Congress must press Obama Administration on Muslim Syrian refugee policy

Update:  It appears the last time either Judiciary Committee held required hearings on the annual refugee consultation was in 1999 (here).  If anyone can find a more recent hearing record, please send it. Why haven’t they been doing their jobs?

We’ve been aware for several years that the Administration each September must consult with the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on the President’s refugee resettlement plan for the upcoming year which must lay out how many refugees we will take, from where they will come, and why this is in our national interest.

(Last year’s Presidential Determination is here and an accompanying report can be found here.)

Reports I’ve received over the years are that the Committees responsible for “consulting” don’t change anything the President requests.  I could be wrong, but at least in the 8 years I’ve followed the Refugee Admissions Program, the consultation and the required delivery of a lengthy report amounted to no more than State Department reps dropping off the report with committee staff.  (I want to be corrected if there has been much more than that over the last decade!).

kerry richard

Asst. Secretary of State Anne Richard and Secretary of State John Kerry

On Wednesday, Sec. of State John Kerry and Asst. Secretary of State Anne Richard made a trip to the Hill to meet with Senators Grassley and Sessions (others?) where they discussed the 10,000 (some reports say 5,000) Syrians for FY2016 proposal.

They are calling that meeting a “consultation.”  Were Members of the House Judiciary Committee present as the law requires?

Opening the floodgates?

This is what the Office of Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley said after the meeting with Kerry.  It appears that Kerry left the door open for a much larger number of Syrians than the 10,000 being mentioned by the Administration so far.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley made the following statement after a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and Anne Richard, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration. The consultation regarding the number of refugees that the United States will admit into the country is required by law. In the event of an “emergency refugee situation” the administration may admit an additional number of refugees, but only after additional consultation with Congress.

“Secretary Kerry initially said that the Obama administration is seeking a reasonable increase in refugees allowed into the United States in the upcoming fiscal year. But when pressed, the administration indicated that they were considering opening the floodgates and using emergency authority to go above what they proposed to Congress in today’s consultation. The administration also has not ruled out potentially paroling thousands of Syrians into the United States.

Where is the hearing?

Below is a section of the Refugee Act of 1980 which lays out the process which should be happening right now regarding the “consultation” and subsequent final determination.

Calling any lawyers out there to help decipher it!  But, as I see it, both House and Senate Judiciary Committees are required to hold hearings!

((It can be confusing because the text intermingles two processes.  One is for the annual determination (where we are right now in mid-September) and the other is for an emergency situation that might come up during the year.))

Below are the sections I’ve selected for your consideration.  I doubt most of this ever happens! This is the statute: STATUTE-94-Pg102

“SEC. 207. (a)(1) Except as provided in subsection Q)), the number of
refugees who may be admitted under this section in fiscal year 1980,
1981, or 1982, may not exceed fifty thousand unless the President
determines, before the beginning of the fiscal year and after appropriate
consultation (as defined in subsection (e)), that admission of a
specific number of refugees in excess of such number is justified by
humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.

“(2) Except as provided in subsection (b), the number of refugees
who may be admitted under this section in any fiscal year after fiscal
year 1982 shall be such number as the President determines, before
the beginning of the fiscal year and after appropriate consultation, is
justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national
interest.

“(3) Admissions under this subsection shall be allocated among
refugees of special humanitarian concern to the United States in
accordance with a determination made by the President after appropriate
consultation.

[….]

“(d)(1) Before the start of each fiscal year the President shall report
to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives
and of the Senate regarding the foreseeable number of refugees who
will be in need of resettlement during the fiscal year and the
anticipated allocation of refugee admissions during the fiscal year.

The President shall provide for periodic discussions between designated
representatives of the President and members of such committees
regarding changes in the worldwide refugee situation, the
progress of refugee admissions, and the possible need for adjustments
in the allocation of admissions among refugees.

“(2) As soon as possible after representatives of the President
initiate appropriate consultation with respect to the number of
refugee admissions under subsection (a) or with respect to the
admission of refugees in response to an emergency refugee situation
under subsection (b), the (Committees on the Judiciary of the House of
Representatives and of the Senate shall cause to have printed in the
Congressional Record the substance of such consultation.

“(3)(A) After the President initiates appropriate consultation prior
to making a determination under subsection (a), a hearing to review
the proposed determination shall be held unless public disclosure of
the details of the proposal would jeopardize the lives or safety of individuals.

[….]

“(e) For purposes of this section, the term ‘appropriate consultation*
means, with respect to the admission of refugees and allocation
of refugee admissions, discussions in person by designated
Cabinet-level representatives of the President with members of the
Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and of the House of
Representatives to review the refugee situation or emergency refugee
situation, to project the extent of possible participation of the United
States therein, to discuss the reasons for believing that the proposed
admission of refugees is justified by humanitarian concerns or grave
humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest, and
to provide such members with the following information:

“(1) A description of the nature of the refugee situation.

“(2) A description of the number and allocation of the refugees
to be admitted and an analysis of conditions within the countries
from which they came.

“(3) A description of the proposed plans for their movement
and resettlement and the estimated cost of their movement and
resettlement.

“(4) An analysis of the anticipated social, economic, and
demographic impact of their admission to the United States.

“(5) A description of the extent to which other countries will
admit and assist in the resettlement of such refugees.

“(6) An analysis of the impact of the participation of the United
States in the resettlement of such refugees on the foreign policy
interests of the United States.

“(7) Such additional information as may be appropriate or
requested by such members.

To the extent possible, information described in this subsection shall
be provided at least two weeks in advance of discussions in person by
designated representatives of the President with such members.

Where is the report?  Was it delivered two weeks ago?

What you can do!

Contact members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees (listed here) and tell them to hold PUBLIC hearings on the President’s plan!

It would be preferable to hold field hearings around the country in some of the largest resettlement locations in the country so that citizens who will be most affected by large numbers of Middle Eastern and African refugees could be heard.  If those hearings hold up the official beginning of the resettlement year—October 1—so be it!

Note to Presidential candidates, this may be the most important issue America ever faces!

RELATED ARTICLES:

Is Congress shirking its duty to America on refugee admissions? Yes, and has done so for more than 2 decades!

Council on American Islamic Relations: Bring Syrians to St. Louis!

German highway banner: “Your children will pray to Allah or die!”

The Real Rogue Cop Problem

Over at PJ Media, I discuss where, and why, police are actually participating in the heinous targeting of certain population[s]:

Do #InfidelLivesMatter?

It’s open season on police officers these days, because many black Americans believe that it’s open season on them. And while some police officers are no doubt hateful, corrupt, and compromised to powerful interests, in the main one must go out of the country to find the real rogue cops: police officers who aid and abet, and sometimes even participate in, the terrorizing of their own people.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took the unusual step of criticizing the police’s failure to intervene in the case of a couple, Shahzad and Shama Masih, who were murdered by a lynch mob in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab, in November 2014. Five police officers stood by and did nothing while a frenzied mob murdered the Masihs.

Why didn’t they step in and stop the lynching? Because the Masihs were Christians, accused of blasphemy.

Blasphemy is a capital crime in Pakistan, but all too often the death sentence is carried out not by duly constituted authorities, but by slavering mobs such as killed Shahzad and Shama Masih.

Police, sharing the mob’s world view, stand by and let it happen.

Sometimes these rogue cops do worse than just stand by while infidels are brutalized.

Earlier this summer in Indonesia, police in the West Papuan city of Karubaga opened fire on worshippers at the local congregation of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI), killing a fifteen-year-old boy, Endi Wanimbo, and wounding eleven other Christians. Indonesian authorities have hastened to protect the perpetrators: they have neither arrested the police officers responsible, nor released their names.

National police chief General Badrodin Haiti explained:

The victims were shot because they were pelting stones at Muslims who were just performing Eid prayers.

However, Natalius Pigai of the National Commission for Human Rights contradicted Haiti:

It seems to have been a misunderstanding that Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI) is being hostile to Islam. In fact, they were not planning to burn the mosque. People were upset because of the police shootings.

Haiti appears to be another rogue cop, willing to bend the truth to protect Muslims who harm Christians.

Most troubling, the problem of cops protecting Muslim perpetrators has been occurring in Western countries, too.

In non-Muslim countries, “infidel” police officers are so afraid of offending ever-so-easily-offended Muslim sensibilities that they turn a blind eye to crimes committed by Muslims — particularly when there is justification for such crimes in Islamic scripture and law.

