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Blog of the Legal Times: The announcement could be good news for Donna Murphy, a lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division. DeMint, who made headlines earlier this year for vowing to reject all White House judicial nominees, has been blocking Murphy’s confirmation to the District of Columbia Superior Court.
Blog of the Legal Times: The freeze on federal judicial nominations appears to be thawing for the first time since the presidential election, at least when it comes to district court nominees.
LifeSiteNews: Despite strong opposition from pro-life forces and a recent high-profile defeat in neighboring Massachusetts, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said last week he is confident the state legislature will pass a bill legalizing assisted suicide during the next session.
Catholic Culture: The British government will introduce legislation early next year to end the 300-year old policy that bars Catholics and spouses of Catholics from the throne.
Catholic New York: On Dec. 11, oral arguments in that appeal are scheduled before New York’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals; representing the foundation, pro bono, is the Alliance Defending Freedom. The foundation also has a raft of endorsements from organizations and prominent individuals, including Cardinal Dolan, supporting its effort.
Christian Concern: An application to build the proposed “mega mosque” in Stratford, London, has been rejected by Newham Council.
Examiner.com (includes video): Accusations are flying in Parliamentary debates concerning whether passing a law to stop sex selection is really just window dressing to re-open the abortion debate, an article in the Huffington Post indicated, Thursday.
LifeNews: An abortion clinic in Florida has botched the insertion of an IUD and was forced to rush a woman to the hospital after she faced medical complications from the failure.
LifeNews: In what a pro-life legal group describes as a “landmark ruling against the HHS Mandate,” a federal judge late yesterday ruled against the Obama administration’s assertion that the government’s supposed “safe harbor” was inadequate to protect religious organizations from suffering imminent harm.
Care2.com: Supported by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian conservative legal group and a private New Hampshire law firm, Care Net is arguing that the government’s actions violated the Fair Housing Act and its constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection under the law. In October, a federal judge ordered a federal hearing officer to consider these arguments in deciding whether Care Net should get the loan.
Philip Cohen at The Atlantic: ”As the role of the extended family, religious rules, and other institutional pressures declines,” he wrote, “choices are increasingly free to be matters of taste.” Mary—both a traditional American name and a symbol religious Christianity—embodies this trend.
Heritage Foundation: Primary schoolchildren in married heterosexual households are 35 percent more likely to make typical school progress than peers in same-sex households, according to a new peer-reviewed study published in the respected academic journal Demography.
Eugene Kontorovich at the Volokh Conspiracy: The Bestiality Brief “The man-bites-dog story of Germany legalizing then banning bestiality raises the question of the constitutionality of such laws in the U.S. Most states criminalize zoophilia, and in many places the bans …
Dale Carpenter at the Volokh Conspiracy: Opponents of same-sex marriage are trying to get the Court to review their recent win against SSM in the district court in Nevada, skipping any consideration of the case in the Ninth Circuit. In their petition for certiorari before judgment, they argue . . .
Religion Clause Blog: In Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York v. Sebelius, (ED NY, Dec. 5, 2012), a New York federal district court permitted the Archdiocese of New York, the Catholic Health Care System (ArchCare) and Catholic Health Services of Long Island to proceed with their 1st Amendment, RFRA and Administrative Procedure Act challenges to the contraceptive coverage mandate imposed under the Affordable Care Act.
Religion Clause Blog: In a Huffington Post essay on Monday, West Point cadet Blake Page announced that he is resigning from West Point 5 months short of graduation in protest of the school’s promotion of religion . . .
Religion Clause Blog (links to the report and more): The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations this week issued its first report to Sen. Charles Grassley.
AP: Walking the catwalk in a Brazilian bikini is a nerve-racking experience for even the most seasoned of models, but for Felipa Tavares it’s nothing short of terrifying. The 6-foot-tall Tavares is among Brazil’s small but growing ranks of transgender models – leggy, high-cheekboned sirens who were born men and are causing a splash here as well as in Paris and other international fashion capitals.
AP: Five days of riots last week in a town in Tunisia’s impoverished interior wounded hundreds of people and deepened the rift between the two most powerful forces in this North African country: the moderate Islamist ruling party and the main labor union.
AP: This year’s Nobel literature winner Mo Yan, who has been criticized for his cozy relationship with China’s Communist Party, defended censorship Thursday as something as necessary as airport security checks.
AP: Lawyers for Chile’s government argued Thursday that judges at the United Nations’ highest court should reject a request by Peru to draw a maritime boundary between the two countries, arguing the boundary was settled in a 1952 treaty.
