December 8, 2019

Articles: Gay Marriage vs. Religious Liberty

The counterargument is that marriage is a privilege and not a right, a union of one man and one woman sanctioned over millennia by virtually every culture and country over time as the stable foundation of any society, a framework for the bearing and rearing of children that are the future of any society:

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/04/gay_marriage_vs_religious_liberty.html#ixzz3Yo5CtQll
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Source: Articles: Gay Marriage vs. Religious Liberty

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Maine Supreme Court Arguments Over Windmills

Information provided by a member of the Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes:

Dear PPDLW member,

Today the Maine Supreme Court heard oral arguments from Juliet Browne (for Champlain Wind) and Peggy Bensinger (Asst AG representing BEP/DEP). Neither PPDLW now Conservation Law Foundation were allowed to address the Court and neither of us were asked any questions.

Champlain Wind presented an argument that I thought was weaker than previous ones. Juliet was interrupted and was asked some difficult questions. At one point she seemed a bit flustered.
AAG Bensinger attacked firmly and quickly but when she was asked questions she faltered a bit. She did a fine job of explaining that this project is unique in the number of lakes affected, the fact that the lakes form a large system and that they are enjoyed as a system.

I won’t go into the details of exactly what was asked nor will I paraphrase the responses. You have to understand that the Justices have been studying this massive written record for nine months. They have most likely formed opinions already but wanted to hear each party expound on the key issues. They often ask questions to which they have the answers. They will play devil’s advocate to test the parties’ positions. We shouldn’t read much into the questions that are asked. They are not a good indication of the judge’s position.

The Court always give a huge benefit of the doubt to decisions made by a State agency. It take an enormous amount of compelling evidence to get the Court to overturn an agency decision. One of Judges asked Juliet if she realized that. I think for the Court to overturn the BEP’s affirmation of the DEP denial, Juliet would have had to hit the ball out of the park. I don’t think she did. If the Court is not willing to outright overturn the DEP/BEP denial, they have two options. One, they could say they don’t see enough convincing evidence of a legal error and therefore deny Champlain’s appeal and the Bowers project will remain dead. Two, the Court could remand the decision back to BEP so they can address the concerns raised by the Court and write a new decision document. In that case I’m fairly certain BEP can address those concerns and still affirm the DEP denial.

I’m not a lawyer so this is all speculation but I’m cautiously optimistic about the outcome. Obviously I’ll let you know the decision as soon as I hear.

The Board and Officers of PPDLW thank all of you who attended the Court today. As always, there were more of our supporters than Champlain’s.

Have a great mud season!

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(America’s Unique) Definition of individualism

Individualism means the priority of sacred individual rights over the rights/power of the commune or of fascist Nationalism.

The word sacred refers to the descriptor God-given to describe rights that America recognizes as preceding the writing of the US Constitution.

The words commune and fascist Nationalism include the concepts of any region such as in regionalism, globalism, environmentalism and necessarily includes the concept of habitat.

Recalling the Nazis, Nationalism was the priority of the nation over the individual wherein the rights of the individuals were bound (root meaning of the word fascist) and individual rights were denied for the greater common good of Germany. [See attached photo.][“These dead gave their spirits for the glory of Greater Germany.”]

I’ve seen a corruption of the word individualism by Communists, Putin in particular, and a foreign misunderstanding of American individualism by at least one liberal or left-wing Australian Catholic. America’s Protestant roots might also explain why the expression of individualism of the French and American revolutions might not be well understood in the melting pot of America’s many cultures.

Personalism, an old (but not irrelevant) concept in the Catholic religious community is similar but seems to be more of a term of art in the religious/philosophical field, while American individualism, according to my understanding as of this writing, is a term of art in the legal rights/political field.

Individualism as I refer to it herein, relates not to the person rather to the rights (power) of the person as an individual in competition against the rights (power) of the Commune. The individual wins against the Government because of the priority of the God-given sacred fundamental right of the individual to Free Speech.

