Category Archives: America

Should Sen. McCain and Sen. Flake Vote in Favor of Obama’s Iran Deal?

DHS Documents Show 260 Criminal Illegal Aliens Criminals Released in Arizona in Just Three Weeks

Judicial Watch announced it obtained records from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealing that nearly 260 illegal alien criminals, including 40 incarcerated for violent crimes, were released from Arizona detention facilities during the last week of February and the first two weeks of March 2013. After first denying that the mass release had taken place, the Obama administration claimed the releases were due to the anticipated sequestration budget cuts. The newly obtained records were uncovered because of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of Edward Tuffly, a Tucson, AZ, resident (Edward “Bud” Tuffly v. U. S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 2:15-cv-00067)).

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit for Mr. Tuffly in January 2015 after DHS failed to respond to his November 10, 2014, FOIA request of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seeking the following information:

  • Records sufficient to identify all ICE detainees released in late February or early March 2013 from the following detention facilities due to alleged fiscal or budget uncertainty: (a) Central Arizona Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona: (b) Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona; (c) Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona; (d) Florence SPC in Florence, Arizona; and (e) Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence, Arizona.
  • For each detainee identified in response to Request No.1, the I-213 form(s) documenting the detainee’s arrest.
  • For each detainee identified in response to Request No.1, records sufficient to identify: (a) the date the detainee was released; (b) the facility from which the detainee was released; (c) the detainee’s criminal history or criminal charges at the time of release; (d) methods of supervision to which the detainee was subjected; and (e) whether the detainee appeared for subsequent removal or other proceedings and/or was removed from the United States.

The date range for the requested records was February 22 through March 15, 2013. This was the period during which DHS released more than 2000 illegal aliens nationwide, later claiming the release was “solely for budgetary reasons,” though none of the anticipated sequestration budget cuts had yet taken place.

Among the nearly 260 illegal aliens released from five Arizona correction facilities at the time were nearly 40 violent criminals who had been arrested for crimes including assault, domestic violence, weapons offenses, and battery. Nearly one in five had been arrested for drunk driving. The full list is below:

Traffic Offense:  57

Driving Under Influence Liquor: 55

Disorderly Conduct: 15

Failure to Appear: 14

Illegal Entry: 13

Assault: 9

Drug Trafficking: 9

Shoplifting: 8

Larceny: 8

Making False Report: 6

Drug Possession: 6

Weapons Offense: 6

Forgery: 5

Domestic Violence: 4

Trespassing: 4

Damage Property: 4

Prostitution: 4

Liquor: 3

Marijuana: 3

Damage Property—Private: 3

Probation Violation: 3

Liquor Possession: 2

Identity Theft: 2

Battery: 2

Contributing to Delinquency of Minor: 2

Commercial Sex: 2

Fraud—False Statement: 2

Fraud—Impersonating: 2

Public Order Crimes: 2

Violation of a Court Order: 2

Robbery—Street Gun: 2

Robbery: 2

Narcotics Equip—Possession: 2

Intimidation: 2

Morals—Decency Crimes:  1

Identity Theft: 1

Cruelty Toward Wife: 1

Smuggling: 1

Smuggling Aliens: 1

Fraud: 1

Licensing Offense: 1

Stolen Vehicle: 1

Licensing Violation: 1

Obstruct Criminal Investigation: 1

Firing Weapon: 1

Resisting Officer: 1

Burglary Tools—Possession: 1

Threat to Burn: 1

Receive Stolen Property: 1

Hit and Run: 1

Obstruct Police: 1

Possession of a Weapon: 1

The Obama administration is refusing to divulge the names of the released criminals, which prevents law enforcement from protecting the public or notifying victims. Local authorities in Arizona, such as Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, have tried unsuccessfully to obtain information about this and other criminal alien releases by the Obama administration.  In 2014, a Judicial Watch lawsuit forced the release of 76 pages of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents revealing that as of April 2014, ICE had released 165,900 convicted criminal aliens throughout the United States, including many convicted of such violent crimes as homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

Judicial Watch is a long-time national leader in advocating for the rule-of-law approach to illegal immigration.  This work includes exposing and challenging dangerous sanctuary policies in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Arizona, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and more.  For example, in 2011, as a result of Judicial Watch’s work, San Francisco was ordered to end its sanctuary policy that protected aliens arrested for certain drug offenses from being reported to ICE.

Judicial Watch also filed a lawsuit in Chicago challenging Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s refusal to honor ICE immigration detainers or cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in identifying deportable criminal aliens.  Cook County jails have released well over 1,000 criminal aliens sought by ICE in the 18 months prior the lawsuit’s filing in 2013.  The suit is now before the Illinois Supreme Court.

The lawsuit, Brian McCann v. Thomas J. Dart, is on behalf of lifetime Chicago resident Brian McCann, whose brother William “Denny” McCann, was run over and killed in June 2011 by an unlawfully present criminal alien who had just completed a two-year term of probation for a 2009 DUI conviction.  The alien, Saul Chavez, was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence, but was released by the Sheriff from a Cook County jail in November 2011 despite an ICE immigration detainer.

“The Obama Administration is obsessed with supporting nationwide sanctuary and unlawful amnesty for illegal aliens – even illegal aliens who have committed violent crimes,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “These new documents show the Obama administration’s soft-on-crime approach to illegal alien crime is a clear and present danger to the safety of innocent Americans.”

