Attorney General Addressing Lawyers Representing Christian Baker Whose Case Is Before the Supreme Court
Attorney General Jeff SessionsÂ Tuesday evening will address an anti-gay hate group at a private, closed to the public function, and the Dept. of Justice is refusing to explain why. Worse, the group, Alliance Defending Freedom, is involved in a Supreme Court same-sex marriage case, leaving open the very real question of why would the Attorney General allow such an appearance of impropriety? That case, a highly-anticipated one brought by Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cake Shop, will decide if people of faith can use their religion as a license to discriminate against gay people and same-sex couples.
Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden first reported the event, via Twitter:
JUST IN: AG Sessions will speak at summit for group behind Christian baker who refused a wedding cake to gay couple. Case heading to SCOTUS. pic.twitter.com/XgsBClHVNB
â€” Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) July 11, 2017
Holden also notes he reached out to the DOJ, which refused to comment on why Sessions was speaking to the ADF. More importantly, he asked, “if it signaled [a] new DOJ position in court.”Â
“Decline comment,” was the DOJ’s response, Holden says.
Right Wing Watch’s Peter Montgomery reports tonight’s event is the ADF’s Summit on Religious Liberty in Orange County, California.Â He notes the ADF “is the largest of the Religious Right legal groups, engaging in culture war battles against LGBTQ equality and reproductive choice in the U.S. and increasingly around the globe. So why would the address of the attorney general to ADF, a group not normally shy about taking credit for its work, be closed to the media?” he asks.
Meanwhile, the DNC has issued a scathing statement on Sessions’ speech tonight.
“You can judge a person by the company they keep andÂ tonightÂ – Attorney General Jeff Sessions is choosing to spend his time speaking in front of one of the countryâ€™s leading anti-LGBTQ hate groups,” an email from the DNC reads.
“The Alliance Defending Freedom activelyÂ helped draft discriminatory legislation,Â worked to preserve laws criminalizing same-sex relations, andÂ attacked the separation of church and state. ADF has been previouslyÂ designatedÂ a hate group and Sessionsâ€™ appearance at this event, as the top law enforcement official in the country, brings in to question whether the attorney general intends to protect all Americans.”
It’s a valid question.
Sessions from the beginning of his tenure as Attorney General has made clear he has little intention to protect the most vulnerable of Americans, our children. In a joint decision with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, he chose to rescind the Obama-era guidelines protecting the civil rights of transgender students.
Education Week, in noting Sessions’ speech tonight, Tuesday elaborated on his decision to rescind the transgender guidelines, and ADF’s reaction at the time.
“The Trump administration’s move won praise from Alliance Defending Freedom, which said thatÂ President Obama left schools with ‘an impossible choice:Â sacrifice the dignity and privacy rights of their studentsÂ by opening overnight facilities, locker rooms, and restrooms to the opposite sex; or protect those rights while watching the government strip away federal funding that schools spend on critical items like special-education programs and lunches for underprivileged children.'”
“By overturning the prior administration’s power grab, President Trump has enabled local school boards once again to protect the dignity and privacy rights of all their students,” the group said in a statement at the time.
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Sinema Says ‘DC Solutions’ on Guns Not ‘Realistic’
U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), one of two major roadblocks to Democrats passing President Joe Biden’s top agenda items including gun control, just one day after an 18-year old gunman massacred 21 people in Texas including 19 elementary school children, offered to be open to discussion but made clear she does not believe in a federal solution to the gun violence that plagues America.
The United States is the only country in the world with a gun crisis of this magnitude. The leading cause of death for children and teens is now a gun.
Republicans allowed the 1994 federal ban on semi-automatic weapons to expire in 2004. A 2019 study found “Mass-shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur during the federal ban period.”
Senator Sinema appeared to disagree with that study in remarks to reporters late Wednesday morning.
“I asked her if she was willing to set aside the filibuster,” Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman reports. “She said she didn’t believe ‘that DC solutions are realistic here.'”
The federal assault weapons ban was a “DC solution.”
Sinema also told Sherman that “despite the fact that there is always heated rhetoric here in DC, I do think there’s an opportunity for us to actually have real conversations and try and do something. I think the conversation across America is very different than it is here.”
90 percent of Americans want Congress to pass a background check bill, which the House already has but Senate Republicans refuse to allow. Eliminating the 60-vote threshold in the filibuster might allow that legislation to pass, as it almost did under President Barack Obama, with 54 votes.
“People at home all across America are just, they’re scared,” Sinema added, suggesting that is no reason to make changes to the way the Senate works, or to pass gun control legislation. “They want us to do something.”
Sinema committed to no action other than “to start having conversations again with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to determine whether or not there’s something we can actually do to help increase safety and protect kids across the country.”
The House has already passed multiple bills the Senate could take up and pass — or at least get Senators on the record.
