Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court declined Tuesday to take up two gun-related cases out of California, maintaining its reluctance to dive back into the debate concerning the scope of the 2nd Amendment.
In an unsigned order, the court let stand a ruling upholding California’s law mandating a 10-day waiting period and another imposing fees on firearm transactions to fund background checks.
The court’s order comes at a sensitive time as the country is reeling from the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The denials also signal the court remains unwilling to take another look at several lower court rulings 10 years after its landmark opinion that found for the first time that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual has a right to own a firearm in the house, drawing a scathing dissent from conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who accused the court of sidestepping the issue.
The California law requiring a 10-day waiting period was challenged by a firearm owner and the gun-rights group Second Amendment Foundation, who argued it was unfair for people who already owned firearms to have to wait the same amount of time as first-time purchasers who were undergoing background checks during that time.
While a lower court sided against the firearm owners, the 9th US Circuit of Appeals upheld the state law, and Tuesday’s Supreme Court action means it will remain in effect.
The second case involves gun owners and the National Rifle Association challenging a California law that imposes fees on all firearms transactions in order to pay for background checks. When there is a surplus of funds, the money is diverted to fund law enforcement programs dedicated to tracking down individuals who unlawfully possess firearms.
Lawyers for the challengers argued in court papers, “while constitutionally protected conduct may be subject to generally applicable taxes and fees, it may not be singled out for special monetary extractions designed to profit from, or worse still, discourage the exercise of the constitutional right.”
The 9th Circuit upheld the fees, and the Supreme Court allows them to remain in place.
Will court address Heller?
The NRA conservatives have been urging justices in recent years to expand upon the 2008 decision in Heller v. United States and a second ruling two years later.
Thomas issued a lengthy dissent in the 10-day waiting period case to criticize some lower courts for treating 2nd Amendment rights “cavalierly.”
“The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this court’s constitutional orphan,” Thomas wrote. “And the lower courts seem to have gotten the message.”
It’s been “nearly eight years” since the court issued an opinion declaring that the Second Amendment is not a “second class right,” Thomas wrote, saying that by refusing to take up the issue the justices “undermine that declaration.”
As a result, he said, lower courts are “failing to protect the Second Amendment to the same extent that they protect other constitutional rights.”
Moreover, Thomas said he suspected that four members of the court would vote to review a 10 day waiting period for abortions, or a 10-day waiting period on the publication of racist speech, or a 10 minute delay of a traffic stop because “abortion, speech and the Fourth Amendment are three of its favored rights.”
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Alabama Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore co-authored a study course, published in 2011 and recently obtained by ThinkProgress, that instructs students that women should not be permitted to run for elected office. If women do run for office, the course argues, people have a moral obligation not to vote for them. The course is also critical of the women’s suffrage movement, which in 1920 secured some American women the right to vote.
The course, called “Law and Government: An Introductory Study Course,” includes 28 hours of audio and visual lectures given by Moore and others, as well as a study guide. The course is available for purchase on Amazon, where “Chief Justice Roy Moore” is listed as a co-author alongside Doug Phillips, Dr. Joseph C. Morecraft, and Dr. Paul Jehle.
On the back of the packaging containing all the study course materials, Moore’s name and photo are listed under the words “Featured Speakers.”
The study guide also recommends Moore’s 2009 book “So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle for Religious Freedom.”
The curriculum was a product of Vision Forum, a now-defunct Texas-based evangelical organization headed by Doug Phillips, which taught “Biblical patriarchy”, a theology that prescribes strict, unequal gender roles for men and women. According a statement on the Vision Forum’s website, “Egalitarian feminism is a false ideology that has bred false doctrine in the church and seduced many believers.”
For at least a decade, dating back to 1999, Moore served on the “faculty” of Vision Forum’s so-called “Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy.” Not a school at all, Witherspoon was instead a series of four-day crash courses that taught men — and only men — that the Bible is the source of “law and liberty and the only sure foundation for addressing the challenging ethical questions of the twenty-first century.”
Praising a “best of” album of the school’s lectures, Moore said, “I came to share what I have learned and instead received a blessing. All who attend the Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy have an opportunity to share in the restoration of our Nation — One Nation Under God.”
Moore’s lecture, which is included in the “Law and Government” curriculum, was recorded in 2008 at one such “school”, and hosted and facilitated by Phillips himself. In the speech, Moore recounts his fight over the Ten Commandments monument and bemoans the arrival of marriage equality, which the California Supreme Court had approved two weeks prior.
