Thomas More Society Rallies Illinois State’s Attorneys in Support of Parental Notice

November 22, 2010

CHICAGO (MetroCatholic) — Today, the Thomas More Society took another step toward the long-overdue enforcement of Illinois’ Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Society attorneys filed a “friend of the court” brief in the Illinois Appellate Court on behalf of a bipartisan group of Illinois State’s Attorneys, urging the rejection of the American Civil Liberties Union’s latest attack on the Act’s constitutionality. The ACLU contends that the Act violates the privacy, due process and equal protection guarantees in the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

The parental notice law requires an abortion doctor to notify a parent, grandparent, stepparent living in the household or legal guardian before performing an abortion on a minor, unless the minor states in writing that she is a victim of abuse or secures a confidential “judicial bypass.” Although the Illinois General Assembly enacted the current parental notice law on a bipartisan basis more than 15 years ago, the law has not gone into effect because of the ACLU’s federal and state court challenges. Though upheld by a Cook County judge, the law’s enforcement was still “stayed” by agreement of the ACLU and Attorney General, pending a final ruling on the ACLU’s appeal. Illinois is the Midwest’s only state without a parental notice or consent law in effect.

“We are thrilled that so many county prosecutors throughout Illinois support a parent’s right to know before a minor is taken for an abortion,” said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel at the Thomas More Society. “It’s long past time for Illinois to protect its daughters from ’secret’ abortions by affirming the right of parents to be involved in their children’s medical decisions.”

The amicus brief argues the following points:

  • The Illinois Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. On the contrary, the 1970 Constitutional Convention referred abortion issues to the legislature.
  • Numerous other federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have repeatedly upheld parental notice as constitutional.
  • The Illinois General Assembly properly found that parental consultation prior to an abortion promotes many legitimate state interests.

Thomas More Society special counsel Paul Benjamin Linton drafted the brief, which thirteen State’s Attorneys from across Illinois have joined. For more information or for comment from the Thomas More Society, please contact Stephanie Lewis at 312-422-1333 or [email protected]. For a copy of the brief, please visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.

About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect for life in law. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends the sanctity of human life, the family, and religious liberty in courtrooms across the country. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.

Maldonado Not Appealing

September 14, 2010

SACRAMENTO (MetroCatholic) — The deadline for Lt. Governor, Abel Maldonado to file an appeal to a federal court decision overturning California’s voter approved Proposition 8 passed Monday without the acting governor responding to the pleas for him to assure that the case be heard in the appellate courts. In an eight hour period, Proposition 8 supporters called, and sent messages by FAX, text and social media asking the acting governor to sign the appeal. But Maldonado refused to address the issue.

Although the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the appeal in December, they have indicated that the proponents of the measure, who filed the appeal, may not have standing to defend the initiative in court. The Attorney General and the Governor could have assured that the case would be heard merely by filing the appeal, which is part of their role according to California law. Each refused to do so based on their personal support for same sex marriages.

However, when the Governor left the State late last week, the right and responsibility to file the appeal before Monday’s deadline went to the acting governor, Mr. Maldonado. As a supporter of Proposition 8, conservative leaders requested that he file the paperwork. Former dean of Chapman Law School, John Eastman even drafted the necessary paperwork and volunteered to make the filing on Maldonado’s behalf.

But Maldonado did not even bother to respond. When a representative of Capitol Resource Institute contacted Maldonado’s campaign manager a half hour before the deadline to file, the aide complained that phone calls had tied up the phones all day at the capitol and their campaign office, but he did not know what the Lt. Governor was going to do. He promised to call back, but the call never came.

“Maldonado did not file the appeal” said Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute. “And the acting governor added to this negligence an arrogance and aloofness that suggested he was more concerned that we busied his phones than anything else.”

While Maldonado could have assured the parties had standing, his failure may not be critical to the issue being heard by the appellate court. According to Eastman, “the massive effort by the citizens of California to persuade the acting governor to file the appeal is one more piece of evidence to be presented in court to show that every effort was made to have the State defend this measure. This will hopefully tilt the Court toward holding that the proponents of the initiative have standing even absent the government defendants.”