Charlie Brown, Christmas Trees, Nativity Scenes: Tis the Season for the War on Christmas | Matt Sharp on the Bob Dutko Show
Matt Sharp appeared on the Bob Dutko Show | MP3 audio 11:05 mins | Related Alliance Defending Freedom press releases: ‘Christmas’ trees axed at NC college and Good grief! Atheist group disgruntled with ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’
LifeNews: “Pregnancy centers, which offer real help and hope to women, shouldn’t be punished by political allies of abortion sellers,” said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, co-counsel for the Centro Tepeyac Women’s Center. Bowman added: “Pro-life centers provide women with the emotional support and practical resources they need, giving them more choices. They should be free to share that message instead of being compelled to provide the government’s preferred message, which sends women elsewhere. The 4th Circuit panel was right to rule against Montgomery County’s law, and we trust the full court will agree.”
Fox News: The allegations mark the second straight day the Tea Party-backed Huelskamp has lashed out at Boehner and other House leaders for perceived punishment when they return next year for another term.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: President Barack Obama made headlines months ago when he installed controversial nominees to key government positions, bypassing the U.S. Senate by declaring the Senate in recess so that Senate confirmation was not needed. Today a federal appeals court signaled that it might rule Obama’s move unconstitutional, and remove those officials from power.
NY Times: The Supreme Court on Wednesday struggled to decide whether it was capable of doing anything to affect the outcome of a custody dispute before the Sheriff Court in Airdrie, Scotland.
Click Orlando: Baby Jesus and a wooden donkey were stolen from the nativity scene of a Central Florida city, prompting officials to offer a cash reward for their return.
Hawaii News Now: A threatened lawsuit had put a halt to what’s become a Christmas tradition for members of the Moanalua High School orchestra. For the past six years, the award-winning group and volunteers from the New Hope Church have raised more than $200,000 for a charity that treats poor people in Africa.
LA Daily News: Residents in a Newhall senior apartment complex are protesting an order from management to remove their beloved Christmas tree from the community room because, they were told, it’s a religious symbol.
Court: City of Duluth violated court order by reimposing First Amendment ban | Alliance Defending Freedom
People are once again free to peacefully share their faith at the “Bentleyville Tour of Lights” event in Duluth. A federal court ruled Wednesday that the city violated a court order when it reinstated a First Amendment ban at the event.
Why is the United Nations Foundation Bashing Pro-Life Advocates? Life Legal Defense Foundation Responds
Christian Newswire: The United Nations is singing Attorney General Eric Holder’s praises, both inaccurately and inappropriately, via its United Nations Foundation blog, Reproductive Health Reality Check (also known as RH Reality Check).
The Hill: The conservative blog Red State, run by the influential political commentator Erick Erickson, is calling on Republicans to depose Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The Hill: McConnell met with the House Republican Study Committee last week to warn conservatives in the lower chamber not to sign on to any bipartisan initiative requiring super-PACs to disclose their donors.
The HIll: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is being pressured to address the thorny topic of Irish abortion law when she visits Dublin Thursday on one of her last official foreign trips.
Salon: In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Mexico has paved the way for same-sex couples to marry in every one of the country’s 31 states before the U.S. has federal marriage equality.
Reuters: Egypt’s Republican Guard restored order around the presidential palace on Thursday after fierce overnight clashes killed seven people, but passions ran high in a struggle over the country’s future.
Contraception and Women’s Wellbeing: Physical Health, Happiness, and Religion | Helen Alvare at Public Discourse
Helen Alvare at Public Discourse: In the first part of this series, I described a new alliance formed between our national government and Planned Parenthood, effecting an unprecedented campaign against religious liberty in the United States–and threatening female wellbeing at the same time. Yesterday I considered three lines of response: that contraception isn’t the only way to plan a family, that contraception leads to sexual disillusionment, and that contraception weakens the marriage culture at the expense of the least well-off women. Today I enlarge upon the argument that less-privileged women will bear the brunt of large-scale, government-promoted contraceptive programs. I also consider two other arguments: that some contraception has problematic side effects for some women, and that contraception does not manufacture female happiness as its proponents suggest. I conclude by considering how religion contributes to several of the aspects of women’s flourishing that contraception was promised to–but failed to–promote.
The Hill (includes video): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday offered an amendment to force a vote on President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was having none of it.
Heritage Foundation: It seems that every day now brings another business owner in the news talking about cutting workers’ hours or making other cost-cutting moves in anticipation of Obamacare’s impact in 2013.
CNSNews: According to a recent Gallup poll that asked participants if they have a positive or negative image of socialism, 53 percent of Democrats and “leaning democrats” said they have a positive image while 23 percent of Republicans and “leaning republicans” said their image is positive.
Fox News: South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint is leaving Congress to head the conservative Heritage Foundation. The Tea Party-backed senator announced the move Thursday, saying he will step down from the Senate in January to become president of The Heritage Foundation think tank.