Tag archives: Obama Administration

The Future of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

by Peter Sprigg

March 4, 2011

The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was enacted in 1996 by large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It ensured that states would not have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, and that the federal government would recognize only the union of one man and one woman as marriage.

Yet now, DOMA is under the sharpest attack in its historydespite the fact that four federal courts have already upheld its constitutionality, and no federal or state appellate court has ever said that it violates the U.S. Constitution. In July 2010, however, a single federal District Court Judge in Boston, Joseph L. Tauro, ruled in a pair of cases that the federal definition of marriage in DOMA is unconstitutional. In November 2010, two more federal court challenges to DOMA were filed in New York and Connecticut. In total, there are no less than ten currently pending federal court cases which involve some form of challenge to DOMA. Here are some key questions and answers about the current status of this law:

Q: What did Attorney General Eric Holder announce on February 23 about the administrations position regarding the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

A: In a press release and in a letter to Congress, Mr. Holder said that he and President Obama have concluded that one of the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Actthe one which limits the federal government to recognizing only marriages between one man and one womanis unconstitutional. This marked a sharp reversal, since the Department of Justice has submitted several briefs defending the constitutionality of DOMA in previous court cases.

This decision represents a shocking abdication of the Attorney Generals, and the Presidents, constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and sets a dangerous precedent for future executive refusals to defend existing law.

Q: What motivated this change of position?

A: Politics likely played a major role, as the Obama Administration has been under intense pressure from pro-homosexual activists to stop defending DOMA. There is also evidence which suggests collusion between the Justice Department and attorneys who are challenging DOMA and the definition of marriage in court. Attorneys in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, who seek to overturn Californias marriage amendment (Proposition 8) and establish a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage, filed a Motion to Vacate Stay with the Ninth Circuit, containing detailed citations from the Attorney Generals letter, just hours after the letter was released.

Family Research Council has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any communications between the DOJ and litigants and attorneys in this case or in the cases challenging DOMA in other courts.

Q: Hasnt President Obama opposed DOMA all along?

A: Yes, Mr. Obama favors the repeal of DOMA. However, it is possible to believe that a law represents bad public policy, while at the same time believing that it does not violate the Constitution. This had been the position of the Obama administration until February 23, 2011.

QHow can the Administration justify such an about-face?

A: Earlier cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA (such as the Massachusetts cases decided by Judge Tauro) had been filed in federal court circuits in which there was controlling precedent saying that classifications based on sexual orientation are subject only to a rational basis testthe most lenient level of scrutiny, under which legislative choices are accorded the greatest deference. The DOJs briefs had argued that DOMA was constitutional by this standard.

The new lawsuits challenging DOMA in New York and Connecticut, however, were filed in federal courts located in a circuit (the Second) without any such precedent. Mr. Holder claims that this caused the DOJ to re-examine the question of the appropriate standard of inquiry, and that in turn led him to declare that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny.

Q: What does heightened scrutiny mean?

A: When a law creates a classification that treats some individuals or groups differently from others (in this case, treating opposite-sex couples differently from same-sex couples), it may sometimes be challenged as violating the Constitutions guarantee of the equal protection of the law. However, most laws are judged under a rational basis test, meaning that a legislative enactment will be upheld as long as there is any conceivable rational basis for the classification.

However, heightened scrutiny usually applies to classifications based on characteristics considered immutable and irrelevant to legitimate policy objectives, possessed by groups who are minorities or politically powerless and have been subject to a history of discrimination. The classic examples are race and sex. The Supreme Court has never said that this standard applies to sexual orientation. It would increase the chances of a court striking down laws which limit marriage or its benefits to the union of one man and one woman, such as DOMA.

Q: How did the Attorney General justify this call for heightened scrutiny.

A: Mr. Holder asserted that a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable. However, he cited only one source in support of this contentionone dated 1992. In a footnote, he further claims that discrimination has been based on the incorrect belief that sexual orientation is a behavioral characteristic that can be changed.

In fact the theory that there is a gay gene or that people are born gay has been largely discredited by science since the early 1990s. Studies of identical twins, such as one in the American Journal of Sociology in 2002, support the hypothesis that less gendered socialization in early childhood and preadolescence shapes subsequent homosexuality. And evidence that homosexuals can change has come even from Dr. Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist who led the effort to remove homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders. In a 2003 study, Spitzer found that changes [in sexual orientation] … were not limited to sexual behavior and … self-identity. The changes encompassed sexual attraction … the core aspects of sexual orientation.

Q: Who can defend DOMA if the Justice Department refuses to?

A: The courts have long recognized Congresss vital interest in defending the constitutionality of its Acts in the rare circumstances that the Justice Department refuses to provide such a defense. This happens as recently as 1983 in INS v. Chadha. The Supreme Court made clear in the 1997 case Raines v. Byrd that individual members cannot assert these interests, as Congress can only act through resolutions passed by the majority. Either chamber may do so individually.

