A Small Step To Insure The Integrity Of The Vote

Reuters is reporting today that the Supreme Court has ruled today in a 5-4 decision that Ohio has the right to purge its voter rolls of infrequent voters.

The article reported:

The state said the policy was needed to keep voting rolls current, clearing out people who have moved away or died.

Under Ohio’s policy, if registered voters miss voting for two years, they are sent registration confirmation notices. If they do not respond and do not vote over the following four years, they are purged.

Republican President Donald Trump’s administration backed Ohio, reversing the stance taken by Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration against the policy.

“This decision is validation of Ohio’s efforts to clean up the voter rolls and now with the blessing (of the) nation’s highest court, it can serve as a model for other states to use,” Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said the court was not deciding whether Ohio’s policy “is the ideal method for keeping its voting rolls up to date. The only question before us is whether it violates federal law. It does not.”

Periodically purging voter rolls is common sense. People move, people die, etc. I personally know of one instance where a registered voter decided to check who was registered to vote claiming her home as a residence. She discovered that there were three people registered to vote at her address who she had never heard of.

In September 2010, I posted the following about efforts in Houston to uncover voter fraud:

According to the American Thinker:

“A group of people took it upon themselves to work at polling places in 2008 and observed – and were shocked – by what they perceived to be voter fraud. Their next step was to create a citizen-based grassroots group to collect publicly available voting data and analyze what they found (with the help of donated computers and volunteer helpers). They admit they did not know what they were doing at first but where there is a will there is a way.”

Fox News tells what happened next:

“”The first thing we started to do was look at houses with more than six voters in them” Engelbrecht said, because those houses were the most likely to have fraudulent registrations attached to them. “Most voting districts had 1,800 if they were Republican and 2,400 of these houses if they were Democratic . . .

“”But we came across one with 24,000, and that was where we started looking.”

“Vacant lots had several voters registered on them. An eight-bed halfway house had more than 40 voters registered at its address,” Engelbrecht said. “We then decided to look at who was registering the voters.”

“Their work paid off. Two weeks ago the Harris County voter registrar took their work and the findings of his own investigation and handed them over to both the Texas secretary of state’s office and the Harris County district attorney.

“Most of the findings focused on a group called Houston Votes, a voter registration group headed by Sean Caddle, who formerly worked for the Service Employees International Union. Among the findings were that only 1,793 of the 25,000 registrations the group submitted appeared to be valid. The other registrations included one of a woman who registered six times in the same day; registrations of non-citizens; so many applications from one Houston Voters collector in one day that it was deemed to be beyond human capability; and 1,597 registrations that named the same person multiple times, often with different signatures.”

Voter fraud is real in America. Purging voter rolls is not the entire solution, but it is a valid first step.

 

 

One Decision, But Not Really A Resolution Of The Issue

In 2012, Jack Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig. In 2012. Same sex marriage was not legal in Colorado, and the Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the issue. It was a very different time. The State of Colorado charged Mr. Phillips with discrimination, and the case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled today. The Washington Times posted the story today.

The article in The Washington Times reports:

Mr. Phillips had argued as a Christian, he could not be forced to create a custom wedding cake for a homosexual couple, citing his First Amendment rights, though he said he offered to sell one of his standard cakes to them.

Colorado said his refusal broke the state’s public accommodation law prohibiting businesses from refusing service to anyone based on religion, race, sexual orientation and national origin.

During proceedings before the state’s civil rights commission one commissioner complained that freedom of religion had been used to “justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust.” The commissioner called Mr. Phillips‘ beliefs “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric.”

Justice Kennedy said those statements undermined the state’s case against Mr. Phillips.

The Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 in favor of Mr. Phillips. The two judges who ruled against Mr. Phillips were Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Mr. Phillips is essentially a cake artist. The question becomes whether or not a person can be forced to use his art for something he fundamentally disagrees with. Artists are usually commissioned. If the charges against Mr. Phillips were allowed to stand, does that mean that an artist does not have the right to refuse to do a commissioned work? I think that is the ultimate question–does a person running a business have the right to choose their clientele?

Protecting American Women (Even When They May Not Want To Be Protected)

Planned Parenthood goes ballistic any time any changes are made to abortion laws in America. First of all, I need to mention that abortion should be a matter left to individual states. The U.S. Constitution (Tenth Amendment) states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Since abortion is not specifically delegated to the federal government, it should be left to the individual states. However, since Roe v. Wade. the federal government has pretty much taken charge on the issue. With that in mind, a recent Supreme Court case has allowed a change to abortion law that will protect women to stay in place. However, not everyone will see it that way.

