The world seemed to get closer to spinning out of its orbit in 2021. If you’d told me five years ago that men would be treated as women, criminals would not be prosecuted, and censorship would be widespread, I wouldn’t have believed you.
What were once considered the most basic, scientific truths (such as that you’re born with your sex and can’t change it) have broken down. Governments are no longer serving their primary function of providing security and protecting borders.
There are many more. As I reflected on the past year, here are just some of the many things that happened in 2021 that I never would have believed possible if someone had foretold them to me just five years ago.
1. Men As Women
The trend that most would have shocked my grandparents is transgenderism. Men are now competing with women in sports and being housed with women in prison. In 2021, President Biden appointed a man as a four-star admiral and proclaimed this was the “first” “female” “four-star officer.”
2. Blocking Puberty
A second shocker is that parents are enabling young children to try to change genders with dangerous surgeries and puberty blockers. Many public schools have a policy of not telling parents if their son or daughter has adopted a transgender identity at school.
3. Drafting Women
Third, the United States narrowly avoided a draft for women, which was supported by many elected officials in the “conservative” party.
Millions of immigrants have crossed illegally into the United States this year, in record numbers. The Biden administration also considered paying $450,000 in reparations to illegal immigrant families separated at the border.
President Biden misspeaks regularly, to the point that many commentators doubt he’s really the one running the country.
9. Asking Athletes for Advice
People turn to athletes and actors more and more for their advice and opinions as many other societal leaders seem to have abdicated their duties to lead.
10. Record Debt and Inflation
With record U.S. national debt, the money supply increased by more than a third in 18 months. The United States is experiencing the worst inflation in 40 years. Energy prices are up, and one of the bigger events of the year was in May, when the main pipeline carrying gasoline to the East Coast was shut down due to a cyberattack.
11. Covid Restrictions Continue and Some Increase
Initially sold as “two weeks to slow the spread,” lockdowns, mask, and vaccine mandates continue two years since COVID-19 started. Some U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. are now segregating people from public places to penalize their independent assessment of their medical risks.
12. Major Scientific Advances Not Celebrated
Every year brings some surprises and new scientific advances, but this year, living in a time of such great division in society, these breakthroughs were not universally celebrated.
Surely the greatest impact of science this year was the widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Thankfully, the vaccines have saved countless lives. But many had hoped they would mean life could return to normal; instead, lockdowns and mask mandates continue and vaccines have become yet another point of division, with the vaccinated pitted against the unvaccinated.
A huge portion of the world’s population has been willing to get the jab and trust relatively new Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, but some have been doubtful and resisted coercion and mandates as they have made their own judgments about natural immunity and risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “mRNA vaccines are newly available to the public. However, researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades.”
Doubts have been sown because the vaccines don’t completely prevent infection or transmission, but also because the public has lost faith in science as it was politicized by scientists, the administration, bureaucrats, the media, and Big Tech – from discussion of the origins of COVID to its treatment and prevention.
Surely we could at least joyfully celebrate science when the long-time human dream of private space travel became more of a reality in 2021? Three billionaires made expeditions to this frontier. It was a massive milestone, but was criticized by some as a waste of money and an ego trip.
13. Losing Our Lead
While traveling to space sure sounds sci-fi, the United States is losing its lead in science. China continued its advances toward surpassing the United States in technology, surprising U.S. officials by launching a supersonic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The missile circled the earth once and barely missed its target.
It “approached its target traveling at least five times the speed of sound — a capability no country has previously demonstrated,” according to The Financial Times. The Pentagon is unsure how “China overcame the constraints of physics by firing countermeasures from a vehicle travelling at hypersonic speeds.”
China may also be behind some of the Unidentified Flying Objects seen by U.S. military pilots over the past two decades, according to a long-awaited Pentagon report this year, which could not explain the origin of the UFOs.
Even with all this bad news, our nation has so much to be grateful for. But looking at the societal chaos and dystopian scientific advances, it’s no wonder some think the end is nigh. For now, we can hope that Republican wins last November show that many Americans will vote for change in the next election.
And maybe we should celebrate those billionaires escaping Earth after all.
CBS reporter Jan Crawford cited the “crushing impact that our Covid polices have had on young kids and children” as one of the most underreported stories of 2021 on Face the Nation on Sunday.
Crawford made note of the extraordinarily low risk that coronavirus poses to children and teenagers while also observing that it is they who have “suffered and sacrificed the most.”
