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Government news, articles and information:

Posted: November 23, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Why governments aren’t all that different from street gangs 3/12/2016 – At some point, you may have heard someone call the government a “gang of thieves writ large,” which is a generalization of a quote attributed to libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard. However, if you’re not familiar with the philosophy behind that quote, you might mistakenly believe that it is nothing… Have you ever felt like the government doesn’t really care what you think? 3/2/2016 – Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a simple question: Does the government represent the people? (Article republished from Represent.Us.) Their study took data from nearly 2000 public opinion… A message to Libertarians about the FDA 2/6/2016 – “When I ran for a seat in the US Congress in 1994, I was very aggressive in demanding that we go after the FDA as a rogue criminal agency. Others, at the time, who were in favor of Health Freedom, said I should dial back my rhetoric; all we needed was a good law that would protect our right to take… The emergence of Orwellian newspeak and the death of free speech 1/23/2016 – “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it……. UK government caught running ISIS Twitter accounts 1/7/2016 – Americans are rightfully concerned that jihadis from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are already on U.S. soil, but apparently we’re not the only Western nation with an ISIS problem. Britain, it seems, has one as well. As reported by the UK’s Mirror, hackers have made the claim that several… DHS gives TSA authority to forcibly irradiate Americans against their will 1/3/2016 – Americans who understand the health risks of full-body TSA X-ray scanners will choose to opt out of the invasive scan. The TSA requires those who opt out of the full-body scan to undergo a physically invasive full-body pat down. Now, a new rule created by the Department of Homeland Security will… Propaganda at your expense: U.S. govt. is second largest P.R. firm in the world 12/23/2015 – It’s no secret that many people feel that the U.S. Government is synonymous with all things shady, filled with half-truths, loopholes and lingo that sounds fancy, but is really a self-serving set of words designed to offer minimal benefits to the rest of society. Supporting these opinions is a finding… The dire state of our nation (what you won’t hear from the politicians) 12/10/2015 – “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air — however slight — lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” –… Vaccine vs. Virus: Which is the bigger threat? 12/3/2015 – Mainstream media clamor for mandatory vaccines, ignoring official statistics that show the drug is more dangerous than the disease. Should government force parents to vaccinate their children? The deaths of more than 100 children have been officially linked to receiving a measles vaccine during the… Evidence of vaccine injuries memory-holed from U.S. government website 11/9/2015 – The federal government, perhaps at the behest of the Obama administration, has been quietly removing vaccine injury court data from a publicly reported chart that at one time was updated monthly, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson reported recently on her web site. “In March, the federal government… U.S. government STEALS American family’s land near Area 51 Air Force base 10/31/2015 – For decades, the U.S. government has maintained that “there’s nothing to see” at its secretive Air Force base designated as “Area 51.” Certainly not Martians or other creatures from outer space, as many have theorized. And yet, for some reason, Uncle Sam seems to have something to hide out there… DARPA creates search engine to expose the dark web to government surveillance 10/21/2015 – The Defense Department’s most secretive research division has created a new computer program giving America’s spies a powerful tool to search the so-called “dark web,” where some of the most sophisticated terrorist organizations operate. DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – recently… The Gestapo is alive and well in Obama’s America 10/18/2015 – Hi. I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. Barack Obama is going rogue. By every metric,[1] the Obama economy is melting down. We are seeing the beginning stages of another recession, at best, or a total economic meltdown, at worst. (Story by Wayne Allyn Root, republished from PersonalLiberty.com) At… Russian government to outlaw all GMO food products to protect citizens’ health 10/3/2015 – As the American people are being force-fed GMOs and petitioning their government for honest food labels, other countries around the world are already removing the transgenic ingredients from their food supply. As Americans beg to know what kind of agro-chemicals and GMOs are in their food, the Russian… UK government to require registration of all religious leaders 9/16/2015 10:29:24 AM – In September 1620, pilgrims from England set sail for the “new world,” hoping to find new opportunities and escape religious persecution. Today, hundreds of years later, its possible British subjects might once again be forced to flee religious oppression. Canada’s National Post reports that religious… Government water police state almost here 7/30/2015 – Anyone who says that liberty, freedom and individualism has thrived under the Obama administration has either been living in a cave or is far too partisan to acknowledge what’s really been going on. The Obamaites have long used the power of the federal bureaucracy that the president controls to limit,… New Zealand government takes further steps to ease raw milk prohibition 7/17/2015 – It’s not exactly a complete scrapping of the country’s antiquated prohibition laws governing the production and sale of raw milk, but the government of New Zealand has responded to consumer demand and made it at least somewhat easier for individuals and families to access this highly sought-after food… Supreme Court rules against federal seizure of farmer’s crop production 7/15/2015 – The U.S. Supreme Court has either been a bane on the Constitution or a champion of civil rights with rulings handed down in recent days, but one issue in particular that appears to win approval of a large majority of Americans garnered far fewer headlines and attention. On June 22, in one effort,… See all 2206 government feature articles. Robots: Japan: Robot: WHO: Future: World: Sales: Canada: Pharmaceutical industry: The FDA: Drug company profits: Drugs from Canada: Drug monopoly: FDA: SAMe: Consumers: Today’s Top Stories on NaturalNews

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Voluntary euthanasia – Wikipedia

Posted: at 10:05 pm

Voluntary euthanasia is the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. Voluntary euthanasia (VE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have been the focus of great controversy in recent years.

As of 2009, some forms of voluntary euthanasia are legal in Belgium,[1]Luxembourg,[2] the Netherlands,[1]Switzerland,[1] and Canada.[3]

Voluntary refusal of food and fluids (VRFF) or Patient Refusal of Nutrition and Hydration (PRNH) is bordering on euthanasia. Some authors classify it as a form of passive euthanasia,[4] while others treat it separately because it is treated differently from legal point of view and often perceived as a more ethical option.[5] VRFF is sometimes suggested as a legal alternative to euthanasia in jurisdictions disallowing euthanasia.[citation needed]

Assisted suicide is a practice in which a person receives assistance in bringing about their death, typically people suffering from a severe physical illness,[6] in which the final step in the process is actively performed by the person concerned. In physician-assisted suicide (also called physician aid-in-dying or PAD) a physician knowingly provides a competent but suffering patient, upon the patient’s request, with the means by which the patient intends to end his or her own life.[7] Assisted suicide is contrasted with “active euthanasia” when the difference between providing the means and actively administering lethal medicine is considered important.[8] For example, Swiss law allows assisted suicide while all forms of active euthanasia (like lethal injection) remain prohibited.[9]

The term euthanasia comes from the Greek words “eu”-meaning good and “thanatos”-meaning death, which combined means well-death or “dying well”. Hippocrates mentions euthanasia in the Hippocratic Oath, which was written between 400 and 300 BC The original Oath states: To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.[10] Despite this, the ancient Greeks and Romans generally did not believe that life needed to be preserved at any cost and were, in consequence, tolerant of suicide in cases where no relief could be offered to the dying or, in the case of the Stoics and Epicureans, where a person no longer cared for his life.[11][12]

English Common Law from the 14th century until the middle of the last century made suicide a criminal act in England and Wales. Assisting others to kill themselves remains illegal in that jurisdiction. However, in the 16th century, Thomas More, considered a saint by Roman Catholics, described a utopian community and envisaged such a community as one that would facilitate the death of those whose lives had become burdensome as a result of “torturing and lingering pain”, see The meaning of the work.[11][13]

Since the 19th century, euthanasia has sparked intermittent debates and activism in North America and Europe. According to medical historian Ezekiel Emanuel, it was the availability of anesthesia that ushered in the modern era of euthanasia. In 1828, the first known anti-euthanasia law in the United States was passed in the state of New York, with many other localities and states following suit over a period of several years.[14] After the Civil War, voluntary euthanasia was promoted by advocates, including some doctors.[15] Support peaked around the start of the 20th century in the US and then grew again in the 1930s.

