MA: SJC Justice Cowin announces retirement

Hawaii: Civil Union Bill Passes Full Senate by Vote of 19-6

Bill Banning Tax-Funded Abortions Attacked Over Rape Issues

Wyoming House committee strikes down civil union bill

FL: “Atheist group to Williams: Move polling place”

TX: Abortion legislation a high priority for Perry

Planned Parenthood Funding A Defacto Abortion Tax on America

Superbowl a magnet for under-age sex trade

David French: Tiger Moms Versus Lady Gaga

French council says no to ‘gay marriage’

AP: “Lesbian students enter to cheers at Minn. school”

Church foreclosures a growing problem?

Judge Declares Pro-Abortion ObamaCare Unconstitutional

Montana: Abortion bill divides crowd

Same Sex: Judge Says No Nebraska Marriage Means No Divorce In Nebraska

Illinois Family Institute Objects to New Civil Unions Legislation

Update on the Iowa Marriage Amendment (IMA)

The Engaging Essentials

Custody Dispute to be Decided by the New Hampshire Supreme Court

Progress Illinois: Signing Of Civil Union Bill Marks Beginning Of Push For Gay Marriage

Is the Ohio mother a modern Rosa Parks? Arrest could lead to greater school equity

“White House announces three major gay appointments”

How can we take seriously any proposal to improve schools that does not deal with the force that has dragged them down — the teachers union?

Unions’ Special Interest: Blocking School Choice

    Gary Beckner writes at Townhall: “A new spate of documentaries and media coverage have all centered on the role teachers unions play in blocking necessary change and innovation in public schools. At this point in the national discourse, a majority of Americans are convinced that our education system is in crisis and are looking for someone or something to blame. Unfortunately for effective teachers across America, the finger has been pointed in the wrong direction. It is the teachers unions – the NEA and the AFT – that are largely responsible for a system that is failing far too many of our children, especially those trapped in the inner cities.”


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: townhall.com

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Michigan commission OKs benefits for domestic partners

Navy: ‘Don’t Ask’ Repeal Plan Progressing Quickly, Officials Say

The Supreme Court Is Not Our Benevolent Dictator

Illinois governor to sign historic civil unions legislation before capacity crowd in Chicago

Iowa: Branstad won’t ask Supreme Court nominees about same-sex marriage

New DC Late-Term Abortion Biz Injects Babies, Abandons Women

Iowa Justice finalist list has one minority, not yet a bar member

“San Diego firefighters victorious in suit against forced participation in gay pride parade”

NY Times: The Two Abortion Wars: State Battles Over Roe v. Wade

Hawaii Supreme Court Nominee secure with sexual orientation

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Weighing Parental Consent Abortion Law

Bill Would Create Special Envoy for Religious Minorities in Near East and South Central Asia

Where Judicial Activism Morphs into Disregard

“Lambda Legal Reaches Settlement Agreement with Indiana School District After Transgender Student Was Barred from Prom”

India’s Supreme Court Upholds Haj Subsidies Against Constitutional Attack

In Britain, Parliament May Retaliate If Church Refuses To Ordain Women Bishops

Sex Gone Wrong: Feminism, Pornography, and Marriage

Despite China’s might, US factories maintain edge

Brotherhood shows strength, limits in Egypt chaos

Calif. man accused in plot on Mich. mosque

David French: Be Careful What You Wish For

    David French writes at Patheos: “But revolutions can also be a prelude to unspeakable horror. As we watch the unfolding dramas in Tunisia and Egypt, we should remember the Reign of Terror that followed the storming of the Bastille; Lenin, Mao’s, and Pol Pot’s communist genocides; and the revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran that stands today, busily building the bomb while supporting worldwide terrorism and uttering apocalyptic threats against Israel and the Jewish people . . . ”


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Uncategorized
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  • Source: www.patheos.com

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Super Bowl Ads Rival Game in 2011, According to Hanon McKendry Poll Conducted by Harris Interactive

    PR Newswire: “Hanon McKendry/Integrated Brand Connections is a multi-platform branding firm that helps clients weave all their customer interactions together into one seamless brand experience . . . Hanon McKendry has worked extensively with high-profile corporate clients including Rayovac Batteries, Rubbermaid Home Products, Furniture Row Shopping Centers, Cole’s Quality Foods, Wilsonart and Zondervan (a division of Harper/Collins Publishing). The firm has also earned national recognition for its cause and issue-based campaigns and brand development for clients such as the Alliance Defense Fund, Salvation Army, National Arbor Day Foundation, World Vision, Young Life, Focus on the Family and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. Hanon McKendry is a Gravity Six Alliance partner. ”


