All Posts By

Mario Diaz, Esq.

SCOTUS Rally

Transgender Legislative Petition Before SCOTUS

By | Case Vault, Family Issues, Feminist / Women's Issues, Legal, News and Events, Religious Liberty, SCOTUS | No Comments

Oral Arguments in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC

“Aimee Stephens is a transgender woman,” started the argument at the United States Supreme Court in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, where Stephens is asking the Court to include “gender identity” within the definition of “sex” discrimination in federal civil rights law (specifically Title VII, the employment context in this case) . With that simple statement David Cole of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who represented Stephens, glossed over the most important fact to remember in this debate. Aimee Stephens is biologically a man. Aimee undoubtedly feels like a woman and has decided to live as a transgender woman. But the biological fact (reality) remains.

This is why, it is no violation of civil rights, to ask Aimee to use the men’s bathroom or at least to refrain from using the women’s bathroom (in many cases a single stall, private bathroom is available). Aimee is scientifically a man. If someone like Aimee wishes to enter athletic competitions, there is a place for males to compete against other male athletes. For someone like Aimee to demand to compete among female athletes is a great injustice to those who in fact are female.

This is plain for all to see. It is not bigotry.

The reality is most people empathize and even identify with the conflict between Aimee’s biology and psyche at some level. Most people in the U.S. would stand against harassment or beratement directed at Aimee. The great majority would fight against those wishing Aimee harm.

But the reality, once again, is that that is not enough for Aimee and most vocal transgender individuals. In their mind, to say they are not the sex they identify with is to discriminate against them. This is why we are seeing a push for laws that demand we refer to them as the pronoun of their choice.

Mr. Cole at oral arguments tried as hard as he could to say that that was not the issue in the case. He danced around multiple questions from Chief Justice Roberts on the issue of bathrooms, ultimately admitting to Justice Neil Gorsuch that it would be harmful to ask transgenders to follow sex-specific bathroom rules.

JUSTICE GORSUCH: “… but ultimately came to, I believe, a submission that a reasonable person in the transgender plaintiff’s position would be harmed if he or she were fired for failing to follow the bathroom rules or some sort of dress code that’s not otherwise objectionable …”

COLE: “Yeah.”

Mr. Cole’s effort to avoid the issue was so blatant, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the most liberal voice on the Court, called him out on it.

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: “Mr. Cole, let’s not avoid the difficult issue, okay? You have a transgender person who rightly is identifying as a woman and wants to use the women’s bedroom, rightly, wrongly, not a moral choice, but this is what they identify with. Their need is genuine. I’m accepting all of that –­

COLE: Yeah.

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: –and they want to use the women’s bathroom. But there are other women who are made uncomfortable, and not merely uncomfortable, but who would feel intruded upon if someone who still had male characteristics walked into their bathroom. That’s why we have different bathrooms.

So, the hard question is how do we deal with that? And what in the law will guide judges in balancing those things? That’s really what I think the question is about.

Still, the ACLU attorney refused to acknowledge reality. “Well, that is –that is -­that is a question, Justice Sotomayor. It is not the question in this case.”

That is the sort of unreasonable halt to logic the Court would need to do to go along with the LGBTQ-affirming demands in this case.

Both Justice Samuel Alito and Ruth Bader Ginsburg tried to engage Mr. Cole in the discussion of women’s athletics (under Title IX). Round and round Mr. Cole went to avoid the issue, knowing, as we all do, the disastrous consequences for women if he were to win in this case. There are no consequences according to the way he argued the case. The hundreds of thousands of people expressing concerns, including Judge Gerard Lynch of the Second Circuit are just hysterically overreacting.

Judge Lynch supports LGBTQ protections but acknowledged the text of Title VII does not include sexual orientation and gender identity under the word “sex.” “Congress did no such thing,” he acknowledged painfully in his dissenting opinion on the case.

There was no such consideration on behalf of the arguing attorney, and in fact, there was no such introspection on behalf of the liberal side of the Court. Justice Sotomayor tried to hold it in for most of the argument but finally, let it out at the conclusion of arguments.

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: “May I just ask, at what point does a court continue to permit invidious discrimination against groups that, where we have a difference of opinion, we believe the language of the statute is clear. I think Justice Breyer was right that Title VII, the Civil Rights Act, all of our acts were born from the desire to ensure that we treated people equally and not on the basis of invidious reasons.”

