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What LGBT And Progressive Groups Think About SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Decision

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LGBT and progressive groups have stern warnings and commentary on today’s Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision.

For more on the decision:

What Every LGBT Person Needs To Know About The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Decision

Hobby Lobby: Read The Complete Full Supreme Court Decision

Breaking: Supreme Court Rules Some Closely Held Family Companies Have A Soul In Hobby Lobby Case

Heather Cronk, GetEQUAL Co-Director:

“Today’s ruling sends an unfortunately clear message that the Supreme Court of the United States thinks more highly of private, for-profit corporations than individuals. While we’re disappointed in this ruling because of the implications for women across the country whose access to contraception is being attacked, we’re equally disappointed because of the implications for LGBTQ individuals. The same entities that are fighting women’s access to healthcare are also fighting LGBTQ equality — and this ruling simply sets the stage for future efforts to reduce the ability for individuals to make their own decisions about their lives and about their bodies. Today’s ruling sets the stage for further and wider challenges to the idea that employers should treat all of their employees and potential employees equally, and opens the possibility for employers to refuse to provide employees with health insurance that covers HIV or AIDS medication, blood transfusions, anti-depressants, and all manner of other life-saving care.

“We must re-double our commitment to push back on the dangerous efforts to write discrimination into law under the guise of ‘religious liberty.’ These efforts, such as the religious discrimination law in Mississippi that will go into effect tomorrow, are smokescreens for religious bigotry. GetEQUAL will continue to call out religious discrimination when and where it happens, and will continue to work closely with our friends in the reproductive justice movement to win our collective liberation from government-sanctioned oppression.”

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow:

“Religious groups have a long-established first amendment ability to operate according to their own beliefs. Instead of protecting religious liberty, this ruling gives license for businesses to use their personal beliefs as a reason to deny people access to basic, yet crucial medical services.”

Constitutional Accountability Center:

“For the first time in our Nation’s history,” said CAC President Doug Kendall, “the Supreme Court has ruled that for-profit corporations have religious rights and have accorded them religious exemptions. Despite their attempts to qualify that ruling, it opens the floodgates to claims by corporations for religious exemptions.”

“As Justice Ginsburg explained in a powerful dissent,” continued CAC Civil Rights Director David Gans, “the Court puts claims of corporations over those of its employees and allows a corporation’s owners to override the Federal rights of its employees, many of whom have a different set of religious beliefs.” CAC Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra said, “While the Court purports to limit its ruling to closely-held corporations on this issue only, the majority opinion invites a number of ‘me too’ religious objections by other companies on matters ranging from anti-discrimination law to other medical procedures such as blood transfusions or vaccinations.”

Truth Wins Out:

“This divisive ruling is disgraceful, and will go down as one of the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Because of this decision, business owners will have enormous leverage to impose their religious beliefs in the workplace, and to coerce employees into abiding by them. The court has decided, as in Citizens United, that corporations are people. The sooner this ruling is reversed the better it will be for America.”

“The Supreme Court may have just sent our nation down an actual slippery slope,” said TWO’s Besen. “As the liberal justices on the Court pointed out, this is a ruling of ‘startling breadth,’ and it goes against everything we used to stand for as a nation. When our Founding Fathers guaranteed religious freedom to all citizens, they didn’t amend it to say that your boss’s religious freedom is more important than your own. What a disgraceful day for the Court and for the United States.”

“This was not a victory for any rational definition of ‘religious freedom,’ but for religious coercion,” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “This ruling, far from simply being about contraception, is chilling in that it could potentially allow any crackpot who owns a company to deny his employees all kinds of health coverage, simply because his religious beliefs don’t allow for them.”

Family Equality Council:

“Today’s Supreme Court Decision declares that ‘closely held for-profit corporations’ run by owners with ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ are exempt from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that employer-provided health insurance include access to contraception,” said Family Equality Council Director of Public Policy, Emily Hecht-McGowan.

“Religious liberty is a constitutionally protected interest, but what the Court did today is allow individual business owners to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, thereby limiting an employee’s ability to make their own healthcare decisions and access necessary and sometimes critical medical care,” Hecht-McGowan continued.

National Center for Lesbian Rights, Legal Director Shannon Minter, Esq.:

“The majority’s holding that closely held corporations can claim religious liberty protections designed for individuals—and can rely on those protections to avoid complying with generally applicable laws—is a dangerous and radical departure from existing law that creates far more questions than it answers and shows a callous disregard for the health care needs of women workers. Thankfully, however, the majority recognized that even under its sweeping new rule, corporations cannot rely on claims of religious liberty to evade non-discrimination laws. That limitation is extremely important and means that employers cannot exploit today’s decision to justify non-compliance with laws that prohibit discrimination against LGBT people and other vulnerable groups, but we will need to be vigilant to make sure that principle is respected and enforced.”