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Uncategorized
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  • Source: www.prnewswire.com

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California Bible Brick Lawsuit Echoes Earlier Scripture Censorship Cases

    Yahoo News: With the help of the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), Sheryl Caronna (of Rancho Mirage, Calif.) and Lou Ann Hart (of Palm Desert, Calif.) are protesting the exclusion of the Scripture-engraved pavers they purchased in a Palm Desert High School fundraiser from an on-campus walkway . . . “Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against and excluded from expressing their faith on public high school campuses when that door of communication is open to virtually everyone else,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “The government cannot single out Christians because their religious viewpoint does not coincide with campus orthodoxy. Christians have the same First Amendment- protected rights as everyone else does on public school campuses, and their messages are no less worthy of exposure than other individuals.”


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: news.yahoo.com

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Prayer for country in turmoil

Supreme Court reversals deliver a dressing-down to the liberal 9th Circuit

9th Circuit refuses to delay DADT case

White House quietly exempts pampered politicos from Obamacare

Legal Periodicals: The Myth and Reality of ‘Shari’a’ Courts in Canada: A Delayed Opportunity for the Indigenization of Islamic Legal Rulings

    Kutty, Faisal, The Myth and Reality of ‘Shari’a’ Courts in Canada: A Delayed Opportunity for the Indigenization of Islamic Legal Rulings. University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 7. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1749046

    The Ontario government’s passage of the Family Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 ostensibly precluding the enforcement of faith-based decisions issued by arbitration panels pursuant to the Arbitrations Act, 1991, in the area of family law, brought to the fore a debate that has been raging in liberal democracies for some time.

    Those opposed to allowing the use of religious principles in resolving family disputes using the Arbitrations Act, 1991, raised some legitimate concerns about gender rights within religious communities. They also questioned the role of religion in secular society and opposed what they saw as privatization of the legal system. Opponents contended that religious groups should be able to govern their lives according to their conscience within the parameters of law if the constitutional right to freedom of religion and association is to have any real value. Consenting and informed adults, they argued, must be able to make religious choices even if others do not believe these are “correct” choices.

    The issues, of course, transcend dispute resolution and tug at fundamental tensions surrounding multiculturalism and national identity, the limits of accommodation and legal pluralism within a liberal democracy and the separation of church and state. I argue that Ontario lost a timely opportunity to devise a way to balance these competing rights and interests in a manner that respects all parties and protects the vulnerable.

    The controversy was a prime case to examine whether Islamic law and liberal democracy can co-exist within a liberal constitutional framework. Moreover, I also argue that Ontario also delayed an opportunity to indigenize or Canadianize Islamic law rulings in a manner that would help in the integration process of its Muslim citizens.


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Global: Bench and Bar
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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Legal Periodical: Same-Sex Marriage, Second-Class Citizenship, and Law’s Social Meanings

    Dorf, Michael C., Same-Sex Marriage, Second-Class Citizenship, and Law’s Social Meanings (January 28, 2011). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-03. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1750354

    Government acts, statements, and symbols that carry the social meaning of second-class citizenship may, as a consequence of that fact, violate the Establishment Clause or the constitutional requirement of equal protection. Yet social meaning is often contested. Do laws permitting same-sex couples to form civil unions but not to enter “marriages” convey the social meaning that gays and lesbians are second-class citizens, as some courts have held? Do official displays of the Confederate battle flag unconstitutionally convey support for slavery and white supremacy? Different audiences reach different conclusions about the meaning of these and other contested statements and symbols. Accordingly, to implement the existing cross-ideological consensus that the Constitution forbids at least some government acts, statements, and symbols that convey the social meaning of second-class citizenship, one needs some method for selecting the relevant audience. No method is perfect, but this Article tentatively advances a “reasonable victim” perspective as the presumptive starting point for constitutional analysis


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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Legal Periodical: Second Among Equals? Understanding the Short Shrift that Freedom of Religion is Receiving in Canadian Jurisprudence

    Madden, Mike, Second Among Equals? Understanding the Short Shrift that Freedom of Religion is Receiving in Canadian Jurisprudence (January 21, 2011). Journal of Law and Equality, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 55-86, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1745242

    Decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada seem to indicate that freedom of religion is not protected to the same extent as other fundamental human rights, even though the text of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms suggests that all rights are equal, and that there is no “hierarchy of rights.” This article will demonstrate, through analysis of leading and recent Supreme Court decisions, that a judicial tendency of affording reduced protection to freedom of religion exists in Canada, and that this tendency possibly reflects the relatively weak philosophical justifications for inclusion of freedom of religion within human rights instruments.


