Hoisted On Your Own Petard

I love it when karma shows up. The New York Sun posted an editorial yesterday about a religious freedom case argued before the Second United States Circuit Court or Appeals. I have absolutely no background in law, so I am going to rely heavily on what was stated in the editorial.

The editorial states:

When a case called New Hope Family Services showed up on the docket of the Second United States Circuit Court or Appeals, we perked up. It’s not just that we keep a weather eye for religious freedom cases (this one involves New York state’s attempt to force a Christian ministry to choose between its doctrine and its ability to place children in foster homes). We also perked up because of the three judges on the appeals panel.

They included two Democrats and a Republican — Edward Korman, a senior district judge sitting on the circuit bench; the legendary José Cabranes, probably the most senior active judge in the Circuit; and Reena Raggi, about whom we last wrote when we suggested she’d be an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court. It would be, we suspected, like watching a judicial version of “Field of Dreams.”

The New Hope Family Services was warned that if it did not state a willingness to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried couples, it would have to go out of business. The New Hope Family Services is a Christian group that believes in the teachings of the Bible, so obviously to agree to this would have been against their Biblical beliefs.

The editorial continues:

It was, at least to us, a shocking threat. It put New Hope, which is not government funded and has been in business for decades, in an impossible position. The pettifogging was too sophisticated for us and we started nodding off — until we heard the lawyer for New York state say, “It’s not a question of a Jewish family coming to the agency and being turned away because they’re Jewish.”

“But,” Judge Cabranes pointed out, “there’s no question that you’re preventing consideration of whether the adoptive parents are a same-sex couple as a result of the religious views of the agency.” Replied New York’s lawyer: “Yes.” Which prompted Judge Cabranes to ask: “You don’t think that there’s a suggestion here that the regulation is targeting religious groups?” New York state’s lawyer proceeded to reply: “No.”

“Because,” the state’s lawyer, Laura Etlinger, continued, the Second Circuit itself had said “the fact that there may be a disparate impact on religious organizations because of factual matters, they are the ones more likely to be affected, is not evidence of discrimination.” This is when Judge Raggi pointed out that the entities in that earlier case were not mainly religious.

In contrast, she noted, New Hope was contending that discovery in its case would disclose that the “vast majority, if not all” of the foster care and adoption agencies that “have had to go out of existence” are religious organizations.

“Do you dispute that?” Judge Raggi demanded.

“Well, in — it’s not in the record,” Ms. Etlinger replied, seeming to sense, suddenly, that she had been drawn into a trap.

The reason it wasn’t in the record, after all, was that the district court had dismissed New Hope’s complaint out of hand. Ms. Etlinger suggested that “to the extent there is an impact, because religious organizations are the ones that have a view about placement with same-sex couples does not mean that the agency was targeting those —” Her words hung in the air.

“Well,” Judge Raggi said, “isn’t that what discovery might reveal?”

The principle in question here is disparate impact as proof of bias. It is a legal principle often used by the political left to twist the law to get what they want. Please follow the link to read the entire editorial. It is wonderful to see the tactics of the political left used against them.

The editorial concludes:

Disparate impact is by no means the only angle the Second Circuit considered in New Hope. Nor is it our intention here to suggest that same-sex or unmarried couples are unsuitable for adoption. It is our intention to savor the irony that such a liberal concept as disparate impact might yet illuminate the First Amendment violations of a state trying to force a religious ministry to choose between, on the one hand, its beliefs and, on the other, its religious mission in respect of foster parenting and adoption.

 

How To Limit The Second Amendment Without Appearing To Do So

Breitbart posted a story today about a Missouri law that limits the gun rights of foster parents in Missouri. The law prohibits all foster parents from carrying concealed firearms or storing ammunition with firearms in the same locked safe. It seems to me that if a foster parent has a concealed carry permit, he knows to store his firearms in a locked safe and to accept the responsibilities of a legal gun owner. Being a foster parent has nothing to do with gun rights.

The article notes:

James and Julie Attaway are asking for an injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri’s Western Division against the Missouri gun regulation.

…The couple is joined in the suit by the Second Amendment Foundation. They said the regulations “amount to deprivation of civil rights under color of law” and are similar to other laws they’ve challenged in Michigan and elsewhere.

“This is familiar ground for us,” Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the group, said in a statement. “We have successfully challenged similar regulations in other states when we find them, because there is a significant question about the constitutionality of such prohibitions. We believe this is an unconstitutional provision in Missouri’s Code of State Regulations. It is important for the court to take action to protect the rights of Missouri residents who open their homes and hearts to foster children for whom they wish to provide a stable environment.”

The Attaways said they’re concerned the gun regulation, which they described as “unconstitutional,” may be scaring off other potential foster parents.

“The foster system in Missouri is in need of qualified, loving families to take children into their home,” James Attaway said. “Many families who value their Second Amendment rights to self-defense are deterred from applying to be foster parents. We were not allowed to continue with the licensing process until we agreed to abide by the department’s firearm policy while foster children were placed in our care. We ultimately agreed and finished our licensing process, and while having a foster child in our home, we have had to abide by these unconstitutional policies for fear of losing our foster care license.”

The couple said their goal is to change the regulations so they and other foster parents don’t have to choose between being legally armed and caring for foster children.

“We are pursuing this legal action so that we, and other families who feel called to care for foster children in their home, don’t have to decide between retaining their Second Amendment rights and caring for children in need,” James Attaway said.

I don’t mean to be cynical, but this seems like another back door approach to limiting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. This law does nothing to make anyone safer–criminals don’t follow gun laws, and it simply attacks legal gun owners who are trying to do something positive in their community.

Good News In America

CBN News posted a story today about the recent rescue of 150 children and the arrest of 150 pimps involved in human trafficking. The rescues and arrests took place in 76 American cities.

The article reports:

The Justice Department says nearly 450,000 children run away from home each year and that one-third of teens living on the street will be pulled toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. Astoundingly, some are recruited right out of foster care facilities.

The graph below is from the Human Trafficking Statistics Report in 2012:

Human trafficking is a major problem around the world. America is not exempt from this problem. Part of the problem is related to the breakdown of families in America. Children need a stable home environment, and often that is something they don’t have. They can be lured into trafficking through promises of lucrative modeling careers and other wonderful-sounding promises. We need to educated our children about the dangers of looking for short cuts to financial success.

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A Change Of Pace For The Weekend

This is going to be a politically noisy weekend. The left will be trying to define Paul Ryan as wanting to drive granny off the cliff and the right will be countering that effort. Some of the stories may be interesting, informative or entertaining, but right now I am taking a break.

 

This is Frito. He is our current foster cat. We provide foster care for cats from the local no-kill cat shelter. Frito is from Guatemala. I don’t know the full story of how he got here, but evidently as a black cat he was at some risk in that country and was brought here to safety. Frito is about three years old and he is very cute. He will make someone a wonderful pet.

What is my point? We are in the midst of the political silly season. A lot of the things we see and hear are not attractive, useful, or true. We need to remember that in the midst of making an informed decision about who we want to run our country, we have other basic priorities. Remember to love your friends and family during this time, even if you disagree with their politics!

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