The American Spectator posted an article today about the recent change.

The article reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition by Planned Parenthood to review an Arkansas statute requiring a provider of abortion-inducing drugs to have a contractual relationship with a doctor who has admitting privileges at a hospital. The point of the law is to assure that, if a patient has an adverse reaction to some abortifacient, there will be a physician and a hospital available to provide appropriate medical treatment.

No doctor was crazy enough to clean up behind Planned Parenthood, however, so the abortion mill sued. A district court did enjoin the statute, but that injunction was vacated by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Inevitably, SCOTUS found Planned Parenthood of Arkansas & Eastern Oklahoma v. Jegley lying on its doorstep. But the justices declined to take this legal orphan in, rejecting it without comment.

Abortion is a serious medical procedure. All medical procedures have risks. I had a friend who had a mole removed and died in the recovery room. The unexpected is always a possibility. Having a doctor with admitting privileges at a hospital on call when an abortion is taking place–whether it is drug induced or surgical–is a good idea. It protects women.

Do Employers Have The Right To Set Conditions Of Employment?

The Hill posted a story today about today’s Supreme Court ruling that employers can include clauses in employment contracts that force employees to settle disputes individually with a third-party arbitrator.

There are a few aspects of this ruling–the most obvious one is that employers can write employment contracts without government interference. Another is whether or not employers have the right to include in employment contracts clauses that include the prohibition of class-action lawsuits to settle disputes over wages and working conditions.  These clauses preventing class-action lawsuits in employment contracts are fairly common. It should also be noted that many companies have mandatory arbitration procedures–that is the proper way to deal with conflicts. Our society has often been too quick to seek legal action as a way to gain instant wealth. Not all class-action lawsuits have merit. We live in a society where people are free to change jobs. If salaries or working conditions are unacceptable, a company will not be able to find quality employees. The system will police itself. There are also federal avenues available to address valid salary or working condition complaints.

The Hill reports:

The EPI ( Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a liberal think tank) found in a survey last year that 53.9 percent of nonunion private-sector employers already have mandatory arbitration procedures.

Software company Epic Systems Corp., accounting and financial firm Ernst & Young LLP and Murphy Oil USA Inc. were the employers at the center of three cases the court consolidated that argued in support of the agreements.

The government, which changed its position under President Trump, had also intervened in support of the employers, arguing that Congress enacted the Federal Arbitration Act in 1925 to “overcome judicial resistance to arbitration.”

The court’s decision settles a deep split among the lower courts. The 2nd, 5th and 8th circuit courts of appeal and the California and Nevada supreme courts had ruled these arguments are fully enforceable, while the 7th and 9th circuits, along with the National Labor Relations Board, ruled the agreements violate the NLRA.

Government does not belong in the business of writing employment contracts or telling employers what to put in them.

Common Sense Comes To The Courtroom

Townhall posted an article yesterday about a recent court decision in Arizona. Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that DACA recipients are no longer eligible for “in-state” tuition.

The article reports:

The state’s attorney general Mark Brnovich welcomed the ruling as his office has continually argued that colleges and universities were violating state and federal laws by allowing DACA recipients to pay in-state tuition rates.

“While people can disagree what the law should be, I hope we all can agree that the attorney general must enforce the law as it is, not as we want it to be,” the statement said.

In-state tuition at Arizona State University is $9,834 for the next school year. Non-resident tuition is $27,618. At Maricopa Community Colleges, residents pay $86 per credit. Non-residents pay $241 per credit.

This decision makes sense to me–if DACA recipients are not actually citizens, how can they be considered legal residents of a state? There is no reason for them to be given preferential treatment over American citizens.

 

 

The Supreme Court Gets One Right

The Attleboro Massachusetts Sun Chronicle is reporting today that the Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Robert Kosilek to have the taxpayers pay for his sex-change operation. Robert (now being called Michelle) is serving a life sentence for killing spouse Cheryl Kosilek at their Mansfield condo in 1990. He then placed her body in her car and drove her to Emerald Square Mall in North Attleboro, and took a taxi home. He then reported her missing.

The article reports:

The inmate has waged a lengthy fight for the surgery she says is necessary to relieve the mental anguish caused by gender-identity disorder.   

