near-perfect scores from anti-tax groups and the gun-rights lobby, and an 89.4 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union [while] NARAL Pro-Choice America, which advocates abortion rights, has given her a zero the past four years, the same score she gets from gay-rights advocates," considered insufficiently conservative.
  • In its coverage of George Tiller's funeral, the Christian Post notes that the service was being protested by Westboro Baptist Church, which it calls "a virulent cult that has terrorized funerals across the nation."
  • Finally, David Brody has posted a CBN segment on the Reclaiming God in America Conference, featuring quotes from Mike Huckabee saying that the only reason Prop. 8 passed was because of prayer and Newt Gingrich saying he was "compelled to get back into the arena to take on the secular fanatics who are trying to destroy our relationship with God."

Blackwell Says Army recruiter killed by…Congressman John Murtha?

By now, most Americans have heard about the tragic killing of a Little Rock, Ark. army recruiter last week. What may be more shocking, however, is that Congressman (and heavily decorated Marine veteran) John Murtha (D-Pa.) was a catalyst for the murder, at least according to Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell. 

In an article written for Townhall.com, Blackwell blames the killing of the Little Rock recruiter on Murtha, citing his outspoken criticism over the Haditha massacre, in which 24 civilians, including women and children, were slain by U.S. marines in the Iraqi town of Haditha. Blackwell claims that Murtha’s criticism incited Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed, the 23-year old arrested in the Arkansas shootings, and caused him to perform the act of violence:

Well, if liberals believe that O’Reilly bears responsibility for the killing of George Tiller, would they agree that Congressman John Murtha is guilty of creating a hostile environment for members of our all-volunteer military?

Murtha, a liberal Democrat, was most vocal in accusing our troops of war crimes in Iraq. When Marines who had fought in Haditha were brought up on charges, he said: "There was no fire fight; there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Could Murtha and his fellow liberals be responsible for inflaming Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed, the 23-year old arrested in the Arkansas shootings? The New York Times reports that, “in a lengthy interview with the police, Mr. Muhammad said he was angry about the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chief Thomas said. 

While Blackwell overexerts himself in trying to make a connection between Murtha's comments and the actions of Muhammed, there is absolutely no evidence that the then-17-year-old had even heard of John Murtha, much less his comments about the Haditha killings.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Family Research Council crows that the noise it is making over the Uniting American Families Act "is having a considerable impact," claiming that "finding support for it will be even tougher now that FRC has shined the light on its real objective: undermining marriage."
  • Liberty Counsel announces that "every time [Americans United] files a complaint, we're going to come right back at them."
  • You know that the Right is really losing it when the American Family Association is sending out crazy Pravda columns decrying America's descent into socialism.
  • Al Mohler is predictably outraged about the White House proclamation recognizing June as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month."
  • Gary Bauer says that President Obama "must decide which role is more important to him, Apologist-in-Chief for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims or Commander-in-Chief of the United States and advocate for American values abroad."
  • I didn't know that Tony Perkins, Wendy Wright, and Ken Blackwell were experts on the auto industry and the US economy, but apparently they are and feel compelled to weigh in on GM.

SBC Distances Itself From Drake and His Ravings

Over the last few days, former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention has declared both that the murder of Dr. George Tiller was an answer to prayer and that he was likewise praying for the death of President Obama.

Today, the Southern Baptist Convention, not surprisingly, distanced itself from Drake's rantings:

A Southern Baptist Convention spokesman said June 4 that a former official who is praying for the death of President Obama is out of the denomination's mainstream.

Roger "Sing" Oldham, vice president for convention relations with the SBC Executive Committee, said he believes most Southern Baptists are committed to praying for the well-being of the president as instructed in Scripture.

...

Oldham told Associated Baptist Press that Drake is not a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention and his comments do not reflect the actions, resolutions or positions of the denomination.

"I think it is a fair statement to say that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are committed to praying for the well-being of the president in accordance with the specific instruction given in 1 Timothy 2:1-3," Oldham said, quoting: "First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior.'"

In semi-related news:

A black Southern Baptist pastor is asking his denomination to acknowledge the historic first of President Barack Obama's election, despite their policy differences.