In an article in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Brown University historian Jacob M. Appel documented extensive political debate over legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide in both Iowa and Ohio in 1906.[16] Appel indicates social activist Anna S. Hall was the driving force behind this movement.[16] According to historian Ian Dowbiggin, leading public figures, including Clarence Darrow and Jack London, advocated for the legalization of euthanasia.[17]

Euthanasia societies[which?] were formed in England in 1935 and in the USA in 1938 to promote euthanasia. Although euthanasia legislation did not pass in the USA or England, in 1937, doctor-assisted euthanasia was declared legal in Switzerland as long as the doctor ending the life had nothing to gain.[10][18] During this same era, US courts tackled cases involving critically ill people who requested physician assistance in dying as well as mercy killings, such as by parents of their severely disabled children.[citation needed]

During the post-war period, prominent proponents of euthanasia included Glanville Williams (The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law) and clergyman Joseph Fletcher (“Morals and medicine”). By the 1960s, advocacy for a right-to-die approach to voluntary euthanasia increased.

In 1996, the world’s first euthanasia legislation, the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1996, was passed in the Northern Territory of Australia.[19] Four patients died through assisted suicide under the Act, using a device designed by Dr Philip Nitschke. The legislation was overturned by Australias Federal Parliament in 1997.[10][11][18] In response to the overturning of the Act, Nitschke founded EXIT International. In 2009, an Australian quadriplegic was granted the right to refuse sustenance and be allowed to die.[20] The Supreme Court of Western Australia ruled that it was up to Christian Rossiter, aged 49, to decide if he was to continue to receive medical care (tube feeding) and that his carers had to abide by his wishes. Chief Justice Wayne Martin also stipulated that his carers, Brightwater Care, would not be held criminally responsible for following his instructions. Rossiter died on 21 September 2009 following a chest infection.[21][22]

In 1957 in Britain, Judge Devlin ruled in the trial of Dr John Bodkin Adams that causing death through the administration of lethal drugs to a patient, if the intention is solely to alleviate pain, is not considered murder even if death is a potential or even likely outcome.[23] In 1993, the Netherlands decriminalized doctor-assisted suicide, and in 2002, restrictions were loosened. During that year, physician-assisted suicide was approved in Belgium. Belgium’s at the time most famous author Hugo Claus, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was among those that asked for euthanasia. He died in March 2008, assisted by an Antwerp doctor.

A key turning point in the debate over voluntary euthanasia (and physician assisted dying), at least in the United States, was the public furor over the Karen Ann Quinlan case. The Quinlan case paved the way for legal protection of voluntary passive euthanasia.[24] In 1977, California legalized living wills and other states soon followed suit.

In 1980 the Hemlock Society USA was founded in Santa Monica by Derek Humphry. It was the first group in America to provide information to the terminally ill in case they wanted a hastened death. Hemlock also campaigned and partially financed drives to reform the law. In 2003 Hemlock was merged with End of Life Choices, which changed its name to Compassion and Choices.

In 1990, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan physician, became famous for educating and assisting people in committing physician-assisted suicide, which resulted in a Michigan law against the practice in 1992. Kevorkian was tried and convicted in 1999 for a murder displayed on television.[10][18] Also in 1990, the Supreme Court approved the use of non-active euthanasia.[25]

In 1994, Oregon voters approved the Death with Dignity Act, permitting doctors to assist terminal patients with six months or less to live to end their lives. The U.S. Supreme Court allowed such laws in 1997.[11] The Bush administration failed in its attempt to use drug law to stop Oregon in 2001, in the case Gonzales v. Oregon.[18]

In 2005, amid U.S. government roadblocks and controversy, Terri Schiavo, a Floridian who had been in a vegetative state since 1990, had her feeding tube removed. Her husband had won the right to take her off life support, which he claimed she would want but was difficult to confirm as she had no living will and the rest of her family claimed otherwise.[18]

In November 2008, Washington Initiative 1000 made Washington the second U.S. state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

Euthanasia is a criminal offense in China. For example, in Shanghai a 67-year-old man was sentenced to 5 years in prison when he euthanized his 92-year-old mother when she emerged from a hospital procedure only able to move one finger and one toe. The sentence was considered lenient, because he had displayed filial piety toward his mother.[26]

While active euthanasia remains illegal in China, it is gaining increasing acceptance among doctors and the general populace.[27]

In Hong Kong, support for euthanasia among the general public is higher among those who put less importance on religious belief, those who are non-Christian, those who have higher family incomes, those who have more experience in taking care of terminally ill family members, and those who are older.[28]

Since World War II, the debate over euthanasia in Western countries has centered on voluntary euthanasia within regulated health care systems. In some cases, judicial decisions, legislation, and regulations have made voluntary euthanasia an explicit option for patients and their guardians.[29] Proponents and critics of such voluntary euthanasia policies offer the following reasons for and against official voluntary euthanasia policies:

Proponents of voluntary euthanasia emphasize that choice is a fundamental principle for liberal democracies and free market systems.[11]

The pain and suffering a person feels during a disease, even with pain relievers, can be incomprehensible to a person who has not gone through it. Even without considering the physical pain, it is often difficult for patients to overcome the emotional pain of losing their independence.[11]

Those who witness others die are “particularly convinced” that the law should be changed to allow assisted death.[30]

Today in many countries there is a shortage of hospital space. Medical personnel and hospital beds could be used for people whose lives could be saved instead of continuing the lives of those who want to die, thus increasing the general quality of care and shortening hospital waiting lists. It is a burden to keep people alive past the point they can contribute to society, especially if the resources used could be spent on a curable ailment.[31]

Critics argue that voluntary euthanasia could unduly compromise the professional roles of health care employees, especially doctors. They point out that European physicians of previous centuries traditionally swore some variation of the Hippocratic Oath, which in its ancient form excluded euthanasia: “To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death..” However, since the 1970s, this oath has largely fallen out of use.

Some people, including many Christians, consider euthanasia of some or all types to be morally unacceptable.[11] This view usually treats euthanasia to be a type of murder and voluntary euthanasia as a type of suicide, the morality of which is the subject of active debate.

If there is some reason to believe the cause of a patient’s illness or suffering is or will soon be curable, the correct action is sometimes considered to attempt to bring about a cure or engage in palliative care.[11]

Feasibility of implementation: Euthanasia can only be considered “voluntary” if a patient is mentally competent to make the decision, i.e., has a rational understanding of options and consequences. Competence can be difficult to determine or even define.[11]

Consent under pressure: Given the economic grounds for voluntary euthanasia, critics of voluntary euthanasia are concerned that patients may experience psychological pressure to consent to voluntary euthanasia rather than be a financial burden on their families.[32] Even where health costs are mostly covered by public money, as in most developed countries, voluntary euthanasia critics are concerned that hospital personnel would have an economic incentive to advise or pressure people toward euthanasia consent.[33]

Non-voluntary euthanasia is sometimes cited as one of the possible outcomes of the slippery slope argument, in which it is claimed that permitting voluntary euthanasia to occur will lead to the support and legalization of non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.[34]

The right to life movement opposes voluntary euthanasia.