Last year, a divided federal appeals court in Boston overturned a first-in-the-nation court order for the state to provide the sex-reassignment surgery. Courts around the country have found that prisons must evaluate transgender inmates to determine their health care needs, but most have ordered hormone treatments and psychotherapy, not surgery.

It does not concern me whether or not Robert has the operation he desires. What does concern me is that a murderer expects the taxpayers to fund optional surgery. It is obvious that Robert has some serious issues, whatever they may be, but I do not think it is up to the taxpayers to resolve them with extreme elective surgery. I am also not convinced that anything will resolve these issues. It is one thing to want a sex-change operation, it is quite another thing to murder your wife and try to get away with it. This is one case in which I wish Massachusetts had the death penalty. Mr. Kosilek needs to be shown the same amount of mercy that he showed his wife.

Preserving The Integrity Of Our Elections

There have been some real questions as to the integrity of American elections as of late. Many private organizations who have examined voter rolls have found thousands of people in some areas who are registered to vote but who are not legal voters.

Judicial Watch has been one of the groups working to restore integrity to our elections. In a recent newsletter, Judicial Watch cited a Pew Report published in 2012 that stating:

“nearly 2 million dead people are still registered to cast ballots, about 3 million eligible to vote in two or more states and millions more that are inaccurate, duplicate or out of date. The alarming figures were published recently in a report issued by the non-partisan Pew Center on States. It reveals that approximately 24 million active voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or have significant inaccuracies. The problem, apparently, is an outdated registration system that can’t properly maintain records.”

Texas has been fighting a battle to keep its elections honest. Fox News is reporting today that the Supreme Court has allowed Texas to enforce its new voter identification law in the coming election.

The article reports:

In a rare weekend announcement, a majority of the high court’s justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit Texas from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo ID to cast ballots. Three justices dissented.

The law was struck down by a federal judge last week, but a federal appeals court had put that ruling on hold.

The judge found that roughly 600,000 voters, many of them black or Latino, could be turned away at the polls because they lack acceptable identification. Early voting in Texas begins Monday.

Quite frankly, I don’t believe the judge’s numbers. We live in a world where identification is required for almost everything. If you are collecting Social Security, you needed identification to sign up, so the elderly population would have the necessary identification. If you are collecting government assistance, you needed identification to sign up, so poor people would have the necessary identification. If you have ever boarded an airplane, cashed a check, bought alcohol or cigarettes, rented a video, entered any federal building, visited a doctor, picked up a prescription, or entered a hospital, you have had to show identification. Most Americans have done at least one of those things at one time or another.

We need honest elections. I cannot figure out why there are people in our government who are refusing to acknowledge that fact.

What Happens Next?

On Thursday, CNS News reported the following:

U.S. District Judge Ronald White concluded Tuesday that the IRS rule altering the Obamacare law and providing billions in subsidies is “arbitrary, capricious and abuse of discretion“:

“The court holds that the IRS rule is arbitrary, capricious, and abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law, pursuant to 5 U.S.C.706(2)(A), in excess of summary jurisdiction, authority or limitation, or short of statutory right, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(C), or otherwise is an invalidation of the ACA [Affordable Care Act], and is hereby vacated. The court’s order of vacatur is stayed, however, pending resolution of any appeal from this order.”

The subsidies were a major part of ObamaCare. I am sure this case will be making its way up to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, there will be more uncertainty about ObamaCare, and people and businesses will be waiting to see what happens before wanting to spend any extra money they may currently have.

The article concludes:

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) also praised Judge White’s decision, saying that the Obama Administration is trying to fix a legally-dubious law using waivers and exemptions:

“Today’s decision is a reminder that the President’s broken promises of affordable, accessible health care are the result of broken policy. The Obama Administration has tried to make the law work with waivers and exemptions, but the courts continue to confront the legality of this legislation that was rushed through a Democrat-controlled Congress.”

“While it will undoubtedly take time for Oklahoma’s case to play out in the federal court system, I am confident in Attorney General Scott Pruitt and that our state’s argument will prevail.”

Tuesday’s decision is the latest in a wave of court losses for Obamacare.

Currently, over a hundred lawsuits have been filed against Obamacare – and Obamacare has lost 91% of the cases decided to-date, (71 losses out of 78 decisions), according to the latest tally by The Beckett Fund.

Stay tuned and get out the popcorn.

The Unspoken Legacy Of President Obama

On Monday, The Daily Signal posted an article about President Obama’s legacy. It’s something that the press has not really highlighted.

