The Congressional Appropriations Power And Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states must recognize so-called same-sex “marriage,” does that mean that proponents of real marriage have only the remedy of a Constitutional Amendment to block the effects of such a decision? No! While some men and women of good will have claimed that an amendment to the federal Constitution is the only remedy available, they have not thought through the problems associated with such a strategy. History demonstrates that this strategy is only rarely successful. Only four Supreme Court decisions have ever been reversed by Constitutional Amendment since 1789. Moreover, Liberals, and faux conservatives who duck social issues, would love to send grassroots conservatives on a futile, wild goose chase in a multi-year pursuit of a Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

There is another way. Congress can immediately take action on a strategy to block the Obama Administration’s implementation of the Court’s decision through the use of riders to appropriations bills which will come before Congress this summer and fall.

Suggested by James Madison, both liberals and conservatives have successfully used this strategy to change public policy over the past 50 years. This approach is constitutional. It can be set in motion within days. And, if pursued by defenders of real marriage, this approach will require every 2016 congressional and presidential candidate to take a position on marriage.

The Appropriations power of Congress can and must be used to block implementation of unlawful rulings by out-of-control federal judges. Members of Congress would simply attach amendments to pending Appropriations bills later this summer to prevent the Obama Administration from implementing the pro-same sex marriage decision.

Does Congress have this power? Yes!

The Constitution provides that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law …”  Art. 1, Sect. 9.

James Madison noted: “This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.” Federalist 58. Every Appropriations bill consists of page after page of limitations, conditions, or prohibitions on how our federal tax dollars may be spent, if spent at all. Such money prohibitions which changed history include:

  • The Vietnam War ended with the 1975 cutoff of American military aid;
  • Medicaid funding of abortion on demand was banned via the Hyde Amendment in 1976;
  • Funds to assist anti-communists seeking to overthrow the Communist government in Angola in 1975-76 were prohibited;
  • The implementation of a published IRS ruling under President Jimmy Carter which compelled private, predominantly Christian schools to prove they were not discriminating on the basis of race in order to keep their tax-exempt status in 1979 was blocked by an Appropriations Amendment from former Congressman Robert Dornan (R-CA); and
  • Tax funds to assist Contra rebel groups in overthrowing the Nicaraguan government were blocked in 1982.

Some may question if it is “constitutional” to prohibit spending money to implement same-sex “marriage.” President Andrew Jackson answered that question in his 1832 veto message of the National Banking bill, where he noted: “[t]he authority of the Supreme Court must not … be permitted to control the Congress or the Executive when acting in their legislative capacities.” President Jackson’s Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States; July 10, 1832.

The Supreme Court’s twisting of the Fourteenth Amendment–enacted after the shedding of blood of over a half a million Americans for equal rights for black Americans–into a mandate for same-sex “marriage”  must be challenged immediately and effectively. Many millions of Americans who voted to support and adhere to the millennia-old consensus on marriage must question the authority and judgment of the Court.

Past Justices did not always claim such sweeping infallibility. Referring to past controversial decisions of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Earl Warren (1953-1969) commented in 1962 on the World War II Japanese internment cases that: “… the fact that the Court rules in a case like, Hirabayashi that a given program is constitutional, does not necessarily answer the question whether, in a broader sense, it actually is.” Earl Warren, The Bill of Rights and the Military, 37 N.Y.U. L. REV. 181, 193 (1962), Reprinted in, The Air Force Law Review, Vol. 60, 2007, pp 16-17.

Providentially, I was involved in the initiation of (i) the successful Hyde Amendment relating to abortion, and (ii) the Dornan Appropriations Amendment blocking Jimmy Carter’s efforts to put private schools under the thumb of the IRS, on pain of losing their tax-exempt status. The stories of these two efforts are instructive as to the power that Congress has to fix such problems.

In the Spring of 1976, a friend provided me with the results of a FOIA request showing the Department of Health Education and Welfare (now HHS) had paid for roughly 300,000 Medicaid abortions. As a private citizen, I went to the U.S. Capitol and requested a Page to have Representative Bob Bauman (R-MD) come off the House Floor and meet me at the Cloakroom door. (Bauman and I were both active in Young Americans for Freedom many years earlier.) I showed Congressman Bauman the FOIA documents and suggested that an amendment to the HEW Appropriations Act prohibiting the use of federal tax money for abortion would be in order. He said he knew a freshman Congressman who might be willing to offer the amendment cutting off all funding for elective abortions. That first-term member of Congress turned out to be Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL). The abortion funding restriction — widely known as the Hyde Amendment — has passed Congress every year since 1976.