Euthanasia brings about many ethical issues regarding a patients death. Some physicians say euthanasia is a rational choice for competent patients who wish to die to escape unbearable suffering.[35]

Physicians who are in favor of euthanasia state that to keep euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS) illegal is a violation of patient freedoms. They believe that any competent terminally-ill patient should have the right to choose death or refuse life-saving treatment.[35][36] Suicide and assistance from their physician is seen as the only option those patients have.[35] With the suffering and the knowledge from the doctor, this may also suggest that PAS is a humane answer to the excruciating pain.[35]

An argument against PAS is the violation of the Hippocratic oath that some doctors take. The Hippocratic oath states “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan”.[35]

Another reason for prohibiting PAS and euthanasia is the option of abusing PAS if it were to become legal. Poor or uninsured patients may not have the money or no access to proper care will have limited options, and they could be pressured towards assisted death.[35]

During the 20th century, efforts to change government policies on euthanasia have met limited success in Western countries. Euthanasia policies have also been developed by a variety of NGOs, most notably medical associations and advocacy organizations.

There are many different religious views among on the issue of voluntary euthanasia, although many moral theologians are critical of the procedure.

Euthanasia can be accomplished either through an oral, intravenous, or intramuscular administration of drugs, or by oxygen deprivation (anoxia), as in some euthanasia machines. In individuals who are incapable of swallowing lethal doses of medication, an intravenous route is preferred. The following is a Dutch protocol for parenteral (intravenous) administration to obtain euthanasia:

Intravenous administration is the most reliable and rapid way to accomplish euthanasia. A coma is first induced by intravenous administration of 20mg/kg sodium thiopental (Nesdonal) in a small volume (10 ml physiological saline). Then a triple intravenous dose of a non-depolarizing neuromuscular muscle relaxant is given, such as 20mg pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) or 20mg vecuronium bromide (Norcuron). The muscle relaxant should preferably be given intravenously, in order to ensure optimal availability. Only for pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) are there substantial indications that the agent may also be given intramuscularly in a dosage of 40mg.[37]

With regards to voluntary euthanasia, many people argue that ‘equal access’ should apply to access to suicide as well, so therefore disabled people who cannot kill themselves should have access to voluntary euthanasia.

Apart from The Old Law, a 17th-century tragicomedy written by Thomas Middleton, William Rowley, and Philip Massinger, one of the early books to deal with euthanasia in a fictional context is Anthony Trollope’s 1882 dystopian novel, The Fixed Period. Ricarda Huch’s novel The Deruga Case (1917) is about a physician who is acquitted after performing euthanasia on his dying ex-wife.

“Quality of Mercy” in The Prosecution Rests is a fable exploring the facets of aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and euthanasia.[38] The story line makes no judgement but frees the reader to decide.

The plot of Christopher Buckley’s 2007 novel Boomsday involves the use of ‘Voluntary euthanasia’ of seniors as a political ploy to stave of the insolvency of social security as more and more of the aging US population reaches retirement age.

The films Children of Men and Soylent Green depict instances of government-sponsored euthanasia in order to strengthen their dystopian themes. The protagonist of the film Johnny Got His Gun is a brutally mutilated war veteran whose request for euthanasia furthers the work’s anti-war message. The recent films Mar Adentro and Million Dollar Baby argue more directly in favor of euthanasia by illustrating the suffering of their protagonists. These films have provoked debate and controversy in their home countries of Spain and the United States respectively.

In March 2010, the PBS Frontline TV program in the United States showed a documentary called “The Suicide Tourist” which told the story of Professor Craig Ewert, his family, and the Swiss group Dignitas, and their decision to commit assisted suicide in Switzerland after he was diagnosed and suffering with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).[39]

Thrash metal band Megadeth’s 1994 album Youthanasia (the title is a pun on euthanasia) implies that society is euthanizing its youth.

The documentary film How to Die in Oregon follows the lives of select terminally ill individuals who weigh the options of continuing to live and euthanasia. This film employs emotional appeal to the audience on the controversial topic of voluntary euthanasia.[40]

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Voluntary euthanasia – Wikipedia

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Genetic Engineering | MSPCA-Angell

Posted: November 10, 2016 at 5:32 pm

The MSPCAbelieves scientists ability to clone animals, to alter the genetic makeup of an animal, and to transfer pieces of genetic material from one species to another raises serious concerns for animals and humans alike.

This pagewill explore issues related to genetic engineering, transgenic animals, and cloned animals. It will examine the implications of genetic engineering on human and animal welfare and will touch on some related moral and ethical concerns that our society has so far failed to completely address.

Definitions

Problems related to the physical and psychological well-being of cloned and transgenic animals, significant ethical concerns about the direct manipulation of genetic material, and questions about the value of life itself must all be carefully weighed against the potential benefits of genetic engineering for disease research, agricultural purposes, vaccine development, pharmaceutical products, and organ transplants.

Genetic engineering is, as yet, an imperfect science that yields imperfect results.

Changes in animal growth and development brought about by genetic engineering and cloning are less predictable, more rapid, and often more debilitating than changes brought about through the traditional process of selective breeding.

This is especially apparent with cloning. Success rates are incredibly low; on average, less than 5% of cloned embryos are born and survive.

Clones are created at a great cost to animals. The clones that are successful, as well as those that do not survive and the surrogates who carry them, suffer greatly.Many of the cloned animals that do survive are plagued by severe health problems.

Offspring suffer from severe birth defects such as Large Offspring Syndrome (LOS), in which the cloned offspring are significantly larger than normal fetuses; hydrops, a typically fatal condition in which the mother or the fetus swells with fluid; respiratory distress; developmental problems; malformed organs; musculoskeletal deformities; or weakened immune systems, to name only a few.

Additionally, surrogates are subjected to repeated invasive procedures to harvest their eggs, implant embryos, or due to the offsprings birth defects surgical intervention to deliver their offspring. All of these problems occur at much higher rates than for offspring produced via traditional breeding methods.

Cloning increases existing animal welfare and environmental concerns related to animal agriculture.

In 1996, the birth of the ewe, Dolly, marked the first successful cloning of a mammal from adult cells. At the time of her birth, the researchers who created Dolly acknowledged the inefficiency of the new technology: it took 277 attempts to create this one sheep, and of these, only 29 early embryos developed, and an even smaller number of these developed into live fetuses. In the end, Dolly was the sole surviving clone. She was euthanized in 2003 at just 6 years of age, about half as old as sheep are expected to live, and with health problems more common in older sheep.

Since Dollys creation, the process of cloning has not demonstrated great improvement in efficiency or rates of success. A 2003 review of cloning in cattle found that less than 5% of cloned embryos transferred into surrogate cows survived; a 2016 study showedno noticeable increase in efficiency, with the success rate being about 1%.

Currently, research is focused on cloning for agricultural purposes. Used alone, or in concert with genetic engineering, the objective is to clone the best stock to reproduce whole herds or flocks with desired uniform characteristics of a specific trait, such as fast growth, leaner meat, or higher milk production. Cloning is often pursued to produce animals that grow faster so they can be slaughtered sooner and to raise more animals in a smaller space.

For example, transgenic fish are engineered to grow larger at a faster rate and cows injected with genetically engineered products to increase their productivity. Another example of this is the use of the genetically engineered drug, bovine growth hormone (BGH or BST) to increase milk production in dairy cows. This has also been associated with increased cases of udder disease, spontaneous abortion, lameness, and shortened lifespan. The use of BGH is controversial; many countries (such as Canada, Japan, Australia, and countries in the EU) do not allow it, and many consumers try to avoid it.A rise in transgenic animals used for agriculture will only exacerbate current animal welfare and environmental concerns with existing intensive farming operations.(For more information on farming and animal welfare, visit the MSPCAs Farm Animal Welfare page.)

