Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is calling for a Constitutional amendment to allow states to define marriage and strip the Supreme Court of its authority over the issue after the justices legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
“As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Walker, a likely 2016 contender, said in a statement.
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that every state must recognize same-sex marriage under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
Most of the Republican presidential candidates responded by blasting the court’s decision as overreach on a matter they say should be settled on a state-by-state basis. Walker, however, is the only contender to call for an amendment to the Constitution to enshrine into law a state’s right to determine whether gay marriage should be legal.
“The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made,” Walker said. “As we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas.”
Walker on Friday highlighted a vote he cast in 2006 to amend the Wisconsin constitution to “protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism.”
He said he recognized how difficult a process it is to amend the U.S. Constitution but that it should be encouraging to conservatives that the first time it ever happened was to protect the free exercise of religion.
“The First Amendment does not simply protect a narrow ‘right to worship,’ but provides broad protection to individuals and institutions to worship and act in accordance with their religious beliefs,” Walker said.
“I call on the president and all governors to join me in reassuring millions of Americans that the government will not force them to participate in activities that violate their deeply held religious beliefs,” he continued.
“No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience. We will continue to fight for the freedoms of all Americans.”
Category Archives: Amendments
California raisin farmers who challenged the federal government’s power to seize a substantial portion of each year’s crop as part of a New Deal price-floor scheme had a very strong case under the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, overturning the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Horne v. USDA, ruling the farmers could not be fined for keeping their crop, and that they were due fair compensation.
The issue was whether the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC), under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, could require farmers to set aside large percentage of the crop for the government to deal with as it wished without just compensation.
The government had argued that because it often sold the crop and returned profits to the farmers, that satisfied the Fifth Amendment. Marvin and Lorna Horne disagreed, barring the government’s truck from their property. The Court sided with the farmers.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision for the 8-1 majority (which narrowed on certain issues). There were three main findings.
First, the Court found that the Fifth Amendment required the government to pay just compensation even if the property at issue was personal property and not “real” property (i.e. land or real estate).
Second, the Court ruled that the government had not satisfied the requirement to pay just compensation merely by reserving the farmers a potential percentage of the profits of selling their property at the government’s own discretion.
Third, the Court found that the government’s requirement that farmers reserve a portion of their crops as a condition of entering the raisin industry was indeed a “taking” of property.
The Court also found that the farmers did not have to pay the fine before suing.
Three justices dissented in part, saying the lower courts should have decided whether the Hornes would actually have been due any compensation for the particular years in which they resisted participation in the government’s reserve program.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the lone dissent, arguing that because the government’s taking “does not deprive the Hornes of all their property rights, it does not effect a per se taking.”
Justice Clarence Thomas added a pun in a concurring opinion, noting that if the government was not taking raisins for an actual “public use,” then calculating their value would be a “fruitless exercise.” Badump-pah!
Judge Orders Newspaper To Delete Article, Newspaper Reminds Judge That It’s In The US And The 1st Amendment Exists
This seems to happen all too often, but a local judge has forgotten about the whole 1st Amendment thing. Last week, Bergen County Superior Court Judge Jane Gallina-Mecca ordered the Bergen Dispatch to take down a news article. The article was about a specific family court case, involving custody of a child. It’s not surprising that there might be some concern over privacy rights in such cases, but even so, that does not allow a judge to flat out order a newspaper to take down an article — even more so when the order came out of a closed hearing where no one from the newspaper was even present. In response, the Bergen Dispatch posted a fairly snarky article that reiterates some of the details from the case, and concludes with this wonderful paragraph:
While the Bergen Dispatch reviews its options we have confirmed that Bergen County does currently remain part of the State of New Jersey and that currently New Jersey is still part of the Union of states that is governed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As such, Bergen County citizens continue to enjoy the right to freedom of speech and the right to a free press.
Informed of this little tidbit of information, the judge has since vacated the original order, but it’s still astounding that it had to go that far in the first place.
