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Alabama Judge Calls For Roy Moore’s Resignation

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One Alabama county probate judge has had it with the State Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Wednesday morning, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court issued an order to all county probate judges, telling them they have a “duty” to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Justice Roy Moore made the stunning announcement, not as the Chief Justice but in his role as the Administrative Head of the Unified Judicial System of Alabama.

Regardless, Judge Moore’s order, which claims the Supreme Court’s decision last June that found same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, is based on a pending case before his court.

While some probate judges made the decision to temporarily cease issuing marriage licenses to all couples today, others quietly announced they would continue to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell and issue licenses to all couples.

One probate judge, however, had had enough, and said so.

Judge Steven Reed of Montgomery County posted this tweet, calling Moore’s order a “charade,” and “sad & pathetic.”

And then he went one step further.

Saying he thinks Chief Justice Moore “has jumped the shark at this point,” Judge Reed, as AL.com reports, “said he doesn’t know if Moore’s order today was an attempt by Moore to ‘get on Donald Trumps radar,’ or generate publicity for some other reason.”

Reed “said the order is an embarrassment to Alabama and to the Alabama Supreme Court. ‘I think it sets a bad example when the chief justice behaves like this,’ Reed said.”

And then he called for Moore to quit.

“We don’t get to pick and choose what laws we follow,” he said. “If he (Moore) can’t follow those laws he ought to step down.”

 

EARLIER:

Some Alabama Judges Obey Chief Justice’s Order Banning Same-Sex Marriage, Some Hysterically Defy It

UPDATING: Alabama Chief Justice Issues Order Blocking Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

 

Photo of Judge Reed via Facebook

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Listen Live: SCOTUS Hears Christian Right Religion vs. LGBTQ Civil Rights Challenge

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will hear arguments in yet another Colorado case of a right wing Christian business owner who claims their work is artistic expression which entitles them to discriminate against LGBTQ people who want to use their product for a same-sex marriage. And once again conservatives on the nation’s highest court are being asked to, and could move towards striking down another decades-old ruling in favor of the far Christian right.

This time the case involves not a Colorado baker refusing to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, but a Colorado web designer refusing to make web sites for same-sex weddings. Both have cited their deeply held religious beliefs against marriage equality, only this time the web designer is suing not because she refused a same-sex couple – indeed, no same-sex couple has ever asked her to create a website for their wedding – but because she’s afraid someday one will.

Lorie Smith, who owns 303 Creative, objects to Colorado law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation, and objects to the law banning notices or statements that a business intends to do so.

And just like the Colorado baker or the Washington florist, Smith insists she’s not anti-gay, just anti-same-sex marriage.

“If a client who identifies as gay asked her to design graphics for his animal rescue shelter or to promote an organization serving children with disabilities, Smith would happily do so,” Ms. Smith’s lawyers told the justices in a brief, The New York Times reports. “But Smith will decline any request — no matter who makes it — to create content that contradicts the truths of the Bible, demeans or disparages someone, promotes atheism or gambling, endorses the taking of unborn life, incites violence, or promotes a concept of marriage that is not solely the union of one man and one woman.”

IN OTHER NEWS: Anti-LGBTQ Slurs on Twitter Up Over 800% as Musk Allows Thousands of Previously Banned Users Back: Reports

Despite all the other issues listed, however, marriage equality is the apparent basis for the case being brought to the Court.

Indeed, a unique aspect of the case is that unlike the Colorado baker or the Washington florist, no one has ever asked Smith to make a product that violates her beliefs, so it’s unclear why the Court even accepted the case. (The Court refused to rule on the Washington florist case, and issued only a very narrow ruling in the Colorado baker case, one that the Trump White House incorrectly used to enact discriminatory policy in agencies including HHS.)

Philip J. Weiser, Colorado’s attorney general, is defending his state’s law.

“A business could, based on its claimed beliefs, refuse to bake for Catholic baptisms because it is pro-choice, photograph reunions of Black families because it opposes racial equality or create floral arrangements for events celebrating women’s business achievements because it believes only men should work outside the home,” Weiser wrote in a Court brief.

Supporters of civil rights and LGBTQ equality are concerned the activist wing of the Court, especially Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh, could use this case to overturn a 1990 ruling, Employment Division v. Smith.

Indeed, Smith’s attorneys have specifically asked to Court to do so, although the Court is not expected to.

“In that case,” The Times explains, “the Supreme Court ruled that laws that are neutral and apply generally could not be challenged on the ground that they violated the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion.”

But the current Trump-infused Roberts Court has made clear it sees conservative Christian faith at the center of American jurisprudence, and want that 33-year old ruling overturned.

Indeed, as Vox reported last week, the Supreme Court “appears eager to give religious conservatives sweeping exemptions from the law.”

“Although 303 Creative no longer presents the question of when the Constitution permits people with religious objections to an anti-discrimination law to defy that law, the Court has been signaling for quite some time that it is very sympathetic to such objectors — and that it is likely to abandon a more than 30-year-old precedent establishing that the law generally applies equally to everyone.”

Vox accurately describes this as a case involving “religious conservatives,” and not just people of faith. There are many Christians who support the LGBTQ community, same-sex marriage, and equal civil rights.