State Leaders Put Planned Parenthood on Notice

In light of recent allegations of unlawful practices and procedures being performed by Planned Parenthood, Governor Doug Ducey today directed the Arizona Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough review of current law and immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child. The governor also issued this statement:

“The footage released by The Center for Medical Progress regarding the alleged sale and trafficking of aborted fetal tissue and body parts by Planned Parenthood is horrifying and has no place in a civilized society.  I am calling on the Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough review of the law and immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child.  This is consistent with federal law and will deter action that we all agree is abhorrent.  Further, I have instructed ADHS to provide any and all assistance required to Attorney General Brnovich in any efforts conducted by his office.”

###

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod lauded the governor and attorney general for their swift responses:

“Today, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich both publicly responded to the shocking undercover video exposing the horrifying practices of the country’s largest abortion provider.

The video, released last week, captures Planned Parenthood’s senior medical director discussing how their doctors can manipulate an abortion in order to preserve vital organs of preborn children for medical experimentation and possibly sale. Troublingly, the state of Arizona is referenced multiple times in the unedited version of the video as a potential state in which to carry out these abhorrent transactions.

We appreciate and are thankful for Governor Ducey and Attorney General Brnovich taking steps to protect preborn children and ensure baby tissue is not a commodity for sale in our state.”

###

AG Mark Brnovich said:

“Like many others I was deeply disturbed by a recently released video that may show a Planned Parenthood executive discussing profiteering on the sale of tissue from aborted children.  As prosecutors, it is critical for this office not to rush to immediate judgment or determinations before facts can be established.  While we cannot comment on the status of any possible investigation, this type of allegation is something we take very seriously.”

Arizona Senator Kelli Ward Running for U.S. Senate

UPDATE: Dr. Kelli Ward is bravely taking on the deeply entrenched Senator McCain in next year’s Republican Primary. Today she announced:

 “I’m running for the U.S. Senate to give you a real choice! Arizonans deserve a Senator who will fight for their values, and not just go along with the Beltway crowd.”

***

Lake Havasu City, AZ – State Senator Kelli Ward will announce her future political plans in her hometown of Lake Havasu City this Tuesday, July 14th, at Shugrue’s Bridgeview Room, 1425 McCulloch Blvd, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403. The event will begin at 5:00 PM AST.

Dr. was first elected to the Arizona State Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2014. She is standing tall on crucial issues such as border security, economic freedom, Second Amendment rights, and healthcare freedom. She has formed an exploratory committee and is considering a primary challenge to Republican Senator John McCain, who is losing popularity for his further distancing from the GOP’s base. McCain’s supporters are already in full and vicious attack mode against Dr. Ward, indicating his contempt for any would-be challenger.

Next year McCain really needs a voter-induced retirement.

Overruling the Courts: How We End the Reign of Liberal Judges in 2016

By Andrew Thomas, former Maricopa County Attorney 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage confirms, once again, that conservative efforts to end liberal judicial activism on major issues have failed. On matters that determine our quality of life and culture-immigration, criminal justice, abortion, marriage-the left enjoys clear mastery of the courts, and has for the last fifty years. To end this tyranny, Congress must use its power under Article III, section 2 of the Constitution to remove jurisdiction from the federal courts over these issues. This will allow the states and the people to decide these matters, restoring self-government on the issues that matter most.

For the past half century, conservative political leaders have vowed to combat liberal judicial activism. These efforts, quite simply, have failed. Unelected liberal judges now effectively run America, making every ultimate policy decision-often in defiance of the will of the people.

Unchecked liberal court rulings have subverted the Constitution, wreaking havoc on our national sovereignty and such bedrock institutions as the family and religious freedom. On the issues that determine our quality of life and culture-immigration, criminal justice, abortion, marriage-the left enjoys clear mastery of the courts and is seeking to mop up and fully implement their social agenda. Except for occasional “crumbs from the master’s table,” conservatives no longer can win in court on the issues that matter most.

To reverse this destructive trend and restore self-government, two things must happen. First, Congress must use its power under Article III, section 2 of the Constitution to remove jurisdiction from the federal courts over these issues. Second, conservative leaders and organizations must work together and insist that candidates for president and Congress in 2016 take a clear position on whether they support stripping the federal courts of this jurisdiction. Otherwise, candidates will continue to mislead conservative voters with often self-serving promises and tactics that, for a half century, have failed to turn the tide.

These jurisdiction-stripping measures would ensure, at a minimum, certain states can become “Faith and Family Networks.” There, people of faith may live in relative freedom from harassment until the courts and other institutions can be properly reformed.

An American Tyranny: Why Our Government Is Election-Proof

Starting in the 1960s, liberal activists took over the federal courts and used them to assault and fundamentally change American society. Under the leadership of former California politician Earl Warren, the U.S. Supreme Court imposed on the nation sweeping liberal policies that lacked popular support. To accomplish this, the high court claimed it had discovered new constitutional “rights.” These “rights” were conferred on individuals hostile to the rule of law and traditional American values. They included criminals and prison inmates, illegal immigrants, flag-burners, and a motley group of liberal provocateurs at war with the social conventions that had protected civilization for millennia.