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Global: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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Legal Periodical: Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights

    Larson, Carlton F. W., Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights (January 25, 2011). UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 241. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1747858

    his Article provides the first comprehensive legal analysis of parents’ rights to name their own children. Currently, state laws restrict parental naming rights in a number of ways, from restrictions on particular surnames to restrictions on diacritical marks to prohibitions on obscenities, numerals, and pictograms. Yet state laws do not prohibit seemingly horrific names like “Adolf Hitler,” the name recently given to a New Jersey boy.

    This Article argues that state laws restricting parental naming rights are subject to strict scrutiny under both the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. This Article concludes that although many restrictions are constitutional, prohibitions on diacritical marks, such as that employed by the state of California, are unconstitutional. If parents wish to name their child Lucía or José, they have a constitutional right to do so. Similarly, current laws restricting parental choice of surnames fail strict scrutiny. This Article also considers the constitutionality and desirability of statutory reforms that would address certain harmful names not prohibited by current law.

    Along the way, readers will encounter heavy metal bands with unusual umlauts, boys named Sue, the history of birth certificates, false implications of paternity, and dozens of truly awful, but very real, names given by parents to their children.


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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The Constitutional Right to Refuse: Roe, Casey, and the Fourteenth Amendment Rights of Healthcare Providers

    Rienzi, Mark, The Constitutional Right to Refuse: Roe, Casey, and the Fourteenth Amendment Rights of Healthcare Providers (January 27, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1749788

    he Fourteenth Amendment rights of various parties in the abortion context – the pregnant woman, the fetus, the fetus’ father, the state – have been discussed at length by commentators and the courts. Surprisingly, the Fourteenth Amendment rights of the healthcare provider asked to provide the abortion have not. Roe and Casey establish a pregnant woman’s Fourteenth Amendment right to decide for herself whether to have an abortion. Do those same precedents also protect her doctor’s right to decide whether to participate in abortion procedures?

    The Court’s substantive due process analysis typically looks for rights that are “deeply rooted” in our history and traditions. Accordingly, this article addresses the historical basis for finding that providers do indeed have a Fourteenth Amendment right to refuse to perform abortions. This historical analysis shows that the right to refuse passes the Court’s stated test for Fourteenth Amendment protection. In fact, the right to refuse actually has better historical support, and better satisfies the Court’s stated tests, than the abortion right itself.

    Beyond this historical case, a healthcare provider’s right to make this decision also fits squarely within the zone of individual decision-making protected by the Court’s opinions in Casey and Lawrence v. Texas, and protects providers from the types of psychological harm that the Court recognized in Roe and Casey. For these reasons, under Roe and Casey, a healthcare provider has a Fourteenth Amendment right to refuse to participate in abortions.


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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Legal Periodical: The Law of Religious Liberty in a Tolerant Society

    Leiter, Brian, The Law of Religious Liberty in a Tolerant Society (January 25, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1748699

    This is a draft of the final chapter of my forthcoming book WHY TOLERATE RELIGION? Earlier versions of material in the first part of the book appear on SSRN as “Why Tolerate Religion?” (Constitutional Commentary, 2008) and “Foundations of Religious Liberty: Toleration or Respect?” (San Diego Law Review, 2010) (the account of religion has changed somewhat since these two papers). The two main conclusions from earlier in the book that are presupposed in this draft chapter are that: (1) the moral value of liberty of conscience is not specific to claims of “religious” conscience; and (2) there are claims of conscience that are not “religious” in character (however precisely religion is understood). “Principled toleration” requires that a dominant group, with the means to stamp out or repress disfavored beliefs of others, nonetheless recognize that there are good moral reasons to permit such beliefs to be held and expressed (subject to the limits imposed by the Harm Principle). The draft chapter explores the question: what should become of the law of religious liberty in light of these conclusions? Should we opt for a scheme of universal exemptions for claims of conscience, or are there reasons to think that no exemptions for claims of conscience, religious or otherwise, are justified? The relation between toleration and religious establishment is also discussed.


  • Posted: 01/31/2011
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  • Category: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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