As a legislative assistant to Congressman Dornan, I worked with the late Jack Clayton of the National Association of Evangelical Schools to devise an amendment to protect private schools by adding a rider to a Treasury appropriations bill prohibiting the use of any federal money to implement the IRS Ruling which had compelled mostly Christian schools to jump through bureaucratic hoops to demonstrate they were not discriminating to the satisfaction of a hostile IRS in order to keep their tax exempt status. This was not a partisan effort. Indeed, I worked with Missouri Democratic Senator Eagleton’s staff as Lutheran Missouri Synod church schools were particularly burdened by the IRS Ruling. Senator Eagleton made sure that the Senate approved the House-passed Dornan Amendment. That Amendment became part of the Treasury Appropriations bill and was signed into law, stopping the IRS crusade against Christian schools.

In April 1980, in Harris vs. McRae, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld as constitutional the Hyde Appropriations Amendment banning taxpayer paid abortions. In 1981, during a break in a Conference Committee meeting held in the Capitol building, I was conferring with my boss, Mr. Dornan, when liberal New York Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel, who supported legal abortion and abortion funding, came over to talk with us about that decision. Rangel told us that Congress could never give up the “power of the purse.” He said: “You know, we differ on abortion. But if the Supreme Court had said that they were going to tell us how to spend our (i.e., taxpayer) money, I would have put in court-stripping bills faster than you could!” I remember Rangel pressing his finger on Dornan’s chest as he spoke, in a firm but friendly manner.

The appropriations amendments which will be required to blunt the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision mandating recognition of same-sex marriage must prohibit the use of monies or fees administered by an executive agency, judicial agency or court, or presidential executive order, directive, or guideline or similar agency action to implement any aspect of the ruling in the Supreme Court marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges, to prevent the following:

  • Removing the tax exempt status of any church, institution, university, school, or non-profit entity declining to facilitate or participate in same-sex “marriage”;
  • Requiring any federal contractor or grantee to accommodate same-sex “marriage”;
  • Disciplining or fining any person who declines to participate in a same-sex “marriage”;
  • Requiring federal employees to undergo sexual attitude restructuring education to ensure their acceptance or accommodation of same-sex “marriage”;
  • Withholding any federal grant or contract money to any state, territory, or possession declining to implement same-sex “marriage” in schools or other agencies of state government;
  • Withholding federal money from any state, territory, or possession which does not change state, etc. legal codes to accommodate same-sex “marriage”;
  • Allowing federal courts to hear challenges to any state or federal law affirming that marriage is only a relationship between one man and one woman. (See Article III Power to Curb Federal Court Jurisdiction.)

An appropriations bill is much easier to pass than a normal bill. Because funding bills are necessary to keep the government open, they must be considered and passed yearly. Other bills can be buried in committee, but appropriations bills cannot be ignored.

If our Republican House of Representatives and our Republican Senate place an appropriations rider on all spending bills stating “no funds appropriated hereunder may be used to implement the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell,” it would not undo or reverse the Supreme Court’s same-sex “marriage” decision. However, it would make Obergefell a decision that was never enforced at the federal level.

If Congress wanted to get creative, and send a message to a Supreme Court that had usurped Congress’ and the states’ role to decide policy, it could also consider an appropriations amendment to limit the number of clerks assigned to each Supreme Court Justice to a single clerk. If the Justices have so much time on their hands that they can attempt to defy the laws of Nature and Nature’s God, they may become more circumspect in crusading for the liberal agenda. (I actually had such an amendment drafted for Congressman Dornan while the Harris v. McRae case was pending. Had the Hyde Amendment been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, Congressman Dornan intended to offer that amendment.)

It is most crucial that citizens upholding one man, one woman marriage make it immediately clear that they expect their Members of Congress to support anti-same-sex marriage appropriations riders, and to secure record votes to show the public how they voted on the specific question. To avoid taking a stand with a recorded vote, Members of Congress might try to lump all the appropriations bills into one “Continuing Resolution.” (A continuing resolution is a measure which generally funds the entire federal government in one appropriations bill utilizing spending conditions from previous years but with different spending amounts.)

Should the Republican leadership decline to take separate votes on individual appropriations bills to protect marriage, then the leadership should be removed for abandoning their stated policy beliefs as contained in the 2012 Republican Platform: “The union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard.”

In April 2013, the leaders of thirteen social conservative organizations wrote to Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus, challenging the conclusions of a RNC report which concluded that the Reagan Coalition embracing social issue conservatives was a political relic and should be abandoned. The conservative leaders told Priebus: “We respectfully warn GOP leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents ….”

Incumbent Members of Congress who fail to amend appropriations bills to protect natural marriage need to face primary opponents who will amend appropriations bills. We must ensure that protection of marriage becomes a necessary condition for receiving our votes in the 2016 elections and beyond.

No Congressman or Senator should be given a pass or be excused if they claim that the House or Senate Rules must prevent record votes. There are procedures to ensure record votes are taken. For example, in the House, only 25 members are needed to call for a record vote on an amendment to an appropriations bill.