He also openly praises both Phillips and Vision Forum, saying, “As I think about what’s going on here at Vision Forum and what Doug’s doing and has done, I’m a little envious because I admire Doug and the fact he can round up these young men that are going to make a difference in our nation.”
Vision Forum closed in 2013 after Phillips resigned, having admitted to a “lengthy” and “inappropriately romantic and affectionate” relationship with a woman who was not his wife. Shortly thereafter, that woman, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, sued Phillips and Vision Forum, detailing an emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abusive relationship that started when she was just 15 years old.
The suit, which was settled and dismissed in 2016, has clear parallels to the many sexual abuse accusations against Moore, which allegedly took place when his accusers were teenagers and he was in his 30s. (Moore has claimed that the allegations against him are “absolutely false.”) Moore’s attorney has stated that, “whether they were 25, 35, or whether he doesn’t know their age”, Moore would always make sure to ask a girl’s parents for permission to date them before beginning any courtship.
That tradition is consistent with the “Biblical patriarchy” tenets outlined by Vision Forum.
“Since daughters are ‘given in marriage’ by their fathers, an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although the final approval of a husband belongs to her,” the tenets state.
One lecture in the Vision Forum study course on which Moore worked is given by William O. Einwechter, a teaching elder at Immanuel Free Reformed Church. The lecture is titled “What the Bible Says About Female Magistrates.” The lesson argues that the Bible forbids women from holding elected office.
An unidentified man introduces Einwechter’s lesson and criticizes the women’s suffrage movement.
“By and large, the issue of the female magistrate ruling in authority in America would not have been anywhere near as controversial,” the man says. “The controversy was beginning to brew with the women’s suffrage movement.”
The man references the Biblical passage Isaiah 3 as justification for this claim. However, his argument — that it equates to a blanket prohibition of women in leadership positions — is not widely held among Christians.
Many, including acclaimed 17th century Bible commentarian Matthew Henry, instead interpret the passage as metaphorical. Others note earlier translations of the passage (in the Greek Septuagint) do not even include the word “women,” but instead “creditors” — a word with identical consonants in Hebrew, but different vowel points — which also fits with the overall context of the passage.
Regardless, when Einwechter begins his lecture, he asks, “Why even consider a question like this?” The answer, he says, is because of the “heresy of feminism.”
“One of the most destructive ideologies of the last 50, hundred years have been the doctrines of feminism, which have transformed our culture and have paved the way for abortion on demand, the homosexual agenda, undermined our church, and subverted the doctrines of the biblical family,” Einwechter says.
He goes on to call feminism a “radical agenda” and says “nothing enrages feminists more than the Biblical doctrine of male headship.”
“Feminism and those who have been influenced by it advocate instead for what we’re going to call an egalitarian approach,” Einwechter says, “where men and women are touted as being equal in all respects, except maybe the most obvious physical differences, and that they’re equally fit to serve in any occupation or serve in any office or position of leadership in any sphere of life.”
The lesson uses what Einwechter argues are Biblical truths about the roles and design of men and women, arguing that husband, children, and home “summarize God’s definition of the woman.”
“She’s not a warrior. She’s not a judge. She’s a woman. Created by God. Glorious in her place and in her conduct and in her role,” Einwechter says. “Nothing is said in scripture that supports the notion that she is qualified or called to be a civil magistrate.”
This, Einwechter says, is proof that women should not work outside the home, run for office, or take on any role that gives women “dominance” over men, calling women “the weaker vessel.” Women, the lesson teaches, are only fit to be homemakers and should dedicate their lives to their husbands and children, never to work or outside pursuits.
“Sometimes we may have a hard time discerning the faith, the character, and the views of a particular candidate. But we can usually discern if the candidate is a man or a woman. And so there is no excuse on that one,” Einwechter says as he concludes the lecture. “In conclusion, we’ve argued that scripture teaches us that it is not God’s revealed will for a woman to serve as a civil magistrate and thus to rule over men in the civil sphere.”
Einwechter says this is proof that, if Christians aim to follow the teachings of the Bible, they must never vote for women running for office, no matter their politics.
His lecture, Einwechter says, is an “objective study.” In closing, he quotes pastor J. H. Vincent, saying, “The world is in such pressing need for mothers — motherly women — that none can be spared for public life.”
The teaching stands in stark contrast to various Christian groups that hold sharply divergent views. Entire denominations, such as the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., and the Episcopal Church, ordain women and do not object to female political leadership, as do others. Many evangelical Christians hold similar views: the Republican Party includes passionate female evangelical leaders such as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, and one of Donald Trump’s closest spiritual advisers is Paula White, a female prosperity gospel preacher.
ThinkProgress could not find any record of Moore endorsing any women for office. The only candidate Moore appears to have effectively endorsed is Michael Peroutka, the Constitution party candidate for president in 2004, according a Montgomery Advertiser article from July 2004. Notably, the Constitution party was founded by Howard Phillips, Vision Forum head Doug Phillips’ father.
Spokespersons for Judge Moore’s Senate campaign did not immediately respond to ThinkProgress’ requests for comment.
Special thanks to independent researcher Bruce Wilson.
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DONALD TRUMP AND BILL CLINTON ARE NEON PROOF THAT SEXUAL ASSAULT/HARASSMENT MEAN NOTHING
(SEXUAL ASSAULT IS NOT A REPUBLICAN NOR A DEMOCRATIC ISSUE: IT IS A LEGAL AND A MORAL ISSUE!)
As about every one here in the U.S. know, and probably in all other countries as well, if you are very rich, well-connected, or are in a powerful job, you can treat women like insignificant sex toys. Ever since that well-connected Hollywood Producer finally got called out for his sexual crimes and this “#ME-TO” group got started a few days afterword, it seems that everyday more people are being called out for these crimes. In our society we tend to think of men sexually pushing themselves onto women and I believe that in probably 90+% of the real world cases are such, men against women. Yet folks we must also realize that there are cases of powerful women ‘forcing’ themselves sexually on some men and upon some other women. Also there is the reality of men ‘forcing’ themselves sexually on other men. There are some gay men and some gay women who are guilty of these crimes also.
In our society we have known for many decades that men, and women, are being raped while in prison. In our society it is so bad that people make jokes about when a guy gets sent to prison that his rear end is going to be getting torn up. Folks this is not funny, it is not humorous, it is mentally and morally sick! Back in 1978 I worked as a state prison guard for about two weeks in Illinois. I had a couple of family members in State Prisons before but I wanted to have a better understanding of what they had to live through, other than just from the ‘visiting’ room. I never witnessed a rape while I was there but I did hear some guards laughing about ones that they had ‘set up’ against some prisoners, they thought such things as prisoners getting gang raped was hilarious. I know that when I was in my early 20’s that I had several times that gay men tried to insist that they could force their wishes on me even though I had made it very plain that I was totally straight and told them to leave me alone or they would end up getting hurt. Unfortunately, there were several times that I had to make my point more clear to them when they refused to leave me alone.
Now, I would like to get to the headline of this article, people like Bill Clinton and Donald Trump and we should add in others like George H.W. Bush and his ‘little me’ George W. Bush. Even well before Bill Clinton of Donald Trump were elected President most everyone should have know that these two men were nothing but sexual predators, yet both major political parties endorsed these two criminals to lead their party. Think about it, millions of men and women voted for them anyway. Right now Mr. Trump should be in a federal prison cell, right next to Bill Clinton. Think about this issue also please, both of their wives know exactly what their husbands are and yet they are still married to them and still support them. Now lets talk about the disgusting old fart George H.W. Bush. Folks evidently he is still, even from his wheelchair, sexually assaulting women, and his wife Barbara is standing right next to him in some cases, just smiling. Now, the reason I think that ‘Little Me’, George W. Bush belongs in this scum pile. Do you remember when he was President and he was at a gathering of World Leaders in Europe when he came up from behind the seated German Chancellor Angela Merkel and started massaging her shoulders and upper back? Do you remember how she yelped because she had no idea this moron was either behind her nor that he was fixing to physically put his hands upon her? For George W. to have so casually done this to a woman in such a camera filled event, what do you think he does to women, whom he doesn’t even know, where the cameras aren’t at?
Friends, until the people of the United States physically force these perverts to be put into prison for their sexual assaults, they will continue. If we the people do not right now force these people out of their positions and insist on long prison terms for them and for their wives (because they are accessories to their crimes in some cases) as they just go along with the flow per say, these crimes are only going to get much worse. Right now if you are paying any attention to the National News stations we are seeing the proof of what I am saying here today. Examples of our First Lady, she just stays totally silent, obviously ‘living the life style’ is more important to her than her own personal integrity or the lives of the women her husband molest. Look at how Hillary Clinton is acting about all of these men being brought out into the open! She is only verbally attacking the men whom are Republicans and she is staying quiet about the accused Democrats and about her own husbands continuing assaults on women. Donald ‘the Fraud’ Trump, do you notice how he will blast accused Democrats yet stay totally silent about this anti-Christian dude in the Alabama Senate race as well as being totally silent about the dozens of women that he has sexually assaulted himself? And speaking of this child molester in Alabama how even his wife is verbally and physically ‘standing behind her man’?
Just as I was getting ready to close this letter to you a ‘Yahoo notice’ just popped up on my computer saying the following “President Trump discounts assault accusations against Republican candidate Roy Moore, saying Alabama voters ‘don’t need a liberal’ in that Senate seat”, end of quote. Remember, Mr. Moore is a former DA and a former Alabama State Supreme Court lead Judge. Also notice these facts, this fraud we have as our Nations ‘top Cop’ (Attorney General) Jeff Sessions held the Senate Seat Mr. Moore is trying to fill. Mr. Sessions has personally know Mr. Moore for decades down in Alabama, is this why the Attorney General isn’t having him arrested and put into prison? Is this a case of the ‘good ole boy system’, especially being they are of the same ‘anti-Christ’ political party? Folks, I am not a Democrat either, they have proven themselves over and over to be just as bad or even worse that their Republican bedfellows. Either ‘We The People’ stand up as one and physically throw these pieces of trash out of ‘Our Government’ or we as a Nation deserve to have these pieces of trash as our ‘Leaders’. My personal bet is that the Democrat Doug Jones will win the Senate seat in Alabama on December 12th then hopefully that will be the start of sweeping the human feces’ out of Our Political System, the business world and out of Hollywood. If not, we have no one to blame but ourselves!
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The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017.
The case concerned a naturalized citizen who was deported after lying on her naturalization application
The ruling will come as relief to advocates of immigrant rights groups
Washington (CNN) The Supreme Court on Thursday narrowed the grounds on which naturalized citizens can have their citizenship revoked.
The case concerned Divan Maslenjak, a naturalized citizen who was deported after lying on her naturalization application. Maslenjak, an ethnic Serb who was born in a Serb village in what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina, arrived in the United States in 2000 as a refugee and was ultimately granted naturalization in 2007.
In 2013, however, a jury found her guilty of making false statements on her application for naturalization and she was stripped of her citizenship.
The court unanimously ruled in favor of Maslenjak, holding that the offense had to be materially related to the decision to grant naturalization.
“If whatever illegal conduct occurring within the naturalization process was a causal dead-end — if, so to speak, the ripples from that act could not have reached the decision to award citizenship — then the act cannot support a charge that the applicant obtained naturalization illegally,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote.
Newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch issued his first separate opinion in the case, which concurred with the judgment.
The ruling will come as relief to advocates of immigrant rights groups who feared that the lower court opinion that went against Maslenjak would give the government the power to take away citizenship and jail people based on any minor misstatement in their citizenship application.
The decision also comes at a time of concern in the human rights community that the Trump administration will aggressively seek to strip citizenship, said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law.
Kagan said the government’s position, “wholly unmooring the revocation of citizenship from its award” would open the door to a “world of disquieting consequences — which would need far stronger textual support to believe Congress intended.”
Maslenjak’s lawyers challenged the jury instruction in the case because the jury was told it could convict her even if the false statement at issue did not influence the government’s decision to approve her naturalization.
The government argued that it could strip citizenship from an individual who lied during the naturalization process — without having to prove that the lie was significant to the decision to grant naturalization.
Lower courts were split on the issue of whether the government must prove that the offense was material to the decision to grant naturalization.
In court, Christopher Landau, a lawyer for Maslenjak, conceded that she had lied. But he said the jury instruction in the case “didn’t require the government to prove that the underlying violation of law had any effect whatsoever on the naturalization decision.” He argued that his client should be able to go back to court to argue the material question before the jury, and he acknowledged that even then she would have a “tough row to hoe.”
During arguments for the case, Roberts had a memorable moment when he reviewed a naturalization form used by the government and was concerned about how broad the questions were and of the impact the government’s position could have if someone did not fully answer every single question. He launched his own line of inquiry.
He noted that one question asks whether the applicant has ever attempted to commit a crime for which he was not arrested.
“Some time ago, outside the statute of limitations, I drove 60 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone. … I was not arrested,” he said, as the audience laughed.
“Now you say,” Roberts continued, that if he had failed to note the offense on the form “20 years after I was naturalized as a citizen, you could knock on my door and say, ‘guess what, you’re not an American citizen after all?'”
Roberts later said he thought the government’s position could lead to a problem of “prosecutor abuse.”
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