Category archives: Change Watch

Change Watch Backgrounder: Jane Lubchenco

by David Prentice

February 12, 2009

POSITION: ADMINISTRATOR, NATIONAL OCEANIC and ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION

NOMINEE: Jane Lubchenco

BIRTH DATE: December 4, 1947 in Denver, CO

EDUCATION:

Ph.D. in Marine Ecology 1975, Harvard

M.S. in Zoology 1971. University of Washington

B.A. in Biology 1969, Colorado College

FAMILY: Husband: Bruce Menge; two sons

EXPERIENCE:

1993-present; Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology and Distinguished Professor of Zoology, Oregon State University

1988-present Professor of Zoology, Oregon State University

1989-1992 Chair, Department of Zoology, Oregon State University

1982-1988 Associate Professor, 1977-1982 Assistant Professor, Oregon State University

1978-1984 Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution

1975-1977 Assistant Professor, Harvard

1996-2000 & 2000-2006 National Science Board member, nominated by President Clinton

Numerous awards, fellowships, visiting professorships (see Oregon State bio)

Professional CV

ON GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE

The evidence is now overwhelming that even the immense oceans are depleted and disrupted.”

The acidification of oceans may well be the most insidious and pervasive threat to life in the oceans everywhere.”

[Source]

Like Energy secretary nominee Steven Chu, who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Holdren and Lubchenco have argued for a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions to avert catastrophic climate change.

[Source]

The Bush administration has not been respectful of the science.”

[Source]

Humans have unwittingly embarked upon a grand experiment with our planet. The outcome of this experiment is unknown, but has profound implications for all of life on Earth.”

Human health is being increasingly recognized as having strong environmental components.”

The economy is more interlinked with the environment than is often appreciated (23, 37). The false assertion that society must choose between the economy and the environment is often made. In reality, this “jobs versus the environment” choice is a false dichotomy: the real choice is between short-term gain and long-term, sustained prosperity.”

The consequences of environmental degradation are often borne disproportionately by racially and economically disadvantaged groups.”

National security is being viewed increasingly as an environmental issue, with multiple, complex connections among population growth, environmental quality, and security, including human migrations, war, disease, social disruption, political fragmentation, competition for scarce resources, and ecoterrorism.”

In summary, national security, social justice, the economy, and human health are appropriately considered to be environmental issues because each is dependent to some degree on the structure, functioning, and resiliency of ecological systems.”

Hence, both the rationale for public investment in science as well as specific decisions about the allocations of resources are tied to expected outcomes that are beneficial to society.”

Many of the choices facing society are moral and ethical ones, and scientific information can inform them. Science does not provide the solutions, but it can help understand the consequences of different choices.”

I propose that the scientific community formulate a new Social Contract for science… The Contract should be predicated upon the assumptions that scientists will (i) address the most urgent needs of society, in proportion to their importance; (ii) communicate their knowledge and understanding widely in order to inform decisions of individuals and institutions; and (iii) exercise good judgment, wisdom, and humility.”

In view of the overarching importance of environmental issues for the future of the human race, all graduates from institutions of higher learning should be environmentally literate.”

Jane Lubchenco, Entering the Century of the Environment: A New Social Contract for Science, Science 279, 491-497, 23 January 1998

ON STEM CELLS

Lubchenco is former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a group who believes that, “Public and private research on human stem cells derived from all sources (embryonic, fetal, and adult) should be conducted in order to contribute to the rapidly advancing and changing scientific understanding of the potential of human stem cells from these various sources.”

[Source]

Change Watch Backgrounder: Carol Browner

by Family Research Council

February 10, 2009

POSITION: ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE

(Energy and Environment Czar, new position created by President Obama to coordinate energy and climate policy regulations)

NOMINEE: Carol M. Browner

BIRTH DATE: December 16, 1955 in Miami, FL

EDUCATION:

B.A. in English 1977, University of Florida, Gainesville

J.D. 1979; University of Florida College of Law

FAMILY: Husband: Thomas Downey, former Democratic congressman from New York

Son: Zachary, from previous marriage to Michael Podhorzer, health-care issues specialist at Citizen Action

Clinton White House: 1993-2001  Head Administrator of the EPA under President Clinton

EXPERIENCE:

2001-2008 Founding Member of the Albright Group, international strategy consulting firm

1991-1993 Secretary of Environmental Regulation, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

1988-1991 Legislative Director for Senator Al Gore (D-TN)

1986-1988: worked in Washington for Senator Lawton Chiles (D-FL)

1983 Associate Director for Citizen Action, a lobbying organization founded by Ralph Nader

1980-1981 General Counsel for the Florida House of Representatives Committee on Government Operations

ON GOVERNMENT & SOCIALIST POLICIES

Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for “global governance” and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.