Did you notice the shift? The text of the statute means nothing really. Passion rules. It appears Judge Sotomayor is ready to make “sex” mean whatever they feel like, as long as she perceives “invidious reasons.”

Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan all seemed open to the idea of manipulating the text as needed. We can only hope they realize the consequences beyond personal passion.

Though there are forceful emotions involved in this case, and even difficult cases left unaddressed where legislation is needed, the judicial action demanded is deference to the legislative branch who has not included sexual orientation and gender identity under Title VII. And, were they to do so, would have to inevitably consider the many examples of significant harm to women’s rights that the LGBTQ-affirming side refuses to acknowledge.

John Bursch, of the Alliance Defending Freedom, who argued on behalf of Harris Funeral Homes, said it plainly, “Treating women and men equally does not mean employers have to treat men as women. That is because sex and transgender status are independent concepts.”

Noel Francisco, arguing as Solicitor General, agreed, “There’s a reason why when Congress wants to prohibit discrimination based on the traits of sexual orientation and gender identity, it lists them separately. It doesn’t define sex as including these traits.”

That should be the end of the inquiry here. This is a legislative matter, not a judicial one, and the Court should resist the temptation to engage in judicial activism, as it has done in the past with disastrous consequences.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

For America (Day 107)

By | News and Events, Prayer | No Comments

PrayerPrecious Lord and Ruler Omnipotent,
You build up and You tear down,
The king’s heart is in Your hand;
It is why through You alone, we seek deliverance.

Your deeds are awesome;
Your works beyond compare.
The glorious splendor of Your majesty
Is seen throughout history in all that is made.

For all Your works we give you thanks!
We will tell the wonders of Your name
From generation to generation
Until the day of Your return.

Now, Heavenly Father,
We ask You to be at the US Supreme Court
Let Your word and Your presence
Be not far from the justices.

As they consider the pressing legal matters of our republic,
May truth and justice remain at the center of their thoughts.
Guard them against the enemy’s schemes,
And help us to continue to remember them in prayer.

Give them eyes to see and ears to hear.
Insulate them from political manipulations.
Give them clarity of mind and help them
Consider the implications of every word they write.

Help us, as salt and light, to serve them well,
As guideposts to righteousness.
Let humility and love for our neighbor
Permeate everything we do and say.

For our hope is secure. Joy is ours!
We trust not in power or might,
Political influence, or legal authority.
We trust in You, the Lord, our God.

In whose holy name we pray,
Amen.


Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.

President Trump Brings Truth to the UN

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

President Donald J. Trump will forever be “the first President of the United States to host a meeting at the United Nations on religious freedom.”

Not only that, President Trump brought down the house with a message full of truth and hope.

“America will always be a voice for victims of religious persecution everywhere,” he said to the applause of the attendees, “No matter where you go, you have a place in the United States of America.”

Listening to the president, one can’t help but wonder who is the man being demonized every moment of every day by the news media? The president spoke of the fundamental truths upon which our country was founded:

 

The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government; they come from God.  This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.  Our Founders understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions.

Those inalienable rights that government can’t take away because it does not grant them are the foundation of religious freedom. Those are the sort of human rights on which the United Nations (UN) is supposed to focus, but that have been so blatantly neglected. The president highlighted the problem, “Regrettably, the religious freedom enjoyed by American citizens is rare in the world.  Approximately 80 percent of the world’s population live in countries where religious liberty is threatened, restricted, or even banned.”

The president expressed disbelief when he first heard the 80 percent statistic, as most people would. But it is correct. Two hundred and fifty million Christians around the world are experiencing persecution today. We’ve all witnessed a surprising rise in anti-Semitism in recent years. The president spoke of appointing “a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.”

He expressed his commitment to protect people of all religious faiths, “These evil attacks are a wound on all humanity.  We must all work together to protect communities of every faith.”

And that is the most impressive thing about the Trump presidency. More than the inspiring speech, the president has put action behind every word he’s said on this topic. He highlighted some of the things his administration has done:

In this year’s ministerial [a first-of-its-kind religious freedom meeting also created under President Trump], Secretary Pompeo announced plans to create the International Religious Freedom Alliance — an alliance of likeminded nations devoted to confronting religious persecution all around the world …

We’re also urging every nation to increase the prosecution and punishment of crimes against religious communities …

The United States is forming a coalition of U.S. businesses for the protection of religious freedom.  This is the first time this has been done.  This initiative will encourage the private sector to protect people of all faiths in the workplace.

