CBS DC – On the Supreme Court since 2009, Sotomayor said it was tough at first as justices made references that went over her head. She said joining the high court amounted to joining an ongoing conversation among justices who had served for years.
“I figure I may not be the smartest judge on the court but I’m going to be a competent justice,” she said. “I’m going to try to be the best I can and each year I think my opinions have been getting better. And I’m working at finding my voice a little bit.”
Sotomayor was asked at a talk at Yale Law School later in the day about her use of the term “undocumented immigrants” rather than the traditional illegal alien. Sotomayor characterized the issue as a regulatory problem and said labeling immigrants criminals seemed insulting to her.
“I think people then paint those individuals as something less than worthy human beings and it changes the conversation,” Sotomayor said.
No, people who are for LEGAL immigration do not paint illegal immigrants as lesser people. But what I really need to correct here is what is “insulting”. What is truly insulting is having a race-obsessed, Left Wing hack on the Supreme Court
This afternoon, the Supreme Court issued an order for an injunction against forcing private businesses to apply for an exemption to Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
The Little Sisters of the Poor – a Catholic group that cares for the old and infirm – have challenged Obamacare’s contraception mandate on the grounds that it violates religious liberty. The Supreme Court is considering the case, and while the case is under consideration, it has issued a temporary order that businesses will not have to provide contraception coverage, or to follow the Obama Administration’s “guidelines” to fill out the paperwork required to provide contraception coverage indirectly.
As Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner reported:
The unsigned order of the court “should not be construed as an expression of the Court’s views on the merits” of the case, currently on appeal before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Filed with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, she referred the request to the entire court. She had issued a temporary injunction on Dec. 31 while considering the nuns’ request for an injunction during the appeal. There were no filed dissents to the continued injunction.
There’s no timeline for when SCOTUS will issue its final ruling.
As Fox News detailed, the Little Sisters of the Poor case represents a nightmare for the Obama Administration:
For an administration seeking to win a skeptical public over to ObamaCare, the Justice Department could not have picked a more sympathetic foe for a Supreme Court fight than The Little Sisters of the Poor.
The administration is fighting back against a lawsuit filed by the non-profit, which does not meet ObamaCare’s classification of a “religious employer” because it hires and tends to people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds.
Supporters say The Little Sisters of the Poor epitomize service by caring for the elderly poor and those deemed “worthless” by society. In the United States, it runs 30 homes where hundreds of its employees provide nursing and end of life care.
H/T Weasel Zippers
The partisan battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years took a historic turn on Thursday, when Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare.
The rule change means federal judge nominees and executive-office appointments can be confirmed by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote super majority that has been required for more than two centuries.
The change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations. But the vote, mostly along party lines, reverses nearly 225 years of precedent and dramatically alters the landscape for both Democratic and Republican presidents, especially if their own political party holds a majority of, but fewer than 60, Senate seats.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of a power grab and suggested that they will regret their decision if Republicans regain control of the chamber.
“We’re not interested in having a gun put to our head any longer,” McConnell said. “Some of us have been around here long enough to know that the shoe is sometimes on the other foot.” McConnell then addressed Democrats directly, saying: “You may regret this a lot sooner than you think,” he said.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned Democrats against the rule change on Wednesday, saying that if the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority, Republicans would further alter the rules to include Supreme Court nominees, so that Democrats could not filibuster a Republican pick for the nation’s highest court.
The vote to change the rule passed 52-48. Three Democrats – Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) – joined with 45 Republicans in opposing the measure. Levin is a longtime senator who remembers well the years when Democratic filibusters blocked nominees of Republican presidents; Manchin and Pryor come from Republican-leaning states.
Infuriated by what he sees as a pattern of obstruction and delay over President Obama’s nominees, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) triggered the so-called “nuclear option” by proposing a motion to reconsider the nomination of Patricia Millet, one of the judicial nominees whom Republicans recently blocked by a filibuster, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The Senate voted 57-40, with three abstentions, to reconsider Millett’s nomination. Several procedural votes followed. The Senate Parliamentarian, speaking through Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the chamber’s president pro temp, then ruled that 60 votes are needed to cut off a filibuster and move to a final confirmation vote. Reid appealed that ruling, asking senators to decide whether it should stand.
Senators began voting about 12:15 p.m. The final vote was 52 in favor of changing the rule, 48 against.