By Thursday, Mrs. Browner’s name and biography had been removed from Socialist International’s Web page, though a photo of her speaking June 30 to the group’s congress in Greece was still available.

Socialist International, an umbrella group for many of the world’s social democratic political parties such as Britain’s Labor Party, says it supports socialism and is harshly critical of U.S. policies.”

[Source]

ON GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE

As one might expect, she’s been highly critical of President George W. Bush, saying he’s run the ‘worst environmental administration ever.’”

[Source]

There is a lot of opportunity out there to green our buildings, to green our schools. State and local governments have an important role to play; looking at how we make the grid bigger, better, smarter; and looking at how we change transportation in this country so that it’s greener.”

[Source]

Not all problems that we address in society need to focus on individual action,” Browner said in response to one student’s question about the role of laws in changing individuals’ behavior. “Regulations need to be imposed on the biggest source of emissions.”

While calling for a systematic and thoughtful review of the best policies and technologies, Browner also sounded an alarm, calling global warming the biggest environmental crisis the world has ever faced, one creating changes that, if not addressed soon, will be irreversible.

If we fail to act we’ll become the first generation that has left to the next generation a problem that can’t really be resolved,” she said. “No generation has yet left a permanently altered planet. There is not a single engineer in the world who could reverse the rise in the sea level once it starts to happen.”

For that reason, Brown said, one of the biggest obstacles to an effective solution is the crowd of persistent naysayers who continue to insist that climate change is not a scientifically proven phenomenon. She said their arguments are no more rational than the assertions of past generations that AIDS was not a problem or the world was not round.

[Source]

Long an acolyte of Al Gore, she has called climate change “the greatest challenge ever faced”

[Source]

POLITICAL DONATIONS

10/28/08, $1,000, Harkin, Tom (D)

9/29/08, $1,000, Udall, Mark (D)

8/4/08, $500, Peters, Gary (D)

8/3/08, $2,300, Obama, Barack (D)

6/17/08, $1,000, Leahy, Patrick (D)

6/9/08, $2,300, Allen, Tom (D)

5/30/08, $250, Farr, Sam (D)

5/20/08, $1,000, Serrano, Jose E (D)

5/14/08, $1,000, Lautenberg, Frank R (D)

5/5/08, $1,000, Watt, Melvin L (D)

3/31/08, $2,300, Slattery, Jim (D)

3/24/08, $500, Hagan, Kay R (D)

3/14/08, $2,000, Welch, Peter (D)

3/11/08, $1,000, Lowey, Nita M (D)

3/6/08, $1,000, Murray, Patty (D)

2/20/08, $1,000, LaRocco, Larry (D)

12/28/07, $2,000, Harkin, Tom (D)

12/14/07, $2,000, Warner, Mark (D)

9/30/07, $2,000, Dorgan, Byron L (D)

9/10/07, $1,000, Rahall, Nick (D)

6/30/07, $2,000, DeLauro, Rosa L (D)

6/29/07, $1,000, Feder, Judith (D)

5/19/07, $2,300, Miller, George (D)

5/9/07, $1,000, Emanuel, Rahm (D)

5/8/07, $2,000, AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater America (D)

4/20/07, $4,900, League of Conservation Voters

3/21/07, $1,000, Israel, Steve (D)

3/1/07, $2,300, Clinton, Hillary (D)

1/2/08, $1,000, Boxer, Barbara (D)

Change Watch Backgrounder: Lisa Jackson

by Family Research Council

February 10, 2009

POSITION: ADMINISTRATOR, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

NOMINEE: Lisa P. Jackson

BIRTH DATE: February 8, 1962 in Philadelphia, PA; adopted a few weeks later and raised in New Orleans, LA

EDUCATION:

Master’s in Chemical Engineering 1986, Princeton

Bachelor’s Chemical Engineering summa cum laude 1983, Tulane

 

FAMILY: Husband: Kenny Jackson; two sons, Marcus and Brian

Clinton White House: 1986-2002 Various positions with EPA, including Deputy Director of New York City branch, and Acting Director of the Regional Enforcement Division

EXPERIENCE:December 1-15, 2008 Chief of Staff to Governor of New Jersey

Feb. 28, 2006-Nov. 30, 2008 New Jersey Commissioner for Environmental Protection

2005 Assistant Commissioner For Land Use Management, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

2002-2005 Assistant Commissioner of Compliance and Enforcement, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

ON GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE

I will serve with science as my guide.”

