Month Archives: May 2011

Some Good News on DoMA: Judicial Watch Suing DoJ over Its FOIA Request

by Chris Gacek

May 17, 2011

There is some good news today for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Judicial Watch (JW) has announced that it filed suit on April 29, 2011, to compel the Department of Justice to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. In this instance, Judicial Watch was seeking documents and records relating to Attorney General Holders February 23, 2011 decision to no longer defend DOMA. Related to this was the suspicious timing of Mr. Holders announcement and a filing by the anti-Prop 8 litigants before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. As you may recall, FRC filed a similar FOIA request in late February.

Judicial Watch is a public interest law firm that specializes in FOIA litigation. JWs litigation expertise should produce the release of documents relevant to all the individuals and groups who filed overlapping FOIA requests. Good luck, Judicial Watch. Unfortunately, we don’t expect the Administration to be very cooperative.

 

Same-Sex Marriage Is Not Legal Under Federal Law. Ever. At Any Time.

by Peter Sprigg

May 17, 2011

Christianity Todays Politics Blog featured an article on May 13 by Tobin Grant with the unfortunate headline, Is Same-Sex Marriage Legal Under Federal Law? Maybe. Sometimes.

This headline is entirely wrong. Same-sex marriage is absolutely, unequivocally not legal under federal law. Ever. At any time.

That is because of a federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (usually abbreviated DOMA). Public Law 104-199 was passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress (342-67 in the House, 85-14 in the Senate), and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996.

One part of the Defense of Marriage Act provided that states could not be obligated to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states.

The other key provision of DOMA (found in Section 3 of the bill), now under challenge in several courts, defines marriage for all purposes under federal law. It states:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word marriage means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word spouse refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

This statute (now codified in Title I, Chapter 1, Section 7 of the United States Code) has never been repealed. It has never been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is the law. And it is unequivocal in forbidding federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

What Grant actually describes is not any ambiguity about the state of the law, but rather the duplicity of the current administration under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. It is no secret that Obama would like to see DOMA repealed, but Holder has stated that in the meantime, Section 3 will continue to be enforced by the Executive Branch.

Holders actions, however, have belied those words. The latest example, described in Grants blog post, was Holders decision to overturn a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which had ruled against an application for resident status by an Irish man who entered into a civil union with an American in New Jersey. Holder asked the Board to consider the case again, and determine whether, absent the requirements of DOMA, respondents same-sex partnership or civil union would qualify him to be considered a spouse under the Immigration and Nationality Act. This is irrational, given that the requirements of DOMA are not absent, and it is utterly hypocritical when viewed in light of Holders promise to continue enforcement of DOMA.

In addition to the misleading headline, there is one other part of Grants blog post that requires some careful fact-checking. It is this paragraph:

One reason for the controversies is that the Department of Justice is opposed to the law. The opposition, however, only applies in certain jurisdictions. Contrary to headlines, the Department of Justice will defend DOMA in some courts. In February, Attorney General Eric Holder informed the Congress that the Department of Justice is opting out of defending DOMA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In other words, the DOJ will no longer defend the act if a gay couple appeals a decision in New York, Connecticut, or Vermont, but it will defend the act in other states.

Really? I have not hesitated to accuse the Attorney General of hypocrisy with regard to DOMA, but not with quite such a level of hypocrisy that they would argue in one court that a law is unconstitutional while simultaneously arguing in another court that it is not. Yet that is what Grant appears to be stating is the current stance of the Justice Department.

I think Mr. Grant has mis-read (or perhaps not read all of) Mr. Holders letter to Congress on February 23. The very opening sentence of that letter reads,

After careful consideration, including review of a recommendation from me, the President of the United States has made the determination that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1 U.S.C. 7, as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.

This amounted to a reversal of position for the Justice Department, which had defended DOMA, in the past, in other cases. For example, a federal district court judge in Massachusetts last year declared DOMA unconstitutional in a pair of cases, which are now on appeal to the First Circuit. The Justice Department filed briefs defending DOMA in those cases as recently as January 13 of this year.

To understand why the administration reversed its position, you must understand the different standards for deciding equal protection casesrational basis vs. heightened scrutiny.

When a law creates a classification that treats some individuals or groups differently from others (in this case, treating opposite-sex couples differently from same-sex couples), it may sometimes be challenged as violating the constitutions guarantee of the equal protection of the law. However, most laws are judged under a rational basis test, meaning that a legislative enactment will be upheld as long as there is any conceivable rational basis for the classification.

