Last week, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he would in fact spend your tax dollars to hire private lawyers to defend DOMA, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act already declared unconstitutional by a sitting federal district judge. Some conservatives applauded this action, while liberals and others decried the waste of the people’s time and money (a great deal of money at that) on a social agenda that does not create jobs — except perhaps for trial attorneys — and reinforces the false concept that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals should be treated as second-class citizens.
But after great consideration, I say, bring it on!
DOMA is a grossly unconstitutional law that serves no just legal purpose. It has been rightly deemed unconstitutional, and I have full faith that it will be deemed unconstitutional again, this time at every one of the current ten or more DOMA challenges currently making their way through the federal courts.
Given Monday’s news that this week, a bill to repeal DOMA will be introduced into the Republican-held House, and as we await a companion DOMA repeal bill that will be introduced by Senator Feinstein into the Senate, the only certain way we can remove the shackles of DOMA is through the courts, as there is no way we will pass a DOMA repeal bill in this Republican-controlled House and in a pre-presidential election year Senate.
I reached out to Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom To Marry, and the man considered to be the father of the modern-day marriage equality movement, and asked him what he thought about the Republican House’s decision to defend DOMA in court. He responds:
“The President and Attorney General had it right when they said that morally and legally, the discriminatory so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ is indefensible. Whatever legal briefs the House leadership pays for — out of our tax dollars — will only be able to rehash the anti-gay arguments and absence of evidence that led the Administration — and the Nixon-appointed federal judge who ruled against DOMA at the trial level — to conclude that DOMA is unconstitutional. And that rehashing won’t make DOMA any more palatable .. or constitutional.”
I whole-heartedly agree.
One of the reasons we can and should let the Republicans be the ones to try to defend DOMA in court is the fact that we need to educate America about why DOMA is unconstitutional, and about why the law should be on our side. As if to prove my point, I came across a well-written but terribly misguided letter-to-the-editor in a local Kansas newspaper, titled, “Going Against God.”
The letter begins,
“President Obama’s decision to subvert the law and usurp the prerogatives of the Federal Judiciary by declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional should be cause for great concern for Bible-believing Americans.”
As many people know, the country is not ruled by the law of God but by the law of man, and any attempt to introduce biblical law into the books must be as vigorously fought on the left as the right is fighting the false specter of Sharia law introduction into America jurisprudence. And this decision neither “subverts the law” nor “usurps the prerogatives of the judiciary.”
The writer continues with,
“The president announced that the Department of Justice would no longer defend DOMA. By deeming the Defense of Marriage Act to be indefensible and unconstitutional, President Obama has once again exposed his willingness to subvert the checks and balances at the heart of our Constitution.”
Stop right there sir! It is critical that we spread the word that a president has the legal right to not defend laws in court. While the executive branch must enforce the laws, it is under no obligation to defend them if they believe them to be unconstitutional, as this president, the attorney general, and a federal judge have all stated.
“This, in spite of the fact that DOMA has been in federal law since 1996 – and has withstood many court challenges. The president and his attorney general have a duty to defend lawfully passed legislation, especially when the essence of the law has been upheld by many courts.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Again, presidents have a duty to enforce, but not defend the law in court.
We absolutely must make absolutely clear that other presidents have refused to defend laws they believed unconstitutional also, including Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Truman, Ford, Clinton, Bush 41, Bush 43, and yes, Reagan.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg explains:
“During the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Truman administrations, the presidents, in one form or another, refused to defend separate-but-equal facilities in schools and hospitals. The Ford Justice Department refused to defend the post-Watergate campaign finance law, much of which was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court. The Reagan administration refused to defend the independent counsel law, a law subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court by a 7-to-1 vote. It also refused to defend the one-house legislative veto of many executive actions; in that case, the administration was more successful, winning 7-2 in the Supreme Court. The Clinton administration refused to defend a federal law mandating the dismissal of military personnel who were HIV-positive. The George W. Bush administration refused to defend a federal law that denied mass-transit funds to any transportation system that displayed ads advocating the legalization of marijuana. And in the George H.W. Bush administration, the Justice Department refused to defend a federal law providing affirmative action in the awarding of broadcasting licenses â€” a law subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court by a narrow 5-4 vote. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr was recused in the case, so the lead counsel for the government in the case was Starr’s deputy, a fellow by the name of John Roberts, now the chief justice of the United States.”