The risk of permanent damage to individuals, our institutions, and our nation is too great to allow those who represent “We the People” to duck accountability for defending marriage as it has been understood for millennia. Failure on our part to demand that our representatives use all legal powers they have means we are giving up the fight, which would make us partially responsible for the evils that will ensue.

_____________________

Virginia Delegate Robert G. (“Bob”) Marshall is a senior member of the Virginia House of Delegates, currently serving his 12th term. First elected in 1991, he has consistently addressed a wide range of policy concerns including fiscal and social as well as civil liberty issues. Marshall is the co-author of the 2006 voter-approved traditional Marriage Amendment to the Constitution of Virginia. He is also the author of 2012 statute preventing Virginia from assisting the federal government in the arrest and detention of American citizens without trial, presentment of charges, or representation by counsel of alleged violations of federal security laws, and the author of a 2015 law requiring Virginia law enforcement to secure a warrant to track cell phone or computer identification and location data. Marshall has been married to his wife Cathy for 39 years; they have five children and five grandchildren. He can be reached at delegatebob@gmail.com.

This article is part of a series on “Building Resistance to Same-Sex Marriage.” Please support this important work with a contribution to the U.S. Justice Foundation. Permission is freely granted to publish, copy, reproduce, distribute, or excerpt from this article for any purpose.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Sorry Conservatives, But You Can’t Blindly Defend Law Enforcement

Last week, I wrote a column suggesting that you are under no obligation to have respect for a policeman who has no respect for you.

It went up on Westernjournalism.com, and some of the very same people who call the Commander-in-Chief names and want to lynch Lois Lerner were willing to defend the police officer in McKinney, Texas, who was so obviously out of control on the video that he “resigned” from the force.

OK, I’ll ignore the curses and generally inarticulate uttering of some of the commenters and ask this question of all of them:

Is there a line? If there is, where is it?

After we defeated the Germans in World War II, we gathered up the worst of the worst and put them on trial for war crimes against humanity. Nazi war criminals who were charged with genocide, mass murder, torture, and other atrocities used the defense “I was only following orders” so frequently that the argument became known as “The Nuremberg Defense”.

Is that how “conservatives” now defend what even the Police Chief of McKinney called “indefensible”?

To put it in modern context: “I am enforcing the law, and you must respect me; or I can shoot you or abuse you because I have a badge and a gun. I am right, and you are wrong.”

Apparently, many of those people who commented last week have forgotten how this country came about. Our forefathers didn’t like how the British were policing them. So they fought an armed revolution. And the eventual result of that armed revolution is that I have the right to write a column criticizing out-of-control police actions, and they can sit in their pajamas and call me names on Facebook.

So, back to my original point.

Of course there is a line. Where is it?

Is it in North Charleston, South Carolina, where an officer shot a guy in the back and then appeared to drop a gun next to him so that there would be some evidence he was “in fear of his life”?  Is that the line?

Or, is Lois Lerner the line?

Not fair, you say? Not fair to bring the IRS into a discussion of out-of-control policing?

Why not? They have badges and guns, and all they care about IS YOUR MONEY!

Lois Lerner proved to be lying scum. Is she over the line?

A badge and a gun may confer some authority, but those two items are NOT synonymous with good judgment.

At the end of the day, the police—at all levels—are our employees; and we have the absolute right to expect—actually to demand—a level of performance which exceeds what we have seen recently.

And lest anyone be confused, I believe that the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, WAS justified. But I also believe that the city and its police force had been riding roughshod over the citizens of the community, as much as it pains me to agree with anything Eric Holder says.

The death of Eric Garner in New York may or may not have actually been related to his arrest. There is some evidence of a previous medical condition. But we have to observe that he was taken down by five cops for selling loose cigarettes, which is hardly the use of police that our forefathers envisioned. Not after the Boston Tea Party.

At some point, we have to deal with the term “proportionate response.”

I simply don’t buy the explanation I’ve heard for many officer-involved shootings in the last 10 years.

Or, put it another way.

If a BLM sniper had killed Cliven Bundy last year, how would you defend the sniper? He was just following orders?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

IRS Finds MORE Missing Lerner Emails But Stalls To Hand Them Over For Ridiculous Reason

As Western Journalism reported last week, a federal judge came down hard on the IRS, giving the tax agency until last Friday to provide the court with a full status report on the effort to locate, retrieve, and provide Lois Lerner’s “missing” emails in response to a lawsuit by the watchdog group Judicial Watch.

Judicial Watch sued the IRS in 2013 to enforce its request under the Freedom of Information Act to see Lerner’s emails following an admission by the former head of the agency’s Exempt Organizations unit that the IRS had improperly targeted tea party and other conservative organizations. Despite repeated claims by IRS officials — including the commissioner of the agency — that Lerner’s emails were lost and gone forever, the Inspector General has continued to uncover thousands upon thousands of them from backup drives.

