Tag: Legal

64 Legal Scholars To All Public Officeholders: Reject USSC Same-Sex Marriage Opinion As Binding Precedent

Legal Scholars Urge Officeholders: Refuse To Accept Same-Sex Marriage Opinion As Binding Precedent – CNS

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Editor’s Note: A group of more than 60 legal scholars released a statement last week calling on all federal and state officeholders not to accept the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision – declaring a national right to same-same sex marriage – as binding precedent.

One of the signers and authors of the statement was Robert. P. George, the founder of the American Principles Project and McCormack Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton.

“We stand with James Madison and Abraham Lincoln in recognizing that the Constitution is not whatever a majority of Supreme Court justices say it is,” said George. “We remind all officeholders in the United States that they are pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not the will of five members of the Supreme Court.”

Below is the text of the statement in its entirety.

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We are scholars and informed citizens deeply concerned by the edict of the Supreme Court of the United States in Obergefell v. Hodges wherein the Court decreed, by the narrowest of margins, that every state in the country must redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships.

The Court’s majority opinion eschewed reliance on the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, as well as the Court’s own interpretative doctrines and precedents, and supplied no compelling reasoning to show why it is unjustified for the laws of the states to sustain marriage as it has been understood for millennia as the union of husband and wife.

The opinion for the Court substituted for traditional – and sound – methods of constitutional interpretation a new and ill-defined jurisprudence of identity – one that abused the moral concept of human dignity.

The four dissenting justices are right to reject the majority opinion in unsparing terms.

Justice Scalia refers to it as “a naked judicial claim to legislative… power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government.”

Justice Thomas says the opinion “exalts judges at the expense of the People from whom they derive their authority” as it perverts the meaning of liberty into an entitlement to government action.

Justice Alito calls attention to the well-established doctrine that the “liberty” guaranteed by the due process clause protects only those rights “that are deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” and that it is “beyond dispute that the right to same-sex marriage is not among those rights.” He further points to the opinion’s tendency to reduce the purpose of marriage to “the happiness of persons who choose to marry.” He warns it will be used to “vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy” and is yet another example of the “Court’s abuse of its authority.”

Chief Justice Roberts says “the Constitution leaves no doubt” that the majority’s “pretentious” opinion is incorrect. It even attempts to “sully those on the other side of the debate” in an “entirely gratuitous” manner.

If Obergefell is accepted as binding law, the consequences will be grave. Of the results that can be predicted with confidence, four stand out:

First, society will be harmed by being denied the right to hold out as normative, and particularly desirable, the only type of human relationship that every society must cultivate for its perpetuation. This compelling interest is strengthened by the fact that there is strong evidence to support what common sense suggests, namely, that children fare best when raised by their married mother and father who are both responsible for bringing them into the world and who provide maternal and paternal influences and care.

Second, individuals and organizations holding to the historic and natural understanding of marriage as a conjugal union – the covenantal partnership of one man and one woman – will be vilified, legally targeted, and denied constitutional rights in order to pressure them to conform to the new orthodoxy.

Third, the new jurisprudence of dignity is unlimited in principle and will encourage additional claims to redefine marriage and other long-established institutions.

Fourth, the right of all Americans to engage in democratic deliberation, and ultimately self-government, will be decisively undermined.

Any decision that brings about such evils would be questionable. One lacking anything remotely resembling a warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution must be judged anti-constitutional and illegitimate. Obergefell should be declared to be such, and treated as such, by the other branches of government and by citizens of the United States.

In 1788, James Madison wrote, “The several departments being perfectly co-ordinate by the terms of their common commission, neither of them, it is evident, can pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.”

In 1857, Abraham Lincoln said, “Judicial decisions are of greater or less authority as precedents, according to circumstances. That this should be so, accords both with common sense, and the customary understanding of the legal profession.” If a decision “had been made by the unanimous concurrence of the judges, and without any apparent partisan bias, and in accordance with legal public expectation, and with the steady practice of the departments throughout our history, and had been in no part, based on assumed historical facts which are not really true; or, if wanting in some of these, it had been before the court more than once, and had there been affirmed and re-affirmed through a course of years, it then might be, perhaps would be, factious, nay, even revolutionary, to not acquiesce in it as a precedent.” If, however, a decision is “wanting in all these claims to the public confidence,” it is “not factious” to resist it.

Obergefell is wanting in all these claims to the public confidence. It cannot therefore be taken to have settled the law of the United States.

Therefore:

We stand with James Madison and Abraham Lincoln in recognizing that the Constitution is not whatever a majority of Supreme Court justices say it is.

We remind all officeholders in the United States that they are pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not the will of five members of the Supreme Court.

We call on all federal and state officeholders:

To refuse to accept Obergefell as binding precedent for all but the specific plaintiffs in that case.

To recognize the authority of states to define marriage, and the right of federal and state officeholders to act in accordance with those definitions.

To pledge full and mutual legal and political assistance to anyone who refuses to follow Obergefell for constitutionally protected reasons.

To open forthwith a broad and honest conversation on the means by which Americans may constitutionally resist and overturn the judicial usurpations evident in Obergefell.

We emphasize that the course of action we are here advocating is neither extreme nor disrespectful of the rule of law. Lincoln regarded the claim of supremacy for the Supreme Court in matters of constitutional interpretation as incompatible with the republican principles of the Constitution. Our position is summed up in Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address:

“I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case upon the parties to a suit as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by other departments of the government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

The proper understanding and definition of marriage is self-evidently a vital question affecting the whole people. To treat as “settled” and “the law of the land” the decision of five Supreme Court justices who, by their own admission, can find no warrant for their ruling in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, would indeed be to resign our government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. That is something that no citizen or statesman who wishes to sustain the great experiment in ordered liberty bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be willing to do.

Signatories

(Institutional affiliations are for identification purposes only)

Bradley C. S. Watson, Philip M. McKenna Chair in American and Western Political Thought and Professor of Politics, Saint Vincent College

John C. Eastman, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University

George W. Dent, Jr., Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University, Founder of American Principles Project

Matthew J. Franck, Director, William E. and Carol G. Simon Center for Religion and the Constitution, Witherspoon Institute

Daniel J. Mahoney, Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship, Assumption College

Stephen H. Balch, Director, Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, Texas Tech University

Mickey G. Craig, William & Berniece Grewcock Professor of Politics, Hillsdale College

Paul Moreno, William and Berniece Chair in US Constitutional History, Hillsdale College

Lucas E. Morel, Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Politics, Washington and Lee University

Joseph M. Knippenberg, Professor of Politics, Oglethorpe University

Susan Hanssen, Associate Professor of History, University of Dallas

Wm. Barclay Allen, Dean Emeritus, Michigan State University

Daniel C. Palm, Professor of Politics and International Relations, Azusa Pacific University

Lynn D. Wardle, Bruce C. Hafen Professor of Law, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University

Scott FitzGibbon, Professor of Law, Boston College Law School

Stephen Casey, Casey Law Office, P.C.

