Category archives: Change Watch

Change Watch Backgrounder: Dawn Johnsen

by Chris Gacek

January 14, 2009

POSTION:  Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel

NOMINEE:  Dawn Johnsen                                                   

Education:  summa cum laude B.A. in economics and political science, Yale, 1983; J.D. Yale, 1986, Article & Book Review Editor, Yale Law Journal

Family:  N/A

Experience: law professor, Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington, 1998-present; Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, United States Department

of Justice, Washington, D.C., 1997-1998; Deputy Assistant Attorney General, 1993-1996; Legal Director, National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League (currently

NARAL Pro-Choice America), Washington, D.C., 1988-1993; Law Clerk to the Honorable Richard D. Cudahy, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Chicago, Illinois, 1986-1987

Clinton White House: From 1993 to 1998 she worked in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), including a stint as Acting Assistant Attorney General heading the OLC

Obama Campaign:  After election, named to Obama transition’s Department of Justice Review Team.

Affiliations:  American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, National Board Member; National Co-Chair of Project on The Constitution in the 21st Century; Co-Chair of Separation of Powers/Federalism Issue Group. NOTE: This group is the relatively new Leftist answer to the Federalist Society.

From her article on fetal rights:

In recent years, however, courts and state legislatures have increasingly granted fetuses rights traditionally enjoyed by persons.  Some of these recent ‘fetal rights’ differ radically from the initial legal recognition of the fetus in that they view the fetus as an entity independent from the pregnant woman with interests that are potentially hostile to hers.” D. Johnsen, “The Creation of Fetal Rights:…”, 95 YALE L.J. 599 (1986).

Until recently, the law did not recognize the existence of the fetus except for a few very specific purposes.”  D. Johnsen, “The Creation of Fetal Rights:…”, 95 YALE L.J. at 601.

In thus treating the fetus, courts have glossed over crucial differences between fetuses and persons, and have lost sight of the interests that narrow legal recognition of the fetus traditionally has attempted to protect.  They have ignored alternatives to equating the fetus with a person that would have more appropriately served their goals.”  D. Johnsen, “The Creation of Fetal Rights:…”, 95 YALE L.J. at 610.

Granting rights to fetuses in a manner that conflicts with women’s autonomy reinforces the tradition of disadvantaging women on the basis of their reproductive capability.  By subjecting women’s decisions and actions during pregnancy to judicial review, the state simultaneously questions women’s abilities and seizes women’s rights to make decisions essential to  [*625]  their very personhood.  The rationale behind using fetal rights laws to control the actions of women during pregnancy is strikingly similar to that used in the past to exclude women from the paid labor force and to confine them to the “private” sphere. 

D. Johnsen, “The Creation of Fetal Rights:…”, 95 YALE L.J. at 624-25.

On Alito Hearings:

We have squandered a rare opportunity for public education. The Senate’s focus on the formal status of Roe, while understandable, masks the extent to which the court has already gutted the right to choose and what the confirmation of Alito most immediately would mean for reproductive liberty.

            D. Johnsen, Slate, “The Outer Shell: The hollowing out of Roe v. Wade,” Jan. 25, 2006.

On Reducing the Number of Abortions:

My point was that the kind of legislative initiatives that come out of the “Republican coalition” you were discussing does not actually accomplish a reduction in abortions.  (And that the primary prochoice organizations do work hard toward that goal.)  That may also well reveal that some (not all) such political forces are more interested in objectives other than reducing the number of abortions.  Among them may be controlling the nature and understanding of motherhood and diminishing women’s equality and sexual freedom (and even where those are not objectives, they may provide strong influences).  For the many who sincerely would like to reduce the number of abortions, that desire provides the basis for education about the true effects of the legislation and the possibility for instead forging common ground policies that promote pregnancy prevention and healthy childbearing.

            D. Johnsen, Slate, “Reducing Abortions,” March 22, 2008.

In his book, Bearing Right, William Saletan notes that in the late 1980s, Dawn Johnsen and Marcy Wilder, top lawyers at NARAL, “drew a hard line on parental involvement” in abortion decisions.  Saletan quotes an internal NARAL memo by Johnsen and Wilder:  “In practice, both consent and notification laws amount to a parental veto power over a minor’s decision to an abortion.  Do not, as part of an affirmative legislative strategy, introduce even a liberalized version of a parental consent or notification law.”

William Saletan, Bearing Right, p. 289 (Memo, Dawn Johnsen and Marcy Wilder to NARAL Staff and Consultatns, “Pro-Choice Legislative Strategy for Minor’s Access to Abortion Services,” 9/5/89).