“The risk of suicide attempts by girls now up 51 percent this year. Black kids are nearly twice as likely as white kids to die by suicide. School closures, lockdowns, cancellation of sports — you couldn’t even go on a playground in the D.C. area without cops scurrying, shooing the kids off,” continued Crawford, who concluded by asserting that “if our policies don’t reflect a more measured and reasonable approach for our children, they will be paying for our generation’s decisions the rest of their lives.”
While the toll of being out of school and other restrictions on children may come as news to some, others have been warning about the consequences for well over a year.
Last summer, Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.) argued that “our fight against COVID shouldn’t lead us to deprive our kids of the tools they need to succeed,” who issued an order mandating that schools open up for in-person classes by the end of last August.
President Joe Biden has been a staunch ally of teachers’ unions that have sought to keep schools partially or fully virtual, but his surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, recently released a report on “the nation’s youth mental health crisis.”
The pandemic and the policy responses to it “disrupted the lives of children and adolescents, such as in-person schooling, in-person social opportunities with peers and mentors, access to health care and social services, food, housing, and the health of their caregivers,” per the report.
(The Center Square) – Tennessee is one of 24 states suing to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 mandates in Head Start programs.
The lawsuit aims to stop the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administration for Children and Families from making toddlers wear masks and requiring staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 31.
“We have consistently opposed mandates in the context of education, defending state statutes passed by our General Assembly,” Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said. “This challenge is consistent with our past positions, especially in the context of education. Again, these are issues best prescribed by states who are responsible for the safety and health of their citizens and who are most familiar with circumstances facing educators. The ‘one size fits all’ approach is not workable.”
The vaccination requirement includes teachers, contractors and volunteers in the program.
The lawsuit claims a mandate related to Head Start is beyond the authority of the Executive Branch and is against the law, violating the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) Notice-and-Comment Requirement, the Congressional Review Act, the Nondelegation Doctrine, the Tenth Amendment, the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, the Spending Clause and the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1999.
Other states included in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and West Virginia.
Tennessee also has been involved in other lawsuits against federal vaccination and mask mandates, joining Kentucky and Ohio in a federal contractor lawsuit that led to a temporary injunction.
Buffeted by a Russia scandal that proved false, Donald Trump ended the first year of his presidency on a high note with passage of historic tax cuts. In contrast four years later, Joe Biden's first year in office is ending with a stunning rebuke from a senator in his own party.
On Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) gave a resounding "No" to Biden's signature Build Back Better legislation, leaving an uncertain path for the Democrats' ambitious agenda despite the fact they control the Senate, House and White House.
Their future is further complicated by an aging president already beset by low poll numbers, soaring inflation, a stubborn pandemic and stinging losses in the courts and the Afghan withdrawal.
Voices on both side of the political aisle said Sunday the failures could be traced to a common problem for the Biden White House: expectation setting. Setting a Christmas deadline for an expensive bill may have been unrealistic and left an inevitable course to failure, they said.
"They made so many promises," said Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy, according to Politico. "What one wants to try to do is under-promise and over-deliver. They did the opposite."
James Carville, the Democratic strategist who guided Bill Clinton to victory three decades ago, suggested Sunday there was no reason to create an end-of-year deadline for passage of the Build Back Better bill.
And, he said, the failure overshadows some of the victories Democrats achieved, like a bipartisan infrastructure bill, job and wage growth and the end of America's longest war.
"2021 is the greatest story never told," Carville lamented during a CNN interview in which be blamed Biden and Democrats for messaging that failed to highlight accomplishments or set realistic expectations. "... I think this is a good news year, and I think we need to tell people about it."
The Biden White House clearly felt slighted by Manchin's high-profile rejection, lambasting the senator before urging Democrats to pivot to a new legislative priority involving federalizing voting rules.
The collegiality that Biden promised to bring back to Washington clearly slipped away Sunday, as Sen. Bernie Sanders accused his colleague Manchin of bowing to big drug firms, while White House press secretary Jen Psaki accused him of a "breach of his commitments to the president and the senator's colleagues in the House and Senate."
Liberal TV pundits went even further, suggesting the West Virginia Democrats had put democracy itself in jeopardy by refusing to vote for a $1.7 trillion spending plan in the midst of soaring inflation.
"What's worse — that Manchin is killing the Biden legislative agenda, and perhaps the future of American democracy too, or that he wasted most of this year dragging this whole thing out to do it *and* wasted half of the time that Dems control Congress and the White House," MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan tweeted in exasperation.
Former Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, now a liberal commentator, used similar dire language to rebuke Manchin, suggesting the senator might also block Democrats' voting bill.