Converting the Supreme Court into what Justice Hugo Black called a “day-to-day constitutional convention,” activist justices remade the nation. They threw out state laws designed to stop illegal immigration, administer capital punishment, significantly limit or ban abortion, defend marriage, honor religious faith through governmental action, and protect the innocence of children from unrestrained “freedom of expression” in the mass media. These activist rulings, to paraphrase Justice Antonin Scalia, rewrote the “Constitution for a country I do not recognize.”

For example, thanks to federal court rulings, convicted murderers are allowed decades to appeal their sentences through state and, afterwards, federal courts. These delays effectively nullify capital punishment, which the American people support. The Supreme Court has invalidated state laws allowing juries to impose capital punishment on heinous criminals who, for example, rape children. Today, the death penalty is carried out only at the whim of judges, and is no longer an effective deterrent to murder or other grave crimes.

Likewise, the federal courts have knocked down state laws addressing the ongoing influx of illegal immigrants. Activist judges have overturned legislation which made it a crime for an illegal immigrant to enter a state. Other state laws targeting illegal immigration have met the same demise. This has happened even though the Framers of the Constitution expressly reserved for the states broad police powers allowing them to pass and enforce such laws-laws which defend the rule of law and basic American sovereignty.

Unelected federal judges, not elected officials, now have the final say on every national policy issue. This has made our government election-proof. Voting for president or members of Congress means little if federal judges, not elected officials, make the ultimate decisions on all public policies. As power has shifted to the federal courts, elections have become increasingly meaningless. Voter distrust of government has soared.

Moreover, the judiciary has become a firm bastion of liberalism. The courts have given America, for the past fifty years, a steady series of now-entrenched liberal court rulings. These have shattered the nation’s traditions, quality of life and culture. The courts steadfastly refuse to overturn these rulings. Except for occasional and very marginal victories, it is no longer possible for conservatives to win in court on the issues that matter most.

A Half Century of Failure

How did activist liberal judges accomplish this? Those who should have fought back against them did not. Failing to mount a successful counterattack were a succession of presidents and members of Congress-in particular, as a practical matter, the leaders of America’s conservative party, the Republican Party. Many of these leaders tried and meant well. Most, however, shunned the fight out of political self-interest. To avoid controversy and attacks from the liberal media and other allies of liberal judges, these leaders sacrificed the Constitution and self- government.

Misleading Campaign Promises and Ineffective Tactics

Every election cycle, Americans witness a disingenuous ritual. Republican candidates promise to fight the most recent batch of liberal court rulings with tactics proven, over the last fifty years, to be completely ineffective. The first stock promise: seeking to amend the Constitution. This is a political cop-out. The Framers deliberately made amending the Constitution an extremely difficult and unlikely process. This makes pledging to amend the Constitution a dodge, a high- sounding way to avoid seriously addressing activist court rulings.

Equally slippery is the second standard promise: passing more laws to challenge the offending rulings. New conservative laws, conservatives are told, will set up more cases and, eventually, victories in court. These laws are then litigated for many years, often a decade or longer. Any eventual gains from these cases are tardy and trifling. By then a whole new generation of Congressmen are in office, ready to try the same tactic before an often-forgetful conservative electorate. This political promise, in short, is the hackneyed political equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown again and again.

Despite decades of litigation, the core liberal court rulings remain untouched. For fifty years, federal judges have not reversed a single, major liberal precedent on a cultural issue. Conservative gains in court have been rare and extremely modest, while the left and its social agenda romp virtually unchallenged through the nation’s courthouses. Trumpeting these tiny and infrequent conservative “victories” are lawyers who earn income from these cases and allied politicians; their public declarations of victory often mislead conservatives into thinking they are winning the nation’s cultural battles when, in fact, they are being routed.

Finally, GOP presidential candidates offer the quadrennial chestnut of promising to appoint “strict-constructionist judges.” This tactic also has failed. The left makes confirmation of such candidates for judgeships a horrific and doubtful enterprise. Prospective judges who are honest and open enough to articulate right-of-center views prior to nomination are crucified by liberal media elites and pressure groups during the confirmation process. The savaging of the late Judge Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas were clarion events in this regard. Indeed, the left knows how and when to fight: Had Bork been confirmed instead of his replacement, Anthony Kennedy, America would be a very different country today.

Regardless, it is hard even to find potential conservative judges, no matter how diligently a president searches for them. Lawyers are overwhelmingly liberal. For this reason, the number of conservatives in this pool of potential judges is very small. Even when they can be found, attorneys with seemingly conservative credentials frequently “flip” after donning a black robe. To do otherwise requires them to withstand tremendous professional and personal pressures and enticement from liberal legal insiders, the media and fellow judges. Few are strong enough to do so.

“The Liberal Courts”

What Judge Robert Bork foresaw as the “political seduction of the law,” in a landmark book published when Barack Obama was a law student, has materialized. The left has thoroughly politicized the law and the courts. Conservatives cannot win there on the issues that matter most. Conservative leaders and voters must acknowledge this reality and act accordingly.

How did the left capture the courts? This takeover was inevitable once liberal activists took over academia. To be a lawyer, one must complete seven years of higher education, receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctor. This means undergoing seven years of indoctrination by committed liberal professors. Thirty years ago, the late Allan Bloom warned about the damaging effects of liberal bias in higher education. But this was a thorny problem to solve, and so it was ignored. Now, it has changed the country.