Much remains unknown about thepotential environmental impacts of widespread cloning of animals. The creation of genetically identical animals leads to concerns about limited agricultural animal gene pools. The effects of creating uniform herds of animals and the resulting loss of biodiversity, have significant implications for the environment and for the ability of cloned herds to withstand diseases. This could make an impact on the entireagriculture industry and human food chain.

These issues became especiallyconcerning when, in 2008, the Federal Drug Administration not only approved the sale of meat from the offspring of cloned animals, but also did not require that it be labeled as such. There have been few published studies that examine the composition of milk, meat, or eggs from cloned animals or their progeny, including the safety of eating those products. The health problems associated with cloned animals, particularly those that appear healthy but have concealed illnesses or problems that appear unexpectedly later in life, could potentially pose risks to the safety of the food products derived from those animals.

Genetically Engineered Pets

Companion animals have also been cloned. The first cloned cat, CC, was created in 2001. CCs creation marked the beginning of the pet cloning industry, in which pet owners could pay to bank DNA from their companion dogs and cats to be cloned in the future. In 2005, the first cloned dog was created; later, the first commercially cloned dog followed at a cost of $50,000. Many consumers assume that cloning will produce a carbon copy of their beloved pet, but this is not the case. Even though the animals are genetically identical, they often do not resemble each other physically or behaviorally.

To date, the pet cloning industry has not been largely successful. However, efforts to make cloning a successful commercial venture are still being put forth.RBio (formerly RNL Bio), a Korean biotechnology company, planned to create a research center that would produce 1,000 cloned dogs annually by 2013. However, RBio, considered a black market cloner, failed to make any significant strides in itscloning endeavors and seems to have been replaced by other companies, such as South Korean-based Sooam Biotech, now the worlds leader in commercial pet cloning. Since 2006, Sooam has cloned over 800 dogs, in addition to other animals, such as cattle and pigs, for breed preservation and medical research.

While South Korean animal cloning expands, the interest in companion animal cloning in the United States continues to remain low. In 2009, the American company BioArts ceased its dog cloning services and ended its partnership with Sooam, stating in a press release that cloning procedures were still underdeveloped and that the cloning market itself was weak and unethical. Companion animal cloning causes concern not only because of the welfare issues inherent in the cloning process, but also because of its potential to contribute to pet overpopulation problem in the US, as millions of animals in shelters wait for homes.

Cloning and Medical Research

Cloning is also used to produce copies of transgenic animals that have been created to mimic certain human diseases. The transgenic animals are created, then cloned, producing a supply of animals for biomedical testing.

A 1980 U.S. Supreme Court decision to permit the patenting of a microorganism that could digest crude oil had a great impact on animal welfare and genetic engineering. Until that time, the U.S. Patent Office had prohibited the patenting of living organisms. However, following the Supreme Court decision, the Patent Office interpreted this ruling to extend to the patenting of all higher life forms, paving the way for a tremendous explosion of corporate investment in genetic engineering research.

In 1988, the first animal patent was issued to Harvard University for the Oncomouse, a transgenic mouse genetically modified to be more prone to develop cancers mimicking human disease. Since then, millions of transgenic mice have been produced. Transgenic rats, rabbits, monkeys, fish, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, cows, horses, cats, dogs, and other animals have also been created.

Both expected and unexpected results occur in the process of inserting new genetic material into an egg cell. Defective offspring can suffer from chromosomal abnormalities that can cause cancer, fatal bleeding disorders, inability to reproduce, early uterine death, lack of ability to nurse, and such diseases as arthritis, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease.

The production of transgenic animals is of concern because genetic engineering is often used to create animals with diseases that cause intense suffering. Among the diseases that can be produced in genetically engineered research mice are diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, Huntingtons disease, Alzheimers disease, and a rare but severe neurological condition called Lesch-Nyhansyndromethat causes the sufferer to self-mutilate. Animals carrying the genes for these diseases can suffer for long periods of time, both in the laboratory and while they are kept on the shelf by laboratory animal suppliers.

Another reason for the production of transgenic animals is pharming, in which sheep and goats are modified to produce pharmaceuticals in their milk. In 2009, the first drug produced by genetically engineered animals was approved by the FDA. The drug ATryn, used to prevent fatal blood clots in humans, is derived from goats into which a segment of human DNA has been inserted, causing them to produce an anticoagulant protein in their milk. This marks the first time a drug has been manufactured from a herd of animals created specifically to produce a pharmaceutical.

A company has also manufactured a drug produced in the milk of transgenic rabbits to treat a dangerous tissue swelling caused by a human protein deficiency. Yet another pharmaceutical manufacturer, PharmAnthene, was funded by the US Department of Defense to develop genetically engineered goats whose milk produces proteins used in a drug to treat nerve gas poisoning. The FDA also approved a drug whose primary proteins are also found in the milk of genetically engineered goats, who are kept at a farm in Framingham, Massachusetts. Additionally, a herd of cattle was recently developed that produces milk containing proteins that help to treat human emphysema. These animals are essentially used as pharmaceutical-production machines to manufacture only those substances they were genetically modified to produce; they are not used as part of the normal food supply chain for items such as meat or milk.

The transfer of animal tissues from one species to another raises potentially serious health issues for animals and humans alike.

Some animals are also genetically modified to produce tissues and organs to be used for human transplant purposes (xenotransplantation). Much effort is being focused in this area as the demand for human organs for transplantation far exceeds the supply, with pigs the current focus of this research. While efforts to date have been hampered by a pig protein that can cause organ rejection by the recipients immune system, efforts are underway to develop genetically modified swine with a human protein that would mitigate the chance of organ rejection.

Little is known about the ways in which diseases can be spread from one species to another, raising concerns for both animals and people, and calling into question the safety of using transgenic pigs to supply organs for human transplant purposes. Scientists have identified various viruses common in the heart, spleen, and kidneys of pigs that could infect human cells. In addition, new research is shedding light on particles called prions that, along with viruses and bacteria, may transmit fatal diseases between animals and from animals to humans.

Acknowledging the potential for transmission of viruses from animals to humans, the National Institutes of Health, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,issued a moratorium in 2015 onxenotransplantation until the risks are better understood, ceasing funding until more research has been carried out. With the science of genetic engineering, the possibilities are endless, but so too are the risks and concerns.

Genetic engineering research has broad ethical and moral ramifications with few established societal guidelines.

While biotechnology has been quietly revolutionizing the science for decades, public debate in the United Statesover the moral, ethical, and physical effects of this research has been insufficient. To quote Colorado State University Philosopher Bernard Rollin, We cannot control technology if we do not understand it, and we cannot understand it without a careful discussion of the moral questions to which it gives rise.

Research into non-animal methods of achieving some of the same goals looks promising.

Researchers in the U.S. and elsewhere have found ways togenetically engineer cereal grains to produce human proteins. One example of this, developed in the early 2000s, is a strain of rice that can produce a human protein used to treat cystic fibrosis. Wheat, corn, and barley may also be able to be used in similar ways at dramatically lower financial and ethical costs than genetically engineering animals for this purpose.

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Debate: Freedom of Speech | Debate.org

Posted: October 15, 2016 at 5:23 am

To begin, I am greatly happy that you, Mdal, joined my debate. It appears that your arguments appeals to logic, which is, in my opinion the most persuasive type of argument. I will primarily be appealing to logic, however will also touch on the ideals of value, as it is one of the main moral reasons I support this idea. I have also adapted the format of my arguments to suit your style.

Voltaire, an enlightenment thinker, regarded with as intuitive and influential a mind as Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Locke. All influential people who host beliefs that influenced the framers of the Constitution, and all of which created ideals that support, and influence my own belief on restricting the rights of the first amendment to hate group’s gathering in public areas.