The Rev. Dwight McKissic of Texas wants the resolution put to a vote at the annual Southern Baptist Convention. The meeting starts June 23 in Kentucky.

This is especially interesting considering that McKissic is himself a right-winger who, back in 2006, told the audience at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit that the Anti-Christ would be gay:

The civil rights movement, he said, was grounded in moral authority, truth and righteousness, the impetus to freedom, constitutional authority, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, he said, the gay rights movement was inspired “from the pit of hell itself,” and has a “satanic anointment.” The gay rights movement was birthed and inspired by the anti-Christ. He suggested that the anti-Christ is himself gay, citing a verse from the book of Daniel saying the anti-Christ will have no desire for a woman.

“I don’t think there is any issue more important than how we are going to define the family,” said McKissic. Television shows portraying homosexuality in a positive light have put us “on the road to Sodom and Gomorrah,” and “God’s got another match…He didn’t run out of matches.”

Jackson Moves To DC In Order to Save It From Gay Marriage

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post wondering if Harry Jackson, the main force behind efforts to prevent the District of Columbia's city council from recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere, was even a DC resident.

It turns out that he is ... and the Washington Blade reports that he has been for just over one month:

The pastor of a Maryland church who’s seeking a voter referendum in D.C. to overturn a city law recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions did not become a registered voter in the city until April 22, according to voter registration records.

Rev. Harry Jackson Jr., pastor of Christian Hope Church in Beltsville, Md., and the lead proponent of the marriage referendum, lists his D.C. residence on the city’s voter registration rolls as an apartment in the upscale Whitman Condominium at 910 M St., N.W.

The city’s election law requires that persons proposing a voter referendum be a District resident and a registered D.C. voter. People participating in the signature gathering process to place a referendum on the ballot must also be District residents and duly registered voters.

The interesting thing about this is that we wrote a post about how Jackson was going to lead the fight in DC weeks before he even registered to vote in DC.  Apparently Jackson realized that his efforts to save DC might look a little suspect if they were being run by someone who didn't even live in The District and so he quickly moved into town and set about establishing himself as a resident.

The Blade article also contains other interesting tidbits, such as this:

In a separate filing required under the referendum law, Jackson filed papers with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance to register the campaign committee he created to advance the referendum: Stand4MarriageDC.

The finance papers identify Jackson as chair of the committee and list Brian Brown as the committee treasurer. The papers show that Jackson and Chuck Donovan, who is identified in the papers as an “executive” with the anti-gay Family Research Council in Manassas, Va., as each having contributed $50 to the Stand4MarriageDC committee, representing the first two contributions received.

It's no surprise that Jackson would be working with Donovan, the Executive Vice President for Family Research Council, considering his close ties to the organization and its president Tony Perkins.

And Brian Brown, the committee's treasure, just happens to have the same name as the Executive Director of the National Organization for Marriage ... presumably because it is the same person.

"Homosexual Relationships Do Not Benefit American Society"

I will admit that I am somewhat surprised by the rather muted response from the Religious Right to the hearing held yesterday on the "Uniting American Families Act":

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Democrat from Vermont who is the powerful chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is adding another controversial ingredient to the volatile mix of an immigration debate that President Obama has said he hopes to spur in Congress before the end of the year.

Mr. Leahy has offered a bill that would allow American citizens and legal immigrants to seek residency in the United States for their same-sex partners, just as spouses now petition for foreign-born husbands and wives ... Senator Leahy said the bill would eliminate discrimination in immigration law against gay and lesbian couples.

Under family unification provisions in immigration law, American citizens and legal residents can petition for residency for their spouses. There is no numerical limit on permanent residence visas, known as green cards, for spouses of American citizens, and this is one of the main channels for legal immigration to the United States. Same-sex couples, though, cannot petition for partners, and many face the prospect of an immigrant partner’s deportation.

Senator Leahy’s bill would add the term “permanent partner” to sections of current immigration law that refer to married couples, and would provide a legal definition of those terms.

“I just think it’s a matter of fairness,” he said Tuesday in an interview, noting that a number of American allies, including Canada, France and Germany, recognize same-sex couples in immigration law.