For example, let’s take a look at what the United States Supreme Court (Chief Justice Roberts) said about the God-given right to Free Speech in U.S. V. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460 (2010):
“The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it. The Constitution is not a document “prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 178 (1803).” [Emphasis added.]

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-769.pdf

To understand the uniquely American concept of individualism use Livy’s dialectic by considering the statements of those who oppose American individualism. Hegel (hence Marx) states that, “Freedom is the recognition of the necessity of mutual coercion.” [Quote is attributed by adherent Hardin to Hegel.] Russian Communist Putin described individualism as dangerous. And Obama in his typically inexact and rambling way stated essentially that, Personal freedom is preserved by collective action. Similar remarks are attributed to Hillary Clinton.

Redefining individualism as similar to hedonism, egoism or anarchy defeats the connection between individual rights and God as against the all powerful centralized government. In order to counter the mischaracterization of individualism by foreigners who easily confuse individualism with hedonism, egoism or anarchy consider this: American individualism is not a concept that pits man against God.

Rather the concept of American individualism is God and man together against the otherwise overwhelming power of government. This is not some sort of anti-government conspiracy stuff. The automatically-arising competition between the power of government and the protection of God-given human rights (power of the individual) consumes the writers of both the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist Papers of the late 1700’s.

If the Founders were not cognizant of the overwhelming power of centralized government, then why would they devise the separation of powers so thoroughly? The Legislature is divided into two and its laws must survive a veto by a third party, the Executive. The Judiciary is divided into three courts with original trial, appellate review and then the Supreme Court. The Executive is one but may be removed by the Legislature. The Legislature (Congress) creates the law but may not interpret it. Expounding upon the law is the duty and function of the Judiciary. The Executive enforces the law.

Now think about the lack of separation of powers in agencies that make their own rules, interpret them, establish their own facts, enforce the result, and then, despite being a biased party in litigation, demand that the Judiciary to give them total deference.

The writers of the Constitution knew their history. The Magna Charta, now about 800 years old, is the basis of human rights, human freedom and thereby human dignity found in our federal and state Constitutions. It provided that humans would not be deprived of life, liberty or property without resort to a jury of their peers, yet that is exactly what bureaucratic agencies are currently allowed to get away with.

As the exCommunist noted in the ’50’s era book “The God That Failed”, the largest most controlling monopolistic corporation is but a mere pygmy when compared to the power of government. Consistent with that thought, consider that even the largest US corporations don’t operate SWAT teams but the smallest subdivision of US government can usually figure out how to get one called up if needed.

I heard someone say that the reason the expression of individualism in the French revolution failed, but the American experiment worked, was because Americans connected God to their individual rights. And the French did not. So, when God is taken out of government and schools, Constitutional rights simply become, as in any Communist country, an illegitimate Kaganesque ad hoc balancing test between the interest of atheist man in rights (powers) against the interest of atheist government in rights (powers). In such contests, the government always wins.

So to reiterate what Justice Roberts said:
“As a free-floating test for First Amendment coverage, that sentence is startling and dangerous. The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not extend only to categories of speech that survive an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits. The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it. The Constitution is not a document “prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 178 (1803).”

Without connecting God to our individual rights, we cannot as easily recognize the loss of our human dignity when human rights to property are taken away from us. In labor law, employment is a recognized property right the violation of which gives rise to a cause of action by the individual whose rights are violated. The Endangered
Species Act now centrally controls, outside of the three branches of government, our private property rights. Central control abolishes private property ala the Communist Manifesto. (Last two pages Chapter Two.) By signing the ESA, Nixon capitulated more than just Vietnam to the Communists. “Just following orders” was no defense to the Nazis and should be no defense to those “just following orders” in the various anti-American, anti-human liberation movements.

Individual rights should not be confused with group rights. Group rights violate our Founders’ doctrine of equality under the law and show up as corporate cronyism (that resemble Communist oligarchy) and as special rights for small politically well-connected groups of humans and of endangered animals.

