Monday, June 26, 2017
To: Friends & Supporters
From: Gary L. Bauer
A Good Day
It was a good day — and a big day — at the Supreme Court. Religious liberty and the Trump Administration were big winners. Here is a brief rundown of the action this morning.
- The Supreme Court struck down a Missouri law — and similar laws in more than 30 states — that barred a church from receiving public funds even though the state issued grants to other non-profit and secular groups for the same purpose. In this case, the grant involved upgrading safety features on a church’s playground.
In writing for the 7-to-2 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts declared, “The exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution . . . and cannot stand.” Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented in the case.
Many pundits have noted that this case was about much more than just rubberizing playgrounds. An adverse decision would have effectively ended the debate over vouchers or tax credits to religious schools in educational choice programs.
- The Supreme Court delivered a big win for the Trump Administration by largely agreeing to lift the injunctions against the president’s so-called “travel ban” involving six Muslim nations. Left-wing judges had blocked the administration from enforcing the president’s national security executive order, but the justices declared that the law was clear.
While the justices did leave some wiggle room for those who could claim “a bona fide relationship” to the country and “legitimate concrete hardships,” they ruled that “When it comes to refugees who lack [a strong connection] to the United States . . . the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.”
President Trump hailed the ruling as a “clear victory for our national security.”
The court ordered oral arguments in the travel ban case to be scheduled early in its next term, but the mere fact that high court lifted the injunctions is a very strong signal that President Trump is likely to prevail.
- The court also announced that it would hear a challenge by Jack Phillips, a baker who claims the state of Colorado violated his religious liberty by demanding that he make cakes for same-sex weddings. Commentators said the decision to take this case was intriguing given that the court had refused to hear a similar case brought by a New Mexico photographer.
- These early rulings also tell us a lot about Justice Neil Gorsuch who replaced Justice Antonin Scalia. It was noted this morning on one highly respected legal blog that Justice Gorsuch has so far aligned more with Justice Clarence Thomas than any other member of the court, putting him perhaps to the right of Justice Samuel Alito.
- But perhaps the most anticipated question of the day remains unanswered. Will Justice Anthony Kennedy, who turns 81 next month, retire? He made no statement regarding his plans this morning, but that is not unusual. Were Kennedy to step down in the days ahead, President Trump would have a tremendous opportunity to cement a conservative majority on the high court for years to come.
However, I do worry about the left’s reaction, given the current political atmosphere, should Kennedy step down. Surprisingly, the justices are afforded relatively little security protection once outside of the Supreme Court building.
Not So Peaceful
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is over. According to one analysis, there were 160 terror attacks in nearly 30 countries during Ramadan, which resulted in 1,627 deaths — almost four times as many deaths as last year.
Clearly, the “religion of peace” has a big problem with violence.
Do Presbyterians set off bombs at Easter? Do Catholics celebrate Christmas with mass murder? Do Jews blow themselves up on Yom Kippur? No, they do not.
Of course, these are preliminary numbers. There is always the possibility that peacekeepers may come across some mass grave where Islamic supremacism is on the march and we may have to revise the toll upward. And these numbers don’t account for the millions of Christians and other religious minorities who because of this carnage went to church in fear and slept nervously every night.
Speaking Of Ramadan. . .
President Trump did not host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House this weekend. And the mainstream media, led by the Washington Post, went nuts, suggesting he broke a tradition that dated all the way back to Thomas Jefferson.
To call that “fake news” would be an insult to fake news. It is simply a lie. The Washington Examiner got its facts right with this headline: “White House Passes On Hosting Ramadan Dinner For First Time In 20 Years.”
The White House Iftar dinner dates back to Bill Clinton. The reference to Jefferson simply refers to a dinner he held with the ambassador from Tunisia. Jefferson merely accommodated the ambassador by moving the dinner until after sundown because the dinner was being held during Ramadan.
But in no way was the purpose of that dinner to honor Islam or recognize Ramadan. Moreover, there are no recorded examples of Iftar dinners being held at the White House until 1996. I have no idea why George W. Bush felt compelled to continue Clinton’s practice after 9/11.
Gay pride parades were held throughout the country this weekend. In one of the great cities of America that did so much to inspire the country in the aftermath of 9/11, we witnessed Bradley Manning (now named Chelsea thanks to taxpayer-funded surgery) atop the ACLU’s New York City float, surrounded by signs that read “Resist.”
So a traitor, pardoned by Barack Obama, was celebrated as a guest of honor. Where’s the pride in that?
Meanwhile in Chicago, Jews were kicked out of the Chicago Dyke March because their pride flags included the Star of David. According to organizers, the Chicago Dyke March was exclusively “pro-Palestinian” and “anti-Zionist.” How’s that for “tolerance”?* * * * *
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