Category Archives: Supreme Court

Supreme Court supports Colorado baker’s First Amendment right to refuse ‘gay’ couple

4½ years ago, in December 2013, Colorado administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer ordered Jack Phillips of a bakery in suburban Denver to bake a wedding cake for two homosexuals or face fines, even though doing so violates Phillips’ Christian religious beliefs.

The homosexual couple had sued Phillips.

Phillips said he’d rather shut down his business and go to jail than compromise his beliefs.

Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Colorado

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled 7:2 in Phillips’ favor.

Reuters reports that the Supreme Court ruled that, in its handling of the claims brought against Jack Phillips, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had demonstrated a hostility to religion and violated the baker’s religious rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

According to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in refusing to bake a wedding cake for “gay” couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig, Phillips violated the Colorado anti-discrimination law barring businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

Homosexual couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig

Of the Court’s four liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, while Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the five conservative justices in the ruling. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:

“The [Colorado Civil Rights] commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”

The Supreme Court, however, stopped short of issuing a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views. Justice Kennedy wrote:

“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”

President Donald Trump’s administration had intervened in the case in support of Jack Phillips.

H/t FOTM‘s MomOfIV

UPDATE:

From the AP:

People streamed into Phillips’ cake shop after the ruling came down, embracing him as his phone rang repeatedly with congratulations from people who view him as their champion.

Supporter Ann Sewell, who brought a clutch of congratulatory balloons to the bakery, compared Phillips’ bravery to people opposed to the Vietnam War.

“If you could be a conscientious objector and not fight in a war then you should be able to hold to your convictions in something as simple as this when it is not hurting anyone,” Sewell said. “It might offend someone, but that’s life.”

In November, Phillips headlined a rally at Colorado Christian University, not far from his bakery. Somewhat nervous, he voice rattling as he thanked those attending. At the conclusion of his five-minute address, the crowd swarmed around Phillips, touched him and prayed.

~Eowyn

Supreme Court rejects appeal, allows Arkansas to enforce abortion restrictions

planned parenthood and nra sign

Baby murderers Planned Parenthood is not happy with this decision. Too bad, so sad.

From Yahoo: In a setback to abortion rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for Republican-backed restrictions on medication-induced abortions to take effect in Arkansas that could lead to the shuttering of two of the state’s three abortion clinics.

The nine justices, with no noted dissents, declined to hear an appeal by abortion provider Planned Parenthood of a lower court ruling that had revived the 2015 state law, which sets regulations regarding the RU-486 “abortion pill,” after it was earlier struck down by a federal judge. The law had remained blocked pending the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court.

Unless Planned Parenthood obtains a new injunction from a federal judge blocking the law – the group said it will seek such an order immediately – the state can enforce the statute, one of the most restrictive abortion measures in the United States.

Planned Parenthood, which contends that the law would ban medication abortion in Arkansas, also said it is telling patients they can no longer access medication abortions at its two clinics in the state. The only other abortion clinic in Arkansas, Little Rock Family Planning Services in the state capital, offers both surgical and medication abortions.

“This law cannot and must not stand. We will not stop fighting for every person’s right to access safe, legal abortion,” said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president.

The Supreme Court in 1973 legalized abortion nationwide, but many Republican-governed states have passed laws seeking to impose a variety of restrictions, some so demanding that they may shut down abortion clinics and make the procedure far more difficult to obtain.

“As Attorney General, I have fully defended this law at every turn and applaud the Supreme Court’s decision against Planned Parenthood today. Protecting the health and well-being of women and the unborn will always be a priority,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, said in a statement.

TEXAS RULING

The justices, in a 2016 ruling, struck down a restrictive Republican-backed Texas law that had targeted abortion clinics and doctors in a decision that was seen as reaffirming and fortifying legal protections for abortion rights. Planned Parenthood had claimed the appeals court ruling in the Arkansas case had disregarded the precedent set in the Texas case.

The St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored the law last year, reversing a 2016 ruling by a district court judge that had prevented it from going into effect.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains sued the state in 2015, saying the law would deprive many Arkansas women of their legal right to an abortion.

The law involves the RU-486 “abortion pill,” also called mifepristone (brand name Mifeprex) and misoprostol (brand name Cytotec). It requires any doctor dispensing the drug to sign a contract with another doctor who would agree to handle any medical complications from it, an unusual and difficult-to-achieve arrangement. The contracted doctor also must have admitting privileges at a hospital designated to handle emergencies.

Arkansas said the law was aimed at protecting women against the “dangerous and potentially dangerous” off-label use of the abortion pills.

RU-486 was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000 subject to the instructions stated on the label. The “off-label” use prohibited by Arkansas allowed for less physician oversight when RU-486 is used. Planned Parenthood, which offers only medication-induced abortions at its two facilities in Arkansas, said the effect of the law would be to ban such abortions in the state.

The district court judge had found that women in Fayetteville, for example, would have to make two 380-mile (610-km) round trips to get an abortion at what would be the state’s last remaining abortion clinic.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Hillary Clinton directed U.S. diplomats to spy on and gather DNA of foreign officials

This is weird.