James C. Phillips, J.D.

Joshua W. Schulz, Associate Professor of Philosophy, DeSales University

John S. Baker, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Law, Louisiana State University Law Center

Ralph A. Rossum, Salvatori Professor of American Constitutionalism, Claremont McKenna College

Walter Schumm, Professor of Family Studies, Kansas State University

Anne Hendershott, Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame

Christopher Wolfe, Professor of Politics, University of Dallas

Michael D. Breidenbach, Assistant Professor of History, Ave Maria University

Robert Koons, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin

Stephen M. Krason, Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies, Franciscan University of Steubenville; President, Society of Catholic Social Scientists

Micah J. Watson, William-Spoelhof Teacher-Chair in Political Science, Calvin College

Daniel Robinson, Fellow, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

David Novak, J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion and Philosophy, University of Toronto

Adam J. MacLeod, Associate Professor of Law, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, Faulkner University

Robert Lowry Clinton, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Colleen Sheehan, Professor of Political Science, Villanova University

Peter W. Wood, President, National Association of Scholars

Michael M. Uhlmann, Professor of Politics and Policy, Claremont Graduate University

John Agresto, Former president of St. John’s College, Santa Fe, and the American University of Iraq

Mark T. Mitchell, Professor of Government, Patrick Henry College

Carol M. Swain, Professor of Political Science and Law, Vanderbilt University

Nathan Schlueter, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Hillsdale College

J. Daryl Charles, Affiliated Scholar, John Jay Institute

Ted McAllister, Edward L. Gaylord Chair and Associate Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University

David R. Upham, Associate Professor of Politics, University of Dallas

Thomas D’Andrea, Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge; Director, Institute for the Study of Philosophy, Politics, and Religion

Daniel Mark, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Villanova University

Hadley P. Arkes, Edward N. Ney Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus, Amherst College; Director, James Wilson Institute on Naturals Right and the American Founding

Philip Bess, Professor of Architecture, University of Notre Dame

Jeffery J. Ventrella, Senior Counsel and Senior Vice-President of Student Training and Development, Alliance Defending Freedom

Teresa S. Collett, Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law

Jay Bergman, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University

Robert L. McFarland, Associate Dean of External Affairs and Associate Professor of Law, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, Faulkner University

Carson Holloway, Associate Professor Political Science, University of Nebraska, Omaha

Gary D. Glenn, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, Northern Illinois University

Paul A. Rahe, Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in Western Heritage, Hillsdale College

Angelo Codevilla, Professor Emeritus, Boston University

Bradley P. Jacob, Associate Professor of Law, Regent University School of Law

Raymond B. Marcin, Professor of Law Emeritus, The Catholic University of America

Matthew Spalding, Associate Vice President and Dean, Allen P. Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, Hillsdale College

James A. Davids, Associate Professor of Law, Regent University School of Law

Ken Masugi, Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute

Edward J. Erler, Professor of Political Science Emeritus, California State University, San Bernardino

James W. (Jim) Richardson, Board of Directors, Christian Legal Society

Robert F. Sasseen, President and Professor of Politics Emeritus, University of Dallas

Lynne Marie Kohm, John Brown McCarty Professor of Family Law and Associate Dean of Faculty Development and External Affairs, Regent University School of Law

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Obama Regime Intervenes In Landmark Legal Case, Attempts To Block Restitution For U.S. Victims Of Muslim Terror

Obama Admin Moves To Block Restitution For U.S. Terror Victims – Washington Free Beacon

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The Obama administration has intervened in a landmark legal case brought by the American victims of Palestinian terrorists, urging the court to limit restitution for the victims out of fear that a sizable payout could collapse the Palestinian government, according to a copy of the court filing.

Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken argued in a filing to a New York City court that a hefty payout to the victims of Palestinian terror crimes could burden the Palestinian Authority (PA) and interfere in Obama administration efforts to foster peace in the region.

The victims are entitled to as much as $655 million from the PA following the conclusion of a decade-long lawsuit that exposed the Palestinian government’s role in supporting and paying for terror attacks in Israel.

The administration’s intervention in the case has drawn criticism from U.S. lawmakers and some of those affected by the decision.

While the administration supports the right of terror victims to sue in U.S. courts, it remains particularly concerned about the PA’s solvency.

“The United States respectfully urges the Court to carefully consider the impact of its decision on the continued viability of the PA in light of the evidence about its financial situation,” Blinken writes in his “statement of interest.” “An event that deprives the PA of a significant portion of its revenues would likely severely compromise the PA’s ability to operate as a governmental authority.”

Blinken goes on to warn that the case could impact U.S. security interests and its role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“A PA insolvency and collapse would harm current and future U.S.-led efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Blinken writes.

Representatives to the PA had been lobbying the Justice and State Departments to get involved in the case for some time. The PA maintains that it does not have enough funds to pay a bond requirement and has petitioned the judge in the case to drop it.

However, a lawyer representing the victims argues that if the Palestinian government can continue paying terrorists currently imprisoned in Israeli jails, it can pay the victims of these terror acts.

“We are gratified that the Department of Justice supports the rights of survivors of international terrorism to enforce their rights and collect the judgment, but disappointed that the State Department failed to take any stand against the PLO and PA’s policy of putting convicted terrorists on their payroll as soon as they are jailed,” lawyer Kent Yalowitz was quoted as saying in a statement. “If the PA has enough money to pay convicted terrorists, it has enough to pay the judgment in this case.”

Ron Gould, a plaintiff in the case, told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview that there was no reason for the Obama administration to intervene.

“There was really no reason for them to even get involved,” said Gould, whose daughter Shayna was shot in the chest and nearly killed by Palestinian terrorists. “For the Obama administration to stick their fingers where they don’t belong is unconscionable.”

The PA “still seems to have the money to pay the families of the terrorists on an ongoing basis,” Gould said. “They do have the money to pay the piper for losing the court case.”

Shayna Gould welcomed the administration’s filing in the case, saying it reaffirms the rights of terror victims to have a fair day in court.

However, she called the argument that the PA could be bankrupted as a result of the suit “ironic, considering they pay terrorists on a monthly basis.”

Shayna Gould said the PA had been hinting that the U.S. government would get involved for quite some time

“It was a fear. It was a huge fear,” she said, adding that the PA should be forced to finally pay up.

“They, with pride, give money and rank of the highest honor to terrorists and people who commit murder,” Gould said. “Does that sound like clipping coupons and saving pennies?”

“I have to deal with [the impact of their violence] in my life on a constant basis,” Gould added, explaining that she deals with physical pain on a daily basis since the attack. “There is no limit to our suffering.”

Jewish human rights group B’nai B’rith was also critical of the administration’s intervention.

“There needs to be a price paid for committing acts of terror and the means available to prosecute those responsible,” the group said in a release. “While the victims’ families cannot bring their loved ones back, they can go to the courts to achieve redress.”