"This also goes into the question of voting rights, because unless there's something that can be done about the filibuster rule in the Senate which Manchin again has indicated he will not change, there is not going to be an effective legislative means of doing what needs to be done to guarantee American democracy through the right to vote for all Americans without being suppressed as we're seeing now," Bernstein said.
While the finger-pointing has only begun, there is already one clear consequence. A Biden presidency that many thought would bring Washington a newer, calmer normal has not thus far delivered.
Politico summed up the failure succinctly in the final line of its Sunday story on the Manchin development.
"Biden was supposed to bring order to the chaos of D.C. But chaos is prevailing," it declared.
The comments sparked pushback from retail leaders and Republican lawmakers, including from Walgreens.
"Organized retail crime is one of the top challenges facing" the company, Walgreens told The Washington Times, adding that the crime "has evolved beyond shoplifting and petty theft to the sale of stolen and counterfeit goods online."
"I don’t know what data she is talking about," said Rep. Rodney Davis, an Illinois Republican.
"But you don’t really need much data from someplace in San Francisco or California. All you need to do is walk down the street to the CVS in Eastern Market," he said, referring to an area of Washington, D.C. near the Capitol. "I’ve seen on multiple occasions when I’ve been in there buying things, someone will come in and raid a shelf and walk out."
Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks said Ocasio-Cortez’s comments were "tone-deaf and offensive" to the family of Oakland security guard Kevin Nishita. The former San Jose police officer was shot and killed in November while defending a news crew reporting on a smash-and-grab crime
The Retail Industry Leaders Association also took issue with her remarks in a comment to The Washington Times.
"Respectfully, the Congresswoman has no idea what she is talking about. Both the data and stack of video evidence makes fairly clear that this is a growing problem in need of solutions," Jason Brewer, RILA senior executive vice president of communications said in an email. "If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that."
California has faced repeated smash-and-grab incidents since November, with most of the crimes concentrated in and around San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The crimes have sparked Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to call on local mayors to "step up" and hold the perpetrators to "account," and saying they should be prosecuted. The governor also increased California Highway Patrol’s presence along highways near shopping destinations
In one town, Walnut Creek, smash-and-grab looters stole about $125,000 in merchandise from a Nordstrom, sparking the city council to approve $2 million in funds to beef up its police department and security.
Police union leadership in the state has also slammed the repeated crimes, blaming California’s Proposition 47 and the ACLU for supporting the ballot measure. Under Proposition 47, passed in 2014, shoplifting charges regarding the theft of $950 or less were lowered from felonies to misdemeanors.
"When society removes accountability for bad behavior, criminals get emboldened to commit more crimes, drug addicts thumb their noses at mandatory treatment and vandalism and petty theft turn into riotous looting and murder," the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Craig Lally, told Fox News last week.
"One does not need to be clairvoyant to have predicted that in California the ACLU’s Proposition 47 would turn a family trip to the mall or a Home Depot into a dangerous gamble for our residents."
Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the matter Sunday morning.
Maury County Sheriff’s deputies this week arrested a Fairview Elementary School teacher and charged him with aggravated sexual exploitation, incest, aggravated sexual battery, and rape of a child.
This, according to intake details that the Maury County Sheriff’s Department provided to The Tennessee Star on Tuesday.
That teacher, Jonathan Marchon Ullrich, lives in Culleoka, according to the intake sheet.
Brent Cooper, the district attorney general for the 22nd Judicial District, which includes Maury County, did not return a request for comment before Tuesday’s stated deadline.
Fairview Elementary School is part of the Williamson County School (WCS) System.
WCS spokeswoman Carol Birdsong said Tuesday that school system officials emailed Fairview Elementary School families Monday night and Tuesday afternoon.
“The charges filed against Mr. Ullrich in Maury County are horrific. The district has no indication that any of the charges out of Maury County are related to his work in WCS. However, families who may have information to share with local law enforcement are encouraged to contact the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office,” Birdsong said.
“If parents are in need of support in talking with their child, counselors are available to guide them through that process, and they should call the school office. If a child needs support at school, parents should reach out to their child’s teacher.”
Birdsong said that the WCS has suspended Ullrich without pay. She also said that Fairview Elementary School Principal Tracy Bullard would communicate directly with families of first-grade students about classroom activities for the remainder of the semester.
According to The Williamson Herald, Ullrich was Fairview Elementary School’s teacher of the year in 2020.
“However, he has a history of sexual harassment claims against him dating back to 2014. Ullrich was the first principal at Longview Elementary School in Spring Hill, which opened in 2007,” the paper reported.
“He served in that position until 2014, when he was reassigned by WCS to the district office after an investigation into allegations that he violated the district’s anti-harassment policy by making inappropriate comments to a staff member. Ullrich was allowed to get back into the classroom that fall.”
