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Can Maggie Gallagher, NOM Get The NY Same-Sex Marriage Law Repealed?

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Can Maggie Gallagher, NOM, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz, or, really, anyone, actually get marriage equality in New York state repealed now that Governor Cuomo has signed the right to same-sex marriage in to law? Maggie Gallagher, and her anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM), have pledged “$2 million to reverse same-sex marriage in New York.” At 11:49 PM Friday, six minutes before Governor Cuomo signed into law his same-sex marriage equality bill, Gallagher — known for her hostility when on the losing side of a battle (remember Carrie Prejean, anyone?) — threatened in her National Review column that, “The GOP Will Pay a Grave Price,” and flung the tepid threat, “Consequences to be continued.” But are these the empty promises of an embattled bigot on the losing side of history? Or can an unholy trinity of Maggie Gallagher and NOM, Archbishop Dolan, and New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz — or, anyone else — actually stage an effective campaign that repeals marriage equality from New York’s same-sex couples, after they have been given equal rights, just like Prop 8 did to California?

READ: Archbishop: If Marriage Equality Law Passes NY Will Be Like North Korea

In the weeks, days, and hours leading up to Friday’s historic vote that delivered marriage equality to same-gender New York couples — by a vote in the NY State Senate of 33-29 — talk of religious “carve-outs,” religious exemptions, or, simply, state-sanctioned religious discrimination — depending on your political position on the bill — flooded the news wires. On Monday of last week, New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos told reporters the issue is not just religious carve-outs, but “severability.”

In other words, New York’s Republican lawmakers, in an unholy partnership with New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and the Catholic Conference, were working on language to make the bill judicial hammer-​proof. Republicans and religious leaders didn’t want lawyers and “activist-judges” going back after the bill became law and removing the religious exemptions.

Could severability, also known as “no contest,” really be the key to killing marriage equality in New York? The bill indeed is judicial hammer-proof — but not in a good way. In contract law, and in law-making, severability is important. Generally, it’s beneficial to ensure that if one part of a bill or contract can be deemed invalid by a judge, the rest of the law or contract can still be in effect. Not so with the New York marriage equality bill. If a judge finds any part of the law unconstitutional or legally invalid, could same-sex marriage equality be tossed out?

 


“Our best deterrent to backlash is to take our well organized coalition, just coming off a victory here in the Empire State, and focus attention on national efforts to repeal federal DOMA. The more we keep our opponents on defense the better chance we have of moving forward.”


 

We spoke with noted New York City civil rights attorney Yetta Kurland — who currently is defending Lt. Dan Choi in his federal trial for chaining himself to the White House fence to protest Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) — about Maggie Gallagher and NOM’s prospects of being able to “reverse” Cuomo’s marriage equality law. Here’s what she told The New Civil Rights Movement, via email, literally three hours after Cuomo signed the bill.

“While of course there is always a threat of backlash from people like Maggie Gallagher and others who seek to push back efforts towards equality, it would certainly be an uphill battle for them to repeal or overturn this statute,” Kurland, founder of Kurland, Bonica, and Associates, P.C., says. “That is not to say that there won’t be efforts, unfortunately, including, potentially, efforts to exploit the ‘no contest’ clause in the statute which says if any part of the statute is found to be invalid then the entire statute is invalid.”

“But this provision was meant to deter suits against religious entities for exercising the religious exemptions of the law, and there is some question about whether or not such a clause could be enforced,” Kurland definitively states, and adds, that “unlike in California where the right to marry was created through judicial action, this was an affirmative right created through legislative action. That means the Maggie Gallagher’s of the world have the onus on them to prove that the law is somehow invalid, unconstitutional, etc.”

READ: Victim Or Victimizer? Catholic Church, Diaz’s Gay Equality Intolerance

“We are now the 6th state in a country of 50 states to have marriage equality. There is much work to be done,” Kurland reminds, and much like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stated Saturday, Kurland had the foresight to say, “our best deterrent to backlash is to take our well-organized coalition, just coming off a victory here in the Empire State, and focus attention on national efforts to repeal federal DOMA. The more we keep our opponents on defense the better chance we have of moving forward.”

Gallagher’s empty threat, at eleven minutes to the stroke of midnight Friday, was beneath the veteran professional hater of homosexuals. No doubt Gallagher and her partner in equality-fighting, NOM president Brian Brown, are licking their financial chops at the thought of all the cash that will pour in to their coffers. But the nascent, four-year old anti-gay group will need to come up with more than fake polls, lies, faded football players, and robocalls to turn the tide of public opinion in New York. No doubt, laughing or crying, they’ll be pulling out all the stops, and New Yorkers can expect even more ugliness from the anti-equality bigots from NOM, Archbishop Dolan’s Catholic Conference, and separation of church and state violators like New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz.

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Donald Trump Guilty on All Counts in New York Criminal Trial

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Donald Trump has been found guilty by a jury in the State of New York’s criminal prosecution on all 34 charges of falsifying business records to cover-up a conspiracy to assist his election to the presidency of the United States by unlawful means. He is the first American president in history to have been criminally charged, and now is the first to have been convicted of crimes. The ex-president’s efforts to hide payments of “hush money” to two women, a Playboy model and an adult film actress, to prevent the voters from learning of his affairs was central to the scheme.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution alleged Trump had “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”

Democrat Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election’s popular vote by nearly three million votes but the reality TV star and real estate magnate, as he was best-known at the time, won the Electoral College vote.

