Supreme Court Justice Just Dropped Bombshell On Battle Over Religion And Government

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in an address over the weekend that the Constitution does not dictate that the federal government must be neutral between different religions or between religion and no religion at all. He added that God has been good to the United States in the past because Americans have honored Him.

Scalia gave the remarks on Saturday at the Archbishop Rummel [Catholic] High School in a suburb of New Orleans.

“To tell you the truth there is no place for [requiring neutrality regarding religion] in our constitutional tradition. Where did that come from?” he said. “To be sure, you can’t favor one denomination over another but can’t favor religion over non-religion?”

The First Amendment to the Constitution provides, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Scalia also said there is “nothing wrong” with the idea of presidents and others invoking God in speeches.

Scalia told the audience that during the Sept. 11 attacks, he was in Rome at a conference. “The next morning, after a speech by President George W. Bush in which he invoked God and asked for his blessing, Scalia said many of the other judges approached him and said they wished their presidents or prime ministers would do the same,” the Associated Press reported

George W. Bush, in his address to Congress following 9/11, said, “The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.”

“God has been very good to us. That we won the revolution was extraordinary,” Scalia observed to his New Orleans’ crowd. “The Battle of Midway was extraordinary. I think one of the reasons God has been good to us is that we have done him honor. Unlike the other countries of the world that do not even invoke his name we do him honor. In presidential addresses, in Thanksgiving proclamations and in many other ways,” the justice observed.

“There is nothing wrong with that and do not let anybody tell you that there is anything wrong with that,” he added.

In a dissent he authored in McCreary County v. the ACLU of Kentucky (2005)a 5-4 ruling against a Ten Commandments display in a courthouse–Scalia noted the “fact that the Founding Fathers believed devotedly that there was a God and that the unalienable rights of man were rooted in Him is clearly evidenced in their writings, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution itself.” 

“At the time the Constitution was written, religion was ubiquitous. Scalia noted that Thomas Jefferson, who first invoked the idea of a ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ also penned Virginia’s religious freedom law, founded a university with dedicated religious space and, in writing the Declaration of Independence, regularly invoked God,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported

Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (the father of the Constitution) argued that the freedom of religion, in fact, is a God-given right. 

In his first Inaugural Address, George Washington spoke in anything but neutral terms about God and His place in American society. “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency…”

“[W]e ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained,” he added. 

Justice Scalia was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986 and is the Supreme Court’s longest serving member.

h/t: BizPac Review

Sheriff Joe Just Beat Obama To The Punch And Threw A HUGE Wrench In His Big Plan

In the showdown over President Obama’s amnesty plan for illegal immigrants, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona just beat Obama to the draw.

On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that Obama had exceeded his authority when he issued an executive order to allow up to 5 million illegal immigrants to avoid deportation. On Tuesday, the White House announced that it would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

However, Obama will have to stand in line. His edict is already being challenged by Arpaio, whose effort to block the proposal was rejected by another federal court. Arpaio’s appeal seeks to have the amnesty program defeated once and for all.

Opposite results from the two appeals courts warrant a Supreme Court review, said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, counsel to the Maricopa County lawman.

The new petition to the Supreme Court discusses whether Obama’s actions “are an unconstitutional usurpation of legislative authority vested in the Congress and an attempt by the executive branch to repeal legislation enacted by Congress.”

“The Constitution can only have meaning if we are disciplined to live by it, even when politicians are tempted to cheat,” Klayman wrote in a commentary for WND. “If neither the courts nor elected politicians will protect and defend – and follow – the Constitution, they leave every door closed for a peaceable resolution of our citizens’ refusal to stand by and watch our country slowly die.”

“This case is of huge importance to the rule of law,” Klayman stated in a news release announcing the petition. “In the age of King George III, he ruled by fiat, causing a revolution and the founding of a new, free nation. Almost 230 years later, another would-be king has usurped the power of the people, and this must not be allowed to stand.

“Sheriff Arpaio and I, and all law-abiding Americans, look to the U.S. Supreme Court to re-establish the constitutional Republic, not just with regard to the enforcement of immigration laws but also to set an example that the president of the United States, be he or she Democrat or Republican, is not above the law,” Klayman said.

h/t: WND

US Government Claims Unlimited Right To Seize Your Belongings

Today, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Luis v. United States. Our firm filed an amicus curiae brief on the merits supporting Ms. Luis’ challenge to the government’s pretrial seizure of her assets unrelated to the charges against her, depriving her of the opportunity to hire private counsel to defend herself against federal charges.