This last coalition he mentions is yet another ground-breaking effort that comes at a crucial moment in our history. President Trump shows he understands what is at stake. He said, “Too often, people in positions of power preach diversity while silencing, shunning, or censoring the faithful.  True tolerance means respecting the right of all people to express their deeply held religious beliefs.”

The president’s leadership on this issue at home is praiseworthy. And his call to the rest of the world was no less inspiring:

Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution …

To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed, America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.

When the president speaks in this manner, he truly speaks for all Americans. Religious freedom has always been a unifying force in our land, and we pray that it may spread around the world.


Click here to read additional posts from Mario Diaz, Esq.

New Kavanaugh Smear Reminds Us the Mainstream Media Leads the Radical Left

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

Every time you are tempted to ease up on an all-out defense of truth and justice, remember Kavanaugh. The latest maliciously orchestrated smear campaign led by “the newspaper of record,” the New York Times, should be a reminder that the “mainstream” media is not only complicit with the radical left, it is the radical left. It is intent and will stop at nothing to destroy conservatives.

To recap, the New York Times published an op-ed alleging a new “bombshell” allegation that Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a female classmate in a grotesque, sexually demeaning way – complete with tabloid-worthy details of the encounter for its esteemed readers. Their “reporting” cued the usual chorus of leftist media friends who immediately commence talks of impeachment—complete with a Vox explainer of what the process would look like.

Even Democratic presidential candidates jumped at the opportunity to “go for the kill,” given the horrendous event described by the Times.  Sen. Kamala Harris, Julián Castro, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren all called for impeachment. Others, like Sen. Amy Klobuchar, stopped short of impeachment but were nonetheless excited to assail the character of the Supreme Court Justice.

But the Times forgot to include one small detail about the horrible encounter it described: the alleged victim does not recall it.

That’s right, there is no victim. There is no reporting. It was a wishful, fictional piece smearing the character of a sitting Supreme Court justice (for a second time!) for political purposes. The Times would have never published a story like this of someone the editors supported.

It is worthy of note that the Times was forced to publish an embarrassing (for anyone else in a similar situation) correction of the story only after Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist, who had obtained an advance copy of the book alleging the incident, reported on the glaring omission.

Did I mention this was on the front page of its Sunday review section?

But it is not just the New York Times. Most of the mainstream media has been complicit in this miscarriage of justice against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Even after the pernicious omission was disclosed, they have run right in line with the impeachment talk, instead of decrying the error and treating Justice Kavanaugh with the respect he and his family deserve.

This was no different than what we experienced first-hand during the confirmation hearings. The leftist media, hiding behind First Amendment protections, is waging an all-out war against conservatives, and we simply cannot give them the benefit of the doubt anymore.

The authors of this dishonest piece smearing Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly are now doing the rounds on every leftist news organization trying to salvage their reputation. In an MSNBC interview, they claim that they had included the crucial fact in their piece at first but “the editors” took it out.  It was sort of “in the haste” in the editing process, they claim.

Whatever the case, note that it was an editing decision, not a mistake.  It was a decision willingly made in order to attack conservatives, as all editing decisions go for the radical left.

Many conservatives’ first instinct is to give the benefit of the doubt to the media. Many conservatives do not particularly like when the president calls them “fake news.” At first glance, this instinct is a testament to their good nature and character. But knowing what we know today, after living through this wicked Kavanaugh smear, it becomes foolishness and a character flaw to continue to ignore what is plain for all to see.

The mainstream media is not only sympathetic to the left. It is leading their efforts. It does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. It deserves our contempt.


Click here to read additional posts from Mario Diaz, Esq.

Judges by the Numbers

By | Legal, News and Events | No Comments

As the U.S. Senate gets ready to go on its August recess, we must highlight once again one of its most successful efforts: the confirmation of judges. Just this week, the Senate confirmed more than double (15) the nominees it did last summer (7). This year the Senate has confirmed 61 judges: 13 judges to the circuit court, 46 district court judges and two to the Court of International Trade (CIT).