The Democratic victory paves the way for the rapid confirmation of Millett and two other nominee to the D.C. appeals court. All have recently been stymied by GOP filibusters, amid Republican assertions that the critical appellate court simply did not need any more judges.
But the impact of the move is be more far-reaching. The means for executing this rules change – a simple-majority vote, rather than the long-standing two-thirds majority required to change the chamber’s standing rules – is more controversial than the actual move itself.
Many Senate majorities have thought about using this technical maneuver to get around centuries of parliamentary precedent, but none has done so in a unilateral move on a major change of rules or precedents. This simple-majority vote has been executed in the past to change relatively minor precedents involving how to handle amendments; for example, one such change short-circuited the number of filibusters that the minority party could deploy on nominations.
Reid has rattled his saber on the filibuster rules at least three other times in the past three years, yielding each time to a bipartisan compromise brokered by the chamber’s elder statesmen.
But no deal emerged by the time debate started Thursday morning. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the main negotiator who brokered recent deals to avert such a showdown, as well as one in 2005, met with Reid on Wednesday, but neither side reported progress.
The main protagonists for the rules change have been junior Democrats elected in the last six or seven years, who have alleged that Republicans have used the arcane filibuster rules to create a procedural logjam that has left the Senate deadlocked. Upon arriving in 2009, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said, he found that “the Senate was a graveyard for good ideas.”
As he recounted in a speech this week, Udall said, “I am sorry to say that little has changed. The digging continues.”
As envisioned earlier this week, Democrats would issue a new rule that would still allow for 60-vote-threshold filibusters on legislation and nominees to the Supreme Court.
Republicans, weary from the third rules fight this year, seemed to have adopted a resigned indifference to this latest threat, as opposed to the heated rhetoric in mid-July when the issue last flared up. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, mocked the idea that the Democrats would leave in place the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominations, in the event that a GOP nominee wins the White House in 2016.
He made clear that if that occurred, and the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority, the Republicans would then alter the rules so that Democrats could not filibuster a Republican pick for the Supreme Court. “If [Reid] changes the rules for some judicial nominees, he is effectively changing them for all judicial nominees, including the Supreme Court,” Grassley said Wednesday.
Reid’s move is a reversal of his position in 2005, when he was minority leader and fought the GOP majority’s bid to change rules on a party-line vote. A bipartisan, rump caucus led by McCain defused that effort.
At the time, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was the No. 2 GOP leader and helped push the effort to eliminate filibusters on the George W. Bush White House’s judicial selections. Eight years later, McConnell, now the minority leader, has grown publicly furious over Reid’s threats to use the same maneuver.
Democrats contend that this GOP minority, with a handful of senators elected as tea party heroes, has overrun McConnell’s institutional inclinations and served as a procedural roadblock on most rudimentary things. According to the Congressional Research Service, from 1967 through 2012, majority leaders had to file motions to try to break a filibuster of a judicial nominee 67 times – and 31 of those, more than 46 percent – occurred in the last five years of an Obama White House and Democratic majority.
Republicans contend that their aggressive posture is merely a natural growth from a decades-long war over the federal judiciary, noting that what prompted the 2005 rules showdown were at least 10 filibusters of GOP judicial nominees. To date, only a handful of Obama’s judicial selections have gone to a vote and been filibustered by the minority.
Another appeals court has ruled that the Obama administration is violating Americans’ religious rights by demanding employers provide abortifacients for their employees, but the latest ruling, from the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, goes a lot further.
It states that the Obama administration’s understanding of the law is “unsound.”
The court accuses the White House of trying to force religious believers to practice their faith only in their homes or churches, abandoning it in public. The charge has been made against the Obama administration before. For example, it has deliberately changed the Constitution reference to “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship,” which is not the same.
The case in the Seventh Circuit was brought on behalf of Grote Industries and its owners, a family-run auto lighting company based in Madison, Ind.
The lawsuit was brought by the Alliance Defending Freedom alleging that the mandates in Obamacare force employers, “regardless of their religious or moral convictions,” to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.
The case, like dozens of others filed over the same issue, alleges the requirement violates the owners’ “constitutionally protected freedom of religion and conscience.”
The decision notes that the government argued that it has the right to force the owners to violate their faith because of a prior Supreme Court statement.
The Supreme Court said: “Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”
In the current case, the court said the government “apparently reads this passage as foreclosing all religious-exercise claims arising in the course of commercial activity merely because the contact is commercial.”