Liberal indoctrination in American higher education is well documented. Some 72 percent of college professors describe themselves as liberal. Only 15 percent call themselves conservative. Not surprisingly, a 2010 analysis by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute concluded that the more college degrees a person earns, the more liberal that person becomes. When Americans are asked, for instance, whether they believe public-school teachers should be allowed to lead a prayer in school, 57 percent of high-school graduates say yes. That number drops to 40 percent for college graduates, 30 percent for master’s degree holders, and only 17 percent for Ph.D.’s.

This dynamic is particularly stark in law school. Those who dissent from liberal positions during class discussions literally are hissed at and ridiculed. Professors tolerate and sometimes encourage this environment. The message is delivered. Few who graduate from law school are conservative.

The American Bar Association and other bar associations reflect and enforce these biases. Indeed, an attorney who publicly calls the judiciary politicized or liberal risks disbarment; ethical rules charge bar associations with targeting attorneys who, in their judgment, unfairly challenge the “integrity of the judiciary.” Lawyers who speak out also face professional ostracism and retaliation in more obvious ways, as the courts control the outcome of their cases and their livelihoods.

In short, conservatives must view the courts as they do the media. Both institutions have become firmly liberal. Occasional “crumbs” from either institution do not alter this reality. Conservatives should use the phrase “liberal courts” as frequently and reliably as they say “liberal media,” for the terms are equally true.

Indeed, there is an incestuous relationship between the liberal courts and the liberal media. Through generous rulings, the courts have all but shielded the media from libel suits. The media reciprocate by giving the courts “air cover,” reflexively defending them from conservative critiques by pounding those who dare articulate them. Hollywood benefits financially from liberal court rulings, and so leaders of the motion-picture industry do their part, as well. Movie producers uniformly offer films that depict judges as wise, fair and benevolent.

Reclaiming Self-Government

Congress has the power to end this tragic and ruinous state of affairs. That power resides in Article III of the Constitution.

Article III of the Constitution specifies that the U.S. Supreme Court has original jurisdiction only over disputes between states and cases in which foreign diplomats are a party. On any other issue, Congress can limit or eliminate entirely the jurisdiction of the high court and the other federal courts. In other words, the people’s elected representatives in Congress can roll back judicial abuses through a simple majority vote of both houses.

Article III, section 2 provides the Supreme Court “shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” This language expressly allows Congress to withdraw jurisdiction from the federal courts to uphold the will of the people.

Congress has done this in the past, though not on the controversial cultural issues where action is urgently needed today. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld past congressional restrictions of its jurisdiction. Indeed, the language of Article III is so clear and unambiguous that the high court has been obliged to concede such limitations despite its obvious conflict of interest in allowing its own powers to be curbed.

In a string of rulings going back to right after the Civil War, the high court has acknowledged Congress holds this power under Article III. One justice recognizing this constitutional reality was Chief Justice John Marshall, whose opinions first asserted the Supreme Court’s right to strike down laws it deemed unconstitutional. Marshall observed that all federal judicial powers “are limited and regulated” by Congress.

In the Federalist Papers, written to persuade the earliest Americans to adopt the new Constitution, Alexander Hamilton echoed this understanding. He stated the courts were designed to be the “least dangerous” and “weakest” branch of government. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court would be “confined to two classes, and those of a nature rarely to occur.” Likewise, federal appellate jurisdiction would exist only “with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make” (Hamilton’s emphasis). There would never be a “superiority of the judiciary to the legislative power,” meaning the courts could not overrule Congress and the people. Indeed, Hamilton noted Congress could impeach activist judges who engaged in “deliberate usurpation on the authority of the legislature.” Leading legal scholars and other observers have quoted Hamilton and other Framers in upholding Congress’s power to restrict the jurisdiction of the federal courts.

Congress should restrict jurisdiction in those areas of public policy where federal judges have engaged in repeated, substantial abuses of power to thwart the will of the people. Specifically, Congress should pass an act restricting federal-court jurisdiction so that henceforth, each state may:

  • Make it a crime, prosecutable under state law, for an illegal immigrant to enter the state;
  • Ban same-sex marriages and protect related religious freedom;
  • Allow juries to impose the death penalty on criminals as determined by state law, and impose a two-year time limit for federal courts to rule on federal appeals of state capital cases; and
  • Fully regulate or end abortion as the people of the state or their elected representatives deem fit.

This “Empower the States Act” will restore to the states and the people their rightful authority to govern themselves on key areas of public policy.

Returning these matters to the states is not a perfect solution. Because of the deep intellectual rot in the judiciary, many state courts are liberal. Yet state judges are closer to the people and more accountable because many are elected. Also, many state constitutions have a right of referendum, allowing the people to vote directly on these matters.

Conclusion: Empowering the States

In 2016, conservative voters cannot settle for the same evasions and self-serving rhetoric offered by presidential and congressional candidates for the past half century. They must insist that candidates agree explicitly that if elected, they will act to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over these matters and end the reign of liberal judges. Fifty years of failure have proven nothing else will work.

To force candidates to address these issues forthrightly, conservative leaders, activists and voters must be dogged and focused. Republican politicians in particular routinely court conservative voters and rely upon them at election time, but try to avoid tackling these issues. They want to be spared the “air war” that erupts in the liberal media when conservative elected officials address a major social issue. As a result, Republican leaders typically settle for what former House Speaker Newt Gingrich memorably called “managing the decline” of the nation. This is a generous and artful way of accusing such leaders of political cowardice and dereliction of duty, terms that are just as true and fair.