The most appalling example of this came in the British city of Rotherham. There, 1,400 British non-Muslim children were gang-raped and brutalized by Muslims whose actions found Islamic justification in the Qur’an’s allowance for men to take non-Muslim “captives of the right hand” for use as sex slaves (4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50).

Police hesitated to act for fear of being considered “Islamophobic.”

A whistleblower noted the following about members of the Rotherham council:

They described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.

Last November, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced that it was going to investigate ten officers of the South Yorkshire Police Department for their role in covering up the activities of Muslim rape gangs in Rotherham.

But in this case, the cops weren’t rogue; their superiors were. These ten police officers were just being set up to take the fall….

Read the rest here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Descent Into Lawlessness

French soccer fan converts to Islam, joins jihad terror group, blows himself up

What we have learned since 9/11

Are Law Enforcement Officers Above the Law?

Few people will write an article that even comes close to being critical of our U.S. law enforcement officers. Americans are due a non biased review of why law enforcement officers (LEO) are either treated with enormous respect or in many cases are despised by the people they are sworn to serve.

I can effectively write on this issue because my background includes serving almost two decades as a U.S. Federal Agent. I had the opportunity to work with dozens of law enforcement agencies around America.  This included local, state and federal agencies. I am happy to give our LEO a pat on the back when they do as they have been sworn to do, or write a critical article for the one’s who have forgotten they are not above any U.S. law.

In America the media and politicians have groomed us to always put LEO on a throne above all other professions aside from our military personnel.  LEO are not owed any higher allegiance to their careers than a plumber, factory worker, insurance salesman, athlete, or doctor.  People who apply for LEO positions do so because this career is very stable and the pay covers their bills and provides for their families. The popular belief is that LEO enter law enforcement to ‘serve’ the people.  This is so far from the truth that no further explanation is needed. For the vast majority it is for a paycheck and for many it feeds their ego’s.

The LEO who enter law enforcement to feed their adrenaline and ego are the one’s who believe they are one step ahead of other Americans.  The one’s who do this job for a paycheck are the honest officers and they serve the people because that is what they are paid to do.  These officers are the LEO that show respect to all Americans regardless of their wealth status, race, or religion.

The LEO who show disrespect for the people they serve are the one’s who believe some laws apply to them, but not all laws.  A few examples:  In a busy city it is more likely you will see a police officer in his/her patrol car breaking traffic laws than you will see from citizens. There are some officers who strongly believe it is their job to let citizens know they have the absolute power to make or ruin a person’s day, and in some cases have been known to alter the truth and evidence.

There are LEO who believe they are not subject to the laws of assault and battery. In most states, an assault/battery is committed when one person: 1) tries to or does physically strike another, or 2) acts in a threatening manner to put another in fear of immediate harm. Many states declare that a more serious or “aggravated” assault/battery occurs when one: 1) tries to or does cause severe injury to another, or 2) causes injury through use of a deadly weapon. Throughout America an assault by a police officer on a suspect or prisoner in a jail or prison happens much more regularly than ever reported by the media.

Technology has started to bring many assault cases by police officers into the limelight.  Seldom in our past history does a person making a complaint about officer abuse were shown even the courtesy of listening to them.  Today with cameras on every corner and many officers being required to wear body cameras the truth is being revealed.  Do you think most police officers are in favor of having to wear a body camera? No.  Even officers who are not inclined to assault a person often berate suspects to the point of the suspect admitting to crimes he/she did not commit.  In spousal or child abuse experts have shown emotional abuse of the innocent person is often worse than physical abuse.  The same applies in law enforcement.

There are two famous words every law enforcement officer is quickly taught in the academy and throughout their career. ‘Stop Resisting’ Often you will hear these two words being shouted even while a suspect may be docile. They are safety words for the officers. Without cameras it is hard to contradict an officers testimony if he/she testify they shouted this command ten times!

In conclusion citizens and police officers must be taught that mutual respect and courtesy must be shown at all times to one another.  Of course there are citizens who are serious troublemakers and deserve to be put through the legal system, but there are indeed LEO who abuse their authority.  An LEO is not above the law in America.  If you have ever been pulled over or had the police respond to your home/business on a criminal complaint, you likely did not have a pleasant experience.  These encounters of course should not be fun, but they should not be used by an ego cop to demean a person who has not been convicted of a crime.

Respect is an earned reward and not given out due to intimidation.  

An LEO doesn’t and should not believe since he/she  was hired by a police department that they automatically have earned respect from the people they serve.  If a plumber is hired by a company does he/she automatically earn the respect of the customers he serves?  Of course not.  It is only when the plumber treats the customer with courtesy and completes the job as he is being paid to, will he begin to progress in his career and earn respect from the person he/she serves.

VIDEO: What is the U.S. Constitution? Why is it important?

The James Madison Institute recently visited a college campus in Florida, camera in hand, to ask students walking by if they’d like to answer those questions and more.

Yes. You heard that right. We randomly asked students if they would like to do an on-camera interview about the U.S. Constitution and many said, “Sure!”

We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. What we heard was, well, you’ll just have to watch to find out!

Watch the short video. Take a break from your day and hear what these students had to say!

Constitution Day is fast approaching. As part of JMI’s Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for American Ideals and our Campus Representatives program, we will host several events on college campuses across Florida the week of Sept. 14 to commemorate this important day. This video was created to help promote these events, which are also featured on our website jamesmadison.org.

Please help us share by forwarding this email. You can also visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and share from those social media platforms.

Disobeying the Supreme Court

There is growing concern among the Christian community in America. The concern is that their Christian beliefs, which shall not be infringed, are under attack by the law givers. This has happened before during the rule of the pagan Roman Empire.

The question: Should Christians disobey the law givers?

I took the title of this column from an email I received from Dr. William Lane Craig, a noted Christian apologist. Dr. Craig in his email is responding to Nathan, an agnostic, who states, “Now, as of recent, with the legalization of gay marriage across the United States, someone pointed out to me that the Bible says that to resist the authorities would be directly against God’s wishes. To support this, he showed me Romans 13 verses 1-7. The verses seem to suggest that authority is placed by God, and we are to obey them because disobeying would be akin to disobeying God.”

Dr. Craig responds with:

Now as right-thinking people and as Christians, we cannot acquiesce in the Supreme Court’s attempt to re-define what marriage is. Five lawyers (as the dissenting justices called them) can no more change the essence of marriage than they can change the essence of a horse or a chair. So we now find ourselves in a society where there are legal marriages which are in actuality pseudo-marriages. These people are not really married, but they are legally married.

Now since, as you note, we Christians are to be submissive to the governing authorities of the society in which we find ourselves, we have to obey the laws unless they require us to do things which would be immoral, that is, contrary to God’s will or commands.

For example, when the Jerusalem authorities commanded the early apostles to quit preaching the name of Jesus, Peter and John boldly responded: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.19-20). Similarly, when pagan Roman Emperors commanded Christians to burn incense to the pagan gods, Christians resolutely refused, undergoing unspeakable tortures and execution rather than violate their conscience.

[Emphasis added]

Is it time for a new wave Christian civil disobedience as we saw with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, a Democrat, who emerged from a rural jail on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015, proclaiming praise for God and indicating that her fight against marriage licenses was worth the six days behind bars?

The Three forms of Civil Disobedience

There are three forms of civil disobedience, two of which are against God’s will.

  1. The anarchist view says that a person can choose to disobey the government whenever he likes and whenever he feels he is personally justified in doing so. Such a stance has no biblical support whatsoever, as evidenced in the writings of Paul in Romans 13.
  2. The extremist patriot says that a person should always follow and obey his country, no matter what the command. This view also does not have biblical support. Moreover, it is not supported in the history of nations. For example, during the Nuremberg trials, the attorneys for the Nazi war criminals attempted to use the defense that their clients were only following the direct orders of the government and therefore could not be held responsible for their actions. However, one of the judges dismissed their argument with the simple question: “But gentlemen, is there not a law above our laws?”
  3. The position the Scriptures uphold is one of biblical submission, with a Christian being allowed to act in civil disobedience to the government if it commands evil, such that it requires a Christian to act in a manner that is contrary to the clear teachings and requirements of God’s Word.

Peaceful Christian disobedience to evil commands is mandated by God. That is today’s lesson.

