Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports: “According to a release by Stanford Law School, Tenth Circuit Judge Michael McConnell has agreed to join the Stanford Law faculty — and step down from the bench. At Stanford, McConnell will direct the Stanford Constitutional Law Center.”
Statesman Journal: “All public elementary and secondary schools would have to provide age-appropriate human sexuality education courses under a bill approved by the Senate Education Committee on Monday.”
The Christian Institute: “An East London council has angered local artists by requesting paintings to brighten up a bare ward with the condition that they must not be of churches.”
The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog is “hosting a conversation between Geof Stone, Martha Nussbaum, Notre Dame’s Rick Garnett, and Michigan’s Douglas Laycock. The starting point for discussion will be Professor Stone’s recent Chicago Tribune article on Illinois’ proposed Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.”
East Valley Tribune: “Brewer, a foe of what has been called ‘merit selection’ of judges, is slated to get a list of at least three names from the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments on who panel members believe are the most qualified to sit on the state high court. That list is due to go to Brewer on June 30, the day that current Chief Justice Ruth McGregor steps down.”
Steve Sanders writing at the Sexual Orientation and the Law Blog: “Kathleen Sullivan, a top New York appellate lawyer, constitutional scholar, and former dean of Stanford Law School, has landed on most people’s lists of possible Obama Supreme Court appointees. What’s less known about Sullivan is that she is a lesbian.”
Ezra Levant writing in Reason Magazine: “The Internet may also spell the beginning of the end for the HRCs of the world. In the days after my meeting with McGovern, I began to blog about human rights commissions and free speech, encouraged by my worldwide support. EzraLevant.com became one of the five most popular political blogs in Canada, according to the statistics on Alexa.com. The Internet support, which soon crossed over into the mainstream media, reassured me that I was the ‘normal’ one—that free speech was normal, that resisting government nosiness was normal—and that it was the HRCs and the Syed Soharwardys who were affronts to our Western values.”
CNSNews: “Judge Diane Wood, reported to be on President Obama’s short list of possible nominees to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court, believes a judge’s interpretation of what the Constitution means must ‘grow with the times.’”
Gail Earle writes at OregonLive.com: “The bottom line of all the research is the horrific damage that is done to our society and women by the sex industry, which takes women often damaged by early abuse and further damages them.”
“We have fixed-term contracts for the buying of property, cars and insurance, but there is only one contract available for marriage and it is for life. … Is it time to consider introducing fixed-term marriage contracts?”
Catholic News Agency: “The Montana Supreme Court is considering whether to overturn a state judge’s ruling that Montana residents have a legal right to assisted suicide. On Thursday attorneys for the Chicago-based law firm Americans United for Life (AUL) filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of a bipartisan group of 28 Montana senators and representatives . . . The Alliance Defense Fund has also filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Catholic Medical Association, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Family Research Council and Montana physicians.”
Citizen Media Law Project: “The blogosphere is buzzing about Perez Hilton’s recent foray into copyright bullying. Last week, the celebrity blogger, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, claiming that a new advocacy ad from the National Organization for Marriage (“NOM”) which was posted on the video-sharing site violated his copyright . . . YouTube removed the video.”
Christian Telegraph: “Christians and other pro-life advocates should not be discriminated against and silenced for expressing their beliefs and making people aware of the truth,” said Europe-based ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska, co-counsel in the case. “Apparently, the police decided that they didn’t want people to be faced with the unexaggerated reality of what abortion looks like. The signs were completely legal and simply displayed various images of human atrocities, including what goes on behind closed doors in abortuaries around the world.” “Americans should not imagine that this type of government speech control only occurs overseas,” Kiska added. “ADF fights these types of battles in the U.S. all the time. But if the Constitutional Court in the Slovak Republic rules this police intervention legal, it will be yet another ruling that activist judges could point to in the future as a sort of precedent that U.S. courts should follow.”
Warning: Dorf uses expletives.
Michael Dorf writes at Findlaw: The Justices’ substitution of the terms “S-Word” and “F-Word” in an opinion that is not likely to be read by more than a handful of minors, casts doubt on the claim that the underlying FCC policy, and the statute it interprets, are principally designed to protect children.