Science must be the backbone of the EPA.”

[Source]

When that finding happens (deciding on whether CO2 hurts humanity), when EPA makes a decision on endangerment, let me put it that way, it will indeed trigger the beginnings of regulation of CO2 for this country.”

There will need to be a look at the costs to the economy, but also a reasonable look. We will be reasonable, thoughtful, and deliberate when we move toward limiting carbon.”

All industries have the potential to do environmental harm, and what we need to do is to work with them and in some cases regulate them as we begin to address global warming.”

A carbon tax alone in isolation does not set a cap, or a long-term goal in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions … I think the goal is reducing emissions. I would certainly welcome the conversation … but the president-elect has said a cap-and-trade program is what he would like.”

[Source]

While in charge of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, Jackson cracked down on New Jersey’s largest polluters in certain regions of the state. She also presented a plan to the state that outlined a proposed plan to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. [Source]

When it comes to the auto industry, the E.P.A. apparently is the Emissions Permissions Agency.”
(Speaking on a Bush Administration ruling in 2007 that prevented individual states from enacting tougher fuel efficiency standards.)

[Source]

Some feel that the pick of Jackson as the head of the EPA signals a plan by the Obama administration to copy the environmental philosophy and rules now seen in Europe.

[Source]

Under Jackson, New Jersey joined a 10 state cap-and-trade carbon emission reduction program designed to pressure large companies into reducing emissions.

[Source]

The Natural Resources Defense Council has sad that Obama’s selection of Jackson as the head of the EPA, “signals to the rest of the world that the United States will be a leader on global warming.”

[Source]

The Katrina experience made me realize that you can’t fight; you have to accept what God has in store for you. I truly believe that God gave us this world and we have a moral obligation not to turn around and give the next generations a trash heap that they can’t live off of.”

[Source]

POLITICAL DONATIONS

6/30/07 $1,000 Clinton, Hillary (D)

Change Watch Backgrounder: Elena Kagan

by Family Research Council

February 9, 2009

POSTION: SOLICITOR GENERAL

NOMINEE: Elena Kagan

Born: April 28, 1960

Occupation: Dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University.

Education: BA summa cum laude, Princeton University, 1981; MPhil, Worchester College, Oxford, 1983; JD magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1986

Clinton White House: 1995-1996 associate counsel to the President; 1997-1999 deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy; 1997-1999 deputy director Domestic Policy Council.

NOTE: From 1986 to 1987 Ms. Dean Kagan served as a judicial clerk for Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  From 1987-1988 she also served as a judicial clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  Dean Kagan briefly served as a staff member for Michael Dukakis’s presidential campaign.  During the summer of 1993 she served as Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee to work on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  

HOMOSEXUAL ISSUES

Gays in the Military

Last year candidate Barack Obama repeatedly opined that students should have military service opportunities on campus. However, President Obama’s nominee for solicitor general, Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, believes the military should be barred from campus. In fact, she fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court, trampling on students’ constitutional rights all the way there, in order to deny qualified students the opportunity to serve our country … Kagan’s staunch ideological opposition to the military and providing qualified students the opportunity to serve puts her well outside of the mainstream. Even Bill Clinton, who dodged a military draft during Vietnam, signed the law Kagan opposes, the Solomon amendment, with overwhelming congressional and public support.

Solomon, simply put, seeks to facilitate voluntary military service by asking colleges and universities to allow students to meet with military recruiters on campus and to participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Schools whose policies or practices obstruct students from taking part are ineligible for federal funding.

Yet, Kagan, who has categorized the law as “immoral” at a 2003 Harvard student forum, argued in support of the position of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, the so-called FAIR coalition, claiming elite schools have a right to taxpayer largesse while simultaneously barring the military - a radical view the Supreme Court unanimously struck down … Yet, leftwing views like Kagan’s still disparage the sacrifices our military makes and cause real, quantifiable harm to students and to our nation at taxpayer expense. According to Harvard’s annual financial statements, the school received $473 million of our hard-earned dollars during the 2003-4 school year, while FAIR, with Kagan’s help, won an injunction against the military in the Third Circuit. Harvard took another $511 million during the following school year and, for 2005-6, $517 million more as the Supreme Court heard and rejected FAIR’s claims.

Even Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and centerpiece of the liberals’ high court coalition, couldn’t find a way to justify these spurious, anti-student claims and recognized Congress’ ability to condition taxpayer spending.” Flagg Youngblood, “Solicitor General Flimflam,” The Washington Times, January 30, 2009.

