Tag Archives: Constitution

Truth Decay

John Flannery and Former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean

On 9-11, I was rounding the Lincoln Memorial and had a clear view across the Potomac to the Virginia side where I saw a mushroom cloud that rose to the sky composed of dirt and debris.

I worked in the Cannon House Office Building at the time and called my staff to discover that the twin towers in New York had been attacked by terrorists, as had the Pentagon in Virginia – and the plane that crashed into the Pentagon was that great dirt cloud I watched rise up high into the air.

By October, a bi-partisan U.S. Congress approved the so-called USA Patriot Act.  It was a bitter event because we missed an opportunity to do better.  The House Judiciary Committee had cobbled together a unanimous bi-partisan compromise under Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner but at the 11th hour, just before the floor vote, then Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert replaced Sensenbrenner’s Judiciary Committee compromise bill on the House floor with a wide-ranging wrong-headed substitute.

You really should read the bill as most members of Congress never did; there were only two copies of the bill available at the time of the vote. Continue reading

This is why they’re called “hate groups”

Crossposted at Equality Loudoun

[The lawsuit] boils down to nothing more than an attempt to define my Biblical views against homosexuality as a crime..

..Clearly, this lawsuit is intended not only to silence me as an effective voice of opposition to the ‘gay’ agenda, it is also to intimidate everyone else who would dare to follow my example.

Now, who does that sound like? A certain disgraced and censured Sterling supervisor who fills his bank account by running a hate group at Loudoun taxpayers’ expense? And some of his shameless apologists?

Yes, but it’s actually another hate group director, Scott Lively. Mr. Lively is currently facing a federal lawsuit for his role in creating a deadly climate for the LGBTI community in Uganda. Readers may remember him also as the man who hired a known child rapist to run his fake “ministry” out of a coffeehouse designed to attract teenagers. But that was okay, because the predator had “accepted the salvation of Christ” (and of course, the children he preferred were female).

Mr. Lively has tried to have the lawsuit against him dismissed on First Amendment grounds. But it turns out that there are limits even to free expression when that expression is an integral part of criminal activity, and the criminal activity of which Mr. Lively is accused is aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime against humanity.

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What a surprise, religious liberty is alive and well

Have you all noticed that there is very little complaining on the anti-gay fringe about the ongoing avalanche of changes to public policy in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA? The Department of Defense now extends full military benefits to same sex spouses, the Department of State is issuing immigrant visas to same sex spouses, and a multitude of other federal benefits of marriage will now be enjoyed by LGBT families previously denied them. But the anti-gay fringe is largely silent about these events that are actually happening, preferring to talk instead about a hypothetical event that is not only not happening, but is impossible due to our First Amendment protections. What they are talking about – and talking about incessantly in that hysterical, strident tone they favor – is the impending loss of religious liberty for churches “forced to perform homosexual weddings.” Really. It’s bound to happen any day now.

Fear not, fearful mongers of fear: Churches can (still!) refuse to marry any couple, for any reason. The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi, for instance, just told an African American couple that they would have to be married in a different church, because, according to the pastor, “This was, had not, had never been done here before so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that.

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Frank Wolf cosponsors Federal “Marriage” Amendment

Frank Wolf trains Eugene Delgaudio (Sterlingfest, 2006)

Box Turtle Bulletin reports that Frank Wolf is co-sponsoring Rep Tim Huelskamp’s (R – KS) Federal Marriage [sic] Amendment. The language is:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.

And that language runs afoul of the recent Supreme Court DOMA ruling. Here are excerpts from Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion:

The history of DOMA’s enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence.

…The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

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Breaking and Entering

We Dems expected President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to offend our civil liberties.

We didn’t expect President Barack Obama, the constitutional law professor, to go back on his campaign promise to make a course correction to cure the over-reaching of the Bush Administration.

We were foolish to expect better.

Without regard to partisan coloration, our public officials and our government just can’t stop poking their noses into our private papers and communications.