RELATED ARTICLES:

What’s Next for Freed Kentucky Clerk? Her Lawyer Speaks Out

At What Point Does the Homosexual Agenda Become a National Religion?

Why the Marriage Debate Isn’t Over: An Interview With Ryan T. Anderson

Judge Could Order Questioning of Hillary Clinton’s Backup E-mail Archives

HOLMDEL, N.J. /PRNewswire/ — Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit is expected to hear arguments to order the State Department to question Hillary Clinton on the existence of emails on backup tape archives, The Hill Reported, but information management company Index Engines can explain exactly what this means and how it is done.

When Clinton implemented an email server to control and manage her correspondence, her team hired Platte River Networks to host this environment. This is a third-party organization that likely has procedures in place to protect data and ensure it can be restored in the case of a disaster such as a flood or fire by copying all email ever created onto backup tapes.

This standard “IT” process produces a snapshot of what actually happened and it is secure and tamper proof, and represents a factual record of the past and are much more reliable than the records stored on local servers and hard drives that can be accessed by many and easily spoiled.

In this case, the backup of the email server most likely occurred at an offsite location chosen by the hosting provider, Platte River Networks, and the data was placed on tapes that are typically preserved in offsite storage vaults. When the main server was shut down, the tapes could have been forgotten about.

Index Engines has software that can quickly scan backup tapes, index the contents of the email, and make it searchable and accessible without the use of any other third party software or infrastructure. Through this process keywords, time frames and file types can be quickly produced and extracted without corruption.

“Data never dies,” said Tim Williams, CEO of Index Engines. “All modern organizations have robust data protection processes that make copies of everything and archive it on backup media to ensure it can survive a disaster. In cases like this, those copies represent the factual truth. They can’t be changed after the fact.

“When an email is sent, it is copied and archived and preserved many times over. This is a disaster recovery feature standard in any data center. What Hillary Clinton probably didn’t know is that exact copies of what existed is archived in data center disaster recovery archives, or backup tapes, that allow for a rebuilding of an email server in case of a failure.”

EDITORS NOTE: To learn more about securing your organization’s legacy tape data, contact info@indexengines.com or visit www.indexengines.com.

Responding to ‘Black Lives Matter’ & What Obama Can Learn from Bill Clinton

When is President Obama going to stand up and lead on the issue of violent rhetoric directed at our nation’s police officers? Although a direct connection between many of the recent assaults on police officers and the Black Lives Matter movement is still tenuous, it’s difficult to argue that chants of “Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon” are helping diffuse community tensions with the police. Yet, President Obama has still refused to publicly denounce the group.

This should infuriate every law enforcement officer in the country at the local, state and federal level who bravely stands on the demarcation line between law and order, and street chaos. It also begs the question, what does a left-leaning group have to do, or say, to earn President Obama’s condemnation? We know from experience that just being a Republican is enough to generate condemnation from President Obama in many cases but, calls for assaults on police officers have earned Black Lives Matter activists not condemnation, but an endorsement from the President’s party.

If the Democratic Party insists on endorsing, rather than condemning, a movement that has some of its members declaring open war on our police officers then they have made the politics of this fair game. If President Obama continues to cower on this issue and continues to avoid condemning the dangerous rhetoric of Black lives matter, then law enforcement should openly boycott the Democratic Party. There is power in numbers and if a major, national political party, led by the current President of the United States, cannot gather up the courage to condemn what’s evolving into an openly violent movement, then the Democratic Party should suffer politically for it.

Police investigate the scene where two police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Police investigate the scene where two police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Leadership and judgment are two qualities we look for in a President and, with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement, and their calls for violence against police officers, President Obama has shown neither of these traits. But, Mr. Obama still has an opportunity to redeem himself. He could take the path chosen by Bill Clinton in 1992 when he was given the opportunity to take a stand against inflammatory, and divisive, racist rhetoric when he refused to appear at a Rainbow Coalition event because activist Sister Souljah was speaking there. Sister Souljah—who infamously stated to a Washington Post reporter “If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?”—gave Clinton an opportunity to show sound judgment in distancing himself from this type of nonsense, and he took it.

I’m no fan of Bill Clinton’s politics, and I cannot dive deep into his thoughts to uncover what his real motivation was for calling out Sister Souljah, but actions matter and talk is cheap. President Obama is all talk, and no action, on the extremely violent rhetoric being directed at the police.

President Obama was quick to be seen on camera in the Henry Louis Gates incident claiming, without a full grasp of all of the circumstances of the interaction, that the police officer acted “stupidly.” He was quick to be seen on camera after the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, stating that it “stains the heart of black children,” while failing to responsibly describe to the America people the full context of the interaction between police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. He was quick to issue a statement after the grand jury’s decision not indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner stating, “It’s incumbent on all of us as Americans…that we recognize that this is an American problem,” despite not having the facts presented to the grand jury in the case.

It’s interesting that the President was so comfortable indicting the country and talking about police use of force incidents as an “American problem” but he still refuses to stand publicly in front of the cameras and give a forceful speech defending the good cops out there and condemning the dangerous and violent rhetoric employed by the Black lives matter movement as an “American problem.” How many more police officers are going to have to die before the President acts on this?

Finally, playing word association games is a terrific way to get past the clutter and find out what people are really thinking about. The recent word association results from a Quinnipiac University poll are devastating for the Hillary Clinton campaign as the word mentioned most often in association with Mrs. Clinton was “liar.”

I made the case in my August 4 Conservative Review piece that the ongoing email scandal regarding Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server was clear evidence that she is missing the two qualities most important to the presidency—leadership and judgment—and the association of Hillary with the word liar is further evidence that the public doesn’t trust her anymore. If President Obama doesn’t change course with his attitude towards police officers in America the first word that’s going to be associated with President Obama on the lips of our nation’s police officers is going to be “opportunist.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review.

Will Republicans Protest and Litigate to Stop Iran Nuclear Pact?

stop iran rally september 9thWhere there were five undeclared Democrat Senators on the cusp of reconvening Congress, today there is only one, Ms. Cantwell from Washington State. Three Democrat Senators: Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Gary Price of Michigan declared for the President’s position. Two of the three Democrat Senators who declared for the President position, Blumenthal and Wyden are up for re-election in 2016, while Price is not. The lone Democrat who joined with the Republican majority to oppose the Iran Pact is West Virginia Senator, Joe Manchin.

In a statement released by his office, Manchin said, “I believe that to be a super power, you must possess super diplomatic skills, and I believe that we can use these skills to negotiate a better deal.”

That leaves possibly 58 Senators, 54 Republicans and four Democrats opposing the Iran nuclear pact. That is two shy of the required 60 votes for cloture under the current Senate Rule 22 to cut off a filibuster. A vote on the majority resolutions rejecting the Iran pact could be scheduled as early as Thursday. That is, if the promised filibuster led by Senator Minority Democrat Leader Reid doesn’t stop the vote first.

Reid unleashed the filibuster option on Saturday, September 5th. White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said Tuesday, September 8th:

It would be a little ironic for now Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to express concerns about a tactic that he, himself, employed on countless occasions. The other thing that I’ll point out is that the 60 vote threshold is actually one that was approved by the 98 senators who voted for the Corker-Cardin legislation back in the spring.

Opponents of the Iran nuclear pact circulated a letter on Capitol Hill today signed by 15 governors including  four  Republican hopefuls; Jindal of Louisiana, Christie of New Jersey, Kasich of Ohio and Walker of Wisconsin.  Republican majority and other opponents of the filibuster floor maneuver by minority Democrats criticize it for denying an up or down vote on the measure that Americans in leading polls taken by a 2 to 1 margin have urged Congress to reject the Iran deal.  Harvard law professor emeritus, Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case Against the Iran Deal said in a Steve Malzberg Show interview on NewsMax TV, September 3, 2015:

As an opponent of the deal, a filibuster would be a good result because it would deny legitimacy to the deal. The American public is not going to accept a deal that was filibustered. Let’s remember what a filibuster is. It was a southern strategy designed to undo democracy and to offend equality.

Dershowitz drew attention to the quandary that Israel and PM Netanyahu would face if the Iran pact was approved:

I know Benjamin Netanyahu. I’ve known him since 1973. He is not going to sit back and allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

This deal makes it much harder for Israel to defend its people.