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Amtrak Crash: Train Hit Curve Going Twice The Legal Speed Limit – 7 Dead, 200 Injured

Amtrak Crash: Train Appears To Have Hit Curve Going Over 100 MPH – Wall Street Journal

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An Amtrak train involved in a fatal crash here appears to have been traveling at more than 100 miles an hour as it entered a sharp curve where it derailed Tuesday night, killing at least seven people, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

The speed limit in that section of track drops to 50 miles an hour, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Investigators are focusing on the possibility that excessive speed was a factor in the derailment, one of these people said. The locomotive and all seven passenger cars of the train went off the tracks at a tight curve at Frankford Junction, north of Philadelphia city center. Multiple cars overturned, severely injuring some passengers and pinning others. At least seven people were killed, and more than 200 were injured, including eight who were in critical condition.

Amtrak officials notified some employees on a Wednesday conference call that excessive speed was believed to have contributed to the crash, said one of these people, who was briefed on the contents of the call.

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A spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board, which is probing the accident, said speed was among the many factors it would be investigating in the crash.

The northbound train was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members when it derailed about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on its way to New York.

Investigators on Wednesday searched through the wreckage, as officials worked to account for all passengers who were on the northbound train on its way to New York.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said Wednesday officials have yet to match a manifest from Amtrak against lists of people admitted to hospitals. More than 200 people went to area hospitals, according to Samantha Phillips, director of Emergency Management for the city. Many have since been released.

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Among the victims were Associated Press employee Jim Gaines, a 48-year-old father of two from Plainsboro, N.J., and a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy. New York state Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder identified the midshipman as Justin Zemser from Queens, N.Y. Mr. Zemser was on leave from the academy in Annapolis, Md., and heading home when the accident occurred.

Reported missing was Rachel Jacobs, 39 years old, a CEO for Philadelphia technology company ApprenNet who lives in New York with her husband and toddler son, according to a co-worker.

Mr. Nutter said a “black box” data recorder aboard the train had been recovered and is being analyzed at an Amtrak facility in Delaware. He said it was too soon to speculate on the cause of the accident.

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“We are heartbroken at what has happened here,” Mr. Nutter said at a news conference. “We have not experienced anything like this in modern times.”

Robert Sumwalt, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, the lead agency investigating the accident, said investigators would study a variety of factors, including the condition of the track, train signals, the mechanical condition of the train and human performance.

Mr. Nutter said the train’s engineer, who wasn’t identified, was treated after the accident and gave a statement to Philadelphia police.

A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama called Mr. Nutter and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to express his condolences and praise the work of first responders. “Michelle and I were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the derailment,” Mr. Obama said in a written statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those we lost last night, and to the many passengers who today begin their long road to recovery.”

The train originated in Washington and was due in New York about 10:30 p.m. But shortly after leaving Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, the train began to jerk and rock, passengers said. They described a frightening scene that arrived with little warning as the train left the rails.

Andrew Brenner, 29, a public-relations expert who lives in Washington, D.C., said he was relaxing and texting in the last car with his shoes off. He said he noticed that the train seemed to be taking a curve rather fast, but it didn’t cause much alarm. Then, the train jolted and swayed. Within moments, Mr. Brenner said he and other passengers were tossed around cars as seats were ripped from the train floor.

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“I got thrown like a penny,” said Mr. Brenner, who said he weighs 250 pounds. “That is how violent this was.”

After the crash, Mr. Brenner said he was taken along with other passengers by bus to a hospital, where X-rays showed damage to his vertebrae.

Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Beth Davidz, 35, said she remembered only a hard turn and a jerk. “Then it was just blackness. I was bouncing up and down in blackness,” she said.

Although she tried not to look at the wreckage as she left the train, she noticed the first and second cars looked badly damaged. “I didn’t see anyone getting out,” said Ms. Davidz, a project director with a Philadelphia-based startup.

More than 120 firefighters and 200 police responded to the chaotic scene that included several badly mangled railcars, officials said.

One car was flipped nearly onto its roof, another was close to toppled, and three were on their sides, the Federal Railroad Administration said. The engine and two cars stayed upright.

Rescue workers used hydraulic tools to help some trapped passengers escape from the wreckage, Mr. Nutter said.

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Train service was canceled Wednesday between Philadelphia and New York, but New Jersey Transit plans to honor Amtrak tickets between New York and Trenton, N.J., Amtrak said. Mayor Nutter said Tuesday night he expected service between Philadelphia and New York could be shut down for the rest of the week.

Modified Amtrak service is planned between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston.

Temple University Hospital, which has a trauma center, said it had received 54 patients from the crash. Hospital spokesman Jeremy Walter said, Wednesday morning that one passenger died overnight and 25 remained at the hospital, including eight in critical condition. The injuries included broken bones and other limb injuries, he said.

Many patients taken to hospitals with lacerations and bruises had been released by Wednesday morning. Of 26 people treated at Aria Health’s Frankford hospital near the crash site, 21 people were released, a spokeswoman for Aria Health said Wednesday.

Two patients had been transferred to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and three went to Aria Health’s Torresdale hospital. At Torresdale, 24 of 30 people admitted directly to the hospital had been released, the spokeswoman said, while a total of nine people remained hospitalized Wednesday morning.

Many of the patients at the Frankford campus walked in on their own and had lacerations, she said. She didn’t have details about the Torresdale patients.

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Hahnemann University Hospital received two patients, and Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia said it received 10 patients.

The FRA said it was sending at least eight investigators to the scene, including acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg. The NTSB said it had a team on site Wednesday morning, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox said Transportation Department officials were heading to the scene.

The crash occurred in the Port Richmond section of the city, a mix of residential and industrial buildings along the Delaware River. Mr. Nutter said the accident resulted in a four-alarm response from area fire stations. He described the accident as a Level 3 mass-casualty incident based on the number of people involved.

The last crash of this magnitude along the heavily-traveled Northeast Corridor occurred in 1987 near Baltimore. Sixteen people were killed when a Conrail train ignored signals and collided with an Amtrak train. The accident sparked several safety reforms.

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Obama Regime Forced To Pay $570,000 To Pro-Life Legal Group Over Abortion Pill Mandate

Obama Admin Forced To Pay $570,000 To Company It Tried To Force To Obey HHS Mandate – Life News

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The bill is coming due, literally, for the Obama administration over its attempts to force companies to comply with the HHS mandate, that compels them to pay for drugs for their employees that can cause abortions.

The pro-life legal group ADF obtained a settlement in federal court Friday that requires the Obama administration to pay an agreed-upon amount of $570,000 to ADF and allied attorneys who won a lawsuit at the U.S. Supreme Court against the abortion-pill mandate in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell.

Conestoga Wood is one of the companies that challenged the abortion mandate in court and the high court eventually sided with them and Hobby Lobby, the most prominent firm taking on the Obama mandate.

