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Scalia Insists Pastors Will Be Forced To Marry Gay Couples If Supreme Court Rules For Equality

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In a laughable argument ignoring the First Amendment, Justice Antonin Scalia made a ridiculous argument pleading for the right of clergy members.

Justice Antonin Scalia makes no secret of his religious beliefs. A staunch Roman Catholic, the 79-year old jurist in a 2013 interview admitted, “I even believe in the Devil,” and added, “he’s a real person.”

The interviewer, Jennifer Senior from New York Magazine, was not hiding her shock, so Scalia was astonished.

“You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.”

Fast forward to today.

During oral arguments in this morning’s same-sex marriage case before the Supreme Court, Scalia very clearly demonstrated his devotion to religion once again, while ignoring the First Amendment that so clearly protects it.

“I’m concerned about the wisdom of this Court imposing through the Constitution­ a requirement of action which is unpalatable to many of our citizens for religious reasons,” Scalia said, clearly vocalizing his desire to protect people of faith at the expense of same-sex couples (and ignoring that people of faith can be LGBT).

LOOK: Justice Alito’s Gay Marriage Questions: Could It Legalize Polygamy, Did Ancient Greeks Allow It?

“They are not likely to change their view about what marriage consists of. And were the States to adopt it by law, they could make exceptions to what is required for same-­sex marriage, who has to honor it and so forth. But once it’s ­­ it’s made a matter of constitutional law, those exceptions ­­ for example, is it, is it conceivable that a minister who is authorized by the State to conduct marriage can decline to marry two men if indeed this Court holds that they have a constitutional right to marry? Is it conceivable that that would be allowed?”

(Quick answer: No.)

Mary Bonato, the attorney arguing for marriage equality, responded well, reminding him of the Constitution.

“Your Honor, of course the Constitution will continue to apply, and right to this day, no clergy is forced to marry any couple that they don’t want to marry. We have those protections.”

That was insufficient for Scalia.

“I don’t see how you could possibly allow that minister to say, ‘I will only marry a man and a woman. I will not marry two men.’ Which means you would,­­ you could,­­ you could have ministers who ­­conduct real marriages that are civilly enforceable at the National Cathedral, but not at St. Matthews downtown, because that minister refuses to marry two men, and therefore, cannot be given the State power to make a real State marriage. I don’t see any answer to that. I really don’t.”

The conversation continued for a few minutes, with Justice Elena Kagan finally stepping in.

“Ms. Bonauto, maybe I’m just not understanding Justice Scalia’s question, but for example, there are many rabbis that will not conduct marriages between Jews and non­Jews, notwithstanding that we have a constitutional prohibition against religious discrimination. And those rabbis get all the powers and privileges of the State, even if they have that rule, most ­­ many, many, many rabbis won’t do that.”

At that point, Justice Stephen Breyer had to step in as well, to defend Justice Kagan and Bonauto’s argument.

“It’s called Congress shall make no law respecting the freedom of religion…”

 

Image by Shawn via Flickr and a CC license

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News

Former Trump CFO Nearing ‘Unexpectedly Favorable’ Plea Deal With Manhattan DA: NYT

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Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who worked for the Trump family since 1970, is nearing a plea deal with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in his case, according to The New York Times. Charges include conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records.

Weisselberg, who is 75, could walk away with a minor prison sentence of just five months, the Times reports, calling it “an unexpectedly favorable outcome for him.”

The plea deal would not include any cooperation on broader issues related to Donald Trump. Legal experts have said Weisselberg knows nearly everything that the Trump Organization has done.

READ MORE: Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss – Trump Org and Ex-CFO Weisselberg Criminal Fraud and Tax Evasion Case Will Proceed

“His plea deal, if finalized, would bring prosecutors no closer to indicting the former president but would nonetheless brand one of his most trusted lieutenants a felon.”

Earlier this year Manhattan D.A. Bragg came under intense criticism after he seemingly halted his office’s longtime investigation into Donald Trump.

One of the prosecutors who worked 0n the Trump case but quit when Bragg ended it called it a “grave failure of justice,” and said Trump was “guilty of numerous felonies.”

“Prosecutors accuse Weisselberg of a 15-year scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities of $1.76 million in ‘off-the-books’ compensation,” Law & Crime reported. “These included $359,058 in tuition expenses for multiple family members, $196,245 for leases on his Mercedes Benz automobiles, $29,400 in unreported cash, and an unspecified amount in ad hoc personal expenses, according to his indictment.”