Political Research Associates:

Executive Director Tarso Luís Ramos:
“The foundational principle of religious liberty is facing a sustained, coordinated attack from leaders of the Religious Right, who insist that businesses have the right to discriminate against employees and customers according to their owners’ religious beliefs. This redefinition of religious liberty effectively transforms the Framers’ shield against religious tyranny into a sword institutions can wield to impose religious dictates on individuals in the marketplace.”

Senior Fellow Fred Clarkson:
“If corporations enjoy exemptions from federal laws in the name of religious freedom, the rest of us may be compelled to cede our personal liberty to the views and whims of our employers-forcing us to choose between our livelihoods and our consciences. If a business owner happens to believe God demands women always be subservient to men, could the company legally be allowed to deny women managerial positions (or refuse to hire women at all)? Could private education institutions reliant on public money again claim religious freedom to defend racial segregation (as did Bob Jones University)? Could business owners claim ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ to deny service or jobs to people of color, Jews, or atheists? Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in whole-blood products; even if you don’t happen to share that faith, could your boss nevertheless deny you coverage for surgeries? And so on. If a business enterprise’s ‘religious belief’ can be used to justify discrimination in one thing, why not other things?”

NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue, President:

“Today’s decision from five male justices is a direct attack on women and our fundamental rights. This ruling goes out of its way to declare that discrimination against women isn’t discrimination.

“Allowing bosses this much control over the health-care decisions of their employees is a slippery slope with no end. Every American could potentially be affected by this far-reaching and shocking decision that allows bosses to reach beyond the boardroom and into their employees’ bedrooms. The majority claims that its ruling is limited, but that logic doesn’t hold up. Today it’s birth control; tomorrow it could be any personal medical decision, from starting a family to getting life-saving vaccinations or blood transfusions.

“Ninety-nine percent of women use birth control at some point in our lives, and none of those stories made it into the arguments. It’s outrageous that these five male justices chose to single out birth control for special discrimination.

“NARAL Pro-Choice America’s message has always been clear: bosses who want control over their employees’ personal medical decisions are offensive, out of touch, and out of bounds, and so is this ruling. We call upon Congress to right this wrong, and we will work tirelessly with our allies and member activists to make sure that the people who would stand between a woman and her doctor are held accountable.”

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Cecile Richards, president:

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled against American women and families, giving bosses the right to discriminate against women and deny their employees access to birth control coverage. This is a deeply disappointing and troubling ruling that will prevent some women, especially those working hourly-wage jobs and struggling to make ends meet, from getting birth control.

“This ruling does not strike down the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. Today, more than 30 million women are eligible for birth control with no co-pay thanks to this benefit, and the vast majority of them will not be affected by this ruling. But for those who are affected, this ruling will have real consequences.

“It’s unbelievable that in 2014, we’re still fighting about whether women should have access to birth control. Some politicians want to get rid of the birth control benefit entirely and take away coverage from millions of women. To the majority of Americans, birth control is not a controversial issue. Birth control is basic health care – and it’s only a ‘social issue’ if you’ve never had to pay for it.

“We hope most businesses will do the right thing and let women make their own health care decisions. We urge Congress to act and protect women’s access to birth control, regardless of the personal views of their employer.”

And, from the Task Force:

 

Image by NARAL via Twitter

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‘Just the First Step’: Trump Declares ‘Uniting Our Nation’ Means Ending All Cases Against Him

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Donald Trump, declaring his surviving Saturday’s attempted assassination a “miracle,” reportedly has changed his upcoming address to this week’s Republican National Convention to promoting “unity.” But unlike President Joe Biden’s Oval Office speech Sunday night urging America come together, the ex-president is defining national unity as everyone agreeing all legal and civil cases against him are baseless “Witch Hunts.”

Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a 20-year old registered Republican with an AR-15 style rifle unloaded eight bullets in the ex-president’s direction, causing his ear to be grazed, possibly by schraptnal or glass, while killing a 50-year old supporter at a rally in the stands behind him, Trump posted just two words to his Truth Social account: “UNITE AMERICA!”

“The former president has told multiple outlets he wants to focus on unifying the country after surviving an assassination attempt,” Rolling Stone reports. “As Trump’s allies and other prominent Republican commentators attempt to weaponize the shooting into a political cudgel against Democrats to silence criticism of Trump and his track record endorsing political violence, it may only be a matter of time before the former president slips back into his old habits.”