Q: What would it mean if DOMA were struck down by the courts?

A: The immediate result would be federal government recognition of same-sex marriages that are already legal in the state where they occurred. However, if the federal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is found unconstitutional, it would be only a matter of time before the same definition at the state level would be struck downincluding in the 29 states that have put that definition in their own constitutions. This is exactly the remedy sought by the plaintiffs in Perry (the Proposition 8 case), which is now before the Ninth Circuit.

Q: What should be done now?

A: Congress must continue to defend DOMA in court, since the Justice Department refuses to do so. Bills to legalize same-sex marriage must be defeated in state legislatures, and additional state marriage amendments must be adopted defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. These make it hard for any court to find that there is an emerging consensus in favor of same-sex marriage. Finally, pro-family groups actively involved in the defense of marriage in court, such as the Alliance Defense Fund, and others involved in filing and coordinating amicus briefs, such as Family Research Council, need financial support for these efforts.

It is quite possible that the issue of same-sex marriage will reach the U. S. Supreme Court in 2012 or 2013. Pro-family citizens and office-holders must speak now, or forever hold your peace.

Rationed Healthcare and Assisted Suicide

by Family Research Council

July 15, 2010

Last week we learned that President Obama made a recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Berwick, a man who has been called a one-man death panel, repeatedly has stated his support for rationed healthcare.

What will this appointment mean to those of us who believe that every life has dignity, regardless of its stage or health status? One clear concern, in addition to rationed healthcare, is assisted suicide.

A recent letter to the editor written by an Oregon doctor drove home this critical connection between assisted suicide and rationed healthcare.

…remember the names Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup. Wagner was an Oregon resident who died in 2008. The Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) refused to pay for a cancer drug to possibly prolong her life and offered to pay for her suicide instead. This position saved the plan money. Stroup had a similar experience. The plan would not pay for a drug to prolong his life and ease his pain, but would pay for his suicide. He said: ‘This is my life they’re playing with.’ In both cases, the Oregon Health Plan’s position was only possible because assisted suicide is legal in Oregon. With assisted suicide now at issue in Idaho, will you and your families be the next Randy Stroups? Will you be the next Barbara Wagners?

The decision regarding the legality of assisted suicide in the U.S. currently resides with the states. A number of states have chosen to make it legal, among them Oregon, Washington and Montana. Idaho currently is considering similar legislation.

Advocacy groups have waged strong campaigns in areas that potentially could legalize assisted suicide. In Pennsylvania, a group recently has been posting controversial billboards advocating for the legalization of assisted suicide. Another such advocacy group is Compassion and Choices,” which has been lobbying in Idaho.

Every person, regardless of race, age, health, etc., has an inherent right to life. Sadly, it is becoming more and more obvious as we begin to see the new healthcare law rolled out that the Presidents health care regime is not about respecting a person’s dignity or inherent rights, especially that most basic right to life from conception to natural death.

Homosexual Agenda is Low PriorityEven for Democrats

by Peter Sprigg

July 13, 2010

Not only are the Obama administration and the Pelosi-led Democrats in Congress out of step with the American public in giving high priority to pushing a radical homosexual agenda, but they are out of step with their own Democratic base. Thats the message of a recent, admittedly unscientific survey conducted by The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). Heres how they described the survey:

More than 2,000 Democratic supporters offered input, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia… . Respondents were asked to rank how important a series of issues were to them. The issues were: Fully Funding Public Schools, Expanding Environmental Protections and Clean Energy, Strengthening Government Ethics Rules, Promoting Job Growth, and Promoting Equal Rights for the LGBT Community.

The results? All five issues were rated “extremely important” by a majority of respondents—except for LGBT “Equal Rights,” which got that rating from only 47.3%. By contrast, over 80% of respondents rated Public Education as extremely important. The homosexual agenda even had 19.3% of these Democratic activists dismissing it with replies of “not very important” (7.9%), “not important at all” (5.6%), or “no answer” (5.8%). Only 5.6% were as negative toward education as a priority.

We can only hope Congressional leadership will take this into account in determining whether to make homosexuals in the military and ENDA a priority in the tight legislative calendar between now and next January, when the new Congress takes office.