The paper reported that Maury County officials are holding Ullrich on a $200,000 bond.
Members of Davidson County’s Republican and Democratic parties have requested primaries in May 2022 for the Metro Nashville School Board elections.
The primary is scheduled for May of next year.
Davidson County GOP Chair James Garrett and Davidson County Democratic Chair Tara Houston requested these actions late last week. This, according to Nashville Election Administrator Jeff Roberts, who relayed the news Monday.
Garrett said he and other members of his Republican organization have specific people in mind to declare their candidacies for school board under the Republican ticket.
“The last I heard we have two candidates in three of the four districts and one candidate in the fourth district,” Garrett told The Tennessee Star on Monday.
“I cannot tell you who they are yet. We haven’t got a strategy yet. We are looking at several things.”
Members of the Davidson County Democratic Party did not return The Star’s requests for comment before Monday’s stated deadline.
In November, a bill that would allow Tennessee counties to decide if school board elections are partisan passed both chambers of the state’s general assembly. State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) filed the legislation during the Tennessee General Assembly’s recent special session.
The Tennessee General Assembly’s website said the new law will have no significant fiscal impact on taxpayers.
Davidson County tends to favor Democrats, but Garrett said Monday that, when it comes to this school board election, Republicans can convince more county voters than usual to pivot right.
“I think the population as a whole is upset with what is happening in our education system,” Garrett said.
“There are enough Democrats upset that if you get to the corner of the issue and the issues are correct then we will see a significant number of people cross over to vote for that. This school board election will be the key election in 2022, in my opinion.”
– – –
Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo from tornado-damaged home lands almost 130 miles away
By MIKE SCHNEIDER Associated Press D Updated
When Katie Posten walked outside Saturday morning to her car parked in her driveway, she saw something that looked like a note or receipt stuck to the windshield.
She grabbed it and saw it was a black and white photo of a woman in a striped sundress and headscarf holding a little boy in her lap. On the back, written in cursive, it said, “Gertie Swatzell & J.D. Swatzell 1942." A few hours later, Posten would discover that the photo had made quite a journey - almost 130 miles (209 kilometers) on the back of monstrous winds.
Posten had been tracking the tornadoes that hit the middle of the U.S. Friday night, killing dozens of people. They came close to where she lives in New Albany, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. So she figured it must be debris from someone's damaged home.
“Seeing the date, I realized that was likely from a home hit by a tornado. How else is it going to be there?" Posten said in a phone interview Sunday morning. “It’s not a receipt. It’s well-kept photo."
So, doing what any 21st century person would do, she posted an image of the photo on Facebook and Twitter and asked for help in finding its owners. She said she was hoping someone on social media would have a connection to the photo or share it with someone who had a connection.
Sure enough, that's what happened.
“A lot of people shared it on Facebook. Someone came across it who is friends with a man with the same last name, and they tagged him,” said Posten, 30, who works for a tech company.
That man was Cole Swatzell, who commented that the photo belonged to family members in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, almost 130 miles (209 kilometers) away from New Albany, as the crow flies, and 167 miles (269 kilometers) away by car. Swatzell on Sunday didn't respond to a Facebook message seeking comment.
In Dawson Springs — a town of about 2,700 people 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Paducah — homes were leveled, trees were splintered and search and rescue teams continued to scour the community for any survivors. Dozens of people across five states were killed.
The fact that the photo traveled almost 130 miles is “unusual but not that unusual,” said John Snow, a meteorology professor at the University of Oklahoma.
In one documented case from the 1920s, paper debris traveled 230 miles from the Missouri Bootheel into southern Illinois. The paper debris rides winds, sometimes reaching heights of 30,000 to 40,000 feet above the ground, he said.
“It gets swirled up,” Snow said. “The storm dissipates and then everything flutters down to the ground.”
Posten wasn't alone in finding family photos and school pictures that had traveled dozens of miles in the tornadoes' paths. A Facebook group was set up after the storms so people could post photos and other items like an ultrasound image they had found deposited in their yards.
Posten plans to return the photo to the Swatzell family sometime this week.
“It’s really remarkable, definitely one of those things, given all that has happened, that makes you consider how valuable things are — memories, family heirlooms, and those kinds of things,” Posten said. “It shows you the power of social media for good. It was encouraging that immediately there were tons of replies from people, looking up ancestry records, and saying ‘I know someone who knows someone and I’d like to help.’”
Florida and Tennessee are the latest states to discontinue memberships to the National School Boards Association (NSBA) after the latter described concerned parents as domestic terrorists. God forbid the parents don’t want Critical Race Theory in the classrooms with teachers telling white kids they should feel guilty because of their skin color.