However, heightened scrutiny usually applies to classifications based on characteristics considered immutable and irrelevant to legitimate policy objectives, possessed by groups who are minorities or politically powerless and have been subject to a history of discrimination. The classic examples are race and sex. Use of a heightened scrutiny standard increases the chances of a court striking down a legislative enactment.

Earlier cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA (such as the Massachusetts cases mentioned above) had been filed in federal court circuits in which there was controlling precedent saying that classifications based on sexual orientation are subject only to a rational basis test. The DOJs briefs had argued that DOMA was constitutional by this standard.

The new lawsuits challenging DOMA in New York and Connecticut, however, were filed in federal courts located in a circuit (the 2nd) without any such precedent. Mr. Holder claims that this caused the DOJ to re-examine the question of the appropriate standard of inquiry, and that in turn led him to declare that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny. (It could be argued that defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman actually does not classify on the basis of sexual orientation at all, but that would require a separate blog post.)

Holder wrote, Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in Windsor and Pedersen (the two new Second Circuit cases).

What if the Second Circuit rejects the administrations heightened scrutiny argument? Holder stated,

If asked by the district courts in the Second Circuit for the position of the United States in the event those courts determine that the applicable standard is rational basis, the Department will state that, consistent with the position it has taken in prior cases, a reasonable argument for Section 3s constitutionality may be proffered under that permissive standard.

Here, Holder appears to stand by the Departments previous arguments under the more lenient standardbut he could hardly have done otherwise without appearing utterly foolish. But to say this means the Department will defend the act at all, as Grant states, seems a stretch. Note, for instance, the use of the passive voicea reasonable argument … may be proffered, not that we will proffer such an argument.

Even before making the statement above, Holder declared, This is the rare case where the proper course is to forgo the defense of this statute.

Still, the focus in Holders letter on the newer Second Circuit cases might be seen as still leaving some ambiguity about the DOJs defense of DOMA in other courtsuntil you reach the penultimate paragraph of the letter. Here, he states,

I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation [emphasis added] of the President’s and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3.

The reason for the primary focus on the Second Circuit cases in Holders February 23 letter to Congress was one of timinghe concludes by warning Speaker Boehner (as the likely new defender of DOMA), A motion to dismiss in the Windsor and Pedersen cases would be due on March 11, 2011just sixteen days after the letter was sent. But courts in other pending DOMA litigation would be given the same statement.

The position of the administration on the defense of DOMA is now clearthe law violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the proper course is to forgo the defense of this statute. As a result, the Department will cease defense of Section 3.

Tobin Grants claim that DOJs opposition [to DOMA] only applies in certain jurisdictions and that the DOJ … will defend the act in other states must be rated as incorrect.

Adult Stem Cells as Possible Cure for HIV-AIDS, Redux

by David Prentice

May 17, 2011

The story of the “Berlin Patient”, Timothy Ray Brown, has popped up again in the news, as we approach the 30th anniversary of the discovery of HIV, the AIDS virus. The story is indeed captivating—Brown has experienced a functional cure of his AIDS due to a targeted adult stem cell transplant.

The story first broke in 2008, and initial transplant results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Brown was treated for leukemia with an adult stem cell transplant, which is becoming a standard treatment. But the doctors, knowing that Brown had AIDS, used specific adult stem cells from a donor selected because the donor’s cells lacked a key protein, CCR5, that the AIDS virus must bind to infect a cell. Not only did Brown recover from his leukemia, but the AIDS virus seemed to disappear from his system.

More recently in late 2010, Mr. Brown was identified as the patient and the doctors put forth a tentative claim of a cure. The most recent paper, “Evidence for the cure of HIV infection by CCR532/32 stem cell transplantation“, was published in the journal Blood.

It would be difficult to find a matching CCR5-negative adult stem cell donor for every AIDS patient, and the current treatment protocol can be rough, so this particular technique wouldn’t be generally applicable to every AIDS patient, but the results provide a proof-of-principle for using adult stem cells lacking the virus target molecule, CCR5. Indeed, other researchers are working on altering a patient’s own adult stem cells to resist HIV infection, and a few patients have participated in an initial clinical trial to test engineered adult stem cells as a potential treatment for AIDS.