Proposition 8 should proceed through the courts despite the lack of cooperation from the State’s top elected officials, but many see this issue as damaging Maldonado’s political future. They are questioning his judgment as well as his independence. According to England, “the position of lieutenant governor is clearly a warm up for being governor. But Maldonado showed he is not ready to lead.” Eastman concurred noting, “the Lieutenant Governor may think he showed independence by not responding to the pleas of the pro family community. But that is rather hollow coming from someone who appears to be following the directions of a governor half a world away.”

Related Info:

LA Times urges The AG and Governor to Defend Prop 8

Assembly Republicans Unanimously Call On Governor To Order An Appeal Filed In Prop. 8 Case

Read AN OPEN LETTER TO ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, GOVERNOR, STATE OF CALIFORNIA — By John Eastman, Constitutional Law Attorney

Capitol Resource Institute’s mission is to educate, advocate, protect, and defend family-friendly policies in California’s state legislature and at the local government level. Capitol Resource Institute is a 501c3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

NY Times Hails Bloomberg’s Mosque Support in Front-Page Love-Fest

August 16, 2010

By Alana Goodman
Culture and Media Institute
August 13, 2010

The New York Times continued its defense of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero on Friday, when it published a fawning, 1,600-word cover story on how Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s support of the Ground Zero mosque stems from his “passion” for Constitutional rights and his own personal brush with anti-Jewish prejudice.

And while Bloomberg was quoted in the story saying he’s “not winning a lot of friends” by supporting the mosque, The Times seemed to differ.

The beginning of the article noted that “polls [suggest] that most New Yorkers disagree with [Bloomberg],” but the Times reporter appeared to have a difficult time getting in touch with these residents – the first source who disagreed with Bloomberg’s stance on the mosque didn’t show up until 1,400 words into the story.

There were, however, a smattering of vague references to Bloomberg critics. “Conservative pundits have mocked him,” noted reporter Michael Barbaro, who also quoted a piece of ranting, anonymous correspondence sent to Bloomberg calling for the mayor’s impeachment. Later, the article referenced “conservative advocates” and “Newt Gingrich” as opponents to the mosque, without quoting any of them.

However, there was no shortage of cheerleading for Bloomberg in the article.

“Bloomberg is a former Wall Street Mogul with a passion for the rights of a private property owner. He is a Jew whose parents asked their Christian lawyer to buy a house and then sell it back to them to hide their identity in an unwelcoming Massachusetts suburb. And he is a politician who regards his independence as his greatest virtue,” wrote Barbaro.

“That potent combination of beliefs and history … has fueled his defense of the proposed Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan,” the reporter continued.

The article also dismissed criticisms of the mosque, saying that the “seemingly uncontroversial plan” to build an Islamic prayer center near Ground Zero was “inflamed” by “conservative advocates” who have previously “branded” moderate Muslims as “radical” and “jihadist.”

As evidence of this, the reporter compared the Ground Zero mosque controversy to the public outrage against the principal of an Arabic-only New York City public school in 2007.

“The case of the principal, Debbie Almontaser, began, much as the [Islamic center] did, with a seemingly uncontroversial plan – a school that would teach Arabic. Soon enough, though, advocates, inflamed by the proposal, branded Ms. Almontaser a ‘radical’ and ‘jihadist’,” wrote Barbaro.

Nevermind that there were legitimate questions raised in 2007 over some of Almontaser’s statements and connections, much like there are today about Ground Zero mosque organizer Feisal Abdul Rauf’s own comments and associates.

Maybe instead trying to help Bloomberg save his dipping poll numbers, The Times should be looking into the backgrounds of the individuals behind the Ground Zero Islamic center.

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Senate urged to wait for Clinton documents before holding Kagan hearings

May 25, 2010

Washington D.C.,  (CNA).-

A pro-life group urged the Senate to postpone the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, citing their concern that the committee will not have enough time to properly review the nominee’s professional record.

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, wrote that her organization is “deeply concerned” that the committee will have “insufficient time” to review Kagan’s record before the June 28th deadline.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee chairman, said last week that he plans to begin hearings for Kagan on June 28.

Dr. Yoest urged committee members to “provide whatever time is needed for members to thoroughly prepare for the hearing, even if it requires postponing the hearing date.”

The pro-life leader also pointed out that since Kagan has not served as a judge, it is necessary to have the time to review any documents related to her service in the the White House during the Clinton administration.

