On FridayÂ anÂ Alabama appeals courtÂ ruled the stateâ€™s ban on consensual same-sex intercourse unconstitutional. Prompted by the conviction of a man in 2010 and his subsequent yearlong incarceration, this decisionÂ (Dewayne Williams v. State of Alabama) comes 11 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all anti-sodomy laws in the United States unconstitutional in the caseÂ Lawrence v. Texas.
By the time ofÂ Lawrence v. TexasÂ in 2003, all but 14 states had removed their bans through legislative or judicial action. Yet, despite the Supreme Court ruling, Alabama is only the third state whose statute was overturned with the case to actually remove the anti-sodomy law from the books, along with Montana and Virginia.
States that still retain their anti-sodomy laws are Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
James McDonaldÂ is a Brooklyn-native currently based in Scotland. When not pouring through the letters of Mary, Queen of Scots in pursuit of an MLitt Scottish History degree at the University of Glasgow, youâ€™ll find him typing away. To date, his writing has been featured inÂ Haaretz, the Huffington Post, theÂ Lambda Literary Review, Gayletter, Thought CatalogÂ andÂ The Outmost, with more (hopefully) on the way. Follow him@jamesian7Â
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‘Making It Up’: Trump Lawyer’s Claim It’s Not An Insurrection If It’s Only 3 Hours Doesn’t Fly in Court
Donald Trump’s attorney Wednesday tried to argue the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol didn’t constitute an insurrection because it was only three hours long, then quickly admitted his definition was made up, new courtroom footage shows.
Scott Gessler presented arguments to the Colorado Supreme Court considering the appeal of 14th Amendment challenge seeking to block Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot based on its “insurrectionist ban,” CNN reports.
An awkward exchange captured by PBS News Hour shows Gessler struggling to convince the panel that last month’s ruling from a lower court, which found Trump had engaged in insurrection (but that the 14th Amendment does not apply to presidents), was wrong.
“It has to be for a substantial duration,” Gessler said. “Not three hours.”
The Justices retorted that Gessler’s limits did not appear in the definition of insurrection — Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on the subject includes the Jan. 6 attack — and demanded to know his source.
“Where is all that coming from?” a Supreme Court justice asked. “You’ve added a whole lot of conditions there.”
To this, Gessler replied, “We’re all sort of making it up at the end of the day.”
This comment, shared on social media, spurred both outrage and laughter from followers of the contentious legal battle.
“So basically, ‘Yeah I got nothing, but he definitely didn’t do it,'” summarized Bill DeMayo.
Quipped X user Amy: “Trump’s Law Firm: Dewey Cheatem & Howe.”
Gessler’s further argument that the Jan. 6 rioters were not armed at the level “necessary to overcome” police drew rebuke from Justice William Hood, CNN reports.
“There were a lot of makeshift weapons that did a lot of damage,” Hood reportedly said, noting more than 100 officers were hurt.
One Justice did admit the definition of insurrection was up for debate and would play an important role in their ruling as the 14th Amendment doesn’t define it.
Gessler compared the definition of insurrection to a common quip about pornography: “I don’t know a definition of it, but I know it when I see it.”
Watch the video below or click the link.
This was an actual comment made by Trump’s lawyer today in the 14th Amendment case in Colorado as Trump’s lawyers sought to challenge the definition of an insurrection:
Trump lawyer: Now you’re gonna tell me, “Mr. Gessler, you’re making it up.” And I’m going to say, “Well so did… pic.twitter.com/A9iTpJhOA2
— MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch) December 6, 2023
Mike Johnson Likens Himself to Moses, Tells Christian Nationalists God Charted His Path to Speaker
Mike Johnson, delivering the keynote address to a far-right Christian nationalist group Tuesday, likened himself to Moses and declared God had charted his path to become the Republican Speaker of the House, after telling him in his prayers to prepare.
Speaker Johnson, a Christian nationalist who falsely claims the Constitution’s separation of church and state is a “misnomer” and has declared the United States is not democracy but a “biblical” republic, is an attorney who once worked for a far-right organization that has since been designated an anti-LGBTQ extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Johnson was the lead sponsor last year of a federal “Don’t Say Gay” bill and has bragged that he and his teenaged son are accountability partners in a no-porn pledge that includes installation of monitoring software on all their devices.
“I’ll tell you a secret since the media is not here,” Speaker Johnson said at the National Association of Christian Lawmakers (NACL) Gala (video below), where he was honored with their American Patriot Award for Christian Honor and Courage, as Right Wing Watch reported.
“Thank you for not allowing the media in, I’ll tell you a secret because they wanted to come because they wanted to, you know, take my comments out of context as they’ve been doing with with great joy for the last few weeks,” Johnson charged, not specifying which of his remarks he believes have been taken out of context.