“The government does a serious disservice to taxpayers when it pursues unjust laws that force many of them to defend their constitutionally protected freedoms,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman told LifeNews.com. “While this case is finally over, many others remain. We hope the administration will stop defending its indefensible abortion-pill mandate and end its waste of taxpayer dollars on a fruitless quest to force people to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs.”

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Conestoga Wood Specialties and the Hahn family, Mennonite cabinetmakers in Pennsylvania who appealed to the nation’s high court after a divided federal appellate court ruled against them. The Supreme Court eventually sided with the company.

“The cost of religious freedom for the Hahn family and many other job creators across the country who face this mandate is severe,” added Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “A family should not face massive fines and lawsuits just because they want to earn a living consistent with their faith.”

The mandate could have cost the family nearly $3 million per month in fines if it doesn’t agree to live contrary to its Christian convictions. It forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties by the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies if the mandate’s requirements aren’t met.

Conestoga Wood Specialties owners Norman Hahn, Elizabeth Hahn, Norman Lemar Hahn, Anthony H. Hahn, and Kevin Hahn desire to run their company, a wholesale manufacturer of custom wood cabinet parts, in a manner that reflects their Christian beliefs, including their belief that God requires respect for the sanctity of human life.

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Emails Show FDIC Scheming To Target Legal Businesses That Obama Regime Finds Objectionable

These 7 Revealing Emails Show Federal Officials Scheming To Target Legal Businesses – Daily Signal

Senior officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation actively sought to crack down on legal businesses that the Obama administration – or the officials themselves – deemed morally objectionable, a new congressional report finds.

Released today by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the 20-page investigative report details how the FDIC worked closely with the Justice Department to implement Operation Choke Point, a secretive program that seeks to cut off the financial lifeblood of payday lenders and other industries the administration doesn’t like.

The FDIC is the primary agency responsible for regulating and auditing more than 4,500 U.S. banks.

Emails unearthed by investigators show regulatory officials scheming to influence banks’ decisions on who to do business with by labeling certain industries “reputational risks,” ensuring banks “get the message” about the businesses the regulators don’t like, and pressuring banks to cut credit or close those accounts, effectively driving enterprises out of business.

The House panel’s investigation, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, cites confidential briefing documents that show senior Justice Department officials informing Attorney General Eric Holder that, as a consequence of Operation Choke Point, banks are “exiting” lines of business deemed “high risk’” by regulators.

“It’s appalling that our government is working around the law to vindictively attack businesses they find objectionable,” Issa, chairman of the Oversight Committee, said in a press release. Issa added:

Internal FDIC documents confirm that Operation Choke Point is an extraordinary abuse of government power. In the most egregious cases, federal bureaucrats injected personal moral judgments into the regulatory process. Such practices are totally inconsistent with basic principles of good government, transparency and the rule of law.

For example, email reveals FDIC employees opposing the payday lending industry on “personal grounds” and attempting to use their agency’s supervisory authority to drive the entire industry out of business.

One email from Thomas Dujenski, FDIC’s Atlanta regional director, to Mark Pearce, director of the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection, was particularly concerning to investigators.

In it, Dujenski writes:

I have never said this to you (but I am sincerely passionate about this)… but I literally cannot stand the pay day lending industry… I had extensive involvement with this group of lenders and was instrumental in drafting guidance on stopping abuses.

In another example, a senior official insisted that FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg’s letters to Congress and talking points always mention pornography when discussing payday lenders and other targeted industries, in an effort to convey a “good picture regarding the unsavory nature of the businesses at issue.”

Payday loans are small, short-term loans supposedly made to hold borrowers over until their next payday.

Norbert Michel, research fellow in financial regulations at The Heritage Foundation, said payday lenders, along with some other industries targeted by Choke Point, all have been criticized for taking advantage of the poor or financially strapped by charging exorbitant fees or leaving customers in more debt than they started with.

The Obama administration contends that Operation Choke Point combats unlawful, mass-market consumer fraud. However, an earlier report by the House Oversight Committee found that the Justice Department initiative’s targets included legal businesses such as short-term lenders, firearms and ammunition merchants, coin dealers, tobacco sellers and home-based charities.

Today’s report, investigators said, confirmed that the FDIC originated the controversial list of “high risk” industries that it posted on its website, as previously reported by The Daily Signal.

Critics of the program argue that equating legal industries such as ammunition and lottery sales with explicitly illegal or offensive activities such as pornography and racist materials transforms the FDIC into the moral police.

Apparently, FDIC officials were aware of the “inherent impropriety” of these policies, the report indicates. In another email, David Barr, assistant director of the FDIC’s public affairs office, wrote:

[S]ome of the pushback from the Hill is that it is not up to the FDIC to decide what is moral and immoral, but rather what type of lending is legal.

Read a sample of emails unearthed by investigators here:

Correspondence between “Chief, Cyber-Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, Div. of Risk Management Supervision,” to the “Deputy Director, Div. of Risk Management Supervision, FDICHOGR00002183,” about the list of targeted “high risk” industries:

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Email from Marguerite Sagatelian, senior counsel, Consumer Enforcement Unit, FDIC to James L. Anderson, assistant general counsel, Consumer Section, Consumer, Enforcement/Employment, Insurance & Legislation Branch, FDIC:

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Email from “Counsel, Legal Division, FDIC,” to Marguerite Sagatelian, senior counsel, Consumer Enforcement Unit, FDIC:

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Email from David Barr, assistant director, Office of Public Affairs, FDIC to Mark Pearce, director, Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection, FDIC:

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Emails between Thomas J. Dujenski, regional director, Atlanta, FDIC, and Mark Pearce, director, Division of Consumer Protection, FDIC:

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>>> Read the Entire Report

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Maine Governor To Seek Legal Authority To Quarantine Leftist Ebola Nurse

Maine State Police Dispatched To Back Nurse’s Quarantine – USA Today

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Maine state police were stationed outside the home of Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox Wednesday as Gov. Paul LePage said he was seeking legal authority to force the “unwilling” health workers to remain quarantined for 21 days.

The 33-year-old nurse, who has shown no symptoms of the deadly virus, arrived in Maine on Monday after being forcibly held in an isolation tent in New Jersey for three days under that state’s strict new law for health workers who have recently treated Ebola patients in West Africa.

Over Hickox’s objections, Maine health officials insisted that she stay in her home in Fort Kent for 21 days until the incubation period for Ebola had passed.

“I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines,” Hickox tells TODAY’s Matt Lauer. “I am not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage, however, said Wednesday that Hickox has been “unwilling” to follow state protocols and that he will seek legal authority to enforce the quarantine.

The governor’s office said state police were stationed outside her home “for both her protection and the health of the community.”

“We hoped that the healthcare worker would voluntarily comply with these protocols, but this individual has stated publicly she will not abide by the protocols,” LePage said in a statement on the governor’s website.

“We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community,” he said. “We are exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being of the healthcare worker, anyone who comes in contact with her, the Fort Kent community and all of Maine. While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits our great state.”

Hickox, according to her attorney, had only agreed to remain home for two days after traveling from New Jersey on Monday.

