Family Research Council

May 29, 2014 - Thursday

The Forced Amendment: Dems Push for Constitutional Re-Do

Senator Chuck Schumer is a lot of things -- but James Madison, he is not. Don't tell that to the New York Democrat, who, along with Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), thinks he understands freedom better than the author of America's Bill of Rights. Two hundred twenty-three years after the First Amendment went into effect, Senate liberals are trying to put an expiration date on political speech. While most Americans were firing up their grills last weekend, Sen. Udall was lighting a match under Senate Democrats to get a vote on his Joint Resolution 19. And if it's successful, the National Archives will need more than bomb-proofing to protect America's founding documents.

Four years after the Supreme Court struck down restrictive campaign finance laws, the Left is still smarting. A summer away from a reelection bloodbath, Democrats know they can't hide from their records -- but they can try to silence the people talking about them. That's the aim of S.R. 19, which would essentially strip political speech out of the First Amendment and put it in a separate legislative box where Congress (the targets of that speech) can regulate it.

"The real guarantee," explains the Wall Street Journal editors, "would be political advantage for all incumbents, since it's the sitting lawmakers who really benefit from any law limiting contributions to candidates or on their behalf." Of course, even the Founding Fathers understood the temptations of putting elected officials in charge of these basic freedoms, which is why they slipped in this key phrase: "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech..."

Now, Congress -- with the help of lawless Democrats -- seeks to do exactly that, hoping to keep their flimsy grip on the Senate majority. Under Udall's bill, Congress would have the "power to regulate the raising and spending of money" on campaigns and candidates, undermining voters and minimizing the influence of their opponents. Super PACs, which have virtually no limitations for election spending, are the Left's biggest bulls-eye, followed by other outside groups.

Interestingly enough, the measure goes out of its way to protect the freedom of the press (which is no big surprise, considering whose side they're on). But, as the WSJ points out, "Why should [liberal] Warren Buffett's company enjoy free speech rights because he owns a handful of newspapers along with insurance companies, while Jeffrey Immelt's is muzzled because GE makes jet turbines?" Democrats insist the debate is about accountability -- when in reality, it's one of the most transparent plays for job security Harry Reid's Senate has ever attempted.

And a difficult one at that. Amending the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers and the approval of three-quarters of U.S. states. Even so, Majority Leader Reid isn't giving up any time soon. The Democrats' top dog already promised a string of votes on the measure after its first Judicial Committee hearing next Tuesday. Even after the Left lost its bid to change the IRS rules on lobbying groups, the open season on conservatives continues. No longer content to just ignore the law, the President's party is ready to blow holes in the Bill of Rights. But if the public outcry is any indication, they've picked the wrong fight.

Obama's Silence Says It All in Sudan

The VA isn't the only agency leaving Americans to suffer. In the case of imprisoned mom Dr. Meriam Ibrahim, the State Department's apparent indifference is rivaling that of the veterans' group. With a three-day-old American daughter and toddler by her side, the wife of U.S. citizen Daniel Wani continues to languish in a dirty, overcrowded prison waiting for help that still hasn't come. Despite intense pressure from the international community, new reports out of the UK suggest that the U.S. embassy has not only refused to move on granting refugee status for Meriam and her children, but may have refused help altogether.

Daniel, who just met his newborn daughter yesterday, tells the Daily Mail that he's pled with the embassy in Khartoum to intervene -- to no avail. "I thought this would be the one place which would help me," he said, "but they told me they didn't have time to do anything. I was upset because now that I am an American citizen, I thought they would help me."

Making matters worse, Daniel says the treatment of his small family has been brutal. Based on his account, Meriam was shackled while giving birth, an inhumanity no woman should have to experience. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has yet to explain what actions it's taking (beyond boilerplate statements of concern) to secure the children's release. While it's entirely possible that Obama officials are working deliberately behind the scenes, Daniel's account of the local embassy doesn't offer much hope. Considering the United Nation's description of the horrifying prison conditions and the death rate of one child per day in the prison, nothing less than the State Department's immediate action will suffice.

Join FRC and thousands of others in calling on the President to act. Establish an account on the White House web site and then sign on to our WhiteHouse.gov petition today and #SaveMeriam! Shortly after 9:00 p.m. (ET) tonight, I'll discuss our petition effort with Fox News host Megyn Kelly -- please tune in!

In Currency Fight, the Buck Stops at the 2nd Circuit

If Michael Newdow is anything, he's persistent. The persistent atheist has been suing the government for years to extract God from the pledge and strike "In God We Trust" off U.S. currency. And thanks to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, he's no closer to succeeding now. This week, a three-judge panel was the latest to scoff Newdow's case, sending the secularist back to square one on his lifelong crusade. Like other courts before it, the Second Circuit delivered the news that carrying God's name in your wallet doesn't mean you're carrying around a violation of your personal beliefs.

The motto isn't an endorsement of religion, the judges ruled, but a "general statement of optimism" about America's spiritual heritage. It does "not have a religious purpose or advance religion," the panel concluded, "nor does [it] place a substantial burden on appellants' religious practices." As we've seen in similar cases across the country, it's not enough that atheists have the right to reject God. They want to force you to reject Him too! Thank goodness for the Second Circuit. While a lot of courts are getting it wrong, the Second Circuit's judges are right on the money.

** If you didn't catch yesterday's lecture, "Religious Liberty in the Military," with U.S. Congressmen John Fleming (R-La.), click the video to watch.

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

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