Amy Barrett Gives Senate Cause for Confirm

Amy Barrett Gives Senate Cause for Confirm

November 01, 2017

The Senate never got a say in the president's travel ban, his military transgender policy, or the abortion of Jane Doe. But they're confirming plenty of judges who may. After a string of activist court rulings last week, the American people are more anxious than ever to restore some semblance of restraint to the bench. And thanks to President Trump, that restraint is coming -- courtesy of four rock-solid judicial nominees.

Yesterday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) kept up the president's record-setting pace, sending Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime post on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by a 55-43 vote. She was the eighth federal judge confirmed so far -- and hardly the easiest. The Democrats' mask of "tolerance," which slipped earlier this year when a red-faced Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) condemned the faith of budget pick Russell Vought, disappeared altogether with Barrett's nomination.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who could barely contain her disdain for the Notre Dame professor, launched a full-scale attack on the mom of seven – not because of her resume (which is impeccable) or her qualifications (which 73 law professors endorse) -- but because of her Catholicism. Insisting her beliefs somehow disqualified her for the job (a violation of the Constitution and basic Americanism), Feinstein and Senate liberal Dick Durbin engaged in outright character assassination. In the end, they didn't succeed -- not in stopping Barrett's confirmation and certainly not in persuading the American people, most of whom were horrified that the party would use the same religious litmus test attempted on JFK 60 years ago.

"If I should lose on the real issues in the presidential race," Kennedy said at the time, I shall return to my seat in the Senate satisfied that I tried my best and was fairly judged. But if this election is decided on the basis that 40 million Americans lost their chance of being president on the day they were baptized, then it is the whole of the nation that is the loser in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history and in the eyes of our own people."

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) harkened back to the 35th president, asking his radical colleagues, "What's so dangerous, quite frankly, about her Catholic faith and Christian beliefs? Of her being a judge? Are people afraid that she will actually live out what the book of Proverb says: 'To speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, speak for the rights for all who are destitute, speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and the needy.' Is that [what] everyone is afraid [of] -- that she will live out that biblical principle?"

Fortunately, the Democrats' hostility backfired, and Amy Barrett became a rallying cry for Americans tired of the Left's hypocrisy. But for Senate Republicans, Barrett wasn't the only winner in that debate. So was Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is doing his best to dig his party out of the hole that a summer of wasted health care opportunities put them in. Despite all of voters' other disappointments, judicial confirmations are one area the GOP is delivering. And not a moment too soon.

In a matter of days, we watched the courts' activism literally destroy one life and endanger millions of others with rulings completely inconsistent with immigration and military statutes. Runaway judges aren't even hiding their contempt for the law these days -- or the people elected to pass them. Instead, they're racing to rewrite public policy, knowing there's no one holding them accountable except the men and women filling the empty seats next to them.

This week, Senator McConnell hopes to send another three originalists their way, Joan Larsen (nominated for the Sixth Circuit), Allison Eid (nominated for the 10th Circuit), and Stephanos Bibas (nominated for the Third Circuit) -- each picked by President Trump to help balance out the benches Obama tipped with radical activists. In a column for National Review, McConnell talked about the progress the Senate is making on the nominees (and the progress they could make if the Democrats did their jobs).

"President Trump has done a terrific job of nominating judges who are committed to ensuring that the courts perform their intended function in our system of government. I have stated many times the Senate's determination to confirm the president's judicial nominees, regardless of the often-mindless partisan obstruction we've been seeing from across the aisle. It did not stop us from advancing several nominees this past week. It will not stop us from confirming several more next week."

"Democratic obstruction will likely mean that we'll have to take more of the Senate's time to get the job done," he warned. "But we will confirm these nominees. You can count on it."

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

Jack and Jail: Americans Reject Punishment for Bakers

November 01, 2017

With so much political tension across the country, it would probably help to sit down and have an open conversation. There's just one problem. According to 71 percent of America, political correctness is silencing the discussions we need to have.