Now The Daily Caller reports that the Internal Revenue Service — under pressure from the federal court, from Congress, and from Judicial Watch attorneys — has disclosed the discovery of 6,400 more of the “missing” Lerner emails. Yet, despite their acknowledged existence, the agency is not turning them over to the court in what one could reasonably say is a transparent attempt to stall and buy time.

As The Daily Caller article by Patrick Howley tells us, “…the IRS received new Lerner emails from the Treasury Department’s inspector general (TIGTA) but can’t fork over the emails to Judicial Watch, a nonprofit group suing to get the emails. Why? Because the IRS is busy making sure that none of the emails are duplicates – you know, so as not to waste anyone’s time.”

However, as the article goes on to point out, the TIGTA office that recovered the Lerner emails has already checked to make sure there are no duplicates of what’s already been submitted to the court — that checking done by special software used for just such a purpose.

On top of the rechecking by the agency to make sure the deduplication has been accomplished, the IRS is saying the extra effort may mean the service could be so slowed down that it will miss a critical deadline for completing the crucial task of providing the Lerner emails — a task that has gone on for years.

“Judicial Watch isn’t buying it,” Howley asserts. The group’s president, Tom Fitton, told The Daily Caller in an exclusive statement that he’s not giving up:

Even though TIGTA already identified and removed emails that are duplicates, the IRS is in ‘the process of conducting further manual deduplication of the 6,400′ emails, rather than reviewing them in response to Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests that are more than 2 years old now,” Fitton said. “Our legal team will continue pursuing all necessary and available legal options to hold the IRS accountable for its flagrant abuse of power.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Federal Judge Issues Order To IRS That’ll Strike Fear Into Lois Lerner’s Heart

A federal judge ordered the IRS to provide “answers” by Friday regarding the full status of Lois Lerner’s emails in response to a court filing by Judicial Watch.

As reported by Western Journalism, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General (TIGTA) announced in February that it had recovered 744 backup tapes, containing 32,000 of Lerner’s emails. TIGTA later in February found 424 additional backup tapes. Judicial Watch is seeking information on the second group of tapes.

Judicial Watch sued the IRS in the fall of 2013 to enforce its FOIA request seeking the Lerner emails. The suit came following the admission by the former head of the IRS’ exempt organizations unit that the agency had targeted tea party and other conservative organizations for increased scrutiny, improper questioning (including lists of donor names), and delayed approval for their applications in the lead up to the 2012 presidential elections.

For months, the agency represented that all of Lerner’s emails from the time period in question were irretrievable because both her hard drive and the backup system had failed. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress last summer that the emails were “lost.”

However, after TIGTA began to investigate the emails’ disappearance, it located the initial group of the backup tapes containing thousands of Lerner emails within a matter of weeks.

In a filing on June 2 in federal district court, Judicial Watch sought answers to the following:

  1. Clarification as to whether all emails that have been recovered by TIGTA have now been turned over to the IRS for review and processing in response to [Judicial Watch’s] request, the volume of those emails, and the time frame in which the IRS anticipates completing its review and production of responsive emails, and
  1. Clarification as to whether the processing is complete for all 1,268 backup tapes to determine what emails are recoverable, and if not, when the processing is expected to be complete.

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan issued the order last Thursday for the IRS to provide its answers by Friday, June 12.

“The Obama IRS obstructed and lied to a federal judge and Judicial Watch in an effort to hide the truth about Lois Lerner’s emails,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The IRS is out of control and Judicial Watch is happy that Judge Sullivan has taken this key step to remind the agency that it is accountable to the rule of law and the American people.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

WATCH: Judge Jeanine Buries ‘Ego’-Driven Obama Beneath A Crushing Pile Of Critical Failures

We already seen syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer take President Obama to task for his assertion that, thanks to the efforts of his administration, America is once again the “most respected country on Earth.” As Western Journalism reported last week, Krauthammer ripped apart Obama’s boast during an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor where he said, “You wonder what world, what planet he’s living on.”

Now, on her Fox News show Justice, Judge Jeanine Pirro has taken Obama to the woodshed and given him more than a dozen hard swats for the “most respected” claim that she showed to be without any merit.

“With all due respect, Mr. President, I’m not sure if you’re delusional or you just think that we are,” Judge Jeanine said. “We’re the most respected country on Earth because of you? And you say this why?”

Pirro then went on to list well over a dozen reasons why Obama’s boast made no sense; failures ranging from the faulty “reset” with Russia to the continuing “string of victories” for ISIS to the president’s “trashing” of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast.

By clicking on the video above, you can watch Judge Jeanine present her compelling evidence against Obama’s claim that his administration has elevated the United States to “most respected” status on the world stage.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth