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OK. It’s Time To Call Congress And The President About DADT.

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Folks, I’m going to be honest. We really are getting close to the wire here. Congress needs to act fast or efforts to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will get too close to summer recess and then it’s the midterm elections and we can say goodbye to any chance of repeal. And I’m also going to be honest about this: I know a lot of you don’t really give a damn about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and whether or not it gets repealed. Heck, even my best friend asked me a few months ago why I cared so much about DADT.

Well, I’ll tell you:

First, because it really is the right thing to do. Even President Obama said so, during his State of the Union Address in January:

“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.”

Second, speaking of President Obama, it is critical we hold him to his word on LGBTQ issues. He’s already long-lost his self-professed “fierce advocate” label, let’s not let this one go down as another broken promise. If we lose this, so close, with him on record at the State of the Union, we will have zero credibility, and if you care about marriage, or ENDA, or just walking down the street safely as a proud member of the LGBTQ community, it will be that much harder for any of that to happen.

Third, it’s time someone stand up to our military leaders and remind them that America is a land of the people, with a civilian Commander In Chief — who has called for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Will the courageous and historic words for support for repeal by Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen go down as “just words?”

Fourth — and most important — there are an estimated 66,000 LGBTQ servicemembers right this minute serving their nation. Willing to literally put their lives on the line every single day to protect a nation that sometimes, all too often, wouldn’t give them the time of day if they knew they were gay. Why do they do it? Well, as Former Petty Officer Third Class Joseph Christopher Rocha wrote to his Commander In Chief,

They say some people are just born designed for military service. It‘s the way we are wired, and the only thing that makes us happy. For too many of us, it‘s the only family we ever had. I am sure now, more than ever, after all the loss and hardship under DADT, that all I want to do is serve as a career military officer.

We need to get the Senate to pass the Military Readiness Enhancement Act which will repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And neither Dan Choi nor Jim Pietrangelo can chain themselves to the White House gates any more. It’s time for everyone to get involved.

You don’t have to chain yourself to the White House. All you have to do is click here for the White House’s website to send a message to the President.

And, just as important (maybe more right now) all you have to do is click here to send a letter to your Senators, or to call them. Call them. They love to talk to their constituents. And remember, you pay their salaries.

Time to have a chat. Time to be heard. Time to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It’s “the right thing to do.”

Hello, Senator?…

(And get ready: Veterans Lobby Day is May 11, 2010!)


For more, visit:
Servicemembers United
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
Human Rights Campaign
GetEQUAL
Queer Rising

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News

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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News

‘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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OPINION

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

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Even before his insurrectionist flags scandal, Justice Samuel Alito was already facing ethics questions over his refusal to recuse in other cases, his association with a billionaire businessman, and his non-disclosure of luxury travel gifts. After weeks of damning reports about flags associated with the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the “Stop the Steal” conspiracy flying over not one but two of his homes, the Bush 43-appointed jurist in an indignant letter to Senate Democrats on Wednesday again refused to recuse, this time from any cases involving the attack on the nation’s capitol, or from cases involving the instigator of those assaults on the seat of government and American democracy itself, Donald Trump.

Justice Alito’s defense in his letter boils down to this sentence: “My wife is fond of flying flags.”

In his letter, Alito wrote for the first insurrectionist flag, an inverted American flag carried by some of the criminals who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, flown over the Alito’s Virginia home just days later, he was not just unaware, he suggested he was legally unable to take it down because he co-owns the house with his wife, and she flew the flag.

RELATED: ‘Liar’: Critics Question Alito’s Integrity After His Insurrection Flag Story Disintegrates

On the second insurrectionist flag, the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, associated not only with the insurrection but with Christian nationalists and dominionists, the Supreme Court justice also defers to his spouse, because the New Jersey house it was flying over, he wrote, was purchased with his wife’s inheritance.

Alito does not end his defense there.

After explaining some of the reasons his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, chose to fly the flags, he continues his defense, writing: “I am confident that a reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that the events recounted above do not meet the applicable standard for recusal.”

On Thursday, journalist Chris Geidner, who writes about legal issues, declared, “Sam Alito believes you — and, perhaps, his colleagues — are stupid.”

“Alito lashed out in defiance,” Geidner wrote, detailing nine “demeaning quotes” from Alito’s letter.

But there’s another issue at play.

Justice Alito’s own opinion from a 2022 Supreme Court case, resurfaced Wednesday night by a social media user (below).

READ MORE: ‘No Moral Compass’: Legal Experts Call for Intervention After Alito Refuses to Recuse

In 2019, as NCRM reported, Liberty Counsel, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups, sued the City of Boston on behalf of its client to allow a different Christian flag to be flown at City Hall. Its client was Hal Shurtleff, the director and co-founder of Camp Constitution, a group that claims its mission is to “enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage,” and “the genius of our United States Constitution.”

It also says its mission is to “expose some of the abuses and perversions that have brought our nation and economy so far down.”

The case made it to the Supreme Court, and in 2022, Shurtleff won. In his concurring opinion, Justice Alito had a different take on what a reasonable person would think when seeing a flag being flown.

“As the Court rightly notes, ‘[a] passerby on Cambridge Street’ confronted with a flag flanked by government flags standing just outside the entrance of Boston’s seat of government would likely conclude that all of those flags ‘conve[y] some message on the government’s behalf.’ ”

He also noted, “The government can always disavow any messages that might be mistakenly attributed to it.”

According to Alito’s letter, no “reasonable person” who saw those two flags flying at his two homes would associate them, and the Alitos, with the insurrection, or Christian dominionism, and thus here is no need for his recusal.

In his 2022 opinion, a “passerby” would conclude the owner of the flagpole was conveying a message, but the flagpole owner could “disavow” those messages.

As Geidner notes, “Alito believes you — and, perhaps, his colleagues — are stupid.”

Clearly, many Americans, and certainly top Democrats including the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a top advocate of court reform, have equated the flying of those flags to indicate Alito’s support for the insurrection, or at least the appearance of it.

“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,” Durbin and Whitehouse 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.”

A social media user dug up and posted the Alito opinion in the 2022 Christian flag case, eliciting this comment from professor of law and former U.S. Attorney, MSNBC’s Joyce Vance:

See the social media post above or at this link.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

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