Democrats 2010 Legislative Priorities Survey

Change Watch: Dr. Donald Berwick, Administrator, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

by David Prentice

July 7, 2010

POSITION: ADMINISTRATOR, CENTER FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES (CMS)

NOMINEE: Donald M. Berwick

BIRTHDATE: 1946 in New York City, NY

EDUCATION:

B.A., Harvard University

M.P.P., John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

M.D. 1972, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University

FAMILY: wife Ann (Greenberg) Berwick; father of four children (two sons and two daughters)

EXPERIENCE:

President and Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School

Professor of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health

Associate in Pediatrics at Bostons Childrens Hospital

Consultant in Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital

Liaison to the Institutive of Medicines Global Health Board and serves on the governing council

1991-2001 Chair of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and

Quality

1995-1999 Chair of the Health Services Research Review Study Section of the Agency for Health

Care Policy and Research

1990-1996 Vice Chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

1987-1991, Co-founder and Co-Principal Investigator for the National Demonstration Project on

Quality Improvement in Health Care (NDP)

Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences

AWARDS:

2005 Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

2004 Inducted as Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London

2002 Award of Honor from the American Hospital Association

2001 Alfred I. DuPont Award for excellence in childrens health care

1999 Ernest A. Codman Award

ON RATIONING AND SINGLE PAYER SYSTEMS

The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”

[Source]

You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; historically, you prefer slightly too little of a technology or service to much too much; and then you search for care bottlenecks, and try to relieve them.”

[Source]

Limited resources require decisions about who will have access to care and the extent of their coverage. The complexity and cost of health care delivery systems may set up a tension between what is good for the society as a whole and what is best for an individual patient…Hence, those working in health care delivery may be faced with situations in which it seems that the best course is to manipulate the flawed system for the benefit of a specific patient…rather than to work to improve the delivery of care for all.

[Source]

If we could ever find the political nerve, we strongly suspect that financing and competitive dynamics such as the following, purveyed by governments and payers, would accelerate interest in the Triple Aim and progress toward it: (1) global budget caps on total health care spending for designated populations, (2) measurement of and fixed accountability for the health status and health needs of designated populations, (3) improved standardized measures of care and per capita costs across sites and through time that are transparent, (4) changes in payment such that the financial gains from reduction of per capita costs are shared among those who pay for care and those who can and should invest in further improvements, and (5) changes in professional education accreditation to ensure that clinicians are capable of changing and improving their processes of care. With some risk, we note that the simplest way to establish many of these environmental conditions is a single-payer system, hiring integrators with prospective, global budgets to take care of the health needs of a defined population, without permission to exclude any member of the population.

[Source]

Rational healthcare stakeholders are eroding a common good, simply doing what makes sense to them individually. In the short term everyone wins, but in the long term, everyone loses. … Healthcare is not entitled to everything it has, and it is surely not entitled to everything it can get.

[Source]

If I could wave a magic wand…health care [would be] a common good—single payer…health care [would be] a human right—universality is a non-negotiable starting place…justice [would be] a prerequisite to health—equity is a primary quality goal.

[Source]

ON THE FREE MARKET AND CAPITALISM

Fifth, please dont put your faith in market forces. Its a popular idea: that Adam Smiths invisible hand would do a better job of designing care than leaders with plans can. I do not agree. I find little evidence anywhere that market forces, bluntly used, that is, consumer choice among an array of products with competitors fighting it out, leads to the health care system you want and need. In the US, competition has become toxic; it is a major reason for our duplicative, supply-driven, fragmented care system. Trust transparency; trust the wisdom of the informed public; but, do not trust market forces to give you the system you need. I favor total transparency, strong managerial skills, and accountability for improvement. I favor expanding choices. But, I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.

[Source]

At the individual level, I dont trust incentives at all. I do not think its true that the way to get better doctoring and better nursing is to put money on the table in front of doctors and nurses. I think thats a fundamental misunderstanding of human motivation. I think people respond to joy and work and love and achievement and learning and appreciation and gratitude-and a sense of a job well done. I think that it feels good to be a good doctor and better to be a better doctor. When we begin to attach dollar amounts to throughputs and to individual pay, we are playing with fire.

[Source]

Berwick complained the American health system runs in the “darkness of private enterprise,” unlike Britain’s “politically accountable system.” The NHS is “universal, accessible, excellent, and free at the point of care — a health system that is, at its core, like the world we wish we had: generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just”; America’s health system is “toxic,” “fragmented,” because of its dependence on consumer choice.

[Source]

In the United States, those hundreds of insurance companies have a strong interest in not selling health insurance to people who are likely to need health care. Our insurance companies try to predict who will need care, and to find ways to exclude them from coverage through underwriting and selective marketing. That increases their profits. Here, you know that that isnt just crazy; it is immoral.

[Source]

ON REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH

You could have protected the wealthy and the well, instead of recognizing that sick people tend to be poorer and that poor people tend to be sicker, and that any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized, and humane must must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate.

[Source]

YouTube video of quote from speech

ON BRITAINS NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (NHS) AND NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH AND CLINICAL EXCELLENCE (NICE)

There is less progress in some areas…such as in specialty access, cancer outcomes, patient-centeredness, life expectancy and infant mortality for socially deprived populations.

[Source]

I am romantic about the NHS; I love it. All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.

[Source]

The National Health Service is one of the truly astounding human endeavors of modern times.

[Source]

We think nationalized health care was a wise choice in 1948 and that it remains so now.