Seventeen states have severed ties with the NSBA (including Illinois!) after the NSBA asked the Biden administration to investigate these parents. AG Merrick Garland announced he would sic the FBI and other DOJ departments on them. But the states know that parent involvement is a must and local law enforcement can handle any problems.
(Where are you, Oklahoma?!?)
The Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) officially left the NSBA on December 1:
FSBA did not submit payment for 2020-2021 dues to NSBA which were due July 1, 2021. FSBA was clear about reassessing the value of the affiliation with NSBA due to concerns surrounding NSBA’s governance, leadership, transparency, and failure to embrace non-partisanship.
FSBA’s decision to let membership in NSBA lapse was necessary, but not made lightly. The decision to allow our membership to lapse was made in response to a persistent pattern of dysfunction within the NSBA organization and among those charged with its governance.
“I support what the Florida School Board Association did. I think it was the right thing to get out of the National School Board Association. The National School Board Association was using its association to advance a partisan narrative and agenda,” DeSantis said.
“And they created this letter to try to get the FBI to start basically running interference at school board meetings. You know, they’re not interested in having the FBI go after the guy in Waukesha, Wisconsin, which was an intentional act of terrorism,” he observed.
“But they somehow think a parent who is upset that there is bad curriculum being put in school or forced masking or all these other things, if they speak out, that they are a domestic threat? Give me a break,” the governor said, noting that he remained opposed because he knew what they were doing.
“They were trying to intimidate parents. They did not want parents to be speaking out. And I can tell you in Florida, parents should speak out,” he said, explaining that the Sunshine State has great people in law enforcement who will hold actual criminals accountable.
“But going and speaking your mind is not that, and it was absolutely an attempt to intimidate,” DeSantis said.
“And I would say there is a divide now, between some of these elites, people that align with the teacher unions, and parents where they say that parents really don’t have much of a role in what goes on in school. I disagree with that,” he added.
The Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA) withdrew on Friday.
TSBA Assistant Executive Director Ben Torres told The Tennessee Star: “Our board decided to leave NSBA because NSBA’s advocacy efforts are focused more on contentious issues that divide the membership instead of educational issues that should further the mission of our state associations.”
TSBA Executive Director Tammy Grissom mentioned parent involvement:
“TSBA believes that parental and family involvement in the education of each child is essential to academic success,” Grissom said via email.
“Local boards of education should make every effort to enhance communication between parents and schools and remove any barriers that prevent them from teaming with school boards, administrators, and teachers to improve student achievement,” Grissom said via email.”
Justice Thomas and the Political Seduction of Roe v. Wade
“What specifically is the right here that we are talking about?”
Justice Clarence Thomas gets it.
Justice Thomas made headlines in the arguments over the Mississippi abortion law. The back and forth with the Biden administration’s U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar went like this, bold print for emphasis supplied:
JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS: Would you specifically tell me, specifically state, what the right is? Is it specifically abortion? Is it liberty? Is it autonomy? Is it privacy?
SOLICITOR GENERAL ELIZABETH PRELOGAR: The right is grounded in the liberty component of the 14th Amendment, Justice Thomas. But I think it promotes interests in autonomy, bodily integrity, liberty, and equality. I think it is specifically the right to abortion here, the right of a woman to be able to control without the state forcing her to continue a pregnancy whether to carry that baby to term.
THOMAS: I understand we are talking about abortion here.
But what is confusing is that we — if we were talking about the Second Amendment, I know exactly what we are talking about. If we’re talking about the Fourth Amendment, I know what we’re talking about because it’s written. It is there. What specifically is the right here that we are talking about?
PRELOGAR: Well, Justice Thomas, I think that the court in those other contexts, with respect to those other amendments, has had to articulate what the text means and the bounds of the Constitutional guarantees. And it has done so through a variety of different tests that implement First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights, and Fourth Amendment rights.
I don’t think there is anything unprecedented or anomalous about the right that the court articulated in Roe and Casey, and the way it implemented that right by defining the scope of the liberty interest by reference to viability and providing that’s the moment when the balance of interest tips and when the state can act to prohibit a woman from getting an abortion, based on its interest in protecting fetal life.
THOMAS:So the right, specifically, is abortion.
PRELOGAR: The right of a woman, prior to viability, to control whether to continue with a pregnancy, yes.
THOMAS: Thank you.
In that exchange, which gets right to the heart of this argument, is an exact example of what Roe v. Wade really is all about: having the Supreme Court of the United States use politics to make up law out of whole cloth in order to advance a political agenda.