Sam Stein interviews James Carville at the Huffington Post: “In an interview with the Huffington Post, the longtime Clinton confidant proclaimed that recent overtures among Republican officials to rethink their social issues platform would not have the big-tent benefits some envision.”
Thomas Sowell writing at Townhall: “That President Obama has made ‘empathy’ with certain groups one of his criteria for choosing a Supreme Court nominee is a dangerous sign of how much further the Supreme Court may be pushed away from the rule of law and toward even more arbitrary judicial edicts to advance the agenda of the left and set it in legal concrete, immune from the democratic process.”
Lifenews: “’We hope that the court will strike down this law so that our clients and other peaceful pro-life citizens can once again freely express their message with those contemplating abortion,’ DePrimo added. ‘This buffer zone was designed to take away their rights and censor speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.’”
Christian Post: “It appears that the ELCA may have underestimated the true cost to pursuing this particular social justice agenda. 7 years is a long time to fight in a Church about homosexuality, no matter what side you are on. The damage already done may be irreversible. Few congregations can survive such a church fight, and even if they do, their success in the long-run is often in doubt.”
Boston Globe (AP): “South Carolina’s top prosecutor on Tuesday called on the chief executive of popular online site Craigslist to take down ads related to prostitution and pornography or face prosecution himself.”
ACLU: “End the Unauthorized Sterilization of Adults with Disabilities under Guardianship – SUPPORT HB 2290″
The ACLU of Illinois has issued this press release: “Our country has a long and shameful history of allowing the involuntary sterilization of people with disabilities, depriving them of their rights to privacy and bodily integrity, and to make their own decisions about whether or not to become a parent. A majority of states have enacted legislation to provide protections for people in guardianship relationships. Illinois needs to join that group. For that reason, we’re supporting House Bill 2290.”
LifeNews: “The latest report to cause national outrage is a document known as the ‘Domestic Extremism Lexicon,’ essentially a terrorism and political extremism dictionary for the Obama administration’s internal use.
One News Now: “Five citizens can take out a petition, and if they gather 60,000 signatures in 90 days, then there is automatically a statewide vote,” he adds. “And if the vote goes in favor of the veto, then the law is repealed.”
Michelle A. Vu reports in the Christian Post: “The Alliance Defense Fund has said it will defend the National Day of Prayer Task Force should the case be accepted by the District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The legal group argues that public prayer is part of the history and tradition of the country and Americans should be allowed to freely pray without people threatening to silence them.”
Law Professor Richard F. Duncan writes at the Washington Times: “Non-originalists believe that the Constitution’s meaning is not limited to what the Framers intended; rather, the meaning and application of constitutional provisions should evolve by interpretation.” Is this really a theory of evolution? Or is it more honestly a theory of creation? How does the Constitution “evolve” into a new species in so brief a time? Surely, the sudden appearance of new constitutional rules in the fossil record is best explained by a theory of intelligent design, of Creation, if you please, by shifting Supreme Court majorities.
Religion Clause Blog: “In Kovalev v. City of Philadelphia, (ED PA, April 29, 2009), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed a series of constitutional claims brought by Sergei Kovalev against the city and several city employees challenging inspection attempts and the refusal of a building permit for a small additional structure on property that contained his home as well as operations of his ‘International Church of Eternal Revival .’”
Politics.hu: “Hungary’s governing Socialist party will initiate an amendment to the Constitution so as to ban Holocaust denial and hate speech and make them punishable by law . . . ”
Religion Clause Blog: “Al Jazeera yesterday reports on a video, filmed a year ago, showing evangelical Christian soldiers at Bagram air base in Afghanistan with Bibles printed in Pashto and Dari that they hoped to distribute to local residents.”
U.S. News and World Report: “The Politico reports Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch, who spoke with President Obama by telephone on Monday, ‘says he believes the White House will move swiftly on its Supreme Court nominee, perhaps making an announcement by the end of this week.’ Obama ‘made no timing commitments’ to Hatch.”
The Independent: The list of the 16 “least wanted” includes radio talk show host Michael Savage, real name Michael Weiner. “This is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country,” Ms Smith told BBC Breakfast.
Keizertimes.com: A group promoting separation of church and state is objecting to the city of Keizer’s role in the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, set for Thursday, May 7. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Mayor Lore Christopher complaining . . . the Alliance Defense Fund – a religious group which describes itself as “a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending religious liberty and the right of people to freely live out their faith” – has backed an effort to “Save the National Day of Prayer.”