[Source]

NICE is not just a national treasure, he says, it is a global treasure.

[Source]

NICE is extremely effective and a conscientious, valuable, and importantly knowledge-building system. The fact that its a bogeyman in this country is a political fact, not a technical one.

[Source]

I hope you will never, ever give up what you have begun,” said Berwick. “I hope you realize and affirm how badly you need — how badly the world needs — an example at scale of a health system that is universal, accessible, excellent and free at the point of care — a health system that, at its core is like the world we wish we had: generous, hopeful, confident, joyous and just. [Source]

Some background on Britains system…

Michael Tanner notes that, NICE, however, is not simply a government agency that helps bureaucrats decide if one treatment is better than another. With the creation of NICE, the U.K. government has effectively put a dollar amount to how much a citizens life is worth. To be exact, each year of added life is worth approximately $44,305 (30,000). Of course, this is a general rule and, as NICE chairman Michael Rawlins points out, the agency has sometimes approved treatments costing as much as $70,887 (48,000) per year of extended life. [Source]

Dr. Milton R. Wolf notes that, Britain’s higher cancer mortality rate results in 25,000 more cancer deaths per year compared to a similar population size in the United States. But because the U.S. population is roughly five times larger than the United Kingdom’s, that would translate into 125,000 unnecessary American cancer deaths every year. This is more than all the mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, cousins and children in Topeka, Kan. And keep in mind, these numbers are for cancer alone. America also has better survival rates for other major killers, such as heart attacks and strokes. [Source]

Robert M. Goldberg writes, It may not be joyous or just or configured correctly, but for nearly every disease, particularly cancer, stroke, and heart attacks, Americans live longer and healthier than the English because of better care. Americans spend less time in the hospital, have fewer doctors, and see doctor’s less often per capita than people in Great Britain. In the past two years the number of people waiting over three months to see a doctor in the NHS has increased by 50 percent. Productivity of the NHS — which was Berwick’s principal mission — declined 2.5 % over the past five years. Last year it cut primary care services and wound up with a 2 billion pound surplus. The NHS spent the money not on patients but on equipment, bonuses, and consultants in an end of the year rush. Meanwhile hospital-acquired infections in the UK remain as high as ever while they decline in “toxic” America. [Source]

Change Watch: Elena Kagan—Supreme Court Nominee

by Family Research Council

May 10, 2010

POSITION: Supreme Court nominee

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 Dukakiss 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 lions share of the First Amendments 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 Opposing Religious Institutions Involving Themselves In Pregnancy

As a young law clerk, Kagan, 49, once penned a memo saying it would be difficult for a religious organization to take government funding to counsel teenagers about pregnancy without injecting some kind of religious teaching. When a Senator asked her about the memo, Kagan did not hesitate to distance herself from its views, saying she had fresh eyes two decades later. I looked at it, and I thought, That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, she said. Michael Sherer, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Time, April 13, 2010.

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. Carters 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 rightnessthe legitimacy and the desirabilityof exploring a Supreme Court nominees set of constitutional views and commitments.

Although Carters book and Kagans review focus heavily on Supreme Court nominees, they also address DOJ nominations (especially Clintons 1993 nomination, subsequently withdrawn, of Lani Guinier to be AAG for Civil Rights), and Kagans view of the Senates 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, Obamas SG Pick Elena Kagan, NROs The Corner, January 7, 2009.

On Lack of Experience

Kagan may well have less experience relevant to the work of being a justice than any justice in the last five decades or more. In addition to zero judicial experience, she has only a few years of real-world legal experience. Further, notwithstanding all her years in academia, she has only a scant record of legal scholarship. Kagan flunks her own threshold test of the minimal qualifications needed for a Supreme Court nominee. Ed Whelan, Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan, NROs Bench Memos, May 10, 2010.

On Being a Washington and Obama Administration Insider

There is a striking mismatch between the White Houses populist rhetoric about seeking a justice with a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people and the reality of the Kagan pick. Kagan is the consummate Obama insider, and her meteoric rise over the last 15 yearsfrom obscure academic and Clinton White House staffer to Harvard law school dean to Supreme Court nomineewould seem to reflect what writer Christopher Caldwell describes as the intermarriage of financial and executive branch elites [that] could only have happened in the Clinton years and that has fostered the dominant financial-political oligarchy in America. In this regard, Kagans paid role as a Goldman Sachs adviser is the perfect marker of her status in the oligarchyand of her unfathomable remoteness from ordinary Americans. Ed Whelan, Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan, NROs Bench Memos, May 10, 2010.

Goldman Sachs Ties

Solicitor General Elena Kagan was a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute, according to the financial disclosures she filed when President Obama appointed her last year to her current post. Kagan served on the Goldman panel from 2005 through 2008, when she was dean of Harvard Law School, and received a $10,000 stipend for her service in 2008, her disclosure forms show. Matt Kelly, Possible Supreme Court pick had ties with Goldman Sachs USA Today, April 27, 2010.