The article reports:

In President Barack Obama’s second term, the Senate has confirmed more than twice the number of judicial nominees than were confirmed in President George W. Bush’s second term. This is due mostly to the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., succeeded in eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominees (excluding the Supreme Court, at least for now) in November 2013..

The chart below illustrates how the elimination of the filibuster has impacted the nomination process:

Infographic by John Fleming

I am not a big supporter of the filibuster, but I am also not a big supporter of stacking the courts with judges with a political bias. That is what has been going on. Since many of the problems with ObamaCare will be decided in the courts, the Obama appointments to the lower courts could easily move America further to the left than Congress would have been able to do. Our Constitution was designed to create a representative republic. The idea was that laws would be made in Congress. People could hold their Congressman accountable and vote him out of office if they did not like the laws he supported. (Actually, that is not totally true. Initially, the House of Representatives was elected by the people, and the Senators were appointed by the state legislatures. In 1913, Congress passed the 17th Amendment, which called for the direct election of Senators. Up until that point, the state legislature could recall their Senator if he was not supporting bills that were in the interest of their state. The direct election of Senators changed the balance of power in the U.S. government and seriously diminished the power of the states against the much larger federal government.) Unfortunately, we have now reached a point where our courts are making laws. As the courts lean left, we may find ourselves living in a country with a very different form of government than what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

It Really Is Time For Harry Reid (And Most Of The Rest Of The Senate) To Go

Yesterday the Washington Examiner reported that the Senate has made plans to accomplish something when it returns from recess. They are not planning to take up the immigration bill the House of Representatives just passed, they are not planning to deal with America‘s deficit spending in any way, and they are not planning to deal with any of the bills the House of Representatives has sent them to encourage job growth. So, what are they planning on dealing with first thing when they get back from vacation? They want to make sure that the Republicans can’t raise campaign contributions from corporations the way Democrats raise campaign contributions from unions.

The article reports on S.J. Res. 19, which seeks to undo the Supreme Court‘s 2010 Citizens United decision:

The Supreme Court said in its decision that political contributions are protected under the First Amendment.

However, the proposed amendment, which was authored by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., not only gives Congress the power to limit spending on federal candidates, but it also bars the judicial branch from overturning any future campaign finance laws authored by legislative branch.

Other than the obvious problem with priorities, the Senate is planning on limiting the actions of the Supreme Court. I believe that would be unconstitutional. We have three separate but equal branches of government. The Senate does not control the actions of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, we are being overrun by illegal immigrants on our southern border. The young children are bringing diseases, and the older children are joining violent Latin American gangs already here. Americans (particularly those on our southern border) have been negatively impacted by the invasion. Wouldn’t you think the Senate might consider that more important than protecting Democrat fund raising?

 

Another Significant ObamaCare Court Case

Yesterday National Review Online posted an article about a current court case that represents a significant threat to ObamaCare. Halbig v. Sebelius (since renamed Halbig v. Burwell, for the current HHS secretary) was argued before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court in March. The case involves the government subsidies paid by the exchanges included in ObamaCare.

The article states:

If the Supreme Court ultimately finds that the Obama administration violated the law in doling out those subsidies, it could force a wholesale revision of Obamacare. In January, The Hill quoted a key Obamacare supporter as saying that Halbig was “probably the most significant existential threat to the Affordable Care Act.” Jonathan Turley, a noted liberal constitutional-law expert at George Washington Law School, recently agreed, writing in the Los Angeles Times that Halbig “could leave Obamacare on life support.”

…The Halbig plaintiffs — individuals and small businesses in six states that didn’t establish state exchanges — argue that the Obama administration is breaking the law by offering those tax subsidies in all 50 states. The plaintiffs argue that if the subsidies hadn’t been offered in their states, they would have been exempted from the individual-mandate penalties of Obamacare because they couldn’t have afforded to pay for health coverage.

I have no idea how this case will be decided. The writer of the article believes that if the case is decided against ObamaCare it will force Congress and the President to make positive changes in the law (particularly if a Republican Congress is elected).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule on this case within the next week.

 

Facts Versus Spin

We have all heard the whining and moaning about the Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby. Some of the media has painted a picture of Hobby Lobby that makes you wonder why anyone would work there. As usual, the picture the media has painted has little to do with the reality of the situation.

On Monday, The Corner at National Review posted an article citing actual facts about Hobby Lobby and the benefits it provides for its employees.