Great credit goes to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) whose focus on judicial nominations has remained consistent throughout President Donald Trump’s time in office. Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has also shined, even after following one of the most successful Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The Judiciary Committee has reported 88 judges to the floor in his short time as chairman.

Here are the overall numbers which are most impressive of all. Since President Trump took office, the Senate has confirmed a total of 146 judges. They break down as follows: two Supreme Court justices, 43 circuit court judges, 99 to the district court and two CIT.

The quality of nominees has been very high, as most readers will know. President Trump has committed himself to the nomination of judges who are in the mold of Justice Clarence Thomas and the late, great Antonin Scalia. Judges who will follow the Constitution and laws as written, instead of re-defining terms to reach the conclusions they personally prefer. This approach is essential to the preservation of liberty, and we are grateful to the president for this commitment.

This success has been possible because of several reforms in the judicial confirmation process. There is no more filibustering of judicial nominees, the blue slip process (which required home state senators to return a blue slip before the nomination can move forward) has been greatly adjusted also for circuit court nominees, and the amount of time that can be consumed on each nominees has been tampered, too.

But it is worth noting that things will get tougher going forward because the blue slip process for district court nominees is in full force still. This means that both senators from a state must after the president nominates someone to the district court must “return the blue slip” before the nomination can move forward. This is meant to encourage compromise between the White House and the state where the nomination is being made.

Practically, this means that where there are two liberal senators, the President will have to be more strategic in order to get the vacancy filled with a constitutionalist. Traditionally, some bargaining will be required here where, for example, if there are four vacancies, the president will name three nominees and the home state senators will get to name the other. This has the potential of allowing some less than desirable nominees getting through.

We must, therefore, remain diligent in our monitoring of nominees. We have already identified some troubling ones that we have been able to stop, but much discernment will be required going forward.

Let us continue to pray for the President, the Senate and the CWA legal team as we continue to engage in this important area.

Click here to read additional posts from Mario Diaz, Esq.

For America (Day 106)

By | News and Events, Prayer | No Comments

Lord of Heaven and Earth,
With our most fervent plea
We approach Your throne of grace
On behalf of the faithful in this land.

We recognized it is for freedom that You have set us free;
And we seek to honor You in that freedom
By showing much restraint and deference
To You and Your Holy Word.

Forgive us our trespasses and help us
Not to lean on our own understanding.
We desperately need Your wisdom;
We long for revival in our land.

Father, as evil increases—
That foolish boldness to live loudly against Your statutes
And Your people—we pray for mercy.
We know not what we do, oh Lord!

As a new “political season” slowly approaches,
How we need Your eternal perspective!
Do not let our short-sighted emotions govern
The state of our hearts or the words of our mouths.

Help us to love; to love enough
To speak truth and give grace,
To stand firm and turn the other cheek,
To have courage, fearing only You.

Do not let the enemy’s lies stand unchallenged.
Help us to be light in the darkness,
To never lose our saltiness.
Help us through much struggle to persevere.

And help us to rest—
Rest in Your unsearchable ways,
Which are always right and good; perfect!
In Jesus’ Name we pray,

Amen.


Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.

For America (Day 105) – National Day of Prayer

By | Prayer | No Comments

On this National Day of Prayer, Lord
We call upon You—hasten to our aid!
In Your mercy, listen to our plea;
Let our prayers be as a sweet aroma to You.

For we lift Your Name above all;
“In God we trust,” we still proclaim, today,
Recognizing You as the One true King
And rejecting the call of the age to forget You.

Protect us from evil, Father;
Help us to love one another
As You have loved us from the beginning.
Give us servant sprits for our neighbors.

Set a guard over our mouths,
Help us tame it and restrain it
With Your love and compassion.
Keep our heart from self-centeredness.

Help us embrace Your loving correction, as a people.
Give us understanding to appreciate the kindness
Of a friend’s rebuke—may we not refuse it in our pride;
Give us humble hearts.

Give us wisdom, Lord;
Our eyes are towards You—
Our refuge and strength,
Our courage and defense.

Keep us from leaning on our own understanding,
The strength of our armies, or the size of our coffers.
Let those who seek our destruction fall into their own traps,
For we trust in You, our Lord and King.

Let the world forever associate us with You.
The One true God.
Our Creator, our Redeemer,
Our Savior …

In Whose Name we pray,
Amen.