The following describes individual rights, that is, individualism, the priority of the rights of the individual over the government and its bureaucracies. Some states’ rights are included. The following is not a verbatim recitation, rather the list of paraphrased rights is to demonstrate much of what we do not hear on today’s professional agitator propaganda media outlets. Capitalization is all over the map in the Constitution and was followed in some instances and ignored in others.

The people shall have the Writ of Habeas Corpus available except under certain circumstances.

The individual shall be free from Bills of Attainder and ex post facto laws.

Individuals shall have limits on taxation.

There shall be no preferences toward one state over another.

Appropriations by law are necessary to authorize withdrawal of federal money from the Treasury.

No title of nobility shall be granted by the US.

The trial of all crimes shall be by jury.

Each citizen shall have all privileges and immunities of one state in all the other states.

The United States shall protect each state from invasion.

Congress shall not establish a religion or prohibit the free exercise of religion or abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press, or to peaceably assemble.

The individual shall have the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The people shall be free from the mandatory quartering of troops in their homes.

Individuals shall not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures.

No accusations of crime against individuals shall lie unless made in writing to give proper notice of the allegations and in order to provide for a proper defense.

No one shall be subjected to double jeopardy. [Regarding WOTUS, the central controllers at the EPA want fines up to $37,500 per day of violation.]

No one can be compelled to testify against oneself. [Compare that to certain administrative state proceedings that resemble the Star Chambers of old.]

No one can be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law. [“Of law” has a special meaning that excludes the extralegal administrative state proceedings.] [“Due process” is a phrase of art for which whole books have been written. The concept includes substantive (authentic, my word) due process meaning the Constitutional creation of the law to include proper notice to the public, written notice of any alleged violations, and more.]

No property shall be taken for the governments’ purposes [of saving animals] without just compensation.

An accused shall have the right of speedy and public trial [No agency Star Chamber trials.] by jury where the crime was alleged to have been committed, to be informed of the allegation, to confront the accusers, to have compulsory process for providing defense witnesses and for a defense lawyer.

Where the amount of controversy shall exceed $20, a litigant shall have the right to demand a jury. [Again, environmental fine of $37,500 with no trial.]

The individual shall be free from excessive bail, excessive fines and free from cruel and unusual punishments. [$37,500 fine, daily.]

The individual’s rights set out shall not be disparaged by the numbering order set out in the Bill of Rights.

There shall be no slavery or involuntary servitude except as punishment for crime. [That is after conviction, not just because you decide to engage in a certain kind of regulated business.]

No state shall make or enforce any law that shall abridge the privileges and immunities of the individual. [Seems to me that economic rights are privileges and immunities of property ownership that should not be abridged simply by administrative rule that are not enacted first by law, that is, representative government.]

Equal protection under the law appears in three important places not including the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers.

The individual’s right to vote appears in several places also.

No where in there do I see any right of a small politically well-connected group of pinnated grouse, of tiny fish or of spotted owls to force an individual to give up human rights to private property or to private property self-employment rights. In fact, what I see is the establishment of a humans-first public policy that Congress had no right to alter by passing the Endangered Species Act.

Individualism

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Federal Appeals Court Asked to Rehear Landmark Race Preferences Case

Fifth Circuit Didn’t Follow U.S. Supreme Court Instructions, Black Activists Say: The Judges Didn’t Do Their Job

“Racial preferences are a narcotic for the nation’s liberal education elites, and like a drug addiction, must be dealt with…”

Washington, DC – The Project 21 black leadership network and other organizations today filed a legal brief with the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for the entire court to hear an appeal of the race preference case of Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, et al.

The Project 21 amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief, written by the Pacific Legal Foundation and joined by the Center for Equal Opportunity, Individual Rights Foundation and Reason Foundation, argues the Fifth Circuit panel ignored the Supreme Court’s ruling that tasked the court to “verify that it is ‘necessary’ for a university to use race to achieve the educational benefits of diversity” and that they “failed to properly scrutinize the purported benefits that flow from the race-conscious component of the university’s admissions plan.”