In 2018 The New Yorker reported “Allen Weisselberg, the firm’s longtime chief financial officer, is the center, the person in the company who knows more than anyone.”

 

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News

Does Trump Still Have Classified Docs? DOJ May Think So After Asking Judge to Keep Affidavit Sealed Former Fed Says

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After the National Archives had to travel to Mar-a-Lago earlier this year to take back 15 cartons of documents and other items from the Trump White House, and even after the FBI raided Donald Trump’s Florida home last week, could it possible the Dept. of Justice thinks the former president is still holding onto classified documents?

One former federal prosecutor says that one of two distinct possibilities, after DOJ asked a federal judge on Monday to not unseal the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion.

“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed,” the Dept. of Justice’s filing states, ABC News reports. “In a footnote, department officials write that they ‘carefully considered’ whether they could release the affidavit with redactions, but the redactions necessary to ‘mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content, and the release of such a redacted version would not serve any public interest.'”

READ MORE: Rumors Swirl as ‘Flight Risk’ Trump Claims FBI Took His ‘Three Passports’ – He Can Still ‘Ask for Asylum’

“Interesting tidbit,” writes The New York Times’ Alan Feuer. “Prosecutors acknowledge they’ve been interviewing witnesses and say the release of the warrant application could ‘chill future cooperation by witnesses as ‘investigation progresses.'”

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotto says the Dept. of Justice may think Trump still has more classified documents – or there are charges coming in response to the Mar-a-Lago raid.

Mariotto writes: “This suggests DOJ is continuing its investigation, which means one of two things: 1) DOJ *still* isn’t convinced they have all of the classified material Trump took when he left office. 2) They have an ongoing criminal investigation of this matter that could result in charges.”

READ MORE: Trump Could Face 20 Years Behind Bars for ‘Serious Felonies’ at Mar-a-Lago: Legal Analyst

“That’s potentially very important news,” Mariotto adds. “Many national security pros thought that the main (if not only) purpose of the search warrant was to secure sensitive material, not to build potential criminal charges.”

But as Politico’s Kyle Cheney notices, the DOJ in its filing says it’s willing to unseal other documents.

“The government does not object to unsealing other materials filed in connection with the search warrant whose unsealing would not jeopardize the integrity of this national security investigation, subject to minor redactions to protect government personnel.”

 

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CRIME

Man Taken Into Custody and Charged After Allegedly Making Death Threats Against FBI Following Mar-a-Lago Raid

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Federal agents have taken a Pennsylvania man into custody after he allegedly made death threats against the FBI on the far right wing social media platform Gab, following last week’s raid on Mar-a-Lago. Trump supporters have been increasing their level of threats of violence and civil war against the left and the FBI since last Monday when federal agents confiscated 20 cartons worth of items that had been removed from the White House, including highly classified documents.

“Adam Bies was charged with influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a federal law enforcement official after the social media exploitation team in the FBI’s National Threat Operations Section referred a tip about a Gab post by the user ‘BlankFocus,'” NBC News reports. “The user, according to a FBI affidavit, posted that employees of the bureau deserved to die.”

Bies allegedly wrote on Gab, “I’m ready for the inevitable. Once you accept reality for what it is instead of what you want or to be, you can move on with your life and get prepared for the inevitable outcome. I already know I’m going to die at the hands of these piece of shit child molesting law enforcement scumbags.”

READ MORE: Mastriano’s Consultant Just Posted Video Declaring ‘We Have Multiple Candidates…Who Are Christian Nationalists’

According to authorities Bies also wrote his “only goal is to kill more of them before I drop. I will not spend one second of my life in their custody.”

“Records show that Bies was taken into custody,” NBC News adds.

The New York Times’ Alan Feuer posted screenshots of a few of Bies’ alleged threats.

“I am going to f**cking slaughter you,” one of the threats reads. “I sincerely believe that if you work for the FBI, then you deserve to die,” says another.

READ MORE: ‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’

In one of his posts on Gab he appears to be addressing the far right platform’s Christian nationalist and antisemitic founder, Andrew Torba.

Torba, who has been called a consultant to far right Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, has declared America is a “Christian nation,” Christians are “taking back” America from Jewish people, he has said, and bragged how they have “Christian nationalists” who are current members of Congress, along with a multitude of Christian nationalists who are running for elected office at the local, state, and national levels.

 

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