The late Judge Robert Bork wrote an entire book on this problem. The title:
The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law.
In which Bork wrote that the Supreme Court and lower courts had moved from interpreting the law according to the Constitution and come to the belief that “nothing matters beyond politically desirable results, however achieved.”
That is exactly a description of Roe v. Wade. And as Bork reminds, this “political seduction of the law” is not new. America — and the Supreme Court — has been here before, always with bad results.
Notably Bork cites Chief Justice Roger Taney, appointed in 1836 as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Democrat President Andrew Jackson. Like Jackson, Taney was a slave owner. Thus it was that when the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford came before the Court, an actual slave owner was deciding the fate of Dred Scott, an enslaved black man from Missouri who filed suit against his “owner.”
Unsurprisingly, Scott lost the case. What was notable, however, is that just as with Roe v. Wade Taney created a constitutional right out of whole cloth — because that suited his pro-slavery politics. Writes Bork:
Taney was saying that there can be no valid federal law against slaveholding anywhere in the United States.
How did Taney know that slave ownership was a constitutional right? Such a right is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. He knew it because he was passionately convinced that it must be a constitutional right. Though his transformation of the due process clause from a procedural to a substantive requirement was an obvious sham, it was a momentous sham, for this was the first appearance in American constitutional law of the concept “substantive due process,” and that concept has been used countless times since by judges who want to write their personal beliefs into a document that, most inconveniently, does not contain those beliefs.
Not to be forgotten, but Dred Scott was effectively overturned — by the Civil War and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that ended slavery.
This substitution of politics for constitutional law is exactly what is at play in the current argument over the Mississippi law and Roe v. Wade itself. And it was perfectly illustrated in this not-so-clever ploy from the pro-Roe Justice Sonia Sotomayor who said this:
“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible.”
In fact, as with Chief Justice Taney’s passion to insert a right to slavery in the Constitution when quite plainly it was not there, so Justice Sotomayor is determined to insert her highly political view of abortion into permanent constitutional law, while suggesting that removing that view is what’s political.
Which brings us to the obvious. Ending Roe would not end legal abortion in America. It would merely hand the issue back to the states. In fact, the Mississippi law at the center of all this provides a time window of 15 weeks for a woman to get an abortion. That is hardly a ban on abortion.
What is really at stake here, just as Justice Thomas said, is that in fact there is no “constitutional right” to abortion in the Constitution. The rights provided by the Constitution, as even a cursory reading will reveal, are specially named in those first ten amendments not accidentally called the Bill of Rights. From free speech, to a free press, to “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” to the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” and more the Constitutional rights are specified. There was no right to own slaves, justCas there is no right to an abortion mentioned.
As Mark Levin has pointed out in his landmark bookMen in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America, there were other Supreme Court decisions beyond Dred Scott and Roe that substituted political views for the Constitution, notably Plessy v. Ferguson (which upheld a law mandating segregation) and Korematsu v. United States, which upheld President Franklin Roosevelt’s wildly unconstitutional (and racist) executive order that rounded up Japanese-Americans and sent them to internment camps during World War II.
The real issue here is not abortion. The real issue is, just as Judge Bork described it, “the political seduction of the law.”
Exclusive: Moms for Liberty ‘Emboldened’ by Weaponized DOJ, Slams Leftist Critics
December 5, 2021 Peter D'Abrosca
The leader of a nonprofit group based in Tennessee that is battling Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools is not afraid of the White House working in conjunction with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to intimidate parents who protest the far-left curriculum.
“Our message to [Attorney General Merrick] Garland would be this: by weaponing the DOJ against parents, you’re only emboldening us and affirming to us how corrupt the system is – from the Public Schools, to the top of our Government agencies,” Moms for Liberty Chair Robin Steenman told The Tennessee Star. “It’s demonstrating just how far the Progressive left is willing to go to seize this generation’s mind – they will threaten, intimidate and harass parents using government authority if need be.”
At the behest of the White House and the National School Boards Association, Garland recently deployed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate unspecific “threats” allegedly made by parents who protested school boards nationwide over mask mandates and CRT.
“Garland is taking off the mask and showing America how partisan and rotted departments like the DOJ have become,” she said.
Steenman also told The Star that her group is comprised of “happy warriors” who don’t fear the DOJ or Department of Education because they “have nothing to hide.”
Moms for Liberty recently made national news when it’s complaint against Williamson County Public Schools – alleging that the school district was teaching CRT to seven-year-olds against a newly implemented Tennessee law – was rejected by the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE). The TDOE rejected the claim not based on merit, but on procedural grounds.
