Judiciary

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

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

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

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

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

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

Santorum: "America Belongs to God"

Rick Santorum stood up for the importance of social issues and blasts the judiciary, claiming it has no right to redefine life and marriage before declaring that "American belongs to God":

Santorum: "America Belongs to God"

Rick Santorum stood up for the importance of social issues and blasts the judiciary, claiming it has no right to redefine life and marriage before declaring that "American belongs to God":

Wyoming State Rep’s Desire to Invoke His “Christian Faith” in Government Motivated Sharia-Law Ban

Proposing a law to ban the use of Sharia law in courts, Wyoming State Rep. Gerald Gay said he was mounting a “pre-emptive strike” on judges from employing Islamic legal code in their decisions. Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches reports that while campaigning, Gay made videos shooting balls representing “socialism” and “big government.”

Gay wants to replicate an Oklahoma law that was recently found to be unconstitutional, fearing that Wyoming’s judiciary may become an outpost of Islamic law. Gay says he makes “governmental decisions based on certain tenants [sic] of the Christian faith,” and his desire to maintain his Christian-outlook towards governing “motivated his proposal” to ban Sharia:

"I have quite a bit of extensive personal exposure to sharia, so it's not like I'm dealing with something that's unfamiliar or like somebody else came up with the idea and just came to me and asked for sponsorship," the Wyoming Republican explains. "I'm bringing my own basket of goods to the deal."

While Gay admits his Christian convictions have motivated his proposal, he points out that the spread of radical Islam could bring sharia law to Wyoming courts in cases involving arranged marriages or so-called "honor killings."

"Wyoming's Constitution has Article VII, Aection 22, which says, 'The duty of the legislature is to promote such laws that protect the morality, health and general welfare of the citizens of the state,'" the legislator notes. "By invoking that, I feel very comfortable in making my governmental decisions based on certain tenants of the Christian faith."

Wyoming State Rep’s Desire to Invoke His “Christian Faith” in Government Motivated Sharia-Law Ban

Proposing a law to ban the use of Sharia law in courts, Wyoming State Rep. Gerald Gay said he was mounting a “pre-emptive strike” on judges from employing Islamic legal code in their decisions. Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches reports that while campaigning, Gay made videos shooting balls representing “socialism” and “big government.”

Gay wants to replicate an Oklahoma law that was recently found to be unconstitutional, fearing that Wyoming’s judiciary may become an outpost of Islamic law. Gay says he makes “governmental decisions based on certain tenants [sic] of the Christian faith,” and his desire to maintain his Christian-outlook towards governing “motivated his proposal” to ban Sharia:

"I have quite a bit of extensive personal exposure to sharia, so it's not like I'm dealing with something that's unfamiliar or like somebody else came up with the idea and just came to me and asked for sponsorship," the Wyoming Republican explains. "I'm bringing my own basket of goods to the deal."

While Gay admits his Christian convictions have motivated his proposal, he points out that the spread of radical Islam could bring sharia law to Wyoming courts in cases involving arranged marriages or so-called "honor killings."

"Wyoming's Constitution has Article VII, Aection 22, which says, 'The duty of the legislature is to promote such laws that protect the morality, health and general welfare of the citizens of the state,'" the legislator notes. "By invoking that, I feel very comfortable in making my governmental decisions based on certain tenants of the Christian faith."

David Barton: Obama Trying to 'Remove God' from U.S.

The title of today’s Wallbuilders Live radio broadcast, brought to you courtesy of Religious Right “historian” David Barton, was “Why is Obama Trying to Remove God From the United States?”

Barton, whose Christian-nation version of U.S. history is promoted by right-wingers including Glenn Beck and Rep. Michele Bachmann, has attacked Obama’s Christian faith before. Today, Barton and co-host Rick Green were joined by Rep. Randy Forbes to complain about the president’s insufficient godliness.
 
Forbes has complained about a speech President Obama gave in Indonesia in November, in which Obama said,
 
“But I believe that the history of both America and Indonesia should give us hope.  It is a story written into our national mottos. In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum - out of many one...our nations show that hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag.”
 
Forbes and his colleagues in the congressional prayer caucus saw that sentiment as threatening rather than inspiring. The caucus sent a letter to President Obama in December complaining that he had repeatedly referred to Americans having “inalienable rights” without mentioning God as their source; that he had told Indonesians that the American motto was E Pluribus Unum rather than the official “In God We Trust,” and that he had referred to our country as being united under one flag without mentioning that the Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase “under God.”
 
Forbes once gave a speech on the House floor attacking President Obama for supposedly saying in Turkey that the U.S. was not a Judeo-Christian nation. (In fact, Obama had said that one of America’s strengths is that “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.")
 
Barton sees conspiracy afoot, saying that this is no dumb mistake but a “deliberate intent” to leave God out of traditional acknowledgments in order to try to get Americans to forget that devotion to God is a defining characteristic of the U.S.
 
“The President is trying to communicate a worldview that is devoid of God because that’s his worldview. That’s where he is.”
 
Barton even suggested darkly that Obama is violating his oath to uphold the Constitution when he cites the Declaration of Independence without mentioning the Creator.
 
Barton and Green lavished praise on Rep. Forbes and celebrated the fact that the new Congress will have more people like him. Said Barton, “that’s the cool thing about this last election. We sent a bunch of people to Congress who think like we do.”
 
Forbes predicted that the size of his prayer caucus could double. And he said that “one of the first items” that will come up in the Judiciary Committee would be a resolution affirming “In God We Trust” as the national motto. Then, he said, they will encourage state legislatures to pass similar resolutions so that “we can look these liberal judges in the eye, we can look some of these editorial board writers in the eye and say ‘wait a minute, America hasn’t changed. We still have this as our national motto.’”
 

David Barton: Obama Trying to 'Remove God' from U.S.

The title of today’s Wallbuilders Live radio broadcast, brought to you courtesy of Religious Right “historian” David Barton, was “Why is Obama Trying to Remove God From the United States?”

Barton, whose Christian-nation version of U.S. history is promoted by right-wingers including Glenn Beck and Rep. Michele Bachmann, has attacked Obama’s Christian faith before. Today, Barton and co-host Rick Green were joined by Rep. Randy Forbes to complain about the president’s insufficient godliness.
 
Forbes has complained about a speech President Obama gave in Indonesia in November, in which Obama said,
 
“But I believe that the history of both America and Indonesia should give us hope.  It is a story written into our national mottos. In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum - out of many one...our nations show that hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag.”
 
Forbes and his colleagues in the congressional prayer caucus saw that sentiment as threatening rather than inspiring. The caucus sent a letter to President Obama in December complaining that he had repeatedly referred to Americans having “inalienable rights” without mentioning God as their source; that he had told Indonesians that the American motto was E Pluribus Unum rather than the official “In God We Trust,” and that he had referred to our country as being united under one flag without mentioning that the Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase “under God.”
 
Forbes once gave a speech on the House floor attacking President Obama for supposedly saying in Turkey that the U.S. was not a Judeo-Christian nation. (In fact, Obama had said that one of America’s strengths is that “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.")
 
Barton sees conspiracy afoot, saying that this is no dumb mistake but a “deliberate intent” to leave God out of traditional acknowledgments in order to try to get Americans to forget that devotion to God is a defining characteristic of the U.S.
 
“The President is trying to communicate a worldview that is devoid of God because that’s his worldview. That’s where he is.”
 
Barton even suggested darkly that Obama is violating his oath to uphold the Constitution when he cites the Declaration of Independence without mentioning the Creator.
 
Barton and Green lavished praise on Rep. Forbes and celebrated the fact that the new Congress will have more people like him. Said Barton, “that’s the cool thing about this last election. We sent a bunch of people to Congress who think like we do.”
 
Forbes predicted that the size of his prayer caucus could double. And he said that “one of the first items” that will come up in the Judiciary Committee would be a resolution affirming “In God We Trust” as the national motto. Then, he said, they will encourage state legislatures to pass similar resolutions so that “we can look these liberal judges in the eye, we can look some of these editorial board writers in the eye and say ‘wait a minute, America hasn’t changed. We still have this as our national motto.’”
 