Opposition by Liberals

Liberal legal scholars and experts stepped up their attacks Friday on Elena Kagan as a potential Supreme Court nominee, hoping to dissuade President Obama from selecting her in the last few days before an expected announcement early next week. A group of four law professors Friday morning published a piece at Salon.com criticizing Kagan, Obamas solicitor general, for hiring too few women and minorities when she was dean of Harvard law school. Liberal attorney and blogger Glenn Greenwald who has taken Kagan to task for her views on executive power and been the chief organizing force behind criticism of Kagan promoted the column on his Twitter account and kept up a drumbeat against Kagan… .Ive devoted everything I can to making the case against Kagan before Obama chooses, precisely because I know that once he makes his selection, the overwhelming majority of progressives and Democrats will cheer for her even if they have no idea what she thinks or believes, Greenwald said… .Prominent liberal legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky made that very point this week in an interview. The reality is that Democrats, including liberals, will accept and push whomever Obama picks, said Chemerinsky, founding dean of the University of California-Irvine law school. Obviously, liberals hope that Obama will pick someone more from the left than the center. It cant be that Republicans pick conservatives and Democrats pick only moderates. John Ward, Liberal activists intensify attacks on Kagan as court pick nears, The Daily Caller, May 7, 2010.

FRC Pledges to Oppose President’s Proposals to Sexualize the Military, Socialize Child Care and Penalize Married Couples

by JP Duffy

January 28, 2010

Washington, D.C.- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response to President Obama’s first State of the Union Address:

At a time of enormous economic challenge, two on-going wars in which Americans are fighting and increased terrorist threats to Americans at home, President Obama seems untethered from that reality as he called on Congress to force the military to allow open homosexuality. As a veteran of the Marine Corps, the timing of the President’s call in the midst of two wars shows that he is willing to jeopardize our nation’s security to advance the agenda of the radical homosexual lobby.

The military is a warrior culture for a reason: Our service members wear the uniform to fight and win wars, not serve as liberal social policy guinea pigs. The sexual environment the President is seeking to impose upon the young men and women who serve this country is the antithesis of the successful warfighting culture and as such should be rejected.

Tonight the President also proposed expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit which would only benefit families if: both parents work, a single parent works, or one parent works and the other is in school. In other words, it completely discriminates against families with stay-at-home parents, who wouldn’t see a penny from this plan. The President’s plan further drives a wedge between parents and children as it would encourage parents to place their children in government approved day-care rather than encouraging one parent to stay home and personally care for their off-spring.

This new socialized child care proposal comes on the heels of a proposed major marriage tax penalty included within the President’s health care bills. A tax penalty on married couples only serves to discourage couples from marrying while encouraging societal instability through cohabitation and divorce.

If this administration cared about getting families back on their feet, it would double or triple the across-the-board child tax credit and let parents decide how to spend the money. For many, it may be all the incentive they need to stay home and care for their kids.

We applaud Governor Bob McDonnell for calling for a land in which ‘innocent human life is protected.’ There is no more innocent life than that which is carried in a mother’s womb, and the Governor’s call is not only right in itself but is also clearly in line with the convictions of the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose the President’s proposal to use our hard earned dollars to pay for abortion coverage in his health reform plan.

Family Research Council pledges to work with our allies and the thousands of families we represent to oppose the President’s plans to socialize child care, sexualize the military, and penalize married couples through a government takeover of the U.S. health care system.”

-30-

Perkins on Point: John Berry

by Tony Perkins

November 18, 2009

If anyone doubted the Obama Administration was pushing the homosexual agenda - they shouldnt any longer. Dont take it from me. Take it from the highest ranking open homosexual serving in the Administration, John Berry, who is the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, he said this at a gay pride event here in Washington DC.

Their plan is clear and logical. Play the victim and pass hate crimes giving sanctioned and special protected status to those who engage in homosexual behavior. The bill states that Congress has found that: The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem. However, the statistical data does not support such a finding. The FBIs statistics on hate crime actually show a decrease in the number of hate crimes being reported even though there is an increase in the agencies reporting such crime. In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 2007, the FBI found that 7,624 hate crime incidents were reported.2 Racially motivated incidents were 50.8% of the total, followed by religiously motivated incidents at 18.4%, then ones motivated by sexual orientation bias at 16.6%. This is hardly a serious national problem - but lets not let the facts get in the way. Next, as Berry points out, they will continue the victim routine and take this special status into the private workforce and use the weight of the EEOC to force acceptance of not only homosexuality, but cross dressing and other forms of sexual deviancy through the passage of the so-called employment non-discrimination act. What is interesting is there is no evidence that suggests what is called the GLBTQ community is economically disadvantaged, in fact, they enjoy a higher standard of living than heterosexuals. Once private businesses are forced to hire cross dressers and homosexuals the next target is the military. If private employers cant discriminate then neither should our nations military. And once our nations military falls - the defense of marriage Act will be utterly defenseless, leaving rouge judges and liberal legislators to impose their radical views on the entire nation.