The nurse for Doctors Without Borders was the first person pulled aside at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday under new state regulations after her return from Sierra Leone, where she was working with Ebola patients.

After speaking out publicly, Hickox was allowed to leave for Maine, where health officials have said they expect her to agree to be quarantined for a 21-day period, The Bangor Daily News reports.

Hickox said she believes the quarantine policy is “not scientifically nor constitutionally just.”

She tells TODAY she will pursue legal action if Maine forces her into continued isolation.

“If the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom,” she says.

Her attorney, Steven Hyman, told CNN Wednesday that his client had received no mandatory orders and that “the next step is up to Maine.”

“The only reason that there is a cry for quarantine is because the political side has decided that it would just be better if she stayed home and lost her civil right so we could all feel more comfortable, which is not supported by any medical evidence,” Hyman said.

Without naming Hickox specifically, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew said Tuesday evening that the state has the authority to seek a court order to compel quarantine for individuals deemed a public health risk.

“We have made the determination that out of an abundance of caution, this is a reasonable, common-sense approach to remove additional risk and guard against a public health crisis in Maine,” said Mayhew, WLBZ-TV reports. She did not mention Hickox by name.

Hickox’s high-profile campaign from isolation in New Jersey, including a first-person account in The Dallas Morning News, underscored the shifting response to the Ebola crisis by state and federal authorities.

On Friday, New York Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan of mandatory quarantine for health workers back from Africa who’d been exposed to Ebola but showed no symptoms.

It was in part a reaction to the case of Craig Spencer, a New York City physician who tested positive for Ebola, but acknowledged he had left his apartment and moved around the city just before experiencing Ebola symptoms.

Saying they couldn’t rely on voluntary self-reporting, the governors pronounced themselves resolved to err on the side of caution and monitor people like Spencer under confinement. Cuomo, however, quickly eased those rules, allowing such health workers to self-quarantine at home.

The White House also weighed in, saying it had conveyed concerns to the governors of New York and New Jersey that their stringent quarantine policies were “not grounded in science” and would hamper efforts to recruit volunteers to fight the epidemic in Africa. Christie said he had not heard from the White House before the plan was announced.

After the uproar in New Jersey, Hickox was allowed to leave on Monday, but Christie insisted that it did not represent a change of policy.

“I didn’t reverse any decision,” he said Tuesday. “She hadn’t had any symptoms for 24 hours. And she tested negative for Ebola. So there was no reason to keep her. The reason she was put into the hospital in the first place was because she was running a high fever and was symptomatic.”

“If people are symptomatic they go into the hospital,” Christie said. “If they live in New Jersey, they get quarantined at home. If they don’t, and they’re not symptomatic, then we set up quarantine for them out of state. But if they are symptomatic, they’re going to the hospital.”

Hickox told The Dallas Morning News that her brief fever spike, recorded by a forehead scanner at the airport, was the result of being flushed and angry over her confinement and that an oral temperature reading at the same time showed her to be normal.

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Regime Defeated In Yet Another Obamacare Legal Fight

Administration Defeated In Another Obamacare Fight – WorldNetDaily

Enough is enough, and it’s “time for government to stop going after religious colleges and ministries and start respecting religious liberty,” according to a spokesman for a legal team that on Tuesday won yet another case against the Obama administration over its Obamacare contraception mandate.

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The comment came from Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been a key part of the battle against the Obamacare requirement that employers pay for birth control, including abortion-causing drugs.

This time a federal judge in Florida has ruled that the government’s latest revisions to the mandate still “don’t do enough to protect people of faith.”

The ruling came from Judge James Moody Jr. in a suit by Ave Maria University, which charged the Obamacare requirement violates the faith on which it operates.

The university was facing millions of dollars in fines, but won an injunction “protecting its right to stay true to its beliefs,” Becket said.

It was the first order preventing the government from enforcing its demands against religious organizations since it tried to solve the dispute in August with an”augmented rule.”

The judge explained the university wanted a preliminary injunction until the case is resolved.

“Defendants do not dispute that Ave Maria is a nonprofit Catholic university purposed with ‘educat[ing] students in the principles and truths of the Catholic faith.’ … One such element of the Catholic faith that Ave Maria holds and professes concerns the sanctity of life. Ave Maria ‘believes that each human being bears the image and likeness of God, and therefore any abortion – including through post-conception contraception – ends a human life and is a grave sin. Ave Maria also believes that sterilization and the use of contraception are morally wrong.’”

As it provides health coverage for workers, the problem arose with the adoption in 2010 of Obamacare, which demands “minimum essential coverage,” which it defines as including contraceptives.

The judge noted the 2013 “rule” allowing insurance companies to directly provide the benefits is not a satisfactory solution to objectors such as Ave Maria.

The Becket Fund has reported some 90 percent of all courts making related decisions have protected religious ministries from the heavy hand of a government.

“After dozens of court rulings, the government still doesn’t seem to get that it can’t force faith institutions to violate their beliefs,” Baxter said. “Fortunately, the courts continue to see through the government’s attempts to disguise the mandate’s religious coercion.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been active beside Becket in the dozens of cases against Obamacare, said there’s a close watch on the dispute.

Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said: “Faith-based educational institutions should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse. The court was right to uphold the religious freedom of institutions that value the sanctity of life. If the government can force Ave Maria School of Law to violate its faith in order to exist, then the government can do the same or worse to others.”

The Supreme Court has stepped in several times to suspend enforcement of the mandate provisions against a number of organizations.

WND reported on the summer’s 5-4 decision that a “closely held” for-profit business can opt out of Obamacare’s universal contraception requirement based on religious objections.

The case brought by Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based arts and crafts chain with about 13,000 employees, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania cabinet maker, challenged the Affordable Health Care Act requirement that employees provide free contraception coverage, including abortion-inducing drugs.

Hobby Lobby’s argument was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, which protects the individual beliefs of citizens.

The majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito dismissed the Department of Health and Human Services argument that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies. Alito said that “would leave merchants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporations.”

The opinion said the RFRA’s text “shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice.”

Alito said “the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees.”

“Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of humans who own and control them.”

The question presented in the case was whether any law, such as a nationwide health-care management system imposed by the government, can be so important that Washington can order people to violate their religious faith, in contradiction to the freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The religious objections to the contraception mandate raised by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, and the Hahn family, owners of Conestoga Wood, have been raised in nearly 90 other cases.

Obamacare’s demands align with Obama’s longstanding support for abortion under any circumstances. He even argued, while a state senator in Illinois, against requiring doctors to provide live-saving help to babies who survive abortions.

A number of other cases challenge Obamacare on additional allegations of unconstitutionality.

In one, attorneys for Matt Sissel – a small-business owner who wants to pay medical expenses on his own and has financial, philosophical and constitutional objections to being ordered to purchase a health plan he does not need or want – charge the Obamacare bill was unconstitutionally launched in the U.S. Senate and is therefore invalid.

