- February 1, 2016 at 5:45 pm #22589
SUPREMES SET DATE TO DECIDE ‘WHAT IS SIN’
‘If this appeal is lost, government becomes head of every religious denomination’
Published: 17 hours ago
It’s a case in which the U.S. government has been accused of claiming the authority to “determine what is in fact a sin.”
The critics, meanwhile, have accused the U.S. Supreme Court of tilting the playing field in advance.
The nuns who run elder care centers worldwide are contesting the Obamacare requirement that their employee insurance plans cover abortion pills.
The Becket Fund, which is working on behalf of the nuns, said the high court will decide whether the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries can be forced to change their health-care plans “to offer drugs that violate their religious beliefs when those same drugs could be made available through healthcare exchanges.”
“After promising that the Little Sisters’ religious beliefs would be protected, the government created a new regulation requiring the Little Sisters change their healthcare plan to offer drugs that violate Catholic teaching,” the group explained. “One third of U.S. workers are employed by secular companies (e.g., Exxon and Visa) that the government has exempted from having to provide these same drugs in their plans because those employers did not try to update their health plans under ACA and are ‘grandfathered.'”
In the lower courts, the Little Sisters have argued that the requirement to participate in the government’s plan to distribute contraceptives violates their exercise of religious freedom. While an earlier Supreme Court opinion protected some for-profit companies from the law’s requirement, nonprofit organizations were left at risk.
“If this appeal is lost, the government becomes the head of every religious denomination in the country by its assumed authority to determine what is in fact a sin,” said Thomas More’s president, Richard Thompson.
The organization’s brief argues that neither the government nor the Supreme Court “can determine whether an act does or does not violate a person’s religious beliefs.”
“Rather, the Supreme Court must accept the non-profits’ assertions that the notification requirement is indeed against their religion.”
To accept otherwise, the brief says, “is to supplant the church and the Bible with the government, allowing the Supreme Court and the government to interpret [tenets] of faith.”
“This slippery slope would subject all religious exercise to the whim of the government’s approval,” it said.
“The court is not the arbiter of sacred Scripture and cannot determine whether the notification form and letter are attenuated enough from the provision of contraceptives that they do not substantially burden petitioners’ religion,” the brief said. “Delving into this inquiry requires the court to interpret petitioners’ religious beliefs on the morality of the different levels of complicity with sin.
“Therefore, the court can only determine whether petitioners are being compelled to do something that violates their faith – here, filling out the notification form or writing a notification letter to HHS, both of which trigger the dissemination of contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees in connection with their employee health plans.”
It was the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that, according to the brief, assumed the authority of determining what is sin.
Another recent brief explained: “Perhaps the apex among a host of acts of governmental arrogance in this case was displayed not by HHS, but when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit acted as if it had ecclesiastical powers of absolution, having decreed that by just signing a paper, Little Sisters would not be ‘morally complicit in providing contraceptive coverage.'”
The brief said one would expect that “on the issue of who the God of Heaven and Earth will hold ‘morally complicit,’ it would be the Little Sisters which would have the greater expertise than a federal judge.”
WND also reported when another brief charged that the Obama administration adopted the “secular amorality” of a committee from the Institute of Medicine in demanding the abortion pill coverage.
And it charged that the high court now has “tilted the playing field” by excluding First Amendment arguments from its discussion of the mandate that religious employers cover abortion pills in their insurance plans.
“It can be seen that this court, by excluding any briefing of the Free Exercise issue in this case, has tilted the playing field – making it virtually impossible for the petitioners to achieve a meaningful victory,” said the brief submitted by the attorneys at William J. Olson P.C. and the United States Justice Foundation on behalf of the USJF, Eberle Communications Group, Public Advocate of the U.S., Citizens United Foundation, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall and others.
The Supreme Court has agreed to rule on whether the government’s interest in a private medical group’s “overarching objective of promoting and facilitating a secularized sexual lifestyle for women without the need to incur any out-of-pocket costs to prevent or terminate an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease” warrants ordering religious employers to violate their First Amendment-protected right to exercise their religious beliefs, the brief notes.
The brief explains there are First Amendment principles supporting the Little Sisters and others, but the Supreme Court said the only arguments that would be reviewed concern the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which establishes conditions under which the government can make a demand that violates religious beliefs.
“This court’s refusal to consider the First Amendment constitutional issues takes the process of constitutional exclusion one step beyond that which occurred last year in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores,” the brief says.