“The appeals court in the Fisher case has simply ignored the Supreme Court’s directive and declared the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action policy acceptable without undergoing any of the appropriate legal analysis,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a legal commentator who taught constitutional law at George Mason University and former leadership staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives. “Using race as an admissions factor should be the last resort, not the first one.”

Project 21’s Cooper is a University of Texas at Austin graduate.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a 7-1 decision that sent the Fisher case back to the Fifth Circuit with instructions that the case — in which the white plaintiff said race preferences prevented her acceptance at the University of Texas at Austin in favor of a lesser-qualified minority applicant — be retried under standards of “strict scrutiny.” This rehearing was supposed to be a thoughtful and thorough analysis of whether race preferences were a necessary part of the school admissions policy in order to obtain a “critical mass” of minority students and achieve a diverse student body.

This should be a greater challenge for the University of Texas at Austin than for most schools because a top percentage of graduating Texas high school students are guaranteed admission to state universities (ten percent at the time the Fisher lawsuit was filed, but lowered at UT Austin to around eight percent in 2011).

“The 2013 Supreme Court ruling, which sent the Fisher case back to the Fifth Circuit, solved little as we now know,” said Project 21’s Joe R. Hicks, the former executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Greater Los Angeles chapter. “The justices had yet another opportunity to put final nails in the coffin of racial preferences and rule finally on the issue of whether or not there is a ‘compelling’ state interest in racially-discriminatory admission policies in public education. The Court failed, sending down another narrowly-tailored ruling. Racial preferences are a narcotic for the nation’s liberal education elites, and like a drug addiction, must be dealt with by using direct, clear actions.”

If the appeal is granted, the three-judge panel’s July 15, 2014 ruling that the university’s pro-racial preferences admissions policy is constitutional will be thrown out and the entire membership of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will rehear and render a new decision in the case.

The Project 21 legal brief notes that “[t]he costs of racial preferences are many and widely recognized by the courts” while discussion of benefits are more elusive. The brief focuses on an “academic mismatch” that can occur when preferences are used as a means to an end without properly weighing costs and benefits, and how a mismatch can actually increase black dropout rates:

Academic mismatch begins when elite universities lower their academic standards to admit a more racially diverse student population. Schools one or two academic tiers below must do likewise, since the minority students who might have attended those lower ranking universities based on their own academic record are instead attending the elite colleges. The result is a significant gap in academic credentials between minority and nonminority students at all levels.

Even supporters of racial preferences have had to acknowledge that students who attend schools where their academic credentials are substantially below those of their fellow students will tend to perform poorly…

No matter where academic mismatch occurs, lower grades lead to lower levels of academic self-confidence, which in turn increases the likelihood that minority students will lose interest in continuing their education and drop out. The panel decision failed to consider the costs of racial preference — including mismatch — when determining that the University’s admissions policy was narrowly tailored…

Project 21’s Chelsi Henry, a lawyer, added: “At the heart of this case is the well-being of minority students across America. Racial bias still exist and there must remain a solution to assist in equal opportunity for all. However, we should not allow that assistance to hinder the academic development and mental state of minority students.”

Project 21 has participated in three other legal briefs regarding the Fisher case, including two at the Supreme Court level.

During the last term of the U.S. Supreme Court, Project 21 was involved in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. It was involved in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and Shelby County v. Holder during the previous term. Over the years, it has been involved in ten legal briefs in major cases.

Project 21 legal experts and other members discussed these cases in hundreds of media interviews and citations that include MSNBC, the Fox News Channel, HBO, the Westwood One radio network, the Christian Science Monitor and Reuters and well over a thousand media appearances on a myriad of other issues facing black Americans that include the economy, regulation and immigration.