In a Washington Post opinion article by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), member of the House Permanent Intelligence Committee, and Constitutional lawyer, David B. Rivkin, Jr.  Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argued that the failure to deliver a side deal might void the Iran pact. Further they raised the prospect of   possible litigation against the President on the grounds that the he didn’t deliver the requisite information. They were especially concerned about the IAEA side agreements with Iran to prepare a Road Map on prior military developments. Aversion of which was leaked with provisions for self inspection at the military site of Parchin, Iran.  That Road Map is a condition for release of $100 billion in sequestered funds held by US and foreign financial institutions.    Switzerland has already released their sanctions and Russia and China are poised to release their holdings. The EU3 component of the P5+1 are already in discussions with Tehran over billions of trade deals preventing a possible snap back of sanctions should Iran be found cheating on a sneak out to a nuclear weapon.  A weapon that some believe it may already have and be able to possibly via a satellite launch.

The Pompeo- Rivkin Washington Post opinion was earlier supported by Jerome Marcus, Esq. in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, An Informed Vote on the Iran Deal.”  Marcus suggested  based on his experience as a young lawyer assisting former State Department counsel, Abraham Sofaer in the Reagan era,   executive agreements like JCPOA with far reaching implications should be treated as if it was a treaty.  Marcus concluded:

The lesson for today is clear: When a legislative body is deciding whether to approve an international agreement, especially one as important as the recent nuclear agreement with Iran, its members have the right to access the agreement’s negotiating record. Members of Congress should demand that record now, and they should examine it, before they cast their votes.

To bring such a suit Dr. Robert B. Sklaroff and Lee S. Bender, Esq. suggested in a FrontpageMagazine article that the Senate Majority Leader, McConnell should undertake the following steps:

Emergency Prescription for Senate:  [1]—Pass rule that abolishes the filibuster; [2]—Pass resolution declaring the Iran nuke deal to be a “treaty”; [3]—Defeat the deal; and [4]—Sue President Obama to enjoin him from implementing the deal.

The procedures for initiating the first critical step, achieving cloture cutting off the threatened filibuster, are contained in two relevant Congressional Research Service reports; Considerations for Changes in Senate Rules by Richard S. Beth, January 2013 and Filibusters and Cloture by Beth and Valerie Heitschusen, December 2014.

Sklaroff heard Dershowitz at a presentation in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on September 2nd.  He reported on Dershowitz’s remarks and response:

On September 2, Dershowitz, at the Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, N.J., amplified on this viewpoint, quoting Federalist 64:  “The power of making treaties is an important one, especially as it relates to war, peace, and commerce; and it should not be delegated but in such a mode, and with such precautions, as will afford the highest security that it will be exercised by men the best qualified for the purpose, and in the manner most conducive to the public good.”

When I [discussed] with him the necessity to sue Obama, he initially raised concern that this would be discarded as a “political question.” “Who would sue?” he asked rhetorically. “Senator McConnell!” said I. “Well, it’s a possibility, because he would have standing, representing the Senate.”

Has such a suit been brought by the Senate against President Obama and the Supreme Court ruled on the matter of executive overreach of lawful authorities?   There is the example of the Supreme Court   June 2014 unanimous ruling against the President for his three day recess appointment of National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Protection officials in 2012 that required approval by  the Senate.  The original matter was brought by a Washington State bottler and a decision rendered in the DC US Circuit Court of Appeals by Judge David B. Sentelle. Note the comments of the Republican Counsel for the Senate and then Senate Majority Leader Reid from a Washington Post article:

Miguel Estrada, who represented Senate Republicans in the case, called the ruling a victory for the Senate. “The Supreme Court reaffirmed the Senate’s power to prescribe its own rules, including the right to determine for itself when it is in session, and rejected the President’s completely unprecedented assertion of unilateral appointment power,” he said.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) blamed Senate Republicans for denying nominees a chance to be confirmed through a vote of the full chamber. “President Obama did the right thing when he made these appointments on behalf of American workers.”

Tomorrow, September 9, 2015, Democrat Presidential front runner Hillary Clinton former Secretary of State, embroiled in a private email server controversy, will make the case for support of the President’s position.  She has previously gone on record saying:

The Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese, they’re gonna say we agreed with the Americans, I guess their president can’t make foreign policy. That’s a very bad signal to send.

Clinton will be a minor distraction from the Tea Party Patriots (TPP) Stop Iran Now Rally chaired by Jenny Beth Martin on the West Lawn of the US Capitol Building with a cast of media luminaries in the opposition camp.  The event is co-sponsored by TPP, Zionist Organization of America and the Center for Security Policy. The roster of those speaking includes TPP head Martin, Republican Presidential front runner Donald Trump, fellow Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (R-TX), Conservative talk show Hosts Glen Beck and Mark Levin, David Bossie of Citizens United, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Chairman of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, former CIA-director, Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Chairman of the FDD, Frank Gaffney of the CSP, Sarah Stern of EMET and Mort Klein of the ZoA. This will be a media spectacle.

Late this afternoon, my colleague at 1330amWEBY Mike Bates, host of “Your Turn”, and I reviewed these developments.  Listen to the WEBY audio segment here.  Bates observed that the motivation behind these political maneuverings was President Obama’s objective all along to bolster Iran’s position in the Middle East as a recognized nuclear threshold state threatening traditional support for Allies in the region, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Egypt. Bates thought the Reid filibuster play was simply a travesty of politics as usual in Washington.   In turn we both discussed the strange case of Florida US. Representative and Democratic National Committee head, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, who has infuriated segments of her large but divided Jewish constituency.  In her public statement she said tearfully that from her “Jewish heart” the Iran pact, as defective as it is, was the correct thing to do.  We concurred that the filibuster if not upended by a Republican cloture to force an up or down vote would enable her and other Democrat colleagues up for re-election in 2016 to claim that there was never a vote. Political cover that comes at a high price of Iran receiving tens of billions now with promises of trillions in economic trade benefits. All while harboring secret development of nuclear weapons threatening the U.S. and Israel.

RELATED ARTICLES:

How Many U.S. Troops Were Killed By Iranian IEDs in Iraq?

Iran Could Outsource Its Nuclear Program to North Korea

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Government Can’t Censor Content — Even If It’s ‘For Your Own Good’ by Evan Bernick

Will a recent Supreme Court decision unleash more speech than Americans can handle?

In a recent New York Times article, reporter Adam Liptak (rightly) refers to Reed v. Town of Gilbert as “the sleeper case of the last Supreme Court term.” Liptak spoke with Robert Post, First Amendment scholar and dean of Yale Law School, and Floyd Abrams, constitutional lawyer and free-speech advocate.

In Reed, the Court invalidated a town sign code that treated signs promoting church services more harshly than signs promoting other messages, and made plain that such content-based restrictions on speech must undergo strict judicial scrutiny.

Abrams praised the decision; Dean Post, according to Liptak, predicted that it will “endanger[] all sorts of laws,” “roll consumer protection back to the 19th century,” and “destabilize First Amendment law.”

Those, like Abrams, who believe that “the First Amendment is about liberty” and that “we all lose by reading it narrowly” should welcome the ruling in Reed and pay no heed to Post’s parade of horribles.

Reed resolved an ambiguity that had confused lower courts for decades and rendered many Americans’ freedom to speak uncertain in important areas. In so doing, Reed honored the broad mandate of the First Amendment, which prohibits any law “abridging the freedom of speech,” making no exception for certain messages, ideas, or subject matters — regardless of whether the government promises that curbing speech is for our own good.

How did we get to Reed? The first major case to focus on content-based speech restrictions was Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley (1972), which concerned a Chicago ordinance that barred picketing within 150 feet of schools during the school day — except for picketing related to labor disputes.

The Court invalidated the ordinance because the government provided no credible evidence that labor picketing was less likely to be disruptive than other forms of picketing.

To selectively proscribe speech on the basis of its subject matter, said the Court, is to “completely undercut the ‘profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open.’”

Subsequent cases would make clear that intent to censor is not essential to a determination that a restriction on speech is content-based; if the government had to inspect the content of speech to determine how it could be regulated, that was sufficient to trigger strict scrutiny.

But the nature of the Court’s content-based jurisprudence became muddled as it began to review First Amendment challenges to local zoning rules concerning adult businesses. These zoning rules clearly regulated speech based on its subject matter — they only applied to businesses whose expression was sexually explicit.