“That reading is both unsound and extraordinary.
“Unsound because it would nullify the rest of the court’s opinion, which considered the Amish farmer’s claim on the merits even though his activities were for profit; the commercial context did not defeat the claim.
“And extraordinary because it would leave religious exercise wholly unprotected in the commercial sphere. At bottom, the government’s argument is premised on a far-too-narrow view of religious freedom: Religious exercise is protected in the home and the house of worship but not beyond. Religious people do not practice their faith in that compartmentalized way; free-exercise rights are not so circumscribed.”
According to ADF, the mandate “forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties” in violation of owners’ faith.
“All Americans, including job creators, should be free to honor God and live according to their faith,” said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, who argued before the 7th Circuit in May. “The court’s decision joins the majority of other rulings on the mandate, which have found it to excessively conflict with our nation’s guarantee of religious freedom to all Americans. The decision rightly foresees the dangers of allowing government to have this kind of power. If the government can force family business owners to act contrary to their deepest convictions under the threat of fining them out of business, it is a danger to everybody.”
About 70 lawsuits have been filed over the issue. Most have ended with an order that the Obamacare requirements cannot be enforced against the company.
The latest decision “suspends the mandate for two job creators, including a family-run auto lighting manufacturer represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys.”
“We hold that the plaintiffs – the business owners and their companies – may challenge the mandate. We further hold that compelling them to cover these services substantially burdens their religious exercise rights…,” the 7th Circuit’s decision states. “On the government’s understanding of religious liberty, a Jewish restaurant operating for profit could be denied the right to observe Kosher dietary restrictions. That cannot be right. There is nothing inherently incompatible between religious exercise and profit-seeking.”
The circuit court ruling also noted that “the federal government has placed enormous pressure on the plaintiffs to violate their religious beliefs and conform to its regulatory mandate.”
The court said the real issue is not an employee’s use of abortifacients but employers’ objections “to being forced to provide insurance coverage for these drugs and services in violation of their faith.”
The judges also noted that the government “has not made any effort to explain how the contraception mandate is the least restrictive means of furthering its stated goals of promoting public health and gender equality.”
The issue already has been presented to the U.S. Supreme Court for review.
The court could soon decide whether to accept that specific case, brought by Liberty Counsel on behalf of Liberty University.
“Obamacare is a train wreck. It is hard to see how Obamacare will ultimately survive. Whether it be the judiciary or the legislative process, this law will almost certainly be overturned because it is unworkable on so many levels,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, Friday after the latest brief was filed.
The Fourth and 10th Circuits also have made rulings similar to the Seventh decision.
The Obama administration wants the high court to ignore the case, but Liberty Counsel contends the administration “fails to recognize significant differences between the employer mandate and the individual mandate that affect the constitutional arguments, and thereby fails to appreciate the extent of the conflict between the Fourth Circuit’s decision and this court’s precedents.”
Charges are being considered against a Texas judge who sent a minor back into the home of a guardian who was living with a sex offender who later murdered the guardian and raped the juvenile, according to a lawsuit.
Also, three Texas teachers were indicted for failing to tell authorities about the student’s report of threats from the sex offender, the suit notes.
The consequences of the judge’s decision and the actions by the teachers were severe: The student was tied up and raped by the sex offender, who also murdered her guardian in front of the student, according to the lawsuit in Caldwell, Texas.
The Texas Center for Defense of Life late Tuesday filed the action on behalf of the juvenile, identified only with the initials S.R.L. The case seeks a court ruling that the teachers and judge “breached their duty” to the juvenile and compensation.
The defendants in the case are teachers Bliss Bednar, Vance Skidmore and Bradley Vestal as well as the Caldwell Independent School District and a retired judge, Terry Flenniken.
“There is no excuse for Judge Flenniken’s poor decision,” said TCDL attorney Greg Terra. “He knew exactly what the minor was dealing with in her home situation and that she lived with Edward Clinton Lee, a registered sex offender, and yet still sent her back to live with him and her guardian instead of granting the petition to release her to her biological mother.”
The court filing states S.R.L. was living with Jean Slovacek-Storm, who previously had been married to S.R.L.’s grandfather. Edward Clinton Lee, a registered sex offender, also was living in the home.
The juvenile’s mother, Angela Belcher, had tried to get her daughter out of the living arrangement through the courts months earlier when S.R.L. became pregnant at age 15 with her 15-year-old boyfriend, but she was rebuffed by Flenniken.
