DOMA Action Alert: Time to Make Boehner Sweat
Editorâ€™s note: This guest post by Scott Wooledge was originally published at Daily Kos and is published here with his permission. Scott Wooledge writes at the Daily Kos under the handle Clarknt67.
Have you read Scott’s previous post here, Remembering â€œThe Homosexualsâ€?
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day, posted at the bottom.
A grassroots effort to put Speaker Boehner squarely in the heat of a hot national spotlight for his decision to move forward with the defense of the unconstitutional law, Defense of Marriage Act.
GetEqual, Credo Action, Equality Ohio, Impact Cincinnati, and Human Rights Campaign, have all joined forces today to put the heat on Speaker Boehner’s despicable unilateral decision to defend bigotry.
At 2:00 pm ET, five GetEQUAL Ohio activists will enter Speaker Boehnerâ€™s West Chester office to deliver 33,233 CREDO Action and GetEQUAL petition signatures. asking that he not spend tax-payer dollars defending DOMA. After delivering the petition signatures they will ask to speak to their representative. Simultaneously, there will be a solidarity protest/rally outside the office, where GetEQUAL Ohio activists will be joined by Equality Ohio and Impact Cincinnati.
What can you do to support this action and demand Speaker Boehner protect the rights of ALL Americans by focusing on job creation and not discrimination?
Join the virtual protest. Speak out and tell him, he’s taking America off-track with this decision.
Call his West Chester office: (513) 779-5400
If the line is busy, call his Washington DC Office: (202) 225-6205
Speaker Boehner is Â scheduled to have a Press Conference Today at 4:30. The larger and louder this protest is, the more likely he is to be confronted by the press with similar questions. This is the time to roar on this issue.
Just four hours ago, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi tweeted:
Lend your voice to hers, and these activists. Ask Boehner, why are you wasting your time and taxpayer money on divisive social issues?
Of course, you’re welcomed and encouraged to improvise. But if you need a little help, these sample questions have been provided by Michael Cole-Schwartz, Director of Media Relations for Human Rights Campaign.
- There are as many as nine lawsuits in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA. Â Will House Republicans intervene in all of these lawsuits?
- Who will represent House Republicans in court? Will the House hire outside private counsel to defend the cases? If pro-bono legal counsel will be asked to represent the House, who will that be? Will a conflict and ethics check be conducted? Will the BLAG be consulted on strategic decisions related to the litigation?
- How much taxpayer money will this all cost?
- What will the House argue in defending DOMA? Â Will they go back to Congressâ€™s 1996 arguments for passing the law â€“ that it is necessary because marriage equality is â€œa radical, untested and inherently flawed social experimentâ€ and contrary to the â€œmoral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo-Christian) moralityâ€?
- The Justice Department stopped defending DOMA because they concluded that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation should receive a higher level of scrutiny by courts. Â Will the House Republican leaders disagree? Â If so, will they argue that gays and lesbians have not suffered a long history of discrimination? Â That sexual orientation is somehow relevant to an individualâ€™s ability to contribute to society, when they have four openly-gay colleagues? Â That gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation, a position at odds with every major psychological organization? Â That gays and lesbians are politically powerful, ironically in defending a law passed by Congress specifically to disadvantage them?
- Do they think theyâ€™ll win, especially given that in two DOMA-related cases in Massachusetts, a federal judge appointed by President Nixon has already found Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional even under the lowest level of scrutiny that gives great deference to the legislature?
- Apart from these cases, will Republican House leadership do anything to address the inequalities that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face?
Social Media Outlets
Updates To Come
Check back with in the hour for updates on how the signature delivery went.
Update: Well, I called and spoke to a staffer. I actually played really dumb. I said “Now, I hear he’s going to be addressing this issue at a press conference today?” And she told me he was not. I reconfirmed and said, “Really? I heard otherwise.” And she said “not today.” Which could mean, the activists are misinformed, the staffer is misinformed, or the game plan for today may have suddenly changed? Hmmmm… Well, public schedules do change in DC, quickly and without notice.
Anyway, I went on in my best earnest voice to express my deep and great concern that nine Constitutional challenges were a lot of work, how much was this all going this cost? She didn’t know. Would he be reporting back to the taxpayers an accounting of these monies? She said she’s share my concerns with the Congressman.
Breaking News On Sit-In Action by GetEqual
This just in from GetEqual. Will post pictures or more news when I find it.
GetEQUAL Ohio Activists Refusing to Leave
Speaker Boehner’s West Chester Office
Focus on Job Creation, Not the Destruction of American families!
West Chester — Minutes ago, activists from GetEQUAL Ohio — a direct action LGBT civil rights group associated with the national organization GetEQUAL — entered Speaker Boehner’s West Chester office to demand the Speaker not use tax-payer money to defend Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Â At this moment, five protesters are holding a sit-in, demanding to speak to their representative.