I agree with your definition of what the constitution is advancing us towards, “a stable, liberty driven, peaceful, prosperous state” and would in turn like to define hate groups as any groups that gather with the intentions of breeding fear, terror, hate, or violence towards any particular group of people (defined as a group of similar races, religion, or belief [such as sexual orientation].) More specifically, I will be focusing on, and discussing the two groups you mentioned, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Aryan Brotherhood.

Now, before I begin my own arguments, I will answer your question: “who gets to say what is ok and what isn’t?”

I have long meditated in search of a proper way for our nation to adapt to such a monumental change as I have proposed. The only way that I could think of was to add a fourth branch to our current system of checks and balances. This branch would be in charge of adapting the constitution to better suit the nation as it evolves (including any exceptions the members of this branch deem necessary to create.) They would have equal power to the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and would their adjustments would be checked by both the legislative branch (requiring a majority vote as opposed to the current two thirds vote necessary to create an amendment) and the judicial branch to make sure that any and all changes and exceptions created by this new branch follow the main ideals that are upheld within our nation, and do not violate the main intentions of the framers ideals. I realize that this is also a very controversial topic, and would love to hear any and all concerns you have regarding this issue; however, I do not want this to distract us from the main topic of our debate.

Rebuttal #1: In response to the “slippery-slope” argument Logic: The system of checks and balances was created in order to stop one particular group from gaining power. Adapting this system by creating another branch should quite any worries you had about the “slippery-slope” that may occur, as the extent of the branches power will be modified by two other branches, the Legislative and the Judicial. Therefore, the new branch will not be able to abuse this power, and they, because of these restrictions, would not be able to quiet the entire, “market place of ideas.”

Rebuttal #2: In response to the argument that this will limit the market place of ideas Logic: You brought up the argument that if we allow bad ideas to mix with good ideas, then the good ideas will “rise to the top.” In response to this, I would like to bring up the case of Osama Bin Laden, a terrorist who has, what are commonly assumed to be “bad ideas.” Because of Bin Laden’s influential abilities, his bad ideas were able to rise above the good ideas, and eventually led to a great influx of new members into terrorist beliefs, and further led to the tragic destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001.

I am in no way saying that the KKK or the Aryan Brotherhood has equal power to Terrorists, but I am instead proposing that they have similar bad ideas focused on fear and hatred towards a group of people. If the KKK were to gain an influential leader (horrendous, but influential none-the-less) as Osama Bin Laden, who’s to say whether or not our current small national terrorist group the KKK would turn into a world-wide terrorist organization such as that created by Osama Bin Laden?

It is better to regulate the public meetings of these organizations now, as opposed to later when their power may exceed that of the government they are encompassed by.

Rebuttal #3: In response to the argument that Free speech keeps our government accountable. Logic: As the government is not a group of people regulated by race, religion, or belief (refer to definition of groups of people). And the branch will only have the power to regulate hate groups from publicly discussing (note I am not restricting their right to gather in privacy, purely in public) their ideas, the proposition will have no effect on those who wish to speak out against the government.

Now onto my main argument:

Argument: We are currently not fully acknowledging people’s natural rights Logic: According to the natural rights originally proposed, and supported by enlightenment thinkers such as Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau all people are born with the right to live his/her life any way he/she likes without causing physical harm to another individual, directly or indirectly.

What I question within this right is the restriction, “without causing physical harm to another individual, directly or indirectly.” I concede that I am working under the assumption that hate groups gather with a common goal to assert their superiority (through violence or terror) over a different group of people. I also concede that I work under the assumption that mental harm can become so intense that it can eventually harm a person physically (I only state this because this was not common knowledge around the time of the enlightenment, and therefore was not included in their right.) I believe that these are fairly common assumptions, and therefore will continue with my argument. If we allow groups that have a goal of asserting superiority over a specific group of people, whether they currently act upon this goal, or whether they plan on accomplishing this goal in the future, they either directly or indirectly threaten the safety of others.

I also could go on, however do not wish to state all of my arguments in the first round of our five round discussion.

Thank you again for accepting this debate, so far it proves to be quite promising.

I will first respond to tsmart’s rebuttals to my 3 opening arguments, from there I will counter tsmart’s single argument, finally I must respond to the possible creation of a 4th branch of government as the actor created by tsmart in this case. Though I too do not want this debate dramatically side tracked by a debate about the actor who will create the proposed new laws set forth by tsmart. However as he uses this new 4th branch as an answer to my 3rd argument it has become very important to the core of this debate and will thus be discussed when answering Tsmart’s first rebuttal.

With this signposting finished, lets get to some arguments.

Rebuttal #1: Tsmart’s Rebuttal assures us that through the creation of the 4th branch of government who’s sole job is two interpret freedom of speech, and decide what is and what is not allowable under our new laws which limit certain types of speech. Tsmart’s exact quote of what the 4th branch of government would be is: “This branch would be in charge of adapting the constitution to better suit the nation as it evolves (including any exceptions the members of this branch deem necessary to create.) They would have equal power to the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and would their adjustments would be checked by both the legislative branch (requiring a majority vote as opposed to the current two thirds vote necessary to create an amendment) and the judicial branch to make sure that any and all changes and exceptions created by this new branch follow the main ideals that are upheld within our nation, and do not violate the main intentions of the framers ideals.”

My response: Whooooooo eeee! Where to start on this one?

To begin with it seems at first blush that the 4th branch is going to usurp what has been the power of the Supreme Court, namely interpreting the constitution. However upon closer examination it seems that Tsmart actually has created a body whose job is much more than merely interpreting the constitution, it is actually a body whose job is to CHANGE the constitution. So basically this new body is invented to abridge and thus destroy the power of the 1st amendment (one of the most important amendments in our constitution, one who has been upheld through countless court cases) take the power of the states and congress (the governmental structures who usually keep all of the checks and balances on the creation of new amendments)and given it all to this new 4th branch. Basically we have reorganized the very makeup of American government for the express reason of censoring people. *****In a cost benefit analysis the cost of destabilizing the government by shifting around the powers set in our government by our founding fathers to a new, strange, and untested power structure for the possibly non-existent benefit of censoring hate groups seems dramatically unbalanced. Under this cost benefit analysis it seems as if any marginal benefits we might get from censorship are DRAMATICALLY outweighed by the dangers of the radical upsetting of our governmental structure and thus shows that the CON’s proposed solutions just aren’t worth the trouble.

Rebuttal #2: In response to my argument for an open Market Place of Ideas (something we have now but will lose if we lose Freedom of Speech) Tsmart brings up the example of Osoma Bin Laden and how his ideas have risen to the top in some places and beat out better ideas, so we should instead keep these sort of ideas out of the public’s purview.

My Response: Tsmart actually just proved my point by using the example of Osoma Bin Laden, tell me readers (and Tsmart) have you been convinced by listening to Bin Laden on our television? It wasn’t hidden from us. Everyone in the US is allowed to listen to what Bin Laden has to say, yet HERE in the US where the market place of ideas flourishes Bin Laden’s brand of extremism hasn’t gained a foothold. The places where he is much more popular don’t have the myriad of view points like we have the capacity of getting here in the States, instead in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations in the Middle East we find a correlation between the free-er the speech, the less extremist the views in the country. This is because when the market place of ideas is allowed to work, people are able to make well informed decisions and that usually leads them away from extremist views and towards the center ground when considering an issue. Thus we can see how Tsmart’s example just proves exactly how important the market place of ideas really is and how important it is to keep from abridging the first amendment which is SO key to keeping the market place of ideas viable.

