Two Supreme Court justices made the case against the constitutionality of the death penalty Monday, even though it is specifically named in the U.S. Constitution.
Justice Stephen Breyer disagreed with the five justices who ruled today that a particular means of administering the death penalty by lethal injection is constitutional. “I believe it highly likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment,” he wrote in a dissent that was joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Justice Antonin Scalia was appalled. “It is impossible to hold unconstitutional that which the Constitution explicitly contemplates,” he replied. “The Fifth Amendment provides that ‘[n]o person shall be held to answer for a capital . . . crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury,’ and that no person shall be ‘deprived of life . . . without due process of law.’”
Breyer’s willingness to invoke the Eighth Amendment as “the relevant legal standard” in the death penalty case despite the more explicit text of the Fifth Amendment, apparently struck Scalia as a fitting demonstration of his liberal colleagues’ jurisprudence. “Capital punishment presents moral questions that philosophers, theologians, and statesmen have grappled with for millennia,” he wrote. “The Framers of our Constitution disagreed bitterly on the matter. For that reason, they handled it the same way they handled many other controversial issues: they left it to the People to decide. By arrogating to himself the power to overturn that decision, Justice Breyer does not just reject the death penalty, he rejects the Enlightenment.”
Read more at the National Review…
The FBI is investigating whether a spate of fires at predominantly black churches in the last seven days are more than coincidence.
The fires have occurred in five states – Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio.
Three of the fires have been confirmed as arson, with the rest still under investigation.
The fires began Monday, June 22, when someone stacked bales of hay against the door of Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., and lit them. The most recent fire was Saturday, in Elyria, Ohio.
Investigators say there is no evidence that the fires are related, or that a hate crime has taken place.
Read more at Tulsa’s Fox23…
Since it’s only Christians, it can’t be hate crimes, right?
[June 30, 2015 · Tom Garrett]
Last Friday’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges represents the culmination of a perfectly executed public-relations campaign.
It is impossible not to be impressed by what this activist-driven effort accomplished—I mean in real terms, not the unserious victory slogans of the campaign itself.
In no particular order, it:
1. Successfully and fundamentally transformed the definition of “marriage,” and did so in a way that portrayed efforts to preserve traditional marriage as the novelty, rather than as the millennia-old status quo.
2. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public that there is only one side in this debate, despite the fact that the side claiming the monopoly had only existed in any meaningful form for perhaps 20 years.
3. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public that race and sexual orientation are directly analogous.
4. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public (and jurists) that there is no possible argument against gay marriage—to the point where federal judges found that not permitting same-sex marriage is definitionally irrational, and had prominent left-leaning outlets calling the dissents simply “crazy.”
5. Successfully branded opponents as simple “bigots” for daring to hold a different view on a live political issue, going so far as to take punitive action against those who did not adopt the “correct” viewpoint.
6. Successfully portrayed the battle as, literally, love versus hate.
7. Successfully accomplished all of the above in about a decade.
The magnitude of it is staggering.
Agree or disagree with the result, the sheer, total dominance with which their opposition was dealt defeat after defeat, constantly being depicted as evil and intellectually bankrupt—even when most of the public was still in favor of traditional marriage—is incredible.
How did this happen?
Briefly: Narcissism by those terrified of being on the dreaded “wrong side of history,” a relentless emphasis on effective emotional appeals and feelings as a basis for law, and a tireless media that was the movement’s greatest ally framing the debate in terms favorable to the non-traditional side.
It’s that last feature that is particularly fascinating.
The great failure of the modern media is its inability to distinguish for its audience between ideological arguments and judicial arguments. Many rank-and-file journos don’t have the requisite skill or education to explain those distinctions. Those who possess that ability are not particularly inclined to use it, because to do so would undermine the possibility that their preferred outcome would become reality (as it did today).
To most SSM advocates, the “how” didn’t matter. They focus only on ends, not means.
Read more at TheAxisOfEgo.com…
In his dissent from the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared that same-sex marriage is a right, Justice Samuel Alito said the court had falsely likened opposition to same-sex marriage to racism and that its decision “will be used to vilify Americans unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.”
Alito warned that in the wake of the court’s ruling, Americans who dare to publicly express views in favor the traditional understanding that marriage is between a man and a woman will risk recrimination.