Left-wing media personalities chided Moms for Liberty, claiming the group was attempting to prevent schools from teaching American history.
Steenman addressed those critics. She told The Star:
Remember, this isn’t even a history curriculum, it’s a reading curriculum for seven-year-olds who have no historical context. Yet the word “injustice” appears 314 times in the 478 page Teacher’s manual. Lessons about prefixes use words like “injustice, inequality, unequal, unfair.” Since many of the books are not even to the lexile of 2nd graders, the manual asks children to stare at pictures of angry white mobs and Mexican-Americans being taunted and disparaged – since again, seven-year-olds can’t actually read the books. This goes on day after day in the lesson plan. The books also teach children the “N” word and disgusting anti-Mexican slurs. The Wit & Wisdom curriculum intentionally tries to make second graders feel as if there’s been no racial progress or redemption in America. The goal is to leave children in the Jim Crow south of the 1960s. Finally, most importantly, actual kids have been harmed by it in the WCS system, including one bi-racial boy who felt ashamed of his white half.
Left-wing political operative Judd Legum, who moonlights as a journalist, was particularly critical of Moms for Liberty.
Steenman addressed him directly.
“Judd Legum is a leftist ‘reporter’ who never even interviewed us for our perspective. Even CNN did that. If you’re trying to understand both sides of a story, isn’t that the duty of a ‘journalist?’ But that’s because he’s a fake journalist who worked for the Clinton machine,” she told The Star. “He’s also defended porn being in school libraries, as well as falsely called concerned parents in Fairfax county ‘paid operatives.’ He has a horrible reputation for dishonesty. He is certainly not coming from an unbiased place.”
TN Christian children’s home fights for right to make placements consistent with beliefs
TN Christian children’s home fights for right to make placements consistent with beliefs
ADF attorneys represent Holston United Methodist Home for Children in federal lawsuit against Biden administration
Thursday, Dec 2, 2021
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee Christian children’s home filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Biden administration to challenge its rule that requires the agency to violate its religious beliefs or lose needed funding. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Holston United Methodist Home for Children in Greeneville, a nationally accredited Christian nonprofit that operates throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia by caring for abused and neglected children through its residential and foster care services.
Holston United Methodist Home for Children receives some of its reimbursement for services through Title IV-E, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to help sustain its child-placement activities. A 2016 HHS rule issued at the end of the Obama administration required the faith-based agency to violate its religious beliefs by placing children in homes that do not align with their faith, such as non-Christian families; same-sex couples; or unmarried, cohabitating couples. During the Trump administration, HHS issued religious exemptions to this rule so faith-based agencies could operate according to their religious beliefs, but HHS recently rescinded all of those religious exemptions.
“Holston Home is a force for good, living out the words of Christ to care for children and ‘the least of these.’ It is vital that Holston Home, as a religious organization, remains free to continue placing at-risk children in loving, Christian families, according to its deeply held beliefs, without fear of government punishment,” said ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman. “The Biden administration is wrong to remove religious exemptions to its unlawful grants rule. This leaves Holston Home and other faith-based nonprofits with an untenable choice to violate their religious beliefs or lose critical grants necessary to their operations, which benefit everyone, including the government. The Supreme Court has recognized the harms to children and society of expelling faith-based agencies from foster care and adoption programs, and now it’s time this administration follows suit by respecting Holston Home’s constitutionally protected religious freedoms and repealing this illegal rule.”
“In the late 1800s, a widow of very modest means named Elizabeth Wiley answered the call of the Lord to start an orphanage to care for hurting children,” explained Holston Home President Bradley Williams. “That kind of inspirational and courageous faith for a woman in that era is such a testimony of God’s faithfulness and our rich heritage of traditional Wesleyan values. Today, we remain committed to these long-held biblical convictions and our calling to care for the most vulnerable young people in Jesus’ name.”
The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that the city of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment rights of a faith-based foster-care agency by invoking non-discrimination laws to force the organization to operate in violation of its religious beliefs.
Holston United Methodist Home for Children has been in operation since 1895 and has helped more than 8,000 children by reuniting them with their families, placing them for adoption, or helping them transition to adulthood.
ADF attorneys filed Holston United Methodist Home for Children v. Becerrain the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
Pro-lifers cautiously optimistic Roe v. Wade will be overturned after SCOTUS hears Mississippi case
Dobbs is the greatest test yet of the three newest additions to the Supreme Court.
WASHINGTON (LifeSiteNews) — Oral arguments began Wednesday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, leaving pro-life observers cautiously optimistic about a majority of justices’ apparent willingness to at least consider overturning Roe v. Wade.