Hate Crimes

Believes courts should support hate crime laws and that when reviewing regulations of speech, courts could “evaluate motive directly, they could remove the lion’s share of the First Amendment’s doctrinal clutter.” Elena Kagan, Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Government Motive in First Amendment Doctrine, 63 U. Chi. L. Rev. 413, 516 (1996).

In her 1993 University of Chicago Law Review piece, she wrote that proposed regulations on hate speech and pornography failed to adhere to the fundamental First Amendment principle of viewpoint neutrality - that the government cannot favor certain private speakers or viewpoints over others. Her 1996 article on government motive in First Amendment cases has been cited more than 115 times - an enviably high number for a secondary source. In that article she declares that “the application of First Amendment law is best understood and most readily explained as a kind of motive-hunting.” David Hudson, Jr., “Solicitor-general nominee: impressive First Amendment resume,” FirstAmendmentcenter.org.

On Questioning of Presidential Nominees

Kagan herself has called for the Senate to use confirmation hearings “to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues.”  In her 1995 review (62 U. Chi. L. Rev. 919) of Stephen L. Carter’s The Confirmation Mess,  Kagan argues that the “critical inquiry” that the Senate should conduct on a Supreme Court nominee “concerns the votes she would cast, the perspective she would add (or augment), and the direction in which she would move the institution.” Kagan draws as “the fundamental lesson of the Bork hearings … the essential rightness-the legitimacy and the desirability-of exploring a Supreme Court nominee’s set of constitutional views and commitments.”

Although Carter’s book and Kagan’s review focus heavily on Supreme Court nominees, they also address DOJ nominations (especially Clinton’s 1993 nomination, subsequently withdrawn, of Lani Guinier to be AAG for Civil Rights), and Kagan’s view of the Senate’s role applies fully to those (and other executive-branch) nominations. That, of course, is hardly surprising, as the case for careful scrutiny of the legal views of DOJ nominees, even if combined with greater deference to the president, seems widely accepted.” Ed Whelan, “Obama’s SG Pick Elena Kagan,” NRO’s The Corner, January 7, 2009.

MISCELLANEOUS

Despite being asked to be America’s Solicitor General, who argues cases before the Supreme Court, Ms. Kagan has never argued before the Supreme Court.  In fact, she has never litigated a case to verdict or trial.

Change Watch Backgrounder: Cass Sunstein

by David Prentice

February 6, 2009

POSITION: Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
(a.k.a. Regulatory Czar)

 

NOMINEE: Cass R. Sunstein

BIRTH DATE: September 21, 1954

EDUCATION:

J.D., magna cum laude, 1978, Harvard Law School

B.A., 1975, Harvard

FAMILY: Wife- Samantha Power, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard; Daughter, Ellyn, from previous marriage to Lisa Ruddick

EXPERIENCE:

Fall 2008-present, Director of Program on Risk Regulation, Harvard Law School

1992, elected member of Academy of Arts & Sciences

1990 elected member of the American Law Institute

1987, 2005, 2007, Visiting professor, Harvard Law School

Fall 1986, Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School

1983-2008, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

1981-2008, Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School

1980-1981, Attorney-advisor, Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice

1979-1980, law clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court

1978-1979, law clerk for Justice Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Author of numerous books and articles regarding law and society, including the regulation of risk, the nature of rights, judicial decision-making, and numerous features of administrative, environmental, constitutional doctrine, and the relationship between law and human behavior.

ON END OF LIFE ISSUES and RATIONING HEALTH CARE

I urge that the government should indeed focus on life-years rather than lives. A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.”

[Source]

ON ABORTION

I don’t think it should [be overruled].”

(from interview, talking about Roe v. Wade)

[Source]

Well, we don’t want to fall in the trap of reading the Constitution to do whatever is good. This is the activist fallacy…”

[Source]

ON CLONING

The right to research,” says Cass Sunstein…”Is a frontier issue and interesting and not yet resolved.” He argues that ”this is not an outlandish constitutional claim.”

[Source]

Many of the arguments for banning both forms of cloning are based on ignorance, myths, and speculation.”

Retrieved January 30, 2009 from:

[Source]

ON GLOBAL WARMING

Might well inflict catastrophic losses”

Of course, any such projections involve a lot of guesswork, and reasonable people can differ. If global warming turns out to be either abrupt or greater than anticipated, it might well inflict catastrophic losses, leading to extremely serious problems for the United States and China alike.”