Rebuttal #3: I stated that freedom of speech is a huge check on the government. Tsmart says: “…the branch will only have the power to regulate hate groups from publicly discussing (note I am not restricting their right to gather in privacy, purely in public) their ideas, the proposition will have no effect on those who wish to speak out against the government.” My Response: What about the hate groups Tsmart? What happens if an incredibly racist, cruel, mean, hate filled Neo Nazi has a well conceived critique of the the government, but wants to express this brilliant critique in hate filled language? His speech, though offensive to you and me, will also give a benefit to the society because he will point out something about the government which needs to be looked at. Re-reading your quote you say that the hate group will be unable to discuss their ideas in public, what if their ideas have to do with the government? Is this a new exception? Are Hate groups allowed to talk about the government? You see how restricting even a small part of Freedom of Speech has huge ramifications for everyone in our society? Rather than risk the benefit of one of the best checks on our government (freedom of speech) we should play it safe and not try to silence people we don’t agree with.

On to Tsmart’s argument of expanded natural rights, His claim is that if people are railed against in public by hate groups they may be harmed mentally and that may eventually lead to physical harm. Thus we should protect these minorities and targeted groups from the hate groups.

Response to Tsmart’s Argument: Tsmart, it seems as though you have come to an overreaching understanding of what the government is supposed to do in situations like this. Your solution is to take preemptive action by taking away freedoms from people who might threaten others. However it seems as though the goal you are trying to accomplish is to make certain that the targeted minority groups ARE safe as well as help them FEEL safe. This goal can be met much better by an investment in anti-hate laws which will increase the punishment for hate crimes, or better yet you could increase the capabilities of the police and thus keep extremist groups like the hate organizations in line. However abridging freedom of speech is not the best, or even a decent, way of defending targeted minority groups.

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Twenty-fourth Amendment | United States Constitution …

Posted: October 8, 2016 at 10:22 pm

United States Constitution

Twenty-fourth Amendment, amendment (1964) to the Constitution of the United States that prohibited the federal and state governments from imposing poll taxes before a citizen can participate in a federal election. It was proposed by the U.S. Congress on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.

In 1870, following the American Civil War, the Fifteenth Amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote to former slaves, was adopted. The Twenty-fourth Amendment was adopted as a response to policies adopted in various Southern states after the ending of post-Civil War Reconstruction (186577) to limit the political participation of African Americans. Such policies were bolstered by the 1937 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Breedlove v. Suttles, which upheld a Georgia poll tax. The Supreme Court reasoned that voting rights are conferred by the states and that the states may determine voter eligibility as they see fit, save for conflicts with the Fifteenth Amendment (respecting race) and the Nineteenth Amendment (respecting sex). It further ruled that a tax on voting did not amount to a violation of privileges or immunities protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. In short, because the tax applied to all votersrather than just certain classes of votersit did not violate the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment.

During the civil rights era of the 1950s, particularly following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, such policies increasingly were seen as barriers to voting rights, particularly for African Americans and the poor. Thus, the Twenty-fourth Amendment was proposed (by Sen. Spessard Lindsey Holland of Florida) and ratified to eliminate an economic instrument that was used to limit voter participation. Two years after its ratification in 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, invoking the Fourteenth Amendments equal protection clause, in Harper v. Virginia Board of Electors, extended the prohibition of poll taxes to state elections.

The full text of the amendment is:

Section 1The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

amendment (1920) to the Constitution of the United States that officially extended the right to vote to women.

…the United States to deny federal funds to local agencies that practiced discrimination. Efforts to increase African American voter participation were also helped by the ratification in 1964 of the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which banned the poll tax.

…in Southern states into the 20th century. Some states abolished the tax in the years after World War I, while others retained it. Its use was declared unconstitutional in federal elections by the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, effective in 1964. In 1966 the Supreme Court, going beyond the Twenty-fourth Amendment, ruled that under the equal protection clause of…

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Twenty-fourth Amendment | United States Constitution …

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ecology.iww.org | Abolish wage slavery AND live in harmony …

Posted: October 6, 2016 at 2:50 pm

By Brooke Anderson – Climate Workers, October 3, 2016

Click here to download the sample resolution as an editable Word doc

[Sample] Local Union Resolution Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

WHEREAS, the $3.78Billion, 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline would carry over half a million barrels of dirty crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois to connect to other pipelines bringing oil to the East Coast and the Gulf; and

WHEREAS, the pipeline is slated to pass through the tribal lands of Standing Rock Sioux near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and underneath the Missouri River, the main source of water for the tribe; and

WHEREAS, the pipeline desecrates the ancestral burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux; and

WHEREAS, millions of workers including many union members their families, and communities live in the path of the proposed pipeline; and

WHEREAS, the transport of heavy crude is particularly volatile, leading to 18.4 million gallons of oils and chemicals spilled, leaked, or released into the air, land, and waterways between 2006 and 2014 in North Dakota alone, causing death, contamination of soil and water, and all kinds of disease; and

WHEREAS, scientists have warned that in order to avoid wide-scale, catastrophic climate disruption, the vast majority of known remaining fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground; and

WHEREAS, Native American land protectors and their supporters have been brutally attacked by private security forces with attack dogs and pepper spray; and

WHEREAS, Native Americans and other activists defending their land and water have the same right to defend their land and engage in non-violent protest as workers who are protesting the actions of an unfair employer; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress has repealed the ban on exporting oil, meaning that the oil transported by the pipeline is likely to be sold overseas and not contribute to US energy independence; and

WHEREAS, we know that the real threat to workers lives and livelihoods is catastrophic climate change; and

WHEREAS, many large corporations, and especially fossil fuel corporations, have been putting profits ahead of the common good of workers, the public, and the environment, and these corporations have been granted the unjust constitutional rights and powers of person-hood, and the doctrine of money as speech through activist Supreme Court decisions thereby diminishing democracy and the voice and power of the people; and

WHEREAS, numerous national and international unions have already passed resolutions against construction of the pipeline, including National Nurses United, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Communications Workers of America, the United Electrical Workers, and others; and

WHEREAS, this local union is already on record supporting the development of renewable energy sources and investment in sustainable energy including quality union jobs; and

WHEREAS, more long term good paying jobs would be created by investing in sustainable energy infrastructure projects using already existing technologies while at the same time reducing pollution that creates greenhouse gases; and

WHEREAS, we support the rights of our union brothers and sisters building the pipeline to work in safe environments at jobs that are consistent with respect for the environment and the rights and safety of frontline communities; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that we call upon the Federal Government to make permanent the moratorium on construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline by revoking permits for construction issued by the Army Corps of Engineers; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this local union calls on the labor movement to support a just transition to a renewable energy economy and investment in the construction of a nationwide sustainable energy infrastructure that will address the growing threat of climate change and its consequent droughts, floods, fire, crop failure, species extinction and other dire consequences of global warming; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this local union make a financial contribution of $_____ to the land protectors at the Standing Rock protest camps; and be it further

RESOLVED, this local union urges its internal union and the rest of the labor movement to become actively involved in promoting a just transition to a sustainable alternative energy economy that protects the environment and respects the rights of all working people to good paying safe jobs, human rights and justice for all; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the International Union and all Central Labor Councils we are affiliated, with, with a request for concurrence.

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Trump and the Second Amendment – The Washington Post

Posted: October 1, 2016 at 1:43 am

At last nights presidential debate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made all kinds of attacks on each other. But on one notable issue, they were in complete agreement: they both think people on the federal governments no fly list should be categorically denied their right to buy guns under the Second Amendment. Both candidates have repeatedly said so for months. Trumps stance on this issue should be deeply troubling to those who care about gun rights and also to people concerned about constitutional rights generally, even if they dont care much about this one.