However, in City of Renton v. Playtime Theaters, Inc. (1986), the Court concluded that an ordinance targeting theaters that specialize in sexually explicit films was content-neutral and, thus, not subject to strict scrutiny, because it was “justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech” — specifically, because “the Renton ordinance is aimed not at the content of the films… but rather at the secondary effects of such theaters on the surrounding community.”

Renton was hotly debated by First Amendment scholars at the time, and scholar Laurence Tribe expressed concern that the newly-minted secondary effects doctrine would “undermine the very foundation of the content-based/content neutral distinction.”

In Ward v. Rock Against Racism (1989), Tribe’s concern was validated. Ward involved a content-neutral rule that required the use of city-provided sound equipment at concerts in Central Park, regardless of what was being performed.

Drawing upon Renton, the Court stated that the “[t]he principal inquiry in determining content neutrality… is whether the government has adopted a regulation of speech because of disagreement with the message it conveys.”

Some lower courts understood Ward to stand for the proposition that facially discriminatory laws — that is, laws that identify regulated speech based on its content — could be treated as content-neutral for purposes of the First Amendment, so long as the courts believed that those laws were enacted for public-spirited reasons.

But since government officials always profess benign intentions, proving censorial intent proved difficult. The result: the proliferation of speech restrictions, including licensing schemes restricting occupational speech (such as that of tour guides, interior designers, and veterinarians), panhandling bans, and noise ordinances that exempt certain noises from regulation depending on either their message or who is speaking.

Reed v. Town of Gilbert was a perfect example of this trend. In the decision below in Reed, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that Gilbert’s sign code was “content-neutral” because of the town’s assurances that it had no intention to discriminate.

To combat this censorial trend, when the Supreme Court granted certiorari inReed, the Institute for Justice filed an amicus brief urging the Court to clarify that strict scrutiny applies:

  1. If a law expressly requires the government to look at the content of speech in determining whether or not it is subject to regulation, or
  2. When a law’s purpose is to censor messages with certain subject matters or viewpoints.

And thankfully, to the benefit of speakers across the country, the Supreme Court did exactly that.

Writing for the Court, Justice Thomas explained,

A law that is content based on its face is subject to strict scrutiny regardless of the government’s benign motive, content-neutral justification, or lack of ‘animus’ toward the ideas contained in the regulated speech.

The Court easily concluded that the sign code at issue classified signs on the basis of their content because whether or not the restrictions applied to any given sign “depend[ed] entirely on the communicative content of the sign.”

Having done so, the Court went on to perform the kind of truth-seeking judicial engagement that is required to ensure that the government does not act as a censor, insisting that the government demonstrate, with reliable evidence, that it was pursuing a compelling interest through means narrowly tailored to that end.

The town failed to carry its burden. Although the town claimed that the sign code “preserv[ed] the Town’s aesthetic appeal” and protected “traffic safety,” the town “allow[ed] unlimited numbers of other types of signs that create the same problem[s]” and did not demonstrate that “directional signs pose a greater threat to safety than do ideological or political signs.”

Even assuming that the town’s stated interests were compelling, the Court concluded that the sign code was insufficiently narrowly tailored to pass constitutional muster.

Which brings us to the present where, as Liptak observes, Reed is already having an impact.

In the wake of Reed, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals revisited an ordinance barring panhandling in the “downtown historic district” of Springfield, Illinois.

Last year, the Seventh Circuit had upheld the ordinance as content-neutral, even though an officer enforcing the ordinance would have to listen to the content of the speaker’s message in order to determine whether the ordinance had been violated. (A request for a charitable donation might be impermissible, but a request for a commercial transaction would not.)

Following Reed, the Seventh Circuit accepted a petition for rehearing and a unanimous panel invalidated the Springfield ordinance. Judge Easterbrook, writing for the panel, recognized the broad scope of Reed’s holding: “Any law distinguishing one kind of speech from another by reference to its meaning now requires a compelling justification.”

Although Reed reaffirmed the Court’s historical (and highly critical) view of content-based regulation, not everyone sees the ruling as cause for celebration. But Dean Post’s specific criticisms are unwarranted.

Although Post argues that the decision could undermine restrictions on misleading advertising and professional malpractice, such laws have coexisted with the First Amendment for over 200 years, and there is no reason to believe that the Court’s decision will change that. Nor will Reed destabilize our First Amendment law; it stabilizes that law by providing much-needed guidance to lower courts.

Dean Post’s real complaint is that, for over a quarter century, the Court has gradually shifted away from his preferred theory of the First Amendment — one that would allow the government to privilege certain favored categories of speech — towards a more libertarian view, which leaves such judgments about the value of speech to the free choices of Americans. Reed v. Town of Gilbert is simply the most recent step in that evolution, and it is nothing to be afraid of.

In Reed, the Court affirmed that the government is not free to pick and choose what topics it would prefer Americans speak about or what information they can be trusted with, even if the government earnestly professes that it has our best interests at heart. Reed will help to ensure that speech remains uninhibited, robust, and wide open.

A version of this article first appeared at the Huffington Post.

Evan Bernick
Evan Bernick

Evan is the Assistant Director of the Center for Judicial Engagement at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm.

Virginia: Property Rights versus Muslim Supremacy

A battle is going on in exurban Henrico County in central Virginia between legacy property rights of a private road and expansion of the Islamic Center of Richmond (ICR). The ICR website estimates there are 1,500 Muslim residents in the West End of Richmond. The battle is not about freedom to worship protected under the First Amendment and federal laws granting exemption waivers from local land zoning laws. Instead it is about the abuse of the courts through lawfare to create a Muslim preserve in Central Virginia through force majeure, harassment and intimidation. The actors in the dispute are Sylvia Hoehns-Wright, an expert horticulturalist and author versus the land agent for the ICR, Yunus Vohra, a commercial property developer embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings and litigation. Vohra contended at an August 2014 County Planning hearing that the delay in rezoning applications by the ICR reflected anti-Muslim bias.

Among the few national groups endeavoring to raise public awareness of the Hoehns-Wright litigation battle brought by Vohra, ICR land agent, is the National Security Task Force of the Lisa Benson Show airing Sundays on KKNT AM960 The Patriot.

On September 28, 2015, a four day trial will be held on a complaint brought by Vohra, a land agent for the ICR, against Wright. A State Court proceeding held in Henrico County on August 7, 2015 ruled against Wright who filed a compel order on February 18, 2015 seeking discovery rights to information providing the basis for the complaint brought by Vohra. Judge Lee H. Harris in the State Circuit court ruled in favor of Vohra on the grounds that his attorney’s review of the information was sufficient to proceed to trial as he trusted his representations as an officer of the court. Vohra has ratcheted up the litigation by filing a witness list that amounts to a dragnet of local and state planning officials up to and including the Commonwealth Attorney assigned to Henrico County, Virginia, Shannon Taylor. They allegedly support Vohra’s position that the ICR is being subjected to a conspiracy laced with alleged racist overtones; specious on its face as Islam is a belief system, its adherents don’t constitute a race. The trial in Henrico County State Circuit Court will culminate a four year battle for possession of a legacy private road providing access and egress for nine residences in the subdivision of Hoehns Lakeview Farms in Henrico County.

The complaint was originally brought in November 2013 by Vohra against the dominant landholder, Ms. Sylvia Hoehns-Wright, an expert horticulturalist, and her neighbors seeking possession of the private Hoehns Road. It was expanded in January 2014 to include others, some who reside in the complex and others who do not reside in the area, alleging that they and Wright constituted a “business conspiracy” depriving Vohra and his ICR invitees of egress to an adjacent parcel to build a Muslim village. Wright and counsel contended in a June 2014 hearing in state court that the ICR already has sufficient egress to their property. The ICR complaint is seeking treble damages and reimbursement of the costs of the litigation estimated at $1.5 million and possession of the private Hoehns Road. Problem is that Vohra’s request for a survey was turned down by the County Planning Commission.

Yunus Vohra of ICR trespassing on Hoehns Road.