[Source]

ON GAY MARRIAGE

The prohibition on same-sex marriage turns gays and lesbians into second-class citizens”

[Source]

POLITICAL DONATIONS

Cass Sunstein

$500, Obama, Barack (D), 10/18/07

$2,300, Clinton, Hillary (D), 7/27/08

$1,000, Obama, Barack (D), 10/31/08

Change Watch Backgrounder: Robert Gates

by Family Research Council

February 3, 2009

Position: Secretary of Defense


NOMINEE: Robert Michael Gates

BIRTHDATE: Born: September 25, 1943 (age 65)

PERSONAL INFORMATION: Boy Scout & Eagle Scout; (Former president of the National Eagle Scout Association), 2007: Time Magazine named Gates as one of the most influential people,

2008: Named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report

Political party: Independent/ Republican

EDUCATION: Georgetown University (Ph.D. Russian and Soviet History), Indiana University (M.A.  History), College of William & Mary (B.A. European History)

FAMILY: Spouse Becky Gates (Married 1966); Two Children: Bradley & Eleanor

FRC SCORECARD: N/A

EXPERIENCE

1966: Recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency as a graduate student at Indiana University

1967-1969: Intelligence Officer, United States Air Force

1969: Central Intelligence Agency

1974: White House National Security Council (President Ford)

1979: Central Intelligence Agency: Director of the Strategic Evaluation Center

1981: Central Intelligence Agency: Director of the DCI/DDCI Executive Staff

1982: Deputy Director Central Intelligence Agency (President Reagan)

1989: National Security Advisor to the President (President George H.W. Bush)

1991: Director of Central Intelligence Agency (President George H.W. Bush)

1993-1999: Lecture Circuit

1999-2001: Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A & M University

2002-2006: President of Texas A & M University

December 18, 2006: 22nd Secretary of Defense

BOOK: 1996, Gates’ autobiography, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War.

AWARDS/DECORATIONS:

Presidential Citizens Medal

National Security Medal

National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards)

Distinguished Intelligence Medal (3 awards)

Eagle Scout

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from College of William and Mary

College of William and Mary Alumni Association - Alumni Medallion

Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor (First Non-Corps Honoree) - Texas A&M University

George Bush Award (2007) - George Bush Presidential Library Foundation

 

COMMENTS/NOTES HOMOSEXUALS IN THE MILITARY

Secretary Gates has not expressed a personal opinion on President Obama’s proposal to repeal the law which excludes homosexuals from the military. In March 2007, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sparked controversy by telling the Chicago Tribune, “I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe that the armed forces of the United States are well served by saying through our policies that it’s OK to be immoral in any way.” Gates responded in an interview on the Pentagon Channel, saying, “Now look, you know I think personal opinion really doesn’t have a place here. What’s important is that we have a law, a statute that governs ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ … That’s the policy of this department, and it’s my responsibility to execute that policy as effectively as we can. As long as the law is what it is, that’s what we’ll do.” [Source]

According to National Public Radio, “Senior Pentagon officials privately said the defense secretary summoned Pace to his office after the comments came to light, and demanded he put out a statement.”  Pace did so, stating, “In expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some personal opinions about moral conduct. I should have focused more on my support of the policy and less on my personal moral view.” Three months later, Gates announced he was replacing Gen. Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs rather than renominating him, expressing concern about a “divisive ordeal” that would have focused on the “past rather than the future.” [Source]

In the spring of 2008, it was reported by Politico that “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to intervene with Defense Secretary Robert Gates in order to get Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s domestic partner on a military flight for a congressional fact-finding trip to Europe… Under House guidelines, members of Congress may take their spouses with them on military flights,” but “military officials were apparently unwilling to consider Azar a ‘spouse.’” A Pentagon spokesman insisted that the travel rules are set by the House, not the Pentagon, and that the decision to waive the normal spousal requirement rested with Pelosi, not Gates: “Secretary Gates honored a request from Speaker Pelosi to make an exception to the House rules.”

Secretary Gates was also the named defendant in a court case seeking to overturn the law barring homosexuals from the military, but the Department of Justice actually handled the case in court. On June 9, 2008, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the current law in Cook v. Gates. [Source]

Change Watch Backgrounder: David Ogden

by Family Research Council

February 2, 2009

POSITION: DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

NOMINEE: David Ogden

Born: November 12, 1953

Family: Wife, Anne Harkavy, and three children.

Occupation: partner at the Washington, D.C. firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, co-running the firm’s Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group.