Dont doubt for a minute that they have a plan and they are working their plan.

Change Watch: Chai Feldblum, Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

by Jacob Wolf

November 17, 2009

Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

NOMINEE: Chai Feldblum

BIRTH DATE: c. 1959

EDUCATION: B.A. in Ancient Studies and Religion, Barnard College, 1979. J.D. from Harvard Law School, 1985.

FAMILY: Lives with a same-sex domestic partner, Georgetown Law Professor Nan Hunter. Previously lived in a nonsexual domestic partnership with three other women who pledged to care for each other.

EXPERIENCE: Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School; Director of the Law Centers Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic; Co-Director of Workplace Flexibility 2010; law clerk for First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Frank M. Coffin; law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun; legislative counsel to the AIDS Project of the ACLU, 1988-1990; Human Rights Campaign Fund, 1986-1987.

Equal Employment Opportunities Experience: Was the lead drafter for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Has written numerous articles and books on the subject of employment, but only on the subject of homosexuals in the workplaceno writings on other minorities other than the disabled.

Homosexual Agenda

Same-sex Marriage

Signatory of the petition Beyond Same-Sex Marriage, which reads in part:

  • We hope to move beyond the narrow confines of marriage politics as they exist in the United States today.
  • Feldblum openly admitted to supporting polygamy, arguing that committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner and queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households should be recognized as loving families.
  • Thoughts on conservatives: the entire legal framework of civil rights for all people is under assault by the Right, coded not only in terms of sexuality, but also in terms of race, gender, class, and citizenship status and they are generating an agenda of fear, retrenchment, and opposition to the very idea of a caring society.
  • Marriage should be one of many avenues through which households, families, partners, and kinship relationships can gain access to the support of a caring civil society.
  • Our vision is the creation of communities in which we are encouraged to explore the widest range of non-exploitive, non-abusive possibilities in love, gender, desire and sex. http://www.beyondmarriage.org/full_statement.html

On Homosexuality

Feldblum believes that ones identity as a gay person would have little real meaning if you were consistently precluded from having sex with your same-sex partner. She also argued in her writings that an evangelical Christian hotel owner who asked homosexual patrons to not have sex in his establishment would be engaging in discrimination. Felblum continued with her pro-homosexual agenda by stating, I believe that heterosexuality and homosexuality are morally neutral characteristics (similar to having red hair or brown hair), and I believe that acting consistently with ones sexual orientation is a morally good act…And, in making the decision in this zero sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people. Chai Feldblum, Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Liberty, Becket Fund, n.d. http://www.becketfund.org/files/4bce5.pdf.

Gay sex is morally good,” Feldblum said. “Now you may think that might be a little crazy to go out there and say gay sex is good. But think a second. Society definitely believes that heterosexual sex is good. Right. Heterosexual sex within a certain framework — marriage — I mean, you can’t get more dewy-eyed and romantic in this society about how wonderful that is…”If you’re not being cynical for the moment, I think that does reflect a correct understanding that sex is often a basic building block for intimacy and that intimacy and connections within couples and within families are integral building blocks for a healthy society.” Chai Feldblum, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOghvpWTl_U.

Sexual License vs. Religious Liberty

Feldblum founded the Moral Values Project, which states that the following are immoral activities: when transgender people are not assisted in living in the gender of their choice; when intersex infants are subjected to genital surgery; or when young women are denied effective contraception — our society is not living up to its important moral values. Chai Feldblum, The Moral Values Project, The Moral Values Project, 2005. http://www.law.georgetown.edu/moralvaluesproject/.

Was the lead drafter for ENDA, which she would be responsible for enforcing if she is confirmed to the EEOC. When questioned on the rights of Christians hiring employees of their choice, Feldblum stated Gays win; Christians lose. Thomas Peters, Chais ENDA vs. Religious Liberty, American Principles Project, October 26, 2009. http://www.americanprinciplesproject.org/blogs/chais-enda-vs-religious-liberty.html.

Similarly, Feldblum, when questioned about how she would decide when religious liberty and homosexual rights conflict, she would have a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win. Obamas EEOC pick, Chai Feldblum: Sexual liberty wins in conflict with religious liberty, Alliance Defense Fund, September 14, 2009. http://www.alliancealert.org/2009/09/14/obama-picks-chai-r-feldblum-for-eeoc-commission/.