Dobbs concerns Mississippi’s HB 1510 law banning abortions from being committed past 15 weeks for any reason other than physical medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormalities. After its enactment in 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals deemed it unconstitutional because of an “unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 ruling which imposed on all 50 states a “right” to pre-viability abortion.
Leading the defense of HB 1510 is Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Grant Stewart, making the case that judicial precedent asserting a “right” to abortion is “egregiously wrong” with “no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition.” The state further argues that in addition to its legal bankruptcy, the legal regime Roe set into motion has “proven hopelessly unworkable.”
The justices’ questioning of Stewart, Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Julie Rikelman, and Biden administration Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar did not give away a majority of the justices’ intentions in the case, but most of the Republican-appointed jurists did appear at least somewhat skeptical of Roe’s justifications, with only Chief Justice John Roberts hinting at an inclination to preserve the precedent in some way.
Liberal justice Stephen Breyer raised eyebrows by claiming that “the country decided to resolve its differences by this Court laying down a decision in Roe,” when in fact Roe represented judges taking the issue out of the country’s hands. The ruling has been widely credited with intensifying the abortion debate. Breyer claimed that to reexamine such a “watershed” case would “subvert the court’s legitimacy.”
Left-wing Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the most aggressively pro-abortion in her questioning, at points falsely claiming the beginning of human life is primarily a “religious view” and dismissing the evidence for fetal pain as “fringe,” and questioning whether the Court could overcome the “stench” of an anti-Roe outcome supposedly making the Court seem “political,” to which Stewart responded that the best defense against such a perception would be to simply ensure that the ruling is grounded in the legal and factual merits.
Most tellingly, Sotomayor tacitly conceded that Roe is not rooted in the actual text of the Constitution (something conceded by many pro-abortion legal scholars) by questioning whether a reversal would jeopardize other precedents. “There’s so much that’s not in the Constitution,” she said.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, gave mixed signals that may indicate he is leaning toward upholding the Mississippi law without going all the way to overturning Roe. “If you think that the issue is one of choice … viability, it seems to me, doesn’t have anything to do with choice. If it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?” he pressed Rikelman.
However, he also challenged Stewart on petitioning the Court to take the case on the narrower grounds of HB 1510, then once it was granted, moving to a broader attack on Roe. Stewart argued that overturning Roe is the best way to resolve the myriad questions surrounding HB 1510.
Conservative Justice Samuel Alito delivered arguably the most aggressive challenging of Roe, arguing that the viability line “doesn’t make any sense” as a legal standard because it changes with medical advances, and pressing Prelogar on the notion that an egregiously wrong precedent cannot be overturned unless facts change or a “new argument” is made, getting her to acknowledge that Plessy v. Ferguson, the case which established “separate but equal” in racial segregation, should have been overturned at any point because it was factually wrong the moment it was decided.
But while most of the above justices’ likely decisions are generally considered foregone conclusions (as are those of conservative Clarence Thomas and liberal Elena Kagan), the biggest question was how former President Donald Trump’s three appointees will rule.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh repeatedly stressed that the Constitution is silent on abortion and that overturning Roe would simply return to the states the ability to debate and decide their own abortion laws, and questioned why the court should be the arbiter of such questions rather than the American people. He also noted that America “would be a much different place” today if the Court had deferred to precedent in various high-profile cases throughout history, including Brown v. Board of Education, which overturned Plessy.
Justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett were less clear, though to the extent their comments fell in any direction they were in questioning aspects of the pro-abortion status quo. Gorsuch suggested that the “undue burden” standard for abortion restrictions established by Planned Parenthood v. Casey (the 1992 case that opened the door to some abortion regulations while reaffirming the “right” to abort) is “unworkable,” and questioned whether there was some “other intelligible principle that the court could choose” to separate some abortions from others. Barrett, meanwhile, suggested that safe-haven laws for newborns may change the weight of that “burden” by giving mothers additional options.
Several pro-life and pro-abortion observers concurred that the day’s proceedings were distinctly unfavorable to Roe’s prospects, while other conservatives cautioned that cross-examination does not capture all of the factors that go into justices’ decision-making process, and therefore a split decision upholding HB 1510 without ending Roe or Casey remains a serious possibility:
While abortion defenders are working to mobilize their supporters with fears of an abortion-free future, many pro-lifers are more circumspect. Dobbs is arguably the greatest test yet of the Supreme Court’s current justices, a majority of whom were appointed by Republican presidents yet have still disappointed pro-lifers and conservatives on various occasions.