The article includes some of the comments the political left has made about the decision:

“This is going to turn the dial back,” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz warned on MSNBC. The Democratic party’s national chairwoman added: “Republicans want to do everything they can to have the long hand of government, and now the long hand of business, reach into a woman’s body and make health care decisions for her.”

“Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic healthcare coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women,” said Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

Consequently, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said that his party now must “fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage.”

The article also includes some facts about Hobby Lobby:

Imagine that a woman starts work at Hobby Lobby tomorrow morning — July 1. She joins Hobby Lobby’s health care plan. It includes access, copay-free, to the following categories of FDA-approved birth-control:

  1. Male condoms
  2. Female condoms
  3. Diaphragms with spermicide
  4. Sponges with spermicide
  5. Cervical caps with spermicide
  6. Spermicide alone
  7. Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)
  8. Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)
  9. Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)
  10. Contraceptive patches
  11. Contraceptive rings
  12. Progestin injections
  13. Implantable rods
  14. Vasectomies
  15. Female sterilization surgeries
  16. Female sterilization implants

That really doesn’t sound like she is being denied healthcare. The article reminds us that Hobby Lobby offers medical coverage for 16 different kinds of birth control for its employees. The legal case was to exclude four methods that are seen to cause abortions. Again, there is no ban on employees using these four methods, but Hobby Lobby will not pay for them.

The article concludes:

Those who are screaming themselves hoarse after the Hobby Lobby decision would agree that Yeshiva need not serve unkosher food, and PETA need not include calf meat on its menu. Yes, somehow, Hobby Lobby is evil because it pays for 16 kinds of contraceptives, and expects its employees themselves to purchase four others that might kill human babies.

At its core, the Left’s moaning over Hobby Lobby is less about access to medicine and more about access to free stuff. 

I disagree with the writer’s conclusion. This is not about free stuff. It’s about convincing the low-information voter that there is a ‘war on women’ in conservative politics and that they need to vote for Democrat candidates. There are very few Americans who will do their homework and get the facts on this case–most will rely on news that quotes the type of statement quoted in the beginning of this article as fact. Would it be fair to say that Democrats regard women’s healthcare as the right to kill babies and that right must be protected?

The Supreme Court Has Reached A Decision On Hobby Lobby

Fox News is reporting today that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in its suit against the ObamaCare requirement that it provide contraceptives for female employees.

The article reports:

The justices’ 5-4 decision is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

…The court stressed that its ruling applies only to corporations that are under the control of just a few people in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.

Alito also said the decision is limited to contraceptives under the health care law. “Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs,” Alito said.

The really good news here is that Hobby Lobby will remain in business. There was some question as to whether the company would have stayed in business had the family that owns the company  been forced to do things that were in conflict with their religious beliefs.

Another Unanimous Decision By The Supreme Court

WCVB.com is reporting today that the Supreme Court has struck down a Massachusetts law requiring anti-abortion protesters to stay at least 35 feet from patients and staff at abortion clinics.

The article reports:

In the unanimous decision, justices ruled that extending a buffer zone 35 feet from clinic entrances violates the First Amendment rights of protesters.

The ruling signals that states can pass laws ensuring access to clinics, but cannot more broadly ban speech on public streets and sidewalks.

According to the article, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley had a different opinion than the Court:

“It balances the rights of those who need and want access to the clinic. It balances the right and need for public safety. And it balances the rights of those who want to speak and to get their message out,” Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said in January.

The Supreme Court overruled the opinion of Ms. Coakley.

Recess Appointments Can Only Be Made When Congress Is Actually In Recess

USA Today is reporting today that the Supreme Court has ruled that several recess appointments made by President Obama in 2012 were invalid. The ruling against President Obama’s recess appointments was unanimous; however, four of the justices wanted to restrict the President’s power to make recess appointments.

The article reports:

The high court’s ruling means that hundreds of decisions made by the labor board while dominated by Obama’s recess appointees in 2012 and half of 2013 will be called into question. The new five-member board, including four members since approved by the Senate, will have to revisit those cases. Consumer protection chief Richard Cordray has since been confirmed by the Senate, so he can reaffirm his prior actions.

This is the second unanimous Supreme Court decision in two days–yesterday the Court ruled that police required a search warrant to search the information on a suspect’s cell phone.