Defined the battle plan for homosexual activists in the fight for equality: As a practical matter, changing the publics perception of the morality of gay sex and of changing ones gender may ultimately be necessary to achieve true equality for LGBT people… Obamas EEOC pick, Chai Feldblum: Sexual liberty wins in conflict with religious liberty, Alliance Defense Fund, September 14, 2009. http://www.alliancealert.org/2009/09/14/obama-picks-chai-r-feldblum-for-eeoc-commission/.

Domestic Partnerships for All

In perhaps her most radical paper, Chai Feldblum nonsexual domestic partnerships should be respected and supported by the State, and benefits should extend to them and believes these tax-supported partnerships can consist of people who are merely really good friends. Other excerpts from the article include:

  • Moreover, to the extent that the struggle for marriage equality focuses solely on achieving the right to marry because that is what a pure equality discourse calls for, the movement will also miss the chance to make a moral case for supporting the range of other creative ways in which we currently construct our intimate relations outside of marriage. And that would be as much of a missed opportunity as would be the lost opportunity of convincing the general public of the moral equivalence of gay and heterosexual sex . . .
  • I believe homosexuality is as morally neutral as heterosexuality and, moreover, I believe gay love embodies the same moral goods as heterosexual love. My agenda would be for the rest of the country to believe those things as well.
  • It is unfortunate that society fails to acknowledge the wide array of non-marital intimate social structures that we as humans have ingeniously constructed to negotiate and make sense of the world.
  • Revealing that she is unsure about how she would decide in regards to the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston being forced to grant adoption to same-sex couples: the state should be permitted to withhold tax exempt status, as in the Bob Jones case, from a group that is clearly contrary to the state’s policy. But to go further and say to a group that it is not permitted to engage in a particular type of work, such as adoptions, unless it also does adoptions for gay couples, that’s a heavier hand from the state. And I would hope we could have a dialogue about this and not just accusations of bad faith from either side. Chai Feldblum, Gay is Good: The Moral Case for Marriage Equality and More, Moral Values Project, 2005. http://www.law.georgetown.edu/moralvaluesproject/Library/Papers/Feldblum_Gay_is_Good_Marriage.pdf.

Abortion

Clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun, the author of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, which allowed for the universal right to abortion in the United States.

Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society said about Feldblum that the news of Feldblums nomination is especially noteworthy for Catholics given the EEOCs recent infringement on Catholic Belmont Abbey Colleges religious liberty by claiming it discriminated against women when it removed contraceptive coverage from its employee health insurance plan…If confirmed by the Senate, Feldblum would serve on the EEOC for five years and could decide cases related to abortion. Steven Ertelt, Obama’s Pro-Abortion Nominee to EEOC Panel, Chai Feldblum, Faces Opposition, LifeNews, October 21, 2009. http://www.lifenews.com/nat5594.html.

Authorship

Feldblum has authored or contributed to the following books: The Moral Values Project: Deploying Moral Discourse for Gay Equality; The Federal Gay Rights Bill: From Bella to ENDA; Rights & Wrongs: Morality in the Gay Marriage Debate; Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion; The Right to Define One’s Own Concept of Existence: What Lawrence Can Mean for Intersex and Transgender People; Gay is Good: The Moral Case for Marriage Equality and More; Gay People, Trans People, Women: Is It All About Gender?.

Change Watch: Dr. Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General of the United States

by David Prentice

September 9, 2009

POSITION: SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES

NOMINEE: Regina Benjamin

BIRTHDATE: October 26, 1956 in Mobile, Alabama

EDUCATION:

B.S. Xavier University of Louisiana

M.D. 1984, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Atlantas Morehouse School of Medicine

M.B.A. Tulane University, Freeman School of Business

FAMILY: never married; no children

EXPERIENCE:

Completed residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia

1987 Founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama;

rebuilt after Hurricane George, Hurricane Katrina, and extensive fire damage

1995 Elected to the American Medical Associations board of trustees

1996-2002 Board Member, Physicians for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights Advisory Council

1998 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights

2000 National Caring Award (which was inspired by Mother Teresa)

2006 Papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Benedict XVI

Served as President of the American Medical Association’s Education and Research Foundation

Named by Time Magazine as one of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under.

President of the Medical Association of Alabama

Appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act Committee and to the Council of Graduate Medical Education, and also a member of the “Step 3 Committee

ON ABORTION

But the Alabama country doctor also backs Obama’s position on reproductive health issues, a position that potentially could put her at odds with the Catholic Church.

Like him, she believes that this is an issue where it is important to try and seek common ground and come together to try and reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said. As a physician, she is deeply committed to the philosophy of putting her patients’ needs first when it comes to providing care.

The White House declined to say whether Benjamin supports a woman’s right to an abortion, but sources close to her selection say she does.

Source

White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said, however, that Benjamin “supports the president’s position on reproductive health issues.

Obama supports abortion rights and public funding of contraception and sex education.

Cherlin continued: “Like him she believes that this is an issue where it is important to try and seek common ground and come together to try and reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. As a physician, she is deeply committed to the philosophy of putting her patients’ needs first when it comes to providing care.