Applying the Gary Hart PrincipleTo Pakistan

by Robert Morrison

May 16, 2011

In order to avoid become a cynic in my old age, I try to apply what I call the Gary Hart Principle to public statements of public figures. That principle is this: Lets suppose they are telling the truth.

The principle derives from Sen. Gary Harts experience back in 1987. He was running for president, youll recall, and he dared the reporters to tail him if they doubted his fidelity to his marital vows. They did. Uh-oh. Soon, poor Hart was seen coming out of his Capitol Hill townhouse in the presence of a fetching young lady not his wife.

Not to worry, said the embarrassed senator. He had been up all night discussing U.S.-Soviet relations with this bright young college student. In those days, before Bill Clinton, actually getting caught in such circumstances was not considered job-enhancing.

OK. Lets assume Gary Hart was telling the truth. Here was a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee who had access to Top Secret U.S. intelligence material. By his own account, he spends the night discussing our relations with the USSR with a young lady he had met some 48 hours earlier.

Had anyone done a background check on this eager foreign affairs major? Had anyone thought to caution the senator about the need to be somewhat circumspect about discussing sensitive national security matters with someone youd just met?

Just before his campaign collapsed, Sen. Hart appeared before the hungry pack of jumping journalists. Whew, he said. After what Ive been through in the past week,

Ill look forward to negotiating with Gorbachev.

Gary Hart never got that opportunity, thank God. But I wondered from that day to this: What makes you think you havent already been negotiating with the Communists?

Supplying compliant western politicians with female companionship is one of the oldest ploys in their bag of tricks. Succumbing to the charms of warm friends in the Cold War even sent West German Chancellor Willy Brandt packing, Nobel Peace Prize and all.

There are some things even Socialists cant swallow.

Back to Pakistan. Suppose they are telling us the truth. Suppose they are not, as one American cartoonist waspishly put it, Stab-you-in-the-Back-istan. Suppose they did not harbor Osama bin Laden for the past six years.

Lets suppose that Pakistans version of West Point could march and drill happily while the most wanted terrorist in the world was building a two-story compound just a few hundred yards from the main gate. And lets suppose further that the famous ISIPakistans intelligence servicehad no idea that bin Laden was so happily ensconced.

If they really had no idea bin Laden was in the neighborhood, how valuable an ally in the war on terror would that make Pakistan? Does anyone think such a trusted ally with such priceless intelligence to give us would be worth, say, $20 billion over a decade? Does anyone seriously think President Obama should have alerted the Pakistanis that we had located Osama bin Laden?

I remember a day in New York City in the fall of 1974. I was desperate to find a full-time job and feeling rather low as I stood on a Manhattan street corner. A huge black limo came careening around the corner. I recognized the occupants from their photos in the New York Times. They were Zulfiqar ali Bhutto, then the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Sitting next to him was his attractive young daughter, Benazir. They made eye contact with me and waved. Surprised, I waved back. The senior Bhutto was on his way to address the UN.

Soon, however, he would be hanged back home by the Pakistani general who had ousted him in a coup. And his daughter would go on to become Prime Minister herself, get overthrown, and then be blown up as she campaigned for a second term as Pakistans civilian leader. The coup leader, Muhammad Zia-ul-Huq, went on to be killed a decade later in a suspicious plane crash in the Punjab that claimed his life, those of several of his top generals, and that of the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

Thats pretty much what passes for government in Pakistan. If you are Pakistans leader, you are lucky if you only get overthrown and not murdered. It reminds me that even the young and unemployed in America have better prospects for a peaceful and prosperous life in this Great Republic than the richest and most and powerful in that failed country. And it reminds me why we cannot rely on anything being said by the Pakistani leadership. Even if they are telling us the truth, they cannot commit themselves or their government to anything.

The Social Conservative Review: The Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News—May 12, 2011

by Krystle Gabele

May 12, 2011

To subscribe to the Social Conservative Review, click here.


Dear Friends,

In May 1607, the first Anglican service ever held in North America took place in the nascent colony of Jamestown, Virginia.

This reminds us that from our earliest days, religious liberty has been the cornerstone of all our freedoms. Why? Because if our rights come from God, then it is safe to assume our first duty is to Him — and, thus, that religious liberty is the foundation of all other liberties.

