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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