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The Scalia-Like Judge

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

Time waits for no one. One year ago today, the great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.  His absence in the Court has been noticeable, and yet, his legacy continues to influence our judicial system in very significant ways.

It is a great testimony to his legacy that, as we look for his replacement at the Supreme Court, the highest compliment we can pay is to say we want someone that is “Scalia-like.”

This was the promise President Donald Trump made during the campaign trail that got him so much support from the conservative base.

Now he has followed through in that promise by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Gorsuch espouses the same type of commitment to the text of the Constitution and the limited role of a judge.  They both approach the judicial role with a certain humility that gives deference to the other branches of government and allows for “We the People” to struggle through the difficult issues and policies we want to adopt.

This is good for our judiciary and vital for a healthy constitutional republic as ours.

Judge Gorsuch has shown great respect for Justice Scalia throughout his career.  He spoke very movingly at his announcement at the White House, saying, “Justice Scalia was a lion of the law. Agree or disagree with him, all of his colleagues on the bench shared his wisdom and his humor. And like them, I miss him.”

It was a powerful moment, considering also that the widow of Justice Scalia was present for the solemn occasion.

It would be worth your time to watch his full speech at Cave Western Reserve University School of Law, titled “Of Lions and Bears, Judges and Legislators: Some Reflections on the Legacy of Justice Scalia.”

Judge Gorsuch’s embrace of Justice Scalia is a great testimony to his judicial acumen, and we can only hope that it helps to promulgate the idea.  A Supreme Court, indeed a judicial branch, full of Scalia-like judges might just be the thing that can help us return to the founding principles that established our nation as the freest in history.

Confident of Gorsuch on Life

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Look, I know the pro-life issue is an emotional one. The sanctity of human life and the intrinsic value of every human being as created in the image of God demand no less of us, so I would not expect anything less. But in assessing a judge’s record, we must be conscious of what we are looking for in making that assessment.

We do not need a judge who promises to overturn Roe v. Wade. That hideous case has been the focus of pro-lifers’ ire ever since it was rendered, because of the enormous impact it has had (almost 60 million lives lost now), but the fact is that it is just one part of the pro-life work.

The anti-slavery movement was a pro-life movement. Efforts against embryonic stem cell experimentation are part of the pro-life cause. In recent years, a troublesome pro-euthanasia movement has awakened, and that is something we will continue to fight vigorously.

Certainly, the fight for the value of every human life will continue and perhaps intensify when Roe is finally overturned.

So what we must look for in a judge is someone committed to the law and the Constitution as written — committed to our country’s founding principle that we are “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those principles will guard life in all areas. Read More

Gorsuch in Little Sisters of the Poor

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

I’ve already highlighted for you Judge Neil Gorsuch’s admirable judicial instincts and philosophy as he concurred in the Hobby Lobby religious liberty case.

Another example of his clear thinking in this area of the law comes to us through a wonderful dissent he joined in the Little Sisters of the Poor case.  Written by Judge Harris Hartz and joined by Judge Gorsuch and three other judges, the dissent took a strong stance for our constitutional rights to religious freedom, emphasizing that “[I]t is not the job of the judiciary to tell people what their religious beliefs are.”

But that is what the majority did.  While it did not doubt the sincerity of the Little Sisters of the Poor, it concluded they didn’t really object to signing a form to facilitate the distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients it considered sinful, it was the actual distribution of them, so it wasn’t really an imposition on their religious liberty.

Judge Gorsuch, joining Judge Hartz in dissent, disagreed, calling the majority’s view “a dangerous approach to religious liberty.”  They said:

The opinion of the panel majority is clearly and gravely wrong — on an issue that has little to do with contraception and a great deal to do with religious liberty. When a law demands that a person do something the person considers sinful, and the penalty for refusal is a large financial penalty, then the law imposes a substantial burden on that person’s free exercise of religion.

That much was clear.  But the majority called the objection a mere derivative of a core belief.  The dissent raised the troubling concern with the view with one simple question, “Could we really tolerate letting courts examine the reasoning behind a religious practice or belief and decide what is core and what is derivative?”

The clear answer is “no.”  And, not only does common sense dictate this (which it does), but Supreme Court precedent demands it, too (which is the more important question for a judge, whatever his personal beliefs).  The dissent again:

The Supreme Court has refused to examine the reasonableness of a sincere religious belief — in particular, the reasonableness of where the believer draws the line between sinful and acceptable — at least since Thomas v. Review Board of Indiana Employment Security Division, 450 U.S. 707, 715 (1981), and it emphatically reaffirmed that position in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751, 2778 (2014).

Still, the majority, compelled by strong feelings no doubt, ruled against denying a rehearing of the Little Sisters of the Poor case.

The dissent, though, was not fazed by the majority’s opinion refusal to adhere by clear precedent, concluding, “Fortunately, the doctrine of the panel majority will not long survive. It is contrary to all precedent concerning the free exercise of religion.”

They (including Judge Gorsuch) were, of course, ultimately proven right by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gorsuch in Hobby Lobby

By | Gorsuch, LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Reading through President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch’s decisions is a pleasure for those of us who love the Constitution and the rule of law.  Here is a good example.