In 2014, Project 21 members have already been interviewed or cited by the media over 1,000 times — including on TVOne, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fox News Channel, Westwood One, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, SiriusXM satellite radio and 50,000-watt talk radio stations such as WBZ-Boston and KDKA-Pittsburgh — on topics including civil rights, entitlement programs, the economy, voter ID, race preferences, education, illegal immigration and corporate social responsibility. Project 21 has also defended voter ID laws at the United Nations. Its volunteer members come from all walks of life and are not salaried political professionals.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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Supreme Court Brief Filed Seeking Clarification on Disparate Impact in Fair Housing Act

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Black Conservatives File Supreme Court Brief Asking Justices to Clarify Disparate Impact in Fair Housing Act

Case Could Set Major Precedent for Race and Regulation

Court Accepted Two Similar Cases Settled Before Consideration — It’s Time for Court to Finally Rule on the Issue

Washington, DC – With the U.S. Supreme Court finished handing down opinions for its recently-completed term, members of the Project 21 black leadership network joined a legal brief that was recently filed with the Court that asks the justices to finally resolve the vexing issue of disparate impact claims regarding the Fair Housing Act and government-subsidized housing.

“Project 21 and the other organizations joined on this brief believe it is vital to bring this crucial test of disparate impact before the Supreme Court,” said Project 21 member Hughey Newsome, an industry professional in the field of financial planning. “The notion that disparate impact claims can go beyond the intent of the authors of laws and with the only burden of proof for the accused is, in itself, disproportionate harm. And, regardless of the purpose, it sets a dangerous precedent. Once such a precedent is set, it seems there is really no limit to what can be done in the name of justice.”

Project 21’s legal brief asks the justices to accept the case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, et al. v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. for its upcoming term. In the case, ICP claims the state agency violated the Fair Housing Act by allocating housing tax credits to developers in a manner they say effectively keeps minorities in low-income minority-majority neighborhoods rather than giving them access to housing opportunities in wealthier majority-white communities in the Dallas metropolitan area. ICP charged the department’s tax credit distribution policy creates a disparate impact on black recipients of such credits.

The case is on appeal from the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The framers of our government pledged to us a society based on a simple premise — that every American would be treated equally under the law. The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments made clear that this concept applied in matters of race,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a legal commentator who taught constitutional law at George Mason University and is a former leadership staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives. “The disparate impact doctrine runs counter to this notion and, in particular, it does so where racial lines are involved. If we’re going to permanently end the temptation by government to divide us into racial groupings, we’ve got to return to the principles embodied in our Constitution and the color-blind policy advocated by Martin Luther King.”

In the Project 21 brief, which was written by the Pacific Legal Foundation and also joined by the Center for Equal Opportunity, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute, Individual Rights Foundation and Reason Foundation, it is argued that the Fair Housing Act was written “to apply solely to disparate treatment, not acts having disparate impact on protected classes.” It is argued that the U.S. Supreme Court must “consider the threshold question of whether disparate impact claims are even cognizable under the Fair Housing Act” since “disparate impact claims do not depend on the intent of the action or policy.”

In the past few years, the U.S. Supreme Court has twice accepted cases similar to the case now being advocated by Project 21. The other cases, Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. and Magner v. Gallagher, were removed from the Court’s schedule after they were settled prior to argument.

“Politically-motivated settlements in the past have kept the justices from ruling on this important question of whether or not the Fair Housing Act should be officially expanded to apply to the impact of policies and not just outright discrimination as was envisioned by the lawmakers who crafted it,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. “The Supreme Court would be wise to take this opportunity to finally tackle this important question.”

Citing the fact that appellate court jurisdictions have already tried to resolve this issue, but have formulated different ways in which to deal with claims, the Project 21 brief points out that “[r]esolution of the question by this case would end the diversity of results that occur when different jurisdictions analyze substantially similar disparate impact claims.” Furthermore, “[s]ubjecting government defendants to disparate impact claims pressure them into engaging in unconstitutional race-conscious decisionmaking to avoid liability for such claims.”