Getting back to our letter-to-the-editor writer, who says,
“Thirty states have passed marriage amendments affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Attorney General Eric Holder justifying his position says that in the congressional debates there were ‘numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate family relationships.’ He went on to describe this as ‘animus,’ or hatred.”
“There is no hate coming from Christians on this issue. God loves everyone. God’s moral laws are the best way for us to live as a society. Our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were set up by God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians. God, through his book the Bible, says homosexuality is morally wrong. We love the sinner but not the sin. Ninety-eight percent of places of worship in America are Christian churches. Our president is going against the majority once again.”
Again, the laws of man and the relationship of man to god in America are neither congruous nor should they be. In other words, keep your bible out of my civil laws!
And, as an aside, yes there is hate, there has been hate, oh, so much hate and animus. And majority rule is never a good idea when it comes to the civil rights of the minority. It was Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers the tea party likes to quote so much these days, who wrote, â€œthat the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.â€
Our letter writer ends with,
“The president and the attorney general took oaths to defend the Constitution. The arrogance demonstrated by them we can only hope awakens a deep resolve among patriotic citizens. God, who put us here to have a personal relationship with him, to spread his love and live with him forever, says it’s wrong. Our best chance of living a life of love and prosperity is to follow God’s word. Please don’t say, “What is the big deal, who cares whether gays get to marry?” God makes the rules. Our society and our families will benefit if we follow God’s word and not the words of man. A man, our president, is saying it’s OK for gays to marry, going against God’s word. Most of us live such a soft, spoiled life. We forget the blood, sweat and tears it’s taken to make our country great. Please, America, stand for what God says is the right and wrong ways to live.”
Let me remind this writer, and the public at large, that the president, sadly, has not said he supports marriage equality, or “gay marriage.” And also let me remind everyone, DOMA is not in the Constitution. You know, it’s so funny how modern-day self-professed “tea party patriots” and social conservatives (and the House Republicans) claim all of a sudden they need to know “where in the Constitution does it say…” yet they are so unfamiliar with the Constitution!
Bottom line, Obama has no legal requirement to defend DOMA. DOMA is not a part of the Constitution. Almost every president since Truman has refused to defend one law or another.
So, let the House Republicans spend the people’s time and money on defending DOMA. They will quickly learn unconstitutional laws are indefensible, they will lose, and we will be free of DOMA.
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In Angry Letter McCarthy Warns Thompson J6 Docs ‘Do Not Belong to You’ – After Defending Trump Taking Classified Info
House Minority Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in an angry letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) warned the Chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack that his role will end on January 3 and it is “imperative that all information collected be preserved.” The California Republican congressman had a dramatically different position on Donald Trump‘s unlawful retention of well over ten thousand items from the White House, including at least 300 documents with classified markings, including some classified at the highest levels.
McCarthy, who is running to be Speaker of the House but is facing strong opposition from some of the GOP caucus, nevertheless is acting as if he will wield the gavel.
His letter, angry and accusatory in tone, also strongly suggests Republicans will hold their own hearings on the January 6 attack on the Capitol and on democracy, but with a vastly different focus.
“The American people chose Republicans to lead the 118th Congress,” McCarthy’s letter begins. “On January 3, 2023, your work as Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol will come to an end,” McCarthy told Thompson in his letter, which was reported on by CBS News.
“For those reasons, I remind you and your staff on the Committee to preserve all records collected and transcripts of testimony taken during your investigation in accordance with House Rule VII. As the Chairman, regardless of who may be directing the work of the Committee, you are responsible for the work done by its members and staff.”
Some have suggested that Thompson could transfer some or all of the Committee’s work product – all transcripts and other evidence – to the Senate.
McCarthy continued with his angry attack.
“It is clear based on recent news reports that even your own members and staff of the Committee have no visibility into the totality of the investigation. Some reports suggest that entire swaths of findings will be left out of the Committee’s final report. You have spent a year and a half and millions of taxpayers’ dollars conducting this investigation.”
House Republicans, including McCarthy, spent million dollars on six Benghazi investigations, the last one of which McCarthy admitted was designed to harm former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy bragged in 2015.
Unlike his defense of ex-president Donald Trump unlawfully removing and retaining at Mar-a-Lago approximately 13,000 items belonging to the National Archives from the White House, McCarthy warned Thompson the Committee’s work does not belong to the Chairman.