Former Adviser Says Vander Plaats "Obsessed With The Gay-Marriage Issue"

On the heels of the successful campaign to remove three Iowa Supreme Court justices because of the court ruling in favor of marriage equality, Bob Vander Plaats has made it his mission to get the four remaining justices removed as well and begun raising money for that purpose.

This, in turn, has prompted Dan Moore, a former adviser on three of Vander Plaats’ campaigns, to pen a guest column for the The Des Moines Register accusing Vander Plaats of becoming so "obsessed with the gay-marriage issue" that he is out to destroy the judiciary:

As a friend and former adviser on three of Bob Vander Plaats' campaigns, I understood from Bob that he was done with campaigning against the courts after the retention vote Nov. 2. Yet his senseless attacks on the courts continue.

Bob is obsessed with the gay-marriage issue. He is so obsessed that he would rather see the Iowa judicial system destroyed, instead of pursuing a change in the law within the channels provided (a constitutional amendment). Iowa's judicial system has been held in high regard by the entire United States. The Iowa judicial branch has a long history of exceptional service, distinguished and acclaimed decisions - and now it is being raked through the mud, disparaged, criticized and harangued daily.

I would like to ask all Iowans to step back and consider the gravity of what is now being proposed by Bob and other anti-court persons. They are suggesting that the four remaining Supreme Court justices be impeached ... Bob Vander Plaats, who is highly regarded by many conservatives in Iowa, is quite simply wrong to encourage Iowans to support the resignation or impeachment of the remaining four justices of the Iowa Supreme Court. He is grasping at political relevance using daily sound bites of misinformation to intentionally mislead.

I hope all Iowans step back and objectively analyze the damage to the Iowa judicial branch that Bob has already caused. The talk and rhetoric of resignation and impeachment should die.

Concerned Women For America’s Twisted Attack on Goodwin Liu and Obama’s “Poisoned Apples”

The Senate battle over the confirmation of judicial nominees reflected the epitome of Republican obstructionism, with nominees who won significant if not unanimous support from the Judiciary Committee failing to receive up-or-down votes on their confirmation. Of the 38 pending judicial nominees the Senate was only able to confirm 19 of them before adjourning for the year, exacerbating the country’s judicial vacancy crisis that is growing so badly that even GOP-appointed judges have called on Senate Republicans to end the blockade.

Mario Diaz, the Policy Director for Legal Issues at Concerned Women for America, believes though that Republicans should oppose Obama’s judicial nominees just like starving children should avoid eating “poisoned apples.” He resurrects the same tired arguments used to oppose the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan when he takes direct aim at Goodwin Liu, suggesting that he should not be appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court because he views the Constitution as a living document and “has no judicial experience and almost no legal experience.” Diaz writes:

The liberal cry for more judges has reached an all-time high. Their media cohorts have been banging the drums with the numbers game and the judicial emergency cry in perfect sync. They have become masters of smokescreens and shadows while ignoring the essence.

The nomination of judges is about substance.

If children are starving and you give them poisoned apples, have you really helped them? Hardly! Oh sure, you can say they have more than they had before, but they can’t eat it. It would kill them.

In the same way, assuming you can successfully argue that the country is “starving” for judges (others might argue that what we need are fewer lawsuits, not more judges), President Obama seems to think that by nominating extreme liberal political operatives like Goodwin Liu he is somehow meeting that need. But like the poisoned apples, such nominees would pervert justice, not promote it. And we must be willing to go to great lengths to oppose them.

Aside from the fact that Liu has no judicial experience and almost no legal experience, his view of the role of a judge and the Constitution cannot be more warped. He has made clear he sees the Constitution as a living, breathing document that changes with the times and that judges get to decide what those changes are.

In a 2008 Stanford Law Review article, he argued that judges should use “socially situated modes of reasoning that appeal ... to the culturally and historically contingent meanings of particular social goods in our own society” and that they should “determine, at the moment of decision, whether our collective values on a given issue have converged to a degree that they can be persuasively crystallized and credibly absorbed into legal doctrine.” He was apparently arguing for a new constitutional right to welfare.

Liu is such a political operative that he actually testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, attacking him viciously. He was also an outspoken opponent of Chief Justice Roberts’ nomination. They were, of course, too far to the right for him. Can you imagine, they actually said they will take the Constitution only for what it says?



And he is not alone. President Obama has been consistent in nominating radicals (see David Hamilton, Louis Butler, Edward Chen, and Robert Chatigny).

So the liberal elite and their media can keep playing their sad tune about judges. It doesn’t really matter how hungry you are if a person keeps giving you poisoned apples. In fact, can you even trust when they offer one that looks okay?

According to Diaz, Justices Roberts and Alito are model justices who “take the Constitution only for what it says.” Of course, Roberts and Alito have been exposed for their pro-corporate agenda, as Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker writes, “the rule in the current Supreme Court” is that if “there is a human being on one side of the ‘v.’ and a corporation on the other, the corporation wins.” A New York Times analysis found that the Roberts Court is far more sympathetic to corporations than even the conservative Rehnquist Court. As Arlen Specter recently claimed, “Chief Roberts promised to just ‘call balls and strikes,’ and then he moved the bases.”

Diaz’s misguided praise for Roberts and Alito is only matched in its absurdity to his opposing Liu, the Associate Dean of the Berkeley School of Law, on the grounds that he “has no judicial experience.” If Diaz believes that Republicans should block Liu’s confirmation to the Ninth Circuit because Liu is not a judge, then by the same logic he should have opposed confirming Roberts to the DC Circuit since he never served as a judge prior to his nomination.

He also badly misconstrues Goodwin Liu’s legal experience. Liu served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and a DC Circuit court judge, in addition to working as an appellate litigator. As Associate Dean of the Berkeley School of Law, Liu has received wide praise from both progressive and conservative legal scholars, and conservatives John Yoo and Ken Starr said “Goodwin is an outstanding nominee.” While Diaz believes that Liu’s criticism of Roberts and Alito disqualifies him from serving, The New York Times notes that “Liu’s warnings that the two men would be extremely conservative justices have turned out to be completely on target,” while Liu’s “views fall within the mainstream of legal scholarship and American politics.”

Diaz goes on to distort Liu’s legal writings, maintaining that he argued “for a new constitutional right to welfare.” The Alliance for Justice makes clear that Liu has ardently opposed an expansive role for the judicial branch:

[Liu] has argued for a model of judicial restraint, concluding that courts should not interpret the Constitution to create affirmative welfare rights, whether to education, health care, or minimal levels of subsistence. Liu has explained that “such rights cannot be reasoned into existence by courts on their own” and has explained that his understanding of the judicial role “does not license courts to declare rights to entirely new benefits or programs not yet in existence.”

Only a right wing hypocrite like Diaz could falsely represent Justices Roberts and Alito as archetypes of judicial restraint and claim that Obama’s urgently-needed judicial nominees as “radicals.” Diaz is forced to levy ridiculous and bogus arguments against Liu in order to backup his wildly inaccurate case opposing Obama’s nominees, however, Senate Republicans have largely followed his lead in their willingness “to go to great lengths to oppose them.”

House GOP Picks Ethically-Challenged Freshmen for Judiciary Committee

The House Republican Leadership recently announced that incoming Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino and Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin have been assigned seats on Rep. Lamar Smith’s Judiciary Committee. Marino and Griffin, who were profiled in Right Wing Watch’s The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress, are peculiar picks for a committee which has “jurisdiction over matters relating to the administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies, and law enforcement agencies” since both Republicans were dogged by corruption and ethics scandals prior to their successful bids for Congress.

Marino resigned from his position as a US Attorney in the wake of a brewing scandal over his ties to resort owner and convicted felon Louis DeNaples. He described DeNaples as his “close friend” and provided a reference for DeNaples when he attempted to win state approval to have slot machines at his resort.

But when Marino’s own office opened an investigation into DeNaples over his ties to organized crime, Marino's assistants discovered the reference and the Department of Justice (DOJ) transferred the case to the US Attorney of Binghamton, NY. The DOJ later launched an investigation of Marino “for allegedly violating several department guidelines” over the “reference letter he wrote to help Louis DeNaples get a casino license,” but the investigation ended once Marino resigned.