Wright and her neighbors have had repeated violations of active trespass on the private road by Vohra and ICR members who have accused Wright and county planning board members of racism for blocking access and development of the property. In the run up to the September 2015 civil trial Vohra filed a police report accusing Wright of violating his property by planting ornamental flowers on the road’s periphery which is an activity protected by “property rights” recorded in the Henrico County records room. To add to the already toxic climate, one of Wright’s witnesses reported finding a dead snake and mole, positioned in such a manner to represent Islamic symbols of an evil intent and theft. The expanded complaint, coupled with evidence of aggressive trespass and threats of intimidation are in furtherance of the ICR’s objective of block busting the subdivision so that it can develop a so-called Muslim village on an adjacent parcel to the private Hoehns Road. The legal definition of “block busting” is:

The practice of illegally frightening homeowners by telling them that people who are members of a particular race, religion, or national origin are moving into their neighborhood and that they should expect a decline in the value of their property. The purpose of this scheme is to get the homeowners to sell out at a deflated price.

An unscrupulous real estate agent will subsequently sell the vacated homes to minority group members at an inflated price, thereby obtaining a large profit. Fair access to housing is defeated by blockbusting.

Map of Hoehns Road. Source: WTVR

The rights to the easements present-day known as Hoehns Road were granted to Ms. Wright’s father in 1939 by his mother under Virginia’s “quiet possession” laws. The original property was acquired by Ms. Wrights’ Quaker family who settled there in 1838. Ms. Wright was granted the land and its easements rights in 1983. In 2011 a relative sold seven acres with several small outbuildings to Vohra, who then gifted half of the property to the ICR for construction of a 31,000 square foot mega mosque complex, inclusive of sanctuary, Muslim school and community center. Ms. Wright contested the original County approval in 2012 of the ICR project and the County scaled down the size of the plan to 10,000 square feet. Wright’s neighbors, on her behalf, filed a request in June 2012 with former US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He submitted the question on the dispute to the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division then headed by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, now Labor Secretary in the Obama Administration. Perez replied in a letter dated September 5, 2012 sent to Cantor, he determined that the dispute involved property rights and not exemption waivers from local land zoning under the Federal Religious Land Use and Incarcerated Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). In his letter to Cantor, Perez concluded:

Complaints related to this site appear to be the result of a failure to be respectful of the property rights of nearby property owners and the surrounding community’s expectation of public safety and welfare. While Henrico County is operating under a consent decree issued by the United District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia related to a dispute to rezone property to build a mosque on Impala Drive, the Hungary Road site’s issues fall outside of this purview. Enforcement of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) should not interfere with the County’s standard regulations and procedures.

According to a report on RLUPIA cases the U.S. Department of Justice:

RLUIPA, enacted in 2000, contains a number of different provisions protecting churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other places of worship from discrimination and undue interference with religious exercise through application of zoning and landmarking laws.

The consent decree involving mosque building in Henrico County that Perez referred to was entered into the Eastern Federal District Court of Virginia a year earlier on September 12, 2011 involved a dispute that arose over an application for a mosque in 2008. The background and scope of the consent decree created the basis for County Planning Department reviews imposing diversity training for officials and staff was summarized in this USDOJ RLUIPA case report:

The case arose from the county’s denial of a 2008 application for construction of a mosque by 1241 Associates, LLC, a Muslim organization. The government’s complaint, which was filed with the court along with a proposed consent decree, alleged that the county’s denial of the rezoning application was based on the religious bias of county officials and to appease members of the public who, because of religious bias, opposed the construction of the mosque. The complaint further alleged that the county treated the Muslim organization differently than non-Muslim groups that regularly have been granted similar rezoning requests.

As part of the settlement, the county agreed to treat the mosque and all religious groups equally and to publicize its non-discrimination policies and practices. The county also agreed that its leaders and various county employees will attend training on the requirements of RLUIPA. In addition, the county will report periodically to the Justice Department.

Based on a legal memorandum prepared for a Brentwood mosque application in Williamson County Tennessee, existing RLUIPA case law will not prevent Henrico County, like many other localities in the same quandary across America, from using existing police powers to conduct background investigations of mega-mosque applications.

Trashed Hoehns Road No Trespassing Signs.

The exurban area in Henrico County, the locus of the ICR civil trial proceedings against Wright and subdivision neighbors is zoned as mixed agricultural and residential lands. Following the acquisition of the land by ICR Wright filed complaints with the County of traffic and excessive unrestricted parking on the site for observances using the existing outbuildings on the property. Some have questioned this activity at the ICR as amounting to “parking Jihad.” Signs on the private Hoehns Road warning about trespassing were frequently defaced and trashed. Vohra and other ICR members have been photographed in episodes of aggressive trespass blocking passage by Wright and neighbors.

Watch this September 4, 2015 CBS Channel 6 WTVR News Richmond, Virginia video interview with Sylvia Hoehns-Wright:

Vohra, the land agent for the ICR who applied for their plan of development, as principal in a local motel property limited liability corporation, Shree Arihant, has been caught up in a web of litigation arising from the default on a $1.75 million loan with the former Bank of Richmond for acquisition of the Economy Inn located in the so-called Diamond district of Richmond. Richmond BizSense (RBS) reported in January 2014 that Shree Arihant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 27, 2013 ahead of a scheduled foreclosure auction of the Economy Inn. Shree Arihant president Yunus Vohra also controls Shaan LLC, an entity that previously owned the Red Carpet Inn. Vohra lost the rights to use the Red Carpet and Scottish Inns names in 2012, In July 2014. RBS reported the auction of the Economy Inn property in bankruptcy to satisfy the creditors of the defaulted debt with Shree Arihant principal Vohra alleging he had two offers of $2 million and $1.45 million for the property.

A check of the Justicia website revealed further commercial litigation involving Vohra, Shree Arihant and Shaan, LLC:

  1. Choice Hotels International, Inc. v. Shree Arihant of Richmond, Inc. et al  for trademark infringement, April 9, 2010 Fourth Circuit Virginia District Court;
  2. Hospitality International, Inc. et al v. Shaan, LLC et al for trademark infringement, June 18, 2013 Virginia Fourth District Court; and,
  3. DISH NETWORK L.L.C. et al v. VOHRA  for Unlawful Reception Broadcast Signal i.e., Satellite, Third Circuit Pennsylvania Eastern District Court.

Then there are questions about the original land acquisition transaction by Vohra for the ICR in 2011. How was it financed as there was apparently no title insurance purchased until after the sale by Wright’s relatives to Vohra? Further, there is the matter of tax treatment of the gift of the acquired property conveyed by Vohra to the ICR.

The forthcoming four-day trial in the Henrico State Circuit Court on September 28th will be preceded by a pre-trial conference. Without discovery of the underlying documentation and depositions of the drag net of witnesses listed in Vohra’s amended plaintiff complaint against Wright et.al., how could this upcoming trial begin? The outcome of which, in the absence of the facts, might result in the forced sale of the residences in the Hoehns Lakeview Farm subdivision at distressed values should the jury issue a decision in favor of Vohra. Any adverse decision reached in the jury trial would not be a victory for freedom of religious practice. Instead, it would constitute a victory for lawfare tactics by local Muslim leadership at the Islamic Center of Richmond seeking to create a Sharia compliant enclave at the cost of residents in the Hoehns Farm subdivision.

Following the US Department of Justice consent decree entered into with Henrico County in the Eastern Federal District Court in September 12, 2011 regarding land zoning waivers under RLUIPA for creation of mosques in central Virginia, a public letter was issued by the clergy association of the County. The letter expressed a welcome to Muslims establishing mosques in Henrico County signed by ministers and pastors of various Protestant denominations, the Catholic archdiocese and rabbis of local synagogues. As exhibited by the current litigation launched by Vohra on behalf of the ICR, this is hardly a grateful gesture to the residents of the Hoehns Lakeview Farms Subdivision for the welcome sought by the clergy of Henrico County, Virginia for the Richmond west end Muslim community.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

And now there are three: Two judges join Kim Davis’ stand against gay marriage

kim davis

County Clerk Kim Davis mugshot.

Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has now been joined by two judges using different arguments.

Judge Vance Day from Marion County, Oregon when a federal court ruling in May 2014 made same-sex marriage legal in Oregon, instructed his staff to refer same-sex couples looking to marry to other judges. Judge Day no longer does marriages.

Jeffrey M. Atherton from Hamilton County, Tennessee refused to divorce of a straight couple who wanted to split, claiming straying allegiances and irreconcilable differences. According to The Washington Post Judge Atherton stated, “The Tennessee Court of Appeals has noted that Obergefell v. Hodges … affected what is, and must be recognized as, a lawful marriage in the State of Tennessee. This leaves a mere trial level Tennessee state court judge in a bit of a quandary. With the U.S. Supreme Court having defined what must be recognized as a marriage, it would appear that Tennessee’ s judiciary must now await the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court as to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage.”