Prayer Before Meetings Backed By The Supreme Court

Yesterday Reuters posted an article on the Supreme Court’s decision to allow prayer before public meetings. Please note that it was a five to four decision. Our right to prayer at public meetings was upheld by one vote.

The details of the decision can be found at the Supreme Court’s website. The decision included the following:

An insistence on nonsectarian or ecumenical prayer as a single, fixed standard is not consistent with the traditionof legislative prayer outlined in the Court’s cases. The Court found the prayers in Marsh consistent with the First Amendment not because they espoused only a ge- neric theism but because our history and tradition have shown that prayer in this limited context could “coexis[t]with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.” 463 U. S., at 786. The Congress that drafted the First Amendment would have been accustomed to invocations containing explicitly religious themes of the sort respondents find objectionable. One of the Senate’s first chaplains, the Rev. William White, gave prayers in a series that included the Lord’s Prayer, the Collect for Ash Wednesday, prayers for peace and grace, a general thanksgiving, St. Chrysostom’s Prayer, and a prayer seeking “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.” Letter from W. White to H. Jones (Dec. 29, 1830), in B. Wilson,Memoir of the Life of the Right Reverend William White, D.D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Pennsylvania 322 (1839); see also New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette, Dec. 15, 1823, p. 1 (describing a Senate prayer addressing the “Throne of Grace”); Cong.Globe, 37th Cong., 1st Sess., 2 (1861) (reciting the Lord’s Prayer). The decidedly Christian nature of these prayers must not be dismissed as the relic of a time when our Nation was less pluralistic than it is today. Congress continues to permit its appointed and visiting chaplains to express themselves in a religious idiom. It acknowledges our growing diversity not by proscribing sectarian content  but by welcoming ministers of many creeds. See, e.g., 160

America is a Christian country. There is room for everyone here, but at its root, America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Congress has chaplains and opens with prayer. This ruling gives local government bodies the right to open in prayer also.

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Not Everyone Cheers When The Playing Field Is Leveled

Michael Graham posted an article in the Boston Herald today about the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign donations.

Michael Graham explains why the decision is important to Massachusetts:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s campaign-finance ruling is the first ray of sunshine to reach the Massachusetts Republican party in a long time.

To understand why, you need to know three simple facts about who pays for campaigns, facts that are almost never reported in the mainstream media:

• Six of the top 10 campaign donors are unions. And their money overwhelmingly goes to Democrats. Incumbent Democrats in particular.

• Sixteen of the top 25 campaign funders are liberal, Democratic organizations like ActBlue ($97 million in campaign cash since 1989), which also give disproportionately to incumbents. Only three of the top 25 are Republican.

• None of them are the Koch Brothers. (They rank 57th.)

If you haven’t figured it out, the purpose of campaign finance restrictions is to protect incumbent politicians. This shouldn’t be a surprise given that these laws were passed by … incumbent politicians.

And in Massachusetts, “incumbent” is a synonym for “Democrat.” (When it comes to federal office-holders here, that is literally true.) So any change that makes life more difficult for incumbents is good news for the local GOP.

Union money has bought and sold elections in Massachusetts and some other states for a very long time. This ruling levels the playing field and lets other people with money play. That is why the Democrat party is making such a big deal about it.

The unintended consequence of this ruling may be that being able to be in public office long enough to go from being broke to multi millionaire may no longer be possible. It may be that being in public office may no longer be a career. Keep in mind that our founding fathers envisioned a government made up of ordinary citizens. Unfortunately we have forgotten that concept and created career politicians.

Not everyone loves it when you level the playing field.

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Hobby Lobby At The Supreme Court

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties case about the companies’ right to manage their businesses according to the religious beliefs of their owners. Breitbart.com has a summary of some of the dialogue that went on in the Court.

Some of the highlights:

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, arguing for the plaintiffs, began, “When a federal government agency compelled employers to provide something as religiously sensitive as contraception, it knew that free exercise and RFRA claims would soon follow.”

He went on to quote RFRA’s language applying its protections to all federal statutes and regulations unless Congress specifically provides otherwise, both those already on the books and those to be enacted in the future. Congress later broadened RFRA to protect “any exercise” of religion, unless the government can show the burden on faith is the least restrictive means to accomplish a truly compelling public interest. This test is called “strict scrutiny” in constitutional law, an extremely demanding standard that few government actions survive.