Conservatives must demand more. The hour is very late.

The “Empower the States Act” will create “Faith and Family Networks,” states and clusters of like-minded states where people of faith can live without harassment. This is a realistic stopgap measure to protect these basic liberties until the courts and other institutions can be properly reformed.

To achieve this, conservatives cannot allow candidates to change the subject, talking instead of such easy and shopworn fare as cutting taxes or curbing the bureaucracy. Many news items compete for the voters’ attention. Yet the left shrewdly remains focused on controlling the courts because they know this is their source of ultimate power. In contrast, by losing such focus, conservatives have seen their civilization wrecked by liberal activist judges.

Only by pinning down candidates and holding them to their word on these issues can Americans realistically hope to end the left’s stranglehold on the courts. In the process, the electorate will have taken the surest path to a brighter national future.

Notes

Justice Black:  Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 85 S. Ct. 1678 (1965)(Black, J., dissenting).

Justice Scalia:  United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 116 S. Ct. 2264 (1996)(Scalia, J., dissenting).

Liberal court rulings:  E.g., Arizona v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 2492 (2012)(disallowing state law barring illegal immigrants from entering state); Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S. Ct. 1684 (1961) and Miranda v. Arizona,384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966) (expanding the rights of criminals and inmates); Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705 (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 112 S. Ct. 2791 (1992)(right to abortion); Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 82 S. Ct. 1261 (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 83 S. Ct. 1560 (1963)(forbidding public schools from conducting prayer or Bible readings);Obergefell v. Hodges, Citation Pending (2015)(right to same-sex marriage).

Bork:  Robert H. Bork, The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law (New York: Free Press, 1990).

Bloom:  Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987).

Liberal indoctrination in higher education:  Intercollegiate Studies Institute, “The Shaping of the American Mind,” February 2010.

Law school climate:  Andrew Peyton Thomas, The People v. Harvard Law: How America’s Oldest Law School Turned Its Back on Free Speech (San Francisco: Encounter, 2005), pp. 24-26.

Supreme Court and appellate rulings acknowledging Congress’ power to restrict  jurisdiction under Article III, Section 2:  Ex parte McCardle, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 506 (1869)(1867 Act); Lauf v. E.G. Skinner & Co., 303 U.S. 323 (1938)(Norris-LaGuardia Act); Felker v. Turpin, 517 U.S. 651 (1996)(Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act)); Garcia v. Att’y Gen. of the United States, 329 F.3d 1217 (11th Cir. 2003)(Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act); Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528 (11th Cir. 2002)(Prison Litigation Reform Act).  In Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 128 S. Ct. 2229 (2008), the Supreme Court, in a narrowly written decision, invalidated a federal restriction on its jurisdiction over enemy combatants held in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Chief Justice Marshall:  Durousseau v. United States, 10 U.S. (6 Crach.) 307 (1810).

Hamilton:  Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, Nos. 78 and 81 (available online athttp://constitution.org).

Intellectual support for jurisdiction-stripping measures:  E.g., Raoul Berger, Death Penalties: The Supreme Court’s Obstacle Course (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1982); R. Randall Bridwell and William J. Quirk,Judicial Dictatorship (Rutgers: Transaction, 1995); Patrick J. Buchanan, “Our Judicial Dictatorship,” Buchanan.org, October 10, 2014; Phyllis Schlafly, The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges and How To Stop It(Dallas: Spence, 2004).

Appendix – Proposed Legislation

114th Congress

1st Session

H.R. ____________

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

A BILL

To amend title 28, United States Code, with respect to the jurisdiction of the Federal courts over certain cases and controversies involving illegal immigration, marriage, capital punishment and abortion.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1.  SHORT TITLE

This Act may be cited as the “Empower the States Act of 2015.”

SEC. 2.   LIMITATION ON JURISDICTION

(a)  In General – Chapter 99 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“Section 1632.  Limitation on jurisdiction

No court created by an Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, state laws that:  prohibit illegal aliens, as defined by Federal immigration laws, from entering a state; pertain to any type of marriage; determine what criminal conduct makes a criminal offender eligible for capital punishment; set a time limit, for a period of two years or more, for Federal appeal and review of state death-penalty cases; or regulate or prohibit abortion”.

(b) Conforming Amendment – The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 99 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

“1632.  Limitation on jurisdiction”.

 

 

 

 

Arizona Legislature Must Pass Ban on Sanctuary Cities

Chandler.

Mesa.

Tucson.

Phoenix.

All of them are sanctuary cities that care more about political correctness than protecting their own citizens, as well as visitors.

San Francisco is only the tip of the iceberg showing the horrific crimes committed by illegal aliens. We’ve got more than our share of illegal alien crime in Arizona as well.

The madness of the political Left has shown its true colors time and time again. It is high time Americans take the necessary steps to bring the rule of law back to cities and outlaw sanctuary status to harbor illegal alien criminals. Either Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Tucson can restore the rule of law, or the state can do it for them.

We challenge the Arizona Legislature to call a special session at once to pass a ban on sanctuary cities. We challenge Gov. Doug Ducey to sign the ban into law.

DEVELOPING…

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) is urging the Department of Justice NOT to award federal grants to sanctuary cities. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will of course ignore this because sanctuary cities are totally in line with misguided leftist philosophy. Nevertheless, we applaud Senator Shelby for doing the right thing.