They noted that the Constitution requires all tax bills in Congress to begin in the House of Representatives. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., they said, manipulated the legislation by taking the bill number for an innocuous veterans housing program that had been approved by the House, pasting it on the front of thousands of Obamacare pages and voting on it.

That means, they argued, that the entire law was adopted unconstitutionally and should be canceled, including its $800 billion in taxes.

The argument essentially makes the Constitution a silver bullet to kill Obamacare.

The case, brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation, is based on the Constitution’s Origination Clause.

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HHS Inspector General: 1,295,571 Obamacare Enrollees May Or May Not Be Legal Citizens

HHS Report: 1,295,571 Obamacare Enrollees May Or May Not Be Legal Citizens – Big Government

A devastating new Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General report released on Tuesday reveals that the Obama administration has yet to determine whether 1,295,571 of the over 8 million Obamacare enrollees are U.S. citizens lawfully in the country.

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The finding, located on page 11 of the report, states that 44% of the remaining 2,611,780 application “inconsistencies” are related to verifying “Citizenship/national status/lawful presence.” Another 960,492 application inconsistencies were related to verifying whether subsidy applicants provided accurate income information.

Moreover, the Inspector General report only covered the federal Obamacare exchanges to determine how the Obama administration resolved verification problems through December 2013. As for the 15 state-run Obamacare exchanges, the report says four–Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, and Massachusetts–are simply “unable to resolve inconsistencies.”

As the Washington Post reported in May, as many as one million Obamacare enrollees may be receiving incorrect taxpayer-funded subsidies due to Obamacare’s continued technical failures and inability to properly verify income and citizenship eligibility.

One year ago, conservatives warned that the Obama administration’s decision to use the so-called “honor system” for income eligibility was merely a backdoor way to get as many individuals on the public dole as possible.

The Office of Inspector General determined that “the federal marketplace was generally incapable of resolving most inconsistencies.”

Obamacare will cost U.S. taxpayers $2.6 trillion over the next ten years.

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Related article:

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HHS Inspector General Reports Millions Of Data Inconsistencies In Obamacare Applications – Washington Examiner

Applications for insurance coverage through President Obama’s health care law submitted in the final three months of 2013 contained millions of inconsistencies in which information such as income and immigration status could not be independently verified by the federal government, according to a June report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The inconsistencies may have resulted in individuals receiving an improper amount of subsidies, or subsidies that they shouldn’t have been eligible for in the first place – something that could require them to repay the money in future tax bills.

In other cases, inconsistencies led to bizarre outcomes. According to the report, “one marketplace cited situations in which infants and young children included on applications were erroneously identified as incarcerated.”

At issue is the information that individuals are asked to submit when they apply for coverage, such as income, citizenship status, Social Security number, or incarceration status. In theory, once data are submitted, they are supposed to be checked in a massive storage database known as the “hub,” which gathers data from multiple federal agencies.

“In some circumstances, the marketplace cannot verify an applicant’s information through available data sources,” the report explained. “When this happens, it is referred to as an inconsistency. This may arise when Federal data available through the Data Hub or data from other sources are unavailable or do not exist, or because the information on the application does not match the data received through the Data Hub or from other data sources.”

According to the HHS inspector general, applications submitted to the federal exchange in the opening months of Obamacare – October 2013 through December 2013 – contained over 2.9 million inconsistencies, of which more than 2.6 million, or 89 percent, remained unresolved as of Feb. 23, 2014.

To be clear, this does not mean that 2.9 million separate individual applications contained inconsistencies. Every applicant is prompted to answer a series of questions, and thus any given application can contain multiple inconsistencies. HHS could not provide data on the number of applications that included at least one, so there’s no way of saying what percentage of the total number of applications were affected. An inconsistency also doesn’t necessarily mean information is inaccurate, either, it just means it can’t be matched with available data.

The federal government has had an easier time resolving discrepancies related to Social Security numbers, while income and citizenship or lawful presence status have proven more challenging.

These numbers pertain only to the federal exchange that serve residents of 36 states, not the 15 states running their own exchanges.

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The HHS inspector general also received reports from 11 states running their own exchanges disclosing an additional 1.2 million inconsistencies, though the states could be counting differently and thus the federal and state numbers cannot be easily combined.

“During our review, 4 of the 15 State marketplaces reported that they were unable to resolve inconsistencies (Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont),” the report read. “They attributed this inability to failures in their information technology systems.”

While the government is awaiting more documentation from individuals to resolve inconsistencies, those individuals are allowed to receive benefits for 90 days. However, according to the report, “because of the Federal marketplace’s inability to resolve most inconsistencies, we were unable to determine the number of applicants who may have exceeded the 90-day inconsistency period or for whom the inconsistency period was extended by the Federal marketplace because the applicant demonstrated a good-faith effort in obtaining satisfactory documentation.”

In a response, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that most inconsistencies are still within the 90-day window, but that Obamacare gives the authority to the Secretary of HHS “to extend the 90-day inconsistency period for applications for coverage for 2014.”

The inspector general noted that resolving inconsistencies was considered a lower priority in the early months of the Obamacare rollout due to the pressing technical problems facing the website. But the report concluded that, “marketplaces must resolve inconsistencies to ensure that eligibility determinations for enrollment in (qualified health plans) and for insurance affordability programs are accurate.”

The report recommended that CMS “develop and make public a plan on how and by what date the Federal marketplace will resolve inconsistencies” and bolster oversight of state-based exchanges.

In its response, CMS said that the inconsistencies were to be expected.

“It is not surprising that there are inconsistencies between some information provided by application filers and the electronic data sources, and, in fact, this issue is addressed in the Affordable Care Act,” CMS wrote. “This is the first year that consumers have applied for coverage through the Marketplaces. Therefore, consumers are inexperienced with the eligibility process, which could lead to application mistakes.”

Some of the issues could be explained because different data is available, CMS said. “For example, the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) tax data is generally two years old (i.e., tax return information for 2012 is used to verify income attestations for coverage for 2014.),” according to CMS.

The few million inconsistencies represents a “small number” compared to the “hundreds of millions of possible data inconsistencies,” given that any application can contain over 20 different pieces of data.

CMS said it agreed with the inspector general’s recommendations and was continuing to resolve the inconsistencies – manually, at first, until it develops an automated system later in the summer.

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Leftist Radio Host Threatens To Endanger Public By Calling In False Police Reports When He Sees Legal Gun Possession

Libtalker Mike Malloy Vows To Start Panic If He Sees Open Carry Permit Holder With Gun – Newsbusters

Look no further for a textbook example of what passes for logic from a liberal.

If there’s one thing leftist radio host Mike Malloy really hates, or so he claims, it is suffering from the improper use of firearms. Being a gun owner, he doesn’t hate guns themselves or want them banned, based on what he’s said on his show. More accurately, the thing he seems to hate most is when conservatives own guns. (Audio after the jump)

Malloy, a former CNN news writer and Air America Radio host, seldom lets an hour pass without complaining about a new law in Georgia that allows concealed carry permit holders to bring guns to bars, supermarkets, municipal buildings and some parts of airports.

