Family Research Council

February 25, 2014 - Tuesday

Discrimination Is in the Eye of the E. Holder

There are few people less qualified to give career advice than Attorney General Eric Holder. But that didn't stop the first sitting Cabinet member ever to be held in contempt of Congress from delivering a lesson in lawlessness to the states. On the eve of the National Association of Attorneys General conference, Holder -- a five-year case study in "what not to do" -- felt compelled to give the AGs some unsolicited advice in one area he knows plenty about: dereliction of duty.

In an interview with the New York Times, Holder, the author of some of the President's most scandalous moments, encouraged his state counterparts to take a page from his recklessness. Calling the same-sex "marriage" debate an "exceptional circumstance," Holder warned that state leaders "must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation." In general, he pointed out, "making the determination [on whether to defend your state's constitution] is something that's appropriate for an attorney general to do."

Unfortunately, this is just the latest chapter in the administration's one-sided marriage campaign, which continues to elevate a handful of people above the Constitution, the states, and tens of millions of voters. Holder's comments are an insult to his office and the office of 50 other men and women who took similar oaths. Fortunately, several attorneys general seem to have a better handle on their role than the country's chief law enforcer.

"It really isn't his job to give us advice on defending our Constitutions any more than it's our role to give him advice on how to do his job," said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "If there's one clear-cut job I have, it's to defend my Constitution. There is no one else in position to defend the State Constitution if it comes under attack." Colorado's AG, John Suthers, also chimed in that while he may disagree with some of his state's laws, "as attorney general, I have defended them all -- and will continue to."

In the meantime, someone ought to ask the Obama administration: If the Attorney General can pick and choose which laws to uphold, then can the rest of us pick and choose which laws to follow? Can we pick and choose which taxes we'll pay? Of course, the greatest irony of Holder's position is the one pointed out by Hugh Hewitt. If the Left follows this argument to its logical conclusion, then what's to stop pro-life AGs from refusing to defend abortion policies? Or anti-gun laws? Or anything they find personally objectionable?

So far, six state attorneys general (all liberals) have walked away from the one responsibility entrusted to them by voters: Nevada's Catherine Cortez Masto, Oregon's Ellen Rosenblum, Pennsylvania's Kathleen Kane, Virginia's Mark Herring, and, prior to last year's Supreme Court ruling, California's Kamala Harris and Illinois's Lisa Madigan. For now, they're in the minority, as a group of 11 other AGs filed briefs in defense of the Nevada same-sex "marriage" amendment that Masto refuses to defend. In it, the states pulled no punches: "[U]nlike the goal of encouraging responsible procreation that underlies traditional marriage, the mere objective of self-validation that inspires same-sex marriage lacks principled limits. If public affirmation of anyone and everyone's personal love and commitment is the single purpose of civil marriage, a limitless number of rights claims could be set up that evacuate the term 'marriage' of any meaning."

If Americans want to put an end to this legal chaos, conservatives cannot stop pursuing Holder. The Attorney General must be held accountable by a relentless and unwavering GOP.

Brewer on Tap to Decide Religious Freedom Debate

There's a lot more riding on Arizona's Religious Freedom bill than the Super Bowl -- but even that seems to be one of the weapons leveled at conservatives in the fight. The 2015 game, which is scheduled to be played in Glendale, is just one of the chips liberals are using as leverage in the battle to destroy a perfectly reasonable bill. In all the made-up hysteria over what the bill could do, few seem to understand what it does do.

The Christian Post has an excellent column on SB 1062 debunking the Left's talking points that this would somehow lead to the discrimination of homosexuals in stores across the state. Under the current law, Napp Nazworth points out, "if a business wanted to discriminate against gays, they would not need this bill to be passed to do so. It is not currently illegal for a business to deny service to someone because they are gay." Plus, Nazworth explains, "no business has ever successfully used [a Religious Freedom Restoration Act like this one] to defend their right to not serve gays. In fact, no business has even been before a court claiming to have that right."

And if they did, here's the real irony of SB 1062 -- this bill makes it harder for businesses to try! So, the very measure liberals are battling actually protects homosexuals more than the status quo. That must have been lost on Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who refused to let the facts get in the way of their blind opposition to the bill. Apparently, they're graduates of the Pelosi School of Policy, where they dispose of bills before they find out what's in them. With all eyes on the Governor's office, this is Jan Brewer's moment of testing. Will she yield to the frenzy-driven opposition or will she consult the facts? Let's hope she has the courage to make the wise and right choice.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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