“It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people,” McCarthy wrote. “The official Congressional Records do not belong to you or any member, but to the American people, and they are owed all of the information you gathered – not merely the information that comports with your political agenda.”
That’s actually false.
The Committee has undoubtedly uncovered government secrets, including national security information, classified information, and information, for example, the Secret Service needs to keep secret to allow it to continue to secure its protectees. It also has entered into agreements with witnesses that prevent it from releasing those documents, transcripts, and other evidence to the public.
Politico’s senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney says, “Kevin McCarthy’s letter demanding that the Jan. 6 committee preserve its records is mostly nonsense because the committee is planning to release all but a few of its transcripts.”
McCarthy continued, warning: “Although your Committee’s public hearings did not focus on why the Capitol complex was not secure on January 6, 2021, the Republican majority in the 118th Congress will hold hearings that do so.”
He then served up what some might say is a threat.
“The American people have a right to know that the allegations you have made are supported by the facts and to be able to view the transcripts with an eye toward encouraged enforcement of 18 USC 1001.”
18 U.S. Code § 1001 is the federal statute that makes it a crime to knowingly make false statements.
McCarthy had a very different take when the U.S. Dept. of Justice executed a legal search warrant of Donald Trump’s Florida residence and resort, Mar-a-Lago, to retrieve government-owned materials, including classified documents.
“Joe Biden and the politicized Dept. of Justice launched a raid on the home of his top political rival, Donald Trump,” McCarthy said on Sept. 1. “That is an assault on democracy.”
“Joe Biden and the politicized Department of Justice launched a raid on the home of his top political rival, Donald Trump. That is an assault on democracy.”
— House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, before Biden gives remarks in Philadelphia, attacks the lawful Mar-a-Lago search pic.twitter.com/qDwPSzrYs8
— The Recount (@therecount) September 1, 2022
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Treasury Dept. Finally Hands Over Six Years of Trump’s Tax Returns to Powerful House Committee
The U.S. Dept. of the Treasury has finally handed over six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, after the U.S, Supreme Court denied the ex-president’s request to block the document transfer. The powerful House Ways and Means Committee is now in receipt of all six years, according to a Wednesday afternoon report from CNN.
The returns are primarily from Trump’s time as president.
The Committee will need to work quickly, as Republicans will take over the House majority early next year, and the current Chairman, Richard Neal, will no longer serve in that role.
Republicans are expected to end any investigations into Donald Trump, including his tax returns, as they begin investigations into top GOP priorities: Hunter Biden’s laptop, the origin of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Image via Shutterstock
Trump Allies So Shaken by His White Supremacist Dinner a Top Campaign Aide Will Now ‘Be Present With Him at All Times’
Top allies of Donald Trump were so disturbed by his decision to have dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes last week that the ex-president and 2024 GOP candidate will now have a handler with him around the clock.
The Associated Press also reports the campaign has also changed the protocols for visitors and will start to vet guests who come to see Trump, after the few procedures in place allowed antisemite Kanye West to bring along three guests.
“In an acknowledgment of the severity of the backlash and an effort to prevent a repeat, Trump’s campaign is putting new protocols in place to ensure that those who meet with him are approved and fully vetted, according to people familiar with the plans who requested anonymity to share internal strategy,” the AP adds, revealing the campaign apparently does not trust the 76-year old ex-president to make decisions about who he should or should not spend time with.
“The changes will include expediting a system, borrowed from Trump’s White House, in which a senior campaign official will be present with him at all times, according to one of the people,” the AP adds, revealing what appears to be a previously unknown fact.
The lax security at Mar-a-Lago was in place when Trump was storing 300 documents with various classified markings, including documents with top secret information and a set with the highest level of classification.
In yet another stunning revelation the AP reports that the antisemitic Holocaust “denier” and white supremacist Fuentes “arrived by car with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and was waved into the club by security, even though only Ye had been on the security list, according to one of the people present and others briefed on the events.”
The AP also reports that “Fuentes apparently did not show his ID and the car’s driver, a frequent guest at the club, got in using a credit card after misplacing her license.”
The report does not mention the other two guests Trump dined with, reportedly far right wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who has supported adult men having sex with young teens, and Karen Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.
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