…Sotomayor also pointed out that organizations have the option of dropping all insurance coverage and paying $2,000 per employee, per year, for violating what is called the ACA’s employer mandate. Clement objected that the Green family—owners of Hobby Lobby—consider it a form of Christian ministry to provide healthcare for their employees. He also said this was a choice for Hobby Lobby of between paying a $475 million penalty for violating the abortion mandate or a $26 million penalty for violating the employer mandate.

…Although it’s certainly not definite who won the case, at least four justices seemed to side with religious objectors over the Obama administration’s mandate, and very likely a fifth with Kennedy. (Even Justice Stephen Breyer said several supportive comments during argument, but it’s probably too much for the plaintiffs to hope they picked up a sixth vote.)

There are other issues regarding which millions of Americans are currently asserting religious objections. Hobby Lobby could include pronouncements on several principles which could tip those issues one way or the other in court.

The decision on the case will not be released until June.

The thing to remember in watching this case is that the case is not about birth control–it is about abortion. Healthcare plans at Hobby Lobby already provide for birth control–at issue is ‘after the fact’ birth control, which simply causes an abortion. The mandate in ObamaCare is the government’s first step toward federally-funded abortion, which is now illegal under the Hyde Amendment. If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties can be forced to include abortion pills in their healthcare plans, despite the religious beliefs of their owners, the government will be able to limit the religious freedom of all Americans.

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Does The U. S. Constitution Still Matter?

On Monday, Forbes Magazine posted an article about entitled, “President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013.” Most of these violations have to do with ObamaCare, but there are a few that do not that are interesting.

The article lists the top 10:

1. Delay of Obamacare’s out-of-pocket caps.

2. Delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate.

3. Delay of Obamacare’s insurance requirements.

4. Exemption of Congress from Obamacare.

5. Expansion of the employer mandate penalty through IRS regulation.

6. Political profiling by the IRS.

7. Outlandish Supreme Court arguments.

8. Recess appointments.

9. Assault on free speech and due process on college campuses.

10. Mini-DREAM Act.

Please follow the link above to read the details of each item. The two items that are most disturbing to me are the misuse of the IRS for political purposes and the recess appointments made while Congress was technically in session. The Obama Administration has shown by its actions that it has little respect for the U.S. Constitution as the basis for our government. I will be very happy when this crew is voted out of office.

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The Challenge To Union ‘Closed Shop’ Laws Moves Forward

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that a California case challenging union ‘closed shoplaws is moving forward. The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) has been trying to get the case challenging those laws to the Supreme Court. Currently they will be appealing the case to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ‘closed shop’ laws require anyone who is hired by a company where there is a union has to pay dues to that union whether they choose to join the union or not. The supposed rationale behind that is that the person hired benefits by the fact that the union has negotiated the current wage and benefits package of the company, and since the employee benefits from that negotiation, he should be required to pay union dues. In a ‘right to work’ state, that practice is prohibited.

The article reports:

CIR’s case argues that unions should not be able to get “security clauses” in the contracts they negotiate management. These clauses, also called “closed shop” rules, say that anyone hired must either join the union or at least pay dues to one. The rationale is that the clauses prevent economic “free riders” since all workers theoretically benefit from union collective bargaining.

Such clauses have long been a standard feature of union contracts, though 24 states have “right to work” laws that prohibit the practice.

CIR’s case argues that the practice should be prohibited even in those states without right to work laws because they violate the individual rights of workers. “These fees do nothing but cause ongoing and irreparable injury to their First Amendment rights,” Pell (CIR  President Terry Pell) said.

If this case goes to the Supreme Court and the right of the individual not to pay union dues if he chooses, all states will become ‘right to work’ states. Obviously, the unions are trying to prevent that from happening.

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Around The Edges Of The Supreme Court Case Regarding The Contraception Mandate

Commentary Magazine posted an article today about the latest challenge to ObamaCare that is headed to the Supreme Court. The article examines the approach that the political left and those that support ObamaCare will probably take in arguing the case.

The article states:

Indeed, while liberal activists will repeatedly try to cast this in the mold of the fictional “war on women,” their own arguments reveal just how far-reaching a definitive ruling on this would be for American religious and political practice.

…So this is much more than a fight over birth control, or even health insurance. It’s about two fundamentally different views on American constitutional freedoms. Conservatives want those freedoms to be expansive and protected, as the Founders did. Liberals want those freedoms to be curtailed lest the citizenry get greedy or the democratic process imperil the state’s coercive powers.