Change Watch Backgrounder: Susan Rice

by Family Research Council

January 12, 2009


NOMINEE: Susan Rice

Born: Washington, DC. November 17, 1964

Family: Husband,  Ian O. Cameron, and two children.

Occupation: Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institute

Education: D.Phil. (1990), M.Phil. (1988), Oxford University; B.A., Stanford University, 1986

Clinton White House: Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1997-2001); Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, the National Security Council, the White House (1995-1997); Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping, National Security Council (1993-1995)


Various interest groups and lawmakers issued statements today reacting to Barack Obama’s six-person national security team. Three advocacy groups for women weighed in positively on the three female nominees: Sen. Hillary Clinton, Dr. Susan Rice and AZ Gov. Janet Napolitano: Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy and Emily’s List’s Ellen Malcolm.”

Throughout her extensive career in international affairs, Susan Rice has consistently affirmed the responsibility to address the burdens of poverty around the globe and their impact on global health. In addition, she understands the important role the United Nations plays in promoting and protecting women’s health around the world, especially in developing countries. Susan Rice is a passionate and committed advocate for poor women and families around the world. We expect that she will work effectively with other countries to fulfill the UN’s development agenda, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on maternal health, gender equality and AIDS reduction.” - Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards.

Reproductive health (abortion) is clearly and openly mentioned in the MDGs as a critical component of improving maternal health globally. The fifth of eight Millennium Development Goals is to improve maternal health. Two targets make up that goal: reduce by 3/4 the maternal mortality rate; and, according to the United Nations site about the MDG campaign, ‘achieve universal access to reproductive health care.’ This target clearly states, ‘an unmet need for family planning undermines achievement of several other goals.’”  [source]


At an interagency teleconference in late April, Susan Rice, a rising star on the NSC who worked under Richard Clarke, stunned a few of the officials present when she asked, ‘If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?’ Lieutenant Colonel Tony Marley remembers the incredulity of his colleagues at the State Department. ‘We could believe that people would wonder that,’ he says, ‘but not that they would actually voice it.’ Rice does not recall the incident but concedes, ‘If I said it, it was completely inappropriate, as well as irrelevant.’” Power, Samantha. “Bystanders to Genocide.” The Atlantic September 2001.

History demonstrates that there is one language Khartoum understands: the credible threat or use of force. After Sept. 11, 2001, when President Bush issued a warning to states that harbor terrorists, Sudan — recalling the 1998 U.S. airstrike on Khartoum — suddenly began cooperating on counterterrorism. It’s time to get tough with Sudan again …After swift diplomatic consultations, the United States should press for a U.N. resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the U.N. force within one week or face military consequences. The resolution would authorize enforcement by U.N. member states, collectively or individually. International military pressure would continue until Sudan relented… If the United States fails to gain U.N. support, we should act without it. Impossible? No, the United States acted without U.N. blessing in 1999 in Kosovo to confront a lesser humanitarian crisis (perhaps 10,000 killed) and a more formidable adversary.” Rice, Susan, Lake, Anthony and Payne, Donald. “We Saved Europeans. Why Not Africans?The Washington Post. October 2, 2006. 

On Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), nominee for Secretary of State, her potential counterpart at the State Department

On MSNBC’s “Tucker” yesterday, one of Sen. Barack Obama’s top foreign policy aides, former assistant secretary of state for African Affairs Susan Rice, said of Clinton’s 3 am phone call TV ad, ‘Clinton hasn’t had to answer the phone at three o’clock in the morning and yet she attacked Barack Obama for not being ready. They’re both not ready to have that 3 am phone call.’”  [source]


During Bill Clinton’s second term, Rice played a major role in the decision to refuse Sudan’s offer to hand over Bin Laden. According to Richard Miniter, author of Losing bin Laden, Rice persuaded Sandy Berger to turn Sudan down because she doubted its credibility and was offended by its human rights violations. But our ambassador to Sudan argued far more sensibly for calling Khartoum’s ‘bluff.’ Mansoor Ijaz, who was involved in the negotiations with Sudan provides the same account. No doubt, Rice will urge Obama (in the unlikely event he needs urging) to rush into talks with Iran and Syria notwithstanding any reservations about their credibility and human rights records, on the theory of ‘why not; how can it hurt?’ But when offered the opportunity to take out the world’s leading terrorist — as opposed to appeasing rogue terrorist supporting states — Rice drew the line.” [source]


by Family Research Council

January 9, 2009

Here are coronation hearing dates for some of President-elect Obama’s nominees. For more details such as times please go here. To watch the hearings as they are happening tune into