Education: B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D. magna cum laude in 1981 from Harvard Law School

Clinton White House: 1994-1995, Deputy General Counsel and the Legal Counsel for the United States Department of Defense; 1995 - 1997, Associate Deputy Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice; 1997 - 1998, Counselor to the United States Attorney General; 1998 - 1999, chief of staff to the United States Attorney General; 1999 - 2000, Acting Assistant Attorney General; 2000 - 2001, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division in the United States Department of Justice.

 

On Abortion

In a brief for the American Psychological Association in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, he wrote: “Abortion rarely causes or exacerbates psychological or emotional problems.  When women do experience regret, depression, or guilt, such feelings are mild and diminish rapidly without adversely affecting general functioning.  The few women who do experience negative psychological responses after abortion appear to be those with preexisting emotional problems ….”

Ogden also wrote: In sum, it is grossly misleading to tell a woman that abortion imposes possible detrimental psychological effects when the risks are negligible in most cases, when the evidence shows that she is more likely to experience feelings of relief and happiness, and when child-birth and child-rearing or adoption may pose concomitant (if not greater) risks or adverse psychological effects ….”

[Source]

Opposed Parental Notification by 14-year olds

In Hartigan v. Zbaraz, 484 U.S. 171 (1987), Ogden co-authored a brief for the American Psychological Association arguing that parental notification was an unconstitutional burden on 14-year old adolescent girls seeking an abortion. Excerpts:

There is no question that the right to secure an abortion is fundamental.” (p. 10).

By any objective standard, therefore, the decision to abort is one that a reasonable person, including a reasonable adolescent, could make.” (p. 11).

[E]mpirical studies have found few differences between minors aged 14-18 and adults in their understanding of information and their ability to think of options and consequences when asked to consider treatment-related decisions. These unvarying and highly significant findings indicate that with respect to the capacity to understand and reason logically, there is no qualitative or quantitative difference between minors in mid-adolescence, i.e., about 14-15 years of age, and adults.” (p. 18).

[Source]

Miscellaneous Abortion filings

In Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1990), Ogden served as counsel to People for the American Way, the National Education Association, and others supporting petitioner’s claim that abortion is a method of family planning that should be eligible for federal funding.

In Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, 537 U.S. 393 (2003), Ogden co-authored the brief for the respondent NOW and several abortion clinics. They sought permanent injunctive relief under RICO, which was originally aimed at fighting organized mob crime, against pro-life protestors from Operation Rescue and the Pro-Life Action League. Available on WestLaw as 2002 WL 31154781.

See also Gonzales v. Oregon,  546 U.S. 243 (2006), where Ogden served as counsel of record on behalf of law professors filing an amicus brief supporting Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and opposing the Ashcroft Directive barring assisted suicide. Available on LexisNexis as 2004 U.S. Briefs 623.

On Homosexuality

In Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), Ogden served as counsel of record for the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers filing an amicus brief in support of the defendants.

 “Of course, families headed by gay couples may encounter particular issues and challenges, much as families of racial and ethnic minority group members, low-income families, and single-parent families do.” (p. 21).

Although a shift in public opinion concerning homosexuality occurred in the 1990s, hostility towards gay men and lesbians remains common in contemporary American society. Prejudice against bisexuals appears to exist at comparable levels. Discrimination against gay people in employment and housing also appears to remain widespread. The severity of this anti-gay prejudice is reflected in the consistently high rate of anti-gay harassment and violence in American society.” (p. 23-24).  [Source]

On Gays in the Military

In Watkins v. United States Army, 875 F.2d 699 (9th Cir. 1989), Ogden filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Psychological Association. In it, APA argued “(8) prejudice against lesbians and gay men in the Army is likely to be reduced by encouraging contact between homosexuals and heterosexuals; and (9) there was no rational basis for the Army’s exclusion of gay people.”

[Source]    

On Strict Scrutiny for Gay Rights Claims

In an article for the APA, Ogden called for “strict scrutiny” of claims by homosexual persons. American Psychologist, Vol. 46, No. 9, p. 950-956 (September 1991).

[Source]


Pornography and Obscenity

Opposed the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000

In United States v. American Library Association, Ogden served as counsel of record for an amicus brief filed on behalf of fifteen library directors in support of the Association.

As a condition of receiving federal funds, Congress has - with the Children’s Internet Protection Act … - insisted that public libraries affirmatively censor constitutionally-protected material. By demanding that libraries be censors and devote resources - not to facilitating - but to interfering with patrons’ pursuit of information and ideas, Congress has subverted the role of librarians and public libraries and violated the First Amendment rights of library patrons.” (p. 3).

CIPA “impairs the ability of librarians to aid patrons seeking information.” (p. 11).