The wealth of individual members of Congress is staggering, yet they seem to have overlooked including themselves in their plans for financial rehab.
Perhaps they’re handling the notion of pulling themselves off the public dole like one would an addiction — slowly but with purpose. Continuing to suck up taxpayer dollars when they themselves are filthy rich yet lecture us daily about wage gaps and social inequality can only be explained if they’re drunk or high.
We know the wealth ex-presidents jumps once they leave office, but what about members of Congress? Every year Roll Call reports on congressional wealth, informing us that in 2014, the combined net worth of members of Congress jumped $150 million to $2.1 billion. They note it took a net worth of $7.4 million to “crack the exclusive club” of Congress. Other gems from the Roll Call analysis:
There are “188 millionaires — about a third of Congress — up from 185 the previous year. The median lawmaker on our ranking has a minimum net worth of $456,522. The minimum net worth of the Senate is nearly $570 million, with 50 senators topping $1 million. The House has a minimum net worth of $1.53 billion, with at least 138 millionaires but a median of just $338,000.”
Once they leave Congress, these rather well-off individuals then tend to become lobbyists, making even more money than before. Breitbart reports, “In 1974, just 3 percent of retiring members of Congress became lobbyists. Today, 50 percent of retiring senators and 42 percent of retiring House members stay in D.C. and become lobbyists. The more than 1,500 percent increase goes a long way toward explaining how an entrenched, permanent political class has risen in D.C.”
Not only a permanent political class, but even more wealth for a group already swimming in taxpayer dough. I genuinely appreciate Mr. Chaffetz’s efforts to end the presidential millionaire welfare paid for by taxpayers, but once that is passed (and it better pass), they need to extend the means-testing to themselves.
Over the next two weeks, while Congress is in recess, the House and Senate will begin to hammer out small differences between the budget resolutions that passed each chamber. Leaders in both chambers have vowed to meet the April 15th deadline to produce a final budget resolution.
The final product of House and Senate negotiations on a budget resolution matters less than the process by which any deal will be enacted. Congress, particularly the Senate, can use “reconciliation” to make policy changes that involve the final budget agreement. Reconciliation limits the amount of debate in the Senate on the final resolution and, most importantly, operates outside the filibuster process, so it requires only a simply majority of 51 votes for passage.
Reconciliation was used in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was in the White House and Republicans controlled Congress to produce the last real balanced budget. It was used to pass the Bush tax cuts early in his presidency. It was also used to enact ObamaCare.
Keep these examples in mind, because if the GOP finally uses its power to repeal ObamaCare under reconciliation, the media will no doubt scream about the “unprecedented” nature of the congressional actions.
With reconciliation, the GOP now has the very tool it campaigned for during these past 5 years. It could repeal ObamaCare, enact long-overdue tax reform and give citizens real choices over entitlement programs. It can push its policies without the specter of a government shutdown or against the false narrative of a government default.
Obama will no doubt veto the final budget resolution, especially if it repeals his signature legislative legacy. Fine. No single action will better define the stakes in the next presidential election.
Congress can simply make small changes to the final document and repeatedly resubmit to Obama for his continued vetoes. In this case, he alone will be blocking the adoption of a final budget resolution. The media will no doubt try to continue his false “GOP obstructionist” narrative, but the optics will be inescapable for voters.
The federal Controlled Substances Act contains a blatant lie about cannabis, e.g, that it has no known medicinal benefit, and hence, it is listed as a Schedule I drug.
That’s obvious baloney factually. Moreover, more potent drugs–opioids (such as morphine), cocaine, etc.–are listed as Schedule II drugs, meaning they are proscribed for recreational use under federal law but may be used for proper medical purposes.
Marijuana should be in the same category, as I have written repeatedly.
Now, a bipartisan bill (Paul, R-KY, Booker D-NJ, Gillibrand D-NY) has been filed to do just that. S-683 would reclassify MJ into a Schedule II drug. It would also permit scientific study of marijuana’s medical potentials.