Yet just this week, the Department of the Navy sought to require its chaplains either to perform same-sex unions or refer those desiring them to someone who would. As FRC president Tony Perkins commented, “Opening the military to same-sex weddings would not only violate federal law but also seriously threaten the religious liberty of military chaplains. If the Navy enforces its referral policy, any chaplain declining to perform a same-sex wedding would be required to find someone who would perform the wedding.”

Thankfully, the Navy has backed away from its plan, and the House Armed Services Committee has passed a measure that states, in the words of the bill’s author, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), ” U.S. military bases may not be used to solemnize same-sex unions, nor may military chaplains perform these unions in the course of their official duties.”

In 1776, Princeton theologian and Declaration of Independence signer John Witherspoon wrote, “There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire.” He was right, and the implication of his observation is profound: The defense of religious liberty is essential.

That’s our challenge and our calling. Thank you for joining Family Research Council in working to fulfill it.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice President

Family Research Council


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Jim Wallis, Homosexuality, and Genuine Love

by Rob Schwarzwalder

May 12, 2011

Jim Walliss Sojourners magazine has decided not to publish an ad by Believe Out Loud, an organization which describes itself as follows:

We believe Jesus message compels us to welcome all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Show the world that you can be Christian AND believe in LGBT equality. Join the movement to unite a million Christians for LGBT equality in the church and beyond.

Although in past years, Sojourners has taken stridently liberal positions on all manner of hotly-contested issues, tacitly endorsing homosexuality is, apparently, too far a stretch. Sojourners constituency, board, and staff are not of one mind on all of these issues, wrote Wallis at the Sojourners blog this week.

This indubitably is true: At least one of the publications Board members, Ron Sider, is a signer of the Manhattan Declaration, as is contributing editor Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. In signing the Declaration, they joined other signatories (including this author) in affirming that we pledge to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture. How could we, as Christians, do otherwise? How, indeed.

Wallis, a man of the Left, in his blog avoids stating what he did in a 2008 Christianity Today interview:

I don’t think the sacrament of marriage should be changed. Some people say that Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality, and that’s technically true. But marriage is all through the Bible, and it’s not gender-neutral.

Wallis interpretation of Scripture in this statement is correct. But in his 2008 book, The Great Awakening, he argues for civil unions from the state and even spiritual blessings for gay couples (from congregations prepared to offer them). In that same book, and in repeated interviews that have echoed it, Wallis also disingenuously argues that matters related to homosexuality should not be fundamentally divisive. As he wrote in his piece this week:

… the major differences of theology and biblical interpretation in the church with regard to issues such as the nature of homosexuality, gay marriage, and ordination are not issues that should be allowed to divide the churches that local churches should lead the way here, and that an honest, open, respectful, and, hopefully, loving dialogue should characterize the church on these very controversial questions.

This makes no sense: To suggest that homosexuality, with all its implications about human dignity and sexuality, children and family, society and law, should not divide is sort of like saying a woman can be a little pregnant: Either she is or she is not.

Homosexuality is a defining issue for the church not only because of all of its social and moral implications, but most profoundly because the Bible offers no ambiguity as to its teaching that the only sexually intimate conduct sanctioned by God occurs within marriage between a man and a woman.

However, in his blog post, Wallis is not yet done playing intellectual Twister:

It is our hope that differing viewpoints are not silenced, but are lifted up in a display of Christian, and often interfaith, sisterhood and brotherhood. It is for this reason that we wish to engage first and foremost in dialogue on difficult issues within our editorial pages, and we typically do not display advertising relating to issues amongst people of faith that have unfortunately, and too often, been reduced to political wedge issues.

Really? So, someone who advocates for the Just War tradition will find a welcoming audience among SoJos editors? How about an explanation by Evangelical George W. Bush for Americas attack on Iraq, or by a believing Pentagon general engaged in Americas strategic defense? Or perhaps Wallis will soon publish articles on abortion, marriage and homosexuality by such theologians as R.C Sproul or John Piper, or on religious liberty by such scholars as Daniel Dreisbach or Mark David Hall, or by scholars at the American Enterprise Institute or the Acton Institute on the virtues of capitalism and the danger of coercive charity (which amounts to Wallis definition of justice). I await such with unbated breath.

Homosexuality is not a wedge issue, except in the sense that its advocates make it one. The teaching of the Bible and the position of its faithful followers has not changed. Those driving the wedge are the ones who would compel Evangelicals and orthodox Catholics to deny key components of their faith in order to accommodate a community of people whose insistence on theological acceptance is animated not by biblical teaching but moral desperation.