The Fourth Amendment, by which we are purportedly protected, guaranteed we’d be secure” in our “persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

This guarantee has been rendered almost meaningless by the actions of our government from the federal to the county level.  Applications to search and seize are routinely approved by magistrates and judges.  The basis for the government’s searches are often kept secret. Continue reading

Take That Statue Down!

Confederate soldier statue in front of the historic Leesburg Court House

Take that confederate soldier statue down that stands in front of the historic Leesburg Court House!

It’s a symbol of disunion and slavery.  If it’s to stand anywhere, let it be in a museum but not at the front of a court of law on public grounds.

Our forebears could have placed a less offensive symbol in front of the court house in 1908.  But they didn’t.  They intended to make a statement – an unacceptable statement – and it’s high time we rejected that offensive statement.

Years ago, in the 1980s, there were stocks and whipping posts in front of this same court house.

I made reference at a sentencing in the court house once, how it was “unfortunate” that such dehumanizing and tortuous methods of punishment stood directly in front of a court house when we were considering punishment in a criminal case. Continue reading

Running Toward Danger – Now That’s Courage!

Heartless psychopaths planted two home-made pressure cooker bombs loaded jam packed with tiny nails and ball bearings at the finish line at the Boston Marathon last Monday.

27,000 runners from 96 countries converged on Boston to run a race repeated every year since 1897.

When the container ripped apart from the exploding powders within, projecting shrapnel from the torn cooker, hurling nails and ball bearings indiscriminately, it cut legs, maimed, and even killed three innocents including an eight year old boy who had just congratulated his Dad on finishing the long race.

Unaware of any danger, distracted, celebrating a world-renowned athletic event convened on Patriots Day, runners, family, and friends were enjoying a grand race on a day that honors our revolutionary spirit, when our forbears resisted British rule at the battles of Lexington and Concord. Continue reading

Juvenile Injustice In Our Schools

Many students and parents are rightly upset that school principals, administrators and counselors conspire and combine with police assigned to the schools (called “resource officers”) to make schools more like prisons.

Police are assigned to almost every school with one principal function being to criminalize what used to be student discipline, to stigmatize young students, to compromise their futures – what schools they may attend and what jobs they may aspire to have.

Nor is this some informal arrangement between the school and the police.  It’s the law.  Virginia Code Annotated Section 22.1-279.3:1 spells out how student discipline at the school transmogrifies into a crime.

This offensive pincer movement, by which the state combines a school disciplinary action with a criminal prosecution has prompted righteous fury among students and parents for the students have been denied the basic protections any adult would enjoy in his defense. Continue reading

Equal Justice Under the Law – Unless You’re Gay

Our Governor is not the worst homophobe in America but he is a contender.

Our Commonwealth is not the worst in its intolerance of gays but it’s got nothing to be proud of either.

In Loudoun County, we have a Board of Supervisors indifferent to the fact that one of its members, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, is a gay bashing demagogue.

I wrote each member of the Board of Supervisors to ask them to disavow this bigotry.  Our Board has no shame in its silence. As that old 60s tune went, “Hello Darkness my old friend.”  Janet Clarke wrote she felt no obligation to respond at all.  And she didn’t.  By their silence, may we know them. Continue reading

Today

Today, realistic Republicans are secretly praying that the Supreme Court will respond to the arguments presented in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases before it with a broad ruling finding a constitutional right for all Americans to marry the person they love.

That is the only way of avoiding a foreseeable future in which Republicans will be forced to either repeatedly alienate the rapidly growing supermajority of Americans who support equality, or repeatedly betray their own aging base, that angry 36% demanding the “right” to forcibly shove society into still the coat which fitted him when a boy.

If the Court announces a sweeping ruling in June that makes marriage for all the law of the land, GOP strategists can breathe a sigh of relief – they will then be able to deflect the rage of their base toward those nine rogue “unelected judges.”

The alternative future will be a punishing series of state battles over the next four, eight, twelve years and beyond, in which they will not have the luxury of avoiding the issue, however much they might wish they could do so.

In either case, marriage equality is inevitable.

If you want your party to live, pray hard.