President Barack Obama cemented his legacy on civil rights for the LGBT community tonight by declaring marriage equality a civil right.
In his 2015 State of the Union address before a Republican-controlled House and Senate, President Barack Obama told Congress he believes marriage equality for same-sex couples is a civil right.
“I still believe that we are one people,” the President said. “Iâ€™ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home.”
Vice President Biden and Democrats stood and applauded:
Pres. Obama also mentioned the LGBT community in other contexts, saying “we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims â€“ the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.Â Thatâ€™s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.Â We do these things not only because theyâ€™re right, but because they make us safer.”
And he included the community in a look towards the future.
“I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids.
“I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen â€“ man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability.Â
“I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true:Â that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.”
“Iâ€™ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom.” â€”President Obama #SOTU
â€” Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 21, 2015
â€” Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 21, 2015
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Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert
Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.
Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.
“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”
“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”
As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”
See the discussion below.
Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Georgia DA Says ‘Possible’ Trump Could Be Subpoenaed, Lindsey Graham ‘Doesn’t Understand Seriousness’ of Investigation
The Fulton County, Georgia district attorney whose special criminal grand jury issued subpoenas to several members of Donald Trump’s legal team and Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday says she has not ruled out issuing a subpoena to the former president, and says more subpoenas are to be expected.
“I think that people thought that we came into this as some kind of game. This is not a game at all. What I am doing is very serious. It’s very important work. And we’re going to do our due diligence and making sure that we look at all aspects of the case.”
Willis convened a special grand jury to investigate possible election fraud or interference in the 2020 presidential election, after news broke that then-President Trump had called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking for an additional 11,780 votes to overturn the election results.
On Tuesday Willis’ grand jury subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesbro, and Jacki Pick Deason.
Sen. Graham’s attorneys issued an angry statement on his behalf, calling the investigation a “fishing expedition,” decrying it as “all politics,” and claiming Willis is “working in concert” with the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Graham until 2021 was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is one of Donald Trump’s top supporters.
“Senator Graham plans to go to court, challenge the subpoena, and expects to prevail,” the South Carolina Republican’s statement said.
“What do I have to gain from these politics?” Willis told NBC News, saying Graham is “someone who doesn’t understand the seriousness of what we’re doing. I hope he’ll come and testify truthfully before the grand jury.”
SCOTUS Justices Prayed With Evangelical Group Whose Legal Brief Was Cited to Overturn Roe Says Christian Activist: Report
A veteran Christian activist who works for a legal organization that has appeared on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups was caught on a hot mic bragging that she and the organization she works for prayed with the Justices inside the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a report by Rolling Stone. Conservative justices cited the organization’s brief in the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
The activist, “a prominent Capitol Hill religious leader,” Rolling Stone reports, “was caught on a hot mic making a bombshell claim: that she prays with sitting justices inside the high court. ‘We’re the only people who do that,’ Peggy Nienaber said.”
Calling the disclosure “a serious matter on its own terms,” Rolling Stone says it “also suggested a major conflict of interest. Nienaber’s ministry’s umbrella organization, Liberty Counsel, frequently brings lawsuits before the Supreme Court. In fact, the conservative majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which ended nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights, cited an amicus brief authored by Liberty Counsel in its ruling.”
Separately, NCRM has unearthed video from 2019 (below) that shows a woman who identifies herself as Nienaber bragging, “and yes, we go in and pray with the Justices.” She says she is Vice President of Faith & Liberty in the video. Rolling Stone reports “Nienaber is Liberty Counsel’s executive director of DC Ministry, as well as the vice president of Faith & Liberty, whose ministry offices sit directly behind the Supreme Court.”
Liberty Counsel was founded in 1989 by attorneys Mat Staver and Anita Staver, who are married. The organization has represented Rowan County (Kentucky) Clerk Kim Davis, and hate group head Scott Lively. They call their organization a Christian ministry, as Nienaber can be heard saying on the hot mic.
“You actually pray with the Supreme Court justices?” a livestreamer identified as Connie IRL can be heard asking in the video.
“I do,” Nienaber responds. “They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them.”
“Some of them don’t!” Nienaber adds, not disclosing which ones.
The livestreamer then asked if Nienaber ministered to the justices in their homes or at her office. Neither, she said. “We actually go in there.”
“In other words,” Rolling Stone reports, “Sitting Supreme Court justices have prayed together with evangelical leaders whose bosses were bringing cases and arguments before the high court.”
Rolling Stone reports Mat Staver denied the claim as “entirely untrue,” but NCRM has unearthed a 2019 video in which a woman who identifies herself as and looks like Nienaber, standing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, also brags: “and yes, we go in and pray with the Justices.”
You can watch that video below or at this link:
Rolling Stone adds more bombshell reporting, saying that “the founder of the ministry, who surrendered its operations to Liberty Counsel in 2018, tells Rolling Stone that he hosted prayer sessions with conservative justices in their chambers from the late-1990s through when he left the group in the mid-2010s.”
Rob Schenck, who launched the ministry under the name Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital, described how the organization forged ministry relationships with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and the late Antonin Scalia, saying he would pray with them inside the high court. Nienaber was Schenk’s close associate in that era, and continued with the ministry after it came under the umbrella of Liberty Counsel.
Schenck told Rolling Stone exactly why the group wanted to pray with the Justices.
“To pray with the justices was to perform a sort of ‘spiritual conditioning,’ Schenck explains. ‘The intention all along was to embolden the conservative justices by loaning them a kind of spiritual moral support — to give them an assurance that not only was there a large number of people behind them, but in fact, there was divine support for very strong and unapologetic opinions from them.'”
Read the entire report here.
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