GetEQUAL State Organizer Tom Morgan issued this statement, “Later today the Speaker will be meeting with his bipartisan legal advisory group to consider whether to defend DOMA. Â We strongly encourage the Speaker to heed the advice of Rep. Pelosi and the millions of Americans who are demanding the Speaker focus on job creation and not discrimination.”
Shortly after President Obama announced his decision to stop defending the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act, Speaker Boehner responded, “It is regrettable that the Obama administration has opened this divisive issue at a time when Americans want their leaders to focus on jobs and the challenges facing our economy.”
GetEQUAL Ohio Western Region Organizer, Sean Watkins, responded to Speaker Boehner: “You continue to speak about fiscal responsibility. You have dismal unemployment rates. You’re unable to balance the budget. Yet, you’ve decided now is the appropriate time to divert your focus and spend taxpayers’ money and government resources to defend a law that enforces discrimination — a law that the Attorney General and the President have declared unconstitutional. This isn’t leadership, this is one more example of government over-reach and waste.”
The protest began when a group of people entered Speaker Boehner’s office to deliver 33,233 GetEQUAL and CREDO Action petition signatures urging the Speaker to focus on job creation, not discrimination and to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Â After being denied their right to speak to their Representative, five of the activists began their sit-in.
In addition to Sean Watkins, other activists participating in the sit-in include:
Willmington College student and GetEQUAL Ohio activist Liz Mills explains why she decided to participate in today’s action: “Harvey Milk said it perfectly, ‘Hope will never be silent!’ Â I have plenty of hope that DOMA will be repealed and I will not be silent! Â Today I’ve chosen to sit-in for those in the LGBTQI community who canâ€™t — to let my hope radiate and spark in the hearts of others a sense of urgency to stand up for their rights.”
Mills’ girlfriend, Morgan Bonney, is also participating in today’s sit-in and offers her reason for taking action: “I’m ready to wake up this nation and tell them that ‘Silence = Consent.’ I will never be silent! Â Second-class is NOT equal and I will continue to fight for my equality by standing up to the type of religious-based bigotry Speaker Boehner stands behind in his decision to tear apart American families.”
Nineteen-year-old Jesse Bonney, a constituent of Speaker Boehner, issued this statement: “The equality of people is a basic right! Â While I recognize we as a growing country have a long way to go, I believe this sit-in and the use of non-violent civil disobedience brings us one step closer to equality, one step closer to a truly united country.”
Thirty-year-old Wilmington College student Karay Martin expressed her growing frustration with the Speaker: “We, as a people, are protected under the Constitution equally. Â Everyone has the right to live a life that does not suffer from discrimination — it is innate to our understanding of who we are as a country.”
An outdoor protest is also taking place, as well — including members of Equality Ohio, Impact Cincinnati, and GetEQUAL Ohio — to voice objections to the Speaker’s continued refusal to extend equality to ALL Americans.
Where: Â Speaker Boehner’s West Chester office, 7969 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, Suite B
When: Â Wednesday, March 9, at 2:00pm
The activists have been locked out of the office and are waiting to deliver the petition to Boehner’s staff. Right now they are outside of the doorreading the 33,233 names of those that have signed on to stand up and fight back against discrimination. More information to follow.Where we are heading now is to make sure that we prove the point to Speaker Boehner that he agreed to protect America’s house and yet he is still shutting out LGBT American’s from basic equal rights protections.
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Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump, and all of America, could spend the next 18 months – or longer – engrossed in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s trial of the ex-president, and that could bring the trial close to Election Day.
That’s according to a former prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Charles Coleman, who is now a civil rights attorney and MSNBC legal analyst.
Asked by MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, “How long typically might a case like this take?” Coleman offered a two-tiered answer.
“A case like this is usually going to take a year or a year and a half,” Coleman said.
That could be through September of 2024.
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
“Wow,” a surprised Jansing replied. “So it’s going right up into the campaign.”
“Absolutely,” agreed Coleman. “But it’s important to understand I said a case ‘like this.’ This particular case, I expect may take longer because I am anticipating a number of different legal maneuvers by Donald Trump’s defense team.”
That theoretically means into October of 2024, or longer.
“I do see motions to dismiss at a number of different terms, more likely than not to the point that the judge probably will ultimately end up admonishing them and telling them stop filing motions to dismiss. I think that that’s going to happen,” Coleman explained.
“I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, I do believe that we are going to see an attempt to try to change the venue, in this case outside of somewhere in the five boroughs. All of that is going to extend the time deeper and deeper into election season.”
READ MORE: Manhattan DA Unleashes on Jim Jordan With Stern Warning: You May Not ‘Interfere’ With Trump Prosecution
Reuters agrees, reporting Friday morning, “any potential trial is still at minimum more than a year away, legal experts said, raising the possibility that the former U.S. president could face a jury in a Manhattan courtroom during or even after the 2024 presidential campaign, as he seeks a return to the White House.”
And because “Trump’s case is far from typical,” Reuters notes, his trial could extend “past Election Day in November 2024.”
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