Winston-Salem Journal: Several residents sued the county [for] . . . allowing prayer-givers to include references to Christ in the prayers given before meetings of the county board. The county’s defense is being handled by the Alliance Defense Fund, which is handling court costs under an agreement with the county. “We have not been advised of a date for an oral argument,” said Michael Johnson, the ADF attorney representing the county. “My suspicion is that there may not be one.” . . . “We remain confident in the merits of the case,” Johnson said. “The board has acknowledged respect for the diversity of religious denominations. (There is) no ulterior motive to establish Christianity or disparage others.”
Southwestern Law Review: “[T]his article proposes a radical reinterpretation of the California Free Exercise Clause. Under the text of the California constitution, courts should hold that a statute infringing on the free exercise of religion is unconstitutional, unless the religious act proscribed is licentious, or the infringement is necessary to uphold the peace or safety of the state.”
Missouri Law Review: “This Summary focuses on RLUIPA’s institutionalized persons provision and whether, under its remedial provision, an inmate plaintiff can receive compensatory damages. First, this Summary looks at key decisions dealing with the availability of compensatory damages in individual and official capacity claims under RLUIPA. The second component of the Summary analyzes a recent Eighth Circuit decision on the issue of damages as it relates to RLUIPA. This Summary then evaluates the case law on this issue, discussing the policy reasons for and against allowing compensatory damages. Lastly, the discussion concludes that the Eighth Circuit should prohibit institutionalized persons from obtaining compensatory relief.”
California Catholic Daily: “Local governments are not required to provide bailout money to the abortion industry,” said ADF senior legal counsel Steven H. Aden in a statement released by ADF. “Taxpayers should not be required to foot the bill for the activities of groups which perform or promote abortions. The Orange County policy is perfectly consistent with similar federal restrictions and does not violate any state or federal laws.” In a letter to the board of supervisors, ADF noted, “case law provides the Board with a clearly constitutional path to restrict the use of… funds to preclude any connection to the provision or promotion of abortion.”
Tough Pill to Swallow: Whether Catholic Institutions Are Obligated Under Title VII to Cover Their Employees’ Prescription Contraceptives
University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class: “In the last decade, many employers around the United States have felt an ever-increasing push by their employees to adopt group health plans that would provide coverage for prescription birth control. The exclusion of such birth control on health plans went largely unnoticed for years, and it wasn’t until a significant number of insurance plans decided to cover male “potency drugs” in the mid-1990s that interest groups became inspired to fight for female contraceptive coverage. It was not long before state legislatures responded favorably to this movement by enacting laws that required the inclusion of contraceptive drugs and devices in all comprehensive prescription drug plans. In the past ten years, over twenty-six states passed bills requiring insurance providers to cover prescription birth control.”
Washington and Lee Law Review: “This Article proposes a solution to the ‘religion as science’ wars in American public schools, as well as to the failure of those schools not only to prepare American youths to understand and participate in this vital debate, but also to make informed and thoughtful decisions regarding their own worldviews. Due to confusion about applicable Establishment Clause law or otherwise, most public schools fail to educate students about the important role of religion in our society, including religious perspectives on the most fundamental question regarding our existence–the nature of our origins. The solution proposed herein is one that some, including presidential candidates, have suggested, but no one has articulated how and whether it can be legally done: Teaching a basic philosophy of origins course that is geared to upper level high school students that teaches and explores various origins accounts from both scientific and religious perspectives.”
Law.com (AP): “Conservatives are rallying behind Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to become the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee as the resignation of Supreme Court Justice David Souter adds new urgency to the post.”
A Cross to Bear: The Need to Weigh Context in Determining the Constitutionality of Religious Symbols on Public Land
University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class: “In Buono v. Kempthorne, the Ninth Circuit considered whether a legislatively prescribed transfer of public land to private hands violated the district court’s injunction prohibiting the display of a Latin cross on that public land. The court concluded that the situation surrounding the land transfer constituted an unusual circumstance, removing the exchange from the ordinary rule that land transfers are a legitimate and effective way of negating an Establishment Clause violation.”