The judge was considering a legal request by TCDL to remove S.R.L., during her pregnancy, from the home where she was living with Slovacek-Storm and Lee.
In that case, Flenniken interviewed S.R.L. privately in his chambers.
In the interview, according to an affidavit, the juvenile told the judge of the threats from Lee. Lee, the statement said, “had repeatedly asked S.R.L. to take off her clothes, even offering her $20 to strip down in front of him.” Also, “S.R.L. would move the dresser against the door, rearranging her room to keep Lee out and going so far as to sleep in her day clothes and not in pajamas so that Lee would not be able to see her change.”
She also reported to the judge Lee would come into the bathroom while she was showering to take pictures.
Flenniken apparently disregarded the girl’s statements.
“Flenniken returned to the courtroom with S.R.L. without making any report to the police about the reported sexual offenses and propositions,” the lawsuit alleges. “Flenniken had no discretion, based on his special relationship with S.R.L. not to intervene and protect S.R.L… Action was mandatory.”
Then on the morning of June 29, 2012, “about four months after Flenniken sent S.R.L. back to the home of Lee, a registered sex offender, Lee shot and murdered Jean Slovacek-Storm and violently sexually assaulted S.R.L., tying her up,” according to the lawsuit.
“S.R.L. eventually escaped her bonds, left the house through a window, and ran naked down the street to a local school where she found a police officer. On April 30, 2013, Edward Clinton Lee plead[ed] guilty to aggravated sexual assault of S.R.L. and aggravated kidnapping of S.R.L. in conjunction with his plea to capital murder, and was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.”
The case alleges that the teachers also knew of the dangers and had not only an opportunity but a responsibility to call authorities long before the assault and murder occurred.
In a statement by Terra that was released to WND, he reported that S.R.L. was in Bednar’s English class and was instructed to write about “the best or worst things that has ever happened in their life.”
Terra said: “S.R.L. asked Ms. Bednar if she could write about something that was happening to her right now. Ms. Bednar responded that she may do so if she changed the names.”
The essay “details the sexual abuse and sexual assault of ‘Sandra’ by ‘Phillip,’” he continued.
But after the essay was turned in, according to Terra, “Edward Clinton Lee and Jean Slovacek-Storm had been contacted by Assistant Principal Vance Skidmore and Principal Bradley Vestal regarding the paper.”
Lee and Slovacek-Storm “strongly admonished S.R.L. for ‘lying in her paper to get Eddie in trouble,’” Terra reported. “S.R.L. was immediately driven to the school and forced to apologize to Bednar, Skidmore, and Vestal for ‘lying’ in her paper.”
The lawsuit alleges once the educators received the knowledge of S.R.L.’s situation, they “had no discretion and were required to report” to authorities.
“Had they reported the abuse outcry, S.R.L. would like not have suffered aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping,” the lawsuit alleges.
Skidmore, Bednar and Vestal have been indicted on a Class A misdemeanor counts of failure to report, and their cases are pending.
According to Terra’s statement regarding the case, the Texas attorney general is reviewing Flenniken’s involvement and “will consider whether any criminal charges will be filed again him.”
Additionally, TCDL is filing grievances against Flenniken with the Texas state bar as well as the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
School officials declined to respond to a WND request for comment, and Flenniken declined comment when asked by AP.
“So much pain and agony could have been spared for the girl and her family if Judge Flenniken did what any judge in the country would have done and ordered the girl out of the home of the sex offender,” said Stephen Casey, attorney at TCDL. “The shock and horror of what happened to this girl will have lifelong repercussions. The school officials also failed her by not following the mandatory training and reporting of the abuse outcries. Had they adhered to the law, this tragedy would likely have been prevented.”
A retired Social Security judge in West Virginia collaborated with a lawyer to improperly award disability benefits to hundreds of applicants, according to a report released Monday by congressional investigators.
The report accuses retired administrative law Judge David B. Daugherty of scheming with lawyer Eric C. Conn to approve more than 1,800 cases from 2006 to 2010.
“By 2011, Mr. Conn and Judge Daugherty had collaborated on a scheme that enabled the judge to approve, in assembly-line fashion, hundreds of clients for disability benefits using manufactured medical evidence,” said the report by the staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Conn runs a law firm specializing in disability cases in Stanville, Ky., near the West Virginia border. Daugherty, who was a judge based in Huntington, W.Va., retired in 2011 after questions were raised about his relationship with Conn, the report said.