As both the ACLU and conservative commentators point out, the no fly list is notoriously inaccurate. It is also provides little or no due process protections. The process is secret, people are not told the reasons why they were placed on the list, and they are not given any advance opportunity to challenge the designation. And, once on the list, even a completely innocent person might find it difficult and time-consuming to get off it.

If Trump is committed to the idea that your Second Amendment rights can be stripped on such a flimsy basis, with so little due process, then virtually any other politically feasible limitation on gun rights is also acceptable. The sort of reasoning that would uphold this restriction on gun ownership would permit pretty much any other. That should give pause to people supporting Trump because they think he is going to protect Second Amendment rights. It is also yet another reason to doubt that he would appoint originalist judges committed to protecting important constitutional rights generally. Most such judges are unlikely to uphold these kinds of gun regulations (as well as many other items on his political agenda).

Trumps disdain for Second Amendment rights is not limited to the no fly list. At last nights debate, he also said he wants police to use stop and frisk searches to take away guns from bad people. Its not entirely clear what he means by this remark (it could be interpreted as being limited to people the police believe to be felons or gang members whom he also mentioned in the same part of the debate). But, at the very least, its another example of him advocating gun confiscation without due process. It also indicates a disturbing level of confidence that the government can identify bad people and take away their guns without victimizing the innocent.

Even people who do not care much about gun rights and the Second Amendment have reason to be concerned about Trumps position on this issue. As liberal legal commentator Mark Joseph Stern (who is no fan of gun rights), points out, if this constitutional right can be taken away with so little due process, others can be as well:

If the government can revoke your right to access firearms simply because it has decided to place you on a secret, notoriously inaccurate list, it could presumably restrict your other rights in a similar manner. You could be forbidden from advocating for causes you believe in, or associating with like-minded activists; your right against intrusive, unreasonable searches could be suspended. And you would have no recourse: The government could simply declare that, as a name on a covert list, you are owed no due process at all.

Stern believes that the Second Amendment should not be interpreted as protecting an individual right to bear arms. But so long as the Supreme Court continues to hold otherwise, revoking this right on the basis of a secret list with no due process sets a dangerous precedent for other constitutional rights.

In fairness to Trump, Hillary Clinton is no better than he is on the no fly issue. It is, as already noted, one of the few things they agreed on last night. While I believe that she is, on balance, a lesser evil than Trump, this is not one of the issues that makes her so. On other gun control issues, she almost certainly favors more extensive regulation than he does.

But there is this difference: Hillary Clinton and many other liberals make no bones about the fact that they believe either that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to bear arms at all, or that the right in question is an unimportant one that should be relegated to second-class status compared to what they see as more significant parts of the Bill of Rights. I think theyre badly wrong about that. But their reasoning at least creates the possibility that they and the judges they pick could approve the no-fly list gun ban without creating too much of a dangerous precedent for other constitutional rights. Like Stern, I believe that many liberals seriously underrate the risk of dangerous slippery slope effects in this area. But at least they are making some effort to contain them.

By contrast, Trump repeatedly claims that hes a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. If hes nonetheless willing to undermine it so blatantly, that does not bode well for the many constitutional rights for which he has (even) less regard.

UPDATE: Commenters on Twitter point to Trumps seeming support of a GOP bill sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn that would allow the government to ban people on the no fly list from buying guns for only 72 hours, after which they would have to go to court to provide evidence of links to terrorism, in order to extend the ban. Its a fair point, and one I should have addressed in the original post. But I dont think it much changes the bottom line on the dangerous implications of Trumps position on this issue.

While it is entirely possibly that Trump would sign the Cornyn bill if it passes, he has never clearly stated that he supports it. Much more significantly he has never said that he will only support the no fly, no buy policy if it includes a right to a judicial hearing. And, in the debate last night, he suggested the contrary by emphasizing his essential agreement with Hillary Clinton on the issue. He even said he quite strongly agrees with her. This implies he would be just as happy to sign a bill with no such judicial safeguards (which is the approach Clinton advocates). Trump did indicate that there should be a legal way for people to get off the no fly list if they should not be there. But, of course, that is no different from the status quo. People can already entirely legally get off the no fly list by asking the federal government to remove them. It just often takes many months or even years to happen.

The important broader issue here is not whether Trump would sign the Cornyn bill. It is Trumps cavalier approach even towards those constitutional rights, such as the Second Amendment, that he claims to strongly support.

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Annotation 1 – First Amendment – FindLaw

Posted: September 22, 2016 at 7:46 pm

RELIGION

An Overview

Madison’s original proposal for a bill of rights provision concerning religion read: ”The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.” 1 The language was altered in the House to read: ”Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.” 2 In the Senate, the section adopted read: ”Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, . . .” 3 It was in the conference committee of the two bodies, chaired by Madison, that the present language was written with its some what more indefinite ”respecting” phraseology. 4 Debate in Congress lends little assistance in interpreting the religion clauses; Madison’s position, as well as that of Jefferson who influenced him, is fairly clear, 5 but the intent, insofar as there was one, of the others in Congress who voted for the language and those in the States who voted to ratify is subject to speculation.

Scholarly Commentary .–The explication of the religion clauses by the scholars has followed a restrained sense of their meaning. Story, who thought that ”the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice,” 6 looked upon the prohibition simply as an exclusion from the Federal Government of all power to act upon the subject. ”The situation . . . of the different states equally proclaimed the policy, as well as the necessity of such an exclusion. In some of the states, episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in others presbyterians; in others, congregationalists; in others, quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was impossible, that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment. The only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.” 7

”Probably,” Story also wrote, ”at the time of the adoption of the constitution and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.” 8 The object, then, of the religion clauses in this view was not to prevent general governmental encouragement of religion, of Christianity, but to prevent religious persecution and to prevent a national establishment. 9

This interpretation has long since been abandoned by the Court, beginning, at least, with Everson v. Board of Education, 10 in which the Court, without dissent on this point, declared that the Establishment Clause forbids not only practices that ”aid one religion” or ”prefer one religion over another,” but as well those that ”aid all religions.” Recently, in reliance on published scholarly research and original sources, Court dissenters have recurred to the argument that what the religion clauses, principally the Establishment Clause, prevent is ”preferential” governmental promotion of some religions, allowing general governmental promotion of all religion in general. 11 The Court has not responded, though Justice Souter in a major concurring opinion did undertake to rebut the argument and to restate the Everson position. 12

Court Tests Applied to Legislation Affecting Religion .–Before considering the development of the two religion clauses by the Supreme Court, one should notice briefly the tests developed by which religion cases are adjudicated by the Court. While later cases rely on a series of rather well-defined, if difficult-to-apply, tests, the language of earlier cases ”may have [contained] too sweeping utterances on aspects of these clauses that seemed clear in relation to the particular cases but have limited meaning as general principles.” 13 It is well to recall that ”the purpose [of the religion clauses] was to state an objective, not to write a statute.” 14

In 1802, President Jefferson wrote a letter to a group of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut, in which he declared that it was the purpose of the First Amendment to build ”a wall of separation between Church and State.” 15 In Reynolds v. United States, 16 Chief Justice Waite for the Court characterized the phrase as ”almost an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment.” In its first encounters with religion-based challenges to state programs, the Court looked to Jefferson’s metaphor for substantial guidance. 17 But a metaphor may obscure as well as illuminate, and the Court soon began to emphasize neutrality and voluntarism as the standard of restraint on governmental action. 18 The concept of neutrality itself is ”a coat of many colors,” 19 and three standards that could be stated in objective fashion emerged as tests of Establishment Clause validity. The first two standards were part of the same formulation. ”The test may be stated as follows: what are the purpose and the primary effect of the enactment? If either is the advancement or inhibition of religion then the enactment exceeds the scope of legislative power as circumscribed by the Constitution. That is to say that to withstand the strictures of the Establishment Clause there must be a secular legislative purpose and a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion.” 20 The third test is whether the governmental program results in ”an excessive government entanglement with religion. The test is inescapably one of degree . . . [T]he questions are whether the involvement is excessive, and whether it is a continuing one calling for official and continuing surveillance leading to an impermissible degree of entanglement.” 21 In 1971 these three tests were combined and restated in Chief Justice Burger’s opinion for the Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 22 and are frequently referred to by reference to that case name.

