discrimination

Today in Liberty: Arizona governor vetoes SB 1062, GOP targets violent video games

“Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.” — Calvin Coolidge

— Arizona governor vetoes religious liberty bill: Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) vetoed the controversial SB 1062, a measure that would have allowed religious business owners to refuse to serve gay customers. “To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes,” Brewer said. “However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.” Brewer also said that she had “not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.” Measures similar to Arizona’s SB 1062 are currently being debated in several states, including Georgia, Kansas, and Missouri.

Supreme Court strikes down part of Voting Rights Act

In a decision that is being viciously derided by the Left, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act because the standards by which the federal government reviewed changes in certain states’ election laws were out of date.

The case, Shelby County v. Holder, asked the Court to review two specific sections of the Voting Rights Act, which was enacted by Congress in 1965 as a response to pervasive Jim Crow laws in the South. These laws, which were a scourge on our history, mandated racial segregation and discouraged minorities from voting.

Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act set determined the states that were subject to pre-clearance requirement in Section 5 based on the number of minority voters they had registered. While this section of the law was undoubtedly needed in 1965, the screening forumla is out-of-date. Moreover, the process for approval is arduous and costly for states.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts explained that the criteria needs to be updated to reflect current conditions in order to justify pre-clearence for states with a track record for racial discrimination.

“Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so, noted Roberts. “Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare [Section] 4(b) unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”

Mike Kelly is One of the Last Liberty idealists on the Hill

Mike Kelly

Congressman Kelly has been quickly building a name for himself on The Hill. While not nearly as interesting as Darrell Issa, Trey Gowdy, or Rand Paul to many people, the substance of what he’s been saying in various hearings of late has been worth a great deal of attention. And now, it seems he’s getting at least a little:

Obviously, Megyn Kelly from Fox News is impressed with that enlightened speech from the Pennsylvania Congressman. But that is just one of many these days. Kelly has regularly been catching the attention of conservatives and libertarians with his pro-limited government tirades, and calls for accountability in the Obama Administration.

“Isn’t it incredible what you’re going through to maintain your First Amendment rights? This is not a problem that’s in Cincinnati — this is a problem that’s deep in the bowels of this government.”

“If at some point we cannot stop this culture of fear – this government-sponsored fear – then we are really coming up short on what the oath is that we took. We took an oath of office not to defend the rights of Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians … We took an oath to defend our Constitution.”

Julie Borowski: “The Obama Administration, You Can’t Be Serious”

Julie Borowski

Julie Borowski, perhaps best known as the TokenLibertarianGirl, is out with a new video this week addressing the three scandals — IRS discrimination of conservative groups, the DOJ’s targeting of the media, and Benghazi — that have plagued the Obama Administration over the last few weeks.

Borowski scoffs at the notion of Attorney General Eric Holder investigating himself over the Justice Department’s scandals concerning the targeting of the Associated Press and James Rosen. “I’m sure that’s gonna be a very fair investigation of himself,” says Borowski, with a truckload of sarcasm. She also touched on the situation in Syria and explained how terrible of an idea it is to fund rebels connected to al-Qaeda.

Watch it and give Borowski a follow on Twitter and/or “like” her Facebook page:

Poll: 76% Want a Special Prosecutor to Investigate the IRS

President Barack Obama may have refused to get behind an independent investigation into the IRS scandal, but a new Quinnipiac poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the idea (emphasis mine);

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday shows 76 percent want a special counsel to 17 percent opposing.

The idea has strong support across all parties, with 88 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents calling for a special prosecutor.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Assistant Director Peter Brown in a statement. “Voters apparently don’t like the idea of Attorney General Eric Holder investigating the matter himself, perhaps because they don’t exactly think highly of him.”

Holder, who would appoint a special investigator, holds a negative 23 to 39 percent approval rating.

The poll also showed that President Obama’s job approval rating is now underwater, at 45/49, which the Wall Street Journal notes is down from the net-positive approval rating he had in a poll released by the same organization earlier this month. The IRS’s job approval rating is also vastly underwater, at 24/66.

IRS Inquired on Lack of “Rally” for Unopposed Democratic Primary Candidate

As the IRS scandal was emerging in the news earlier this month, Steven Miller, the former acting-commissioner of the agency, wrote in editorial at USA Today, in which he acknowledged that ”[m]istakes were made,” in the targeting of Tea Party and conservative organizations, but claimed that “they were in no way due to any political or partisan motivation.”

Miller would later admit that the search terms — including “Tea Party,” “patriot,” and “9/12” — being used to identify these groups were partisan. We’ve also learned that questions sent to groups were completely inappropriate and, in some cases, downright creepy. On at least two occasions, the IRS asked groups about their ties to specific people, mentioned directly by name in their queries.

We’ve also learned, thanks to CNS News, that the IRS also asked a New Mexico-based Tea Party group about its 2010 forum for Republican gubernatorial primary candidates and wanted to know why it didn’t host a “candidate rally” for the lone Democrat running for governor of the state:

The Internal Revenue Service, in a letter dated November 16, 2011, asked the Albuquerque Tea Party why it didn’t host a “candidate rally” in 2010 for the lone Democratic gubernatorial candidate in New Mexico after it had hosted a “question and answer forum” for the Republican candidates.