According to the report, the Social Security Administration paid Conn’s firm more than $4.5 million in attorney fees from cases heard by Daugherty from 2006 to 2010. In 2010, Conn was the third highest-paid disability lawyer in the country, the report said.
Investigators reviewed Daugherty’s bank records and found $96,000 in unexplained cash deposits, the report said.
“From 2003 to 2011, Judge Daugherty’s bank records contain regularly occurring cash deposits totaling $69,800, the source of which is unexplained in the judge’s financial disclosure forms,” the report said. “From 2007 to 2011, his daughter’s bank records list similar cash deposits totaling another $26,200. When asked about the $96,000 in cash deposits, Judge Daugherty refused to explain their origin or the source of the funds.”
Neither Daugherty nor Conn could be reached for comment. Both men were scheduled to testify Monday at a committee hearing.
Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon declined to comment on whether the Justice Department is conducting a criminal probe of the matter.
Questions about Daugherty’s relationship with Conn were first raised by The Wall Street Journal in 2011.
Nearly 11 million disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security disability benefits. That’s a 45 percent increase from a decade ago. The average monthly benefit for a disabled worker is $1,130.
An additional 8.3 million people get Supplemental Security Income, a separately funded disability program for low-income people.
In order to qualify, people are supposed to have disabilities that prevent them from working and are expected to last at least a year or result in death.
Social Security disability claims are first processed through a network of local Social Security Administration field offices and state agencies called Disability Determination Services. About two-thirds of initial claims are rejected, according to agency statistics.
If your claim is rejected, you can ask the field office or state agency to reconsider. If your claim is rejected again, you can appeal to an administrative law judge, who is employed by Social Security.
The average processing time for a hearing before a judge is a little longer than a year, according to the agency. Daugherty approved claims for Conn’s clients in as little as 30 days, the report said.
Via Gateway Pundit. I have just one question. Can we put a bullet in this bastards head now?
AP reports: Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted Friday in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, a shocking assault against American troops at home by one of their own who said he opened fire on fellow soldiers to protect Muslim insurgents abroad.
The Army psychiatrist acknowledged carrying out the attack in a crowded waiting room where unarmed troops were making final preparations to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded.
Because Hasan never denied his actions, the court-martial was always less about a conviction than it was about ensuring he received the death penalty. From the beginning of the case, the federal government has sought to execute Hasan, believing that any sentence short of a lethal injection would deprive the military and the families of the dead of the justice they have sought for nearly four years.
A jury of 13 high-ranking military officers reached a unanimous guilty verdict in about seven hours. In the next phase of the trial, they must all agree to give Hasan the death penalty before he can be sent to the military’s death row, which has just five other prisoners. If they do not agree, the 42-year-old could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Four years? It took four years to convict this vile, despicable coward?
Via Red Alert:
In response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision that states are innocent of institutional racism until proven guilty, Attorney General Eric Holder is arguing that Texas’ “history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities” should make its voting laws subject to the Department of Justice’s oversight indefinitely.
While speaking before the National Urban League in Philadelphia on Thursday, Holder said his agency would ask a federal judge to require Texas to submit all its voting laws to the DOJ for review before they can be legally enacted because the state has a supposed history of discrimination and racism.
“And today I am announcing that the Justice Department will ask a federal court in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a pre-clearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,” Holder said at the organization’s annual conference.
The Attorney General cited “evidence of intentional racial discrimination” found following the case Texas v. Holder, in addition to a ”history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities.” He continued, saying the state would need to acquire “pre-approval” from either the Department of Justice or a federal court before implementing any future changes in voting laws.
I expect there is a good chance Governor Perry will ignore the Attorney General. Don’t mess with Texas!
George Zimmerman’s trial, joke that it is, proves that in the PC age in which we live, justice is no longer blind. Justice is now a political tool apparently. Stacy McCain lays out the case against our “post-racial” presidential administration
While I haven’t followed the George Zimmerman trial closely, I have noticed the widespread reaction to the trial, namely, “Why are they even having this trial?” There is no way in hell Zimmerman will be convicted. Some see it as a clear-cut case of self-defense, but everyone who has watched the testimony sees enough “reasonable doubt” in the prosecution’s case that it seems obvious the jury will acquit.
So, once again: Why are they even having this trial? And the answer would seem to be, because the Obama administration wanted it.
Welcome to Trayvongate, where the President of the United States used both the bully pulpit, the Department of Justice and sly media manipulation to gin up charges of racism in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin shooting. Now that the trial is almost finished and the only act of racism mentioned so far came from the victim–Martin called Zimmerman ‘a creepy ass cracker’ according to testimony–the cynical and repeated use of the race card by the White house is even more abhorrent.
Judicial Watch revealed documents today that proved what Breitbart News reported in April, 2012: that Eric Holder’s Department of Justice took an active role in racially charged rallies in Sanford, Florida and that the Community Relations Service helped force the temporary resignation of Sheriff Bill Lee. That resignation made it appear that Sanford authorities were suspect and possibly complicit in covering up something. . . .
Equally disturbing to me is how the prosecution attempted to introduce a brand new charge at the end of this trial. They know they over charged, they know this was all political, yet, they are still willing to pull these tricks out? I guess justice does not mater much to them either. This ought to scare the hell out of every one of us. Because if it can happen in Sanford Florida……..
A federal appeals court in Denver has ruled against the Obamacare abortion mandate that forces religious business owners to violate their beliefs by paying for abortifacients.
The ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the case returned to the district court level for swift resolution of the request by the owners of Hobby Lobby for an injunction until the dispute fully is resolved.
The district court previously refused to allow the injunction, and even Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told the company owners to start paying for abortifacients for their employees, in direct violation of their faith.
However, the 10th Circuit took the case with the unusual step that the full court would hear the arguments rather than a three-judge panel.
In their decision, the court said Hobby Lobby has “established a likelihood of success that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement, and have established an irreparable harm.”
The case is just one of more than five dozen pending in U.S. courts now challenging Obama’s demand that employers pay for abortifacients for their employee regardless of their religious faith and beliefs.
A five-judge majority on the court said the mandate creates a substantial burden, because if the owners do not comply with Obama’s demands, based on their religious beliefs, they would be subjected to millions of dollars in fines annually.
The judges also said the government did not satisfy the requirement to show that any burden on the religious exercise of the plaintiffs was overridden by some “compelling” government interest or that it was imposed in the least intrusive way possible.
The court pointedly noted that Obama’s administration already has exempted “tens of millions of people” from the same mandate, so to do so for Hobby Lobby hardly would create an impact.
The American Center for Law and Justice was one of the dozens of organizations that filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the dispute.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this case, especially because the 10th Circuit majority tracks the arguments we presented,” the group said. ” …These are the same arguments we have presented in the other mandate cases in which we are involved.”
The Green family, owners of the chain of hundreds of stores in 40 states, said, through the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, they are optimistic.
“My family and I believe very strongly in our conviction that life begins at conception, and the emergency contraceptives that we would be forced to provide in our employee health plan under this mandate are contrary to that conviction,” said David Green, founder. “We believe that business owners should not have to be forced to choose between following their faith and following the law.”
Hobby Lobby is the largest business so far to file a lawsuit against the Health and Human Services mandate under Obamacare. But it is just one of many plaintiffs who make up more than 60 lawsuits launched already.
Other plaintiffs include Colorado Christian University, Ave Maria University and Wheaton College of Illinois.
“We hold that Hobby Lobby and Mardel [a related company] are entitled to bring claims under [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act], have established a likelihood of success that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement, and have established an irreparable harm.”
The 165-page opinion said Hobby Lobby has standing to sue, and the Anti-Injunction Act does not apply. The opinion also said the majority holds that the district court erred in finding that Hobby Lobby had not demonstrated a likelihood of success.
The judges noted that the company owners established their work on Christian principles and continue to run them that way, refusing to open on Sundays or engage in business activities that promote alcohol use.
The company also buys newspaper ads inviting people to “know Jesus as Lord and Savior.”
The court noted that the law allows exemptions to Obamacare for religious employers, but religious for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby were deliberately targeted for the requirement.
“The plaintiffs assert that because more than 13,000 individuals are insured under the Hobby Lobby plan… [Obamacare fines] would total at least $1.3 million per day, or almost $475 million per year.”
The fines, combined with the fact the government was unable to show it had narrowly tailored the requirement, means the government’s argument must fail, the court said.
“In addition, the Supreme Court has settled that individuals have Free Exercise rights with respect to their for-profit businesses… In short, individuals may incorporate for religious purposes and keep the Free Exercise rights, and unincorporated individuals may pursue profit while keeping their Free Exercise rights.”
