Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Constitution

New Jersey Gives the Raspberry to the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment Ruling

This article appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 26, 2022:  

The day after the Supreme Court gave full throat to the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in public (while striking down New York’s onerous restrictions on such ownership) back in June, anti-gun Democrat New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced he would find a way to “work around” the high court’s ruling.

The ruling in Bruen — New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen — struck down New York’s “proper cause” requirement and, by implication, New Jersey’s “justifiable need” requirement for a citizen to be able to exercise his Second Amendment rights.

So, New Jersey Democrats, fully in control of both houses of the legislature and the governor’s mansion, launched bill A4769, which Murphy signed into law last week.

Under New Jersey’s old law, now discarded, virtually no one (except the elite, of course) could own a firearm. Under Murphy’s new law, no one may carry a firearm virtually anywhere. According to a lawsuit filed immediately after Murphy signed A4769 into law:

A4769 unconstitutionally suppresses the fundamental right to bear arms in: parks, beaches, libraries, museums, theatres, playgrounds, zoos, medical offices, sports arenas, restaurants, public gatherings, casinos, one’s own car and other vehicles, and presumptively all private property.

The bill also makes it nearly impossible for a citizen to obtain permission to purchase a firearm, despite the Bruen decision. The law prohibits the issuance of permits based on “character” and “temperament,” uses social media posts by the applicant as valid reasons for denying a permit, and requires four — four! — endorsements by unrelated parties assuring the governmental authorities of the applicant’s character. Furthermore, local law enforcement officials will then interview each of those four endorsers to make sure that they aren’t somehow in violation of some law themselves.

The permitting fee, under the new law, is raised from $50 to $200, and liability insurance is required to be purchased by the application. Unfortunately, there are no carriers presently providing such coverage in New Jersey.

Not surprisingly, the new law creates a “special class” of citizens — public officials — to whom the new law doesn’t apply (no permit required, and few restrictions on where they may carry a firearm).

The lawsuit filed on the same day that Murphy signed the bill into law pointed out the hypocrisy of the new law:

When [We] the People, by enacting that [Second] amendment, enshrined in their fundamental charter the right to “carry weapons in case of confrontation” for the “core lawful purpose of self-defense,” [quoting from the high court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller], they [the founders] did not mean to leave the freedom to exercise that right at the mercy of the very government officials whose hands they sought to bind.

At the time of the Bruen decision in June there were eight states with “may issue” laws that were struck down. In six of them — California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware — they either moved to remove the offending statutes from their books or were considering making such changes. New York, and now New Jersey, are instead giving the raspberry to the high court.

They are swimming upstream. Since the June ruling by the high court, nearly one million citizens in those former “may issue” states have purchased a firearm. Nationally, background checks are averaging nearly two million a month.

And a recent poll by the Marquette University School of Law revealed that almost two out of every three citizens support the Bruen decision.

So, New York and New Jersey are outliers in the great debate over the Second Amendment versus state government restrictions and limitations. The lawsuit, brought by the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc., an NRA affiliate, was filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. It asks simply that the court declares “immediate and urgent injunctive relief … [and rules] that New Jersey’s brand new law … is unconstitutional.”

FBI Analyst Sues Bureau for Placing Him on Leave for “Conspiratorial” Views

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 21, 2022:  

Marcus Allen (not the NFL player), a former FBI analyst, was caught in the ongoing “purge” of American patriots from the FBI last January and, with the help of Judicial Watch, filed suit against the FBI last week. After serving the country as a Marine with two tours in Iraq, he joined the FBI seven years ago.

His record was unblemished until January, when he received this letter from the HR department of the FBI:

This letter is to inform you, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Security Programs Manager, I (Jennifer Leigh Moore, acting Executive Assistant Director) am suspending your Top Secret security clearance effective upon receipt of this letter.

 

The Security Division has learned that you have espoused conspiratorial views both orally and in writing and promoted unreliable information which indicates support for the events of January 6th….

 

The suspension of your security clearance is based on security concerns related to [an internal guideline]….

 

You will not be allowed access to FBI space … You may not represent yourself as an FBI employee.

In February he received another letter indicating that he was being placed on administrative leave, without pay. Under the terms of that letter, Allen, if he wanted to obtain other employment outside the agency, would first have to obtain approval from his former employer.

When he tried to earn some money selling a personally written prayer journal, the agency ignored his petition to do so. Apparently, starvation is part of the retaliation and punishment the FBI metes out to those who might hold views it doesn’t like.

In May, he was called in for an interview by the agency. Since then, nothing has changed: He and his family (wife and three children) have used up their savings and are now living off early withdrawals from his pension account.

Judicial Watch (JW), self-described as “a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation which … fulfills its educational mission through litigation,” filed a lawsuit against the FBI:

Plaintiff … brings this action … against Defendant Director of the FBI Christopher Wray for violating Plaintiff’s rights, pursuant to the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution….

 

By a letter dated February 17, 2022, the FBI placed Plaintiff on administrative leave without pay due to the suspension of his security clearance.

 

Plaintiff has never “espoused conspiratorial views” and does not support the “events of January 6th,” which on information and belief is a reference to the unlawful activities that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 (hereafter “January 6”).

 

The FBI has not identified any specific statements or actions supporting its contention that Plaintiff has done otherwise.

 

Prior to the January 10, 2022 letter, Plaintiff had never been disciplined in any manner during his years of service to the FBI…

Judicial Watch wrote that Allen had no connection with the January 6 incident:

Plaintiff was not involved in the events of January 6 and did not support them in any material way.

 

The FBI has made no allegation or offered any evidence to the contrary.

 

Plaintiff has expressed no view that could be reasonably interpreted as personally expressing support or sympathy for any unlawful activity that occurred on January 6.

In the months since Allen received the letter, the FBI has gone dark:

In the ten months since Plaintiff was placed on administrative leave without pay, the FBI has made no decision or taken any other action regarding the suspension of Plaintiff’s security clearance.

 

Because no decision has been made or any action taken on the security clearance suspension, Plaintiff has had no meaningful opportunity to challenge being placed on administrative leave without pay.

Nor has he had any opportunity to earn any income since he was placed on unpaid leave:

Despite being placed on unpaid administrative leave, Plaintiff is required to obtain the FBI’s approval for outside employment.

 

To this end, Plaintiff authored a prayer journal and sought permission from the FBI to sell the journal. After initially engaging with Plaintiff, the FBI has ignored his request for approval of outside employment, reaching no decision on whether he is permitted to sell copies of the prayer journal.

Judicial Watch spelled out what Allen wants the court to do:

  1. Declare that [the internal guideline] on its face … violates the First Amendment Free Speech Clause of the U.S. Constitution;
  2. Declare that [the guideline] violates the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution;
  3. Permanently enjoin [the FBI or any of its agents] from enforcing [the guideline]; and
  4. Declare [that the FBI] is in violation of the law, and order the FBI to act promptly in regard to [Allen’s] security clearance and employment suspension by reinstating [Allen’s] security clearance and returning [Allen] to active duty with the FBI.

Judicial Watch failed to demand that the FBI respond to Allen’s demands within a certain time frame, especially important in light of the agency’s policy to starve Allen and his family as punishment and retaliation for any perceived failure on his part to embrace fully the FBI’s agenda concerning the January 6 incident.

It’s likely the “guideline” is being used not only against Allen but against other FBI employees as a weapon to enforce submission of its employees to that agenda.

Virginia Restaurateur Fights State’s Democrat-controlled ABC to a Standstill

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 19, 2022:  

Virginia’s Democrat-controlled Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) finally decided to cut its losses and caved on Wednesday.

On Dec. 2, a gaggle of ABC agents and Virginia state troopers had descended on Matt Strickland’s restaurant, Gourmeltz, and Strickland recorded it all on his iPhone.

For once, The Washington Post got it right:

On the morning of Dec. 2, as agents with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Commission boxed up bottles from the bar at Gourmeltz in Fredericksburg, Va., owner Matt Strickland took out his phone and began recording. He pointed his camera at the ABC agents, along with the Virginia state troopers who accompanied them, and accused them all of supporting tyranny. He questioned their loyalty to country and the constitution. He questioned their manhood.

 

“What you’re doing right now is government overreach. What you’re doing right now is supporting a tyrannical government,” Strickland told the officers as he panned his phone around the room. “The Constitution means more to me than my self-preservation. If any of you guys had the b—- to stand up and say that, and fight for that, this would not be going on right now.”