“Lower courts try to answer this tricky question, and the result is a patchwork quilt of different remedies. Civil rights law cannot change from region to region. The Supreme Court needs to determine if such enforcement is even constitutional, and then — if it is — create a uniform way to deal with it,” said Project 21’s LeBon.

Project 21’s Cooper added: “It is one thing for the law to say that no person may be mistreated due to their race, but it is something alien and distinct to say that merely because of their race they’ll receive different treatment.”

In 2014, Project 21 members have been interviewed or cited by the media over 800 times — including TVOne, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fox News Channel, Westwood One, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, SiriusXM satellite radio and 50,000-watt talk radio stations such as WBZ-Boston and KDKA-Pittsburgh — on issues that include civil rights, entitlement programs, the economy, race preferences, education and corporate social responsibility. Project 21 has participated in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding race preferences and voting rights and defended voter ID laws at the United Nations. Its volunteer membership comes from all walks of life and are not salaried political professionals.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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5 Reasons to Applaud Hobby Lobby’s Victory

Five Reasons for Americans to Applaud Hobby Lobby’s Victory: Freedom, Finances, Privacy, Equality and the Constitution

Washington DC – National Center for Public Policy Research Chairman Amy Ridenour has the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision today in Burwell (formerly Sebelius) v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell to strike down ObamaCare’s HHS contraception mandate and uphold an employer’s right not to be forced to provide birth control and early abortion drugs and devices to employees against their conscience(s):

Today’s decision was a victory for freedom, because a person who does not have the right to order his or her professional and personal life in accordance with his or her religious beliefs does not have freedom at all.

Supporters of the mandate who claimed incorporated businesses cannot exercise religion ignore that corporations are directed by human beings, and nothing in the act of incorporating strips away the humanity of business owners. There are many examples of businesses being operated under the constraints of their owners’ religious beliefs. Chik-Fil-A forgoes significant profit by closing every Sunday for religious reasons, for example. If it were not possible for a corporation to exercise religious beliefs, Chik-Fil-A would be open on Sundays.

There are five key reasons Americans – women, men, liberals, conservatives, religious, atheists, users of birth control and non-users, should celebrate the Hobby Lobby decision today: freedom, finances, privacy, equality and the Constitution.

Freedom. If you believe birth control or abortion is morally wrong, you shouldn’t have to buy it for others just because you offered them a job. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the federal government can only force people to violate their religious beliefs if the government has an extremely important reason for doing so and the government cannot accomplish its goals in any less restrictive way. It is debatable whether the provision of birth control and early abortion drugs and devices is even a function of the federal government, but even if that is to be so, clearly there are other ways of distributing these easily-accessible, inexpensive drugs and devices without forcing the involvement of religious employers.

Finances. Employees and employers should have the legal right to negotiate the pay packages that work best for them. If an employee would rather be paid in cold hard cash than birth control, the federal government has no moral right to tell her she cannot negotiate such terms. Cash can buy birth control, if that is desired by the employee. It can also buy groceries. Some employees prefer groceries.

Privacy. Bosses don’t belong in bedrooms, and ObamaCare’s insistence on forcing employers to pay for birth control puts employers there – and the federal government in there with them. Employees have the right to close their bedroom doors. Nothing about this case has been more nonsensical than supporters of the contraception mandate claiming that employers who don’t want to be involved in their employees’ birth control are somehow meddling in their employees’ personal lives.

Equality. As Obama Administration’s Federal Register makes clear, the birth control mandate was never about helping low income women afford birth control: It was about enhancing the power and financial position of women relative to that of men. It is not the proper role of the federal government to try to help one group of Americans versus another. The government should stand for equality of opportunity, not sexism.

The Constitution. Americans have a First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Whenever this right is upheld, it is strengthened.