The court said the government has the idea that when individuals incorporate but are not tax-exempt under the IRS code, “Free Exercise rights somehow disappear.”
But the judges said religious expression and religious conduct can be communicated by individuals and for-profit corporations alike.
Several other district judges have ordered that the abortion mandate not be enforced against individual companies until the dispute is resolved, but the government is appealing the decisions.
With an all-female jury seated (five white, one Hispanic) and opening arguments occurring today, understand that not only should the charge against George Zimmerman never have been filed, but that the case is remarkably backwards. The shooting of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, was an unremarkable event — similar self-defense related shootings occur regularly. In virtually all of those cases, the local police do their work, local prosecutors review it, charges are filed or declined, and only local communities are aware of or care about it. Whereas the Trayvon Martin case is an anomaly that reverses all of the conventions and behaviors normally present in the criminal justice system.
The Prosecution: Without conducting any new investigation, Corey’s office produced an affidavit that not only failed to produce any probable cause that Zimmerman violated any of the three essential elements of the offense. It was also factually incorrect and withheld vital information of Zimmerman’s innocence. Any attorney or police officer filing an affidavit promises to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This one, filed by special prosecutor investigators T.C. O’Steen and Dale Gilbreath at the direction of de la Rionda and on behalf of Corey, fell far short of the most minimal requirements of the law. Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, attorney and commentator Mark Levin, attorney John Hinderaker of Powerline, and other notables took it to task in the harshest terms.
In response, an enraged Corey called the dean of Harvard Law School and, speaking with a representative of the Office of Communications, ranted about Dershowitz for 40 minutes and threatened to sue him and Harvard. Harvard was apparently unimpressed; Dershowitz still teaches there.
Bernie de la Rionda has taken the lead in handling the case. De la Rionda learned no later than August 2, 2012, that Dee Dee committed perjury but, despite multiple requests from the defense over many months, withheld that information until the evening of March 4, 2013, only hours before the matter would be heard in court and he would be forced to divulge the information.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara filed a motion for sanctions against de la Rionda for improperly withholding important evidence, and de la Rionda filed a petulant, angry, and unprofessional response that is a model of improper legal writing. He eventually admitted in court to withholding the evidence, with an excuse of: “I forgot about it.” Despite multiple defense requests, he forgot — for seven months — that his most important witness was a perjurer. Judge Nelson has yet to rule on O’Mara’s motion for sanctions despite de la Rionda’s admission.
Another example of de la Rionda’s malfeasance is his withholding — for many months — of digital color photographs of Zimmerman’s injuries taken immediately after Zimmerman was assaulted by Martin. It’s easy to see why de la Rionda would not want the defense to have those photos — they clearly depict Zimmerman’s badly broken and bleeding nose, and his bruised, lacerated, and bloody face, as well as multiple bloody cuts on the back of his head.
Recently, the IT director for the special prosecutor’s office blew the whistle on de la Rionda’s hiding of evidence from Martin’s cell phone, including photos of stolen jewelry, an image of Martin blowing what appears to be marijuana smoke, and an image of what appears to be Martin holding a handgun. Discovered in early January 2013, much of that and other evidence was not turned over to the defense until June.
It would seem that it is not justice, but furthering of agendas that is being sought here. What a disgrace.
If an unmarried couple have sex they are considered husband and wife – and would have to ‘divorce’ if they split, an Indian court has ruled.
When two people of legal age, 18 for a woman and 21 for a man, ‘indulge in sexual gratification’ this should be seen as a ‘an act of total commitment’ and marriage by law, a judge at Madras High Court said.
The court said that the registering of a marriage as well as a wedding ceremony were only formalities to gain society’s approval.
It also said that once two people have sex this ‘becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow’, including needing a decree of divorce should they want to sleep with someone else.
In addition, should either of the two wish to register the ‘marriage’ they can have their marital status declared by a Family Court as long as they can supply proof of a sexual relationship.
Once declared by the court, the person can be established as the other’s spouse – whether the other party approves or not.
‘Legal rights applicable to normal wedded couples will also be applicable to couples who have had sexual relationships which are established,’ the court declared in their ruling obtained by The Hindu.
The verdict came in a spousal maintenance case where a lower court had ruled that a woman was not entitled to maintenance from the father of her two children as there was no proof of their marriage.
Justice C.S. Karnan ruled that legal documents proving the couple’s life as spouses were more important than proof of marriage.