Monday morning, barely one hour after U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee in Florida, handed down her ruling entirely dismissing the Espionage Act/classified documents case against the ex-president, Trump expanded on his definition of unity: ending “ALL the Witch Hunts.”

RELATED: As Cannon Dismisses Trump Classified Docs Case Experts Pin Blame on Clarence Thomas

“As we move forward in Uniting our Nation after the horrific events on Saturday, this dismissal of the Lawless Indictment in Florida should be just the first step, followed quickly by the dismissal of ALL the Witch Hunts — The January 6th Hoax in Washington, D.C., the Manhattan D.A.’s Zombie Case, the New York A.G. Scam, Fake Claims about a woman I never met (a decades old photo in a line with her then husband does not count), and the Georgia ‘Perfect’ Phone Call charges. The Democrat Justice Department coordinated ALL of these Political Attacks, which are an Election Interference conspiracy against Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, ME. Let us come together to END all Weaponization of our Justice System, and Make America Great Again!”

Veteran journalist Brian J. Karem responded to Trump’s post, writing: “So much for uniting people. That didn’t last a single day.”

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) added, “I knew this mad man would soon be back. He’s incapable of unifying peanut butter and jelly. For Trump it’s always been me, me, me first (& only).”

Media columnist Justin Baragona noted, “The new Trump tone lasted a record 36 hours.”

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

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As Cannon Dismisses Trump Classified Docs Case Experts Pin Blame on Clarence Thomas

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in a 93-page opinion has dismissed the Espionage Act/classified documents case against ex-president Donald Trump, claiming Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland “violates the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution.” Legal experts, calling her ruling “wrong,” say U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is to blame.

Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury on 37 felony charges, 31 of them under the Espionage Act, in the case related to his alleged unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of documents, many classified, some top secret, and some so secret they include the nation’s nuclear secrets.

“There’s no case any more, it’s been dismissed,” observed former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, a former Counselor to the U.S. Attorney General, on MSNBC. He said he is “confident” Judge Cannon’s ruling would be appealed.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney reported the bombshell news:

Other legal experts agree.

“This ruling (which is wrong six ways from Sunday) can (and will) be immediately appealed to the Eleventh Circuit,” wrote professor of law Steve Vladeck. “To me, the only question is whether the Special Counsel also asks for the case to be reassigned on remand…”

Former federal civil rights prosecutor Dr. Kristy Parker, Counsel at Protect Democracy, said: “Hard to characterize how wrong this is — at least in a world where law matters. We may not be in that world any longer.”

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

Last month in oral arguments the argument Smith’s appointment was unlawful was made to Cannon, MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin noted Monday morning, saying that the judge appeared at the time to dismiss that claim.

“People tried this against Special Counsel Robert Muller,” MSNBC’s Ken Dilanian stressed, “and were unsuccessful and it’s really important to point out and so viewers understand there’s nothing in this opinion that speaks to the merits of this case, to the classified documents to the allegations of obstruction of justice. This is an entirely procedural issue. It’s a constitutional question. It’s whether whether the law establishing the Special Counsel violates the appointments clause, and she also actually made a ruling on a separate argument about the appropriations clause. And and she, and she’s decided that the way Congress is funding the way the Special Counsel is funded, is not appropriate either.”

Constitutional law professor and political scientist Anthony Michael Kreis described the dismissal as “Insanity.”

Noting today is also the start of the 2024 Republican National Convention, founder and Executive Director of Protect Democracy, Ian Bassin, a former Associate White House Counsel, blasted the Trump-appointed judge:

“Cannon likely thought releasing her latest gift to Trump at the opening of the RNC would help him, but changing today’s headlines to a pic reminding that Trump stole our nation’s most sensitive nat’l security docs and hid them in his bathroom may not be the gift she thinks it is.”

MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney called Cannon’s decision, “Absolutely incredible,” while concurring the ruling will be appealed.

“That’s it,” she added. “Unless the 11th Circuit & ultimately SCOTUS disagree, Trump goes free for walking out of the White House with top secret documents. At best, this is seriously delayed. Disgusted.”

READ MORE: ‘Supposed to Be Hard’: Political Experts Explain Their Thinking on Biden and the Election

Some legal experts, including Vance, point to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ separate concurrence in the Trump immunity case as giving Judge Cannon the roadmap to come to this decision.

“This was the argument advanced by Justice Thomas in his concurrence in Trump v. US, which no other Justice signed into at the time,” Vance noted.

Professor of law Leah Litman observed, “Justice Thomas’s ‘Cannon-currence’ worked.”