Illegal Aliens Committing Highly Disproportionate Number of Crimes in Obama’s U.S.A.

Illegal aliens make up just 3.5 percent of the people in the U.S. But they are committing 37 percent of the crimes.

What’s more is illegals are committing:

  • 16.8 percent of drug trafficking cases,
  • 20.0 percent of kidnapping/hostage taking,
  • 74.1 percent of drug possession,
  • 12.3 percent of money laundering, and
  • 12.0 percent of murder convictions.

So the population one-thirty-third of the country and you have illegal aliens committing one-sixth of drug trafficking crimes … one-fifth of the kidnapping … three-fourths of the drug possession … and one-eighth of both the money laundering and murder convictions.

Is this what is meant by “doing the jobs Americans won’t do?”

When is this nation going to start protecting American citizens?

Tiny Gilbert Church Wins Supreme Court Victory in Battle of David vs. Goliath

Ending a 10-year legal battle with the Town of Gilbert, Good News Community Church today won a 9-0 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court for free speech.

The U.S. Supreme Court gave churches everywhere a free speech victory today when it ruled that religious signs must be given the same treatment as other messages posted on street corners.

The court unanimously ruled the town of Gilbert, Arizona had discriminated against churches by passing an ordinance barring corner signs advertising services, but allowing other types of signs to be displayed.

The decision overturns a previous ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — the most overturned court in America.

“In today’s secular climate, government increasingly views the free speech rights of churches as less valuable than other types of speech,” said Bruce Hausknecht with Focus on the Family. “That attitude – whether intentional or not – carries over into unconstitutional restrictions on speech such as the Town of Gilbert’s sign code in this case. It is gratifying to see the Supreme Court issue a unanimous decision in favor of the church, especially when two lower federal courts got it horribly wrong.”

Gilbert’s lawyer made that very point in oral arguments at the Supreme Court. In a shocking disregard for the First Amendment, he said church speech isn’t as important as the speech of others. The Town of Gilbert got smacked down for that callous disregard of free speech.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (headquartered in Scottsdale) represented Good News Community Church and its 82-year-old pastor, Clyde Reed, in the lawsuit.

“The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling is a victory for everyone’s freedom of speech,” said ADF attorney David Cortman, who argued the case for the Supreme Court earlier this year. “Speech discrimination is wrong regardless of whether the government intended to violate the First Amendment or not, and it doesn’t matter if the government thinks its discrimination was well-intended. It’s still government playing favorites, and that’s unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling is a victory for everyone’s freedom of speech,” Cortman said. “Speech discrimination is wrong regardless of whether the government intended to violate the First Amendment or not, and it doesn’t matter if the government thinks its discrimination was well-intended.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court, said that was an impermissible content-based regulation.

“The First Amendment … prohibits enactment of laws ‘abridging the freedom of speech,’’’ Thomas wrote. “Under that clause, a government, including a municipal government vested with state authority has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”

In a rare display for fairness, the left-stream media outlet Arizona Central/Arizona Republic turned in the best line of the day on the victory for free speech:

The U.S. Supreme Court preached a bit of gospel — from the Greek word meaning “good news” — for a small Gilbert Presbyterian church on Thursday.

The Blaze reported …

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a major victory to a small Arizona church on Thursday, ruling that local officials cannot restrict messages on signage based on “how worthy the government thinks [they are],” according to the conservative legal firm that represented the house of worship.

CitizenLink contributed to the report

Angry Obama Vows Vengeance against Trade Bill Opponents

By John Semmens – Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

JohnAlternating between tears and venom, a stunned President Obama ranted against members of his own Party, calling them “faithless turncoats” and alleging that “they are destroying my credibility with foreign nations,” after the House of Representatives voted 302 to 126 against the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act–a provision deemed crucial to the fate of his “fast track” trade legislation.

The vote came after a rare personal appearance of President Obama to lobby for the legislation. Erstwhile political ally, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), led Democratic opposition to the President’s wishes. She remained unfazed by the President’s threat “to make life really hard for those who defy me.” “Even under a ‘worst case’ scenario, the President will only be in office for another 19 months,” Pelosi pointed out. “How much damage could he do?”

Press Secretary Josh Earnest advised the President’s political enemies “to not underestimate his disappointment or his determination to get his way, one way or the other. Don’t forget that he still has his pen and phone. He could bypass Congress and enact the trade legislation via executive action. He could use his phone to call on the FBI and NSA to release information that could prove embarrassing to Ms. Pelosi and others.”

Pelosi, however, wasn’t about to back down. “It’s not as if we don’t have our own sources of information that might prove embarrassing to the President,” she warned. “And if push comes to shove, there is always the option to impeach him. The prospect of elevating Joe Biden to the White House so the Party can run an incumbent for President in 2016 is looking better every day.”

In other news, Earnest brushed off revelations that the Chinese government has been hacking into secret federal databases for more than a year, saying that “this is just more proof that this Administration is the most transparent administration that this country has ever had, bone none.”

HUD Eager to Put More Public Housing into Suburban Neighborhoods

The Obama Administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is working on new regulations that would tie federal aid to the placement of low-income public housing within white suburbs.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro explained that “ensuring diversity in every community is a key goal of this Administration. People on welfare shouldn’t be denied the right to live in nice communities just because there is no affordable housing available. Likewise, racists shouldn’t be allowed to insulate themselves from having neighbors of color merely by moving into areas with expensive housing.”