In the Hobby Lobby case, the court decided the government could assign the cost of abortions demanded by employees to taxpayers rather than the company’s health insurance program, citing the RFRA law but excluding First Amendment discussion.
It said the law’s requirements for a “compelling interest” and a “least restrictive” method were not met, providing only a narrow window of protection.
“The protection of religious liberty promised by RFRA proponents was dramatically overstated. … [The law] actually makes it the law of the United States that, under certain circumstances, as in the seemingly unreviewable opinion of a majority of the nine unelected lawyers then sitting on this court, the government ‘may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion’ when the government’s claimed interest really mattered,” the brief explains.
The brief says the court “should revise the questions presented on which certiorari is granted, and ask the parties to participate in supplemental briefing on the Free Exercise Clause issue. Unless this court pushes this ‘reset button,’ it could easily reach a decision that RFRA provides no statutory protection for petitioners, forcing them to be morally complicit in facilitating abortion, even though a decision reached under the Free Exercise Clause would have demanded the opposite result.”
Such a conclusion, the lawyers warned, “would deserve no respect from the American people.”
The Supreme Court already has ruled several times on Obamacare, the first time redefining the “fees” in the law as “taxes” to avoid violating the Constitution. The justices also ruled that insurance exchanges “established by the state” includes federal as well as state exchanges, meaning subsidies can be granted in states that chose not to establish an Obamacare exchange.
However, the court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that religious employers cannot be required to participate in some parts of the law.
The justices recently refused to look into the fact that although the Constitution requires tax-revenue bills to start in the House, Obamacare was written and launched in the Senate. It was adopted by only Democrat votes in both the House and Senate, but it is expected to raise hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes.
- February 1, 2016 at 6:44 pm #22591
FBI and DOJ upset with White house response about Hillary Clinton Investigation
Anyone that watches Fox News, loves and appreciates Catherine Herridge. Catherine is one of the top notch correspondents in the business and broke the story of the 22 Hillary Clinton emails that were deemed “highly classified.”
After pressed on the White House’s position, Press Secretary Josh Earnest took to his mic (with no security clearance to even see the emails) to make statements that have some “pissed off” within these two departments.
According to Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge, her contacts in the FBI and DOJ are “super pissed off” at what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said about Hillary Clinton’s email problems Friday. “That’s not something I’m worried about,” he told reporters at the daily briefing.
Earnest threw cold water on predictions that Hillary Clinton will face a Justice Department indictment for mishandling classified information on her private and unsecure email server while secretary of State..
see more with video here
Like I’ve said before – she won’t see the inside of a jail
- February 1, 2016 at 8:53 pm #22599
President Barack Obama will ask Congress for $755 million in his fiscal 2017 budget to fund his “moonshot” program to cure cancer and will spend $195 million this year, the White House said in a statement.
The money is intended to increase research into the causes of cancer, treatment of the disease and ultimately to find cures. The death last year of Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, at age 46 spurred Obama to make cancer a policy and spending priority in his final year in the White House.
“Too many American families know all too well the devastation cancer can bring,” the White House said in the statement. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate — it strikes young and old, family and friends, neighbors and co-workers.”
A White House task force on cancer is scheduled to meet for the first time Monday in Biden’s ceremonial office at the White House. The panel consists of representatives from at least 13 federal bodies, including agencies that conduct medical research and regulate drugs. Obama signed a memorandum on Jan. 28 creating the group.
Beau Biden, who had been the Delaware attorney general, died of brain cancer on May 30. His father cited his son’s death as the main reason he decided not to undertake another bid for the Democratic nomination for president this year.
Prior to a 5 percent increase last year in the National Cancer Institute’s budget, spending on the primary federal cancer research agency had been mostly flat during Obama’s seven years as president.
Evidently he doesn’t think we’ll remember him from his Obamacare pkg.
- February 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm #22743
A Texas deputy says a Marine veteran with a concealed-carry firearm saved his life earlier this month.
On January 19, Bastrop County Deputy Dylan Dorris attempted to pull over a motorist who was driving erratically.
The driver did not initially comply, but he eventually stopped at a gas station.
Once the vehicle was stopped, Dorris attempted to arrest the driver, but he resisted. While Dorris was struggling with the driver, the man allegedly reached for the deputy’s weapon.
That’s when Marine veteran and concealed-carry permit holder Scott Perkins jumped into action.