Lerner to be Recalled to Committee, Placed on Administrative Leave

Lois Lerner

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced that he would recall Lois Lerner, the embattled director of the IRS’s Tax Exempt Division, to testify on the agency’s discrimination of Tea Party and conservative groups.

Lerner appeared before the committee on Wednesday, but invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself. But before doing so, Lerner made an opening statement in which she declared herself innocent of any wrong-doing. Issa believes that Lerner waived her rights with her opening statement:

Issa said Thursday he had concluded that Lerner waived her rights against self-incrimination when she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights at a Wednesday hearing.

Lerner, who runs an IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, defended her actions in an opening statement before invoking the Fifth, and Republicans say that meant she had waived her privileges against self-incrimination.
[…]
“After consulting with counsel, Chairman Issa has concluded that Ms. Lerner’s 5th Amendment assertion is no longer valid,” Ali Ahmad, a spokesman for Issa, said in a statement Thursday. “She remains under subpoena, the Committee is looking at recalling her for testimony.”

Issa recessed – rather than adjourned – Wednesday’s hearing, which keeps Lerner under the original subpoena.

Did the Former IRS Chief Lie About Tea Party Targeting?

Douglas Shulman

Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman has some explaining to do, though whether Tea Party and conservative groups targeted by the agency during his tenure will get any answers remains to be seen.

In a March 2012 appearance before the appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee, Shulman was asked about the allegations by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA).

“We’ve seen some recent press allegations that the IRS is targeting certain Tea Party groups across the country — requesting owners’ documents requests, delaying approval for tax-exempt status and that kind of thing,” noted Boustany. “Can you elaborate on what’s going on with that? Can you give us assurances that the IRS is not targeting particular groups based on political leanings?”

Shulman didn’t beat around the bush in his response. He explicitly denied that the IRS was targeting specific groups.

“[L]et me start by saying, yes, I can give you assurances,” Shulman said in response. “As you know, we pride ourselves on being a non-political, non-partisan organization. I am the only — me and our chief counsel — are the only presidential appointees, and I have a five-year term that runs through presidential elections, just so we will have none of that kind of political intervention in things that we do.”

Shulman essentially blamed the organizations. He claimed that those complaining about targeting by the IRS were were in the “application process” and had come to the agency “voluntarily.”

Pigford Exposed, Andrew Breitbart Vindicated

Andrew Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart, the conservative firebrand who passed away early last year, has won the narrative on Pigford. The conservative blogger, who founded the Breitbart blogging/new media empire, worked hard to shed light on the corruption, cronyism, and fraud that were rampant in Pigford payouts. However, his focus on the scandal was dismissed by an uninterested media.

But after years of ignored the story, it finally got some interest. Sharon LaFraniere of The New York Times recently examined the background of Pigford, which stems from a lawsuit — Pigford v. Glickman — filed by black farmers who claimed they were discriminated against when trying to secure federal loans from 1983 to 1997. The settlement in the case required that the Department of Agriculture payout $50,000 farmers affected by the discrimination. Hispanic and female farmers who also claimed discrimination tried to secure the same payouts from the government, but were initially unsuccessful.

What we now know about the story is nothing short of stunning. What was once meant to be a temporary settlement with farmers was expanded in the 2008 farm bill, funded in 2010, and is now rife with cronyism that could cost taxpayers billions.

“The compensation effort sprang from a desire to redress what the government and a federal judge agreed was a painful legacy of bias against African-Americans by the Agriculture Department,” wrote LaFraniere last week. “But an examination by The New York Times shows that it became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms that stand to gain more than $130 million in fees.”

Choice & Discrimation, or “Kansas & Marion Barry”

Earlier in the week, Fox News reporter Todd Starnes reported that Hutchinson, Kansas, is looking to pass an ordinance that will require churches to host weddings and parties for LGBT groups—something which, predictably and understandably—got many on the right upset. Then, not too long after, former DC mayor and current Council member Marion Barry made yet another stupid move by criticizing hospitals for hiring Filipina nurses.

My oh my. Looks like discrimination is back in the media again.

First, what Starnes reported from Kansas:

 

The Hutchinson City Council will consider adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes in the city’s human relations code. They are expected to vote on the changes next month.

According to the Hutchinson Human Relations Commission, churches that rent out their buildings to the general public would not be allowed to discriminate “against a gay couple who want to rent the building for a party.”

Meryl Dye, a spokesperson for the Human Relations Commission confirmed to Fox News that churches would be subjected to portions of the proposed law.

[…]

 

Matthew Staver, chairman of the Liberty Counsel Action, told Fox News the proposed law is “un-American.”

“It is a collision course between religious freedom and the LGBT agenda,” Staver said. “This proposed legislation will ultimately override the religious freedom that is protected under the First Amendment.”

He argued that churches cannot be forced by the government to set aside their religious convictions and their mission. And, he warned, some churches could even be forced to rent their buildings for drag parties.

 

 


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