Watch the 2019 Livestream | May 2nd, 7:30-9:30pm EST


Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. You can follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Thoughts on the Bizarre “Easter Worshippers” Episode

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

The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka targeted Christians. Among the sites targeted were St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, and Zion Church in the city of Batticaloa. More than 300 died and hundreds more were injured. Naturally, the entire world condemned the terrorists who engaged in these suicide bombings, and millions sent words of encouragement to those affected.

One rather bizarre group of iterations on Twitter cause many to wonder if a coordinated effort to minimize the victim’s religious affiliation was underway. A group of prominent Democrat leaders decided to use the Euphemism “Easter Worshipers” to refer to the Christian victims.

 

I confess it is hard to conclude there was no coordination, though the motives are not entirely clear.

Former President Barack Obama tweeted: “The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Why not say Christians? Why the hesitation? “Easter worshippers” is not a commonly used term so it seemed strange.

But then Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted using the term (spelled the same way) to send her condolences: “On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.” Others followed suit.

Many took offense. Christians worship Christ, not Easter, they were quick to point out. I am not unsympathetic. Words matter. Jesus was called “The Word” (John 1:1). Of course, the Bible is known as “The Word of God” (Hebrews 4:12). And the schemes of Satan have always involved semantic deception— “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).

At a time when Christians are being persecuted all around the world in historic numbers, we need leaders (especially Christian leaders!) to be clear in their support for their brothers and sisters around the world. They are being targeted because of their faith and so their faith should not be minimized in any way.

According to Open Doors, every month, on average: “345 Christians are killed for faith-related reasons, 105 Churches and Christian buildings are burned or attacked, and 219 Christians are detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, and imprisoned.”

At one level, if this was an attempt to obfuscate the issue on the part of this group of Democrats, the attempt should be rightfully condemned.  But at another level, from the beginning in the first century A.D. those who followed Jesus have been described in many ways, almost always in an attempt to disparage our faith. In fact, the very term Christian was given to the disciples at Antioch (Acts 11:26) in a seemingly condescending way. Before that, they were known as people of ‘the way” (Acts 9:2; 11:26) or of “the book,” as identified in the Quran (5:77-80). These weird “Easter worshippers.”

I have a sense of pride then in standing with the brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever the world may want to call us. Even when done maliciously, to undermine us, “Blessed are [we] when people insult [us], persecute [us], and falsely say all kinds of evil against [us] because of [Jesus]” (Matthew 5:11).

So, I am a Christian. Count me in among those “of the book” or “of the way,” the “Easter worshippers,” speaking about the “unknown god” (Acts 17:23) and the crucified Christ, risen back to life (yes, in His physical body!) and sitting at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:32-33). He is the hope of the world, and I will gladly suffer this and more to share that hope with you.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

For America (Day 104)

By | News and Events, Prayer | No Comments

Lord, we give You thanks
For the marvelous works
You have performed since the beginning.
They will forever be proclaimed!

Thank You for Your faithfulness
And patience for man in his hopeless estate.
You have shown great favor to us
In this land, and we praise You.

Those who recognize Your graceful hand
Upon those who never deserved it
Can plainly see Your mercy has been
Upon us throughout our history.

But now, we see much turmoil around the world.
Protect us and guide us through it all.
Remember Your promises and Your people.
And help us remember Your sacrificial love.

Hear the petitions of our hearts and
Answer us, according to Your will.
Help us to trust Your statutes;
Deliver us from evil.

You are holy! Enthroned in majesty.
You care for us and You are for us.
Be not far from us, Lord,
Act according to Your Sovereign grace.

Give wisdom to our leaders,
Help them fear You above all else.
Give them ears to hear and eyes to see,
Whatever is true and good and noble, lovely and admirable.

Help them to focus on these things,
To walk by the Spirit and not by sight.
To do what is right, above what is
Merely politically expedient.

Rise up a generation of the righteous among us.
Give us revival!
May a new song be heard in our Land;
A Song of the Lamb who died to set us free.

Amen.


Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.

For America (Day 103) – A Prayer Against Post-Modern Anti-Woman Efforts

By | News and Events, Prayer | No Comments

Father, Maker, and Designer of all
Seen and unseen things,
You created us in our mother’s womb
With purpose and longings.