Seeing the struggle, Perkins immediately intervened, drawing his weapon and ordering the suspect to freeze.
The criminal halted his attack and fled. He was arrested a short time later and currently faces charges of aggravated assault of a public servant, taking an officer’s weapon, evading arrest or detention with a vehicle, and driving while under the influence with a child under 15. He is in Bastrop County Jail on $50,000 bail.
Following the incident, Dorris praised Perkins, telling the Austin American-Statesman, “I’m alive today because of him.”
“There are no words to explain it. He’s such an outstanding citizen. He’s here for our country, our community, and you really feel the love.”
Perkins, however, remained humble despite his heroics.
“Anytime somebody is in need of help, you should assist them,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether your life is in danger or not, you should always assist anybody who is in need.”
Watch a local report on the incident above.
- February 5, 2016 at 3:33 pm #22886
Some Oklahoma schools display signs warning staffers could be armed
Published February 05, 2016 Officials at an Oklahoma school district said they wanted to send a clear warning to protect against potential attacks, so they put up signs on Monday alerting that staff members could be carrying guns.
The signs were erected at public schools in Okay, according to the Muskogee Phoenix. The town’s police department was reportedly disbanded in 2014, and even though sheriff’s deputies are available, Superintendent Charles McMahan says that may not be enough.
“We don’t want to be a soft target,” he told the newspaper.
One sign reads, “ATTENTION: Please be aware that certain staff members at Okay Public Schools can be legally armed and may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”
Other nearby school districts have not enacted such a policy. Porum Public Schools Superintendent Curtis Curry said, “we just don’t think it’s safe.”
Under the policy approved in August for Okay, employees who wish to carry firearms must receive training and Board of Education approval.
The principal of Okay High School, Mark Hayes, reportedly pushed for the new gun policy. “There have been numerous shootings in the country, and we want to keep our students safe,” he told the Phoenix. “These are our kids.”
Okay is roughly 9 miles north of Muskogee, and 50 miles southeast of Tulsa.
- February 5, 2016 at 3:35 pm #22887
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/02/04…l?intcmp=hpbt2 ‘Terror has arrived’: Official calls for San Bernardino employees to be armed
Published February 04, 2016
Two months after terrorists gunned down 14 unarmed San Bernardino county workers in a gun-free zone, one local official is calling for county employees to be permitted to carry guns at work and have access to weapons at county facilities.
The proposal made by First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors, but Longwood said it’s time “to make a strategic shift.” The plan has yet to be formally presented, FOX11 reported.
“Empowering the people to protect themselves is a good place to start,” Lovingood said in an opinion piece for The Victorville Daily Press.
Lovingood was one of the public faces in the aftermath of the San Bernardino attack, providing information to the public after two Islamic terrorists killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center.
“Terror has arrived at our doorsteps, and we will and we can never be the same again,” he said during the first Board of Supervisors meeting after the attack.
Lovingood’s plan is a three-pronged approach: Calling for county workers – especially those with military experience – to be voluntarily armed, advocating for a “strategically located weapons” cache and encouraging the populace to apply for concealed weapons permits.
“Make no mistake: This is not a call for vigilantism,” Lovingood wrote. “This is a call for self-defense under the law.”
The proposal has drawn mixed reactions so far.
“I can see why that would be a really good idea, but I can also see why that would bother a lot of people for people to be armed here,” Anthony McCune, a land use technician with the county, told FOX11.
While Lovingood works to drum up support for the first two points of his plan, there’s already plenty of movement on the last one.
Gun sales have spiked in San Bernardino since the Dec. 2 shootings and so have applications for concealed carry permits. The county reported a nine-fold increase in applications in the month after the attack, according to The Desert Sun. Jodi Miller, a public information officer with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, told FoxNews.com that more than 1,000 new applications have flooded in for concealed carry permits in the last two months.
But the Sheriff’s Department has had a tough time keeping up with the deluge of permit requests. Miller said the department was adding personnel to help alleviate the backlog of applications, but as of now the wait is 12 months. Before the attacks, the wait was about three months.
Miller was asked if Sheriff John McMahon supported Lovingood’s proposal.
“The Sheriff’s Department supports any decision made by the Board of Supervisors,” she said.
- February 12, 2016 at 11:14 am #23694
- February 12, 2016 at 11:15 am #23695
- February 12, 2016 at 11:18 am #23697
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