A possible fringe benefit for whites under this initiative, according to Castro is that “they wouldn’t have to go into the urban ghetto to buy recreational drugs. Public housing will bring drug vendors to their neighborhoods. This will save them the time and trouble of venturing into undesirable areas in order to purchase crack or weed.”

Castro acknowledged that “having drug dealers nearby also has its down side. There could be turf wars as gang members shoot it out to determine who will own the territory. And there may be a bump up in burglaries or robberies as addicts living in nearby public housing scrounge to obtain the funds needed to support their habits. But the Administration feels that this redistribution of crime will be more equitable in the long run.”

Boeing Innovation Increases Fliers’ Toilet Access

Concerned that the space allotted for on-board toilet facilities reduces the number of seats for passengers, the Boeing Corporation is converting all passenger seats on its 777-300ER into “potty chairs.”

Every additional passenger a plane can carry adds badly needed revenue to the airline’s bottom line,” said Boeing’s public relations specialist Anita Crapper. “We thought, if there were a way to convert the space set aside for restrooms into passenger seating it would permit airlines to earn thousands more per flight. By making every seat a ‘potty chair’ airlines can achieve that objective.”

Ms. Crapper lauded this innovation as “far superior to asking fliers to get their ‘business’ out of the way before boarding. In the old days passengers had to just ‘hold it in’ once they entered the airplane cabin. Even after on-board toilets were added, passengers’ access is sometimes impaired. Using the toilet during take-off and landing is totally barred. Other times there may be a lengthy line. With each seat being a ‘potty chair’ every passenger can go whenever he or she wants.”

On the new 777s each seat will have a retractable lid and drop-down privacy curtains. All a passenger needs to do is press a button to activate them. Any waste deposited will fall into a mini-chemical toilet under the seat. Pressing the button when finished will raise the curtain, close the lid, and release a squirt of air freshener.

We are entering a new and exciting era of flying,” Ms. Crapper boasted. “Those suffering from incontinence or loose bowels need no longer feel that flying will be an ordeal for them.”

In other news, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that he has given up bathing and drinking water to help fight that state’s prolonged drought. “Bathing is unnatural anyway,” Brown contended. “It’s a late addition to American culture and relatively uncommon in most parts of the world, including Europe.” Instead of drinking water, Brown says he will be switching to green tea “because of its added health benefits.”

Pennsylvania Teachers Attend Mosque

About 50 teachers and administrators of the Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania got paid time off to attend Islamic religious training. Teacher Lara Book called the day “amazing. Even though the rituals are different what came through loud and clear is that all religions want the same thing.”

While the ACLU is normally “johnny-on-the-spot” to protest any show of religion in a public space, especially one where taxpayer resources may be unconstitutionally used to promulgate a faith, spokesman Betram Petty found no problem with this event.

The whole separation of church and state thing is a western way of thinking,” he said. “It would be improper to hold Islam to these standards. Muhammed used the state to spread his religion, often giving individuals the choice of converting or being put to death. Using taxpayer funds to educate teachers on the fundamentals of Islam seems a lot milder than resorting to jihad. So, opening our institutions to this milder form of proselytization seems a more peaceful way of accomplishing the same goal. Objecting on the grounds that it mixes church and state could divert Muslims toward a more violent course of action.”

In related news, the ACLU is suing Gloucester High School in Virginia for denying 16-year-old Gavin Grimm, a female, access to the boys’ locker room and restrooms. “This is hurtful and stigmatizing for Ms. Grimm,” complained Petty. “The school’s effort to palm-off ‘gender-neutral’ restrooms as their solution to the transgender phenomenon falls far short of equal treatment under the law. Ms. Grimm’s inalienable right to explore her sexual identity requires that she be enabled to disrobe and shower among boys. It is key for helping her decide whether to make the full transition to male or whether she would be more comfortable keeping her female body.”

Police Shut Down Kids’ Lemonade Stand

Police in Overton, Texas ordered two sisters, Zoey (aged 7) and Andria Green (aged 8) to “cease and desist” selling lemonade in their efforts to raise money to buy a Father’s Day gift for their dad.

Selling anything in Texas without a permit is illegal,” explained rousting officer Doug Stamper. “It doesn’t matter that neighborhood lemonade stands have been a time-honored way for kids to make a buck. Under the law, they need to buy a permit if they want to sell lemonade.”

The cost of the required permit is $150. Few kids would have the funds to afford it. Few kid-run lemonade stands could net enough to cover the cost of purchasing a permit.

Every dollar these kids make is stolen from legitimate businesses that pay for permits and collect sales taxes that they remit to the government,” Stamper added. “If the loss of this legitimate revenue weren’t substantial the businesses wouldn’t have bothered to lobby for the law we’re enforcing here today.”

Stamper went on to contrast “the fundamentally selfish motive of these two girls” with “the loftier purposes to which the local government puts the revenues garnered from permit fees and taxes. A couple of kids operating a rogue business may look cute, but it’s a ‘knife between the ribs’ of legitimate businesses and the government elected to protect their interests.”

Congressman Introduces Automatic Voter Bill

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) has drafted legislation that he says “will greatly simplify the whole voting process in this country. Right now we have what is basically an ‘opt-in’ system. Those who want to vote have to take the initiative to register and make a periodic effort to cast a ballot. There is no question this reduces the number of ballots cast and lessens participation in our democratic process.”