Last year, when Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council was asked about this legislation, he made it clear why they opposed it:

We oppose this bill because it is, although it may be at the margins, part of an assault on the definition of family ... I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.

Sprigg eventually apologized for his remarks ... and maybe that has something to do with the Right's rather muted opposition this time around. 

But when I say "muted,"  I mean only by typical right-wing standards.  I fully expected this issue to become a full-blown right-wing "controversy" with each group trying to out-outrage one another and warn in increasingly charged language how its passage would lead to the downfall of the United States.

That has not happened ... yet. But that doesn't mean that right-wing groups aren't trotting out all the same old tired and offensive claims in opposing this legislation.

From a letter [PDF] sent to the US Senate by Focus on the Family:

This bill will create opportunities for abuse and fraud of United States immigration laws but more importantly, S. 424 is a fatal step toward the purposeful undermining of marriage, this country’s most pro-child institution.

...

Supporters of S. 424 seek to use Congress to gain legal recognition for a lifestyle in the name of “equality.” But the institution of marriage is not a legal vehicle for equality; it is a social institution with children at its heart. If passed, S. 424 will be much more than a minor tweak to federal law, it will be a large step toward the redefinition of vital family policy with inestimable consequences for our children.

We urge you to uphold the institution of marriage and reject the redefinition of “family” to grant special immigrant visas for same-sex couples.

From a letter [PDF] sent to the Judiciary Committee by the Family Research Council, whose opposition seems to be rooted in the belief that "homosexual relationships do not benefit American society," suggestions that gay partners would bring STDs into the country, and the absurd claim that this legislation would somehow discriminate against married couples:

Regardless of whatever personal benefits homosexual partners may believe that they derive from their relationship, they simply do not provide benefits to society that are at all comparable to the benefits provided by marriage between one man and one woman, and there is therefore no reason why society should privilege such relationships over ones which are merely close friendships without a sexual component.

Apart from family relationships, which do not exist in this circumstance, preference in American immigration law has historically been given to persons who have skills of particular value to the American economy or society. Again, engaging in homosexual relationships does not provide such value. On the contrary, homosexual conduct is associated with numerous problems which would burden society, most notable among them the high rates of sexually transmitted diseases among homosexual men.

...

While S. 424 says that its purpose is “to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws,” it actually introduces whole new areas of discrimination into those laws. Because, as noted above, entering and exiting a “permanent partnership” is much easier than entering and exiting a legal marriage, the bill actually introduces discrimination against those who are legally married, because they face higher hurdles for entry into a relationship that can derive benefit from the law than “permanent partners” do.

In fact, the bill can also be said to introduce discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as well—discrimination in favor of homosexuals, that is, because only homosexual couples (those “unable to contract with that other individual a marriage cognizable under this Act”) are able to reap its benefits, thus placing both married heterosexuals and heterosexuals in their own “permanent partnership” at a disadvantage.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • As Think Progress reports, Pat Buchanan really is a disgraceful person.
  • Alex Koppelman says that Bill O'Reilly remained true to form last night in commenting on the murder of George Tiller, using it as an opportunity to go after his opponents: "pro-abortion zealots," "Fox News haters," "the far left."
  • On a related note, John Amato catches Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council accidentally referring to Tiller as "Dr. Killer" while appearing on MSNBC.
  • Eric Boehler points out that the media keeps reporting on the conservative outcry over Sonia Sotomayor's "wise Latina" quote without explaining what the actual context of the quote.
  • Media Matters reports that the reason Republicans opposed Sotomayor the last time around was because they were afraid that she might someday be nominated to the Supreme Court.
  • Dave Weigel quotes Manuel Miranda saying Sotomayor could very well "Bork herself" during her hearings and elsewhere saying that "Hispanics think just like everyone else. We’re not like African-Americans. We think just like everybody else."

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. 

Right Wing Reactions to Tiller's Murder: From Subdued, to Crass, to Outrageous

The responses to the assassination of physician George Tiller by right-wing groups have run the gamut. 

The most common response has been to decry the murder and say that violence is never the answer, which has been the point made by the likes of the Family Research Council, American Life League, 40 days of Life, Vision America, and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.

