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U.S. Supreme Court to hear Prop. 8, DOMA cases | Alliance Defending Freedom Statement by Jim Campbell
“Marriage between a man and a woman is a universal good that diverse cultures and faiths have honored throughout the history of Western Civilization. Marriage expresses the truth that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life. The ProtectMarriage.com legal team looks forward to advocating before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the people’s right to preserve this fundamental building block of civilization.”
SCOTUS Blog has just broken the news. This posted may be updated as more information comes.
National Review Bench Memos: North Carolina governor Bev Perdue has issued an executive order ”temporarily modifying” a previous executive order in which she established a so-called “merit selection” system for appointing judges. Under the terms of her new EO, she will simply appoint a nominee of her choosing rather than select from a panel of nominees submitted by an independent commission.
Detroit Free Press: One bill would allow physicians and other health care providers to refuse to provide services to patients when there’s a “moral” or “conscientious” objection, and allow employers to refuse to pay for services on the same grounds; another three-bill package would require women seeking insurance through Michigan’s soon-to-exist health care exchange — part of federal health care reform — to purchase an optional abortion insurance rider to have such services covered.
Washington Blade: The Senate Judiciary Committee reported out by voice vote the nomination of Pamela Ki Mai Chen, whom President Obama nominated in August for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The panel reported out her nomination in an en banc vote as part of a group of seven nominees.
Single Belles, Single All the Way: The marriage gap is a problem we can’t afford to ignore. | Mona Charen at NRO
Mona Charen at National Review: It in’t a matter of urgent national importance when non-parents choose to live together without benefit of clergy (I love the old-fashioned expression). When children come into the picture, it is. There is simply no controversy about the data: Two-parent married families are best for children — and best for society.
Christian Institute: More very premature babies are surviving “than ever before”, figures published in the British Medical Journal show. Overall, for babies born between 22 and 25 weeks, chances of survival increased from 40 per cent to 53 per cent between 1995 and 2006. For babies born at 23 weeks the chances of survival rose by 9.5 per cent. The abortion limit is 24 weeks.
Stephen M. Krason at Crisis Magazine: How can one talk about changing the libertarian divorce laws—much less the divorce culture—in the Age of Obama, when the national administration and the ruling political party is pushing the most permissive sexual and family agenda in American history? There is no place to work from but the ground up, and we should always keep in mind that the bright future of new historical ages is often fashioned in the throes of a troubled and declining socio-cultural era.
National Catholic Reporter: A statement by Australia’s Federal Attorney General Nicola Roxon that the national royal commission into child sex abuse should look into requiring Catholic priests to break the seal of confession in cases of serious sex offenses generated much discussion inside and outside the church, even as Roxon tried to downplay the issue.
BBC: The Church of England said it would study the proposals but was firmly against same-sex marriage. In a statement, the Church said: “We believe that redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships will entail a dilution in the meaning of marriage for everyone by excluding the fundamental complementarity of men and women from the social and legal definition of marriage.
NC Register: The Irish bishops’ conference is insisting that almost all the options recommended by a recent report for changing the country’s abortion laws are unacceptable, since allowing abortion cannot be morally justified.
Seattle Times: Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples took advantage of Washington’s new same-sex marriage law on Thursday, getting marriage licenses on a historic day filled with celebration.
Voice of America: Opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi have taken to the streets of Cairo, converging on the presidential palace in another day of demonstrations that have gripped the capital.
Huffington Post: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) became the latest state chief executive to rebuff President Barack Obama’s health care reform law Thursday by vetoing a bill that would have created an online marketplace for uninsured residents to shop for health insurance.
Judge Yanks Anti-christian Officials’ Chain: Blasts attempt to subvert court order against speech restrictions in public park | WND
WorldNetDaily: ADF reported today “people are once again free to peacefully share their faith at the ‘Bentleyville Tour of Lights’ event.” “The government cannot ban the First Amendment in a public park just because event officials don’t like the message that a person is sharing,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, who is co-counsel in the case with Nate Kellum of the Center for Religious Expression. “The court has done the right thing in enforcing what the original order sought to protect: the constitutionally protected freedom of citizens to engage in non-disruptive speech in a public place.”
Cardinal Newman Society: In a Nov. 20th memo obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society, Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh has announced to faculty and staff that in response to the HHS mandate it will begin covering contraceptives starting next month.
Stillwater Gazette: Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said that his group doesn’t think churches should serve as polling places unless absolutely necessary.
Lamar W. Hankins at San Marcos Mercury: An on-line review of agendas from 30 Austin-area communities reveals that almost half of area city councils use their elected positions to promote religion. Of those 30 towns and cities, 14 begin their meetings with invocations (usually prayers) according to their agendas. While nearly 47% of area municipalities promote this religious practice, the rest do not. Austin is the largest city in the area to do so.