“The Lord impressed upon my heart a few weeks before this happened, that something was going to occur,” Johnson continued. “And the Lord very specifically told me in my prayers to prepare, but to wait. ‘Prepare for what?’ I said to the Lord. You know, I had this sense that we were going to come to a Red Sea moment in our Republican conference and the country at large.”
“And look, I’m a Southern Baptist, I don’t want to get too spooky on you. Okay, but you know, you know okay,” he continued. “All right. But you know, the Lord speaks to your heart. And He had been speaking to me about this and the Lord told me very clearly to prepare and be ready. Be ready for what? Okay, I don’t know. We’re coming to a Red Sea moment. ‘What does that mean, Lord?’ And then when the Speaker’s race happened.”
He said, “the Lord began to wake me up through this three-week process we’re in in the middle of night and to speak to me and to write things down plans and procedures and ideas on how we could pull the conference together.”
“Now at the time I assumed the Lord is going to choose a new Moses. And oh, thank you the Lord. Lord, you’re gonna allow me to be Aaron to Moses,” Johnson told the attendees.
Johnson reminded his audience of the Speaker’s debacle, going down the line of friends who he tried to help become Speaker, acknowledging that all of them failed.
He continued, explaining that “at the end, when it came to the end, the Lord said, ‘Now step forward.’ ‘Me? I’m supposed to be Aaron.’ Now the Lord said, ‘Step forward.’ Psalm 77 speaks of the Exodus in the 14th chapter of Exodus and it says, ‘Only God saw the path through the roiling sea, we could not see it, men could not see it.’ And I believe deep in my heart, is my core conviction, that God wants us to seek Him for the path through the roiling sea.”
As Right Wing Watch reports, after Johnson’s speech, “NACL founder Jason Rapert presented Johnson with the Honor and Courage award, along with a piece of a destroyed Ten Commandments monument that Rapert had placed in front of the Arkansas state capitol in 2017.”
“’It’s very obvious to see, you’re one of us,’ Rapert told Johnson.”
Rolling Stone adds that Johnson’s speech Tuesday is “just the latest evidence that the politician who is now second in line for the presidency views himself as on a divine mission.”
Watch the video of Speaker Johnson below or at this link.
‘Hardball? You Bet’: Dems ‘Need to Be Prepared’ After McCarthy Exit Urges Top Political Scholar
The American voters sent 222 Republicans and 213 Democrats to the House of Representatives in the 2022 elections, the exact same margin, but flipped, as the 2020 election. But today, with the announcement that ousted, former GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is not only not running for re-election but is quitting Congress at the end off the year, Republicans have a big majority crisis — because of their now tiny majority.
It’s no longer 222 to 213.
After McCarthy’s exit, and with the recent expulsion of now-former Congressman George Santos (R-NY) Republican Speaker Mike Johnson will have a very slim majority.
“The party’s margin in the House fell to three seats from four with the expulsion of Representative George Santos of New York last week,” The New York Times explains. “That leaves almost no wiggle room for Mr. Johnson, who is already dealing with a revolt from the far right for working with Democrats to keep the government funded and faces another pair of shutdown deadlines in mid-January and early February.”
“When the House returns in January,” The Washington Post adds, “Republicans can lose only two votes from their ranks to pass any legislation at a time when the chamber faces major decisions on government spending and foreign aid. That dynamic could force Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who assumed the post after a tumultuous three weeks following McCarthy’s ouster, to work with Democrats to avert a partial government shutdown as soon as mid-January.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) has announced he will retire and exit Congress early next year.
But possibly even before that, Speaker Johnson’s tiny majority could at some point become an opening for Democrats, according to a top political scientist and scholar, Dr. Norman Ornstein.
“Democrats need to be prepared to act swiftly and decisively if the numbers drop below 218– even if only for a day. Quick motion to vacate, [Hakeem] Jeffries as Speaker, immediate agenda,” writes Dr. Ornstein, a senior fellow emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), “where he has been studying politics, elections, and the US Congress for more than four decades.”
Ornstein offers more opportunities should Democrats be able to take the majority back soon.
“Reconciliation bill to secure robust spending, eliminate debt limit permanently, taxes on rich to pay for permanent child tax credit.”
He adds, the number of Republican members “would need to get down to 213. But any set of problems– a Covid outbreak, for example– could bring those numbers down, if only for a day or two. Have a plan ready! Hardball? You bet.”
David Rothkopf, the noted foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator, responding to Ornstein’s remarks appeared to urge Republicans to join with Democrats to elect a Democratic Speaker, or even to switch parties:
“This. C’mon you GOPers from purple districts. Trump will have you purged and sent to Siberia. We just need 2 of you. You can be unloved by the GOP or heroes to the rest of America! Make your move now.”
Of course, special elections will be held to replace both Santos (scheduled for February 13, 2024) and McCarthy (likely summer, according to The Post), and at some point Johnson.
But with the extremely large number of members of Congress who have exited or will be, as Ornstein says, Democrats need to be ready.
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