In her letter, Dr. Yoest quoted Terri Garner, director of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, who stated that it will be “very difficult” to produce all of the documents on Kagan’s record to the Senate committee before the deadline.

On Monday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) echoed Dr. Yoest’s concerns about Clinton-era documents. “We’re heading to what could be a train wreck,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t believe that this committee can go forward with an adequate hearing” without all records from Kagan’s tenure as a White House counsel and then domestic policy adviser to President Clinton.

Elaborating on her group’s concerns, Dr. Yoest wrote, “We at Americans United for Life, like most Americans, believe that a nominee’s judicial philosophy goes to the heart of his or her qualifications to serve on the United States Supreme Court.”

“Because Solicitor General Kagan has not served as a judge, and consequently there are no judicial decisions to review, it is critical that Committee members be given ample time to review the documents she produced while serving in the executive branch, and thoroughly question her about those writings in order to understand the philosophy she would bring to the Court.”

“Without time to complete this process, members will be unable to adequately perform their Constitutional duty to evaluate her qualifications,” she added.

“Americans and their elected representatives deserve to learn more about Kagan’s judicial philosophy before she is given a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court,” Dr. Yoest underscored.

AUL’s Kagan File: The “Foreign Justice” Memo

May 21, 2010

McKinney, TX (MetroCatholic)

FROM: Americans United for Life Legal Team

DATE: May 21, 2010

RE: Constitutional law or International law?

BACKGROUNDER:

During her Senate confirmation hearings last year to become U.S. Solicitor General, Elena Kagan was asked her view of the role of foreign law in statutory interpretation. Kagan responded: “At least some members of the Court find foreign law relevant in at least some contexts.When this is the case, I think the Solicitor General’s office should offer reasonable foreign law arguments to attract these Justices’ support for the positions that the office is taking.”[1]

Kagan’s high regard for International and Comparative law comes as no surprise. In addition to her admiration for judicial activist Judge Aharon Barak, who encourages judges to rely on Comparative law, Kagan led curriculum reforms in 2006 that changed Harvard Law School’s 100 year-old curriculum to require International and Comparative law.

What course is no longer required? Constitutional law. It became a course students could elect if they so desired.[2]

Our entire legal system is rooted in and dependent on the U.S. Constitution. To no longer require law students preparing to be lawyers to take Constitutional law is like ceasing to require medical students to take biology or accounting students to take math.

Kagan’s role in revamping the first year curriculum to require students to take International and Comparative law, but not Constitutional law, is especially important given her nomination to the Supreme Court.

  • Kagan said: “The courses in international and comparative law are opening up new questions and possibilities, showing choices made by different societies and challenges that arise from globalization, while also helping every student to locate American law in the larger map of laws, politics, and histories across the world.”[3] Would Kagan’s opinions as Supreme Court Justice rely on international laws and the “choices different societies” have made instead of the U.S. Constitution?
  • As Dean of Harvard Law, Kagan said: “A great law school reflects in everything it does a global perspective and a global context.”[4] Would Kagan seek to make the Supreme Court “great” by reflecting a “global perspective and global context” in her judicial opinions?
  • Kagan also stated: “We must seek to train leaders—creative thinkers and problem solvers capable of designing new institutions to meet individual and social needs during a time of tremendous—perhaps unprecedented—social and economic change.”[5] Would Kagan endeavor to create a “new” Supreme Court to meet the individual and social needs she values rather than adhere to the Constitution?

CONCLUSION:
Kagan led the reform of Harvard’s curriculum to emphasize International law and to de-emphasize American Constitutional law. She should be deeply questioned during her Senate hearings as to her view of the role of Constitutional law and International law in judicial decision-making.


[1] See Written Questions for Elena Kagan, Nominee to be Solicitor General of the United States available at http://judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/111thCongressExecutiveNominations/upload/Kagan-QFRs.pdf.

[2] Legislation and Regulation was another course added to the new curriculum in 2006, which includes some elements of traditional Constitutional law courses.

[3] See http://www.courts.state.nh.us/press/Kagan_NH_speech_distribution.pdf.

[4] See http://www.courts.state.nh.us/press/Kagan_NH_speech_distribution.pdf.

[5] See http://www.courts.state.nh.us/press/Kagan_NH_speech_distribution.pdf.

Americans United for Life ( AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971.

