Family Research Council

April 10, 2014 - Thursday

Judge Promotes Conservative to Professor of Justice

While Americans fume about the sidelining of Mozilla's Brendan Eich, another conservative is getting some long-awaited payback. It took eight years, but Dr. Mike Adams, associate professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, finally won the promotion he deserved -- thanks to a federal court's intervention. Almost a month earlier, a jury had sided with Dr. Adams, agreeing that the university was retaliating against the criminology professor for his conservative views.

This week, a U.S. District judge followed up on that verdict, ordering UNCW to promote Adams and provide $50,000 in back pay in what many are calling a "landmark anti-discrimination case." Eight years ago, the university's sociology department turned down Adams's application for promotion, despite a folio of awards, student recommendations, 125 speaking appearances, and 11 published peer-review articles. It was the first time, his attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom pointed out, that a professor with that many peer-reviewed pieces had ever been denied promotion at the Department level.

Unfortunately, Dr. Adams fell victim to UNCW's radical political agenda after converting from atheism to Christianity in 2000. Since then, the administration's open hostility to Adams's work in conservative circles was impossible to ignore. Thank goodness Professor Adams had the last word. "The jury last month found that disagreeing with an accomplished professor's religious and political views is no grounds for denying him a promotion," said ADF's Travis Barham. "To our knowledge, this is the first court to rule that a university unlawfully retaliated against a conservative professor for his views, award him back pay, and order the university to promote him to the position he was wrongfully denied."

For now, the implications of the case can't be overstated for conservatives in higher education, many of whom have been marginalized or overlooked for their beliefs. But, as the Fourth Circuit Court said of Adams's complaint in 2011, "No individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of public employment." And that includes the classroom.

Happenings on the Hill

A month late and 216 votes short, the President's budget experiment was finally pronounced dead yesterday after another bipartisan shellacking. The embarrassment ended predictably in the House with two brave Democrat members -- Virginia's Jim Moran and Ohio's Marcy Kaptur -- giving the White House plan its most votes yet. Like his previous attempts, the 2015 proposal went over like a $3 trillion lead balloon, an exercise in political posturing that failed even to rally his own party. The 413-2 drubbing raised a few eyebrows, as the plan continued to alienate the very base the President hopes to woo.

Unfortunately for Congress, the economy is only one part of the White House's extreme strategy. The courts are another, and this President is well on his way to putting his permanent stamp on a judicial system already teeming with legislative wannabes.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) greased the wheels for another one of the far-Left's wrecking balls, attorney Michelle Friedland. Considered by some to be "the single worst nominee in the history of bad nominees from the Obama regime," Friedland's record would send a shiver down the spines of any American who values state sovereignty, the separation of powers, natural marriage, and religious liberty. For Friedland, working for Munger, Tolles, and Olson has its perks. The law firm, which gave generously to the President's reelection campaign, has watched three of its attorneys get tapped for seats on the Ninth Circuit Court.

Unfortunately for conservatives, the third -- Friedland -- could do the most damage of all. Her ideology, which oozes judicial overreach, is rooted in the philosophy that states are subordinate to the courts. "There is no independent truth about the content of rights in state constitutions that we can say the state judicial systems are inadequate to protect them," she wrote. After reading some of her commentary on the Proposition 8 debate, our government affairs department is convinced that she would be the Cornelia Pillard of marriage -- doing everything in her power to strike down laws defining the union as a man and woman. At one point, she urged the Supreme Court of California to ignore voters and state leaders in favor of unelected judges.

"This Court should hold that... the initiative power cannot be used to enact a measure such as Proposition 8 that renders the judicial branch incapable of guaranteeing that the laws [mandate gay marriage.]" And list goes on -- including a stint working pro bono to enforce a bill that would punish faith-based counselors for working with minors and their families coping with unwanted same-sex attractions. Obviously, Friedland is a proud judicial activist -- something the Ninth Circuit already has plenty of. Contact your Senators and urge them to put the brakes on the President's latest assault on the law. While Democrats grumble about the slow progress their judicial nominees are making, the reality is that President Obama's confirmations are actually exceeding President Bush's.

When the administration isn't busy stacking the bench, it's kept plenty occupied blocking conservative groups from the nonprofit status they've applied for. The IRS, which is crumbling under the weight of its own scandals, took another credibility hit earlier today when the House Oversight Committee voted to hold its tax exempt ring leader, Lois Lerner, in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into the scandal. By a vote of 21-12, members voted to send the resolution to the floor. "This is not an action I take lightly," Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), said before the vote. But, he explained, members "need Ms. Lerner's testimony to complete our oversight work and bring truth to the American people."

The public censuring comes just a few days after new evidence suggests that Lerner may have lied about earlier conversations to investigators and most likely used her personal email to leak confidential donor information. Obviously, Lerner was already holding taxpayers in contempt.

Huckabee: I Didn't Write the Book on Marriage

If you're wondering why Governor Mike Huckabee is leading the pack in Iowa, check out his speech from last night. The former Arkansas Governor refuses to back away from the values people believe in. Despite the liberal pushback, Governor Huckabee made it quite clear that opposing same-sex "marriage" does not make you a "hater." "I'm not against anybody; I'm really not," Huckabee. "I'm not homophobic. I honestly don't care what people do personally in their individual lives."

What he does care about is his faith. "This is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it's not my book to change." Hats off to Governor Huckabee for speaking his mind -- and the mind of millions of values voters -- no matter who's listening!

** Another Governor who isn't afraid to stand his ground is Mississippi's Phil Bryant (R). The man who just put his signature on the state's blockbuster Religious Liberty Restoration Act may be taking a lot of heat, but he's still shining a light on key issues.

*** Also, don't miss Bob Morrison's new First Things column, "The Marriage That Made America" about America's first First Couple -- the Washingtons.


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

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