Tom Daschle, nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services

Hearing date: January 8th, 2009

Location: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Hilda L. Solis, nominee for Secretary of Labor

Hearing date: January 9th, 2009

Location: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Hillary Rodham Clinton, nominee for Secretary of State

Hearing date: January 13th, 2009

Location: Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Steven Chu, nominee for Secretary of Energy

Hearing date: January 13th, 2009

Location: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Arne Duncan, nominee for Secretary of Education

Hearing date: January 13th, 2009

Location: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Peter R. Orszag, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget;

Robert L. Nabors II, nominee for Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Hearing date: January 13th, 2009

Location: Senate Budget Committee

Shaun Donovan, nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Hearing date: January 13th, 2009

Location: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee

Thomas J. Vilsack, nominee for Secretary of Agriculture.

Hearing date: January 14th, 2009

Location: Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee

Lisa P. Jackson nominee for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Nancy Helen Sutley, nominee for Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality. Hearing date: January 14th, 2009

Location: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

Eric Shinseki, nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Hearing date: January 14th, 2009

Location: Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

Peter R. Orszag, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget;

Robert L. Nabors II, nominee for Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Hearing date: January 14th, 2009

Location: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

Ken Salazar, nominee for Secretary of the Interior.

Hearing date: January 15th, 2009

Location: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Susan E. Rice, nominee for Representative to the United Nations

Hearing date: January 15th, 2009

Location: Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Eric H. Holder, nominee for Attorney General of the United States

Hearing date: January 15th, 2009

Location: Senate Judiciary Committee

Mary Schapiro, nominee for Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Christina Romer, nominee for Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors;

Austan Goolsbee and Cecilia Rouse, nominees to be Members of the Council of Economic Advisors;

and Daniel Tarullo, nominee to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Hearing date: January 15th, 2009

Location: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee

Janet A. Napolitano, nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security

Hearing date: January 15th, 2009

Location: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

Change Watch Backgrounder: Arne Duncan

by David Nammo

January 8, 2009


POSITION: Secretary of Education

BIRTH DATE: Nov. 6, 1964

EDUCATION:  Magna Cum Laude, Harvard University, Sociology Degree, 1987

FAMILY:  Wife, Karen (Australian-American) and two children.

EXPERIENCE:  Arne Duncan was born and raised in the Hyde Park, Chicago area.  He attended University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.  He was accepted to Harvard University, where he was co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American.  Mr. Duncan played professional basketball in Australia after graduation from 1987-1991, where he also worked with children who were wards of the state.

Duncan moved back to Chicago in 1992  and directed the Ariel Education Initiative, a program to enhance educational opportunities for students on Chicago’s South Side.  In 1998, he began working for the Chicago Public Schools and in 2001, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley named Duncan as the Chief Executive Officer. 


No Child Left Behind

Duncan has called for more flexibility in the No Child Left Behind school accountability law, but does not intend to scrap the initiative entirely.

Gay High School

Arne Duncan approved a proposed gay-friendly Chicago Social Justice High School - Pride Campus.  The school would have been committed to affirming homosexuality in adolescents, have been publicly subsidized and included homosexuality-affirming curricula.  


Comprehensive Sex Education & Playboy

Chicago Public Schools adopted a comprehensive sex education curricula called passed the Family Life and Comprehensive Sexual Health Education policy in 2006, under Arne Duncan’s leadership.  The policy was crafted in coordination with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, according to the Windy City Times, a pro-homosexual website.   

The Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, a leading group promoting comprehensive sex education, held its Spring 2006 fundraiser at the Playboy mansion.

Comprehensive sex education” is education-speak for sex education curricula that, among other things, teach students subversive views of sexual conduct, abortion, and homosexuality. Here are some of the topics covered in typical comprehensive sex ed curricula:

  • Provides values-based education and offers students the opportunity to explore and define their individual values as well as the values of their families and communities
  • Includes a wide variety of sexuality related topics, such as human development, relationships, interpersonal skills, sexual expression, sexual health, and society and culture
  • Includes accurate, factual information on abortion, masturbation, and sexual orientation
  • Provides positive messages about sexuality and sexual expression, including the benefits of abstinence
  • Teaches that proper use of latex condoms, along with water-based lubricants, can greatly reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV
  • Teaches that religious values can play an important role in an individual’s decisions about sexual expression; offers students the opportunity to explore their own and their family’s religious values
  • Teaches that a woman faced with an unintended pregnancy has options: carrying the pregnancy to term and raising the baby, or carrying the pregnancy to term and placing the baby for adoption, or ending the pregnancy with an abortion


Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC)

Duncan worked in promoting the Annenberg Challenge, a radical education group formerly run by Barack Obama and Bill Ayers.   The CAC’s agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism.