Benjamin also was a board member for Physicians for Human Rights, an international group that has advocated access to safe abortions in its investigation of human rights conditions in some countries.

[Source]

Benjamin served as member of Board of Directors of Physicians for Human Rights, which specifically advocates for abortion rights in its Global Health Action Campaign program:

The freedoms include the right to participate in decisions about ones health, including sexual and reproductive freedom…

[Source]

Safe Pregnancy and Safe Abortion as Human Rights

Initiative of Center for Reproductive Rights

…is a collaborative effort with groups including CARE, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

[Source]

Dr. Benjamin served as a member of the AMA Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees oversees and approves policies of the AMA.

ON ABORTION

The Principles of Medical Ethics of the AMA do not prohibit a physician from performing an abortion in accordance with good medical practice and under circumstances that do not violate the law.

Physicians should not feel or be compelled to require minors to involve their parents before deciding whether to undergo an abortion. The patient, even an adolescent, generally must decide whether, on balance, parental involvement is advisable. Accordingly, minors should ultimately be allowed to decide whether parental involvement is appropriate.

from: Code of Medical Ethics 2004-2005: Current Opinions with Annotations, AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association; p. 4-5

Genetic selection refers to the abortion or discard of a fetus or pre-embryo with a genetic abnormality. In general, it is ethically permissible for physicians to participate in genetic selection to prevent, cure, or treat genetic disease.

from: Code of Medical Ethics 2004-2005: Current Opinions with Annotations, AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association; p. 41

viewer: [Source]

ON TREATMENT DECISIONS FOR SERIOUSLY ILL NEWBORNS:

Care must be taken to evaluate the newborns expected quality of life from the childs perspective. Life-sustaining treatment may be withheld or withdrawn from a newborn when the pain and suffering expected to be endured by the child will overwhelm any potential for joy during his or her life.

from: Code of Medical Ethics 2004-2005: Current Opinions with Annotations, AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association; p. 97

ON CLONING

While the pluralism of moral visions that underlie this debate must be respected, physicians collectively must continue to be guided by their paramount obligation to the welfare of their patients. In this light, cloning-for-biomedical-research is consistent with medical ethics. Every physician remains free to decide whether to participate in stem cell research or to use its products.

from: Code of Medical Ethics 2004-2005: Current Opinions with Annotations, AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association; p. 53

Two potentially realistic and possibly appropriate medical uses of cloning-to-produce-children are for assisting individuals or couples to reproduce and for generating tissues when the donor is not harmed or sacrificed.

from: Code of Medical Ethics 2004-2005: Current Opinions with Annotations, AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association; p. 55

ON HEALTH CARE

These are trying times in the health care field. And as a nation, we have reached a sobering realization: Our health care system simply cannot continue on the path that we’re on. Millions of Americans can’t afford health insurance, or they don’t have the basic health services available where they live.

It should not be this hard for doctors and other health care providers to care for their patients. It shouldn’t be this expensive for Americans to get health care in this country. And, Mr. President, thank you for putting health care reform at the top of your domestic agenda.

[Source]

Back to School with President Obama

by Tony Perkins

September 6, 2009

In his inaugural speech in 1961 President John F. Kennedy delivered this memorable line

[“Ask not…” clip]

Fast forward nearly 50 years and President Barack Obama was poised to ask the nations elementary school students not what they could do for their country but what they could do for their President.

The White House announced that the President would be speaking live to the nations K-6th graders. The Department of Education had prepared a work sheet to accompany the speech in which the children were instructed to engage in several exercises including writing a letter about how they could help the president.

After a fire storm of opposition erupted the White House changed lesson plans and now the youngsters will be asked to consider how they can help themselves achieve their educational goals. Certainly a more appropriate question, but one that is probably more suited for middle and high school students.

However, parents remain concerned. Some are keeping their kids home from school on the day of the speech. Over 95% of parents who responded to an FRC survey said the President should not be speaking to children during classroom hours.

Some in the media have decried the parental opposition as partisan. But it is really?

Consider that this speech is being made during one of the most controversial public policy debates in years in which the president has been steadily losing public support for his health care plan.

But even if the speech does not interject policy into the class room of 6 & 7 year old children, when parents consider the agenda of this administration as represented by the presidents appointments to the education department parents have a right to be concerned.

The Secretary of the department, Arne Duncan, has promoted some pretty controversial ideas, like special schools for homosexual students when he was head of the Chicago school system. Even more concerning is Kevin Jennings who is supposedly in charge of the Safe and Drug Free School Program for the Department of Education.

Jennings is the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network, an organization that promotes homosexuality in the public schools, he also wrote the forward to a book entitled Queering Elementary Education.

This Administration has given parents plenty of reason to be concern over what is piped into the classroom. For more visit FRC.org

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