Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Boston Globe: “Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Judith Cowin announced Monday that she will retire in April, giving Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick another opportunity to continue reshaping the state’s highest court.”
The Hawaii Reporter: “The Hawaii State Senate passed SB 232 today by a vote of 19 to 6. The bill, which establishes civil unions in Hawaii, would grant unmarried couples more rights and benefits including tax benefits.”
LifeNews: “Leading pro-abortion activists are using the issue of rape as a method of attacking a new bill in Congress that would ban taxpayer funding of abortions across all governmental programs and agencies.”
Suwanne Democrat: “A Lake City-based atheist group has asked Suwannee County Supervisor of Elections Glenda Williams not to locate polling places within area churches.”
KHOU.com: “The bill would require a doctor to perform an ultrasound on a pregnant woman and display the images where she can see them shortly before an abortion is done. In addition, doctors would be required to amplify the fetal heartbeats so that the pregnant woman can hear them.”
Warner Todd Huston writes at Breitbart Big Government: “In 2008 alone, Planned Parenthood received nearly $350 million in federal funding. By Planned Parenthood’s own reckoning, this funding went to eliminate babies for more than 324,000 women that year.”
Reuters: “Pimps will traffic thousands of under-age prostitutes to Texas for Sunday’s Super Bowl, hoping to do business with men arriving for the big game with money to burn, child rights advocates said.”
David French writes at National Review Phi Beta Cons Blog: “But I wonder if the distinction goes a bit deeper, with the secular and soft-religious Western mindset falsely presuming their child’s virtue — believing that their ‘good’ kids will excel only if their goodness is recognized and exalted. The Tiger Mom, by contrast, seems to have a more realistic mindset, understanding (to use a Calvinist concept) their child’s inherent depravity, including a tendency towards sloth.”
CNA: “The French Constitutional Council has ruled that prohibiting same-sex ‘marriage’ in the country does not violate the Constitution.”
One News Now: “Since 2008, some 200 U.S. churches have faced foreclosure. But according to a survey from the CoStar Group, the properties of only eight churches were seized in the two previous years.”
“In the most high-profile challenge to the reform law yet, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the so-called individual mandate exceeds congressional power. Further, he said the whole law cannot stand because the law depends on the mandate to work.”
Montana Standard: “Emotions ran high Friday at a hearing on a bill that would require all women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion. Besides making ultrasounds mandatory, House Bill 280, by Rep. Pat Ingraham, R-Thompson Falls, would require medical providers to read the ultrasound results to women seeking abortions, although women could legally avert their eyes from the images.”
IFI: “Civil unions are merely a stepping stone to legalized same-sex marriage. Of the central defining criteria for marriage — number of partners, blood kinship, minimum age and sexual complementarity — sexual complementarity is the most enduring. Therefore, eliminating it constitutes the most radical redefinition of marriage imaginable.”
IowaPolitics.com: There was action this week in both the Iowa House and Senate on the IMA. The House moved the bill – HJR 6 – through both the subcommittee and full Judiciary Committee. The Democrats requested a public hearing, which will take place on Monday evening from 6:30 PM to 8:45 PM. The hearing will be in the House chamber and there are over 80 speakers signed up to testify.
Engage Family Blog: “ADF and Separation of Church/State – Have the great wall tearing down attorneys at the Alliance Defense Fund capitulated to the idea of separating church and state? Hardly.”
HSLDA: “While Alliance Defense Fund Attorney John Anthony Simmons is representing Mrs. Voydatch, HSLDA has been consulting with the ADF and its attorneys to ensure that the liberty of all homeschoolers is protected.”
Progress Illinois: “Today’s signing is not the end of the fight. State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago), one of two openly gay members of the General Assembly, reiterated in an interview Friday that she and her partner can still not marry in their home state, and will travel to Iowa for that right.”
365Gay.com: This week, the Obama administration filled two high-ranking positions with openly gay appointees and nominated a third for a federal judgeship [J. Paul Oetke] in New York.”
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.”
Lansing State Journal: “Despite concerns raised by Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, the Michigan Civil Service Commission on Wednesday extended health benefits to same sex partners and other adults living with state employees.”
Rob Schwarzwalder writes at Human Events: “The clear and inherent constraints of the Constitution would, if applied with intellectual honesty, put an end to the expansionist vision of the federal government that is essential to the Left’s program of statism.”
LA Times: “When Gov. Pat Quinn signs the historic legislation Monday afternoon, he’ll be joined by up to 900 members of the gay community and their supporters, many of whom have been waiting years for this moment to arrive.”