[source 1, source 2]

Charter and Failing Schools

Duncan has earned praises from some quarters for his support of charter schools, his willingness to close failing schools, his support for greater student accountability, and his promotion of merit pay for teachers.


Record of Success

During Duncan’s tenure at Chicago Public Schools, the system spent the second highest amount per individual student in the nation yet only showed a very small improvement improved test scores.


Change Watch Backgrounder: Thomas J. Perrelli

by Family Research Council

January 6, 2009


NOMINEE: Thomas J. Perrelli

Born: March 12, 1966

Occupation: Managing Partner of Jenner & Block’s Washington, DC office.

Education: graduated from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, in 1991

Clinton White House: In 1997, served as counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno. He subsequently rose to Deputy Assistant Attorney General, supervising the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division, which represents virtually every federal agency in complex civil litigation. Perrelli also supervised the Justice Department’s Tobacco Litigation Team in its litigation against the major cigarette manufacturers.

End of Life issues

An attorney who won an award for representing Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael in his efforts to kill his disabled wife is now an advisor to the transition team of incoming president Barack Obama.

Thomas Perrelli, who raised over $500,000 for the pro-abortion presidential candidate and is the managing partner of a Washington law firm, Jenner & Block LLP, is helping advise Obama on putting together a Justice Department team.

However, Perrelli provided Michael Schiavo with legal advice during his response to the Congressional bill that President Bush signed allowing the Schindler family to take their lawsuit seeking to prevent Terri’s euthanasia death from state to federal courts.

Perrelli led the Jenner & Block team that developed the legal briefs opposing appeals for Michael and he ultimately received the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Pro Bono Award in October 2006 for representing Terri’s former husband at no cost.

On Michael’s legal team, Perrelli worked with infamous pro-euthanasia attorney George Felos as well as lawyers from the Florida chapter of the ACLU.” 



Background: “The 2010 midterm elections and the resulting battles over redistricting will shape the future of both political parties. A case challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is being offered to the Supreme Court, highlighting these political stakes. And President-elect Barack Obama’s Justice Department is about to take center stage in this fight. The Constitution requires legislative districts be redrawn after each decennial national census. The 2010 midterm elections will determine the makeup of all 50 state legislatures. With few exceptions, these legislatures will then draw new lines of all congressional districts, as well as many state legislative districts, for the 2012 election and beyond. A major factor in this redistricting is the Voting Rights Act. A number of VRA’s provisions apply nationwide, originally designed to protect the right of African Americans to vote. But another provision of the law has been challenged in a case that has now been offered to the U.S. Supreme Court. Section Five of the VRA requires certain jurisdictions with a history of egregious racism to go through a special process before they can make any changes affecting voting. Under Section Five, these jurisdictions must get pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department before they can redistrict or make any other changes to their election laws or procedures, or get a three-judge panel of the federal district court in D.C. to sign off on the jurisdiction’s plan. The law requires the Justice Department or the federal court to determine whether the changes would have either the purpose or the effect of abridging the right to vote.”  Blackwell, Ken. “Obama Justice.” Washington Times  Dec. 31, 2008.

Mr. Perrelli, a former Justice Department official and Harvard Law School classmate of Mr. Obama’s, helped raise $500,000 for the president-elect’s campaign, has worked as an attorney for the recording industry, which has significant business before the Justice Department, and represented Democratic lawmakers and voters involved in politically charged redistricting cases, an issue certain to rise again with the 2010 census.” Dinan, Stephen. “Obama’s Justice Picks Draws Ire of Pro-lifers.” Jan. 6, 2009.


Close friendship with President-elect Obama

At Harvard, (Cassandra) Butts was moot court partners with Perrelli, who first met Obama at the dinner party and served as his managing editor on the Harvard Law Review. Perrelli, a Washington lawyer who had never been a fundraiser, would go on to collect more than $500,000 for Obama’s presidential campaign. He is now part of the Department of Justice transition team. 

We have all been friends together, and we found a common enterprise through Barack,’ Perrelli said. Perrelli occupied seat 151 of professor Laurence Tribe’s constitutional law class in the fall 1989 semester - just a few feet away from Obama (seat 26) and two others who would prove vital to his ambitions: Julius Genachowski (93) and Michael Froman (103).”


