Month Archives: November 2017

Did the ACLU Hide the Ball and Rush an Abortion?

by Travis Weber

November 6, 2017

Based on the DOJ’s recently-filed cert petition before the Supreme Court in Garza v. Hargan, it appears that this is exactly what may have happened.

As you may recall, this was the case featuring an unlawful immigrant minor being held in the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the legal question of whether the ACLU could force the government to turn her over to get an abortion. Last week, after the full D.C. Circuit unexpectedly stepped in and ordered the government to do exactly that, it did—and she got an abortion—but now it is looking like this series of events may have unfolded in a manner not entirely on the up-and-up.

As recounted in the DOJ’s cert petition, there was an exchange of emails between ACLU and DOJ attorneys about when and how Jane Doe (the minor girl) would be taken for counseling and then an abortion—which must be separated by 24 hours under Texas law. Here, the ACLU told the DOJ a counseling appointment for Ms. Doe would occur on October 25—an assertion on which the DOJ relied to conclude it still had time to file for an emergency stay before the abortion would occur on October 26. However, at the last minute the ACLU got the doctor who had counseled Ms. Doe the previous week to agree to do the abortion on October 25—and yet didn’t tell the DOJ. By early morning on the 25th, Ms. Doe had gotten the abortion, and it was too late for DOJ lawyers—left in the dark by the ACLU’s deliberate withholding of this information—to request an emergency stay. The question now is whether this conceal and coverup operation violated legal ethics rules.

The DOJ cert petition argues two main points:

  1. Because the ACLU unilaterally acted in a way that made this case moot (by taking Ms. Doe for the abortion) before the opposing party (the DOJ) had an opportunity to respond by being able to request an emergency stay from the Supreme Court, longstanding Supreme Court precedent requires the case to be dismissed with orders to lower courts to vacate their judgments.
  2. Related to the failure to inform the DOJ the abortion would occur the early morning of the 25th, the ACLU counsel may have violated legal ethical duties.

If the Supreme Court agrees with the first argument, this would be a positive development as it would wipe out the erroneous en banc D.C. Circuit ruling and require the district court to dismiss all the remaining abortion rights claims (though often skipped over in recent discussions, this case features a number of other unnamed minors whose abortion claims are being advanced by the court-appointed guardian, and the case would have continued even though Ms. Doe got an abortion). The second argument should be taken seriously for the simple reason that our legal system depends on it.

What is deeply scary, and beyond the legal banter of this case, is that the ACLU apparently had such a fervent desire to see Ms. Doe’s baby killed that it chose to walk in the shadows of concealment and deception to do so.

Scalise Shooting Declared to be an Act of Terrorism Under Virginia Law, So Why is the FBI Confused?

by Chris Gacek

November 2, 2017

On October 6th, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Alexandria, Va., announced his findings in a report regarding the use of force by law enforcement officers during the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others at a baseball field on June 14, 2017.[i] Bryan L. Porter concluded that the multiple shooting and attempted mass assassination constituted an act of terrorism under Virginia law.

The Porter report is significant because its conclusion stands in sharp contrast to the report offered by two FBI officials at a press conference eight days after the shooting.[ii] Andrew Vale, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, indicated that the shooter acted alone and that there was “no nexus to terrorism.”[iii] He also stated that the agency would be investigating the shooting as an assault on a member of Congress and an assault on a federal officer. No indication was given that a terrorism investigation was being conducted, and the statements made seemed to downplay the shooter’s ideological and political beliefs.

It is important to recall the key facts in the case. Early on the morning of June 14, Rep. Scalise, the Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, and numerous other GOP House members and senators were the primary targets of a mass assassination attempt at an Alexandria baseball diamond. Scalise was shot in the hip and nearly died from his wounds. Two other players on the field, not elected officials, were shot and received dangerous wounds. Two United States Capitol Police agents, present as part of the protective detail for Rep. Scalise, were wounded by gunfire—one seriously.[iv] The would-be assassin, James T. Hodgkinson, was killed after being shot three times.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan L. Porter made the following observation about the would-be assassin’s political affiliation and motivations:

Hodgkinson held strong political opinions and was very unhappy about the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. He spent a significant amount of time on social media, using it to express his political views, such as his strong support for Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Another example of this is that Hodgkinson “liked” the Southern Poverty Law Center on Facebook—indicating that he was a fan of the organization and its attacking brand of politics.

Citing the Virginia terrorism statute, Porter confidently concluded, “The evidence in this case establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect, fueled by rage against Republican legislators, decided to commit an act of terrorism as that term is defined by the Code of Virginia.”[v]

Page 9 of Porter’s report may contain the most significant information pointing to the FBI’s misjudgment in the case—evidence that Hodgkinson conducted a number of surveillance sweeps of the playing field. After the shooting, there was a report to police that Hodgkinson had parked his van at the field on June 10th and walked around the field “casing” it. Porter reported that “at least one member of the Republican baseball team remembered seeing the suspect sitting in the Simpson field stands and watching the team practice on the morning before the incident, June 13.”[vi]  

The Alexandria prosecutor’s report also noted that video files from Hodgkinson’s phone “show video of [the baseball diamond] recorded in April 2017.” This field cannot be described as a tourist site in Alexandria. Rather, it is a relatively unattractive part of the city that one would not visit at 7 a.m. but for the baseball practice. Furthermore, “several witnesses came forward and reported seeing the suspect walking around [the field] in May 2017.” Porter observed that “[f]rom these facts, it may be inferred that the suspect had already selected Simpson Field as a potential target as early as April 2017.”

Even if one does not agree with Porter that Hodgkinson had determined his course of action in April or May 2017, his viewing the practice the day before and looking over the location on June 10th gives strong evidence as to his intentionality in committing the shooting. Of course, this is only underscored by the widely known fact that Hodgkinson had asked two members of the GOP team only moments before the shooting, while walking into the parking lot, whether the Democrat or Republican team was practicing. When told that the GOP team was on the field, he replied “ok, thanks” and proceeded to get his rifle and pistol from his van. The shooting began shortly thereafter.

The shooting was no spur-of-the-moment loss of control by Hodgkinson. It tied into his ideological animosity to the political views of the men he was trying to assassinate, and he intended to kill as many of them as he could.  

The Patriot Act sets forth the definition of “domestic terrorism” at 18 U.S.§ 2331(5). Such terrorism “means activities that”

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
     (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
     (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
     (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

It requires little imagination to see how sections 2331(5)(B)(ii) or (iii) might apply to Hodgkinson’s mass assassination attempt. Given his strong anti-Republican and hard-left beliefs combined with his effort to kill numerous members of the U.S. House and Senate, Hodgkinson could easily be seen to be attempting to influence federal government policy by intimidation or coercion—by shooting leading political figures of the majority party in both legislative bodies.

Moreover, it is straightforward to see Hodgkinson’s actions as attempting to influence the conduct of government by assassination. At the very least, dead or significantly wounded members don’t vote or lead while incapacitated. The Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives had been taken from his duties for almost four months, and he may now assess his political future differently. Even though he did not kill any members of Congress, his actions clearly affected our government if only for the horrific effect it had on Majority Whip Scalise.

All of these facts that were available to Mr. Porter and his prosecutor’s office in Virginia were also available to the FBI. Yet, a conservative reading of the federal domestic terrorism definition makes it clear that Hodgkinson’s actions should be characterized by the FBI as terrorism. Yet, the FBI stated eight days after the shooting that there was no nexus to terrorism. Why the rush to shut down a proper inquiry?

Congress needs to look into this and discover why the FBI is mischaracterizing what took place in Alexandria. It isn’t fair to Mr. Scalise or the other victims of this crime. More significantly, it is not accurate, honest, or truthful, and the American people deserve better.

It is a matter of great importance that our leading law enforcement agency understand terrorism. If the FBI cannot apply the law to simple facts, then it may be time for Congress to make some changes in that agency and its Washington field office.



[i] Bryan L. Porter, Use of Force Investigation and Analysis, Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Alexandria (Oct. 6, 2017) (https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/commattorney/info/17-001%20-%20Simpson%20Field%20Shooting%20-%20FINAL%2010.06.17.pdf).

[ii] Law Enforcement Press Conference on the Shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and others, FBI Field Office, Washington, D.C.(June 21, 2017): https://www.facebook.com/wjlatv/videos/10155472388738734/ (Facebook page for WJLA-TV). The two FBI officials who participated were Andrew Vale, Assistant Director in Charge, Washington Field Office, and Timothy Slater, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, Washington Field Office.

[iii] It is possible for an act of terrorism itself to have no “nexus to terrorism” – in the sense of a wider terror network, but Vale could have made this more clear.

[iv] Both members of Rep. Scalise’s protective detail, Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Crystal Griner, were fired upon; Griner was severely wounded after being shot in her left ankle.

[v]See Va. Code § 18.46.4. In the pertinent part, the Code of Virginia defines an ‘Act of Terrorism’ as ‘an act of violence… committed with the intent to (i) intimidate the civilian population at large or (ii) influence the conduct or activities of the government of the United States, a state or locality through intimidation.’” Carla Branch, “Commonwealth’s Attorney Finds Use Of Deadly Force In June 14 Shooting Justified,” AlexandriaNews.org (Oct. 6, 2017) (http://www.alexandrianews.org/2017/10/commonwealths-attorney-finds-use-of-deadly-force-in-june-14-shooting-justified/).

[vi] Porter, Use of Force Investigation and Analysis, at 9. 

Social Conservative Review - November 1, 2017

by Daniel Hart

November 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

A disturbing idea has been embedded in our culture for quite some time. It is the idea that in general, people should be left to their own devices to decide what is right and wrong for them. In other words, people, particularly children, should not be imposed upon or “nurtured,” they should instead be free to take on their own “nature,” whatever that may manifest to be. This is illustrated by the growing phenomenon of parents insisting that their children must be free to choose their gender.

Those who adhere to this philosophy, I would argue, are not being totally honest with themselves. What I mean by this is that those who insist that everyone must be free to decide for themselves what is right or wrong are the very same people that expect society to adhere to certain rules, such as the prohibitions against murder, rape, and theft. This is quite telling, because it reveals that there are some things in life that most people agree are inherently true and therefore non-negotiable; indeed, they can and should be imposed.

This reveals the inherent flaw in the “nature over nurture” logic. Believers know that if man is left to his own devices, he will eventually devolve into a selfish beast. In other words, man does not come upon moral behavior by chance or by nature—it must be taught and shown to him. This fact underscores the critical role that parents have in educating their children. When believers pass on the tenets of their faith to their children, they are giving them a foundation to not only become a stable member of society and have a successful future, but to enjoy a life of happiness that can only be found by serving God. As Ian Rowe has written in Family Studies, even our country’s most wealthy educational benefactors do not understand this basic fact—that children who are most likely to succeed are those whose parents are their primary educators.

More and more evidence for the importance of stable family structures continues to come out every day. May we lead by example and help transform our culture into one that values and upholds the family unit.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Ignoring Military’s Reasons for Transgender Order, Unelected Judge Sets National Security Policy – Tony Perkins

In abortion case, we let two children down: Jane Doe and Baby Doe – Travis Weber

Trump is a great champion of religious liberty — a welcome change from Obama – Tony Perkins

All Hat, No Decency – Ken Blackwell

Foster Parenting and Adoption: Answering God’s Call to Love – Kathy Athearn

Vice President Pence Announces Relief for Middle East Christians – Travis Weber

Georgetown University’s Identity Crisis – Kelly Marcum

We Need To Rethink Our Sexual Culture – Dan Hart

In Today’s Media Environment, It’s “News” When the Department of Justice Actually Enforces the Law – Travis Weber

Is the Air Force Finished With People of Faith? – Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

The Uses and Abuses of Hate – Robert Knight, Townhall

When Will The Media Stop Trusting A Hate Group To Label Hate Groups? – Margot Cleveland, The Federalist

Federal court rules World War I memorial cross must be torn down – Todd Starnes, Fox News

91% of pastors want to speak freely without govt punishment – Alliance Defending Freedom

ACLU Silent on Gay Coffee Shop Owner Who Kicked Out Pro-Lifers – Amber Randall, The Daily Signal

Georgetown may defund student group for defending Church teaching on marriage – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

Why the Government Shouldn’t Force Bakers—Or Anyone—to Express Support for Same-Sex Marriage – Steven Smith, Public Discourse

I’m a Conservative at Princeton. Why My Fellow Student Is Wrong to Make War on Free Speech. – Owen Wheeler, The Daily Signal

Free to Believe”

Colorado Baker Asked to Make ‘Birthday Cake’ for Satan – Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal

KY Judge Who Objects to Homosexual Adoptions Faces Charges – FACT

Arizona judge rejects wedding shop’s challenge to ordinance that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation – Fox News

International Religious Freedom

Modern Horror: New Report Says Global Persecution of Christians Is at Historic PeakNational Catholic Register

The Last Christians: Priest Describes Horror, Courage of Christians Being Killed for Their Faith – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

White House Reveals ‘Game-Changer’ for Persecuted Middle East Christians – Peter Jesserer Smith, National Catholic Register

North Korean defector describes ‘life of hell’ for Christians – Perry Chiaramonte, Fox News

Court: Student can be expelled for calling gay ‘marriage’ a sin on Facebook – LifeSiteNews