Those who hold open carry permits and brandish their guns in public are another target of Malloy’s ire, to the point that Malloy recently made this bizarre threat (audio) –

I guess what I’ll do if I’m ever in that situation and I see one of these half-witted yahoos walking in with a weapon, high-caliber rifle like that, I’ll just put on a berserk act. I will just start screaming Gun! Gun! Gun! Watch out, everybody hit the deck! Guns! Guns! Everybody! And then dial 911 and I will say, shots fired, which will bring every g**-damned cop within 15 miles. And then the half-wits with the long guns are going to panic and they’re going to run out of the store and if that rifle isn’t shouldered properly, the cop is going to take a look at that and put a bullet right in their forehead.

And Mike Malloy’s day will be complete.

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In his brave, tireless efforts to stop senseless injuries and deaths from firearms, Malloy vows to start a panic in a public area – which would easily result in injuries and possibly fatalities. Clearly it has not crossed Malloy’s fevered mind that if he was actually opposed to senseless injuries and deaths, the last thing he would do is suggest what he did. Guess who goes to jail if you shout fire when there is none in a crowded theater, Mike? Diverting police with bogus 911 calls might prevent them from helping those in genuine distress. You really ought to think these things through.

This is what you can expect from a man who has also threatened to shoot an unnamed National Rifle Association board member – another example of Malloy’s meager efforts to cut down on violence.

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Dem Wants To Ban Importing Legal Firearms Because A Dem Was Busted Trying To Illegally Import Banned Weapons

Democrat Wants To Ban Importing Legal Firearms Because A Democrat Was Busted Trying To Illegally Import Banned Weapons – Downtrend

California State Rep. Jackie Speier, a democrat of course, is calling on President Obama to ban the importation of all foreign-made firearms, and her reason defies logic. Because of Leland Yee’s arrest last week, where her fellow democrat was accused of trying to import illegal machine guns and rocket launchers, Speier thinks we should stop the importation of legal semi-automatic rifles.

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Speier released a statement yesterday, blissfully unaware of her hypocrisy and apples-to-oranges comparison:

“This FBI investigation of Leland Yee reveals how easy it is to import lethal assault weapons that were previously banned. This case should be a warning to us all that even the most trusted appearing among us are ready to do real harm. Since Congress can pass no meaningful gun-control laws, even after the mass killing in Newtown, President Obama should use his pen to slow the import of these weapons, which have no place in our homes.”

The FBI investigation had nothing to do with the import of weapons that were previously banned. Yee is accused of trying to bring in full-auto rifles and shoulder-fire rockets. These things have always been banned.

What she is confusing here is the Clinton-era ban on imported semi-auto rifles. Under George W. Bush that ban was allowed to expire. Military-grade weapons and consumer-level firearms are not the same thing. Speier is purposefully erasing the line to push further gun ownership limitations on the people.

In addition, the FBI investigation does not show how easy it is to import illegal guns. It was a complex criminal organization involved in this scheme. Your average Joe would not be able to get the Chinese Triads to ship him a case of M4 rifles or Javelin missiles. Even the legal importation of semi-auto rifles is beyond an average person’s ability. It requires a license and all kinds of hoops to jump through.

Best line in her rant: This case should be a warning to us all that even the most trusted appearing among us are ready to do real harm.

What she must mean are that democrat gun grabbers can’t be trusted because I can’t think of one Republican that ever tried to raise campaign funds by selling illegal weapons. I fail to see how the dishonesty and hypocrisy of democrats should lead to a further erosion of the 2nd Amendment. Also, she should speak for herself; I never trusted Yee.

There is a subtle little twist in the gun grabber’s rhetoric included as well. Usually, the enemies of freedom like to say these guns don’t belong on our streets. Speier has switched it up and says they “have no place in our homes.” I sense this is a shift in strategy by the anti-gun crowd to convince us that not only don’t we not have a right to protect ourselves in public, but that we no longer enjoy that protection at home.

Lelenad Yee did a bad bad thing. He tried to illegally import weapons that themselves were illegal. Leave it to a democrat to use this situation as a reason to halt the legal importation of legal firearms.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Zimmerman Case’s Legal Absurdities Astound (Mark Steyn)

Zimmerman Case’s Legal Absurdities Astound – Mark Steyn

Just when I thought the George Zimmerman “trial” couldn’t sink any lower, the prosecutorial limbo dancers of the State of Florida magnificently lowered their own bar in the final moments of their cable-news celebrity.

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In real justice systems, the state decides what crime has been committed and charges somebody with it. In the Zimmerman trial, the state’s “theory of the case” is that it has no theory of the case: Might be murder, might be manslaughter, might be aggravated assault, might be a zillion other things, but it’s something. If you’re a juror, feel free to convict George Zimmerman of whatever floats your boat.

Nailing a guy on something, anything, is a time-honored American tradition: If you can’t get Al Capone on the Valentine’s Day massacre, get him on his taxes. Americans seem to have a sneaky admiration for this sort of thing, notwithstanding that, as we now know, the government is happy to get lots of other people on their taxes, too. Ever since the president of the United States (a man so cautious and deferential to legal niceties that he can’t tell you whether the Egyptian army removing the elected head of state counts as a military coup until his advisors have finished looking into the matter) breezily declared that if he had a son he’d look like Trayvon, ever since the U.S. Department of so-called Justice dispatched something called its “Community Relations Services” to Florida to help organize anti-Zimmerman rallies at taxpayer expense, ever since the politically savvy governor appointed a “special prosecutor” and the deplorably unsavvy Sanford Police Chief was eased out, the full panoply of state power has been deployed to nail Zimmerman on anything.

How difficult can that be in a country in which a Hispanic Obama voter can be instantly transformed into the poster boy for white racism? Who ya gonna believe – Al Sharpton or your lying eyes? As closing arguments began on Thursday, the prosecutors asked the judge to drop the aggravated assault charge and instruct the jury on felony murder committed in the course of child abuse. Felony murder is a murder that occurs during a felony, and, according to the prosecution’s theory du jour, the felony George Zimmerman was engaged in that night was “child abuse,” on the grounds that Trayvon Martin, when he began beating up Zimmerman, was 17-years-old. This will come as news to most casual observers of the case, who’ve only seen young Trayvon in that beatific photo of him as a 12-year-old.

In that one pitiful closing moment, the case achieved its sublime reductio ad absurdum: After a year’s labors, after spending a million bucks, after calling a legion of risible witnesses, even after the lead prosecutor dragged in a department store mannequin and personally straddled it on the floor of the court, the state is back to where it all began – the ancient snapshot of a smiling middle-schooler that so beguiled American news editors, Trayvon Martin apparently being the only teenager in America to have gone entirely unphotographed in the second decade of the 21st century. And, if Trayvon is a child, his malefactor is by logical extension a child abuser.