Change Watch Backgrounder: Gov. Janet Napolitano - UPDATED

by Constance Mackey

January 5, 2009


NOMINEE:  Janet Napolitano

Born: New York City, November 29, 1957

Occupation:  Governor of Arizona  - elected in 2002 and again in 2006

Education: Santa Clara University and law degree from University of Virginia

Political Career:  While a partner in the Phoenix law firm Lewis and Roca LLP, Napolitano served as attorney for Anita Hill when Hill testified against the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas.  Appointed by President Bill Clinton as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, she then ran for and won the position of Arizona Attorney General in 1998 where she focused on consumer protection issues and general law enforcement.

Abortion:  “I am committed to women’s reproductive rights.  Current protections must not be eroded, and we must continue to fight to provide Arizona women with the support they need in making decisions about their own bodies.  Thus, I am pro-choice.”

Campaign web site, , “Issues” Sep 9, 2002

Napolitano vetoed every piece of abortion legislation that came across her desk - seven pro-life measures in total including a partial-birth abortion ban as well as a bill to strengthen parental consent requirements.  She refused to sign measures to make sure taxpayer funds do not pay for abortions for state workers.  As Governor she vetoed a bill that would allow women to know that an unborn baby will feel pain during an abortion procedure.  She vetoed a bill in 2004 that would have allowed women to receive information about abortion’s risk and alternatives that abortion businesses sometimes withhold from women considering abortions.  In addition, she vetoed a measure that would have protected pro-life pharmacists from being forced to dispense drugs that could cause abortions.

Appointment of Judges:  “Governor Napolitano defends appointment of judges even though the system never throws anyone out.” “Governor Napolitano is quoted in the Yellow Sheet defending the system of merit selection in Arizona’s larger counties, which allows the governor to appoint judges instead of requiring them to run for election.  They are only required to run for re-election, but it’s impossible to vote them out at that point since they have no name recognition from having never run a real campaign.”….”It is impossible to get rid of bad judges with merit selection, and the governor is able to appoint her political flacks like former legislator Bill Brotherton who has little relevant legal experience; his background consists mainly of Democrat political activism.  Three of Napolitano’s 15 or so judicial appointments have been gay, considering this (20%) is significantly higher than the proportion of gays in the general population, it is clear that Napolitano is able to pursue her own political agenda in the appointment of judges.  Instead of getting judgeships based on real merit, political leftists are able to get judgeships based on their leftwing ideological connections to Napolitano.” [source]

Napolitano’s Appointees:  As Governor, Janet Napolitano has embedded pro-gay rights and pro-abortion activists throughout her administration.  One example is Bryan Howard, who was appointed as a member of the governor’s Commission on the Health Status of Women and Families.  The Planned Parenthood Federation of America awarded Howard their highest honor for leadership for his role as CEO of Planned Parenthood of Arizona.  In his acceptance speech, he said the following: “I am proud of what I have accomplished and how we’ve accomplished it.  I am proud that more mothers and babies survive the perils of pregnancy.  I am proud that more families celebrate a new addition rather than regret it.  And I am proud we are helping more young people to experience their sexuality in a healthy, thoughtful way, whether they are gay, straight, bisexual or transgendered.”  According to the Planned Parenthood account, Howard’s “advocacy on behalf of reproductive rights has led to significant progress for women and families in Arizona, including Governor Janet Napolitano’s rejection of federal abstinence-only funding.” [source]

Law enforcement:  As Secretary of Homeland Security the Governor’s future performance can best be judged by her record on the issue of immigration in a border state.  She used her veto power on some key bills to cut benefits for and the flow of illegal aliens into the state.  Some of those bills included one denying in-state tuition and day care for illegal aliens and one allowing local authorities to enforce immigration law.  She vetoed a bill making English the official state language. She went directly up against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s successful border operations and developed a new task force headed by the Department of Public Safety concentrating on illegal felons with outstanding warrants.  Her mantra in dealing with the illegal immigration problems in her border state has been, “Security and immigration are the federal government’s responsibility.”