Virginia Law Review: “Part I critiques Roe and Heller for recognizing a substantive right grounded in an ambiguous constitutional text. Part II argues that Roe did, and Heller will, lead the Court into a dense political thicket that it would do best to avoid. Part III discusses legislative and judicial competence, and argues that legislatures are better positioned to address the tough issues surrounding gun and abortion rights. Part IV contends that both Heller and Roe rejected the principles of federalism that conservatives ought to cherish.”
University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class: “However, even under the most deferential standard, which requires that Congress draw reasonable inferences based on substantial evidence, the Gonzales Court failed to recognize that, according to the Congressional Record itself, the medical consensus Congress used to justify the lack of a health exception simply does not exist. As a result, the Court allowed Congress to create a law that ignores Court precedent and infringes on the power of the judicial branch as established in Marbury v. Madison.”
Georgia Law Review: “My thesis is that we can state an intermediate-level principle that there is a duty on prospective parents to be fit when they have children, which arises from or creates correlative claim-rights shared by the state and prospective children.”
George Washington University: “The ‘Option of Adoption Act,’ a Georgia bill introduced by a staunchly anti-abortion Georgia state representative, establishes procedures for genetic donors to relinquish their rights to embryos before birth and permits, but does not require, embryo recipients to petition a court for recognition that they are the legal parents of a child born to them as a result of an embryo transfer.”
William McGurn writes at the Wall Street Journal: “Some hypocrisies are apparently more equal than others. If, for example, you are a politician who preaches ‘traditional values’ and you get caught in a hotel with a woman who is not your wife, the press is going to have a field day with your tartuffery. If, however, you are a pol who piously tells inner-city families that public schools are the answer — and you do this while safely ensconcing your own kids in some private haven — the press corps mostly winks. Tomorrow afternoon at 1 o’clock in Washington, we’ll learn if anything has changed. Two groups — D.C. Children First and D.C. Parents for School Choice — are holding a rally at Freedom Plaza, just across from the offices of the city government . . . ”
David P. Goldman has this review in the Asia Times of the book: The Crisis of Islamic Civilization by Ali A Allawi (Yale University Press: New Haven, 2009). ISBN-10: 0300139314. Price US$27.50, 304 pages. The review begins: “A grim assessment of Islam’s survival prospects concludes this book-length essay by a prominent Iraqi politician who recently served as minister of defense and finance in the American-backed Iraqi government. Unless Muslims can restore Islam as a “complete way of life” embracing the public as well as the private sphere . . . ”
NWANews.com: “An effort is gaining momentum to establish common academic standards for the nation’s elementary, middle, junior high and high schools. If events occur as planned by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices, the states could see by the end of this summer a common set of standards for math and English/language arts in kindergarten through 12th grades.”
Daniel Patrick Maloney writes at Public Discourse: “The senators who originally designed our family planning policies believed that the mostly black welfare population was incurably lazy, promiscuous, intellectually substandard, and a burden on public schools, and, moreover, that they probably would remain so indefinitely. Birth control, therefore, was in their eyes a way to reduce the number of these undesirable people. This article is the second installment in a three-part series.”
Christian Post: “Americans shouldn’t be forced to abandon their religious heritage simply to appease someone’s political agenda,’ said Alliance Defense Fund chief counsel Benjamin Bull. “The U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged that public prayer is ‘deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country,’” he continued. “The National Day of Prayer has been a part of that. That is why ADF attorneys stand ready to defend the right of millions of Americans who wish to join together in prayer on May 1 without fear of legal attack from those who seek to silence their constitutional right to pray.”
One News Now: Last week, ADF filed a friend-of-the-court brief in State of Montana v. Baxter, representing several groups, including the Family Research Council, and numerous Montana physicians. Steven Aden, senior legal counsel with ADF, explains their argument. “Under the Hippocratic Oath, doctors are licensed to heal, not to kill,” says the ADF attorney. “It should seem obvious, but the law should never allow private individuals to poison one another.
Detroit News: “As Michigan’s economy continues to suffer, people are offering themselves up as medical guinea pigs for a quick buck to make ends meet. Some are selling plasma, others their hair for hundreds on the Internet, while others take the more extreme road by wanting to sell their eggs or participate in medical studies in exchange for payment and free medical exams.”