“I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools,” Alito wrote.
“By imposing its own views on the entire country,” he said, “the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas.”
Read more at CNSNews.com…
Although gay marriage is now legal in all 50 states, don’t expect to see long lines of homosexuals applying for marriage licenses (especially after the initial publicity-seeking flurry is over). After 10 years of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, The Institute For Marriage and Public Policy commissioned research into the question: What has the demand for same-sex marriage turned out to be among same-sex couples? The answer: “Gay marriage is relatively rare.” The central statistics are:
Why so little take-up of same-sex marriage?
Vera Bergkamp, head of a Dutch gay rights organization, says there are three main reasons for the lack of nuptial enthusiasm among gay couples:
Less pressure from family and friends, fewer gay couples marrying to have children than their straight counterparts, and a more individualist, less family‐orientated mindset among many homosexuals.
Why then has so much time, money, and effort been invested in a gay marriage drive that that will only result in a small percent of a tiny percent actually being married?
Gay marriage is not primarily about gay marriage, it is mainly about silencing gay consciences. But there’s a second reason. Gay marriage is also about silencing Christians.
Read more at HeadHeartHand.org…
While the odds are stacked in the short-term against Christians who oppose same-sex marriage, they are “not going to simply surrender” their views because of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, since they did not make them up in the first place, an evangelical leader said Sunday.
“People have to understand that people who hold my view based on deeply-held religious convictions aren’t going to simply surrender those things. We can’t,” Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“For us to change our views on marriage and sexuality would mean repudiating what we believe has been handed to us by Jesus and His apostles,” he continued. “We didn’t make up our views on marriage and sexuality, and we can’t unmake them.”
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling declaring that same-sex marriage is a right, Moore said evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, Orthodox and other people of faith would continue to hold their views on marriage and sexuality, believing those views to be “in the common good.”
Read more at CNSNews.com…
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee considered the bill making appropriations for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. The legislation contains a number of important pro-life policies and Democrat Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz filed an amendment to strike the conscience protections contained in Sec. 530 of the appropriations bill.
The language in that section comes from a pro-life bill, H.R. 940, the Healthcare Conscience Rights Act, and provides relief from the conscience violations imposed by the HHS Preventive Services Mandate. It also provides protections for pro-life churches in California who are fighting them own battle against being forced to pay for abortions.
The conscience protection language offers full exemption from Obamacare’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and ensures protections for individuals and healthcare entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer patients to abortion providers because of their deeply held beliefs.
The legislation would also specifically address the unlawful violation of religious freedom in California, where the state Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a directive requiring that all insurance plans offered on the state exchange include coverage for abortions, including plans provided by churches, religious entities, and others with conscionable objections to such procedures.
Fortunately, the amendment failed by a vote of 31-20, largely along party lines with Republicans and Rep. Cuellar (D-TX) voting to protect pro-life conscience rights and Democrats voting for the amendment to violate them.
Read more at LifeNews.com…
All symbols of the Confederacy are rapidly disappearing from stores, websites and the public square in the wake of last week’s racially charged shooting in a Charleston, S.C., church, but the purge of some allegedly hateful icons has spared memorabilia linked to some of history’s most infamous mass murderers, some critics are charging.
Amazon.com has now banned all Confederate battle flag items from being sold on its site, but the massive e-commerce site continues to allow the sale of dozens of apparel items featuring communist mass murderers such as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Che Guevara, prompting some to accuse the site and others banning Confederate imagery of hypocrisy.
“If Amazon is removing the Confederate flag from its offerings, the logical and principled decision is to stop selling any promotional material, including T-shirts, of Che Guevara or any mass killer,” said Maria Werlau, executive director of the Free Society Project. “It is very painful particularly to the loved ones of Guevara’s victims as well as offensive to the Cuban people who continue to suffer repression and abhorrent human rights’ abuses by the system he helped create and direct.”
Amazon.com did not respond to a request for comment. Other sites have been accused of similar hypocrisy. Apple Computer has now banned all apps that show a Confederate flag, regardless of the context, but continues to allow dozens of apps that involve the Soviet Union. One Apple app called “15 Soviet” promises in its description to inform users of “the history of one of the greatest states of the century – the USSR.”
Read more at FoxNews.com…