While she has complied with allowing the border fence to be built, she has been unenthusiastic about its success.  Last year, Ms. Napolitano reached a deal with Mr. Chertoff to make driver’s licenses more secure under a federal program known as REAL ID, but in June she signed a bill refusing to put the standards in place, calling the program an unfinanced federal mandate.  She was a vocal critic when Congress failed to pass legislation last year revamping immigration law and has also backed proposals favored by some immigrant advocacy groups, including a temporary worker program and ‘a strict and stringent pathway to citizenship’ for illegal immigrants already here that would include learning English and paying fines.  But last year she also signed into law sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal workers and later complained when the Bush administration withdrew the bulk of the National Guard from the Mexican border earlier this year, as it had planned.”  Randal C. Archibold, New York Times, November 20, 2008


Defending Marriage: Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona announced her opposition this week to a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, according to The Arizona Republic. While Napolitano made it clear that she believes marriage is a union between a man and a woman, she is not in favor of the proposal and finds it unnecessary at this time. Napolitano said, “I don’t think the constitutional amendment is necessary. The voters of Arizona will have a chance to decide this. Personally, I’m going to oppose it. We already have a statute that defines marriage. The courts have already said the statute is constitutional(The Advocate) .”


Miscellaneous: In 1991, Janet Napolitano, then a well-regarded partner in the law firm of Lewis & Roca, LLP, served as the attorney for law professor Anita Hill when Hill testified against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Change Watch: Keeping track of the Obama administration

by Jared Bridges

December 23, 2008

What’s in store for the Obama administration? FRC has been keeping track of the president-elect’s nominees with detailed backgrounders. Here’s the list to date:

There will be more backgrounders to come after the new year. Stay tuned to this spot for more additions.

Change Watch Backgrounder: Rahm Emanuel

by David Nammo

December 19, 2008

POSITION: CHIEF OF STAFF                                                        

BIRTH DATE: November 29, 1959

EDUCATION:  Emanuel graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981, and received a Master’s Degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985.

FAMILY:   Wife, Amy Rule; Three children: Zachariah Emanuel, Ilana Emanuel, Leah Emanuel

EXPERIENCE:  Rep. Rahm Emanuel is currently the White House Chief-of-Staff designate.  He has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois’s 5th District since January 3, 2003.  At the beginning of his second term, Emanuel received an assignment to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees taxes, trade, Social Security, and Medicare issues.  Additionally, Emanuel was appointed by then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005 and later as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2007.

Emanuel began his career with the consumer rights organization Illinois Public Action.  He worked on Democrat Paul Simon’s 1984 election to the U.S. Senate and in 1989 served as a senior advisor and chief fundraiser for Richard M. Daley.  Emanuel served as a senior advisor to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998, after directing Clinton’s campaign finance committee.  In the White House, Emanuel was initially Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy.

After leaving the White House in 1998, Emanuel served as a managing director at Wasserstein Perella (now Dresdner Kleinwort), where he worked until 2002.  During that time, in 2000, Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) by then President Bill Clinton.

Abortion Record

Taxpayer Funded Abortion:  Emanuel supports taxpayer funded abortion and co-sponsored a bill that ensured access and taxpayer funding for abortion and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.  Prevention First Act. H.R.819;

Partial-Birth Abortion:  Emanuel voted more than once against the ban on Partial-Birth Abortion, despite the bill having an exception to save the mother’s life.  Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, H.R. 760, June 4, 2003,; S3, Oct. 3, 2003,

Parental Notification:  Emanuel supports allowing teenagers to be transported across state lines to obtain an abortion without a parent’s (or guardian’s) knowledge.  He voted against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act on two occasions.  The bill would have restricted the interstate transport of minors for the purpose of obtaining an abortion, if by doing so the minor would be evading a home-state parental notice or consent law.  H R 748, April 27, 2005,; S 403, Sept. 26, 2006,

Human Embryonic Stem-Cell Research:  Emanuel voted twice to expand federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research by amending the Public Health Service Act.  Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, H.R. 3, Jan. 11, 2007,; Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, H.R. 810, May 24, 2005,

Human Cloning:  Emanuel voted against a ban on cloning human beings and supported an amendment to allow human cloning for reproduction and medical research. H.R. 534 (H AMEND 5), Feb. 27, 2003,

Unborn Victims:  Emanuel voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (Laci and Conner’s Law), which proposed to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a child in the womb while carrying out a crime against a pregnant woman. H.R. 1997, Feb. 26, 2004,

Emanuel received a 100% rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).


Homosexual Marriage:  Emanuel twice voted against a U.S. constitutional amendment defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. H.J. Res. 88, July 18, 2006,; H.J.Res.106, Sep 30, 2004,

Sexual Orientation Special Rights:  Emanuel voted to add sexual orientation to U.S. civil rights law protecting against discrimination based on sex, race and religion.  The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would make it unlawful to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, including actions based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of a person with whom the individual associates or has associated.  H.R. 3685, Nov. 13, 2007,

Same-sex Benefits:  Emanuel co-sponsored the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2007, which would extend benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees.  H.R. 4838,

Emanuel received a 100% vote rating from the pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign.