The decision in Employment Division v. Smith, “arising from a case involving the use of peyote in Native American religious ceremonies, is unpopular among conservative Christians, who say it does not offer adequate protection to religion, and with some of the justices. Last year, the court’s three most conservative members — Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch — said it was time to overrule the 1990 decision.”

Already the LGBTQ community, its supporters, and advocates for equal civil rights are on edge after the Court struck down its 49-year old Roe v. Wade ruling, with Justice Thomas actively and openly calling for cases that would overturn decisions that made access to contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage the laws of the land.

Oral arguments in the case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, start at 10 AM ET.

You can listen live at the Supreme Court’s website, or via C-SPAN.

 

 

 

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Revealed: Trump Paid Off Millions in Secret Debt to North Korea-Linked Company While in Office

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There is a “chance” Donald Trump didn’t break the law by hiding debt from his 2016 presidential campaign’s financial disclosure reports, according to Forbes.

Documents obtained by the outlet show that the then-candidate failed to disclose $19.8 million in debt to Daewoo, a South Korean company with a history of ties to North Korea.

“There is a chance that Trump’s omission may have been legal,” the report said, noting that Trump may have used a loophole in the law.

“Although officials have to list personal loans on their financial disclosures, the law does not require them to include loans to their companies, unless they are personally liable for the loans. The Trump Organization documents do not specify whether the former president, who owned 100% of the entities responsible for the debt, personally guaranteed the liability, leaving it unclear whether he broke the law or merely took advantage of a loophole.”

Forbes also pointed out that Trump may have hidden the debt because Daewoo, at one time, “was the only South Korean company permitted to operate a business inside [North Korea].”

The documents, which were disclosed after being obtained by New York Attorney General Letitia James, said that Trump quickly eliminated the debt after taking office.

“Daewoo was bought out of its position on July 5, 2017,” one document explained.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: ‘Full steam ahead’ for DOJ after ‘worst legal week that Trump has ever seen’: former prosecutor

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Anathema to the Soul of Our Nation’: Trump Pilloried for Demanding ‘Termination’ of the US Constitution

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The White House on Saturday afternoon responded to former President Donald Trump’s demand for the “termination” of the United States Constitution over non-existent “fraud and deception” in American elections, which he continues to claim cost him the presidency in 2020 and that he is expecting Republicans to embrace in his 2024 reelection campaign.

Trump wrote on his struggling fake Twitter app Truth Social:

ELECTION INTERFERENCE AT A LEVEL NEVER SEEN BEFORE!!!

Trump followed up with:

So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

He went on to add:

UNPRECEDENTED FRAUD REQUIRES UNPRECEDENTED CURE!

I wonder what Mitch McConnell, the RINOS, and all of the weak Republicans who couldn’t get the Presidential Election of 2020 approved and out of the way fast enough, are thinking now?

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the elections of 2022, or 2020, or any other major historical contest, let alone that which was pervasive enough to affect the results. And the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next – which Trump has attempted to upend through his lies and ultimately by mounting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 – is a key tenet that holds the American democratic experiment intact.

White House Deputy Press Secretary and Senior Communications Adviser for Strategic Response Andrew Bates touched on those points in a statement:

The American Constitution is a sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law prevail in our great country. The Constitution brings the American people together – regardless of party – and elected leaders swear to uphold it. It’s the ultimate monument to all of the Americans who have given their lives to defeat self-serving despots that abused their powers and trampled on constitutional rights. Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation, and should be universally condemned. You cannot love America only when you win.

The Democratic National Committee also fired back at Trump, as reported by Politico:

Donald Trump lost by 7 million votes in 2020 and his calls to undermine our democracy cost his party key races in 2022. The continued silence by Republican leaders, including his potential primary competitors, shows a MAGA party that is beholden to Trumpism, his divisive rhetoric, and his extreme positions.

Democratic lawmakers denounced Trump as well.

Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia tweeted:

Days after Trump dined with men who praise Hitler and the Nazis, he demands the ‘termination’ of the Constitution’s electoral process so he can be illegally reinstated. Trump’s words and actions are unacceptable, they stoke hatred and political violence, and they are dangerous. Every Member of Congress swore an oath to ‘defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ Donald Trump has openly declared himself an enemy of the Constitution, and Republicans must repudiate him.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz said:

Trump just called for the suspension of the Constitution and it is the final straw for zero republicans, especially the ones who call themselves ‘constitutional conservatives.

New York Representative Richie Torres noted that “January 6 was Donald Trump’s attempt at terminating the US Constitution. He’s a repeat offender.”

California Congressman Eric Swalwell, who regularly faces death threats, stated that “every congressional reporter should demand responses from Congressional Republicans about Donald Trump’s call for the Constitution to be terminated … how many of them called themselves ‘Constitutional conservatives’ during the Obama years???”

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said that “Trump just called for the suspension of the Constitution to overturn the 2020 results. Georgia VOTE. You stood tall against Trump and his minions last time. A win for [incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael] Warnock is another win for democracy.”

While outrage over Trump’s “truth” was not exclusive to the left, few on the right have stepped up to rebuke Trump. One exception, however, was ex-United Nations Ambassador and National Security Adviser John Bolton, who posted that “no American conservative can agree with Donald Trump’s call to suspend the Constitution because of the results of the 2020 election. And all real conservatives must oppose his 2024 campaign for president.”

 

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