Focus on the Family likewise issued a statement decrying the killing, but did so in a way that seemed to suggest that the problem wasn’t Tiller’s death, but the fact that he hadn’t been convicted of murder first:

"Tiller recently faced serious charges related to the killing of babies in violation of the law, by the most grotesque procedures administered without anesthetics or compassion. We profoundly regretted the outcome of his legal case, believing the doctor had the blood of countless babies on his hands. Nevertheless, he was acquitted by the court and declared "not guilty" in the eyes of the law. That is our system, and we honor it.

And then there self-serving statements, such as this odd one from Alveda King, lamenting that Tiller was killed in church, saying "just as the womb should be a safe haven, so should church" and one from Operation Rescue stating that the suspect in Tiller's murder "has never been a member, contributor, or volunteer with Operation Rescue."

For its part. the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission vowed not to be intimidated in the wake of Tiller's murder:

"The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission will not allow pro-abortionists or their accomplices in the media to exploit the cowardly act of one misguided individual in order to defame millions of peaceful pro-lifers," said Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. "Day and night millions of peaceful pro-lifers sacrificially serve women and their unborn babies. We will not tolerate any attempt to exploit this terrible event in order to further restrict pro-life activities or silence pro-life speech or reverse the gains pro-lifers have achieved in the law."

The nation's most notorious late term abortionist, George Tiller, of Wichita Kansas, was shot and killed while in Church on Sunday. Tiller admitted to having aborted tens of thousands of babies.

"Tiller's death at the hands of a lawless vigilante must be unequivocally condemned," said Cass. "But we cannot allow pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws."

Still others are worried about how this will inpact their political agenda, especially as it pertains to opposing Sonia Sotomayor:

They also worried that there would now be an effort to stifle anti-abortion viewpoints during questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Her exact views on abortion aren't known, but conservatives fear she supports abortion rights.

Said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, an anti-abortion activist: "No one should use this tragedy for political gain."

...

Mahoney said he had been conferring with other anti-abortion leaders about how to deal with any backlash to the Tiller killing that might undercut their cause at a time when they are trying to challenge Obama's support for abortion rights.

"I'd hope they wouldn't try to broad-brush the entire pro-life movement as some sort of extremist movement because of what happened in Wichita," Mahoney said. "That's really important — don't use this personal loss for a political gain."

And then finally, there are those like Randall Terry who essentially believe that Tiller deserved to be murdered, which is pretty much the point made by Pat McEwen of Operation Save America:

"He died the way he lived. His was a bloody death." Rev Rusty Thomas, Operation Save America(OSA). "Someone 'chose' to end George Tiller's life this morning, in his church."

"What was an abortionist doing 'in' church, any church...being allowed, welcomed, even venerated? This man killed babies for a living. He charged large sums of money to do it. Then he went to 'church,' made large contributions, and the 'church' (Reformation Lutheran Church) accepted it??" Pastor Mark Holick, Spirit One Christian Center, & OSA.

This is an apostate church, fully complicit in Mr. Tiller's murderous rampage against preborn children. It has provided cover and respectability for him. We have confronted both pastor and church with this trashing of the Gospel of Christ. I can still recall one board member saying, "We have members who believe both ways (pro-life or pro-choice)." Please!

"A man who stiffens his neck after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed -- without remedy." Proverbs 29:1. "George Tiller has been confronted innumerable times with the claims of Christ." Rev Flip Benham, Director of Operation Save America. "We were in Wichita in 1991, pleading for him to receive Christ and stop murdering children. In April 2001, I wrote him a personal letter with the book, Won By Love hoping to speak with him. Every day outside his abortion mill, gentle Christians pleaded with mothers to choose life and with George to choose Christ. We have been to his home, his church, and his work. He is now bowing before Jesus and confessing that He (Jesus) is right and that he (George Tiller) was wrong!"

No doubt the media will paint every Christian, who loves life and lives out that belief in the streets of his city, as a wild-eyed, lunatic, fanatic bent on shooting abortionists. They will attempt to silence the voice of many by using the violence of one. This ploy is the devil's "straw man."

Beware! The one who murdered George Tiller became exactly what George Tiller was -- a murderer.

 

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

Is The Right Suffering Collective Amnesia?

You really have to hand it to the Right: when it comes to hypocrisy, they seemingly know no limit.