The Founders saw religious freedom as elemental to personal liberty in America. But they were not alone in thinking that unimpeded religious worship was a guard against an overly ambitious or arrogant national government.

If we lose our spiritual foundation as a country, we will also be in danger of losing our freedom.

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America Used To Be A Beacon Of Freedom

The Blaze is reporting today that the German family seeking political asylum in the United States because they want to homeschool their children will take their case to the Supreme Court.

An immigration judge granted the Romeike family asylum in 2010, but the U.S. government appealed. An immigration appeals board sided with the government, and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals last week denied the family’s request for a new hearing.

The Home School Legal Defense Association is representing the family and has stated that they will take the case to the Supreme Court.

The article reports:

“The German High Court is on record for saying that religious homeschoolers should be targeted and severely punished, yet our Justice Department sees nothing wrong with that,” Farris (Home School Legal Defense Association founder Michael Farris) said. “The attorney general and Sixth Circuit are ignoring critical evidence and are trying to send back this family who is trying to stay in our country legally. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will go the other way and see what the original immigration judge saw: that this family and other religious homeschoolers in Germany are being persecuted for what they believe is the right way to raise their children.”

These are exactly the kind of people who should be granted asylum in the United States. Hopefully the Supreme Court will take the case and grant the Romeike family the freedom they are seeking.

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Something To Think About On A Very Sad Anniversary

This week marks forty years since the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. Since that 1973 decision, 55 million babies have been aborted in America. I am not posting this to judge those who have had abortions, I am posting this to show you the beauty and miracle of life. It is posted at YouTube and is about 10 minutes long. It is well worth watching. Enjoy.

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Why Supreme Court Justices Are Important

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about the latest episode of the battle between Hobby Lobby and the Obama Administration over the HHS regulations in ObamaCare. Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected an emergency request for an injunction to prevent HHS from enforcing the contraception mandate on Hobby Lobby’s Catholic owners.

The article reports Justice Sotomayor‘s justification for her decision:

“While the applicants allege they will face irreparable harm if they are forced to choose between complying with the contraception-coverage requirement and paying significant fines, they cannot show that an injunction is necessary or appropriate to aid our jurisdiction,” Sotomayor wrote in a short opinion rejecting Hobby Lobby’s request.

Because Hobby Lobby will not comply with the mandate, they are facing fines of $1.3 million a day beginning on January 1st. HHS cannot collect the money immediately, but Hobby Lobby is required to set the money aside. I can’t imagine a company not being harmed by taking $1.3 a day away from their operating cash.

The article concludes:

Expect Hobby Lobby to keep pursuing the case, and keep an eye out for emergency requests from other appellate circuits.  If one lands on the desk of Antonin Scalia or Sam Alito, the outcome could be quite different — and we may get an expedited Supreme Court argument out of it, even if it would still be preliminary.

The HHS mandate requiring companies to provide free contraception is government overreach at its worst. Why is the HHS insisting on thisl when various forms of contraception are readily available and inexpensive?

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More Legal Action On ObamaCare

Today’s Daily Caller is reporting that on Wednesday a federal appeals court blocked the implementation of the HHS mandate requiring employers to provide health care plans that include coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

The article reports:

Missouri business owner Frank O’Brien, who employs 87 people at O’Brien Industrial Holdings, alleged in the lawsuit that led to the injunction that the mandate unconstitutionally infringes on his religious beliefs.

…The order by the three-judge panel on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prohibits HHS from forcing O’Brien to comply with the mandate, until the court issues a substantive ruling on the matter. The injunction order is not a final determination on the merits of O’Brien’s case or the constitutionality of the mandate.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) also reported on this case yesterday:

In October, a federal district court judge granted the Obama Administration’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. The ACLJ immediately filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. In an order issued today, the appeals court granted the ACLJ motion requesting an injunction pending an appeal.

The lawsuit, which was filed in March 2012, marked the first legal challenge to the HHS mandate from a private business owner and his company. Until the suit was filed, only religious organizations or institutions brought lawsuits challenging the mandate.

…In addition to the O’Brien case, the ACLJ has filed two other direct challenges to the HHS mandate and filed amicus briefs backing other challenges in more than a dozen cases.

I believe that it is unconstitutional for the government to require Americans to buy health insurance, much less tell employers what health insurance has to include. I hope one of these cases makes it to the Supreme Court and this time the Supreme Court makes the correct decision–I think the Supreme Court’s last decision on Obamacare was incorrect.