Ridenour has written the following on the Hobby Lobby case and HHS birth control mandate: “A Quick Guide to ObamaCare’s HHS Contraceptive Mandate and Why the Supreme Court Should (and Will) Throw It Out” (March 2014), “Hobby Lobby’s Court Victory in HHS Mandate Case is a Victory for Religious and Economic Freedom: Claims of an “Attack on Women who Use Birth Control” are Foolish Leftist Spin,” (July 2013), “9 Takeaways from the Hobby Lobby HHS Contraception Mandate Oral Arguments ” (March 2014), “How Can Senator Patty Murray Be So Ignorant about a Law She Voted For?” (March 2014), “White House Birth Control Statistics Don’t Add Up” (Feb. 2012), “Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tells Four Lies in One Sentence, Washington Post Grades Two Pinocchios” (April 2014), ” Democrat Congresswomen Walk Out of HHS Mandate Hearing to Protest Omission of Witness Who Wanted to Talk About Something Else Entirely” (February 2012), “Catholic Bishops Cannot Accept White House ‘Compromise’ on Birth Control Without Surrendering Principles” (Feb. 2012), “16 Seconds To Understanding the HHS Birth Control Mandate” (Oct. 2012), “Should Conservatives Choose HHS Mandate, Climate Change Positions Based on What is Likely to Win the Most Votes? ” (March 2014),” “Would Jesus Pay for Abortions?” (Feb. 2012),” and “Obama Compromise Infringement of the First Amendment is Still Unconstitutional” (Feb. 2012).

In addition, an op-ed by Ridenour about the case ran in 45 newspapers across the United States in January and she has discussed the issue on several dozen radio programs.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, three percent from foundations, and three percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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We Should Thank SCOTUS’ Heller v. D.C. Ruling For Recent Gun Ban Case

“A federal judge on Thursday upheld a D.C. law requiring that guns be registered every three years, that applicants submit photographs and fingerprints, and that pistol purchases be limited to one per month — a ruling that sparked outrage from activists who view it as further encroachment on Second Amendment rights.

U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg dismissed with prejudice a sweeping challenge to the District’s handgun laws, meaning the claims cannot be raised again. The 62-page ruling opened with the words “The District of Columbia knows gun violence” before recounting some of the most notorious recent D.C. shootings.”<<<Read More>>>

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Justice Kagan’s “Balancing of the Value” in Allowing Free Speech

“In an article written by Jacob Sullum entitled “Elena Kagan Looks Wobbly on Freedom of Speech,” Jacob Sullum explains that, “Defending a 1999 federal ban on depictions of animal cruelty, Kagan boldly asked the Supreme Court to recognize a new category of speech that, along with such historical exceptions as defamation, incitement and obscenity, is entirely outside the scope of the First Amendment. ‘Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection,’ she wrote, ‘depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs.’

Writing for the 8-to-1 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts called this claim ‘startling and dangerous,’ adding: ‘The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not extend only to categories of speech that survive an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits. The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it.'”<<<Read More>>>

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Supreme Court Refuses to Accept MT. Petition in MSSA v. Holder

Dear MSSA Friends,

The US Supreme Court has declined to accept the State of Montana’s separate petition for review of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in our lawsuit to validate the principles of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA), MSSA v. Holder. We’re now at the end of this particular road.

Thanks ever so much to Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades for being MSSA’s sympathetic and competent legal counsel throughout. Thanks also to MSSA’s partner in this lawsuit, the Second Amendment Foundation. And, thanks to the Montana legislators who believed enough in liberty and states’ rights to pass the MFFA.

Still, there’s more to be said about the effort.

The MFFA caught a sympathetic wave as the first legislation of its type in the US. It was cloned and enacted in eight other states, and cloned and introduced in the legislatures of about 23 other states yet. Clearly, a majority of the states of the US are operating under the same frustration with the run amok federal government as is Montana. Further, the MFFA inspired a whole wave of other “freedom acts,” such as the light bulb freedom act, the whiskey freedom act, the tobacco freedom act, the healthcare freedom act, and others. Inspired by the MFFA, the US is now alive with “nullification” efforts at the state level – state efforts telling the federal government to back off.