Take this newest "Washington Update" from the Family Research Council demanding to know whether Sonia Sotomayor gave some sort of assurance to the White House about her views regarding reproductive choice:

In a 2007 debate, Obama said he "would not appoint somebody who doesn't believe in the right of privacy." After bobbing and weaving over the past few days, the White House now apparently believes it must make public its confidence that Sotomayor views abortion on demand as settled law. But that is exactly what Roe is not. The sweeping decision unsettled the nation's conscience in 1973 and caused a firestorm that continues to this very day.

It's imperative now that Judge Sotomayor address how the White House obtained its assurance about her views ... Does Sotomayor pick and choose what she regards as settled, and how and to whom did she give assurances?

If they are trying to gin up some sort of outrage, maybe first they could explain why, back in 2005, even before George Bush had nominated Harriet Miers, Karl Rove and others from the White House were explicitly reaching out to people like James Dobson to assure him that Miers opposed abortion:

Dobson also said he learned that President Bush was looking only for a woman to appoint to the position, which eliminated many of the top names that Washington observers had bandied about in the days leading up to Miers' nomination.

"But I was not gonna be the one to reveal this. I knew that people would eventually be aware of some of that information, but I didn't think I had the right to say it. And so, I made my comment," Dobson said.

"What did Karl Rove say to me that I knew on Monday that I couldn't reveal," Dobson explained. "Well, it's what we all know now, that Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life."

"In other words, there is a characterization of her that was given to me before the President had actually made this decision," Dobson concluded.

It didn't work, ultimately, because the Right eventually forced Miers to withdraw based largely on its concerns about this very issue.

This sort of amnesia seems widespread, judging by this Bobby Eberle piece lamenting the fact that Republicans didn't put up a big enough fight to get Miguel Estrada confirmed:

If Judge Sotomayor is confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the Supreme Court, and Obama, the media, and the left-wing establishment are making sure everyone knows it ... All of this talk sends a sad reminder to me of how things could have been had Republicans stood up and fought for Miguel Estrada, one of President Bush's first judicial nominees. Estrada would have been the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The nomination was seen as a potential stepping stone for Estrada (not Sotomayor) to be the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court.

While it is quite possible that Estrada may have eventually ended up on the Supreme Court, this sort of finger-pointing and teeth-gnashing willingly ignores the fact that Bush wanted to name the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court by nominating Alberto Gonzales, but the Right would have none of it and essentially pre-emptively killed his nomination, as we chronicled in this report back in 2005:

Newsweek correctly states that “Gonzales is the only A-list contender who religious conservatives pledge, upfront, to fight.” The article quotes Tom Minnery of Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family saying outright about a potential Gonzales nomination: “We'd oppose him.”

In the same article, Manuel Miranda, head of the recently formed coalition of extreme conservative groups called the “Third Branch Conference” and a former Frist staffer fired for unethically reading internal Democratic judiciary staff communications, warned that a Gonzales nomination could doom the Republican Party in upcoming elections: “If the president is foolish enough to nominate Al Gonzales, what he will find is a divided base that will take it out on candidates in 2006.” Miranda went on to threaten retribution against Florida Governor Jeb Bush, if he decides to run for president. “We're not Republican patsies,” he said. “Jeb Bush can go sell insurance.”

The New York Times reported similar opposition to Gonzales: “Late last week, a delegation of conservative lawyers led by C. Boyden Gray and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III met with the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., to warn that appointing Mr. Gonzales would splinter conservative support.”

Elsewhere in the article, the Times reported that Paul Weyrich was warning “administration officials that nominating Mr. Gonzales would fracture the president's conservative backers.” Weyrich also claimed to have held a conversation with Republican Party chairman Ken Mehlman to “let the administration know through whatever channels we have that Gonzales would be an unwise appointment because of the opposition of some of the groups.”

In the same article, Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime radical and extreme right leader, said “Bush was very clear, and certainly his constituents believed him, when he said he would appoint justices like Scalia and Thomas. We are not in favor of Gonzales.” One of the reasons for the intensity of the opposition to Gonzales is that the Right feels that they were betrayed by President Reagan with his nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor who was, according to Schlafly, “a terrible disappointment.”