“Gov. Terry Branstad is planning an hour-long interview with each of the nine nominees for three seats on the Iowa Supreme Court, but said he doesn’t intend to ask them about the case that created those vacancies.”
LifeNews:”James Pendergraft, a Florida-based abortion business owner has had his medical licenses suspended four times for violations, has reportedly opened up a new late-term abortion business in the Washington, D.C. area.”
Des Moines Register: “Onwuachi-Willig, who joined the law school faculty in 2006, told the state judicial nominating commission Tuesday that she had not yet finished the process for joining the Iowa bar, but was close.”
LifeSiteNews: “Four California firefighters forced to participate in a gay pride parade in July 2007 are victorious after the California Supreme Court this week refused to hear the city’s petition to review an appellate court decision last year.”
NY Times Editorial: “In 2010, more than 600 measures were introduced in state legislatures to limit access to abortion and some 34 secured passage, according to tallies by Naral Pro-Choice America and the Center for Reproductive Rights. November’s elections made the outlook even bleaker.”
Honolulu Star Advertiser: “McKenna talked last week about being gay in the hopes that others will recognize that sexual orientation should not be a bar in achieving their goals.”
Religion Clause Blog: “Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) announced this week that he, along with 7 co-sponsors, has introduced H.R. 440, a bipartisan bill to provide for the establishment of the Special State Department Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.”
Debra J. Saunders writes at Townhall: “Four times this month, the U.S. Supreme Court has slapped down the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Four times the Big Bench unanimously reversed Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions. Unanimous is a big deal. It means that there’s no left-right political divide in the Big Bench’s findings — just right on the law and wrong on the law. I take unanimous seriously.”
“Lambda Legal Reaches Settlement Agreement with Indiana School District After Transgender Student Was Barred from Prom”
Lambda Legal: “On May 19, 2006, Principal Diane Rouse stretched her arms across the door of the senior prom, blocking Logan’s entrance because Logan was wearing a dress; at the time, Logan identified as a feminine male. Classmates and friends rallied to Logan’s defense to no avail—even though a female student was allowed to attend dressed in a tuxedo.”
Religion Clause Blog: “In Goradia v. Union of India, (India Sup. Ct., Jan. 28, 2011), India’s Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to India’s Haj Committee Act of 2002 under which the government provides air fare subsidies for Haj pilgrims.”
Religion Clause Blog: “In England, legislative changes to permit the ordination of women as bishops in the Church of England is slowly proceeding. In July, the Church’s General Synod approved the proposal and referred it to diocesan synods.”
R.J. Snell writes at Public Discourse: “In the latest issue of The Atlantic we learn that the world of online pornography reveals eternal truths about men and women These aren’t happy truths, and the needlessly prurient article makes them all the more miserable . . . If we grant those points, then it would seem that the ongoing brutalization of women is simply normal–male sexuality is naturally aggressive and hostile to women, no program of social engineering can alter this fact, . . . I am unwilling to accept this . . . ”
AP: “Yet America remains by far the No. 1 manufacturing country. It out-produces No. 2 China by more than 40 percent . . . American factories have seized upon complex and expensive goods requiring specialized labor: industrial lathes, computer chips, fighter jets, health care products.”
AP: Still, though it can bring out the sheer numbers, the Brotherhood is reluctant to present itself overtly as a leader or driving force in the protests, realizing that storming out with its hard-line slogans of “Islam is the solution” would disillusion secular groups, raise panic that it is trying to take over and bring a harsher government crackdown.
AP: “A man loaded his vehicle with explosives and was planning to attack one of the nation’s largest mosques before law enforcement officers stopped him outside the facility as mourners gathered for a funeral, authorities say.”
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 . . . ”
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. ”
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.”
One News Now: “An Alliance Defense Fund-trained lawyer with a special connection to Egypt says she’s been in contact with friends and associates since the protests there broke out Friday. Aronda Kerns of Wichita, Kansas, has served in Egypt as a teacher on multiple occasions over the past ten years.”
Washington Post: “Sometimes the Supreme Court simply decides cases, and sometimes it seems to have something bigger in mind. In the past two weeks it has been in scold mode, and its target has been the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”
SCOTUS Blog: The Ninth Circuit Court has turned down the Obama Administration’s request to put on hold the case testing the constitutionality of the “don’t ask/don’t tell” law restricting the right of gays to serve in the military. In a one-page order, issued Friday, however, the Circuit Court added another month to the time before the briefing schedule is to begin. That was the Administration’s alternative plea.
Washington Times: “If you would like to know what the White House really thinks of Obamacare, there’s an easy way. Look past its press releases. Ignore its promises. Forget its talking points. Instead, simply witness for yourself the outrageous way the White House protects its best friends 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.