No matter what your theological perspective or biblical interpretation on the issue of homosexuality, every Christian has the obligation to defend the lives, dignity, and civil rights of gay and lesbian people, writes Wallis. Lives and dignity, yes. Civil rights insofar as they are law-abiding citizens? Sure. But civil rights based on their sexual practices? No. To affirm such is to create an unconstitutional class of rights based on a type of conduct, which opens the door for rights of a kind never imagined by our nations Founders or by simple common sense.

There is no love in affirming something that, however sincerely held, remains objectively wrong and ultimately harmful to those who practice it. To show Christian love to a homosexual means, in part, graciously, winsomely, and patiently affirming that he or she bears the image of God and is precious to the Creator. It is also, with a humble and merciful spirit, to share Gods unambiguous plan for human sexuality and the hurtful consequences of veering away from that plan.

Not to do so is less than loving, less than biblical. Less than Jesus.

Second Patient Injected with Embryonic Stem Cell Derivatives

by David Prentice

May 11, 2011

Geron has announced that the second patient has been injected with embryonic stem cell derivatives. This spinal cord injury patient was injected Saturday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The embryonic stem cell protocol requires that the patient be injected within 7-14 days after the injury, because a previous lab rat study showed the embryonic stem cells were not effective beyond that time. The cells that are injected (termed oligodendrocyte precursors) are derived from embryonic stem cells in a way that scientists hope will limit the cells’ ability to grow and specialize. Normally, embryonic stem cells tend to grow without limitations, producing tumors. The first patient was injected with embryonic stem cells in October 2010. Dr. Richard Fessler of Northwestern noted:

The first recipient receiving the injection of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells more than six months ago has not experienced any serious adverse events attributed to the stem cell transplant to date. It remains too early in the trial to determine improvement in neuromuscular control or sensation.”

Indeed, it is too early to tell whether the first patient will have problems in this safety trial, but Geron has committed to following these patients for 15 years because of the significant risk of tumor development. And it may never be possible to know whether any improvement noted is due to the injected cells. The design of the experiment, injecting within the first two weeks after injury, leaves open the fact that a significant number of suich patients show some spontaneous improvement within the first year after injury.

Meanwhile, ethical and successful adult stem cells continue to help patients with spinal cord injury improve, even years after injury. Adult stem cells are helping thousands of patients with dozens of different conditions every year. Adult stem cells save lives and improve health now.

Why they do it

by Robert Morrison

May 10, 2011

The images from that two-story slum of a compound are eerily familiar. Osama bin Laden appears, wrapped in a blanket, hunkered down in his bunker, remote in hand, and watching re-runs of his greatest hits. How squalid. How very predictable.

Readers of James Swansons outstanding history, Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincolns Killer, will recognize the scene. In that book, Swanson relates how John Wilkes Booth was holed up in the woods in southern Maryland a full week after he assassinated the president. Dirty, unshaven, hungry, and suffering acute pain from his broken leg, Booth craved one thing above everything else: newspapers. Like the famous actor he was, he wanted to read the reviews of his most spectacular performance.

That Booth would kill Lincoln in a crowded theater tells us volumes about the mindset of these assassins. John Wilkes Booth might have presented his calling card to the White House usher any day of the four years that Lincoln was president. As one of the most famous Shakespearean actors in America, Booth would doubtless have been admitted to the presidents office. Lincoln, after all, was an avid theatergoer and he could quote long passages from Shakespeare. John Wilkes Booth might then have pulled out his bulldog derringer from his waistcoat and shot the president as he sat at his desk.

But that would not have served Booths craving for attention. Imagine the horror this young man felt as hid in those bushes and read his notices in the newspapers. He found himself condemned, not just in the Northern newspapers, but roundly condemned by the Southern papers, too.

Had he really wanted to serve the South, he could easily have slipped through Union lines and volunteered to go into battle with Lees Army of Northern Virginia. That would have required self sacrifice and subordinating his ego to the cause of Southern independence. That much, Booth was unwilling to do.

We are forever getting this stuff wrong. We keep thinking we will learn something in delving into the twisted psyches of these vicious killers. Thats why NBC News decided to air the video made by the Virginia Tech killer in 2007. Bill Bennett sharply criticized the news division at that time, asking pointedly what we learned from giving the publicity craving killer what he wanted. Did we learn he was crazed? Did we learn that he had delusions he was being persecuted? Did we learn he was filled with violent hatreds?