Trump, soon to be 78, could be sentenced to up to four years in prison but, if convicted, is expected ask to have the verdict set aside, and to appeal.

READ MORE: Chief Justice Refuses to Meet With Senate Judiciary Chairman Over Alito Scandal

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Chief Justice Refuses to Meet With Senate Judiciary Chairman Over Alito Scandal

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Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over a court Democrats and government watchdogs say is riddled with corruption and ethics scandals, on Thursday once again refused to meet with the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and a Democratic Senator who for more than a decade has been working to reform the nation’s highest court.

Last week, after bombshell reports revealed Justice Samuel Alito, a Bush-43 appointee, had two insurrection-linked flags flying at two of his homes, Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin and U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sent the chief justice a letter requesting a meeting to discuss their call for Justice Alito to recuse from cases involving the January 6, 2021 insurrection, the 2020 election, and any cases involving Donald Trump. They also asked to meet to discuss the ongoing ethics scandals plaguing the Roberts Court, and the need for congressionally-mandated reforms.

“By displaying the upside-down and ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flags outside his homes, Justice Alito actively engaged in political activity, failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary,” the two Senate Democrats wrote. “He also created reasonable doubt about his impartiality and his ability to fairly discharge his duties in cases related to the 2020 presidential election and January 6th attack on the Capitol. His recusal in these matters is both necessary and required.”

“Until the Court and the Judicial Conference take meaningful action to address this ongoing ethical crisis,” they warned, “we will continue our efforts to enact legislation to resolve this crisis.”

READ MORE: ‘Incompetently Bad’: Judge Cannon’s Latest Move ‘Approaching This Level of Stupid’

The Chief Justice cited the Court’s recently adopted code of ethics which some say merely codified existing behaviors without doing much to hold the Justices to the same standard every other judge who sits on the federal bench is required to observe.

“Members of the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the practice we have followed for 235 years pursuant to which individual Justices decide recusal issues,” Chief Justice Roberts said in his letter to Durbin and Whitehouse.

Roberts insisted he was obligated to refuse to meet.

“I must respectfully decline your request for a meeting. As noted in my letter to Chairman Durbin last April, apart from ceremonial events, only on rare occasions in our Nation’s history has a sitting Chief Justice met with legislators, even in a public setting (such as a Committee hearing) with members of both major political parties present. Separation of powers concerns and the importance of preserving judicial independence counsel against such appearances.”

“Moreover,” he added, “the format proposed – a meeting with leaders of only one party who have expressed an interest in matters currently pending before the Court – simply underscores that participating in such a meeting would be inadvisable.”

The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal, pointing to the Roberts letter, remarked: “John Roberts, again, has already spoken about Alito’s ethical failures. And Roberts is IN FAVOR of the corruption, not against it.”

READ MORE: Alito’s Opinion in a 2022 Christian Flag Case Flies in the Face of His Recusal Refusal

Image via Shutterstock

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‘Incompetently Bad’: Judge Cannon’s Latest Move ‘Approaching This Level of Stupid’

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s latest move in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Espionage Act prosecution of Donald Trump appears to have at least one legal expert throwing up his hands in disbelief.

Back in February, Trump’s legal team claimed Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment was unlawful, as is the method of funding his office and his investigations.

“Neither the Constitution nor Congress have created the office of the ‘Special Counsel,'” Trump’s attorneys wrote, CBS News had reported, “arguing the attorney general did not have the proper authority to name Smith to the job.”

“The authority he attempts to employ as Special Counsel far exceeds the power exercisable by a non-superior officer, the authority that Congress has not cloaked him with,” they claimed. There are decades of precedence of Attorneys General appointing special counsels, special prosecutors, or independent counsels – possibly the most well-known being Ken Starr who investigated then-President Bill Clinton.

READ MORE: Alito’s Opinion in a 2022 Christian Flag Case Flies in the Face of His Recusal Refusal

CBS News also noted that “Garland cited numerous laws and regulations that he and other attorneys general have said confer necessary authority onto the selected prosecutors.”

Issuing her latest edict, Judge Cannon, who likely has already delayed the trial until after the 2024 election, responded to the Trump legal team’s challenge of Smith’s appointment on Thursday.

“Judge Cannon is giving Trump’s legal team and the government 12 days to tell her how the SCOTUS decision upholding the CFPB’s funding/appointment impacts Trump’s claim that Jack Smith was unlawfully appointed and funded…,” reports Reuters’ Sarah N. Lynch, who covers the Justice Dept.

The CFPB is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Earlier this month the Supreme Court ruled the methods by which it is funded are constitutional, overturning a lower court’s ruling.

READ MORE: ‘Doesn’t Know Most Basic Rule’: Conway Blasts Cannon Over ‘Perplexed’ Reaction

Constitutional law professor Anthony Michael Kreis, mocking Judge Cannon’s order, wrote:

“Jack Smith,

You have 12 days to tell me how what Martha-Ann Alito ate for lunch on May 30, 2024 affects your appointment as special counsel.

Xoxo,

Judge Cannon”

He added, “We’re approaching this level of stupid,” and concluded, “Judge Cannon is incompetently bad.”

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