Military Religious Freedom

Air Force Punishes Colonel who Refused to Affirm Gay Marriage – ToddStarnes.com

 

Life

Abortion

How 1,000 Churches Could Transform the Abortion Debate – Greg Austen, Care Net

Abortionist cancels illegal late-term abortions after pro-lifers expose him – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews

Maryland Pro-Lifers to Protest Newly Opened Late Term Abortion Clinic of LeRoy Carhart – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post

In Blocking Abortion Legislation, Democrats Will Display Their Extremism – George Will, National Review

Abortion Rate Drops 25% Over Last 6 Years as More Babies Saved From Abortions – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews

Ontario bans pro-life witness outside abortion centers – Lianne Laurence, LifeSiteNews

Abortion Clinics are Crawling With Dirty Health Violations, Report Finds – Grace Carr, The Stream

Adoption

International Adoptions Drop to New Low as Evangelical Funding Spikes – Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today

ACLU Threatens to Stamp Out Diversity by Shuttering Faith-Based Adoption Agencies – Emilie Kao and Zachary Jones, The Daily Signal

Video: Foster Care and Adoption: The Keberlein Story

A Theology Of Adoption – Lauren Rae Konkol, First Things

Bioethics

Embryos and Five-Year-Olds: Whom to Rescue – Robert P. George and Christopher O. Tollefsen, Public Discourse

Basic Bioethics: An A to Z glossary on ‘making life’ – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

A Right To the Baby We Want – Wesley J. Smith, First Things

Radical Autonomy: A Dangerous Metaphysical Myth – Philip Hawley, Jr., Public Discourse

Obamacare

How Iowa Became An Obamacare Horror Story – Paul Demko, Politico Magazine

 

Family

Economics/Education

Bill Gates Overlooks the Vital Role of Families in Shaping Children’s Academic Outcomes – Ian Rowe, Family Studies

What Tax Reform Owes Families – Josh McCabe, Family Studies

4 ways to display the gospel as a public school teacher – Anonymous, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Why Catholic Schools Should Scrap Scholastic Book Fairs – Jean Schoonover-Egolf, Crisis

Marriage

What 25 Years of Marriage Have Taught Me – John Clark, National Catholic Register

Are We Asking Too Much of Our Marriages? – Anna Sutherland, Family Studies

More Than Marriage: What’s Behind Polyamory In the Church – Katie McCoy, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Video: The Biggest Misconception About MarriageThe Gospel Coalition

10 Lessons Learned from 20 Years of Marriage – Nina Vallone, Chicago Now

Faith/Character/Culture

The Crisis of Masculinity – Tony Reinke, Desiring God

I Don’t Care If It’s Halloween. Your Gruesome And Tacky Yard Decorations Are Sick And Rude – Georgi Boorman, The Federalist

At Least as Dangerous as Porn – Jon Bloom, Desiring God

Happier Mealtimes, Healthier Eating for Kids – Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay

Life Is Still Beautiful – Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition

Why Fatherlessness Is Not Normal and Dads Need to Hug Their Kids – Brandon Showalter, The Christian Post

What Women Who Have Had A Miscarriage Want You To Know – Emily Carrington, The Federalist

Video: How to Resist the Allure of GossipThe Gospel Coalition

Women Should Stop Insisting Men Are Bad Just Because They Feel Sexual TensionD.C. McAllister, The Federalist

Has Promoting Mother Absence Spawned Campus Crybabies? – Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

Human Sexuality

Why the Light of Purity is Needed to See the Mystery of Sex – Dietrich von Hildebrand, National Catholic Register

#Metoo: The prevalence of sexual assault and a call to the church – Trillia Newbell, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Let’s (Not) Talk About Sex, Baby – Marshall Segal, Desiring God

The Ugly Truth About Sex Reassignment the Transgender Lobby Doesn’t Want You to Know – Bruce Ashford, The Daily Signal

Why America’s STD Crisis Is a Pro-Life Issue – Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Transgender hormone blockers are ‘institutionalized child abuse’: pediatrician – Fr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

Studies Show Birth Control and Contraception Don’t Reduce Unintended Pregnancies – Michael New, LifeNews

A Pastoral Approach to the Transgender Debate – Todd Miles, The Gospel Coalition

Are We Equipping Young People to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault? – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

Pornography

Why You Can’t Consistently Fight Sexual Abuse Without Also Fighting Porn – Fight the New Drug

Pornography Use and Relationship Quality: An Interview with Samuel Perry (Part 1) and Part 2 – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

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