Presidential candidate and former governor, Mike Huckabee recently tweeted: “Kim Davis In Federal Custody Removes All Doubts About The Criminalization Of Christianity In This Country.”

Image-1Texas Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz said of Davis’ sentencing, “Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny.” He called on “every believer, every constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis.”

Jailed Kentucky clerk Davis argues from her jail cell that marriage licenses issued without her authority Friday to gay couples in Rowan County are void and ‘not worth the paper they are written on’ because she didn’t signed off on them, her lawyer said.

Has the Religious Freedom Revolution begun?

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Trump Just Made a Surprise Statement About Kim Davis That’ll Make Many People Furious

Mike Huckabee Brings up the One Thing About Kim Davis No One’s Talking About, but Should Be

Oregon Judge Refuses to Perform Same-Sex Marriages, Cites First Amendment Right to Religious Freedom

$200,000 Offer Ends ‘Gay’ Democrat’s Child-Sex Charges

Washington State Supreme Court Rules Against Backpage.com for Sex Trafficking

Recently, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of three young women who sued Backpage.com after they were sex trafficked as minors on the website. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) praises this decision, which allows the lawsuit to proceed to trial.

After the lawsuit was originally filed, Backpage filed a motion to dismiss it, arguing it isn’t responsible for the actions of subscribers or users under the federal Communications Decent Act. However, the Washington Supreme Court justices said that this act does not shield Backpage from state lawsuits because there are allegations that the company did not merely host the ads but that they also helped develop the content.

This decision marks an important step forward in the growing movement to hold Backpage accountable for its willful facilitation of human trafficking and prostitution. The Washington Supreme Court’s decision is a wake-up call to Backpage that it must stop promoting and profiting from sexual exploitation.

Backpage is the leading U.S. website for prostitution advertising, generating nearly 80% of all the online prostitution advertising revenue. For these reasons, the website is on NCOSE’s Dirty Dozen list.

To learn more, visit: DirtyDozenList.com.

The Senate Must Sue Obama to Block the Iran Nuclear Treaty by Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. and Lee S. Bender, Esq.

When we published “How Best to Overturn the Iran Nuclear Pact” in the August 2015 New English Review, we reviewed several options. One proposal suggested by Dr. Robert B. Skalorff entailed direct litigation by Congress before the Supreme Court under provisions of the US Constitution seeking a ruling  treating   the Iran nuclear pact as a  treaty requiring  advise and consent of the Senate . We  wrote:

That proposal entailed independent Congressional litigation on demonstrable Constitutional legal grounds regarding executive overreach. If the Senate was granted standing on direct appeal, based on the B. Altman SCOTUS ruling, it might result in a predisposed SCOTUS rendering a positive ruling thus quashing the Iran nuclear pact. Further, the ruling might unfetter the hands of any successor to President Obama on inauguration day in 2017 to undertake remedial actions. Such actions might reduce the current existential threats to both the US and Israel.

In furtherance of that original proposal we are publishing  the following article by Dr. Robert A. Sklaroff and Lee S. Bender, Esq. which expands upon the original concept noting support from  Constitutional law experts and applicable case citations.

The Senate Must Sue Obama to Block the Iran TREATY

By Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. and Lee S. Bender, Esq.

When Congress returns from recess after Labor Day, one of the most pressing issues on the agenda is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as “the Iran deal.” Much has been discovered since the Corker-Cardin-Menendez bill was enacted, including the White House’s and State Department’s deceit which influenced the Senate to abandon its constitutionally-provided role regarding treaties.

Now it might take a lawsuit spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to reverse not only the damage to the Constitution but also potential damage to America and our allies as a result of the provisions of the Iran nuclear-deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has overwhelming justification to sue President Obama over the JCPOA which constitutes a treaty and thereby must be ratified by a 2/3-vote of those present prior to implementation.

Such a suit could ultimately prompt the Supreme Court to disclaim Obama’s portrayal of this document as an Executive Agreement. It could also sustain the overwhelming will of the American people–according to polling data—to trash this “legacy” effort, for reasons that have been exhaustively detailed.

Blocking implementation of the Iran nuclear-deal would thereby necessitate the legislative branch triggering a confrontation between the judicial and the executive branches.

Two essays {authored by RBS} published in The Hill explored the legalities of this initiative, focused on its “treaty” [July 29] and “rule-of-law” [August 25] components.

In the interim [USA Today, August 5], Professor Alan Dershowitz recognized that a Supreme Court opinion challenged the President’s power to enter into long-term deals with foreign powers without the consent of Congress. He cannot avoid Congressional oversight by simply declaring an important deal with foreign powers to be an executive agreement rather than a treaty [Gibbons v. Ogden]:  “[G]eneral and permanent commercial regulations with foreign powers must be made by treaty, but…the particular and temporary regulations of commerce may be made by an agreement of a state with another, or with a foreign power, by the consent of Congress.”

Two other authors, legal-authority Andrew C. McCarthy [National Review Online, July 17] and accomplished-author Caroline B. Glick [Jerusalem Post, July 21] also claimed the deal is a treaty, but none of these columnists proposed a remedy that would force a clash with this out-of-control Obama Administration. Jerry Gordon has detailed, comprehensively, “How Best to Overturn the Iran Nuclear Pact” [New English Review, August 2015].

The drip-drip-drip of news about details of the deal as well as “secret” side arrangements that has emerged this summer congeals into two major rationales for such litigation, addressing both specifics and lack of transparency. Specifically, multiple side-deals between Iran and the IAEA satirize the concept of “anytime, anywhere surveillance” but, perhaps more important, Obama and his cabinet-members “inexplicably” failed to reveal this information to Congress as secrets.  Moreover, the Administration also misled Congress and the American public about the nature of the deal and the resulting preservation of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and right to continue advanced research that will provide it with a bomb when the pact expires in a mere decade to 15 years.

The “legislative intent” of the Corker-Cardin Bill (Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015) was focused exclusively on Iran’s nuclear program, contrasting with the final pact the Administration concluded that was expanded to allow lifting of conventional-weapon sanctions. Iran sought—and was granted—this specific concession at the very end of the negotiations.  This was outside what the Administration had originally advised Congress about the parameters of this deal, focused on nuclear-weapons capability and not conventional weapons (or ICBMs). Thus, the final version of the Iran nuclear-deal encompassed issues, such as weaponization, that the Administration did not disclose to Congress before it debated and passed the Corker-Cardin Bill.

(Other facets of the negotiation were also misrepresented by the Obama Administration prior to when Kerry inked the deal. For example, although release of American prisoners was not ultimately achieved, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on  January 21, 2015 that the Administration’s negotiators “continue to insist” that Americans held in detention be released.)

This pattern of deception started before the Corker-Cardin Bill was passed in May. It was even maintained by Iran when the Tasmin News agency reported [June 15] “Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani reiterated that negotiations between Tehran and six major world powers solely focus on nuclear topics, dismissing any talk of military subjects in the talks.” And, reflecting the persistence of the deception,  it was manifest one week prior to when the deal was signed [July 14] during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing via testimony from Defense Secretary Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey that the arms embargo, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1929, was not to be lifted [July 7].

Thus, overall, absent the ability to review all relevant data, the Senate (1)—cannot render an informed judgment, consistent with its “advise/consent” role, and (2)—cannot be viewed to be facing a 60-day deadline, for the Corker-Cardin Bill mandates that this “clock” start “ticking” only after the database has been completed.

Refusal to provide copies of side-agreements to Congress continues unabated, as per testimony on August 5 by chief-negotiator Wendy Sherman and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. We now know why normally-sedate Senator Corker exploded (“We cannot get him to even confirm that we will have physical access inside of Parchin”) because such inspections have been serially outsourced by Obama to the IAEA and then, we learned more recently, by the IAEA to Iran.

The “toughest inspections-regime in history” forces America (and the world) to allow Iran to provide proof that Iran is not making nukes in Iran.

Perhaps more ominous is the dismissive posture adopted by Secretary of State Kerry [July 28] when confronted by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. The innocent hypothetical was unambiguous:  Would he “follow the law” governing existing congressional sanctions if Congress voted to override a veto? The elitist reply challenged rule-of-law:  “I can’t begin to answer that at this point without consulting with the President and determining what the circumstances are.”