You designed us to fit together
So that two may become one,
In a miraculous display
Of Your love and the pursuit of Your people.

Nothing can erase the works of Your hands.
Nothing can delete what is true.
Who can separate us from Your Love?
Not even death could contain it. Selah

In the beginning, all was good,
Except that man should be alone.
Creation was not complete without a woman.
Then, and only then, was it done. You rested.

Forgive us, then, for devaluing
Your most precious creation.
Turn our society from its foolish efforts
To erase what was essential to Your design.

We remember Jesus’ radical love for women,
And we ask that the same spirit may rest in us,
That we may remember their intrinsic and unique
Value in all of creation – no other creature compares.

We pray against efforts to erase womanhood
In misguided attempts to erase the beauty and diversity of Your design,
To impose draconian, monochrome rules that
Put our daughters, sisters, and mothers under peril.

Give us loving words to communicate
The allure and potency of nature.
Give us the courage to speak authentically
And compassionately in all things.

In the holy name of Christ, we pray,
Amen.


Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.

Senate Rule Change on Nominations Unfortunately Necessary

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

The U.S. Senate has now officially moved to limit the amount of post-cloture debate time for sub-Cabinet executive nominees and judicial nominees other than the circuit and Supreme Court level. Debate time will be limited to two hours as opposed to the usual thirty. The move was (unfortunately) desperately needed after the unprecedented and unnecessary obstruction campaign that Democrats have launched against President Trump’s nominees.

There are a total of 152 vacancies in the federal judiciary (88 considered a judicial emergency) and 68 nominees pending in the Senate. Forty-seven of those are simply awaiting floor votes. Forty-one of those have waited more than a year. Four of those have waited more than 500 days.

It is not that senators have raised specific, substantive objections to these nominees. The Democrats have simply taken the position of treating virtually every nominee as hostile merely to slow down the process as much as possible, even though they might even vote to confirm them in the end.

Under normal circumstances, unobjectionable nominees would be passed by a voice vote, requiring no time to end the debate.  But President Trump has faced 57 votes to end debate on judicial nominees during his first two years in office, far more than under previous presidents. President Barack Obama had only faced two at the same point in his presidency. President George W. Bush had seven at that point, President Clinton merely one.

It is not only judicial nominations, either.  John Ryder was confirmed earlier this year to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He lingered for more than a year, awaiting a floor vote for some nine months, only to be confirmed with a simple voice vote. There is nothing fair about such a process. One of the things liberals forget in their petty fights against President Trump is the fact that they are harming the lives of these nominees who have families and are being put through this unfair process for no reason of their own making. Emotional sentiments against the president should not be allowed to control the nominations process.

This rule change then essentially restores a fairer procedure where nominations who are not objectionable are able to be confirmed at a sensible pace. There is nothing radical or extreme about that. There is no court-packing scheme in play here, despite what you might hear in the mainstream media.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is actually following a precedent already established by former Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).  Following the Reid model, Leader McConnell made a point of order to establish the new rule, which was ultimately upheld by a simple majority vote (51-48). This procedure establishes a new precedent while avoiding a formal rule change which would require a supermajority to end a filibuster.

The rule change will speed up the confirmation of lower-court nominees considerably. To further illustrate the point, the Senate has just confirmed three district-court judges to this point in 2019. That is simply unacceptable. It was time for this change. It is time for the Senate to get to work.

“Until Justice Rolls Down Like Dollars”— the SPLC Exposed

By | Legal, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has once again been exposed for what it is, “a high profitable scam,” according to one former employee who wrote for the New Yorker in a recent, explosive op-ed. Recall that the SPLC is a hateful racket that smears Christian conservatives as racists. Remember when they smeared Dr. Ben Carson for having a Biblical, historical view of marriage?

The SPLC was key in that horrible shooting attack at the Family Research Council that injured their building’s security guard, Leo Johnson. After the incident, the FBI released a video of the terrorist’s interrogation where he confessed to using the center’s “Extremist” list map to find out where the councils’ offices were located.

Still, the SPLC’s smear campaigns were highly profitable for the group, so it continued to expand its list of “hate groups” with Christian organizations. For years, we have struggled to tell the world about this fraud of a group, making some strides. At one point, they were used as an official resource by the Department of Justice (DOJ), and they were removed from that position, thanks to the light that was shone on them. But many in the media showed little interest, since they were useful politically. These recent revelations might change all that.