Before the Supreme Court ever heard the Hobby Lobby case, Judge Gorsuch took a stab at it in his time at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

If you remember, after ramming through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, with not a single Republican vote in support, using every dirty, political trick in the book (and even inventing new ones), the Obama Administration insisted in unnecessarily forcing Christian businesses to violate their conscience and pay for contraceptives and abortifacients, even if to do so would be against their deeply held religious beliefs.

The Green family of Hobby Lobby and many other Christian businesses objected to this violation of their religious freedom and sued under the Religious Freedom Restoration act (RFRA).

In the case of a constitutionalist, like Judge Gorsuch, the case was a simple one.  And it was most certainly not about their personal religious views or policy preferences.  Here is how he put it, concurring in judgment in favor of the Greens.

In many ways this case is the tale of two statutes. The ACA compels the Greens to act. RFRA says they need not. We are asked to decide which legislative direction controls. The tie-breaker is found not in our own opinions about good policy but in the laws Congress enacted. Congress structured RFRA to override other legal mandates, including its own statutes, if and when they encroach on religious liberty. (Emphasis mine)

Simple.  Clear.  Beautifully put.  A judge that keeps his personal feelings about the issues of the day out of the judicial process and follows the law and the Constitution as written instead is a judge that can be impartial in the most important moments in our history when the nation is having particularly heated debates about the best policies the country should enact.

That type of judge brings stability to the courts and makes our nation stronger by protecting our freedoms.  It’s the type of judge Justice Scalia was, and we’re thrilled that he will be replaced by someone committed to the same principle.

Guess Who Voted to Confirm Gorsuch in 2006?

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

As we engage on the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and we start seeing the left struggle to make the case against yet another decent, well-qualified, mainstream nominee, I will be posting regularly with daily insights into the happenings here in the nation’s capital.

I hope you’ve had a chance to read our press release on Gorsuch and some initial thoughts on the announcement.  Gorsuch is a solid, conservative choice who should be confirmed swiftly and unanimously, as Scalia was back in 1986.

But we live in different times now, and the left is already launching politically motivated attacks at this stellar nominee.  One Democratic super pac produced a 78-page dossier, calling him “too extreme for the Supreme Court.”

We are far removed from even 2006 when this collection of “right-wing extremists,” who are apparently “not sensitive to civil rights,” not committed to “core constitutional principles,” and who want to “roll back women’s progress,” (note: this is what they say about everyone) voted for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals:

 

Barack Obama (D-Illinois)

Joe Biden (D-Delaware)

John Kerry (D-Massachusetts)

Hillary Clinton (D-New York)

 

Chuck Schumer (D-New York)

Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)

Dianne Feinstein (D-California)

Richard Durbin (D-Illinois)

Bill Nelson (D-Florida)

Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey)

Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)

Patty Murray (D-Washington)

Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)

Tom Carper (D-Delaware)

Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan)

Maria Cantwell (D-Washington)

Senators in the latter part of the list are still serving today.

Penny Nance on Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Choice for the Supreme Court

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Statement by Concerned Women for America President & CEO Penny Nance on a press conference call alongside Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life Committee, and the Ethics & Public Policy Center, the night of President Trump’s announcement of Judge Neil Gorsuch as his choice for the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is a great night for those of us who love the Constitution and who, like John Adams, believe in “a government of laws and not men,” because President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch — someone who, like Scalia, has demonstrated a consistent commitment to the Constitution as written and a willingness to show the judicial restraint necessary to follow through on that commitment.

That’s what we need in a justice of the Supreme Court, someone who embraces the limited role that he has been nominated for, instead of someone looking to impose their personal policy preferences through judicial decrees.

Everyone should support a judge like this.

Judge Gorsuch has been praised for his keen legal intellect and compelling writing style, which many compare to Scalia, but I’d like to also emphasize his distinguished record in the area of religious liberty.

His involvement in both the Hobby Lobby case and the Little Sisters of the Poor case (that was so important to the women I represent) was exemplary.  His opinions leave no doubt that he has a clear, strong, and honest constitutional foundation that drives his judicial philosophy.  And that’s all we can ask for.

We commend President Trump for keeping his word.  This appointment was a big reason why conservative women supported him overwhelmingly, and we are pleased to see him follow through on his commitment to them.

Now it’s time for the Senate to do its part.  I hope we do not see the same type of partisan bickering that has overtaken many in Congress who can’t seem to accept the results of the election. Read More

Conservative Women Praise Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

By | Defense of Family, Education, LBB, Legal, News and Events, Press Releases, Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Moments ago, President Donald J. Trump announced Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals as his choice to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court. Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA), praised the nomination:

“Judge Neil Gorsuch is a superb choice. President Trump has kept his word and nominated someone who, by all indications, is “in the mold of Justice Scalia,” something the president repeated over and over during his campaign.

“This was a major issue that drove conservative women to the polls to overwhelmingly support him, and we are pleased to see him follow through on his commitment to the American people.

“The hundreds of thousands of members of Concerned Women for America now call on the Senate for a swift confirmation process.

Read More

Nelson Praised Sessions, Now He Should Vote to Confirm Him

By | Florida, LBB, Legal, Sessions | No Comments

Sen. Jeff Sessions has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump as the nation’s next Attorney General. As the state director of Concerned Women for America of Florida, I represent the concerns of so many Floridian women who are ecstatic about such a great candidate.  We are eager to see justice and respect for the rule of law return to the Department of Justice (DOJ), and we hope our senator feels likewise. Read More