Under Cicilline’s bill, every voter would be automatically registered to vote on his or her 18th birthday. A notice would be sent supplying each newly registered voter with a postage-paid reply card where they could indicate a Party preference. Once the card were received and recorded the person’s vote would automatically be cast for the Party specified in all future elections unless the individual presented a notarized affidavit changing the Party preference for a specific election.

By making one decision at the time of registration that person’s voice will continue to be heard in all subsequent elections without requiring any additional effort on their part,” Cicilline said. “People wouldn’t needlessly be forced to endure the tedium of going to the polls time-after-time. Their preference will be pre-recorded and repeated, saving them enormous amounts of time and trouble.”

Cicilline denied that his bill would usher in “mandatory voting,” saying that “a person could return the reply card asking that his or her name be stricken from the rolls.” He insisted that a better analogy would be “like those book clubs where they automatically send you the month’s selection unless you opt out. That system sells more books. My system will result in more votes. It will strengthen our democratic process.”

The legislation has been endorsed by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla), former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (NY), and civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga).

Homeland Security Searching for Leaker

Last week’s news that the TSA failed to detect 95% of the weapons smuggled onto airlines in its security test has focused the Department on ways to tighten up security. Readers will be forgiven for mistakenly assuming that the tightening efforts will be on ways to interdict more smuggled weapons. In fact, the main concern, as Secretary Jeh Johnson sees it, “is finding the person who leaked these confidential test results to the media.”

The sad truth is that there is no way we can intercept more than a tiny fraction of actions hostile toward our air transportation system,” Johnson admitted. “Making sure that this truth is kept confidential was a crucial component of our ‘big bluff’ strategy. If terrorists believe they will be caught, they won’t attempt to penetrate our security. If travelers believe security is tight, they won’t be afraid to fly. This leak undermines both of these goals. We need to find out who is responsible and make an example of him.”

The Secretary dismissed the possibility that any of the 73 TSA personnel with ties to terrorist groups could have played a role in the failure to detect smuggled weapons. “Seventy-three is just a small fraction of our TSA crew,” Johnson pointed out. “The 95% failure rate is evidence of much bigger flaws in our system. There is no cause for us to embark on a witch hunt aimed at blaming the Muslims we employ.”

A Satirical Look at Recent News

John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties our Founding Fathers tried to protect. 

Please do us a favor. If you uses material created by The Arizona Conservative, give us credit and DO NOT change the context. Thank you.

Center for Arizona Policy: A Good and Balanced Law

By Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy

Many of you likely watched the scene unfold in Indiana last month where supporters of religious freedom sought to pass a fairly simple law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The scene was eerily similar to what played out here in Arizona with the CAP-supported SB 1062. Ignoring the facts, opponents of religious freedom falsely claimed that the bill would allow individuals to have a license to do pretty much anything, all in the name of their free exercise of religion. Or in other words, they wrongly tried to say religious freedom would become the equivalent of Monopoly’s “Get Out of Jail Free Card.”

Yet what was lost in the debate, both here in Arizona and in Indiana is the reality of how these laws actually operate in a court-setting and in real life. They don’t provide a license to do whatever illegal activity somebody wants to do. Rather, they provide the court with a well-established and longstanding legal balancing test for analyzing competing interests.

To provide some background, Arizona has had a state-version of RFRA since 1999, and a nearly identical federal law has been in place since 1993. More than 20 states also have state RFRAs.

In a nutshell, RFRA ensures the government cannot force someone to violate their religious convictions unless the government meets a strict legal test. For the strict legal test, the government must show it has a really good reason for the law and that the law is narrowly tailored to achieve that objective. If the government does that, then the RFRA defense fails and the government law or action stands.

Although Indiana’s original version of RFRA was heavily amended after big business bullied the governor and legislature, the remaining law is still set to take effect on July 1, 2015.

This brings us to a recent story out of Indiana and a perfect example of how RFRA works. Calling his newly formed church the First Church of Cannabis, founder Bill Levin plans to break the law and openly smoke marijuana. If he is cited or arrested, he says he will claim Indiana’s RFRA for protection.

Unfortunately for Mr. Levin, this same ploy was attempted in Arizona already, and Arizona’s RFRA operated just like it’s supposed to.

In 2005, Danny Hardesty was arrested for possession of marijuana, and in court he claimed that the use of marijuana was a sacrament of his church, the Church of Cognizance. This case reached the Arizona Supreme Court in 2009, and in a unanimous ruling the Court ruled against Hardesty.

Even assuming Hardesty had a truly sincere religious belief to smoke marijuana, the Court found that the government has a good reason to prohibit marijuana use (the fact that it poses a real threat to individual health and social welfare, in addition to the public safety concern posed by unlimited use, particularly by those driving motor vehicles), and that “no less restrictive alternative [ ] would serve the State’s compelling public safety interests and still excuse the conduct for which Hardesty was tried and convicted.”

So there you go, RFRA is not a “Get Out of Jail Free Card,” and it does not provide a license to do whatever illegal activity someone wants. Rather, it is a time-tested and just law that allows for courts to acknowledge when the government overreaches and burdens someone’s free exercise of religion, and to balance that against the reasons for the government action.

Please watch for the launch of the 3rd edition of The Policy Pages later this fall, which will include a brief devoted solely to explaining how laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act work.