The reclassification of marijuana and opening the door to scientific research on its potential medicinal benefits are long overdue. Who could oppose and on what possible grounds?
More controversially, the bill would require the Feds to respect state’s rights with regard to enforcement of drug laws around marijuana. In other words, the Feds would be bound by state law.
Me? I’d take that part out. I think the Feds have a strong place in establishing uniform drug enforcement throughout the country. I don’t think the states should be allowed to tie federal hands, thereby creating a hodgepodge system in which federal laws are enforced in some states but not in others.
My wife, the syndicated San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Debra J. Saunders, has a good, and far detailed, column today on the bill (here is the link), arguing that it should please conservatives as well as liberals. She opines that Senator Dianne Feinstein may hold the key to passage and hopes that President Obama can “evolve” on this issue.
Time for a change. In our system, a bad law should be changed, not ignored. It is long past time to reclassify Marijuana out of Schedule I. S-683 should be modified, as I described above, and passed into law.
In focus this week will be efforts by Palin and others, backed by digital ads, to win Virginia’s support for resolutions to use Article V of the Constitution to hold a convention of states and limit Washington’s power. A vote is scheduled Wednesday and has the support of the House and Senate Republican leaders.
“Three states have already successfully passed legislation calling for a convention of the states, and right now it’s Virginia’s turn,” said Palin.
“The beauty of this process is that neither the President nor Congress has the authority to stop it. It is truly in the hands of We the People,” she added.
Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota are voting on joining the convention this month also.
National Journal’s Ron Fournier, a journalist whom I respect, is hardly a conservative. He’s said before he supported passage of the Affordable Care Act. And so it’s worth noting when someone like Mr. Fournier says, as he did the other night, that “the central attribute you have to have as any leader, in any walk of life and certainly in government is trust — and this president has destroyed the credibility of his administration, himself and government itself.”
Mr. Fournier’s judgment is a harsh one, but an entirely appropriate one. I take no joy in saying the president lies and then lies about his lies. But that is what the record shows, indisputably; and those lies have now caught up with Mr. Obama. They are having a corrosive effect on trust between him and the people he was elected to serve. It’s one thing to be inept, as the president surely is. It’s quite another to deceive and dissemble, to govern with the philosophy that the ends justify the means, and to act in ways that show contempt for the truth and for the American polity. This has been a hallmark of the Obama years, and it’s done irreparable damage to him, and great damage to our political and civic culture.
This is not what hope and changer were supposed to be.
All of which leads me to “The Lame Duck Congress,” one of my favorite episodes of “The West Wing.” As the episode begins, the Democrats have taken a shellacking in the midterm elections. President Jed Bartlet is considering calling a lame-duck session of the Senate to ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty. His staff knows that the crucial vote will be cast by Senator Tony Marino of Pennsylvania, a leading proponent of the treaty who has just lost his seat. Toby Ziegler, the White House communications director, is tasked with tracking him down, to be sure that Marino and the other votes he influences are on board with the idea of a lame-duck session.
Near the end of Act Three, the two men finally meet, and Marino drops a bombshell: If President Bartlet calls a lame-duck session, he will not vote to ratify. The following dialogue ensues:
MARINO: Toby, I’m a lame duck Senator. The people of Pennsylvania voted me out and Morgan Mitchell …
MARINO: Nobody expects, nobody expects. Toby, it seems to me that more and more we’ve come to expect less and less from each other. And I think that should change. I’m a senator for another 10 weeks, and I’m going to choose to respect these people and what they want. You call a lame-duck session now, and I’ve got to abstain.
The deftly written scene appeals to a principle of democracy often mooted nowadays but poorly understood. Winners like to say that elections have consequences. But the consequence isn’t — or shouldn’t be — “Now we can do what we want.” The principle should be, in the words of Gerald Ford (on quite a different subject) “Here the people rule.” The fictitious Senator Marino understands that. The voters considered his position on the issue and chose the other guy. That, for Marino, is the end of the matter.