“The Law Center had a way of turning idealists into cynics,” wrote Bob Moser, the former SPLC writer.  He joined the SPLC thinking it was a justice-seeking small organization and discovered it was all a façade. He recounts one employee referring to their offices as “the Poverty Palace.” Allegations of racial discrimination came from within while they accused everyone else of discriminating.  Sexual harassment allegations also loomed which eventually led to the firing of Morris Dees, one of SPLC’s co-founders.

Of Dees, he recalls one exposé that showed him to be one “who viewed civil-rights work mainly as a marketing tool for bilking gullible Northern liberals. … Co-workers stealthily passed along these articles to me,” he says.

When the news of Dees broke, he notes another former SPLC employee said, “It could be racial, sexual, financial — that place was a virtual buffet of injustices.”

But that’s on the inside. On the outside, they’re bringing in the money by accusing others, most prominently President Trump, of the things they are practicing. He writes, “Donald Trump’s presidency opened up a gusher of donations; after raising fifty million dollars in 2016, the center took in a hundred and thirty-two million dollars in 2017 …”

He concludes, “We were part of the con, and we knew it.” Tagline: “The S.P.L.C. — making hate pay …”

But friends, the reality is that, even after all of this (after all those facts) the SPLC continues its hateful work today as it did yesterday, aided by its multi-million-dollar endowment. Next week, hundreds of journalists will refer to Christian organizations smeared by the SPLC as “hate groups.” George Clooney, who donated a million dollars to them recently, and Apple, who chipped in another, and hundreds of other liberals seeking to advance their radical causes will continue to support them and ignore their putrid foundation, because they help them smear their opponents.

This is why we must be diligent to expose them at every turn. When you see a journalist quoting their stats or their “hate group” classification, write to them and let them know that they are discrediting themselves by using the SPLC.

If you see it on television or radio, call the station. It must become common knowledge that the SPLC is a racket and a hate group itself. But that can only happen through you and me. The media must be made to care; it won’t volunteer. Let us speak in unison, and we may yet see justice roll down like waters, as Martin Luther King, Jr., dreamed.

Your Voice Made a Difference— Neomi Rao to the D.C. Circuit

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

Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to be a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, often recognized as the second-highest court in the land, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week by a vote of 53-46. No Republican senator opposed Rao.

This is a major victory and a testament to your voice and influence on Capitol Hill. Rao came under attack in the waning days of her nomination. But thanks to your voice, we have a conservative woman with excellent credentials and a trustworthy judicial philosophy at the D.C. Circuit. CWA leaders from across the country, and especially in key states, were quickly mobilized to express our support for Rao and to help explain her record and address any concerns Senators might have. Because of your efforts, she is now a federal appellate court judge.

Rao will fill the seat left vacant by Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the D.C. Circuit where she will handle numerous cases involving federal agencies, which is her area of expertise— administrative law. She comes to the bench after serving in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where she worked on deregulation efforts that have untangled businesses to invest in our economy and give rise to the current favorable economic numbers we are witnessing. As an associate professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, Rao also founded the school’s Center for the Study of the Administrative State.

These experiences, along with her solid judicial philosophy, will make her a major stabilizing influence at this important federal appellate court. During her hearing, Rao stated consistently that judges do not create law, but rather interpret and apply the Constitution, law, and precedents as they exist. She has publicly criticized activist judges who try to go “beyond the law to reach a particular result” they desire, rather than ruling as the law demands.

She is the type of judge we are in desperate need of, and we are glad to have played a role in her confirmation.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

 

For America (Day 102)

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

O let us taste and see that You are good, Lord;
Help us to trust in You and the promises
You have given to us through Your Word.
Blessed is He who puts his hopes in them.

Help us to know You and understand You, increasingly so;
Help us to fear You in Your holy love.
Teach us to love as You do
Keep us from becoming “noisy gongs” or “clanging cymbals.”

May all our works be covered in love and humility;
Directed by discernment and a desire to serve those in need.
You have prospered us, and we are grateful
For all we have, big and small.

We confess our sins before You,
Our joyless bouts and unforgiving hearts.
We are in desperate need
Of Your mind and heart-altering touch.