 

When the agents responded that they’re simply executing a lawful search warrant, Strickland compared them to former Nazi officers who, during the Nuremberg trials, said they were just following orders. “So many people were just doing their job for Hitler back in Germany,” he told the agents and troopers, their faces as still as stone.

After seizing all of his alcoholic beverages, they informed Strickland that he was closed until January 31, 2023.

The public, which recently had tossed the state’s Democratic governor and his attorney general, rallied, and on Wednesday the ABC announced its  “settlement” with Strickland:

Virginia ABC and Gourmeltz LLC have entered into a Consent Agreement resolving all issues associated with the serving of alcohol products without the requisite license to do so at the restaurant.

 

Effective December 23, 2022, the mixed beverage and wine and beer licenses of Gourmeltz will be reinstated.

The ABC managed to squeeze a CYA out of Strickland:

It is understood and agreed by the Parties that the Consent Agreement and related obligations are neither an admission nor denial of liability or wrongdoing on the part of any of the Parties.

Nothing was said about the legal fees Strickland has incurred, estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nothing was said about the state’s Department of Health backing down after Strickland fought them in court. Nothing was said about the commission being staffed with Democratic holdovers from Democratic Governor Ralph Northam’s administration that put them onto the commission.

The backstory is this: Strickland is a former military serviceman, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than 15 years. Upon leaving he started a melted-cheese-sandwich business out of a truck. In two years his business grew to the point where he decided to open a retail location.

Things went swimmingly until March 2020. Then, using Covid as an excuse, Virginia Democrats issued all manner of decrees, mandates, and demands. Masks were required for both his staff and his customers. His seating capacities were limited. Social distancing was required. Even bartenders had to follow strange and convoluted rules. Explained Strickland:

My bartender couldn’t serve a customer across the counter at the bar.

 

He could make a drink right in front of him though, but then he had to walk around the bar and serve it to them side by side.

 

Just stuff like that just didn’t make any sense, so it seemed to be more about control than our health and safety.

After 90 days of this silliness Strickland fought back, and incurred the wrath of the health department.

As Strickland explained:

We took it all the way. I mean they tried to settle with me on several different occasions saying, “hey man, instead of X amount of dollars and suspension of your license, just give us a quarter of that and we’ll make it go away.”

 

I declined every settlement that they sent me and we took it all the way to court and we won and we got our health department license back.

Not so quickly the ABC. It apparently was determined to make a point: “thou shalt not resist the state.” But reality set in, and they finally settled.

Strickland isn’t done, not by a long shot. He is now running for the Virginia state Senate. When asked if he was going to run as a Republican, he scoffed, reminding reporters that none of the Republicans in office stood by him while the battle was raging, though they were only too happy to support him and the cause of freedom after he’d won. Said Strickland: “My loyalty is to America, and that’s it.”

Oregon Judge Shreds State’s Defense, Extends Ban on Measure 114

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 16, 2022:  

Robert Raschio, presiding judge for Oregon’s 24th Judicial District, heard arguments on both sides of the issue on Tuesday and then extended the ban on implementation of Measure 114, while lambasting the state’s defense.

At issue is just the part of the law — which was narrowly passed in November — that restricts the sale, ownership, or possession of magazines to 10 rounds or fewer. Raschio has put in place a separate ban on implementing the rest of Measure 114.

That separate ban will remain in place, ruled Raschio:

The court will maintain the Temporary Restraining Order [TRO] … until the state provides notice that it is prepared to deploy a “Permit to Purchase” program.… The court will [then] hold a preliminary injunction hearing … to determine if [that] program can constitutionally be deployed.

On Tuesday, in an attempt to make its case that the magazine ban didn’t infringe on the rights Oregonians have under the state’s constitution, the defense tried to fudge the numbers. It claimed that 593 people died from firearms in 2020.

But looking closely at a study presented by the defense, the judge pointed out that “in 2020, 122 of [those deaths were] with a weapon … and 70.5% of those weapons were firearms meaning [that in a state with more than 3.4 million citizens] there were 86 homicides with [a] firearm.”

He pointed out that “magazines are an integral part of firearms…. Limiting magazine sizes has a direct impact on who can use a firearm in self-defense…. Weaker individuals compensate for the inability to use larger caliber ammunition with larger magazines.” 

But he saved his vitriol for the defense’s use of “proof” provided by a study titled “Evidence Concerning the Regulation of Firearms Design, Sale, and Carrying on Fatal Mass Shootings in the United States.”

He wrote:

The results were the researchers “found no evidence that concealed carry laws, assault weapons bans, prohibitions for domestic abusers and violent misdemeanants, or point-of-sale [criminal background checks] were associated with the incidents of fatal mass shootings.”…

 

The court finds the article states there is no scientific certainty [that] large capacity magazine bans have an impact on fatalities and casualties.

Raschio went on by quoting from the study itself:

The findings of this study suggest that the most common policy prescriptions offered by advocates on each side of the debate over gun control — comprehensive background checks and assault weapon bans on one side and so-called “Right to Carry” [i.e., “Constitutional Carry”] laws reducing restrictions on civilian concealed carry of firearms on the other side — do not seem to be associated with the incidence of fatal mass shootings.

The judge also found “that there is less than a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of a person being a fatality in a mass shooting in Oregon, and even less with an offender who is using large capacity magazines.”

He added that “The court cannot sustain a restraint on a constitutional right on mere speculation that the restriction could promote public safety,” and then ended with gusto:

The defendants’ own literature “seems” to show that the ban will help with fatalities. No definitive scientific evidence has been provided that large capacity magazine bans have any impact on the number of fatalities or casualties now or in future events.

The defendants have until December 23 to shore up their argument. That’s the day when Judge Raschio will hear an appeal to his extension of the ban by the state’s attorney general.

Another Free-speech Lawsuit Goes to Trial

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 13, 2022:  

When Kiersten Hening, a starting forward on the Virginia Tech soccer team, didn’t kowtow to pressure to “kneel” during a “social justice” event at the start of an Atlantic Coast Conference game in the fall of 2020, her coach, Charles Adair, retaliated.

At halftime he castigated her in front of her teammates, and cut her time on the field drastically during the second half. During film review of the game the following week Adair continued to chastise and criticize her, and cut her from the starting lineup ahead of the next two games.

Kiersten just couldn’t go along with the display of “unity” following the death of George Floyd that Virginia Tech embraced. As the lawsuit noted:

On September 3, 2020, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (“ACC”) Committee for Racial and Social Justice announced that, in addition to creating an ACC Unity Symbol and implementing mandatory “diversity and inclusion training for student-athletes” focused on “anti-racism,” a Unity Statement would be read before every ACC event.

 

This Unity Statement provided: “We, the ACC, are committed to seeing each other as equals, supporting each other, and treating each other with respect and dignity at all times, recognizing that our differences don’t divide us, but they make us stronger.”

 

As this Unity Statement was read prior to the UVA game, all but three of the players and coaches from both teams kneeled in an apparent show of support.

 

Hening and two of her teammates declined to kneel.

As Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar and professor at George Washington Law School, noted, “the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech includes both the right to speak freely, and the right to refrain from speaking at all.”

That right also includes, said Turley, “the right to be free from retaliation by a public official for the exercise of that right.”

Coach Adair, not understanding of Hening’s free-speech rights, violated them. He benched her, he publicly ridiculed her, he denounced her in front of her team, and, in the end, forced her to leave the team.

In early December, following oral presentations of both parties, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Cullen denied Adair’s move to dismiss the case, allowing Hening’s complaint to go to a jury trial.

Adair argued that Hening had failed to make a sufficient case against him. He tried to say that, while she was engaging in a First Amendment protected right by not kneeling, she couldn’t prove that he retaliated against her; i.e., that there was no “cause and effect.”

Instead, he claimed that he criticized her for her poor play in the first half of the game.

Judge Cullen didn’t buy it:

Whatever his motivations, the court has no trouble concluding that Adair’s conduct towards Hening — publicly chastising her, removing her from the starting lineup, and reducing her playing time — would tend to chill a person of ordinary firmness’s exercise of her First Amendment rights.

 

Indeed, Hening has testified that Adair’s actions caused her to take a knee prior to the second (Clemson) and third (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) games of the season before she decided to quit the team.

 

A reasonable jury, in sum, could find that Adair’s actions reasonably chilled Hening’s First Amendment expression.

Cullen concluded:

This motion [to dismiss] has been fully briefed by the parties, and the court heard oral argument on December 2, 2022 … the court will deny Adair’s motion and allow the case to proceed to trial.