Could BHO go rogue?

The ability of the Supreme Court to exercise “judicial review” is rooted in the Supremacy Clause, was affirmed in 1803 [Marbury v. Madison], and has never been tested again to this day.

But, because the Supreme Court does not command any enforcement-military, the remedy for potential lawlessness is unclear. Indeed, this concern would extend to any nullification effort by the President related to the prospect that the Supreme Court would declare the Iran-Nuclear Deal to be a “treaty” rather than the “executive agreement” the President has potentially improperly considered it to be, to skirt congressional oversight and approval.

These concerns were predicted [May 7] and corroborated [July 23] in essays that presage the current crisis [by RBS, both published in The American Thinker]. They were confirmed in an e-mail exchange by noted constitutional scholar, Dr. John C. Eastman [the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service at the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University and Founding Director of The Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence]:First, because only a ‘treaty’ is the Supreme law of the land, a mere executive agreement could not overturn statutorily-imposed sanctions.” Eastman continued in an e-mail, “And neither, in my view, could a change in the constitutionally-mandated default rule for adopting a treaty.  Second, if that is true, then members of the Senate who, collectively, had the votes to prevent ratification of a treaty would have standing to challenge the process that negated their vote.  That’s the Coleman v. Miller case on all fours.” This 1939 landmark decision ensured that Congress was empowered to specify a deadline by which an external entity was to affirm proposed legislation, such as a Constitutional amendment.

The Ottoman-Islamic defeat at the “Gates of Vienna” in 1683 is on the verge of being reversed by Obama/Kerry and their P5+1 partners, again in Vienna; the irony is that the West is validating Iranian-Islamic supremacism. It seems only the U.S. Senate can rescue (Judeo-Christian) Western Civilization from the Administration’s collaboration and perfidy.

The Senate must definitively impose a limit to the President’s executive lawlessness before a constitutional crisis erupts. Resolution by the courts may be the most effective way to check and to balance the scales that Obama has usurped.

Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. is a physician-activist and may be contacted at rsklaroff@gmail.com.  Lee S. Bender, Esquire, is an attorney, activist and co-author of the book, “Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Iranian national arrested in Hancock County, Mississippi accused of tackling deputy, making terroristic threats

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Black Gay Man who shot Virginia journalists “closely identified” with 9/11 Muslim jihadis

Whether it’s race hatred such as that which drove Vester Flanagan to commit murder, or jihad hatred that drove the 9/11 hijackers to commit murder on a grand scale, it all ultimately comes from the same wellspring. Yet the enablers and tacit supporters of jihad terrorism gain a great deal of success in the U.S. by tarring foes of jihad terror as “hatemongers.” The real hate is all on their side.

“Man who shot Virginia journalists identified with 9/11 attacks: sheriff,” by Ian Simpson, Reuters, August 28, 2015:

The gunman who killed two Virginia television journalists on air carried out a well-planned assault and identified with mass murderers and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, authorities said on Friday.

The shooter, Vester Flanagan, gave no sign of his destination or next move when he fled after gunning down the journalists from Roanoke station WDBJ7 on Wednesday, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

“It is evident that Wednesday morning’s attack was well-planned and premeditated” and Flanagan apparently acted alone, the statement on the shooting investigation said.

Flanagan, a former station employee, fired 17 rounds from a .40 caliber Glock pistol when he attacked reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward as they were conducting a live interview at Smith Mountain Lake in southwest Virginia, the statement said.

Flanagan shot himself during a police chase in northern Virginia and died. The woman who was being interviewed was wounded and hospitalized.

Evidence and his writings show that Flanagan “closely identified with individuals who have committed domestic acts of violence and mass murder, as well as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.,” said the statement. Almost 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks….

In a fax to ABC News the day of the shooting, Flanagan, who was black, called himself a “powder keg” over what he saw as racial discrimination. He was fired from CBS affiliate WDBJ7 in 2013….

RELATED ARTICLE: Pentagon not targeting Islamic State training camps

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Vester Flanagan is a screen shot from Twitter.

The Invaders: A Parable

Pulling into our driveway after a relaxing month long cruise, my wife Mary yelled, “What the?” Mexican flags, shirtless heavily tattooed men, barefoot children, women (many pregnant) old cars, discarded beer cans and trash were all over our property. I recruited my Spanish speaking neighbor. He yelled over the blaring Mexican music expressing my outrage to the group’s leader. The leader told me to go “f” myself. He said they have a right to a better life.

The invaders had an insane tangle of extension cords plugged into my electrical outlets. Sinking into the mud of my once beautiful lawn, I called the police. Sheriff Bob showed up to inform me that the mayor decreed ours a sanctuary community. He also conveyed the mayor’s zero tolerance for my hateful racist attitude.

Code enforcement cited me for various violations. I was ordered to clean up my property, add bathroom facilities and upgrade my electrical power to accommodate the daily influx of new residents.

Mary yelled from our bedroom, “Oh, my gosh!” Her jewelry including her 30th wedding anniversary diamond earrings, was gone.

A neighbor updated me on our community’s crisis. Beloved elderly, Mr Ben, was beaten and murdered, eight students were raped, numerous neighbors were assaulted and several homes were burglarized. Remarkably, not a word of the crime-wave was mentioned in our newspaper. Clearly, the mayor was behind the media blackout.

As a matter of fact, Community Times reporters flooded us with articles praising the invaders and our loving mayor for welcoming these saintly souls seeking a better life. Me and fellow neighbors who opposed the invasion and complained about the cost were branded haters, selfish and racists. The mayor made us owners responsible for providing food, health-care and education for the invaders occupying our properties.

Widowed Miss Shirley, the community gossip, gave Mary the scoop. She reported to Mary that many of the invaders worked for wealthy contributors to the mayor’s reelection campaign. The invaders were paid peanuts to work as domestics, janitors, laborers and maintaining properties.

My feisty Irish wife said, “One thing for sure, the mayor and his rich pals don’t have to worry about their estates being invaded. Their homes are protected behind 12 foot fences armed with barbwire, electric and cameras. Meanwhile, we’re forced to be their invader’s welcome wagon!”

Folks, the above tale is fiction; a parable I wrote years ago illustrating illegal immigration. I was stunned that so many readers thought my outrageous tale was true; a sad commentary on the insanity we have come to expect from government.

Both political parties have a vested interest in supporting the invasion. Big business gets cheap labor. Democrats have blacks on the path to aborting themselves into extinction. Illegals offer Democrats’ a fresh crop of future voters; an underclass unskilled, uneducated and dependent on government.

Insidiously, both parties and the mainstream media prey upon the goodness of the American people. Anyone opposing the invasion is branded racist, heartless and mean.

GOP presidential contender Jeb Bush calls embracing illegal aliens an “act of love.” Rush Limbaugh says this is not immigration. We are being invaded

For several years, I was honored to sing my original, “Celebrate America” at U.S. Naturalization Ceremonies in Maryland. I took pride knowing my song was the first thousands heard as new Americans after taking their oath of allegiance. Every ceremony was electric, the hall radiating with emotion and excitement; tears flowing down countless faces. Unbelievably, Obama decreed that new applicants will no longer be required to pledge their allegiance

A moving memorable scene. In his 80’s or 90s, family members raised the gentlemen from his wheelchair to his feet. A grandchild held up his right hand. His entire family was tearful as he recited the oath. Folks, these people truly wanted to be Americans. They studied, passed the test and were anxious to assimilate and contribute. After reciting their oath and hearing the emcee say, “Congratulations”, the hall always erupted in applause and cheers of elation.

Obama refuses to obey federal immigration law. Ordered to break the law, border security allows everyone to enter, including gang members, rapists and murderers

Obama is endangering and devastating American families, loved ones raped and murdered by invaders. Then, Obama showers the invaders with welfare and government checks. Yes, government checks

Under-reported (hidden) is the epidemic of strange diseases infecting our kids because Obama forced public schools to take-in invader’s children.

Obama rolling out the red carpet welcome-mat to invaders is a huge slap in the face to legal new American citizens and those respecting our laws following the legal immigration process.

As practically every Obama policy, his amnesty for illegals is another self-serving evil anti-American agenda item disguised as love. Thank God a few GOP presidential contenders have the backbone to firmly saying, “No!”