AUL’s legal team has been involved in every pro-life case before the U.S. Supreme Court including the successful defense of the Hyde Amendment. AUL also publishes Defending Life, the most comprehensive state-by-state legal guide of its kind, which is distributed annually to legislators across the nation.

Recently, Americans United for Life detailed the facts on taxpayer-funding of abortion during the debate over federal health care legislation, provided legal assistance to states working to opt out of abortion provisions created by federal health care law, and has played a major role in educating policymakers on the record of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

Yes, the Constitution, as Originally Drafted and Conceived, was ‘Defective,’ but that Document Still Does Not Empower Unelected, Imperfect Supreme Court Justices to do Whatever They Please

May 17, 2010

NEW YORK, May 17 /MetroCatholic/ — Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Stevens, served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall. Following the latter’s death in 1993, Ms. Kagan penned an “In Memoriam” (71 Tex. L. Rev. 1125, 1130) where she wrote the following:

“…Justice Marshall gave a characteristically candid speech. He declared that the Constitution, as originally drafted and conceived, was ‘defective’; only over the course of 200 years had the nation ‘attain[ed] the system of constitutional government, and its respect for…individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today.’ The Constitution today, the Justice continued, contains a great deal to be proud of.  [B]ut the credit does not belong to the Framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of “liberty,” “justice,” and “equality,” and who strived to better them.’ The credit, in other words, belongs to people like Justice Marshall. As the many thousands who waited on the Supreme Court steps well knew, our modern Constitution is his.”

Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, commented:

In addition to Justice Marshall, the many others who refused to acquiesce in such “outdated notions” include President Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who banned racial discrimination in hiring in all industrial facilities receiving federal contracts, President Harry Truman, who desegregated the American military, and Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, who provided leadership in the enactment of civil rights laws in the 1960s. Congress also enacted civil rights laws in the 1800s and in 1957 and approved the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The latter Amendments also required ratification by the States.

Another aspect of Constitutional history left out of the “Memoriam” is that for a significant period of our nation’s history, the Supreme Court was part of the problem. See, e.g., Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Slaughter-House Cases (1873), Civil Rights Cases (1883) and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

Neither the Constitution itself nor Constitutional history therefore justify the notion that it is up to five or more Supreme Court Justices to correct every perceived defect in acts of Congress, the Executive Branch, or State governments. In particular, there are at least two problems with the notion that it is the Supreme Court itself should have the final say on all constitutional matters.

First, this notion places the Court above the Constitution itself. And second, the Supreme Court has not been endued with greater wisdom and a grasp of the truth than other branches of government.

Justice Marshall is a case in point. Along with being a lion-heart in fighting the evils of racial segregation and discrimination, as a Supreme Court Justice he also voted to:

* Permit children under age 16 to view films (shown in theaters) that portray “brutality, criminal violence or depravity in such a manner as to be…likely to incite or encourage crime or delinquency on the part of young persons” (Interstate Circuit v. Dallas, 1968)

* Legalize possession of obscene materials (Stanley v. Georgia, 1969)

* Legalize “bottomless dancing” in bars (California v. LaRue, 1972)

* Legalize the sale of obscene materials (Miller v. California, 1973)

* Permit “adult businesses” to locate near residential zones (Young v. American Mini Theatres, 1976)

* Legalize broadcast indecency (FCC v. Pacifica Fdn., 1978)

* Permit “adult businesses” to locate near schools (Renton v. Playtime Theatres, 1986)

* Permit an “adult bookstore” found to be used as a place for prostitution and lewdness to remain open (Arcara v. Cloud Books, 1986)

* Permit a high school student to give a lewd speech at a school assembly (Bethel School District v. Fraser, 1986)

* Legalize obscene and indecent dial-a-porn communications (Sable Comm. of Calif. v. FCC, 1989)

* Legalize the possession of child pornography (Osborne v. Ohio, 1990)

* Legalize “totally nude dancing” in bars and peep show booths (Barnes v. Glen Theatre, 1991)

The above listing is not intended to discredit Justice Marshall’s commendable and courageous work on behalf of racial justice, but rather to show that entrusting the well-being of our nation to activist Supreme Court Justices, without checks and balances, is and will continue to be a mistake of great proportions.

Contact: Robert Peters, Morality in Media, 212-870-3210

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