The National Review made its opposition to a Gonzales nomination clear in an editorial entitled “No to Justice Gonzales”: “[The] president has to know that conservatives, his supporters in good times and bad, would be appalled and demoralized by a Gonzales appointment. It would place his would-be successors in the Senate in a difficult position, forcing them to choose between angering conservatives by voting for Gonzales and saying no to him. If Democrats attack Gonzales... conservatives will not rally to his defense.”

Robert Novak wrote a similar piece called “No, not Gonzales!”: “Gonzales long has been unacceptable to anti-abortion activists because of his record as a Texas Supreme Court justice. Beyond pro-lifers, he is opposed by organized conservative lawyers. Ironically, the same Bush supporters who have been raising money and devising tactics for the mother of all judicial confirmation fights are in a panic that Gonzales will be named. With the president's popularity falling among his conservative base as well as the general populace, a politically disastrous moment may be at hand.”

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council also voiced his opposition to a Gonzales nomination during a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country”: “I think what you would hear would be [what] sounds like slashing the tires of the conservative movement, because this has been a moment in time that has been anticipated for over a decade. And if there is someone who . . . appears along the same lines of an O’Connor, an unknown or someone who has a judicial philosophy that is less than a Scalia or Thomas, it`s a problem. There is no question about it.”

Sotomayor: Right Wing News

Over the last few days, we posted two new Right Wing Watch In Focus pieces analyzing the Right's response to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

A Justice For All: Themes from the Right -- Nomination Day

Right-wing political and legal groups and pundits responded to President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court by cranking up their well-funded attack machine, following their pre-fab attack script (they have been attacking her for months as a potential nominee), launching ads against her confirmation, and threatening to use the nomination as a political bludgeon against Democrats from more conservative states.

A Justice For All: Themes from the Right -- Day 2

The second day of right-wing attacks on Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor continued many of the themes of the first day’s attacks, mostly distortions of her judicial record and public remarks and distortions of President Obama’s desire for judges who exhibit empathy. National Review published a wave of anti-Sotomayor commentary on its website. (Some of this information may have been distributed on Day 1 but didn’t make our initial analysis.)

We are also going to start regularly posting some of the raw material we use in these RWWIF analysis pieces on the blog, as well.  Here is the news from yesterday:

Committee for Justice

Using Sotomayor to Define Obama

The Democrats have the numbers to make a Sotomayor confirmation all but inevitable, but Ed Morrissey picks up on another opportunity that her nomination affords the GOP.

“They have an opportunity to use the hearings to show Sotomayor as a routine appellate jurist with a spotty record who got elevated to this position as an act of political hackery by a President who couldn’t care less about his responsibilities to find the best and brightest for the job.”

Like many of Obama’s other appointments, it demonstrates a lack of executive talent and intellectual curiosity on his part. This appointment makes an argument for more Republicans in the Senate after the midterms, if for no other reason than to force Obama to start putting a little effort in making his nominations."

Bloomberg - Sotomayor Took Cautious Approach in Cases on Race, Gun Rights

Her detractors say Sotomayor, 54, was trying to divert attention from the cases, hoping to prevent Supreme Court review and possibly enhance her resume for a promotion.

“It makes me wonder whether she’s just cautions by nature or whether she was already thinking about being appointed to a higher court,” said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice in Washington and a critic of the Sotomayor nomination. He said Sotomayor might have been “covering her tracks” by limiting the scope and prominence of the opinions.

The Washington Post - Battle over Obama’s nominee begins

Curt Levey, executive director of the conservative legal group Committee for Justice, said her judicial record would probably not be enough to stop Sotomayor's confirmation, given the Democratic dominance in the Senate, but her speeches are another matter.

"The best predictor of whether a controversial nominee can be stopped is whether the case against her is based on more than just her legal analysis," he said.

Although Levey acknowledged that his description of Sotomayor as a "wild-eyed judicial activist" would be hard to extract from her record on the bench, he said "her words are the best indication" of how she would see her role as a justice.

The New York Times - Obama Hails Judge as ‘Inspiring’

Other conservatives said they would focus on her ruling in a New Haven affirmative action case or on how she might rule on same-sex marriage.