Also, because there are enacted or introduced FFAs in so many other states, there may well be parallel lawsuits occurring in other federal court circuits, putting pressure on the Supreme Court to rethink its rejection of the effort.

There is certainly good reason for the Supreme Court to step into this general controversy, if it has any hope to maintain respect for it’s historic-but-abandoned turf as any sort of check on the other federal branches. See again my open letter to the Supreme Court urging the justices to accept MSSA v. Holder, at:
http://www.wnd.com/files/2013/11/MontanaLetter22.pdf

In a gentlemen’s agreement with the BATFE, and while our lawsuit was working, I steadfastly advised everyone to NOT make and sell the Montana-only firearms authorized by the MFFA. I no longer take that position. However, I DO now warn people that attempting to do what the MFFA authorizes may result in federal persecution (and prosecution).

Finally, this epic trip to the US Supreme Court, and the Court’s rejection of MSSA v. Holder, have finally persuaded me that it is fruitless to expect any part of the federal government to control the lust for centralized and tyrannical power that our federal government displays. Further, and perhaps more important, it proves that it is improper to rely on the federal government, or any branch thereof, to be the judge of what powers the states have delegated to the federal government in the Constitution. As the creator of the Constitution and the federal government, only the states may properly or practically do that.

That’s why I have proposed the concept of the Constitutional Settlements Commission (CSC), a way for the states to operate in unison to “just say no” to the federal government and its countless minions. For a more thorough discussion of the CSC concept, see:
http://www.marbut.com/csc

In closing, I must admit that my fervent hopes for a peaceful restoration of individual liberty and states’ rights have been dimmed by the Supreme Court and it’s rejection of MSSA v. Holder. I wonder if the justices of the Supreme Court have noticed what’s going on in the Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand, and other places.

It’s been a great run. Thanks for your interest and support. While I remain totally committed to peaceful political efforts to restore liberty, the alternative is never off the table. That’s exactly why we have reserved to ourselves the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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Group Releases “Hitler Learns ObamaCare’s Contraception Mandate Could Be Struck Down”

National Center Applauds Supreme Court for Extending Justice Sotomayor’s Injunction Against Enforcement of ObamaCare’s HHS Mandate

Group Releases “Hitler Learns ObamaCare’s Contraception Mandate Could Be Struck Down” Parody Video to Help Illustrate to the Public the Issues in the Case

Group Also Has Op-Ed on Case in Over 30 Newspapers Nationwide

Washington, D.C. – The National Center for Public Policy Research applauds the move by the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to extend Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s December 31 injunction exempting the Little Sisters of the Poor and others in their lawsuit from the Department of Health and Human Services’ early abortion drug and contraception mandate while their appeal is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

“ObamaCare’s HHS early abortion drug and contraception mandate is unfair, unconstitutional and unnecessary,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Its intent is to force individuals, charities and businesses to fund abortion and contraception even if the individuals involved believe either or both are morally wrong. The U.S. Supreme Court was correct to extend Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s order barring the Obama Administration from enforcing the mandate against the Little Sisters of the Poor while its appeal is heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver.”

In response to the Supreme Court’s action, the National Center for Public Policy Research published today a parody video, “Hitler Learns ObamaCare’s Contraception Mandate Could Be Struck Down,” to help illustrate for the public the issues in the case. It can be viewed on YouTube at http://youtu.be/v-ttFH6waMI

Ridenour is an author of an op-ed concluding the mandate will be thrown out by the courts that has appeared over the last week in the Tucson Arizona Star, Providence Journal, New York Newsday, Boston Herald, Deseret News and nearly 30 other newspapers.

Ridenour’s op-ed against the mandate can be read online here.

The op-ed was paired in a debate format with one by Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who argued an alternative position.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.
Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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