Did we ever doubt that?

Observing anniversaries of mass shootings, employing the term massacre, and calling them the biggest, the worst, the most only incites hate-filled and violent killers.

And finding the hidden motivation of these deranged persons also fulfills a media longing for root causes. If Congresswoman Giffordsassailant had ever been seen near a TEA party rally, you may well imagine what the media reaction would have been. Similarly, what if the Oklahoma City bomber had ever joined the campus YRs?

Instead of all this pointless and repetitive analysis, I recommend reading Dostoevskis classic Crime and Punishment. There, you will get inside the killers brain. You will find in Raskolnikovs mind all you need to know about killers motivation. It might not seem as exciting to have a penurious young Russian split the skull of his grasping landlady. He took the axe he had secreted inside his heavy overcoat in early nineteenth century Saint Petersburg. Thats hardly something to inspire the same morbid fascination as the Hitler Channel, but as this killer confessed in his self analysis, Napoleon, the slayer of millions, had to start somewhere.

You may note that I havent listed the names of the Virginia Tech, Oklahoma City, or Tucson killers. That would be a good place to start if we really wanted to learn something from mass murderers: Deny them any publicity, any notoriety in this world or the next. Its their oxygen.

Writer Bob Morrison served for three years in the federal education department where he researched suicide among youth.

 

Holder Further Undermines DoMA in Immigration Case

by Chris Gacek

May 9, 2011

Back on February 23rd when Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) he stated that the Administration would continue to enforce the law. Well, Holder has shown that to be not true in less than three months. On May 5th, the Attorney General issued an immigration decision (Matter of Paul Wilson DORMAN, 25 I&N Dec. 485 (A.G. 2011)) ordering the Board of Immigration Appeals, located in the Justice Department, to vacate a deportation order that was based on the immigrants not being married under DoMA. (The Irishman in question entered into a New Jersey civil union with another man in 2009, so he was never even married under New Jersey law.)

Here is the relevant text in which Holder contrives all sorts of additional questions for the Board some relating to DoMA which it must now answer:

In the exercise of my review authority under that regulation, and upon consideration of the record in this case, I direct that the order of the Board be vacated and that this matter be remanded to the Board to make such findings as may be necessary to determine whether and how the constitutionality of DOMA is presented in this case, including, but not limited to: 1) whether respondents same-sex partnership or civil union qualifies him to be considered a spouse under New Jersey law; 2) whether, absent the requirements of DOMA, respondents same-sex partnership or civil union would qualify him to be considered a spouse under the Immigration and Nationality Act; 3) what, if any, impact the timing of respondents civil union should have on his request for that discretionary relief; and 4) whether, if he had a qualifying relative, the respondent would be able to satisfy the exceptional and unusual hardship requirement for cancellation of removal.

Take a look at Ed Whelans commentary on this maneuver (NRO Bench Memos, May 9, 2011) here. The New York Times reports that an immigration judge in Newark, New Jersey, has already used the Holder action to suspend deportation proceedings against a Venezuelan. As the Times Julia Preston noted Holders action is an unusual signal this week from the Obama administration that it is exploring legal avenues for recognizing same-sex marriages in immigration cases.

 

RU-486 Safety Data Reported from South Australia

by Chris Gacek

May 9, 2011

A story from Saturdays Australian carried the headline Abortion Pill Less Safe than Surgery and described an audit of nearly 10,000 abortions performed in South Australia in 2009 and 2010 using either RU-486 or surgical abortion. For many years, FRC and the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) have been making the point that chemically-induced abortions are more dangerous than surgical abortions.

Here are some alarming statistics comparing first trimester RU-486 and surgical abortions:

  • 3.3% of the women who used RU-486 in the first trimester of pregnancy reported to an emergency room compared with 2.2% who used a surgical method;
  • 5.7% of the women who used RU-486 had to be re-admitted to hospitals compared with 0.4% of surgical abortion patients. That is 1 in 18 patients.

Here are two statistics relating to second trimester RU-486 abortions:

  • 33% (16/49) who had second trimester RU-486 abortions required some form of surgical intervention;
  • 4% of the second trimester RU-486 abortions had significant haemorrhage; one of the two patients in this category required a transfusion.

For more information, the complete audit may be found here.

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