Help us to wield the sword of truth in love.
Help us to expose the darkness and bring joy.
In You there is life and peace and hope.
Help us to live and move in You.

Merciful Father, be near us;
Bring us ever closer to Your holy presence
And remind us of who we are in You –
Who we are becoming through Your sanctification.

Give us food for the hungry,
A calming word for those in distress,
A loving hand for those who are hurt,
And hearts who empathize with all.

Give us boldness to speak against
Injustice and unrighteousness and evil.
Give us hearts inclined to prayer
That in our weakness, we may stand strong.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

 


Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Sixth Circuit Greenlights Ohio Law Prohibiting Public Funding of Abortion Clinics

By | Case Vault, Legal, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio v. Hodges

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision from the Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati invalidating an Ohio law barring the public funding of abortion clinics. This is good news. The law has now been upheld and can go into full effect.

The court said the state’s condition for receiving public health funds “does not violate the Constitution because the [clinics] do not have a due process right to perform abortions.” I know that seems obvious, but this is exactly what Planned Parenthood has tried to argue for many years. They claim not only that women have a constitutional right to abortion but also that they, as the providers of this “holy” right, have a constitutional right to provide abortions. The court appropriately and emphatically rejected that claim. The court’s sound reasoning now opens the door for the will of the majority of Ohioans to be carried out. The citizens of Ohio, along with the majority of the rest of the country, do not want their tax dollars to subsidize abortion providers.

In 2016 Ohio passed a law prohibiting funds from being used to “(1) Perform nontherapeutic abortions; (2) Promote nontherapeutic abortions; (3) Contract with any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions; (4) Become or continue to be an affiliate of any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions.”

Ohio made clear the purpose of the law is, (1) to “Promote childbirth over abortion” which the Supreme Court has already said is constitutionally permissible (“[A] State is permitted to enact persuasive measures which favor childbirth over abortion, even if those measures do not further a health interest.” Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 886 (1992)), (2) “to avoid ‘muddl[ing]’ that message by using abortion providers as the face of the state healthcare programs” (there are thousands of quality health care options for women besides Planned Parenthood – in Ohio, one study found 280 federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics, compared to just 28 Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinics), and (3) “to avoid entangling program funding and abortion funding” (public funding inevitably helps Planned Parenthood be the number one abortion provider in the country, performing more than 300,000 abortions a year – more than 27,000 a month, more than 900 a day).

Planned Parenthood, having become synonymous with abortion, promptly sued Ohio, “claiming that the law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments by conditioning government funding on giving up their rights to provide abortions and to advocate for them.” The district court and a panel of the Sixth Circuit agreed and permanently enjoined the State from enforcing the law.

Thankfully, the Sixth Circuit en banc (before the full court) now reverses those misguided opinions and correctly applies the law, including applicable precedent, to this case. Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for the court, reminds us that, “The United States Constitution does not contain an Unconstitutional Conditions Clause.” Writing clearly and concisely, he says, “Governments generally may do what they wish with public funds,” citing Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173, 192–94 (1991). He continues, “What makes a condition unconstitutional turns not on a freestanding prohibition against restricting public funds but on a pre-existing obligation not to violate constitutional rights.” In other words, the government cannot deny a clinic’s funding on a reason that violates the clinic’s constitutional rights.

But the constitutional right at issue here “prohibits a State from imposing an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s access to an abortion before fetal viability. Casey, 505 U.S. at 877 (plurality).” It has nothing to do with a clinic’s right to perform abortions. “The Supreme Court has never identified a freestanding right to perform abortions.”

Therefore, since there is no constitutional right, there can be no constitutional violation of that right. It is that simple.

A woman may bring a claim, as the dissent envisions, saying this law places an undue burden on her constitutional right to obtain an abortion, but this is hard to imagine, given the facts of this case where the clinics have all publicly expressed their commitment to abortion with or without this law. Ruling for Planned Parenthood in this case, “would create a constitutional right for providers to offer abortion services and, in doing so, move the law perilously close to requiring States to subsidize abortions. Case law rejects both possibilities.”

Bottom line, “so long as the subsidy program does not otherwise violate a constitutional right of the regulated entity, the State may choose to subsidize what it wishes — whether abortion services or adoption services, whether stores that sell guns or stores that don’t.”

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.