Parenthetically, she explained, “In the Trump immunity case, Justice Thomas wrote separately to suggest the special counsel was unlawfully appointed; the reasoning laid out the roadmap for this (wrong) result/decision.”

“Justice Thomas strikes again,” wrote professor of law Melisa Murray. “Not only did a majority of the Court give presidents almost unfettered license in the immunity case, Justice Thomas concurred separately to question the constitutionality of the special counsel. He laid the table and Judge Cannon took a seat.”

“Surprising absolutely no one,” observed legal journalist Cristian Farias. “This is a Federalist Society pipe dream, one they could never achieve during the Mueller years. And precisely what Clarence Thomas, all alone, suggested should happen in the Trump immunity case.”

But, he added, “This is not the end.”

Read the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

 

This article has been updated to include Professor Murray’s remarks.

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Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

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Echoing President Abraham Lincoln‘s first inaugural address, President Joe Biden in a rare primetime Oval Office address Sunday night told Americans “we are not enemies,” as he urged the nation to tone down political rhetoric in the wake of the assassination attempt of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by a 20-year old registered Republican at an outdoor Trump rally in Pennsylvania one day earlier.

It was the third time in 24-hours President Biden spoke to Americans via a televised address about the shooting in which Trump’s ear was nicked, some reports say from shards of glass from his teleprompter, while the ex-president claimed it was from a bullet. The eight bullets from the gunman’s legally-purchased AR-15 rifle killed a 50-year old former volunteer fire chief who shielded his daughters with his body, and wounded two others.

“While we may disagree, we are not enemies. We’re neighbors, we’re friends, coworkers, citizens. And most importantly, we are fellow Americans. We must stand together,” President Biden reminded the nation, as he announced “the need to lower the temperature in our politics.”

Biden said the “shooting calls on all of us to take a step back.” Earlier, on Sunday afternoon in his nationally-televised remarks the President said, “We must unite as one nation. We must unite as one nation to demonstrate who we are.”

READ MORE: ‘Supposed to Be Hard’: Political Experts Explain Their Thinking on Biden and the Election

In denouncing political violence, President Biden cited some of the most critical recent examples in America.

“We can not, we must not, go down this road in America. We’ve traveled it before throughout our history,” the President warned. “Violence has never been the answer, whether it was with members of congress of both parties being targeted and shot, or a violent mob attacking the capitol on January 6th, or the brutal attack on the spouse of the former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, or information or intimidation on election officials, or the kidnapping plot against the sitting governor, or the attempted assassination on Donald Trump, there’s no place in America for this kind of violence, for any violence, ever. Period. No exceptions. We cannot allow this violence to be normalized,” Biden said resolutely.

“In America, we resolve our differences at the ballot box, that’s how we do it, at the ballot box, not with bullets,” the President also declared, as some on the right, including far-right wing websites, quickly mocked and attacked him for his speech impediment, claiming he had said, “battle box.”

Pointing to Biden’s “desire to protect democracy,” NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander Sunday night reminded that the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville was “really the motivating factor” for his decision to run for President in 2020.

Indeed, Biden has a strong record of fighting against political violence and hate. On Sunday he declared that in America, “hate must have no safe harbor,” which echoed his 2023 State of the Union Address in which he said: “There’s no place for political violence in America,” and, “We must give hate and extremism in any form no safe harbor.”

“Democracy must not be a partisan issue, it’s an American issue. Every generation of Americans has faced a moment where they have been called to protect our democracy Defend it, stand up for it. And this is our moment,” Biden had also said.

Former South Carolina Democratic Congressman Bakari Sellers judged Biden’s six-minute Sunday evening speech to be “pitch perfect. Great sharp message, tone, and leadership.”

READ MORE: Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin called Biden’s remarks “eloquent and sobering.”

“Biden speech was eloquent and sobering. It is the time for experienced, reassuring and mature leadership. We need to be called to follow the better angels of our nature not the darkest impulses. There is nothing more important.”

“Just watched Joe Biden’s speech. He just won the election,” announced SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah.

“President Biden used the pulpit well tonight. He did what a president should do: seek to calm the country, seek to calm each of us,” declared award-winning journalist Maria Shriver.

This is an excellent speech,” rhetoric scholar and professor of communications Jennifer Mercieca wrote. “Biden is good at what scholars call the ‘priestly role of the president,’ which is when the president is called upon to speak to a nation in crisis and remind us of our values and explain why our American values will see us through hard times.”

Even Fox News’ chief political analyst Brit Hume praised President Biden’s speech Sunday night declaring his “message was just right,” as Mediate reported.

Watch clips from the President’s remarks and his full address above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

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