Adair had better settle before that trial and get the best deal he can from his former player.

Christian Law Students Prevail in Free-speech Lawsuit Against University of Idaho

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Saturday, December 10, 2022:  

When a fellow law student asked a member of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) on the campus of the University of Idaho (UI) why the group holds to the traditional belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, she was told that it was because the Bible says so.

When the CLS member offered to discuss the matter further with her, if she cared to, she got offended, felt “threatened” for her “safety” and complained to the administration.

The school’s Office of Civil Rights & Investigations issued a “no-contact” order against not only the CLS student responding, but also two others and the CLS faculty advisor.

In April, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) brought a lawsuit against the university on behalf of the students, noting that “the founding fathers considered [the] irreducible minimum of free speech to be an inalienable natural right that could not be surrendered to the government … [but UI’s no-contact orders strike] at the very foundation of this guarantee.”

The order issued by the university was no simple “stay away from her” order, either. From the lawsuit:

On April 7, [2022] Defendants issued no-contact orders to [the three students] based on their protected speech….

 

Each order prohibits [the students] from “contacting Ms. Doe in any way, from this point forward, until otherwise notified.”

 

Defendants’ orders explain that contact “can be defined as, but is not limited to”: “[w]ritten,” “[v]erbal,” “[e]lectronic,” and “[n]on-[v]erbal” communication, including mail, letters, text messages, telephone, voicemail, in person, email, social media, skype, pictures, videos, or music.

 

The orders also require [the students], including [one] who currently attends four courses with Ms. Doe, to “sit on opposite sides of the room” from her during class.

 

If [any of the CLS members] believe they have a “legitimate reason” to contact Ms. Doe, they must first obtain permission from [the school].

 

The orders do not have a termination date or geographic limitation.

 

They apply indefinitely and both on and off campus.

 

They also threaten [the students] with discipline.

 

Defendants consider any violation of the no-contact orders to be “retaliation” that could lead to “suspension” or even “expulsion.”

 

Defendants issued the no-contact orders with almost no process.

 

They did not conduct any investigation regarding whether [the students] violated any University policy.

 

They did not provide [the students] with notice of the allegations against them. Nor did they allow [the students] to respond to any possible complaints against them.

 

Rather, Defendants issued the orders because they were “requested by [Ms. Doe]” and “deemed” — in Defendants’ own estimation — “reasonable based on the information presented.”

These “no-contact” orders against the three students “violate a host of free speech and free exercise principles.… [They] target [the students’] speech because of its content and viewpoint, impose a prior restraint [on such speech], and demonstrate hostility to their religion,” according to the lawsuit.

In May, the court ordered an expedited hearing on the matter, pushing the school toward reconciliation in advance of a full-blown jury trial. Last week the school relented and acquiesced to all demands, including rescinding the orders, terminating any investigation that the school might be doing into the matter, removing any notation of the incident from the students’ records, and agreeing to stop enforcing the school policies that “restrict or punish speech based on allegations of pure speech alone that does not rise to the level of harassment.”

The school also paid $90,000 as part of the settlement.

The school didn’t offer an apology, however, but instead explained that

The settlement, for the U of I, is a business decision and in the best interest of our students, the university, and the state of Idaho.

 

Litigation costs money and time as well as creates the potential for ongoing trauma to students.

And then the school whined that it was operating at a disadvantage because all the facts of the matter weren’t allowed to be presented:

The university is often disadvantaged in such a case as laws prevent us from sharing the full story.

It added that the school wasn’t about teaching the law, but about making it a “safe place” for students to live while studying the law:

This case, for us, has always been about safe access to education, which is paramount.

No, said ADF’s senior counsel Tyson Langhofer:

Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s leaders, judges, and school administrators, so it’s imperative that university officials model the First Amendment freedoms they are supposed to be teaching their students.

 

University of Idaho administrators cannot punish students because they dislike or disagree with their deeply held beliefs — that is religious discrimination and, unfortunately, necessitate[d] this lawsuit.

Southwest Airlines Unrepentant, Vows to Appeal Judgment in Free-speech Case

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 9, 2022:  

In his ruling this week, U.S. District Court Judge Brantley Starr slammed Southwest Airlines: “Bags fly free with Southwest. But free speech didn’t fly at all with Southwest in this case.”

This “case” goes back to 2017, when flight attendant Charlene Carter protested her union spending her dues to transport union officials to Washington, D.C., to attend a pro-abortion march. This conflicted greatly with her Christian views of the sanctity of life, and she expressed herself on Facebook and via emails.

In February 2017, she posted a video of an aborted fetus on her Facebook page along with this: “WARNING, this is VERY GRAPHIC!! I want my tax dollars to STOP funding this … PERIOD!!!! This is MURDER.”

A week later she sent four Facebook messages to the head of the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU), Audrey Stone. The messages included two videos of aborted fetuses, adding “This is what you supported during your paid leave with other [union members] at the Women’s March in D.C.… You truly are despicable.… By the way, [your] recall is going to happen.”

Carter, who began working for Southwest in 1996, opted out of the union in 2013 when she learned how actions of the union were violating her most cherished and deeply held Christian beliefs and principles. But she was forced to continue to pay dues to the union to keep her job.

The company brought her in for questioning over her social media posts, and a week later fired her.

Five years later, with the legal assistance of the National Right to Work Foundation, she filed suit, claiming the airline had violated her First Amendment right to free speech. In July, a federal court ruled in her favor, demanding that the airline and the union pay her more than $5 million in damages.

Carter celebrated:

Today is a victory for freedom of speech and religious beliefs. Flight attendants should have a voice and nobody should be able to retaliate against a flight attendant for engaging in protected speech against her union.

 

I am so humbled and thankful for today’s decision and for everyone who’s supported me these past five years, including the National Right to Work Foundation.

Her celebration was premature. In December, her award was reduced to $810,000 thanks to caps and other limitations on damages allowed by law.

But the judge ordered Southwest and the union to announce via email to every union member the results of July’s ruling against them. He also forbade both the company and the union “from discriminating against Southwest flight attendants for their religious practices and beliefs, including — but not limited to — those expressed on social media and those concerning abortion.”

Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Foundation, celebrated the court’s ruling but added a warning:

Southwest and TWU union officials made Ms. Carter pay an unconscionable price just because she decided to speak out against the political activities of union officials in accordance with her deeply held religious beliefs.

 

This decision vindicates Ms. Carter’s rights — but it’s also a stark reminder of the retribution that union officials will mete out against employees who refuse to toe the union line.

Arielle Del Turco, assistant director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, issued a similar note of celebration and caution:

It’s sad that Southwest Airlines had to be told by a court that someone’s exercise of free speech is not an acceptable reason to fire them.

 

The reality is that we live in a society that is increasingly intolerant of Christian perspectives. Carter’s win is a powerful declaration affirming First Amendment protections for those working in major corporations who don’t want to check their faith at the door.

The fight isn’t over. The company, which complained that Carter violated company policy over her posts as they implicated her as an employee of Southwest, was only too happy to let company banners and supporters march in the pro-abortion march back in 2017.

Accordingly, Southwest has vowed to continue the fight and announced its intention to file an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Free speech isn’t free. Rights not exercised are often lost. The freedom fight is never over. Our appreciation goes out to Ms. Carter for standing tall and soldiering on in the face of opposition, oppression, and criticism. She stands for all who support the right of every citizen to speak in public without fear of sanction or punishment.

Judge Puts Hold on Oregon Gun-control Law

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 7, 2022:

Within hours of receiving the complaint over Oregon’s controversial Measure 114 — one of the nation’s strictest gun-control laws — Harney County Judge Robert Raschio issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the law’s implementation scheduled for tomorrow.

Raschio ruled that under Article I of the Oregon Constitution: “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves, and the State….” He wrote:

With implementation [of Measure 114], there are serious harms [not only to individual lawful gun owners but] to the public interest as well, which could include individuals being arrested and prosecuted for Class A misdemeanors under what could be found [later] to be an unconstitutional statutory scheme.

 

And that potential could happen if Ballot Measure 114 is allowed to go into effect without significant judicial scrutiny.

