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Louisiana Lawmakers Continue Their War On Gays

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Louisiana lawmakers are waging a quiet war of inaction against their own LGBT citizens. When faced with a bill that would help make the lives of LGBT people better, safer, easier, or close to approaching equal, they refuse to pass it. And not only are they refusing to pass basic, common-sense legislation that most Americans don’t find controversial — the public actually believes these bills are already the law — the legislature is doing it purely from a position of animus, “morality,” and religion, and in conjunction with what they have allowed to become a powerful anti-gay organization. 

You’ll remember last year a disgusting local Louisiana “sting” operation that netted the arrests of at least 12 men on charges of sodomy. These men had reportedly all agreed to consensual sex with another man — who turned out to be a sheriff’s deputy. The men were arrested despite the fact that the Supreme Court had declared a decade ago the laws under which they were arrested unconstitutional. The sheriff’s spokesperson first said that as long as the anti-sodomy laws were on the books they would continue to arrest men for merely agreeing to have sex with men.

Later the sheriff not only apologized, but petitioned the legislature to repeal Louisiana’s anti-gay laws. By a wide margin earlier this month, they refused to repeal their unconstitutional anti-sodomy laws, obeying the lobbyists at the Louisiana Family Forum. Technically, two men having sex is still illegal in Louisiana.

If that weren’t enough, a Louisiana House Democrat was forced to pull her LGBT employment protection bill — essentially a watered-down version of ENDA for Louisiana because there clearly weren’t enough votes to pass it. Lawmakers refused to consider the bill, again under the direction of their masters at the Christian Louisiana Family Forum, a state affiliate of the anti-gay Focus On The Family. Focus On The Family, you’ll remember, was created by James Dobson, the same anti-gay activist who created the Family Research Council. 

And that brings us to yesterday, when Louisiana state lawmakers again refused to pass what is one of the most basic protections any group could want: protection against discrimination in housing. Lawmakers refused to allow that bill to come out of committee for a vote, too.

“The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, said after the hearing though disappointed, she wasn’t surprised. ‘(The Legislature) is just not willing right now to move anything (LGBT-related) forward, and that’s unfortunate,'” the Times-Picayune reports.

Kathleen Benfield of the Louisiana Family Forum, speaking against the bill, said allowing discrimination against people for their sexual orientation is “rational” because some people have “closely held religious” reasons to judge whether or not they want LGBT people to rent their private property.

Those “closely held religious reasons to judge” are the reason we are a nation of laws, not a theocracy with the Bible as our Constitution. Except, perhaps, in Louisiana.

Perhaps none of this should be a surprise, since earlier this month a Louisiana House committee voted to make the Christian Holy Bible the official state book. 

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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

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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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