The government claims the seizure was authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 1345 – the federal Fraud Injunction Statute – which allows pre-trial seizure of assets for certain types of cases (here, alleged Medicare Fraud). The government believes it may seize assets that have no connection to the alleged crime, called “untainted” assets. Ms. Luis had requested a pre-trial hearing at which the government would be required to prove that the seized assets were connected to the alleged illegal conduct, but the district court refused to grant such a request, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit agreed.

This was actually the second brief we filed in support of Luis. Last year, on November 26, 2014, we filed an amicus brief in support of her successful petition for certiorari seeking Supreme Court review.

Our amicus brief on the merits was filed on August 28, 2015. We argued that the federal government had no right to seize “untainted” assets. First, the statute in question only authorizes a temporary restraint on untainted assets, until the court can distinguish between tainted and untainted assets. The statute does not allow the assets to be frozen during the pendency of the trial without a hearing. Depriving a defendant of assets would prevent her from retaining legal counsel of her choice, violating her right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment – a right on which hangs the integrity of the criminal justice system.

We explained that to seize assets, the government is required to demonstrate that it has a superior property interest in the assets to be seized, and does not require the defendant to prove anything.

We also pointed out that the decision of the court of appeals affirming the freezing of Ms. Luis’ assets, relied exclusively upon three prior Supreme Court cases, none of which even addressed the issue of the government’s claimed authority to seize untainted assets under 18 U.S.C. § 1345. Those prior Supreme Court cases all involved criminal forfeitures under 21 U.S.C. § 853(e), and no untainted assets were seized in any of those cases.

We further argued that asset forfeiture is disfavored in the law, and that the modern criminal justice system – which has created procedures resulting in a dramatic increase in criminal forfeiture judgments – operates oppressively against the People of the United States.

Finally, we stressed that the Sixth Amendment guarantee of the right to have the assistance of counsel in all criminal prosecutions, like all the rights spelled out in the 1791 federal Bill of Rights, protects a preexisting right – the right to counsel in criminal cases. This important right – absolutely essential to accord Ms. Luis a fair trial – requires giving her a fair opportunity to secure defense counsel of her choice. It is not enough, for example, to provide a defendant with a public defender, or other attorney chosen at the unreviewable discretion of a government.

If prosecutors, with the assistance of courts, are allowed to tie up a criminal defendant’s untainted assets, 18 U.S.C. § 1345 would present an open invitation to a powerful federal government to deprive defendants in criminal cases of counsel of their choice, in violation of the Sixth Amendment, and ultimately to the undermining of the entire federal criminal justice system.

Our brief was filed on behalf of the United States Justice Foundation, Downsize DC Foundation,, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Inc., The Lincoln Institute, Abraham Lincoln Foundation, Institute on the Constitution, and Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Copyright © 2015 William J. Olson, P.C. All rights reserved.

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

These Nuns Are Standing Up To Obama In A Way That Will Drive Him Crazy- And Could Cost Him

The United States Supreme Court will hear a case brought by nuns centering on religious liberty issues affected by the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The court announced on Nov. 7 that it will hear the case that pits Little Sisters of the Poor against the federal government. This is the fourth case the high court has heard involving Obamacare. It is likely to be heard in the spring of 2016.

This case, filed in 2013, focuses on religious non-profits requirements to include birth control in their employees’ government-mandated health care plans. The nuns said forcing them to provide contraception, which goes against Catholic teaching, would cause them to violate their religious beliefs.

The Little Sisters operates homes servicing the elderly in 31 countries. Under the Affordable Care Act, the group is required to either provide health coverage or release the responsibility to insurers. The nuns believe signing a release for an insurer to take over the responsibility is tantamount to distributing contraception.

The case was filed under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Under the federal law, the government must provide additional relief for citizens to freely exercise their religion. It states that religious expression shouldn’t be “substantially burdened” except where there is a “compelling government interest.”

A review by the Supreme Court may not bode well for the health care law that President Barack Obama cherishes as a key victory for his administration. The lawsuit brought by the nuns is similar to one filed by Hobby Lobby in 2012. In the Hobby Lobby case, the central issue was whether a privately owned company must obey Obamacare mandates regarding contraception if they went against the owners’ religious convictions.

Hobby Lobby, based in Oklahoma, is owned by the Green family. The Green family are known for their devout Christian beliefs and do not believe in contraception.

The court ruled 5-4 that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects closely-held firms and agreed that Hobby Lobby should be exempted from the mandates.

The rule mandating birth control be provided through a private company’s insurance “would put these merchants to a difficult choice; either give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits, available to their competitors, of operating as corporations,” said Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion.

Race And University Admissions: ‘Abigail Fisher v. University Of Texas II’

Abigail Fisher applied for admission to the University of Texas at Austin (UT) as part of the entering class of 2008. Little did she know that being rejected for admission under UT’s race-conscious program would bring her before the U.S. Supreme Court, not once, but twice. Fisher v. University of Texas II is scheduled to be heard in the court’s new term. The outcome will shape college and university admissions policies nationwide.