In July 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a classified directive to U.S. diplomats to spy on and gather biometric information — including the DNA, fingerprints and iris scans — of United Nations officials.

DNA double helix

As reported by The Guardian, the UN officials include Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his aides; undersecretaries; heads of specialized agencies and their chief advisers; heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders; and the permanent Security Council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.

The secret “national human intelligence collection directive” was sent to US missions at the UN in New York, Vienna and Rome; 33 embassies and consulates, including those in London, Paris and Moscow. In addition to the State Department, the operation involved all of Washington’s main intelligence agencies — the CIA’s clandestine service, the US Secret Service and the FBI.

The directive came to light when WikiLeaks published classified U.S. diplomatic cables, dated between December 1966 and Februry 2010, which had been sent to the State Department by 274 of its consulates, embassies, and diplomatic missions around the world.

To read the 2009 National Human Intelligence Collection Directive, click here.

Spying on UN officials is illegal, according to:

  1. The 1946 UN convention on privileges and immunities which states: “The premises of the United Nations shall be inviolable. The property and assets of the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action”.
  2. The 1961 Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which covers the UN, also states that “the official correspondence of the mission shall be inviolable”.

When asked whether Barack Obama is also responsible for the illegal directive and should resign, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said “the order is so serious it may well have been put to the president for approval”, and that “Obama must answer what he knew about this illegal order and when. If he refuses to answer or there is evidence he approved of these actions, he must resign.”

The UN is not the only target. Since 2008, i.e., the last year of the Bush Administration with Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, the State Department has issued at least nine directives to embassies around the world. In one directive, Washington ordered staff in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda to obtain biometric information of leading figures in business, politics, intelligence, military, religion and in key ethnic groups.

What would the U.S. do with the DNA of foreign officials?

~Eowyn

Culture of death: Rave reviews for former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard’s book

cecile richars

The IRONY is completely lost on the “reproductive rights” social justice warriors.

Cecile Richard’s book, “Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead–My Life Story” has an astounding 97% of 5-star reviews on Amazon. Here’s some of the reviews:

  • “It is a reminder to all of us, especially women, to stand up for what we believe in. Our strength is in our numbers. Woman have always been the caretakers, the nurtures and now we need to take care and nurture the America we believe in and see in our future.”
  • “Reading MAKE TROUBLE is like hanging out with the coolest, smartest woman you know while she saves the world. It’s patient, informative, and also very funny. Could not recommend more.”
  • “What an inspiring story about how to make change and pie in America. I know what I’m getting my mom for mothers day!
  • “So many lessons to learn. I left with this: one person CAN make a difference, ask questions, speak up, be persistent My favorite line is when Cecile’s three year old son Daniel says he wants to grow up and be a woman. So many fierce women in his life—he wanted IN. A must read. I’m giving this not just to all my strong female friends— but to their daughters as well. Blueprint for how to lead the resistance.”
  • “Yes! Western women are the most privileged class the planet has ever known, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play the victim card, make accusations, and destroy the patriarchy. Let’s build a new civilization based on matriarchy. Who’s coming with me?!”
  • “The best how to guide to make a difference in the world for the better.”
  • “Read the whole book in one sitting. Buy for any young woman you know.”

Well, aren’t those reviews special? A few questions for the Richard’s sychophants:

  • How can you have “strength in numbers” when you choose to murder and eliminate future members of the population?
  • How is a woman considered a “caretaker” when she kills her baby?
  • How can a woman “nurture” the future when she kills the future?
  • How can a woman “change the world” while she kills future children that may have the intelligence/skills to actually change the world?
  • How can a woman think it’s appropriate to give this book to their mother, on Mother’s Day, which celebrates a baby killer?
  • If you want to destroy the patriarchy so much then why are you having sex with the evil men?
  • How does one “make a difference in the world for the better” by killing babies?

Good riddance Cecile…

DCG

Iowa lawmakers approve “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban

baby at 6 weeks

A baby’s development at six weeks, from BabyCenter.com:

“The nose, mouth, and ears that you’ll spend so much time kissing in eight months are beginning to take shape. If you could see into your uterus, you’d find an oversize head and dark spots where your baby’s eyes and nostrils are starting to form. His emerging ears are marked by small depressions on the sides of the head, and his arms and legs by protruding buds. His heart is beating about 100 to 160 times a minute – almost twice as fast as yours – and blood is beginning to course through his body. His intestines are developing, and the bud of tissue that will give rise to his lungs has appeared. His pituitary gland is forming, as are the rest of his brain, muscles, and bones.

From Yahoo: (AFP) – Lawmakers in the US state of Iowa approved the most restrictive abortion ban in the country Wednesday, hoping for a national reckoning over the divisive issue.

The Midwestern state’s Republican-controlled legislature approved a ban on most abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. There are exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

Women have been able to legally seek an abortion throughout the United States since 1973’s landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. But the right to reproductive choice remains tenuous as debate rages over the issue, especially in areas where conservative Republicans are in power.

The US Supreme Court in 2016 rejected appeals by both North Dakota and Arkansas to preserve similar “heartbeat” laws, which had been struck down by lower courts.

If Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds — a Republican who opposes abortion — signs the measure into law, the heartbeat restriction would likely trigger a court battle.

Some of the bill’s supporters had urged its passage as a way to set up a potential US Supreme Court confrontation over abortion.

They believe that President Donald Trump could appoint a conservative justice to the high court in the next few years, tilting its makeup in their favor by the time a court challenge winds through the legal system.

“Today, we are taking a courageous step… to tell the nation that Iowa will defend its most vulnerable, those without a voice — our unborn children,” state legislator Shannon Lundgren said on the state House floor.

The American Civil Liberties Union condemned the bill’s passage, saying in a statement that it would “take Iowa women back nearly a half century.”

“All we can say right now is that we fought this legislation every step of the way and regret that it has made it this far,” ACLU of Iowa’s spokeswoman Veronica Fowler told AFP. “It is clearly unconstitutional and it effectively blocks the right (to) an abortion for most women,” she said.

DCG

Chicago suburb bans assault weapons and large-capacity magazines

harriet rosenthal

Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal

Via Yahoo (Reuters) – A Chicago suburb has banned the possession, sale and manufacture of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in response to the massacre at a Florida high school and other recent mass shootings in the United States.

Residents of Democratic-leaning Deerfield, Illinois have until June 13 to remove any firearms and magazines that fall outside the new restrictions or face a fine of between $250 and $1,000 per day, according to an ordinance passed by the town board on Monday night.

The ban was a direct response to the Feb. 14 killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and the student-led campaign for tighter restrictions on guns inspired by the mass shooting, the ordinance said.

The Deerfield decision is likely to face legal challenges from gun rights groups that see it as a violation of their constitutional rights. A similar ban in Highland Park, Illinois was challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and upheld.

The National Rifle Association and the Illinois State Rifle Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“We hope that our local decision helps spur state and national leaders to take steps to make our communities safer,” Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal said in a statement.

Opponents of the ban fear the town will now try to outlaw other firearms, further violating their right under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to own guns.

“First it’s going to be assault rifles. There will be new bans in the future. It’s just a matter of time,” Deerfield resident Larry Nordal told the Chicago Tribune. Nordal did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

The ban defines assault weapons as a range of firearms such as semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15, a gun similar to the one used in the Florida massacre. High-capacity magazines are defined as those holding more than 10 rounds.

Deerfield High School senior Ariella Kharasch, who supported the legislation, wants more action on the local and national levels. “This is our generation’s fight. We’re going to keep fighting and this is part of it. Change happens gradually step by step,” Kharasch told the Chicago Tribune.

Some excerpts from the ordinance (which lists specific firearms):

“…may increase the public’s sense of safety by effecting a cultural change which communicates the normative value that assault weapons should have no role or purpose in civil society…”

“…the possession, manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the Village of Deerfield is not reasonably necessary to protect an individual’s right of self-defense…”

Read the full ordinance here.

DCG

Private property rights battle: Court rules Missouri couple must plant grass, even though wife is allergic

government solve all problems

From Kansas City.com: A Missouri couple decided to turn their entire yard into a flower garden.  It turns out, that was against a city ordinance, which says half of residents’ yards must be grass turf.

But the wife is allergic to grass. Now a federal judge has ruled: tough.

So Janice and Carl Duffner are vowing to fight on.

Their city of St. Peters, near St. Louis, put the Duffners on notice that they must comply with the law. The Duffners said at the time they filed their civil rights action in late 2016 they were subject to penalties of $180,000 and 20 years in jail for non-compliance.

“If the city is permitted to impose draconian fines and imprisonment simply because a citizen chooses to cultivate on their own private property lawful, harmless plants of their own choosing instead of a potentially harmful plant of the government’s choosing, there is no longer any principled limit to the government’s control over either the property or the owners,” the Duffners’ complaint stated.

The Duffners bought their home in 2002 and began landscaping that included planting beds, two small ponds, pathways and seating areas. The St. Peters Board of Aldermen adopted the turf ordinance in 2008. At some point, an unidentified person complained to the city that the Duffners had no grass.

The Duffners asked for an exemption but were denied. Instead, the Board of Adjustment in 2014 told them to plant at least 5 percent of their property with grass. They refused.

In its response to the federal complaint, the city noted that the Duffners had first gone to circuit court in St. Charles County and had lost there because they had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. After a mixed ruling from the Missouri Court of Appeals, the Duffners turned to federal court.

U.S. District Judge John A. Ross (appointed by Obama) last week ruled for the city, saying the Duffners “have failed to identify a fundamental right that is restricted by the Turf Grass Ordinance.” The judge said the Supreme Court has held that “aesthetic considerations constitute a legitimate government purpose.”

Ross also said the Duffners failed to demonstrate that the penalties for violating the turf ordinance are excessive and contrary to the Eighth Amendment.

The Duffners’ attorney, David Roland of the Freedom Center of Missouri, told the Riverfront Times that the couple will appeal.

“My estimation is that this is one of the most important property rights cases in the country right now,” he said. “We’re going to go all hands on deck.”

DCG