Responding to criticism about his ties to DeNaples, Marino declared during an interview that he has evidence the DOJ gave him permission to serve as a reference. However, Boryk Krawczeniuk of The Times-Tribune found that DOJ officials never gave him permission, and Marino failed to produce his “evidence.” Krawczeniuk writes that the DOJ confirmed to multiple news outlets that Marino never sought or received such permission: “an Associated Press story, quoting an anonymous Justice Department source, said the department had ‘no record’ that Mr. Marino sought or received Justice authorization to serve as a reference for Mr. DeNaples. A Justice spokeswoman confirmed the department had no such record last week to The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, which is owned by the same company as The Times-Tribune.”

Eventually, Marino backed away from his false claim that he was given permission from the DOJ, and “told the Sunbury Daily Item he never asked the Justice Department for permission to serve as a reference.”

After Marino resigned in order to end the DOJ investigations into his actions, he quickly obtained a $250,000-a-year job as “DeNaples’ in-house lawyer.” In his financial disclosure form, Marino under-reported his income and stated that his DeNaples’ salary was just $25,000 annually.

The conservative blog RedState’s Zack Oldham said of Marino’s actions: “The reality is just as bad as–if not worse than–the optics of this scandal.”

Marino’s relationship with DeNaples and his attempts to cover-up his ethics troubles were not his first encounter with ethics questions. As a District Attorney, Marino approached a judge to toss out his friend’s conviction on drug charges. After the Judge refused, the Luzeme County Citizens Voice reports that Marino “approached another judge and won the expungement, but the plan backfired when the second judge learned of the first judge's involvement in the case.”

Despite the corruption accusations, false statements, and the DOJ investigation which plagued Marino’s legal career, House Republicans still picked him for a Judiciary Committee post. Perhaps, Marino was picked due to his staunchly anti-immigrant views, as incoming Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) intends to use the committee to push a hard line agenda that includes overturning the 14th Amendment’s of birthright citizenship. Marino opposes comprehensive immigration reform, backs Arizona’s draconian SB 1070, and was endorsed by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been described as a “nativist extremist organization.” Just as Smith said that President Obama was “awfully close to a violation of [his] oath of office” as a result of his immigration policy, Marino said he would consider impeaching the President over his handling of immigration.

Like Marino, freshman Tim Griffin was forced to resign as a US Attorney and faced his own ethics questions. Griffin worked his way up through the Republican Party ranks through his work in opposition research and was known as “a protégé of Karl Rove.” He worked for the Bush presidential campaigns and has ties to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Griffin then aided efforts in the Bush White House to replace US Attorneys with partisan appointees, and then-US Attorney Paul Charlton said that Griffin “spread the rumors around the White House that Bud Cummins,” who was the US Attorney of Northeast Arkansas at the time, “was not a good U.S. attorney.”

When Cummins was fired, Griffin was appointed to take his place. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNaulty later testified that “Cummings was fired to make a place for Griffin at the urging of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers,” the former White House Counsel. Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s Chief of Staff, wrote in an email that “getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.” Former US Attorney David Iglesias, said that Tim Griffin “never should have been U.S. Attorney, he was fundamentally unqualified.”

However, Griffin resigned from his position as US Attorney when the BBC uncovered documents showing his work in “vote caging” operations in Florida while he was working for the Bush reelection campaign. Griffin tried to suppress the vote by designing and sending out “caging lists” which “were heavily weighted with minority voters including homeless individuals, students and soldiers sent overseas.”

The Arkansas Leader wrote that “The White House intended to fully consolidate the entire federal criminal justice system into its political operation” and Griffin’s “resignation or dismissal ought to be imminent.” Griffin resigned from his post as US Attorney on May 30, 2007.

Now, two former US Attorneys who resigned under the cloud of scandal will have seats on the Judiciary Committee. By selecting Marino and Griffin, the Republican leadership rewarded coveted posts to two freshmen with serious and troubling ethics questions on the committee which oversees the court system, the rule of law, and law enforcement.

Federalist Society Inspires NJ Justice To Refuse to Cast Votes

For 63 years, not one sitting New Jersey Supreme Court Justice who had sought to be re-appointed by the Governor had been refused ... until Gov. Chris Christie took office and decided to replace Justice John Wallace with a Republican nominee of his own.

That move did not sit well with the Democrats in the state Senate who announced that they would refuse to even consider confirming Christie's nominee, leading Chief Justice Stuart Rabner to appoint a senior judge of the appellate division to serve as a temporary justice in order to fill the vacant seventh seat.

And everything seemed fine until Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto, whose term expires in 2011, discovered an article from The Federalist Society [PDF] claiming that allowing the Chief Justice to fill this vacant seat is unconstitutional.

And now, inspired by this article, Rivera-Soto announced that he will refuse to participate in any more decisions because the current make-up of the court is unconstitutional:

In an unexpected action that rocked New Jersey's legal community Friday, New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Roberto A. Rivera-Soto declared he will abstain from the high court's decisions because he maintains Chief Justice Stuart Rabner did not have the constitutional power to appoint Judge Edwin Stern to temporarily fill a vacant seat on the seven-member panel.

...

In two routine decision made public Friday, Rivera-Soto stated it was not necessary to appoint a temporary justice, and that he is abstaining from decisions because the court's current makeup is unconstitutional. He argued that only the governor has the power to appoint a justice.

"The assignment of a Superior Court judge to serve on this court to fill a vacancy resulting from a political impasse between the executive and the legislative branches thrusts the judiciary into that political thicket, all the while improperly advancing one side's views in preference over the other's," Rivera-Soto wrote. "The Constitution, sober and reflective court practice, and everyday common sense each counsels against the foolhardy steps the court today takes."

Democrats in the state Senate are now demanding that Rivera-Soto resign from the court, accusing him of waging this stunt in an attempt to curry favor with Gov. Christie in hopes of being re-appointed when his term expires:

"Today's dissent from Justice Rivera-Soto shows contempt for the law, disregard for his fellow jurists and utter disdain for the right of New Jerseyans to have their cases heard by a full Court," [Senate President Stephen M.] Sweeney said. "It officially cements his place as the worst and most ethically challenged justice in the history of the modern judiciary.

"If he is so disinterested in fulfilling his constitutional duties, then he should step down and let the governor nominate and the Senate confirm a new justice who will actually participate in court matters," Sweeney said. "It's very telling that not one of his colleagues — nor any other jurist since 1947 — would agree with his cynical, transparent and politically motivated temper tantrum, which is either a hail-Mary attempt to curry favor among conservatives to save his own reappointment or an effort to undercut the state Supreme Court's authority on the eve of legislative redistricting.

"This isn't the first mistake Rivera-Soto's made since joining the Court, but it should be his last," Sweeney added.

...

Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Union) chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also called on Rivera-Soto to resign.

"Justice Rivera-Soto's outright refusal to perform his judicial duties demonstrates a complete disregard for the position he holds and for the residents of this state," Scutari said. "The timing of his move is suspect. With his reappointment around the corner, this smacks of a desperate attempt to distract from his ethical lapses and grab the attention of right wing pundits who share a disdain for the court. This is an act of true arrogance. He is making an absolute mockery of the judiciary, and is clearly no longer fit to serve on the court. He should immediately step down."

Right Wing Groups Play Games with the Courts, Try to Block Judicial Nominees

As GOP delay-tactics in the US Senate continue to cause and aggravate judicial emergencies in the nation’s courtrooms, right wing activists demand that Senate Republicans persist in preventing members from voting to confirm Obama’s judicial nominees, even those who won significant bipartisan support. Even former Republican judges have condemned Republican games in the Senate as the number of judicial vacancies and emergencies rapidly grow.

But right wing activists are calling on the Senate GOP to stand firm and further weaken the judicial system. In the effort to paint President Obama as the second coming of who else but Jimmy Carter, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly blasted Obama’s purportedly “radical” nominees:

One of the greatest risks of the current lame-duck Congress is the possibility of Senate confirmation of President Obama's radical appointments to federal courts, boards and agencies.

Nominees hoping for confirmation include the radical redistributionist Goodwin Liu, who is seeking a spot on the Ninth Circuit; Louis Butler Jr., who was removed from the Wisconsin Supreme Court by the voters in 2008, and Chai Feldblum, an advocate of same-sex marriage and polygamy who is now enjoying a recess appointment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Appointees to federal circuit and district courts can be almost as important as Supreme Court justices because the Supreme Court takes only about 1% of the cases that seek to reach the high court. Lower federal court judges have been making final rulings on dozens of controversial issues that should be legislative decisions, including marriage, parents' rights in public schools and immigration.