In this case the man had signed the ‘live birth report’ for the couple’s second child and thereby officially declaring the woman as his wife.
Judge Karnan said the couple ‘led their marital life under the same shelter and begot two children.
‘Therefore, the petitioner’s rank has been elevated as the “wife” of the respondent and likewise, the respondent’s rank has been elevated as the “husband” of the petitioner.‘
The man was ordered to pay the woman 500 rupees a month in maintenance as well as maintenance for their two children.
A second appeals court has joined the D.C. Circuit in ruling that President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional, concluding that some board actions taken in the wake of those appointments were also invalid.
The issue has far-reaching implications for both the NLRB and other boards, including Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has been a frequent target of conservatives and whose director was a recess appointment.
The 2-1 decision Thursday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (posted here) found that the presidential recess appointment power is limited to breaks between sessions of Congress, not breaks within sessions or other adjournments during which the Senate might meet in pro forma sessions. The reasoning mirrors that in a ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court in January.
The 3rd Circuit case centered on decisions the NLRB made on the authority of three members including Craig Becker, who was appointed by the president on March 27, 2010, while the Senate was adjourned for two weeks.
The case was brought by a New Jersey nursing and rehabilitation center whose nurses were allowed to form a union by one such NLRB decision. The facility, New Vista, contended that the board’s decision was invalid because it did not have enough members active when the decision was issued because the naming of Becker to the board was not a valid recess appointment.
The NLRB must have three members participate in a decision for it to be valid, and the court found that because Becker was not appointed during a break between sessions of Congress, he was not a valid member of the board and thus invalidated the NLRB’s orders.
The opinion, written by Judge D. Brooks Smith, said the recess clause of the Constitution should be read not just to give the president executive power, but also to preserve the “advice and consent” role of the Senate.
In his dissent, Judge Joseph. A Greenaway Jr. said the majority’s reading of the clause was needlessly narrow and ignored the Founding Fathers’ intent to give the president the ability to act when the Senate is not available to “advise and consent.”
The administration late last month petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling on the issue.
The decision comes the same day that the Senate Help Subcommittee held a hearing on five nominations to the NLRB. Sen. Tom Harkin said they nominations would be moved next Wednesday.
We are sinking as a nation, and one big reason is Americans who, as I say vote with their hands out. Call the gimme voters, or what will the government do for me voters, or low info voters, or just simply morons, whatever you prefer. As Matt explains, these people are stuck in the pit of entitlements, and they are taking us down with them.
It’s a shame that so many Obama voter are suffering the consequences of their vote. But, then again, being a “low information voter” is a choice. The information was out there, freely available. People could have looked up the facts and known that they were in for it if the voted Democrat. But, too many listened to the MSM, or their union boss, and now, they are paying the price-literally and figuratively. FOX News has the latest example, the Regal Entertainment Group,
The nation’s largest movie theater chain has cut the hours of thousands of employees, saying in a company memo that ObamaCare requirements are to blame.
Regal Entertainment Group, which operates more than 500 theaters in 38 states, last month rolled back shifts for non-salaried workers to 30 hours per week, putting them under the threshold at which employers are required to provide health insurance. The Nashville-based company said in a letter to managers that the move was a direct result of ObamaCare.
So, that “free” health care is going to cost these workers in two ways. First, their paychecks are going to shrink. Secondly, they are STILL obligated to buy health care. Remember that individual mandate? And, with health insurance premiums rising………….well figure out who will be hit the very hardest? Yep! The little guy. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention that John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, massive pile of dung that he is, also bares tremendous blame. I do not not know which is worse, a fool who votes out of greed without considering the consequences, or a fool who knows what is right, and screws the Constitution and America anyway.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is, once again, going after a memorial aimed at commemorating American lives lost in a combat zone. A Vietnam display in a park in Coos Bay, Ore., is the latest target of atheist activists who are committed to church-state separatism.
The memorial is comprised of a cross design, with a placard on its base. As is typically the case when a religious symbol is included in a memorial, the FFRF is claiming that the cross’ presence is unconstitutional.
I am so tired of malcontented brats like these pricks. They are nothing but bullies and bigots. I am also sick that any court would actually interpret the first amendment to side with them. The Constitution IN NO WAY constrains such a memorial on public land, the Constitution constrains Congress from recognizing a national religion or denying anyone the free exercise of their religion.