Archive for the ‘Constitutional Law’ Category

holderericThere is a new release out of Judicial Watch, which has been meeting with success in its effort to defeat extreme privilege assertions by the Obama Administration in seeking records related to the infamous Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Administration has been repeatedly criticized for expansive claims of presidential power and privilege. I have been one of those critics. A federal court has expressed growing impatience and even anger with the Administration’s claims and obstruction — recently ordering production of evidence over the vehement objections of the Justice Department. However, nothing likely prepared them for what they claim is the privileges asserted on the “Vaughn index” produced by the Justice Department. The Administration is now reserving the claim of executive privilege over emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother. That’s right, executive privilege over communications with your family. It captures the lack of any sense of limitation or logic to the Obama Administration’s view of presidential power, which now overshadows the claims not just of George W. Bush but Richard Nixon.

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We have previously discussed the outrageous case of Asia Bibi who is the latest victim of a death sentence under the medieval Sharia law system imposed in Muslim countries — sentenced to death for insulting Mohammad. Now, a court in Lahore upheld the verdict and affirmed the death sentence for the 50-year-old motion of five. She said that her nightmare began when she took a drink of water from a bucket being used by Muslim women. As a Christian, she was viewed as unclean and the women assailed her and later accused her of saying something insulting to Mohammad. Not only did leading Muslim clerics in Pakistan support her execution but one offered a reward for any faithful Muslim to murder her.

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10258065_10152705666090673_8596767114169859453_oBus riders this week found themselves under attack by dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews who hurled stones and slashed the tires of their buses. The reason? Some buses featured ads supporting the right of women to worship at a holy site in Jerusalem. This is only the latest such attack by ultra-Orthodox Jews who have manned “modesty patrols” on the streets and attacked women who call for equal access at sites like the Western Wall.

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post1There is an interesting case out of Idaho that could be a critical showdown between anti-discrimination laws and freedom of exercise of religion. At the heart of the controversy are two Christian ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who own a Coeur d’Alene wedding chapel. They have been told that they must either perform same-sex weddings or face a $1000 fine. It raises a legitimate claim of the encroachment of state laws into areas of faith — a question that has been previously raised in less direct ways involving bakeries, photographers and other businesses that has refused for religious reasons to service same-sex marriages. We have previously discussed the difficulty in drawing lines under the First Amendment. If this business is protected, then why is not a bakery of religious individuals? Conversely, if this business is not protected, how about all of the religions that accept payments for religious services?

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635484776486452861-Alabama-pastor-100914It is relatively rare for a judge to be placed into a position of having to determine who gives a sermon at a church but that unenviable position was forced upon Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price who was faced with an uprising against Rev. Juan McFarland, 47, at his Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. They had good cause to want McFarland out. The not-so-good reverend has admitted to using drugs, having sex with church members in the church building and having HIV but not telling sex partners. Price, a GW grad who was honored for this service by having the courthouse named after him and , ordered him to step aside.

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150px-muslim_woman_in_yemen220px-Hydrochloric_acid_ammoniaWe often discuss the disconnect of religious fanatics who rape or beat or kill women and girls in the name of morality. Often such abuses seems to be condoned by governments like Iran. However, after a series of acid attacks on women for not being properly veiled, the Iranian government is actually investigating and denouncing the attacks.

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Richard_Posner_at_Harvard_University

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong. (more…)

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