“Abortion is in some sense a stale issue that has been fought over many times, but gay marriage is very much up for grabs,” said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, a legal group. “Gay marriage will be bigger than abortion.”

Judicial Confirmation Network

Wendy Long Calls on Obama Administration to Provide Transparency via YouTube

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' comments yesterday that "We can all move past YouTube snippets and half sentences and actually look at the honest-to-God record" raise an important question for Mr. Gibbs. The Duke University comments by Judge Sotomayor are quite clear and unequivocal. Is Mr. Gibbs suggesting that Judge Sotomayor was lying in the tape or that she really didn't mean it?

President Obama promised the American people a transparent presidency. In that spirit, we are calling on White House Press Secretary Gibbs to post the Duke University video on The White House web site and let the American people judge her comments.

JCN has also launched a website campaigning against Sotomayor, it can be found here.

The Durango Herald - Sonia Sotomayor, Nominee has intriguing history, solid qualifications

Recognizing that personal history is at least a factor - if not a significant one - in judicial decision-making is an important step, and one that Sotomayor has taken.

She has already been criticized for it. Wendy Long, a spokeswoman for the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, said Sotomayor's background will trump fairness. "Judge Sotomayor will allow her feelings and personal politics to stand in the way of basic fairness," Long said.

Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

Human Events.com - Republicans Withhold Full Judgment on Sotomayor

Conservative grassroots groups began to weigh in on the Sotomayor nomination immediately yesterday, among them the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, a group of over 350 organizations working together during the confirmation process in support of most of President George W. Bush’s nominees, Harriet Myers being the exception.

“Although Justice dons a blindfold when weighing the scales of justice, Sotomayor admits that she lifts that blindfold so as to peek at her own complexion and the skin color of the parties before her,” said Kay Daly, President of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary.

“That might explain why she held it was constitutional for white firefighters to be denied promotion based on their skin color. Sotomayor's own words should be her nomination's undoing.”

Gary Bauer

OneNewsNow - Sotomayor-discriminatory and unqualified?

Gary Bauer is chairman of American Values. He says while the American people should celebrate Sotomayor's story of overcoming poverty after growing up in New York City's South Bronx, it is not a reason to select her as a justice for the nation's highest court.

"Unfortunately, when you do look at the reasons for putting somebody on the Supreme Court, their judicial philosophy -- whether they respect the rule of law, whether they'll be impartial or not -- she fails on those criteria, so I'm disturbed by the selection," he notes.

“She is somebody who believes in reverse discrimination,” he contends. “We have evidence that she thinks it's okay to discriminate against white Americans because she's inclined toward believing in quotas.”

Pat Robertson

Newsmax - Pat Robertson: Sotomayor Nomination an ‘Outrage’

Robertson cited Sotomayor’s views on judicial activism as he criticized her nomination during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday.

“I think Obama has reached out to one of the most left-wing judges that there is in the United States,” Robertson said. “I think it's an outrage.”

Richard Land

Christian Post - Justice Sotomayor? – More for Some, Less for Others?

“Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason: she’s supposed to be impartial, not empathic. Empathy belongs in the legislature and the executive branch, and not in the judicial branch. Sotomayor is a living, breathing example of making the law subjective and relative, rather than objective and impartial.”

Family Research Council

Hill Blog Question of the Day: Will Sotomayor face serious opposition?

I hear all over the place that Ms. Sotomayor has a “compelling story” that makes her more in tune with her feelings. With all due respect to the popular daytime television queen, a judge needs to be more like John Roberts and not Oprah Winfrey.

That is why this process can not be rushed and why the role of the Senate Judiciary Committee is so important in properly vetting any nominee to ensure that the nominee has the requisite competence, temperament, character, knowledge of the law, and experience to make a good jurist.

LA Times - GOP looks for alternate route to block Sotomayor’s path

Conservative critics are already spotlighting a ruling by the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, including Sotomayor, that found that the 2nd Amendment's protection of citizens' gun rights did not apply to state or local regulations.

"These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court," said Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow with the conservative Family Research Council.

USA Today - Supreme Court pick Sotomayor faces nomination politics

For now, though, it shows Obama has united liberals behind his pick and left conservatives scouring her record for ammunition.