Needless to say, even in a nutso jurisdiction like Florida, the crime of “child abuse” was never intended to cover a wizened old granny kicking the ankle of the punk who’s mugging her a week before his 18th birthday. But, if ‘aggravated pedophilia’ is what it takes to fry that puffy white cracker’s butt, so be it.

If, for the purposes of American show trials, a Hispanic who voted for a black president can be instantly transformed into a white racist, there’s no reason why he can’t be a child abuser, too. The defense was notified of this novel development, on which the prosecution (judging by the volume of precedents assembled) had been working for weeks or more likely months, at 7:30 that morning. If you know your Magna Carta, you’ll be aware that “no official shall place a man on trial… without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.” But the rights enjoyed by free men in the England of King John in 1215 are harder to come by in the State of Florida eight centuries later.

So the prosecutors decided, the day before the case went to the jury, that Zimmerman was engaged in an act of child abuse that had somehow got a bit out of hand: no “credible witnesses” to this charge had been presented in the preceding weeks, but hey, what the hell? Opposing counsel, taking the reasonable position that they’d shown up to defend Mr. Zimmerman of murder and had had no idea until that morning that he was also on trial for child abuse, check bouncing, jaywalking, an expired fishing license, or whatever other accusation took the fancy of the State of Florida, asked for time to research the relevant case law. Judge Debra Nelson gave them until 1 p.m. At that point, it was 10.30 a.m. By the time the genius jurist had returned to the bench, she had reconsidered, and decided that “child abuse” would be a reach too far, even for her disgraceful court.

The defining characteristic of English law is its distribution of power between prosecutor, judge and jury. This delicate balance has been utterly corrupted in the United States to the point where today at the federal level there is a conviction rate of over 90 percent, which would impress Mubarak and the House of Saud, if not quite yet, Kim Jong-Un. American prosecutors have an unhealthy and disreputable addiction to what I called, at the conclusion of the trial of my old boss Conrad Black six years ago, “countless counts.” In Conrad’s case, he was charged originally with 17 crimes, three of which were dropped by the opening of the trial and another halfway through, leaving 13 for the jury, nine of which they found the defendant not guilty of, bringing it down to four, one of which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional and the remaining three of which they vacated, only to have two of them reinstated by the lower appeals court. In other words, the prosecution lost 88 percent of the case, but the 12 percent they won was enough to destroy Conrad Black’s life.

Multiple charges tend, through sheer weight of numbers, to favor a result in which the jury convict on some and acquit on others and then tell themselves that they’ve reached a “moderate” “compromise” as befits the reasonable persons they assuredly are. It is, of course, not reasonable. Indeed, the notion of a “compromise” between conviction and acquittal is a dagger at the heart of justice. It’s the repugnant “plea bargain” in reverse, but this time to bargain with the jury: okay, we threw the book at him and it went nowhere, so why don’t we all agree to settle? In Sanford, the state’s second closing “argument” to the strange, shrunken semi-jury of strikingly unrepresentative peers – facts, shmacts, who really knows? Vote with your hearts – brilliantly dispenses with the need for a “case” at all.

We have been warned that in the event of an acquittal there could be riots. My own feeling is that the Allegedly Reverend Al Sharpton, now somewhat emaciated and underbouffed from his Tawana Brawley heyday, is not the Tahrir Square-scale race-baiting huckster he once was.

But if Floridians are of a mind to let off a little steam, they might usefully burn down the Sanford courthouse and salt the earth. The justice system revealed by this squalid trial is worth rioting over.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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More op-eds:

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Obama’s Rule By Decree – Andrew C. McCarthy

Barack Obama has never been clear on the distinction between sovereign and servant, between the American people and those, including himself, elected to do the people’s business. We saw that yet again this week with the president’s unilateral rewrite of the Bataan Death March known as the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare. For this president, laws are not binding expressions of the popular will, but trifling recommendations to be ignored when expedient.

The collapse of law – not just Obamacare but law in general – is the Obama administration’s most egregious scandal. With the IRS here, Benghazi there, and Eric Holder’s institutionalized malevolence crowding the middle, it gets little direct attention. Perhaps it is so ubiquitous, so quotidian, that we’ve become inured to it.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Black Education Tragedy – Walter E. Williams

As if more evidence were needed about the tragedy of black education, Rachel Jeantel, a witness for the prosecution in the George Zimmerman murder trial, put a face on it for the nation to see. Some of that evidence unfolded when Zimmerman’s defense attorney asked 19-year-old Jeantel to read a letter that she allegedly had written to Trayvon Martin’s mother. She responded that she doesn’t read cursive, and that’s in addition to her poor grammar, syntax and communication skills.

Jeantel is a senior at Miami Norland Senior High School. How in the world did she manage to become a 12th-grader without being able to read cursive writing? That’s a skill one would expect from a fourth-grader. Jeantel is by no means an exception at her school.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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America’s Sociopath Fetish – Michelle Malkin

I would like to declare a war on women – namely, all those cringe-inducing ninnies who lust after every celebrity criminal defendant with big muscles, tattoos, puppy-dog eyes or Hollywood hair.

You know who I’m talking about, right? America’s Bad Boy groupies. They’re on the courthouse steps with their “Free Jahar” signs, cooing over how “hot” and “cute” the bloodstained Boston Marathon bombing suspect is. He “can blow me up with babies,” one moral reprobate quipped shortly after his capture. “I’m not gonna lie, the second bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is hot. #sorrynotsorry,” another young girl boasted.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Supposed Crimes Of The Mind – Victor Davis Hanson

When do insensitive words destroy reputations?

It all depends.

Celebrity chef Paula Deen was dropped by her TV network, her publisher, and many of her corporate partners after she testified in a legal deposition that she used the N-word some 30 years ago. The deposition was made in a lawsuit against Deen and her brother over allegations of sexual and racial harassment.

Actor Alec Baldwin recently let loose with a barrage of homophobic crudities. Unlike Deen, Baldwin spewed his epithets in the present. He tweeted them publicly, along with threats of physical violence. So far he has avoided Paula Deen’s ignominious fate.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Who Is Racist? – Thomas Sowell

I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white.

Apparently other Americans also recognize that the sources of racism are different today from what they were in the past. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31 percent of blacks think that most blacks are racists, while 24 percent of blacks think that most whites are racist.

The difference between these percentages is not great, but it is remarkable nevertheless. After all, generations of blacks fought the white racism from which they suffered for so long. If many blacks themselves now think that most other blacks are racist, that is startling.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Making Government Smarter – Jonah Goldberg

President Obama wants to make government “smarter.” Who could disagree with that? After all, it’s unlikely that even the biggest fans of big government believe the way government does what it does is the very best, very smartest way imaginable. Whether you’re an anarchist, a Leninist, or somewhere in between, everyone can agree that Uncle Sam could afford a few more IQ points.

Let’s put it another way. If government is going to do X, it should do X the smartest way possible. On that proposition both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party agree.

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