Marriage Tax Penalty:  Emanuel voted against the bill that would have permanently removed the Marriage Tax Penalty from the federal income tax code.  The bill would have amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permanently extend the marriage penalty relief provided under the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.  H.R. 4181, April 28, 2004,


Driver’s Licenses:  Emanuel voted against the Real ID Act, which set minimal security requirements for state driver’s licenses and identification cards. H.R. 418, Feb. 19, 2005,  

Illegal Aliens:  Emanuel voted against the Undocumented Immigrant Emergency Medical Assistance, which would have required hospitals to report (to the federal government) illegal aliens who receive emergency medical treatment.  H.R. 3722, May 18, 2004,

Bill Clinton creates a conflict at State

by Family Research Council

December 19, 2008

It appears that some of former President Bill Clinton’s donors to his foundation are raising some eyebrows on how it will affect his wife’s new role as President-elect Obama’s Secretary of State. According to the AP:

Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments gave at least $46 million, while corporate donors included the Blackwater security firm that protects U.S. diplomats in Iraq . . .

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the foundation, and other government donors included Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Italy and Jamaica. The Dutch national lottery gave $5 million to $10 million . . .

The list also underscores ties between the Clintons and India, a connection that could complicate diplomatic perceptions of whether Hillary Clinton can be a neutral broker between India and neighboring Pakistan in a region where Obama will face an early test of his foreign policy leadership.

Amar Singh, a donor in the $1 million to $5 million category, is an Indian politician who played host to Bill Clinton on a visit to India in 2005 and met Hillary Clinton in New York in September to discuss an India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement.

Two other Indian interests gave between $500,000 and $1 million each.

Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Oman gave $1 million to $5 million each.

Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid gave $1 million to $5 million.

Friends of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Foundation each gave $1 million to $5 million, as did the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office.

China Overseas Real Estate Development and the U.S. Islamic World Conference each gave $250,000 to $500,000.

No. 97 on the Forbes billionaire list, Ethiopian-Saudi business tycoon Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi.

Issam Fares, a former deputy prime minister of Lebanon.

Lukas Lundin, chairman of oil, gas and mining businesses including Tanganyika Oil Company Ltd., an international oil and gas exploration and production company with interests in Syria, and Vostok Nafta Investment Ltd., an investment company that focuses on Russia and other former Soviet republics.

For a complete list of Clinton Foundation contributors:

Change Watch Backgrounder: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

by Constance Mackey

December 18, 2008


NOMINEE:  Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)

Born:  October 26, 1947

Family:  Husband - 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton; daughter, Chelsea Clinton

Occupation:  Senator from the State of New York

Education:  undergraduate degree from Wellesley College; J.D., Yale Law School ‘73

Political Career:  Following law school Hillary Clinton was a Congressional legal counsel in the Nixon impeachment trials.  Married Bill Clinton in Arkansas in 1975 and became the First Lady of the State of Arkansas when her husband was elected Governor.  She was named the first female partner at the Rose Law Firm in 1979.  She was active in a number of organizations regarding child welfare and sat on the board of Wal-Mart and several other corporations.  When her husband became President, she used her role as First Lady to launch her own initiative, the Clinton health care plan, which failed to gain approval from the Congress in 1994, 1997, and 1999.  She was the only First Lady to be subpoenaed, testifying before a federal grand jury as a consequence of the Whitewater controversy in 1996.  She was elected as a U.S. senator from New York State in 2000 and was re-elected in 2006.  She ran for President in 2008.  [source]

Life Issues:  On all issues of life, Planned Parenthood has its team in place with President Obama at the top and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.  Hillary Clinton is pro-abortion on all fronts.  She will be influential in forcing Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) legislation that will, with a stroke of the President’s pen, turn back all progress in protecting innocent life that has been made over the past 36 years since Roe v Wade.  Sen. Clinton has been an original cosponsor of FOCA in the past two years.  Addressing the international women’s conferences in Cairo she established her position on abortion as a “basic right” in 1994.  Five years later she addressed an international conference called Cairo Plus Five at The Hague and reaffirmed this position, as well as her support for restoration of U.S. tax support for the United Nations Population Fund.  Clinton has stated her opposition to forced abortion and use of family planning and contends that the UNFPA, which has been barred from U.S. support because of a Presidential finding of participation in China’s forced one-child policy, is cooperating with Chinese officials on voluntary measures and deserves support.  