The issue of whether public colleges and universities can use race as an affirmative characteristic in admissions was first addressed by the Supreme Court in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. There, an applicant to medical school was rejected in favor of students with less meritorious qualifications under a quota-type system that reserved seats for minority students. In a fractured and ambiguous decision, four justices, with Justice Lewis F. Powell making the fifth justice, first nixed that quota-like approach. However, four other justices, with Powell making the fifth once again, recognized that if an educational institution were trying to create a “diverse student body” to enhance students’ educational experiences, then race could be considered a positive “factor” in admission decisions.

In an effort to clarify the admissions muddle left by Bakke, and “after a series of conflicting lower court rulings were issued regarding the use of race to promote a diverse student body,” the court (in 2003) heard and decided two University of Michigan cases—one concerning the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts (LSA) and the other concerning the Law School. In the LSA case, the court rejected the use of race in a way that would virtually guarantee admissions, but in the Law School case it approved a complicated, largely inscrutable process of admissions which allowed Michigan to admit a “critical mass” of minority students so the individual minority students would not feel “isolated or as a spokesperson for their race.” What was allowable was still far from clear.

The lack of clarity caused the UT admissions policies to change several times over two decades. UT first used race and then abandoned race when it lost in court. At that point, the Texas legislature passed the so-called “Top 10 percent Law,” which granted in-state students, regardless of race, automatic admission to public universities if they finished in the top 10 percent of their Texas high school class. In its most recent admissions policy shift, UT continued to abide by that race-neutral law but supplemented it by using race in what it called a “holistic review” of applicants.

It was this approach, using race once again, which was challenged by Abigail Fisher. In what became Fisher v. University of Texas I, she lost in the lower federal courts, but upon appeal to the Supreme Court in 2013 the justices said that the Fifth Circuit had erred. It did not give the UT admissions process the proper level of “strict scrutiny” required whenever persons are treated differently because of race. Upon remand and after further review, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once again found the current race-conscious admissions approach constitutionally acceptable. Fisher appealed a second time, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear her appeal once again; this became Fisher v. University of Texas II.

The technical legal question now is whether or not the Fifth Circuit’s “redo” strictly scrutinized UT’s latest race-conscious admissions program. What exactly is “strict scrutiny”? This is a court’s way of saying that since using racial categories may very well subject persons involved to unfair treatment, their use can only be countenanced if the reasons for using such a classification are “compelling.” In previous cases, the court has “deferred” to the university’s goal of admitting a “diverse student body” as a valid and compelling one. Therefore, unfortunately, the court is not likely to revisit that issue, although it should.

However, in addition, a second legal hurdle must be cleared by UT. The specific means used to create a diverse student body must be “narrowly tailored” to use the words of the court. “Narrow tailoring” means that the “reviewing court must ultimately be satisfied that no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity.”

Read: The Court Misses and Opportunity

Read: The Court Misses an Opportunity

On this issue, UT is in trouble. The Top 10 percent Law, which remains the law in Texas, has resulted in a substantial percentage of minorities (African American and Hispanic) being admitted to UT. That law is exactly the kind of race-neutral alternative that constitutes “narrow tailoring” because it produces diversity and its benefits but without the need to use racial preferences. In a bizarre twist, UT apparently convinced the Fifth Circuit that its “holistic” admissions process (which uses race as a component), is, nevertheless, still necessary to achieve diversity.

Why? Amazingly, UT says it is because the minority students admitted under the top 10 percent law do not create the “quality” of diversity that UT desires. In a string of largely unsubstantiated propositions, UT appears to be arguing that students who are admitted via the Top 10 Percent Law come largely from schools where racial minorities predominate and, therefore, contribute only one type of diversity. UT believes that minority students who have been successful in predominately white schools, but have not made the 10 percent cut, contribute another kind of diversity. The holistic policy, it argues, allows members of this latter group to be admitted.

What should the Supreme Court do with this appeal? First, it is time for the justices to insist that public colleges and universities produce convincing evidence that a diverse student body produces enough clear, compelling benefits to justify race-conscious admissions. The court should retreat from its policy of “deferring” to universities on this issue. Secondly, if there are workable, narrowly-tailored, race-neutral admissions policies that produce a diverse student body, the court should demand that these policies be used without exception. The court should remind public colleges and universities of what Justice Clarence Thomas warns: “The Constitution abhors classifications based on race … [because] every time the government places citizens on a racial register and makes race relevant to the provision of burdens and benefits, it demeans us all.”

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