And then Raschio provided a mini-lesson in political philosophy, confirming the “sovereign citizen” basis upon which the state’s — and the federal — constitution is built:

And, certainly no one would argue that individual liberty is not a cornerstone of our country. First the people, then the state.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs celebrated the early victory:

On behalf of Gun Owners of America and our clients we are pleased with the decision and confident that courts will continue to see that Measure 114 is unconstitutional both because its permit to purchase scheme does not even currently exist and gives arbitrary discretion to licensing agents to deny Oregonians their constitutional rights, and [it] would prohibit the sale of most modern firearms since most are capable of being converted to hold more than 10 rounds [illegal under Measure 114].

The state’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, promised to file an appeal immediately to the state’s Supreme Court to reverse Raschio’s TRO.

In a separate but related ruling, on Tuesday U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut delayed implementation of part of Measure 114 for 30 days so that the court could allow both parties to present arguments in a judicial review of the law. Although she allowed the 30-day delay because the state didn’t have the regulatory infrastructure in place to enforce the law, she wrote that the complaint, brought by the Oregon Firearms Federation, was not persuasive:

Based on the record before this Court at this early stage in the litigation, this Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden showing that they are entitled to the extraordinary relief they seek.

 

Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that they will suffer immediate and irreparable harm if this Court does not block Measure 114 from taking effect on December 8, 2022.

 

Plaintiffs have not produced sufficient evidence at this stage to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their challenge to Measure 114’s restrictions on large-capacity magazines.

 

Plaintiffs have also failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on their facial challenge to Measure 114’s permitting provisions.

Lawyers for the Oregon Firearms Federation have their work cut out for them. They have just 30 days to prepare their clients’ case in such a way that, in the event Judge Immergut rules against them, they have sufficient and persuasive reasons to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The highest court in the land ruled in Bruen that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms outside of their home unless a government can justify infringements on that right. The high court has already ruled against California’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 cartridges.

Thus, an appeal of any of the lawsuits against Oregon’s Measure 114 now pending or about to be filed will likely find a friendly ear favoring the plaintiffs and law-abiding gun owners in the Beaver State.

SCOTUS Appears Favorable to Web Developer in Lawsuit Against Colorado Anti-discrimination law

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 6, 2022:  

Liberal media watching the two-and-a-half-hour oral arguments in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis on Monday concluded that Lorie Smith is likely to prevail in her preemptive lawsuit against Colorado’s anti-discrimination law and the state agency attempting to enforce it.

Reuters concluded that the high court “leans toward web designer” while Colorado’s liberal CPR News headlined: “Supreme Court seems poised to side with Colorado web Designer in 303 Creative case.” CPR reluctantly added that the high court is likely to rule “that creative businesses [like Lorie Smith’s] would be protected by the 1st Amendment.”

As The New American noted earlier, this case should never have been filed on an issue that never should have been raised, but Smith saw what was coming. Back in 2016, when Colorado’s Democrat-controlled legislature amended the “Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act”, Smith saw that her business would likely be targeted because of her Christian beliefs. That law prohibits businesses that are open to the public from denying the sale of goods or services to people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, or religion.

On her website, Smith makes clear her position:

As a Christian who believes that God gave me the creative gifts that are expressed through this business, I have always strived to honor Him in how I operate it….

 

Because of my faith … I am selective about the messages that I create or promote — while I will serve anyone, I am always careful to avoid communicating ideas or messages, or promoting events, products, services, or organizations, that are inconsistent with my religious beliefs.

After lower courts rebuffed her complaint, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case. The issue before the high court is “whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”

A lower court ruled that Colorado’s civil rights commission may force Smith to develop wedding-themed websites for same-sex couples, while at the same time denying her the freedom to explain her beliefs on her own website. The lone dissenter in that ruling, the 10th Circuit Court’s Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich, called the three-judge panel’s ruling “remarkable,” adding that somehow “Colorado has a compelling interest in forcing Ms. Smith to speak a government-approved message against her religious beliefs.… No case has ever gone so far.”

The problem, wrote Kaelan Deese for the Washington Examiner,

isn’t the law itself. It’s how Colorado was applying the law to Lorie and to other artists by trying to compel their expression, and that’s simply not the way these public accommodation laws are meant to be enforced.

The “problem,” then, isn’t the law but how the civil rights commission is using it to quash her religious expression on her own website. Simply put, this is the “separation of church and state” canard taken to its logical extreme: The government is free to banish all religious expression from the culture. Lorie Smith was just the most recent example of the commission’s pursuit of that outcome.

When Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson tried to differentiate Smith’s business from that of a freelance speech writer, Justice Neil Gorsuch took Smith’s position:

What she has said [is] I will not sell to anyone a message that I disagree with as a matter of my religious faith, just as a speech writer says or a free-lance writer says, I will not sell to anyone a speech that offends my religious beliefs.

The clash between the culture and religion, expressed during the oral arguments on Monday, appeared in stark relief among those who took sides. On Lorie’s side are the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Cato Institute, while those taking Colorado’s side included the Biden administration, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Outside the Supreme Court building, the clash was even starker. On one side advocates for Smith carried blue and white balloons that read “Create Freely 303 Creative” while those on the other side were members of the American Atheists and the Satanic church carrying signs that read “Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay, Christian Fascists go Away!”

The high court will issue its ruling in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis next June.

NRA Files Lawsuit Against Oregon Gun-control Law

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 5, 2022:

A third lawsuit challenging Oregon’s Measure 114 was filed on Thursday by the Oregon State Shooting Association, the state’s affiliate of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

As The New American noted regarding the requirements of Measure 114,

Anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm would first have to gain permission to do so by paying a fee of $65, completing an application, attending an “approved” firearms safety course at his own expense, submitting a photo ID and fingerprints, and then passing an in-depth background check that includes questions about his mental health.

Regrettably, the lawsuit filed on Thursday reveals that the “permission process” is vastly more complex than reported:

Measure 114 imposes severe and unprecedented burdens on individuals seeking to exercise perhaps the most basic right guaranteed by the Second Amendment: the right to lawfully acquire a firearm.

 

Although Measure 114 bills itself as creating a “shall issue” licensing regime that awards applicants a five-year “permit-to-purchase” firearms, in reality it erects a Kafkaesque regime that finds no support in history, tradition, or even modern regulation and that suffers from literally every defect the Supreme Court just identified as antithetical to the Second Amendment.

 

Under Measure 114, an individual must obtain a “permit-to-purchase” before she may acquire a firearm by any means. Obtaining this permit is no mean feat. To start, before an individual can even submit an application for the new permit, she first must complete a “firearms training course” that satisfies various strict new criteria…. But the state does not provide any such courses, and none that satisfies its demanding new criteria currently exists.

 

Even if one managed to take this as-yet-non-existent course, there would still be many hurdles yet to clear. Next up is submitting to fingerprinting and photographing by the sheriff or police chief, who must then ask the Department of State Police (“DSP”) to conduct a criminal background check…. That alone could delay any ability to exercise Second Amendment rights indefinitely, since Measure 114 neither imposes any time constraint on DSP to conduct the check nor creates a mechanism to force DSP to act.

Space does not permit listing the additional requirements to obtain permission to exercise a Second Amendment right, but the lawsuit sums it up nicely:

The net result is that, come just one week from now [Thursday, December 8], no one will be able to lawfully purchase a firearm in Oregon. [Emphasis in original.]

That’s how Oregon voters responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bruen: by embracing one of the strictest gun laws in the nation instead of celebrating the high court’s affirmation of the Second Amendment.

Last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut heard two hours of arguments in the first lawsuit brought against the Oregon gun-control law, filed by the Oregon Firearms Federation. She said she will rule shortly on the matter, likely before the law becomes effective.

Judge Immergut is going to be busy. A fourth lawsuit against the gun-control law was filed late Friday, by Sportsmen’s Warehouse, and other lawsuits are pending.

 

Lawsuits Challenge Oregon’s Draconian Gun-control Law

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 2, 2022:  

Oregonians, by the slimmest of margins — 27,000 votes out of 1.9 million cast — passed Measure 114, touted as one of the nation’s strictest gun-control laws. It is also doomed to failure at the U.S. Supreme Court, if the two lawsuits just filed against it get that far.

In Bruen, the high court ruled in June not only that New York’s gun permit requirements violated the Constitution, but also affirmed the right of a citizen to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense.

The Supreme Court just added to those rulings with another one, this one overturning California’s ban on magazines carrying more than 10 rounds of ammunition. In that ruling the high court directed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to “revisit” its ruling supporting California’s 10-round magazine ban.

Nevertheless, voters in the Beaver State passed Measure 114, which is to become effective December 8. Anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm would first have to gain permission to do so by paying a fee of $65, completing an application, attending an “approved” firearms safety course at his own expense, submit a photo ID and fingerprints, and then pass an in-depth background check that includes questions about his mental health.

Assuming he obtains permission, he would then be unable to purchase a magazine containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition, under Measure 114.

The first lawsuit, filed on November 18, was brought by the Oregon Firearms Federation against the governor and the attorney general of the state. It claimed that the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen requires that any state attempting to infringe on the Second Amendment must justify that infringement:

The standard for applying the Second Amendment is as follows:

 

When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.

 

Only then may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s unqualified command.

The lawsuit claims that Measure 114 cannot be justified and should be tossed.

The second lawsuit, filed on November 30, was brought by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition against Oregon’s attorney general and the head of the Oregon State Police. Its focus was on the 10-round magazine ban, claiming that “absent relief from this court, defendants will violate the constitutionally protected rights of Oregon’s law-abiding citizens,” adding that such a ban “will do nothing to address or ameliorate … public policy concerns [over gun violence].”

To bolster its case, the lawsuit refers to both the California ruling — Duncan v. Bonta — as well as Bruen. On June 30, the Supreme Court issued in Duncan v. Bonta a “GVR” — grant, vacate, and remand — to the lower court. This requires the 9th Circuit Court to “adjudicate” its prior ruling in a manner consistent with the high court’s ruling.

It also noted that the Bruen decision protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms outside the home: “When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct.”

These arguments are to be heard by U. S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut today in Portland.

“Respect for Marriage Act” One Step Away From Becoming Law

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 30, 2022:

As expected, enough Senate Republicans caved on Tuesday to help the Democrats pass their anti-Christian “Respect for Marriage Act.” The bill is now headed to the House, where changes made to the bill to mollify conservatives and assure its passage will be affirmed, and from there on to the White House for signing into law.

Much ado was made about the changes in the original bill offered back in July, to offset criticism that the language all but invited state officials, attorneys general, and the IRS to target not only churches but any group opposed to their same-sex marriage agenda.

The modifications promise “No impact on religious liberty and conscience”:

Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.

 

Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.

Mat Staver, founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, saw through the deceptive language: “This amendment does very little to protect religious freedom, but it was the hook to garner the votes of 12 Republicans.… The amendment … does nothing to protect Christians and other faithful religious adherents.”

Staver explained:

The bill has essentially no religious liberty protections. The fact that three religious liberty amendments were rejected by the Senate (proposed by Sens. Lee, Lankford and Rubio) in favor of the Baldwin-Collins amendment illustrates the open disdain the bill presents to religious freedom.

Staver revealed the pernicious and odious intentions of the bill:

Because HR 8404 changes federal policy, government edicts on marriage, schools and families WILL change, and all of America will be forced in one way or another to bow to the never-ending LGBTQ political agenda….

 

And because this federal bill removes gender from the gender-based relationship of marriage, it undermines gender altogether and opens the door to yet more child mutilation via “transgender” surgeries — all because a deviant Congress is saying gender does not matter and perversion should be embraced and even celebrated.

Another public-interest law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), expands on the bill’s purpose:

This dangerously cynical and completely unnecessary bill is a direct attack on the First Amendment.

 

It does nothing to change the legal status of same-sex marriage anywhere. But it undermines religious freedom everywhere and exposes Americans throughout the country to predatory lawsuits by activists seeking to use the threat of litigation to silence debate and exclude people of faith from the public square.

 

Today, the Senate has chosen to disregard legitimate concerns about the undeniable harms of this bill.

 

If the Senate truly cared about protecting religious freedom, it would have included comprehensive amendments proposed by Sens. Lee, Rubio, and Lankford.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, sees the threat to Christians and Christian organizations built into the bill about to become law:

The amended language includes vague assurances that the legislation will not violate religious freedom but it mostly assures us that the bill will not do what no one claimed it would do, such as require congregations and churches to solemnize same-sex marriages.

 

What is left wide open is the threat to ministries such as Christian orphanages and children’s care as well as adoption ministries and foster care. This amended language resolves nothing, but is offered as an assurance that religious freedom is protected.

Mohler points out still another fault hidden in the language of the bill: “By the way, the language of the bill does not offer any absolute protection against polygamy if a state legalizes it in some form.”

What is clear is that, once signed into law, the bill will in fact allow state officials, state attorneys general from liberal states, and the IRS to ramp up their attacks on Christians and Christian ministries. Senator Mike Lee expressed his disappointment that his amendment to clarify this failed, along with the warning:

Despite the support of every voting Republican but one, and even a Democrat, the Respect for Marriage Act just passed [the Senate] without my amendment, which would have prevented the government from retaliating against religious individuals and institutions for their sincerely held religious beliefs regarding marriage.

 

This is a discouraging development in our country’s storied history of protecting the free exercise of religion.

The bill, once signed into law, will be such an egregious threat to the First Amendment that it is likely that the ADF and Liberty Counsel are already looking into challenging it in court.

Biden Rants Against Guns Again, but Little Chance Anything Passes in Lame-duck Session

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Saturday, November 26, 2022:  

Like a windup doll, White House resident Joe Biden took off after assault weapons following two recent mass shootings. Early on Thanksgiving Day he told reporters, “the idea … we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.”

He thinks he might be able to get something passed during the upcoming lame-duck session of congress — that lull in the storm between the midterm elections and the installation of a new Congress in January: “I’m going to do it whenever I — I got to make that assessment as I get in and start counting the votes.”

The votes aren’t there, Joe. For a sweeping gun-control bill banning the purchase, possession, or sale of semi-automatic firearms to pass the Senate, it must first pass a nearly insurmountable barrier: the filibuster.

As the liberal Brennan Center for Justice explains:

Once a bill gets to a vote on the Senate floor, it requires a simple majority of 51 votes to pass after debate has ended.

 

But there’s a catch: before it can get to a vote, it actually takes 60 votes to cut off debate, which is why a 60-vote supermajority is now considered the de facto minimum for passing legislation in the Senate.

But there’s the “silent” filibuster rule that may end any chance of Biden getting anything passed:

But since the early 1970s, senators have been able to use a “silent” filibuster. Anytime a group of 41 or more senators simply threatens a filibuster, the Senate majority leader can refuse to call a vote.

Dead. Done. Gone.

So ol’ Joe can count votes until the end of time and there’s little chance anything the Democrats can dream up to infringe further on citizens’ Second Amendment rights will see the light of day between now and January.

But that doesn’t mean ol’ Joe won’t keep trying. Somehow he thinks that with sufficient repetition of the lie that the problem is guns, not the people using them, voters will support a ban on them.

In August, following the Uvalde, Texas, shooting at Robb Elementary School (where, it will be remembered, law enforcement delayed responding to the threat for 74 minutes!), Biden repeated the canard: “A 20-year-old kid can walk in and buy [a firearm]? … What’s the matter with us?” He added: “I’m determined to ban assault weapons in this country. Determined. I did it once, and I’ll do it again.”

Of course, he is referring to the Clinton gun ban of 1994 that ended after ten years of evidence showing that it did nothing to reduce gun violence.

According to Biden, it’s the firearms themselves that somehow are the cause of the shootings. In August he repeated the fable: “We’re living in a country awash with weapons of war. Weapons that weren’t designed to hunt, they’re designed to take on an enemy … what’s the rationale for these weapons outside of a war zone?”

He added:

We have to act for all those kids gunned down on our streets every single day that never make the news…. You have to act so our kids can learn to read in school, instead of learning to duck and cover.

Journalists unpacking the lies spouted by ol’ Joe in just this statement alone could make a nice living doing so.

In his statement following the recent shooting in Colorado Springs, Biden touted his support for a law that further infringes on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, the real target (sorry) of the legislation:

Earlier this year, I signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly three decades, in addition to taking other historic actions. But we must do more. We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets.

Biden is referring to what the mainstream media called the “most important piece of gun legislation since 1994,” which includes the odious and unconstitutional federal funding for red flag laws to states wanting to pass them.

All those red flag laws have managed to do, according to the Associated Press, is “remove the firearms from people 15,049 times since 2020,” but with no evidence of any measurable related decrease in gun violence.

Naturally, rights are in danger any time Congress is in session, but even more so during the lame-duck session, as enough Republicans In Name Only could climb on board a complete firearms ban to end the filibuster, providing a path to the legislation’s passage, while escaping punishment from voters.

Policewoman Sues to Stop Union From Taking Dues From Her Paycheck

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 25, 2022:  

When Melodie DePierro joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2006, she agreed to let its union, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, take her dues automatically from her paycheck.

When she resigned from the union in 2020, she informed them that she was quitting and to stop taking the dues from her paycheck. The union refused, claiming that under a newly crafted and approved contract she only had 20 days — from October 1 to October 20 — to order the union to stop. Since she missed “the window,” the union continued deducting its dues from her paycheck.

She sued to get her money back. Lower courts held for the union. The case was picked up by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which filed a request for the Supreme Court — a “petition for writ of certiorari,” in legalese — to consider her case.

Why is this case important? Because DePierro’s claims are based on a Supreme Court ruling from 2018, Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees), in which the high court ruled that the taking of such fees without written consent violates a citizen’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion in Janus that such action violates “the free speech rights of nonmembers [of public unions] by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”

This is a modern-day restatement of the principle voiced by Thomas Jefferson: “To compel a man [or woman] to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he [or she] disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

In Janus, the high court referred to the right to free speech as a “fixed star”:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. [Emphasis in original.]

DePierro’s attorneys built on that idea:

That fixed star shines throughout the year — not only for a few days. [Quoting Janus]: “Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command.”

They maintained that “this case is exceptionally important,” as a decision would affect all public employees, active or retired, represented by unions who are reacting to Janus by installing such “window periods” in their contracts.

A favorable decision in this case would add an additional bulwark to the complaints bound to follow passage of the odious “Respect for Marriage Act” expected next week. Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee makes the case that the way that law is written, it can and will be used to bludgeon into submission any groups (churches, charities, even states) that refuse to recognize same-sex marriage — upon threat of losing their precious federal funding or tax-exempt status.

Those complaints should remind the courts of the statement from Janus, above, that “no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” (Emphasis added.)

The petition for policewoman Melodie DePierro was filed with the Supreme Court on November 21. A decision to accept it won’t be made for at least several months.

Newsmax Gets It Wrong on Colorado Springs Shooting

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 22, 2022:  

Just hours after the horrific mass shooting at Club Q — a gay and lesbian nightclub in Colorado Springs — Eric Mack, a journalist with Newsmax, did the automatic thing: he reached out to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) for some data. Without analyzing the actual data Mack appeared to be content with simply adding up all their “Mass Shootings in 2022” and wrote this:

After a week of a pair of mass shootings — an LGBTQ club in Colorado and the University of Virginia — the U.S. total has gone over 600 for the year at a record-setting pace, according to Gun Violence Archive data.

Mack added, “A mass shooting is defined as one where four or more people are injured or killed by firearms, which does not include the shooter being stopped.”

It was easy then for him to conclude that “mass shootings” are on the upswing: “Nearly 700 mass shootings occurred in 2021, up from 610 in 2020 and just 417 in 2019.”

Except that in 2019 there were only 30 mass shootings, according to the FBI. And in 2020, instead of 610 such incidents, the FBI reported only 20, a 50-percent decline over 2019!

AWR Hawkins, the Second Amendment writer for Breitbart, explained why: “The GVR standard [when counting mass shootings] is a much lower threshold for qualifying incidents as ‘mass shootings’ than has traditionally been used. In fact, it allows incidents in which there were no fatalities to be counted.… It also allows gang incidents, drive-by shootings, and other common street crimes to be counted as ‘mass shootings.’”

Investigative journalist Lee Williams, writing for Armed American News, was much more explicit:

According to their new report titled: “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2020,” the FBI defines active shootings as:

 

Shootings in public places

 

Shootings occurring at more than one location

 

Shootings where the shooter’s actions were not the result of another criminal act

 

Shootings resulting in a mass killing

 

Shootings indicating apparent spontaneity by the shooter

 

Shootings where the shooter appeared to methodically search for potential victims

 

Shootings that appeared focused on injury to people, not buildings or objects

 

 

Shootings were excluded from the FBI’s list if they were the result of:

 

Self-defense

 

Gang violence

 

Drug violence

 

Contained residential or domestic disputes

 

Controlled barricade/hostage situations

 

Crossfire as a byproduct of another ongoing criminal act

 

An action that appeared not to have put other people in peril

Williams noted, “By comparison, the Gun Violence Archive excludes nothing, even if the shooting is gang or drug related — the two main causes of most violence in the country today.”

Why do mainstream journalists turn so readily to GVA for data on mass shootings? Wrote Wiliams, “Anytime four or more people are killed or even slightly wounded with a firearm, it’s labeled a mass shooting, and politicians, gun control advocates and the mainstream media treat their reports as if they’re gospel.”

GVA includes everything, and lets those writers seeking to promote their anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda decide for themselves how they will use the data. The GVA website records police shooting injuries and deaths, mass shootings, individual gun related incidents, suicides, injuries, teen, child, and adult related injuries and deaths.

Another writer who fell into the GVA data trap is Mother Jones Editor Mark Follman. In 2015 he used their data to claim that there were 355 “mass shootings” that year, but then discovered the mistake, and corrected it:

At Mother Jones, where I work as an editor, we have compiled an in-depth open-source database covering more than three decades of public mass shootings. By our measure, there have been four “mass shootings” this year, including the one in San Bernardino, and [just] 73 such attacks since 1982.

We are persuaded that Newsmax writer Eric Mack made an honest mistake. We are not persuaded that mainstream media writers are as innocent of misusing GVA data.

Lawsuit Claims FDA Declared Pregnancy an “Illness”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 21, 2022:  

The public interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed the first lawsuit of its kind on Friday. It sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claiming that for decades the agency has operated outside its legal boundaries, has failed to protect young pregnant women, and has ignored science in favor of politics in the process:

The FDA failed America’s women and girls when it chose politics over science and approved chemical abortion drugs for use in the United States.

 

And it has continued to fail them by repeatedly removing even the most basic precautionary requirements associated with their use….

 

Plaintiffs … ask that the Court hold [the agency’s actions] unlawful, set them aside, and vacate them.

The use of RU-486, aka mifepristone, was successfully blocked by pro-life groups for years after it was developed in France. But during the Clinton administration, then-president Bill Clinton instructed the FDA to promote the testing, licensing (for profit), and manufacture of the drug.

This led to the French pharmaceutical company that held the patent on the life-ending drug to donate it for free to the Rockefeller Foundation-sponsored Population Council. From there it was a short hop to approval by the FDA. By September 2000, the FDA had approved the council’s application, and abortion by ingesting poisonous chemicals became legal in the United States.

There was major pushback against the FDA, including two citizen petitions, both of which were ignored for years by the agency before finally being rejected. Along the way the agency continued to make the drug ever more accessible, finally even making it available by mail.

Ironically, one of the plaintiffs in the case, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, has adopted its own version of the Hippocratic Oath:

The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM) upholds and promotes the fundamental principles of Hippocratic medicine.

 

These principles include protecting the vulnerable at the beginning and end of life, seeking the ultimate good for the patient with compassion and moral integrity, and providing healthcare with the highest standards of excellence based on medical science.

This is a softer, kinder, gentler version of the original Hippocratic Oath:

I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.

 

Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly, I will not give to a woman a pessary [prosthetic device] to cause abortion.

The lawsuit reminds the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, where it was filed, that the only way the FDA was able to approve the drug was to lie:

The only way the FDA could have approved chemical abortion drugs was to use its accelerated drug approval authority, necessitating the FDA to call pregnancy an “illness” and argue that these dangerous drugs provide a “meaningful therapeutic benefit” over existing treatments.

 

But pregnancy is not an illness, nor do chemical abortion drugs provide a therapeutic benefit over surgical abortion.

 

In asserting these transparently false conclusions, the FDA exceeded its regulatory authority to approve the drugs.

 

What’s more, the FDA needed to disavow science and the law because the FDA never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use despite being required to do so by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

 

The agency also ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls in violation of the Pediatric Research and Equity Act (PREA).

 

And the FDA disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than even surgical abortions.

The FDA knew then, and knows now, that administering RU-486/mifepristone has a complication rate four times higher than surgical abortions. In fact, one in five pregnant women who use the chemical to force the abortion of her living child will suffer complications requiring further medical attention, perhaps facing severe vaginal bleeding, life-threatening infection, and/or becoming sterile, and often requiring a blood transfusion followed by a hysterectomy.

According to ADF senior counsel Erik Baptist, the FDA’s approval has always been based on questionable ethical and legal grounds:

The FDA’s approval of chemical abortion drugs has always stood on shaky legal and moral ground, and after years of evading responsibility, it’s time for the government to do what it’s legally required to do: protect the health and safety of vulnerable girls and women.

 

On behalf of the national health care organizations and physicians we represent, we ask the court to hold the FDA accountable for its reckless, unlawful behavior.

 

We urge the court to reject the marketing and distribution of dangerous chemical abortion drugs so that the health, safety, and welfare of women are protected.

The lawsuit claims that the FDA knew all of these things and approved the drug anyway, cowing to political pressure from the White House and the profit motive of the pharmaceutical companies to which it owes its loyalty and allegiance:

In addition to the legal and scientific infirmities referenced above, all of the FDA’s actions on chemical abortion drugs — the 2000 approval, the 2016 major changes, the 2019 generic drug approval, and the two 2021 actions to eliminate the in-person dispensing requirement — failed to acknowledge and address the federal laws that prohibit the distribution of chemical abortion drugs by postal mail, express company, or common carrier.

 

Instead, the FDA’s actions permitted and sometimes even encouraged these illegal activities.

 

After two decades of engaging the FDA to no avail, Plaintiffs now ask this Court to do what the FDA was and is legally required to do: protect women and girls by holding unlawful, setting aside, and vacating the FDA’s actions to approve chemical abortion drugs and eviscerate crucial safeguards for those who undergo this dangerous drug regimen.

Colorado Free-speech Case Headed for Supreme Court

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 18, 2022:  

Denver-based website creator Lorie Smith, owner of 303Creative.com, will, after six long years, finally get her day in court. On December 5, oral arguments begin on a case that should never have been filed, on an issue that should never have been raised. At issue: Smith’s right to conduct her business as she sees fit, according to her own values and beliefs.

When Colorado’s leftist legislators passed the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA, Smith immediately saw the potential threat to her business and filed a preemptive lawsuit. If the new law were allowed to stand, her business would be a prime target: She declared that, according to her Christian beliefs, she would not build a website for a marriage that conflicted with those beliefs.

She makes that clear on her website:

As a Christian who believes that God gave me the creative gifts that are expressed through this business, I have always strived to honor Him in how I operate it….

 

Because of my faith … I am selective about the messages that I create or promote — while I will serve anyone I am always careful to avoid communicating ideas or messages, or promoting events, products, services, or organizations, that are inconsistent with my religious beliefs.

To the anti-Christian liberals at Colorado’s civil-rights commission, this is anathema. Courts ruled in their favor, and Smith appealed. Last February, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case, limiting the issue to this: “Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent, contrary to the artist’s sincerely held religious beliefs, violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.”

According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the public-interest law firm that is representing Smith, the lower court “astonishingly concluded that the government may, based upon content and viewpoint, force Lorie to convey messages that violate her religious beliefs and restrict her from explaining her faith [on her website].”

There was one voice of common sense in that lower court’s ruling, expressed by the Tenth Circuit’s Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich:

The majority takes the remarkable — and novel — stance that the government may force Ms. Smith to produce messages that violate her conscience.… [It] concludes … that Colorado has a compelling interest in forcing Ms. Smith to speak a government-approved message against her religious beliefs.

 

No case has ever gone so far.

The majority’s ruling, wrote Tymkovich, ushers in “a brave new world”:

The Constitution is a shield against CADA’s discriminatory treatment of Ms. Smith’s sincerely held religious beliefs … [but] the majority ushers forth a brave new world when it acknowledges both speech and silence — yet finds this intrusion constitutionally permissible.

 

CADA [according to the panel’s ruling] forces Ms. Smith to violate her faith on pain of sanction both by prohibiting religious-based business practices and by penalizing her if she does speak out on these matters in ways Colorado finds “unwelcome” or “undesirable.”

Not surprisingly, the ACLU has lined up on the side of the commission. ACLU national legal director David Cole is worried that the Supreme Court might not only rule in favor of Lorie Smith, but also broaden its narrow ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2018. In that ruling, the high court avoided the free-speech issue and ruled instead that the civil rights commission “failed to act in a manner neutral to religion” and thus violated baker Jack Phillips’ First Amendment-protected rights.

Wrote Cole, “If 303 Creative prevails here, then any business that can be characterized as expressive, and that’s a lot of businesses, can start putting up signs saying no Jews served, no Christians served, no Blacks served.”

This could be a “landmark” case, said the ADF:

No one should be banished from the marketplace simply for living and speaking consistently with their religious beliefs. This could be a landmark case for the freedom of speech, religious liberty, and artistic freedom.

 

We look forward to representing Lorie before the high court.

Pa. House Committee Approves Articles of Impeachment Against Soros-backed Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 16, 2022:  

When the Old Testament prophet Hosea warned that those who “have sown the wind shall reap the whirlwind,” he could have been speaking of Philadelphia voters. In 2017, intoxicated by promises of Larry Krasner, the Soros-funded candidate for the city’s district attorney, to revamp the city’s law-enforcement policies, the heavily Democratic city’s voters bought the lie.

They reelected him by even more overwhelming numbers in 2021.

His policies have resulted in a jaw-dropping increase in every category of violent crime, and caused the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee to approve two articles of impeachment against him on Tuesday.

Krasner’s “progressive” policies, aided and abetted by a supportive far-Left mayor, included ending criminal charges against those caught possessing marijuana, ending cash bail for criminals charged with “minor” crimes, and demanding lenient sentences for certain crimes.

In addition, the progressive reordering of justice in Philadelphia included reviewing past cases and sentences in order to seek re-sentencing to lesser punishment, or even release from prison.

Rep. Martina White, a Philadelphia Republican and prime sponsor of the two articles of impeachment, told a press conference following the committee’s vote on Tuesday:

I suspect that we will have bipartisan support for this effort as we have thus far. The investigation and holding Larry Krasner in contempt was bipartisan.

 

Tomorrow, I believe this will also be bipartisan because the people of Philadelphia deserve better than what they receive out of the district attorney’s office.

 

He has not been doing his job well enough for us, endangering the lives of citizens that he’s supposed to serve and protect by prosecuting criminals and making sure that they’re convicted guilty, should the evidence be there.

 

But that’s not what’s happening right now. The district attorney is basically withdrawing cases at an unprecedented level.

The investigation to which she referred — the Second Interim Report by the Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order — opened with this:

The Select Committee begins this Second Interim Report by summarizing the statistics with respect to the increase in the number of homicide victims—between January 1, 2021, and October 16, 2022, 992 people have died as a result of a homicide in Philadelphia.

 

This is a stark increase to the 557 deaths resulting from homicides in 2015 to 2016 combined. [Emphasis in original.]

The report attributed the increase — Hosea’s “whirlwind” — directly to the policies of the district attorney and his office:

It is no secret that the DAO [district attorney’s office] and DA Krasner’s progressive policies are the focus of criticism with respect to the increasing crime rate, the handling of criminal cases, and the abject failure to respond, in any meaningful way, to the current crisis….

 

Between 2017 and September of 2022, 81% of non-fatal shootings and 61.5% of fatal shootings did not result in arrests of the shooters.

 

However, most troubling to the Select Committee, is what happens after arrests are made—the DAO’s prosecution, or lack thereof. The DAO categorizes violent offenses as homicides, nonfatal shootings, rape, robberies, aggravated assault, and other forms of assault.

 

To date in 2022, 65% of all violent offenses have been withdrawn by the DAO or dismissed by the courts, resulting in no prosecution for those crimes. [Emphasis in original.]

Criminals are emboldened by the new policies, says the report:

The Select Committee has learned that while a prosecutor’s discretion to enforce criminal laws is broad, the most powerful impact of that discretion is a prosecutor’s decision not to prosecute a case.

 

The Select Committee shares Philadelphia Police [Commissioner] Danielle Outlaw’s outrage that arrests in Philadelphia are not leading to criminals being removed from the streets.

 

No doubt, Philadelphia criminals are emboldened by the knowledge that (a) the likelihood that they will be arrested is slim, and (b) once caught, the likelihood that they will be prosecuted and incarcerated is minimal. [Emphasis in original.]

Pennsylvania’s state constitution says that Krasner can be impeached and removed from office if convicted “for any misbehavior in office.” Assuming the full House approves the committee’s vote, Krasner’s future as DA moves to the Republican-controlled Senate for trial.

Trump Sues Jan. 6 Committee Over Subpoena

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 15, 2022:  

No doubt tempted to take on the January 6 “select” committee in a public forum, former President Donald Trump decided to take a more formal, and decisive, route: by suing the committee last Friday, he effectively ended its existence.

The lawsuit won’t likely be decided until after the new Congress is installed in January. And the new Congress is highly unlikely to continue the charade as it focuses on other vastly more important matters.

Voters, as The New American pointed out, have already effectively dismissed the committee in any event, with just five of the committee’s nine members surviving the November 8 midterm elections.

Trump has held all the cards. After the subpoena was issued, he ignored it. After a deadline passed, the committee extended it. Following failed “negotiations” with the committee, Trump’s lawyers filed suit.

The lawsuit is a beauty:

The Committee’s Subpoena is invalid because, as explained below, the Committee did not issue the Subpoena to further a valid legislative purpose; the Subpoena is unwarranted because other sources can provide the information the Subpoena seeks; the Subpoena is broader than reasonably necessary; the Subpoena infringes on executive privilege; the Subpoena infringes President Trump’s First Amendment rights; the Committee is not duly authorized; and the Committee lacks the authority to issue subpoenas.

The former president is immune from such demands:

[It is] the Department of Justice’s longstanding view that Presidents and former Presidents are absolutely immune from compelled testimony before Congress. To wit, “[s]ince the 1970s, [the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice] has consistently advised that ‘the President . . . [is] absolutely immune from testimonial compulsion by a Congressional committee’ on matters related to their official duties.”

 

Other presidents have rightly refused similar demands. When President Harry Truman absolutely refused an investigative committee’s subpoena, he said:

 

I am carrying out the provisions of the Constitution of the United States; and am following a long line of precedents commencing with George Washington himself in 1796.

 

Since his day, Presidents Jefferson, Monroe, Jackson, Tyler, Polk, Fillmore, Buchanan, Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Coolidge, Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt have declined to respond to subpoenas or demands for information of various kinds by Congress.

The committee itself is a sham and a fraud:

The composition of the Committee is governed by Section 2 of H. Res. 503. Section 2(a) states “Appointment of Members. —The Speaker shall appoint 13 Members to the Select Committee, 5 of whom shall be appointed after consultation with the minority leader.”

 

Speaker Pelosi has appointed only nine members to the Committee: seven Democrats and two Republicans. None of these members was appointed from the selection of five GOP congressmen put forth by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

 

While the Court has determined authorized congressional committees have certain subpoena authority implied by Article I of the Constitution, the Committee is not an authorized congressional committee.

Trump, through his attorneys, is demanding:

A declaratory judgment that the Subpoena and any subpoena similar in form and content to the Subpoena is invalid, unlawful, and unenforceable because President Trump … has absolute immunity … it does not further a valid legislative purpose … [it] is an unwarranted intrusion into the Executive Branch … [it] is broader than necessary … it seeks documents and testimony protected from disclosure by Executive Privilege … it violates President Trump’s First Amendment rights … [and] because Congress failed to comply with resolutions regarding the creation of the committee and the issuance of subpoenas.

The response from the chair and vice-chair of the committee, Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, respectively, claimed Trump was merely hiding from the committee:

Even though the former President initially suggested that he would testify before the committee, he has since filed a lawsuit asking the courts to protect him from giving testimony. The truth is that Donald Trump … is hiding from the Select Committee’s investigation….

No, he’s not. He’s just letting the clock run out on the committee’s existence already foretold by voters last week.

Vermont High School Backs Down Over “Transgender” Incident After ADF Files a First Amendment Lawsuit

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 11, 2022:  

Lawyers representing Randolph Union High School (RUHS) in Randolph, Vermont, persuaded school officials to drop their threats of punishment upon receiving a 124-page lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

At issue: the school’s determination to force its transgender policies upon a 14-year-old girl and her father. For daring to question those policies — i.e., complaining when a male who declared himself to be a female entered the girls’ locker room to observe them undressing — RUHS officials demanded that the student, Blake Allen, “take part in a restorative circle … to help her understand the rights of [transgender] students to access public accommodation … in a manner consistent with their [self-proclaimed] gender identity.”

School officials also demanded that her father, Travis Allen, apologize for a Facebook post challenging the mother of the transgender male/female over the veracity of a Facebook post she made defending her transgender male/female son/daughter.

ADF reviewed the incident:

Travis Allen and his fourteen-year-old daughter, Blake, were punished for expressing their views on a matter of profound public concern: whether a teenage male who identifies as female should be permitted to change in a girls’ locker room regardless of the discomfort experienced by girls in that room.

 

In objecting to a male being in the room while the girls are changing, Travis and Blake each made comments underscoring that the trans-identifying student is in fact a male, including by using male pronouns.

 

Indeed, their view of the student’s maleness was foundational to their opinions on appropriate use of the locker room.

 

Yet, their remarks were too much for Defendants’ transgender orthodoxy — Travis was deemed to have “misgendered” the student, while Blake was found guilty of “harassment” and “bullying” — so Defendants disciplined both of them.

ADF claimed that by doing so the school officials violated the Allens’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights:

Defendants are state actors and violate the First Amendment when they attempt to dictate what may be said on matters of public concern.

 

And they cannot discriminate against speech on the basis of its viewpoint.

 

Yet, that is exactly what happened here. Defendants punished Travis and Blake for saying that a male is a male, as a matter of sex and biology, regardless of the gender identity that the male has assumed.

On September 21 a male who identifies as a female entered the girls’ locker room while the girls were changing. Many of them got upset and demanded that he leave. Their parents called the principals to complain.

The next day Blake expressed her thoughts on the incident to some of her classmates, exclaiming, “[he] literally is a dude,” who “does not belong in the girls’ locker room.”

That triggered school officials into conducting an “investigation,” after which it was concluded that Blake was guilty of “harassment on the basis of gender identity” and needed to be punished:

Defendants also seek to coerce her to agree with their transgender dogma. In addition to giving Blake two days’ out-of-school suspension, Defendants are requiring her to “[t]ake part in a restorative circle with … our Equity Coordinator and at least two students who can help her understand the rights of students to access public accommodations … in a manner consistent with their gender identity,” and “submit a reflective essay.”

 

Defendants intend to render their own judgment on this reflective essay; and if they deem it “lacking good faith,” Blake will be required to serve an additional three days’ out-of-school suspension.

Blake’s father, Travis, got involved when he responded to the following Facebook post by the mother of the son/daughter:

I am the mother of the trans student in question and my [son] daughter did not make any comments at all. The entire team can back this up, other than the girl that made up the story for attention.

 

This is slander, defamation of character, and we have secured a lawyer….

Travis responded:

I am the father of the girl you claim “made up a story for attention.” The truth is your son watched my daughter and multiple other girls change in the locker room. While he got a free show they got violated.

 

You think this is fine and dandy. I wonder how you would feel if I watched you undress?

For that transgression school officials demanded that Travis apologize, and ended a contract it had with him as coach of the school’s girls’ soccer team.

Claimed the ADF in its lawsuit:

The First Amendment does not countenance this kind of government censorship, where a public school mandates that students and coaches refrain from expressing any view that offends its prescribed views, particularly on an issue as important as whether the school should permit males identifying as girls to undress, shower and change in the girls’ locker room.

 

Travis and Blake Allen were entitled to express their views on that issue and, in expressing those views, to support them with what is a biological fact — that a biological teenage male is, indeed, a male.

 

This case presents a textbook example of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, and Plaintiffs are entitled to all appropriate relief.

ADF summed up their argument:

By requiring Blake Allen to take part in a “restorative circle” to help her “understand the rights of students to access public accommodations … in a manner consistent with their gender identity” and “submit a reflective essay” that meets Defendants’ own standards in order to avoid additional out-of-school suspension, Defendants are seeking to compel her to speak in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

 

By requiring Travis Allen to issue a public apology for his September 29 Facebook post as a condition to be reinstated as a coach, Defendants are seeking to compel him to speak in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The state of Vermont has created this problem by its willingness to buy into the current fad of “transgenderism.” It states that

  1. All students have a gender identity which is self-determined;
  2. All persons, including students attending school, have privacy rights.

Vermont defines “transgender” as “an individual whose gender identity or gender expression is different from the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

Conflict is therefore inevitable, yet it never existed when the Genesis account was considered the basis of all law. Genesis 1:27, if Vermont state officials would follow it, eliminates the conflict: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.”

After reviewing the lawsuit, school officials backed down. Said ADF: “Shortly after filing the lawsuit, counsel for the school officials notified ADF attorneys that the superintendent was rescinding the disciplinary actions.”

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2021 Bob Adelmann