The current Bush administration has made certain that U.S. foreign assistance, through the Mexico City Policy, does not encourage abortion and abortion referral as an American export.  This policy is certain to change under an Obama-Clinton foreign policy regime.  Adrienne Germain, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition, says, “Without spending a penny more, the new administration can do an enormous amount just by standing strong for the human rights of women and for the kinds of actions that are not simply needed but that countries time and time again - since the Universal Declaration on Human Rights - have agreed to,”  We can expect to see abortion policy advanced as a “human right” following the swearing in of Barack Obama and confirmation of Secretary of State Clinton.  “The rights approach has not been reflected in [Bush administration] policy,” says Jamila Taylor from the Center for Health and Gender Equity.  “Do it from a human rights perspective, not even just a reproductive rights perspective.  ‘Human rights’ runs the gamut of issues - access to education, income generation - all the things that make women vulnerable or empowered around the world.”  Taylor and Germain will play major roles with the State Department under Hillary Clinton and they are prepared to use all international documents in the promotion of abortion.  The Secretary of State can set administration policy on HIV/AIDS and the office of the Coordinator on AIDS is situated in the State Department, meaning the Secretary of State could push the office to make gender concerns a priority in PEPFAR funding. [source]

Senator Clinton voted twice in Congress against the ban on Partial-Birth Abortion.  She led the fight along with Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to force the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow abortifacients to be sold in pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription.  She also supported legislation to give teens access to “emergency contraceptives.”  Clinton supports expansion of the current federal policy so that more lines of stem cells can be experimented upon, namely those derived from the killing of human embryos. [source]

Human Sexuality & Marriage:  Sen. Clinton is supported by homosexual organizations like the Human Rights Campaign.  She steps away from saying she supports gay marriage but uses the term “civil unions with fully equality of benefits.”  “I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out.  From my perspective there is a great likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered opinion.”  [source]

Clinton voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment and she supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and supports allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, which would require amending the Uniform Code of Military Justice that establishes penalties for certain sexual acts outside marriage.  “It hurts all our troops, and this, to me, is a matter of national security,” she said to a group of HRC supporters.  Clinton has said she would work to pass a federal law outlawing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and she would work to extend benefits to the partners of federal employees. [source]  She supports and co-sponsored legislation to expand Medicaid benefits to the special class of HIV-positive homosexuals and she supports “hate crime” (thought crime) legislation.  Clinton supports gay adoption. [source]

Judges/Constitution:  Senator Clinton in railing against the Roberts Court asserted the need for a closer tie between Congress and the courts.  In an address to the American Constitution Society in New York on February 27, 2004 she said, “I believe it is time for Congress to reassert itself, and I am pleased to report that Senator Ted Kennedy and I this week introduced a bill called ‘FAIRNESS: The Civil Rights Act of 2004.’  It is an effort to realign the balance between Congress and the courts by responding to recent decisions that have unduly narrowed existing laws.  The bill restores the ability of individuals to seek relief from discriminatory practices in federally funded programs…”  Clearly the bill is intended to impose legislative power over them when they construe a law more narrowly than some in Congress prefer.  She stood in strong opposition to numerous Bush cabinet and court appointees. [source]

Religious Freedom:  While Senator Clinton supported the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (which was written to protect civil rights laws and require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for their employees to practice their faith in the work environment), she supports ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) which would force certain religious entities to hire and promote individuals irrespective of their adherence to the moral tenets of the employer.

Health Care:  This is an area in which Senator Clinton plays out all her issues regarding abortion.  In 1993 her health plan included RU-486 and widely available abortion.  In response to the plan as a clear conduit for expanded abortion, Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) attached an amendment to the bill allowing for a “conscience exemption” in which doctors and hospitals would not be forced to perform abortions.  One of President Bill Clinton’s first acts in office was to push the RU-486 abortion pill regimen to market through an expedited FDA approval process that was criticized by pro-lifers as too quick for the safety of the women who would take the pill.  Injuries and even deaths have resulted from hemorrhage, septic infection and other problems due to or masked by the drug’s action.

On the fourth day of the Clinton presidency, January 23, 1993, the 20th anniversary of Roe v Wade, Bill Clinton signed a series of executive orders undoing the policies of the Reagan era relating to abortion.  This was done at the advice of his wife.  In her view, the milestone anniversary of Roe v Wade was the perfect opportunity to move the new presidency on course in terms of “women’s rights” and signal that what she termed “the religious right” had lost its dominance regarding abortion policy.  [source]

In the year 2009 it is clear that in her new and even more powerful position as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will deal the country similar if not identical setbacks for the sanctity of innocent human life.