Some have lamented that Jimmy Carter, who served only one term as president, didn't get a chance to make any Supreme Court appointments. But don't cry for Carter — he had plenty of influence on the judiciary.



The historic election of 2010 delivered a clear "shellacking" to President Obama's policies, one of which was his choice of federal judges, including the extremely left-wing Elena Kagan, now on the Supreme Court. The Senate should refuse to confirm any of Obama's judicial or agency nominees in the lame-duck session.

Of course, Goodwin Liu is seen as one of the country’s top legal and constitutional scholars; Louis Butler did lose his 2008 race, but only after a vicious smear-campaign by corporate interest groups, and Chai Feldblum is a prominent law professor and disability-rights activist.

Rick Manning of the pro-corporate Astroturf group Americans for Limited Government is also calling on the Senate to reject Liu, by propagating the false charge that Liu believes health care is a constitutional right.

His views that health and welfare issues are constitutional rights are outside-the-mainstream, pitting those who believe in limited government power against those who would give unfettered power to the federal government.

Liu’s extremism is particularly disturbing because the court system is likely to be confronted by a variety of cases related to health care. Liu’s belief that health care is a right would put him firmly in the position of supporting an even broader expansion of the ObamaCare legislation to eliminate the private provision of health care services.

But as the Alliance for Justice points out, Liu in his legal writings made almost the opposite case about welfare rights such as health care:

[Liu] has argued for a model of judicial restraint, concluding that courts should not interpret the Constitution to create affirmative welfare rights, whether to education, health care, or minimal levels of subsistence. Liu has explained that “such rights cannot be reasoned into existence by courts on their own” and has explained that his understanding of the judicial role “does not license courts to declare rights to entirely new benefits or programs not yet in existence.”

Richard Painter, a former lawyer for the Bush White House, made clear in the Los Angeles times what activists like Phyllis Schlafly and Rick Manning are really up to. He argued that right wing groups are playing political games with the judiciary in their opposition to a renowned scholar like Liu:

A noisy argument has persisted for weeks in the Senate, on blog sites and in newspaper columns over President Obama's nomination of Liu to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This political spat over a single appellate judge makes no sense if one looks at Liu's academic writings and speeches, which reflect a moderate outlook. Indeed, much of this may have nothing to do with Liu but rather with politicians and interest groups jostling for position in the impending battle over the president's next nominee to the Supreme Court.

Hispanics Support Republicans Says Republican Opposed By Hispanics

Rep. Lamar Smith says that the GOP should go ahead and press it's anti-immigration agenda because Hispanics support the Republican agenda and don't really care about the issue of immigration:

"The idea that we need to listen to our liberal Democratic friends who say you have to be for amnesty if you want to get Hispanic votes, we've disproved that this year -- and I hope we've laid that to rest," he adds.

With the understanding that "Hispanics have the same values that almost every other American has," he thinks the GOP can attract Hispanic voters by treating everybody as Americans.

"They care about education for their children, they care about jobs for their family members [and] they care about good healthcare, of course," Smith reports. "According to the various polls they've been taking of Hispanic voters, immigration is number five. I think it's in the single digits, it's so far down the list of their priorities."

The Texas representative goes on to point out that the Republican Party ran more new Hispanic candidates this year than Democrats, many of whom are identified "as having a pro-enforcement or anti-amnesty stance."

He finds it interesting that "Republican Hispanics are not going with the stereotype that they have to be for amnesty, but actually that they want to enforce immigration laws." He thinks that should also send a powerful message that "you can be respectful, you can be for law and order, you can be for the rule of law, and you can be for secure borders and opposed to amnesty and be elected, either as Hispanics or Anglos."

Of course, this argument might be more convincing if Somos Republicans, "the largest and fastest growing Hispanic Republican Organization in the Southwest," hadn't recently written a letter to Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor begging them not to let Smith and Rep. Steve King become assume key leadership positions because of their radical anti-immigrant views and rhetoric:

As we are already looking toward the 2012 Presidential Elections, we respectfully ask you to take heed to our request out of concern for our nation. Congressmen Smith and King have repeatedly engaged in rhetoric that is aimed negatively toward Hispanics. Steve King has used defamatory language that is extremely offensive to Hispanics, which is found in numerous congressional records. We believe Steve King’s behavior is not appropriate for a high-level elected Republican who might be in charge of a committee that handles immigration rules. Steve King and Lamar Smith have adopted extreme positions on birthright citizenship, and promise legislation that would undermine the 14th amendment of the constitution, which both swore an oath to uphold.

While it is indeed the duty of the Judiciary and Immigration committees to oversee and enforce existing immigration laws, Representatives Smith and King have engaged in an ill-advised platform and rhetoric that has been perceived as insensitive with their inflammatory “immigration statements,” and this has caused an exodus of Hispanic voters to the Democratic party. We ask that you review Mr. King’s and Mr. Smith’s congressional statements desiring to “pass a bill out of the House to end the Constitution’s birthright citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants,” or what Steve King has made reference to “anchor babies.” We find both this rhetoric and this un-constitutional conduct reprehensible, insulting and a poor reflection upon Republicans because we don’t want our Party to be viewed as the Party of changing the United States Constitution.

...

It is our sincere belief that if representatives Smith and King were to become the Chairs of the House Judiciary and Subcommittee on Immigration, and if they indeed continue such insensitive rhetoric towards Hispanics, the conditions for a Republican presidential candidate to garner the necessary Electoral College Delegates to win the 2012 presidency will not be possible.

Clarence Thomas Story "Shows the Power of Porn Addiction"

Mike McManus runs an organization called Marriage Savers, which he co-founded with his wife Harriet.

As the name suggests, the organization's mission is to "increase the success of marriage, reduce divorce rates, and provide a better environment for children to thrive."  And as that sort of mission would suggest, the organization is endorsed by Religious Right leaders like Tony Perkins, Don Wildmon, Mike Huckabee, Richard Land, and Robert George.

Which makes this new column by McManus rather remarkable, because people on the Right generally don't give any credence to the claims raised about Clarence Thomas, much less cite Thomas as evidence of the dangers of addiction to pornography

"He was obsessed with porn," commented Lillian McEwen of Clarence Thomas about the years he was Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "He would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films."

She should know, having had a torrid affair with him from 1981-86. "He was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners. It was a hobby of his," she told The Washington Post.

Anita Hill made similar charges in the 1991 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about Thomas's nomination to be a Justice to the Supreme Court: "He spoke about acts that he had seen in pornographic films involving such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes. He talked about pornographic materials depicting individuals with large penises or large breasts involved in various sex acts." He was also constantly asking Hill out, which she refused.

Thomas stoutly denied the charges: "If I used that kind of grotesque language with one person, it would seem to me that there would be traces of it throughout the employees who worked closely with me."

No doubt, McEwen could have provided corroborating testimony, which would might have torpedoed his nomination. She now regrets having remaining silent and has written a book. Twice married and twice divorced, she had a career as a prosecutor, a Senate Judiciary Committee lawyer, administrative law judge, and a law professor and is now retired, declaring, "I have nothing to be afraid of."

What matters about the Thomas story is that it shows the power of porn addiction, that led him to take dangerous risks, even as a very visible EEOC Chairman.

For the last twenty years, the standard Religious Right line has been that Anita Hill was lying as part of an Democrat-orchestrated smear campaign against Thomas, so it is pretty amazing to see someone like McManus suddenly citing Thomas' behavior as proof of the dangers of pornography.

Judge Bus: Fighting the Shakespearean-Evolutionary Conspiracy To Warehouse Iowa's Children

The Religious Right's "Judge Bus" continues to roll through Iowa and participants just keep coming up with wilder and wilder explanations of why three Supreme Court justices need to be removed from office, like Rep. Steve King claiming that if they aren't, pretty soon we'll have a society in which children will be taken away from parents and raised in warehouses to be vicious warriors ... or something:

Speaking exclusively with The Iowa Independent following Wednesday’s event, King reaffirmed those statements and expanded on why he believes the institution of marriage is so important.

“I think that if we can’t defend marriage, that it becomes very hard to defend life,” King said. “Marriage is the crucible by which we pour all of our values and pass them on to our children, and that is how the culture is renewed each time. So, if we lose marriage — for instance, if our children are raised in warehouses, so to speak. There have been civilizations that have tried to do that. The Spartans did that. They took the children away and taught them to be warriors. It’s a good way to defend a country, but not much of a way to run a civilization.

“So, I’m afraid if that happened — if we lose the marriage, we lose the home, we lose the nuclear family then we can’t teach our values. We won’t be able to teach our faith. We won’t be able to teach life. We won’t be able to teach our Constitutional values either. That’s why I’m afraid it’s going to be very, very difficult to defend life.”

And rest assured that this type of lunacy is not limited to the Judge Bus speakers, but appears to be shared by those attending their rallies as well:

Randy Crawford of Iowa City said he intends to vote for the removal of the justices because he is concerned about the judiciary overstepping its reach and also about the propensity of homosexuals within his community.

“My primary reason for being here is because I believe the Supreme Court should not be legislating from the bench. But I also believe that homosexuality is bad thing,” he said. “It used to be useful when we were cavemen and we needed people to guard the caves full of women and children. If I’m a guy out hunting, I want to leave someone back at the cave tending to my wife and kids, and I don’t want a normal guy having that kind of access to my wife and kids. So, in our evolution, you can see that there use to be a utility for homosexuality, but that was when we were cavemen and we aren’t cavemen anymore. So, homosexuality is obsolete.”

Although Crawford believes that homosexuality is no longer needed by modern mankind, he brushes off the idea that he automatically dislikes people who are gay. He says he believes that private lives are just that and that he took a “live and let live” attitude until he discovered something more sinister at work.

“If people want to behave like the homosexuals I knew in high school, college and so-forth then it isn’t a problem,” he said. “But you can see what happens when homosexuals get power — like in Iowa City. They are running rampant. They are doing vicious stuff. … Read Shakespeare’s Othello. Basically the homosexuals are like the Iago figure.”

Crawford said the “nasty homosexual network” in Iowa City is “like conspiracy and racketeering,” and ultimately, “the Iowa Supreme Court should not be running interference for rackets.”

So, according to these Religious Right activists, the reason these judges need to be voted out of office is because they are part of some Shakespearean evolutionary conspiracy to turn the nation's children in warehouse-rasied warriors.

Pray and Act: Dirty Tricks, Stonewall, 7 Mountains, and Biblical Economics

On Friday I posted clips from a conference call hosted early last week by Jim Garlow, Chairman of Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership, and organizer of the Pray and Act campaign, which featured the likes of Chuck Colson, Lou Engle, Maggie Gallagher, and Harry Jackson all discussing the importance of the Pray and Act effort heading into the mid-term elections.

Last night, these same leaders once again join Garlow, this time for a live webcast from Washington DC that also featured Walter Hoyle, Chuck Stetson, James Robison, Samuel Rodriquez, Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund, Lance Wallnau, Tony Perkins, and Richard Land. 

The event itself had just a few handfuls of people in attendance, but it was broadcast by GodTV and I spent my Sunday evening watching it so I could bring you the highlights.

Most of event was standard Religious Right fare, with leaders discussing the paramount importance of fighting abortion and saving marriage as people like Colson marveled at that we are now celebrating homosexuality which, just a few decades ago, was "shameful and embarrassing":

Thirty years ago now, I was running the 1972 presidential political campaign and we were accused, those of you who remember the history of the Nixon era, we were accused of lots of dirty tricks. And one of them was that I had planted gays in the campaign of the President's opponent, Senator George McGovern. I didn't, but I was accused of it because that would have been a dirty trick.

Today, we're celebrating what just 35 years ago was considered something shameful and embarrassing. We're not only celebrating it, we're taking an institution which has been the foundation building block of society and civilized societies going back as far in history as we can go back - a man and a woman joined together as God says as one flesh - and we're saying we want to re-define that.

I don't know about you guys, but you'll never hear me say "gay marriage" again because there is no such thing. There can't be gay marriage. Marriage is a man and a woman. The fact of the matter is you can't have anything called gay marriage. From now on to me it's "so-called gay marriage" or its "civil union" or whatever you want to call it, but it's not marriage.

And then, of course, there was Lou Engle just being Lou Engle as he got revved up about how fasting and prayer can finally reverse the forty year rebellion set off in 1969 with the release of "the Stonewall homosexual movement":

I feel like this is a defining moment in American history. I feel like we're in a moment when epochs have got to turn. In the Scriptures you see the power of the forty day fast to change spiritual eras.

Moses fasted forty days and the law of God was released into the Earth.

Elijah fasted forty days at a time when they had legalized child sacrifice and homosexual and heterosexual prostitution in the days of Ahab and Jezebel. But it was in that darkest hour that God raised up its greatest prophetic movement as well.

God is not done with America. and when that spell of Jezebel ruled over the land, promoting sexual immorality all over the place, God releases a forty day fast through Elijah. With the spell of Jezebel and the discouragement of those who were reformers, God breaks that thing with a forty day fast and releases a whole new era with a movement to release the next religious leaders, spiritual leaders, and political leaders as God ripped through that land and purged Baal worship at that time.

God's the same yesterday, today, and forever. I believe we're at the end of the forty year rebellion of the Sixties. 1969: the Stonewall homosexual movement was released. 69: Woodstock. Forty years from that point, I dare to believe that if they church will take this time seriously in fasting and prayer, we can actually begin to fulfill what a generation has failed in for forty years. 

In the very first post I wrote about Pray and Act, I noted how 7 Mountains Dominionism was at the heart of the organization's agenda and pointed to a clip of the leading 7 Mountains advocate, Lance Wallnau, explaining how Christians must take control of these specific areas in order to lay the groundwork for the return of Christ.

In case that wasn't clear enough, last night Garlow actually included Wallnau in the webcast and Wallnau made the case that Christians are in a war for control of these 7 Mountains and the object of this war is permanent occupation:

While we've been trying to preach, secular forces have been educating America. We didn't lose the homosexual argument over night. Twenty-five years, from Chuck Colson's testimony 'til now, tells me that it wasn't because of something we did, it's because of something we failed to do: we didn't influence media and arts. When you've got media and arts, you've got a pulpit going twenty-four hours a day educating your children on values. We didn't educate ourselves regarding the judiciary and so political appointments were made - and we always focus on politicians, we got ga ga at election time, forgetting politicians are the spoil of a different battle; it's the battle of influence.

We have superior weapons, a superior message, and superior power. When it comes to being able to move forward in this, we've got evidence all over the place of how transformation can happen, but it starts with this: clarity is power.

If Christians don't understand that power isn't just in us in the church, there is an authority that is in government, there is an authority in arts and media, there's an authority in family - I look at those as seven spheres where God has to raise up champions.

Napoleon's maxim is "the object of war is victory." You know what we do, we get so dumb - we're supposed to be wise as a serpent and as harmless as doves but we end up being as dumb as a doorknob in lacking the shrewdness we need. When we have elections, when we have victories, short-term victories, we go back and celebrate it like that's it. Well, here's what Napoleon says about warfare: the object of war is victory, but the objective of victory is occupation. We don't win until we occupy high places.

The way that governments and nations are formed is that minorities of people occupy strategic places of influence and they leverage that influence through leverage within networks that are closely, tightly knit together. The church has to become a Kingdom Force, leveraging its influence within greater spheres than just evangelism and then linking shields together. I believe, with prayer and fasting, we will see a freshly invigorated move of God in the United States.

Finally, I want to highlight something that Garlow has been pushing for some time now, which is to intimately link "biblical economics" to the social issues that normally motivate the Religious Right.  Garlow is impassioned about the book "Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem" by Jay W. Richards and has been telling anyone who will listen to buy multiple copies of the book for themselves and their friends.  So it was no surprise that Garlow brought the subject up during the webcast:

If we have 535 people in Washington, DC - House and Senate - who are voting through laws that cause grandchildren and great-grandchildren of yours yet unborn to be saddled with a debt they cannot handle, that is called thievery.

There's a law against stealing: Thou shalt not steal. We have no right to steal from future generations. So the whole economic issue is a biblical issue.

Debt like we have in America is immoral. It is wrong. There should be a screaming up. This could cause a suffocation and a complete destruction of all we hold dear. The taxation is becoming oppressive.

The reason that we have these kind of bad laws passing in our Congress is very simple: what percentage of the people making the laws are attending a church where the Bible is being taught? Let me go further though: if it's a small percentage that are there, let's just pick an arbitrary number - 10%, 15%, 20% - are attending a church where the Bible is being taught, let me ask you a question, how many of them are going to a church where biblical economics is being taught so the person who goes to make the laws has the moral foundation, the biblical background, to be able to vote through the right kind of laws? We have been silent and I believe the spirit of God is stirring something at a deep level.

Finally, to get a sense of just how Garlow sees the interconnection between economic and social issues, he explains how legal abortion is causing today's unemployment problems:

When I find people who don't morally get it on the issue of abortion, I appeal that way you just appealed. When you consider when abortion started, how many years have passed, the people who were originally killed now would have been having children who were up to the age fifteen. So we have lost massive numbers of people [and] when I'm with unemployed people who believe in abortion, I say "one of the reasons you're unemployed is because there are no houses being bought, there are not cars being purchased, there are no schools being built for people who've been killed. You don't have a job today, in part, because of the massive slaughter of humanity."

People don't understand, it's an economic issue. There's a reason God said be fruitful and multiply. He was serious about that.

Rep. Lamar Smith: No Impeachment of Judge Vaughan Walker

Though the Religious Right was universally outraged by Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling striking down Proposition, only the American Family Association went so far as to demand his immediate impeachment:

Judge Walker's ruling is not "good Behaviour." He has exceeded his constitutional authority and engaged in judicial tyranny.

Judges are not, in fact, unaccountable. They are accountable to Congress, which can remove them from office.

Impeachment proceedings, according to the Constitution, begin in the House of Representatives. It's time for you to put your congressman on record regarding the possible impeachment of Judge Walker.

Yesterday, Rep. Lamar Smith, ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, was the guest on Bryan Fischer's radio program and Fischer wanted to know if they had any plans to try and impeach Walker and Smith told him flat-out that it wasn't going to happen:

Fischer: Judges are in fact accountable to Congress, they have the power of impeachment, they serve only during good behavior. It's my opinion that this is bad behavior. Is there any sense in which the House of Representatives would consider this an impeachable offense for a judge?

Smith: We have done a lot of research on that subject, since I'm the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and quite frankly this doesn't rise to the normal level of impeachment, as much as we might disagree with the opinion. Ultimately, of course, the solution is to elect presidents who will appoint federal judges who do not legislate from the bench and who do not engage in judicial activism. But I do not think that we would be successful in an impeachment move, but it doesn't mean that we can't do something about it by way of a resolution, by way of making elections about these kinds of appointments.

I guess I should point out that Walker was nominated to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan.

Gary Cass on Prop 8 Ruling: What Do You Expect From the Debased Mind of a Pervert?

Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission responds to the Prop 8 ruling by asserting that Judge Vaughn Walker is gay, therefore his mind is utterly warped and he is unable to reason clearly, so of course he ruled against traditional marriage ... oh, and now sodomites are going to surround your house and demand to rape your children:

Let’s not be shocked that Judge Walker cannot comprehend the self-evident rational basis for prohibiting homosexual marriage, after all, he is a practicing homosexual. The Bible plainly tells us that once a person has seared his conscience to such an extent that he can exchange his natural sexual relationship with the opposite sex for homosexuality, his ability to reason becomes utterly compromised.

Homosexuals have turned away from humbly worshipping the true and living God and his transcendent moral order in order to make an idol out of their sexual perversion and moral chaos.

...

Since rebellious men refuse to acknowledge God as the true source of justice, their sense of justice is “debased” (adokimos) or unreliable and inauthentic compared to God’s justice which is tested, true and reliable (dokimos). So while we should not be shocked that unbelieving rebels can’t see the obvious rationality for prohibiting homosexual marriage, it’s a lamentable reminder of how far we have reverted to pre-Christian pagan ethics.

Openly rebellious sinners who live in hostility to the laws of nature and nature’s God will attempt to impose their tyrannical, arbitrary standards on us. If homosexual marriage is forced on us by a despotic judiciary, don’t be so naive as to think this is the end of the neo-pagan sexual agenda. We are, to quote Judge Bork, “slouching towards Gomorrah.”

Scripture and history tells what’s next. Sexual anarchists have already announced what’s next; polygamy, group marriage, incest and intergenerational sex (or statutory rape as we now define it). They won’t rest until, like in Sodom, they can surround your house and demand you offer up your children to be abused.

Right Wing Reactions to Prop 8 Decision

I'll be updating this post as more statements are released reacting to the decision to oveturn Prop 8, but Focus on the Family is out with the first statement blasting the ruling (if you don't count Harry Jackson, who Tweeted a statement hours ago):

“Judge Walker’s ruling raises a shocking notion that a single federal judge can nullify the votes of more than 7 million California voters, binding Supreme Court precedent, and several millennia-worth of evidence that children need both a mom and a dad.

“During these legal proceedings, the millions of California residents who supported Prop 8 have been wrongfully accused of being bigots and haters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, they are concerned citizens, moms and dads who simply wanted to restore to California the long-standing understanding that marriage is between one woman and one man – a common-sense position that was taken away by the actions of another out-of-control state court in May 2008.

“Fortunately for them, who make up the majority of Californians, this disturbing decision is not the last word.

“We fully expect the judge’s decision to be overturned upon appeal. The redeeming feature of our judicial system is that one judge who ignores the law and the evidence must ultimately endure the review and reversal of his actions from the appellate courts.

“We do want Americans to understand the seriousness of this decision, however. If this judge’s decision is not overturned, it will most likely force all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriage. This would be a profound and fundamental change to the social and legal fabric of this country.

“Our Founders intended such radical changes to come from the people, not from activist judges. Alexander Hamilton, in advocating for the ratification of our Constitution in 1788, argued that the judiciary would be ‘the least dangerous’ branch of government. Today’s decision shows how far we have come from that original understanding.”

Randy Thomasson and Save California:

"Natural marriage, voter rights, the Constitution, and our republic called the United States of America have all been dealt a terrible blow. Judge Walker has ignored the written words of the Constitution, which he swore to support and defend and be impartially faithful to, and has instead imposed his own homosexual agenda upon the voters, the parents, and the children of California. This is a blatantly unconstitutional ruling because marriage isn't in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution guarantees that state policies be by the people, not by the judges, and also supports states' rights, thus making marriage a state jurisdiction. It is high time for the oath of office to be updated to require judicial nominees to swear to judge only according to the written words of the Constitution and the original, documented intent of its framers. As a Californian and an American, I am angry that this biased homosexual judge, in step with other judicial activists, has trampled the written Constitution, grossly misused his authority, and imposed his own agenda, which the Constitution does not allow and which both the people of California and California state authorities should by no means respect."

Concerned Women for America:

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), said:

“Judge Walker’s decision goes far beyond homosexual ‘marriage’ to strike at the heart of our representative democracy. Judge Walker has declared, in effect, that his opinion is supreme and ‘We the People’ are no longer free to govern ourselves. The ruling should be appealed and overturned immediately.

“Marriage is not a political toy. It is too important to treat as a means for already powerful people to gain preferred status or acceptance. Marriage between one man and one woman undergirds a stable society and cannot be replaced by any other living arrangement.

“Citizens of California voted to uphold marriage because they understood the sacred nature of marriage and that homosexual activists use same-sex ‘marriage’ as a political juggernaut to indoctrinate young children in schools to reject their parent’s values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree.

“CWA stands in prayer for our nation as we continue to defend marriage as the holy union God created between one man and one woman.”

CWA of California State Director Phyllis Nemeth said:

“Today Judge Vaughn Walker has chosen to side with political activism over the will of the people. His ruling is slap in the face to the more than seven million Californians who voted to uphold the definition of marriage as it has been understood for millennia.

“While Judge Walker’s decision is disappointing it is not the end of this battle. Far from it. The broad coalition of support for Proposition 8 remains strong, and we will support the appeal by ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponent of Proposition 8.

“We are confident that Judge Walker’s decision will ultimately be reversed. No combination of judicial gymnastics can negate the basic truth that marriage unites the complementary physical and emotional characteristics of a man and a woman to create a oneness that forms the basis for the family unit allowing a child to be raised by his or her father and mother. Any other combination is a counterfeit that fails to provide the best environment for healthy child rearing and a secure foundation for the family. It is this foundation upon which society is – and must be – built for a healthy and sustained existence.”

Family Research Council:

FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the 'Roe v. Wade' of same-sex 'marriage,' overturning the marriage laws of 45 states. As with abortion, the Supreme Court's involvement would only make the issue more volatile. It's time for the far Left to stop insisting that judges redefine our most fundamental social institution and using liberal courts to obtain a political goal they cannot obtain at the ballot box.

"Marriage is recognized as a public institution, rather than a purely private one, because of its role in bringing together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and keeping them together to raise the children produced by their union. The fact that homosexuals prefer not to enter into marriages as historically defined does not give them a right to change the definition of what a 'marriage' is.

"Marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been the universally-recognized understanding of marriage not only since America's founding but for millennia. To hold that the Founders created a constitutional right that none of them could even have conceived of is, quite simply, wrong.

"FRC has always fought to protect marriage in America and will continue to do so by working with our allies to appeal this dangerous decision. Even if this decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals-the most liberal appeals court in America-Family Research Council is confident that we can help win this case before the U.S. Supreme Court."

Liberty Counsel:

Although Liberty Counsel has defended the marriage laws in California since the battle began in 2004, the Alliance Defense Fund, representing the Prop 8 initiative, opposed Liberty Counsel’s attempt to intervene on behalf of Campaign for California Families. The California Attorney General did not oppose Liberty Counsel’s intervention, but ADF did. Liberty Counsel sought to provide additional defense to Prop 8 because of concern that the case was not being adequately defended. After ADF actively opposed Liberty Counsel, ADF presented only two witnesses at trial, following the 15 witnesses presented by those who challenged the amendment. Even Judge Walker commented that he was concerned by the lack of evidence presented by ADF on behalf of Prop 8. Liberty Counsel will file an amicus brief at the court of appeals in defense of Prop 8.

The California Supreme Court previously stated, “The right of initiative is precious to the people and is one which the courts are zealous to preserve to the fullest tenable measure of spirit as well as letter.” Moreover, the U.S. Constitution cannot be stretched to include a right to same-sex marriage.

Except for this case, since Liberty Counsel was excluded by ADF, Liberty Counsel has represented the Campaign for California Families to defend the state’s marriage laws since 2004 and has argued at the trial, appellate and state Supreme Court levels.

Mary McAlister, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: “This is a classic case of judicial activism. The Constitution is unrecognizable in this opinion. This is simply the whim of one judge. It does not reflect the Constitution, the rule of law, or the will of the people. I am confident this decision will be overturned.”

Alliance Defense Fund:

“In America, we should respect and uphold the right of a free people to make policy choices through the democratic process--especially ones that do nothing more than uphold the definition of marriage that has existed since the foundation of the country and beyond,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.

“We will certainly appeal this disappointing decision. Its impact could be devastating to marriage and the democratic process,” Raum said. “It’s not radical for more than 7 million Californians to protect marriage as they’ve always known it. What would be radical would be to allow a handful of activists to gut the core of the American democratic system and, in addition, force the entire country to accept a system that intentionally denies children the mom and the dad they deserve.”

...

“The majority of California voters simply wished to preserve the historic definition of marriage. The other side’s attack upon their good will and motives is lamentable and preposterous,” Raum said. “Imagine what would happen if every state constitutional amendment could be eliminated by small groups of wealthy activists who malign the intent of the people. It would no longer be America, but a tyranny of elitists.”

“What’s at stake here is bigger than California,” Pugno added. “Americans in numerous states have affirmed--and should be allowed to continue to affirm--a natural and historic public policy position like this. We are prepared to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”

Capitol Resource Institute:

"Today's ruling is indicative of an out-of-control judiciary willing to circumvent California's direct democracy by imposing their point of view," said Karen England Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute (CRI). "Family values are under constant assault now more then ever. CRI was instrumental in passing proposition 22 in 2000 and we fought to get proposition 8 on the ballot and subsequently in California's Constitution. We will continue to battle interest groups who wish to redefine one of our oldest institutions; the institution of marriage. We will continue to represent the 7 million Californians who took to the polls in favor of marriage."

American Family Association:

“This is a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance. Judge Walker has turned ‘We the People’ into ‘I the Judge.’

“It’s inexcusable for him to deprive the citizens of California of their right to govern themselves, and cavalierly trash the will of over seven million voters. This case never should even have entered his courtroom. The federal constitution nowhere establishes marriage policy, which means under the 10th Amendment that issue is reserved for the states.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself. He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity. The fundamental issue here is whether homosexual conduct, with all its physical and psychological risks, should be promoted and endorsed by society. That’s why the people and elected officials accountable to the people should be setting marriage policy, not a black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial.

“His situation is no different than a judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography statute. He’d have to recuse himself on conflict of interest grounds, and Judge Walker should have done that.

“The Constitution says judges hold office ‘during good Behavior.’ Well, this ruling is bad behavior - in fact, it’s very, very bad behavior - and we call on all members of the House of Representatives who respect the Constitution to launch impeachment proceedings against this judge.”

Traditional Values Coalition:

"It is an outrage that one arrogant and rogue federal judge can take it upon himself to overturn a centuries old definition of marriage and family," said Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman and founder of Traditional Values Coalition (TVC). "On November 4, 2008, 7 million voters of California cemented into the state constitution a definition of marriage for one man and one woman only. Now with US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling today he has completely undermined the expressed will of voters at the ballot box. Direct Democracy has been blatantly attacked today."

"First it was the California Supreme Court's decision in 2008 to overturn Prop 22 and force the people of California to accept homosexual marriages. Well, the people adamantly rejected their ruling and homosexual marriages and they passed Prop 8, which was designed to forever tie the hands of judges from redefining marriage. Now one judge has yet again slapped the people in the face, even though the state constitution now clearly tells them what marriage means; we spelled it out for them in black and white," Sheldon added. "This is a blatant sign of judicial activism and lack of judicial restraint."

Sheldon added: "There is more at stake than just traditional marriage and the centuries long definition of the family. This ruling seriously undermines the expressed vote and will of the people on initiatives and proposed amendments they approve at the ballot box. This judge's ruling says that any vote of the people will have no weight, credence, sovereignty, value or worth at all. On appeal, the courts will either realize their limits and not undermine the constitutional power of the vote, or they will continue to demonstrate the most blatant arrogance and impose judicial tyranny by declaring that they alone, and not the people, have the ultimate final say on all matters of the state. Democracy, the constitution and the people would be beneath them."

TVC state lobbyist Benjamin Lopez, who was publicly credited by homosexual State Senator Mark Leno for the defeat of his proposed homosexual marriage bill in 2005, echoed Sheldon's statements:

"The issue at hand now is whether the will of 7 million voters outweighs that of either 7 Supreme Court justices or any one judge anywhere in the state. Homosexual marriage advocates may kick and scream the loudest demanding that Prop 8 be struck down, but they should be drowned out by the deafening voice of 7 million Californians who settled this issue not once, but twice already. We are hear because homosexual radicals continue to act like immature children who throw tantrums when they do not get their way."

"Same-sex marriage supporters repeatedly beat the drum of civil rights to equate their cause to the legitimate struggles of minority groups and say the public is on their side. Yet not even in 'liberal' California have they won over the people so they must resort to sympathetic, liberal black-robed activists who sit on the bench to force same-sex marriage on the people.

"If folks think that the Tea Party movement is a force to be reckoned with now, wait until the silent majority of pro-family voters flex their political muscle once again. Judges beware, you will go the way of Rose Bird, stripped of their robes and kicked off the bench," Lopez added.

The battle of same-sex marriage began in March 2000 when California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 22. It stated: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Homosexual marriage advocates challenged Prop 22 in court and in March 2005, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer struck it down ruling it in violation of the equal protection clause. Kramer's ruling was then challenged all the way to the California Supreme Court. In early 2008 the high court upheld Kramer's ruling allowing homosexual marriages to take place. Voters passed Prop 8 in November 2008 cementing Prop 22's language into the state constitution. After challenges to Prop 8 reached the state supreme court, the justices upheld Prop 8 and allowed for some 18,000 same-sex marriages to stand. The current ruling by Judge Walker was the result of a challenge to the California Supreme Court's ruling.

Richard Land:

 “This is a grievously serious crisis in how the American people will choose to be governed. The people of our most populous state—a state broadly indicative of the nation at large demographically—voted to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, thus excluding same-sex and polygamous relationships from being defined as marriage. 

“Now, an unelected federal judge has chosen to override the will of the people of California and to redefine an institution the federal government did not create and that predates the founding of America. Indeed, ‘marriage’ goes back to the Garden of Eden, where God defined His institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“This case will clearly make its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court of the United States, where unfortunately, the outcome is far from certain. There are clearly four votes who will disagree with this judge—Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito. The supreme question is: Will there be a fifth? Having surveyed Justice Kennedy’s record on this issue, I have no confidence that he will uphold the will of the people of California.

“If and when the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court, then the American people will have to decide whether they will insist on continuing to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, or whether they’re going to live under the serfdom of government by the judges, of the judges and for the judges. Our forefathers have given us a method to express our ultimate will. It’s called an amendment to the Constitution. If the Supreme Court fails to uphold the will of the people of California—if we are going to have our form of government altered by judicial fiat—then the only alternative left to us is to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“Many senators who voted against the federal marriage amendment the last time it came up said publicly if a federal court interfered with a state’s right to determine this issue, they would then be willing to vote for a federal marriage amendment. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to vote.

“Despite egregious court rulings like this one, there is nonetheless an unprecedented effort going on across the nation of Christians uniting for sustained prayer, for revival, awakening and deliverance. I encourage everyone to join me in this effort and go to 4040prayer.com for more information.” 

National Organization for Marriage:

"Big surprise! We expected nothing different from Judge Vaughn Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial," said Brian Brown, President of NOM. "With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman. This ruling, if allowed to stand, threatens not only Prop 8 in California but the laws in 45 other states that define marriage as one man and one woman."

"Never in the history of America has a federal judge ruled that there is a federal constitutional right to same sex marriage. The reason for this is simple - there isn't!" added Brown.

"The 'trial' in San Francisco in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case is a unique, and disturbing, episode in American jurisprudence. Here we have an openly gay (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution. We call on the Supreme Court and Congress to protect the people's right to vote for marriage," stated Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of the Board of NOM.

"Gay marriage groups like the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, and Equality California will, no doubt, be congratulating themselves over this "victory" today in San Francisco. However, even they know that Judge Walker's decision is only temporary. For the past 20 years, gay marriage groups have fought to avoid cases filed in federal court for one good reason - they will eventually lose. But these groups do not have control of the Schwarzenegger v. Perry case, which is being litigated by two egomaniacal lawyers (Ted Olson and David Boies). So while they congratulate themselves over their victory before their home-town judge today, let's not lose sight of the fact that this case is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, where the right of states to define marriage as being between one man and one woman will be affirmed--and if the Supreme Court fails, Congress has the final say. The rights of millions of voters in states from Wisconsin to Florida, from Maine to California, are at stake in this ruling; NOM is confident that the Supreme Court will affirm the basic civil rights of millions of American voters to define marriage as one man and one woman," noted Gallagher.

Robert George - American Principles Project:

“Another flagrant and inexcusable exercise of ‘raw judicial power’ threatens to enflame and prolong the culture war ignited by the courts in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade,” said Dr. Robert P. George, Founder of the American Principles Project. “In striking down California’s conjugal marriage law, Judge Walker has arrogated to himself a decision of profound social importance—the definition and meaning of marriage itself—that is left by the Constitution to the people and their elected representatives.”

“As a decision lacking any warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, it abuses and dishonors the very charter in whose name Judge Walker declares to be acting. This usurpation of democratic authority must not be permitted to stand.”

Judge Walker’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger seeks to invalidate California Proposition 8, which by vote of the people of California restored the conjugal conception of marriage as the union of husband and wife after California courts had re-defined marriage to include same-sex partnerships.

“The claim that this case is about equal protection or discrimination is simply false,” George said. “It is about the nature of marriage as an institution that serves the interests of children—and society as a whole—by uniting men and women in a relationship whose meaning is shaped by its wonderful and, indeed, unique aptness for the begetting and rearing of children.

“We are talking about the right to define what marriage is, not about who can or cannot take part. Under our Constitution the definition and meaning of marriage is a decision left in the hands of the people, not given to that small fraction of the population who happen to be judges.”

“Judge Walker has abandoned his role as an impartial umpire and jumped into the competition between those who believe in marriage as the union of husband and wife and those who seek to advance still further the ideology of the sexual revolution. Were his decision to stand, it would ensure additional decades of social dissension and polarization. Pro-marriage Americans are not going to yield to sexual revolutionary ideology or to judges who abandon their impartiality to advance it. We will work as hard as we can for as long as it takes to defend the institution of marriage and to restore the principle of democratic self-government,” concluded Dr. George.

Newt Gingrich:

"Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they've affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy. Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.”

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Judiciary Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Saturday 12/03/2011, 9:40pm
Texas Gov. Rick Perry during Mike Huckabee's presidential candidate forum demanded that Supreme Court justices have term limits because of decisions he finds "offensive" regarding organized prayer and the placement of the Ten Commandments on government grounds. He said that Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito are his models for the courts because they were "strict constructionists." When asked what strict constructionism means in layman's terms, he pulled out the Constitution, holding it upside down, and argued that the current Justices have strayed from it by using the... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 12/01/2011, 1:20pm
Yesterday Eagle Forum’s Court Watch released yet another attack on “Reconstructionist (i.e., ‘activist/liberal’) judges,” who, they claim, “are leading the assault on America's Judeo-Christian foundations in our nation's Culture War.” Eagle Forum put together a Sample Resolution for members which the group said can be used as a “weapon” in “an election and at other times when petition-type expressions of our views and values are appropriate.” The resolution begins: WHEREAS, the Constitution of the United States is, and must be... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 10/28/2011, 10:40am
Today on Washington Watch Weekly with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) claimed that marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is “a threat to the nation’s survival.” Franks appeared on Perkins’ radio show to discuss his recent House hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in the United States,” in which his fellow Republican congressman Steve King of Iowa attacked marriage equality as “an active effort to desecrate a sacrament of the church” that is like the desecration of the Eucharist. Franks, a... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 10/26/2011, 3:20pm
Less than a month after his speech to the Values Voter Summit, in which he claimed that marriage equality was an “assault” by the left to destroy America’s foundations, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) equated legalizing marriage for same-sex couples to desecrating the Eucharist. Speaking with Bishop William Lori at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in the United States,” King said that marriage equality, like the desecration of the Eucharist, was a “direct affront to the Church” and “an active effort to desecrate... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 10/11/2011, 4:49pm
PFAW: Gingrich’s Radical Plan to Weaken the Judiciary.   Rob Boston @ AU: Congressional Leaders, Presidential Candidates Court Religious Right, As Theocratic Movement Gears Up For 2012.   Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Robert Jeffress Has a Lot of Nerve.   Think Progress: Prominent Perry Endorser Robert Jeffress Calls AIDS A ‘Gay Disease’, Claims 70 Percent Of Gays Have AIDS.   Warren Throckmorton: Former Love in Action Director: I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/22/2011, 3:43pm
When you listen to David Barton on a regular basis, you learn all sorts of interesting things - a lot of them happen to be false and/or terrifying, but interesting nonetheless.  For instance, on "Wallbuilders Live" today he explained that federal judges are not appointed for life but simply "during good behavior,"  which means that any time any judge issues a ruling that Congress does not like, they simply have to convene a hearing, force the judge to defend the ruling, and then impeach them: Rick Green: So where is the accountability if a judge is appointed... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/21/2011, 10:37am
Janet Porter’s proposed “heartbeat bill” in Ohio, which would criminalize abortion in the vast majority of cases, is so extreme that the Ohio Right to Life Society refuses to back it, but for some anti-choice radicals, it does not go far enough. As we’ve previously reported, Personhood USA wants to put a personhood amendment on the Ohio ballot in 2012, and Personhood Ohio is no fan of Porter’s “heartbeat bill.” While the personhood movement may appear to be a fringe group, since proponents oppose even draconian legislation like the “heartbeat... MORE