That's just one of the fascinating nuggets from Cato Institute's 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, which points out the incredible differences between Republicans and Democrats on a host of issues. Issues, ironically, that more and more conservatives don't feel comfortable talking about. Unlike Democrats, who don't feel the need to "self-censor," the report explains, "strong majorities of Republicans (73 percent) and independents (58 percent) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves." That's no surprise -- most conservatives probably think they'll be punished for them!

Just ask America's Christians. Dozens of them have been hauled before human rights commissions, boards of directors, and school administrators for voicing their values or worse -- gasp! -- living by them. Even in this survey, 32 percent Democrats told these same pollsters that business executives who believe homosexuality is a sin should be fired. Not "say" it's a sin or bring the topic up in an office setting. A third of Democrats actually think Americans should lose their jobs just for believing what the Bible says about sexuality.

What happened to tolerance, the supposed calling card of the liberal movement? Apparently, it went the way of Mozilla's Brendan Eich. Like Craig James, Dr. Angela McCaskill, the Benham Brothers, Chaplain Wes Modder, and too many others, Eich was the living proof that believing in something as fundamental as natural marriage can cost you your job. Despite never bringing up the subject at work, he was sacked for exercising his rights as a public citizen on the state's marriage amendment.

Andrew Sullivan (who no one would mistake for a social conservative) had strong words for his gay activist friends at the time. "The whole episode disgusts me -- as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today -- hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else -- then count me out."

Hopefully, stories like Eich's are leading to the groundswell of support for people like baker Jack Phillips, whose decision not to make a same-sex wedding cake landed him before the U.S. Supreme Court. The numbers backing Phillips (and others like him) are climbing, Cato shows. Most Americans want to be "counted out" of the Left's conform-or-be-punished crusade too, refusing to believe that Jack, Aaron and Melissa Klein, or Barronelle Stutzman should have to surrender their views as "the price of doing business." Each one showed the ultimate professionalism and courtesy to the same-sex couples in their shops -- offering to sell them anything but a customized wedding bouquet or cake.

In the end, it wasn't their services the couples were after – but their surrender. Sued, vandalized, and harassed, they've fought just to keep their lives afloat. The Kleins lost their business and are still in court fighting a $138,000 fine; Barronelle could lose her home and all of her personal assets; and Jack (who saw a 40 percent-drop in income), at one point, was threatened with jail time. All because they didn't want to be forced to participate in a ceremony that violates their faith.

Fortunately, a majority of Americans are sympathetic. In polling even higher than June's Rasmussen Report, 68 percent of Americans don't agree with the Left that a baker should be forced to "provide a special-order wedding cake for a same-sex wedding if doing so violates their religious convictions." Even more encouraging, most don't think those wedding businesses should be punished for refusing service to same-sex weddings. "Two-thirds (66 percent) say nothing should happen to a bakery which refuses to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. A fifth (20 percent) would boycott the bakery, another 22 percent think government should sanction the bakery in some way, such as fining the bakery (12 percent), requiring an apology (10 percent), issuing a warning (eight percent), taking away their business license (six percent), or sending the baker to jail (one percent)."

In December, the only opinion that will matter, however, is the U.S. Supreme Court's. That's when the justices will hear Jack's case and decide -- not just his fate, but the fate of every American to live and work according to their beliefs. Let's hope their reasoning is in line with most of the country's, who thinks everyone deserves tolerance.

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

Taking Stock and Giving It Away...

November 01, 2017

Just because the Hallmark Channel is already airing Christmas movies doesn't mean the end of the year is quite here! But now is a good time to begin preparing for the closing of 2017. As you contemplate your year-end checklist, why not consider a gift to one of your favorite ministries, Family Research Council. Writing a check and making a gift by credit card is certainly simple. If you would like to take advantage of some other options, here are some considerations that may provide additional benefit for you.

Did you know when you give Appreciated Stock to Family Research Council, you will:

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  • Avoid taxes on transfers up to $100,000 from your IRA to qualified charities
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Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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

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