Obama's Judges: Par for the Courts?
At a private event last Wednesday, President Obama bragged that he was "remaking the courts." And if his nomination of controversial professor Cornelia Pillard had succeeded, he would have taken a major step toward that goal. Despite her nauseating statements on everything from abstinence to motherhood, the President insisted on nominating Pillard to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most important bench in America. Unlike so many appellate courts, the D.C. Circuit has historically been one of the more balanced benches in the country -- a reputation that would certainly be in jeopardy if Pillard had joined.
Fortunately, the U.S. Senate was as shocked by her resume as the rest of us and refused to give her nomination a final vote. Under Senate rules, it would have taken the consent of 60 members to end debate and move to her confirmation. By a 56-41 vote, Republicans put up a barrier that even the majority party couldn't overcome. Pillard, who Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called "considerably outside the mainstream," raised plenty of eyebrows -- even among Democrats -- for her wild views on everything from feminism to religion. "I don't know," said one Senate aid, "that there is anyone who has raised more red flags.
Some of her greatest hits include calling abstinence education "unconstitutional," ultrasound technology "deceptive," and women "presumptive breeders." NRO's Ed Whelan and other experts were convinced that if Pillard had been confirmed, she would be "the most left-wing judge in the history of the republic." Those are strong words for a country that isn't exactly hurting for activist judges. But if Pillard's nomination has taught us anything, it is what's at stake for Americain this overlooked debate. If the President can't get the legislature to embrace his big government vision, then he'll appoint judges to do it for him. As FRC's Ken Klukowski points out, "President Obama understands that so much of what he wants to accomplish runs afoul of the historical understanding of the limits on federal power and the proper meaning of the Bill of Rights that he can only achieve that agenda if a critical mass of federal judges agree with his idea that the words of the Constitution can be completely redefined to grant such sweeping and transformational power to the federal government." At least for this week, Senate Republicans are saying, "not on our watch."
Abercrombie & Flinch
Until this morning, one signature was all that stood in the way of Hawaii and same-sex "marriage." That all changed at a private ceremony, when Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) made the law redefining marriage official. While some in the state cheered the move, still more are bitterly disappointed -- including lesbian state representative Jo Jordan (D).
After 57 hours of testimony -- from witnesses who waited as many as four days to speak for two minutes -- Rep. Jordan said she was committed to keeping her personal beliefs out of the mix. "I never waved my flag," she said. "I don't wear it across my chest." When Equality Hawaii wanted Jordan to be the face of the movement to legalize same-sex "marriage" in the state, she refused. "I'm a legislator first and foremost," she told them, "and I'm not here to promote your pride." After hearing witnesses talk about the frightening consequences for churches of redefining marriage, Jordan realized the bill wasn't "protective enough." The divorce portion, religious exemptions, paternal material rights -- these were all concerns that gave Jo pause. And when the legislature wouldn't address them, she decided to vote "no" on the bill.
During the hearings, when she hadn't stated her position,Jordansays that she expected "to get blasted by the religious community." Instead, pastors and faith leaders stunned her with their outpouring of thanks just for listening. The people who were truly hostile, Jordan says, were her own LGBT community.
"That took me aback," she told a reporter in a feature article about being the first homosexual to vote against a same-sex "marriage" bill. "At the time... I was still undecided. These were the testifiers the day before, saying 'How can you be undecided? You should be a 'yes.' I politely engaged with them: 'I have some problems with SB1.' I explained the issues and they slammed me again... [then] they started getting boisterous. It has been interesting. I am not part of any faith-based group, so I walked in thinking those were going to be the ones going grrrr, grrrr. But unfortunately, it's been coming from my community during the hearing. I was like, 'Wow, so much for minorities that have been suppressed.'"
It doesn't matter who you are, homosexual activists will harass anyone who isn't one hundred percent sold out to their radical agenda to remake society. Unfortunately, Jo Jordan found that out the hard way. Hopefully, her story will help dissuade others from trying to appease the extreme Left on marriage. Meanwhile, if you're discouraged about the headlines in Hawaii and feel tempted to throw in the towel, check out this great article by Pastor Kevin DeYoung, "Five Reasons Not to Give up on the Marriage Debate." It might just give you the hope you need to keep fighting!
620,000 Reasons to Change CA's Choose-Your-Own Bathroom Law
It was the country's first transgender school bill -- and if the voters of California have a say, it may also be the last. This week, the coalition fighting the law announced that it collected more than enough signatures to put the issue on next year's ballot. Despite having just 90 days to circulate a petition, Privacy for All Students -- led by a strong statewide network of churches -- gathered 620,000 names to repeal AB 1266, well beyond the 505,000 threshold for a referendum. "As far as we are aware, this is the largest number of volunteer signatures ever submitted in a California referendum campaign," Karen England of Privacy for Students pointed out.
Although the petitions will still have to be validated, our friends behind the anti-AB 1266 movement are confident they have enough to challenge the state's choose-your-own-locker-room law. That's a huge victory for California parents, who are absolutely outraged at the possibility that boys may be using the girls' restrooms or joining female sports teams based on their "perceived" gender. "It shows the degree of opposition that exists to opening the most vulnerable areas of public schools to the opposite sex," Karen said. Hats off to the broad and dedicated coalition of parents, pastors, and everyday people who are fighting to keep innocent children safe! Your voice is making a difference.
** If you're one of the millions of people desperate for an alternative to ObamaCare, you won't want to miss Rep. Phil Roe's policy lecture at FRC. Earlier today, the Tennessee conservative walked the audience through the Republican Study Committee's plan for patient-centered, free market health care. Check out the talk below.
*** On Wednesday's edition of "Washington Watch," Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jim Campbell will be on to discuss the latest in the Elane Photography same-sex "wedding" case in New Mexico. Congressman John Shimkus (R-Illinois) also joins us to talk about ObamaCare and what the House is doing to help Americans keep their health care. Rounding out the show, FRC's Senior Fellow for Life Sciences Dr. David Prentice will drop by to discuss his recent testimony in Ohio fighting against human cloning.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.