[Source]

Challenged the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act

Ogden represented several communications trade associations challenging provisions of the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988. He convinced the court that requiring producers of pornographic materials to personally verify that models were over age 18 at the time the materials were made would “burden too heavily and infringe too deeply on the right to produce First Amendment protected material.” American Library Association v. Thornburgh, 713 F.Supp. 469, 477 (D.D.C. 1989).

Representation of Pornographers

Ogden represented Playboy Enterprises, among others, seeking an order forcing the Library of Congress to use taxpayer funds to print Playboy Magazine’s articles in Braille against the express wishes of Congress. American Council for the Blind v. Boorstin, 644 F.Supp. 811 (1986). Ogden represented Playboy Enterprises seeking an injunction against the inclusion of Playboy in a list of pornographic magazines that would potentially be included in the Meese Commission report. Playboy Enterprises, Inc. v. Meese, 746 F.Supp. 154 (D.D.C. 1990). Ogden represented a mail-order pornography distributor with a nation-wide business who complained of an allegedly unconstitutional multi-district prosecution strategy by the Department of Justice. P.HE., Inc., v. United States Department of Justice, 743 F.Supp. 15 (D.D.C. 1990) and United States v. P.H.E., Inc., 965 F.2d 848 (10th Cir. 1992).

Ogden has filed numerous amicus briefs in pornography and obscenity cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, including Knox v. United States, 510 U.S. 375 (1993) (on behalf of the ACLU and others); Fort Wayne Books, Inc. vIndiana, 489 U.S. 46 (1989) (on behalf of mail-order pornography distributor P.H.E., Inc.); Virginia v. American Booksellers Association, 484 U.S. 383 (1988) (on behalf of the Freedom to Read Foundation); Pope v. Illinois, 481 U.S. 497 (1987) (on behalf of the ACLU and P.H.E., Inc.). See also Meese v. Keene, 481 U.S. 465 (1987) (on behalf of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., and the American Booksellers Association).

 

On Judicial Activism

Sen. Sessions: I was concerned about your comments on judicial activism or the meaning of our Constitution and how it ought to be interpreted in an article you wrote back in July 1986 concerning the Bowers case in Georgia . . .

Constitutional interpretation cannot be limited to ascertain the way a particular law would have been viewed by the Framers. While constitutional principles do not change, the society and individuals in whom they are applied do, and our knowledge about that society and those individuals improves with time.’

Then you noted the changing social context is as much a part of the constitutional issues to be decided as the statute itself because to ignore it is to fail in the court’s basic task, adapting the great outlines of the Constitution to the particular problems of each generation, and then you went on to make some other comments.” Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, 106th Congress August 4, 1999. 

[Source]

Tobacco Litigation

Was a major player in the Clinton Administration’s efforts to profit from the numerous court cases against tobacco companies and releasing a statement on the day the suit was announced [Source].  He also testified before Congress in 2001 stating he believed the government had a strong case because of the tobacco industry’s “long-standing conspiracy to defraud the American public.”

[Source]

President Obama’s first broken promise?

by Family Research Council

February 1, 2009

During the campaign there was a lot of talk from the Obama campaign that he would usher in a new era of open and honest government. In fact on the ethics page of his website there is this little tidbit:

Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.

Then how does he explain the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which Heritage correctly describes as a payoff to trial lawyers? According to the Congressional website THOMAS the Lilly Ledbetter Act was passed by the Senate on January 22, then passed by the House of Representatives on January 27 and signed into law by President Obama two days later.

I searched the White House website and there was no five day “waiting period” before President Obama signed the legislation into law, and certainly no explanation that this trial lawyers’ dream of a bill is “emergency” legislation.

There is a section of the White House website on the bill that asks for comments - but I am told by people in the White House it did not go up till two hours AFTER the bill was signed!

Change Watch Backgrounder: John Holdren

by David Prentice

January 30, 2009

POSITION: SCIENCE ADVISOR

AND Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

AND Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)

NOMINEE: John Holdren

BIRTH DATE: March 1, 1944 Sewickley, PA, grew up in San Mateo, CA

EDUCATION:

Ph.D. in aeronautics/astronautics and theoretical plasma physics 1970, Stanford University

M.S. in aeronautics & astronautics 1966, MIT

B.S. in aeronautics & astronautics 1965, MIT

FAMILY: Wife Dr. Cheryl E. Holdren, a biologist; two children and four grandchildren

FRC SCORECARD: NA

EXPERIENCE:

June 2005-present Director, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA

1996-present Harvard University

  • Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy
  • Director, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
  • Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy

1973-present University of California-Berkeley

  • Professor of Energy and Resources

1972-1973 California Institute of Technology

1970-1973, 1973-present as consultant,  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

1969-1970 Stanford University

1966-1967 Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Sunnyvale, California

Brief Professional CV at Harvard

And Woods Hole Research Center

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

  • 2007- Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • 2006- President
  • 2005- President-elect

1994-2001 Member of Clinton’s President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)

Member National Academy of Sciences

Member National Academy of Engineering

 

ON EMBRYONIC STEM CELL EXPERIMENTATION and CLONING

AAAS worked to increase support for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, too, by issuing a statement decrying the President’s second veto of the initiative, which had twice passed in the House and Senate, with votes from Republicans and Democrats alike. Association staff later teamed up with stem cell pioneer James Thomson to publish an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post and at least nine other newspapers.”

Welcome Letter from John Holdren, AAAS Chair & Alan Leshner, AAAS CEO; AAAS 2007 annual report

[Source]

Holdren’s views on another controversy, embryonic stem cell research, also are likely to run contrary to those of Bush, who has restricted U.S. funding to minimize the number of embryos destroyed to create new colonies of cells.

Holdren has already said he thinks the research should advance without the funding restrictions, said David Baltimore, the 1975 Nobel Prize winner who is now a biology professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

[Source]

The President has again vetoed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would expand federal support for embryonic stem cell research. AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society, stands with a broad coalition of Americans spanning all parties and faiths that supports this bill.

The scientific consensus is that embryonic stem cell research is an extremely promising approach to developing more effective treatments for devastating conditions like diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease. The bill would mandate that such research be allowed to compete for federal funding while following strict ethical guidelines.

The Executive Order is not a substitute for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The new approaches addressed by the order are still in the early stages of development and appear to already be eligible for NIH funding. AAAS strongly believes that it is only through federal support of diverse avenues of stem cell research, including especially embryonic stem cell research, that we may better understand the potential value and limitations of each approach.

During his tenure the President has acknowledged that it is a critical time for the American scientific enterprise, therefore it is disappointing that he has chosen to maintain restrictions on such a promising area of research. AAAS will continue to support the interests of scientists and patients in fostering medical progress.”

AAAS statement, 20 June 2007

AAAS supports human experimental cloning

We believe that cloning for research purposes, where stem cells are extracted for further study, holds great promise for contributing to human health and dignity by developing effective treatments or cures for people whose daily lives are challenged by serious diseases and injuries that cause great suffering and premature death. On the other hand, AAAS has endorsed a legal ban on efforts to clone human embryos for reproduction.”

AAAS statement on March 7, 2005:

Other AAAS Policy Statements

 

ON GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE

The extent of unfounded skepticism about the disruption of global climate by human-produced greenhouse gases is not just regrettable, it is dangerous.”

[Source]

Global warming is a misnomer. It implies something gradual, something uniform, something quite possibly benign, and what we’re experiencing is none of those,” Holdren said a year ago in a speech at Harvard. “There is already widespread harm … occurring from climate change. This is not just a problem for our children and our grandchildren.”

[Source]

Advised Al Gore on the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

[Source]

Dr. Holdren’s resistance to dissenting views was also on display earlier this year in an article asserting that climate skeptics are “dangerous.”

[Source]

 

MISCELLANEOUS

In 1980 Dr. Holdren helped select five metals - chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten - and joined Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Harte in betting $1,000 that those metals would be more expensive ten years later. They turned out to be wrong on all five metals, and had to pay up when the bet came due in 1990.”

[Source]

A John Holdren Reader (selected slides, videos, & writings by Holdren)

[Source]

In 1995 he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, for which he served as chair of the executive committee from 1987 to 1997.

Some consider Holdren to be intolerant of dissenting viewpoints.

[Source]

Rangel Rule: Tax Cheats Given A Pass

by Family Research Council

January 29, 2009

wesley-snipes-crazy.jpgWe have a new contender for my favorite Congressman of the 111th Congress, not sure if this is in time for Wesley Snipes though (my new nominee for Treasury Secretary):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2009

New Bill Would Eliminate All IRS Penalties and Interest for U.S. Citizens

Congressman John Carter to introduce “Rangel Rule” Legislation Wednesday

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) will introduce new legislation tomorrow to eliminate all penalty and interest charges by the Internal Revenue Service against U.S. citizens. The bill is designed to provide the same treatment for all U.S. taxpayers owing back taxes as that enjoyed by House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY).

Archives