"How aggressive the effort is depends on whether more comes to light," said Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council. "This is still kind of in the discovery process."

Many of Sotomayor's potential opponents, ranging from groups opposing abortion rights to those backing gun rights, have not committed to an aggressive campaign against her.

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Family Research Council Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 02/13/2012, 5:23pm
Last week, amid the Religious Right freak-out over the Obama administration's rule requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception, the Family Research Council hastily organized a webcast to rally the opposition called "Healthcare Mandate: Violating the Separation of Church and State." Among the guests was Sen. Orrin Hatch who claimed that the issue was not about contraception but rather about abortion as he asserted that abortion constitutes 95% of what Planned Parenthood does as an organization: If that sounds familiar, it is probably because Sen. John Kyl made the same... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Wednesday 02/08/2012, 7:14pm
Bloomberg reported on Monday that Google, joining with the likes of the NRA and Heritage Foundation, will be a primary sponsor of CPAC, the right-wing conference kicking off tomorrow in DC. Google portrayed its sponsorship as just another way for the company to reach campaign professionals, candidates, and tech-savvy young adults: The company says it will have a presence at both Republican and Democratic events during this year’s election season, including each party’s convention. Google also had a role in the Iowa caucus last month. The CPAC event was attractive because half the... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Wednesday 02/08/2012, 7:14pm
Bloomberg reported on Monday that Google, joining with the likes of the NRA and Heritage Foundation, will be a primary sponsor of CPAC, the right-wing conference kicking off tomorrow in DC. Google portrayed its sponsorship as just another way for the company to reach campaign professionals, candidates, and tech-savvy young adults: The company says it will have a presence at both Republican and Democratic events during this year’s election season, including each party’s convention. Google also had a role in the Iowa caucus last month. The CPAC event was attractive because half the... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/08/2012, 1:15pm
The problem with pre-recorded radio shows is that they don’t necessarily keep up with the news. On his radio alert today, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins pays tribute to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for cutting off funding for breast cancer screenings and mammogram referrals at Planned Parenthood clinics. Apparently, no one at the FRC thought it was a good idea to pull the bulletin as last week Komen backed down from its move to defund Planned Parenthood, and listeners might be confused while Perkins is “tickled pink” about Komen. After seven... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/08/2012, 11:50am
In today’s prayer alert, the Family Research Council boasted that as a result of their pressure campaign against the Girl Scouts “their cookie sales are suffering.” The FRC has long attacked the Girl Scouts over discredited allegations that the Girl Scouts work with Planned Parenthood to promote “casual sex” and train girls about living with HIV. Ironically, while the FRC is hounding the Girl Scouts over the unfounded charges, the group criticized the tactics of “Planned Parenthood’s activist machine” which put pressure on the Susan. G. Komen... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Tuesday 02/07/2012, 3:44pm
Apple’s electronic personal assistant Siri made headlines back in November for drawing a blank when asked for the location of the nearest abortion clinic. If you thought that was bad, meet Iris, Siri’s evil twin sister (or fundamentalist cousin). Iris – Siri spelled backwards – is the popular electronic assistant created by Dexetra for Android phones. It’s been downloaded over 1 million times and is powered by ChaCha, the Internet’s “leading answers service with more than a billion questions answered.” In other words, Iris may be a knockoff, but... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/07/2012, 3:10pm
The Ninth Circuit Court today upheld a lower court ruling which found Proposition 8, which overturned marriage equality in California, unconstitutional. Religious Right activists immediately denounced the ruling and used the decision to attack gays and lesbians, judges, Hollywood and San Francisco. The National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown emailed members with a warning that the case will end up with an “all-or-nothing showdown at the United States Supreme Court” and told members that donations are needed to deny “same-sex marriage radicals” a legal... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/07/2012, 3:10pm
The Ninth Circuit Court today upheld a lower court ruling which found Proposition 8, which overturned marriage equality in California, unconstitutional. Religious Right activists immediately denounced the ruling and used the decision to attack gays and lesbians, judges, Hollywood and San Francisco. The National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown emailed members with a warning that the case will end up with an “all-or-nothing showdown at the United States Supreme Court” and told members that donations are needed to deny “same-sex marriage radicals” a legal... MORE >