Sen. Sinema’s reluctance to do anything substantive stands in clear contrast to her Arizoan Democratic colleague in the House. U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, long rumored to be a potential primary opponent when Sinema is up for re-election, on Tuesday night blasted Sinema and others, like “baby killer” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), standing in the way of gun control.
Please just stop.. unless you are willing to break the filibuster to actually pass sensible gun control measures you might as well just say “thoughts and prayers” https://t.co/YA5Pp3dqao
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 24, 2022
Just to be clear fuck you @tedcruz you fucking baby killer.
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 24, 2022
Fuck you @NRA
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 24, 2022
‘Avowed White Nationalist’ Republican Criticized as ‘Unfit for Office’ Over False Claim Shooter Was LGBTQ, Undocumented
U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is being criticized after falsely identifying the Uvalde, Texas shooter who massacred 19 children and two adults at an elementary school as being a “leftist,” undocumented, and LGBTQ.
Last year Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) called Gosar an “avowed white nationalist.” Gosar appeared by video at an event run by a far-right activist who has been labeled a white nationalist and a white supremacist.
In a tweet posted very early Wednesday morning, well after the identity of the alleged shooter was widely reported, the far-right Arizona Congressman said the 18-year-old who slaughtered 21 people was a “transsexual leftist illegal alien.”
Many hours earlier Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott had specifically said at a news conference the shooter (NCRM will not name him here) was a U.S. citizen. There is no indication he was “transsexual,” as Gosar falsely claimed, or “leftist.”
Former federal prosecutor Ron Filipkowski posted a screenshot of Gosar’s tweet, which has since been deleted after massive outcries.
Deleted tweet by Gosar. He wasn’t trans. He wasn’t leftist. He wasn’t an illegal alien. The only thing Gosar got right was the name. Another in an endless list of despicable acts by Gosar. pic.twitter.com/ohM3STIOQG
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) May 25, 2022
Reporting on his tweet, Huffpost called Gosar “an anti-immigration hardliner who routinely cozies up to white nationalists, ” and “was apparently promoting a false claim circulating on right-wing networks.”
The lawmaker was censured and stripped of his committee assignments last year after he posted an anime video depicting him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and threatening President Joe Biden. Only two Republicans voted with Democrats on the measure.
Meanwhile, in response to the false tweet an opinion writer for The Arizona Republic, Laurie Roberts, called Gosar “Arizona’s reigning king of disinformation,” and “a gossip of the worst kind – one who delights in distorting the facts to fit his own warped view of the world.”
“The congressman – already censured for his sick anime video in which he shows himself killing a congresswoman and threatening the president – has shown himself, yet again, to be completely unfit for office.”
Roberts added: “Not a single Republican leader in this state will denounce him,” and “He’ll be re-elected in a landslide.”
Florida Republican Levies ‘Threat’ Against Biden Over Guns After Being Investigated for Cyberintimidation
Florida State Representative Randy Fine, a Republican from Brevard County, Wednesday morning posted what some say appears to be a threat against President Joe Biden. Tuesday evening the President addressed the nation just hours after 19 second, third, and fourth-grade school children and two teachers were massacred in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings.
“We as a nation have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby. When in God’s name do we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” President Biden implored Americans as he spoke barely more than one hour after landing at the White House after a five-day Asia trip.
Early Tuesday morning Rep. Fine tweeted: “I have news for the embarrassment that claims to be our President — try to take our guns and you’ll learn why the Second Amendment was written in the first place.”
Some online are seeing that as an apparent threat.
“This sounds like a threat against the President,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Is this a threat Randy?” asked another.
Several reported the tweet to Twitter Safety, and more responded by tweeting it to the FBI and Secret Service.
One user whose bio says she is an Internet Safety Expert tweeted “18 U.S.C. §871(a).” That is the federal law for ‘Threats against President and successors to the Presidency.”
Rep. Fine has been investigated but not prosecuted for cyberintimidation, among other allegations.
In February, “prosecutors announced that after an exhaustive investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and a thorough review by Chief Assistant State Attorney Stacey Salmons …, no criminal charges would be filed in allegations leveled at State Representative Randy Fine by Brevard County School Board Member Jennifer Jenkins, and Publisher Robert Burns,” the Florida State Attorney’s Office stated.
“Jenkins and Burns alleged that between July and August of 2021, Fine had committed the offenses of Corruption by Threat Against a Public Servant; Cyberintimidation by Publication; Stalking; Residency Qualification Violations; Campaign Finance Violations; and Voter Fraud (Oct. 2019 – Nov. 2020).”
The State Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Fine, but State Attorney Phil Archer added: “Although no criminal charges are being filed, I am concerned that the continued use of heated rhetoric on social media and public statements by both sides, could produce a volatile and dangerous escalation we should all seek to avoid.”
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