ACLU Asks Federal Appeals Court to End Religious Restrictions on Reproductive Health Care for Trafficking Victims
Reality Check: The arguments were in the case of ACLU of Massachusetts v. Sebelius, a challenge to HHS’ distribution of program funds authorized by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
CNSNews: Seventy-three percent of the new civilian jobs created in the United States over the last five months are in government, according to official data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy: In NFIB v. Sebelius the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate penalty as a constitutional exercise of the federal taxing power. Although little of the briefing (and even less of the oral argument) considered the question, the Court concluded the penalty did not constitute a “direct tax.” This conclusion was necessary to sustain the penalty as a tax because direct taxes must be apportioned among the states by population. But if the penalty is not a direct tax, that does not mean it is free from constitutional defect. As David Rivkin and Lee Casey write in today’s WSJ, the Uniformity Clause of Article I, Section 8 could provide the basis for another attack on the penalty. They write:
Report from en banc Fourth Circuit oral argument in pregnancy center compelled speech cases | WalshLaw
WalshLaw: This morning’s lively en banc proceedings at the Fourth Circuit in abortion-counseling-related First Amendment challenges did not produce clear signs of a winner, but raised questions (at least in my mind) about what legal issues the court took the cases en banc to address. There was virtually no discussion of commercial speech doctrine, and no judge or set of judges developed a line of questioning that would seemingly lay the foundation to displace strict scrutiny as the appropriate standard of review. That said, oral argument reveals only so much. | Related ADF Media Information Page and Press Releases
Video and resources by the Alliance Defending Freedom and Gateways to Better Education.
Christian Civic League Faith Matters in Maine: Protect and prepare for any conflict that same sex marriage will bring to your church. Click here for part 2 of a two part “Faith Matters in Maine” interview with Joel Oster, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. Listen to Faith Matters in Maine with Carroll Conley, Jr. and Bob Emrich every Monday at 6:15 pm (WHCF 88.5, Hodgdon/Houlton 93.7, and Presque Isle 102.7)
WWWNTRadio: An attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which advocates for religious rights and freedoms, criticized the school’s decision. “America’s public schools should encourage, not restrict, the constitutionally protected freedom of students to express their faith,” said Matt Sharp, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, in a statement. “Students should not be censored when speaking about their faith or honoring those who valiantly served to protect our freedoms. … The censorship of this young student’s poem about her grandfathers is repugnant to the First Amendment rights of all students and sends an impermissible message of hostility towards religion.”
Religion Clause Blog: However, the court refused to hold defendants in contempt because of ambiguity in the language of the original preliminary injunction, instead issuing a new modified injunction to cover future Festivals. Alliance Defending Freedom issued a press release announcing the court’s decision. Duluth News Tribunereports on the decision.
Religion Clause Blog: The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission on Wednesday filed a Notice of Formal Charges (full text) against Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins for using her judicial position to sell religious books and materials through her for-profit business, Gaza Road Ministries.
AP: Mormon leaders made their most significant outreach yet to gays and lesbians, unveiling a new website Thursday that encourages church members to be more compassionate in discussions about homosexuality.
AP: Sri Lankan opposition lawmakers Friday withdrew from a committee looking into impeachment charges against the country’s chief justice, saying the process is flawed and unfair.
Education News: The student government at the University of California-Berkeley (CAL) passed a resolution last month that would ban Salvation Army bell ringers and their iconic red kettles from campus this Christmas because of the Christian organization’s alleged bias against homosexuality.
Middle East Forum: Of all the Christian communities in Syria, the Assyrians, that is, those Christians who identify as such by virtue of belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East, arguably have the most complex relationship with the Assad regime. Assyrians are concentrated in the northeast around Hasakeh, with others settled in Damascus and Aleppo. As was the case in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a problem for Syria’s Assyrian community has been the traditional denial of the Assyrian identity by the pan-Arab Baathist ideology. This has culminated in the destruction of numerous Assyrian villages in the north of Iraq as part of Saddam’ss Arabization program.
Liberty Counsel: Late last night, Liberty Counsel filed a request for an emergency appeal and declarations in support of our appeal, asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to block California law SB 1172 which goes into effect on January 1, 2013. The law will ban any counsel that seeks to reduce or eliminate same-sex sexual attractions, behavior, or identity.
SCOTUS Blog: At tomorrow’s Conference, the Court will consider ten petitions presenting issues relating to same-sex marriage. During the last two weeks, the blog ran Lyle’s four-part series explaining the issues in each of the cases before the Court, and Amy analyzed the cases and issues in “Plain English”; links to those posts are below.
AP:In an audacious flex of political muscle, Republicans in a single day reached the brink of a goal that for years has seemed an all-but-impossible dream: making the labor bastion of Michigan a right-to-work state.
William Becker at the Washington Times: In Santa Monica, Calif., city leaders earlier this year pulled the plug on a 59-year-old community celebration of the Christmas story — the birth of Jesus — in tourist-friendly Palisades Park. The city that for decades billed itself as “The City of the Christmas Story” banished the yuletide tradition after a mischievous band of atheist activists last year secured the bulk of display permits in order to spread their tidings of scorn for the Nativity displays. Agreeing with the city, a federal judge last week tossed out a lawsuit challenging the new ban. Such is the state of Christmas present.
AP: More than 2,000 people are gathering at Pearl Harbor on Friday to mark the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack that killed thousands of people and launched the United States into World War II.
Jurist: The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, a non-profit corporation in Nevada which opposes same-sex marriage, petitioned [text, PDF] the US Supreme Court on Wednesday to grant a writ of certiorari to determine “whether the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause requires Nevada to change its definition of marriage from the union of a man and a woman to the union of two persons.
C-FAM: Piero Tozzi, Senior Legal Counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, denied any such effects when the principles were first published saying that international law “is not an empty vessel into which currently politically correct content can be poured into and labeled ‘customary.’”