Although at one time accepted in principle by all of the Justices, 23 the tests have sometimes been difficult to apply, 24 have recently come under direct attack by some Justices, 25 and with increasing frequency have not been applied at all by the Court. 26 While continued application is uncertain, the Lemon tests nonetheless have served for twenty years as the standard measure of Establishment Clause validity and explain most of the Court’s decisions in the area. 27 As of the end of the Court’s 1991-92 Term, there was not yet a consensus among Lemon critics as to what substitute test should be favored. 28 Reliance on ”coercion” for that purpose would eliminate a principal distinction between establishment cases and free exercise cases and render the Establishment Clause largely duplicative of the Free Exercise Clause. 29

Justice O’Connor has suggested that it is inappropriate to try to shoehorn all Establishment cases into one test, and has called instead for recognition that different contexts may call for different approaches. Supp.1 For example, the Justice proposes that cases involving government ”speech” on religious topics be judged by an endorsement test that would invalidate government actions only if a reasonable observer would perceive the action as an endorsement or disapproval of religious belief. Supp.2

Government Neutrality in Religious Disputes .–One value that both clauses of the religion section serve is to enforce governmental neutrality in deciding controversies arising out of religious disputes. Schism sometimes develops within churches or between a local church and the general church, resulting in secession or expulsion of one faction or of the local church. A dispute over which body is to have control of the property of the church will then often be taken into the courts. It is now established that both religion clauses prevent governmental inquiry into religious doctrine in settling such disputes, and instead require courts simply to look to the decision-making body or process in the church and to give effect to whatever decision is officially and properly made.

The first such case was Watson v. Jones, 30 which was decided on common-law grounds in a diversity action without explicit reliance on the First Amendment. A constitutionalization of the rule was made in Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, 31 in which the Court held unconstitutional a state statute that recognized the autonomy and authority of those North American branches of the Russian Orthodox Church which had declared their independence from the general church. Recognizing that Watson v. Jones had been decided on nonconstitutional grounds, the Court thought nonetheless that the opinion ”radiates . . . a spirit of freedom for religious organizations, and independence from secular control or manipulation–in short, power to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.” 32 The power of civil courts to resolve church property disputes was severely circumscribed, the Court held, because to permit resolution of doctrinal disputes in court was to jeopardize First Amendment values. What a court must do, it was held, is to look at the church rules: if the church is a hierarchical one which reposes determination of ecclesiastical issues in a certain body, the resolution by that body is determinative, while if the church is a congregational one prescribing action by a majority vote, that determination will prevail. 33 On the other hand, a court confronted with a church property dispute could apply ”neutral principles of law, developed for use in all property disputes,” when to do so would not require resolution of doctrinal issues. 34 In a later case the Court elaborated on the limits of proper inquiry, holding that an argument over a matter of internal church government, the power to reorganize the dioceses of a hierarchical church in this country, was ”at the core of ecclesiastical affairs” and a court could not interpret the church constitution to make an inde pendent determination of the power but must defer to the interpretation of the body authorized to decide. 35

In Jones v. Wolf, 36 however, a divided Court, while formally adhering to these principles, appeared to depart in substance from their application. A schism had developed in a local church which was a member of a hierarchical church, and the majority voted to withdraw from the general church. The proper authority of the general church determined that the minority constituted the ”true congregation” of the local church and awarded them authority over it. The Court approved the approach of the state court in applying neutral principles by examining the deeds to the church property, state statutes, and provisions of the general church’s constitution concerning ownership and control of church property in order to determine that no language of trust in favor of the general church was contained in any of them and that the property thus belonged to the local congregation. 37 Further, the Court held, the First Amendment did not prevent the state court from applying a presumption of majority rule to award control to the majority of the local congregation, provided that it permitted defeasance of the presumption upon a showing that the identity of the local church is to be determined by some other means as expressed perhaps in the general church charter. 38 The dissent argued that to permit a court narrowly to view only the church documents relating to property ownership permitted the ignoring of the fact that the dispute was over ecclesiastical matters and that the general church had decided which faction of the congregation was the local church. 39

Thus, it is unclear where the Court is on this issue. Jones v. Wolf restated the rule that it is improper to review an ecclesiastical dispute and that deference is required in those cases, but by approving a neutral principles inquiry which in effect can filter out the doctrinal issues underlying a church dispute, the Court seems to have approved at least an indirect limitation of the authority of hierarchical churches. 40

Footnotes

[Footnote 1] 1 Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789).

[Footnote 2] The committee appointed to consider Madison’s proposals, and on which Madison served, with Vining as chairman, had rewritten the religion section to read: ”No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.” After some debate during which Madison suggested that the word ”national” might be inserted before the word ”religion” as ”point[ing] the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent,” the House adopted a substitute reading: ”Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.” 1 Annals of Congress 729-31 (August 15, 1789). On August 20, on motion of Fisher Ames, the language of the clause as quoted in the text was adopted. Id. at 766. According to Madison’s biographer, ”[t]here can be little doubt that this was written by Madison.” I. Brant, James Madison–Father of the Constitution 1787-1800 at 271 (1950).

[Footnote 3] This text, taken from the Senate Journal of September 9, 1789, appears in 2 B. Schwartz (ed.), The Bill of Rights: A Documentary History 1153 (1971). It was at this point that the religion clauses were joined with the freedom of expression clauses.

[Footnote 4] 1 Annals of Congress 913 (September 24, 1789). The Senate concurred the same day. See I. Brant, James Madison–Father of the Constitution 1787-1800, 271-72 (1950).

[Footnote 5] During House debate, Madison told his fellow Members that ”he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any Manner contrary to their conscience.” 1 Annals of Congress 730 (August 15, 1789). That his conception of ”establishment” was quite broad is revealed in his veto as President in 1811 of a bill which in granting land reserved a parcel for a Baptist Church in Salem, Mississippi; the action, explained President Madison, ”comprises a principle and precedent for the appropriation of funds of the United States for the use and support of religious societies, contrary to the article of the Constitution which declares that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment.”’ 8 The Writings of James Madison (G. Hunt. ed.) 132-33 (1904). Madison’s views were no doubt influenced by the fight in the Virginia legislature in 1784-1785 in which he successfully led the opposition to a tax to support teachers of religion in Virginia and in the course of which he drafted his ”Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments” setting forth his thoughts. Id. at 183-91; I. Brant, James Madison–The Nationalist 1780-1787, 343-55 (1948). Acting on the momentum of this effort, Madison secured passage of Jefferson’s ”Bill for Religious Liberty”. Id. at 354; D. Malone, Jefferson the Virginian 274-280 (1948). The theme of the writings of both was that it was wrong to offer public support of any religion in particular or of religion in general.

[Footnote 6] 3 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 1865 (1833).

[Footnote 7] Id. at 1873.

[Footnote 8] Id. at 1868.

[Footnote 9] For a late expounding of this view, see T. Cooley, General Principles of Constitutional Law in the United States 224-25 (3d ed. 1898).

[Footnote 10] 330 U.S. 1, 15 (1947). Establishment Clause jurisprudence since, whatever its twists and turns, maintains this view.

[Footnote 11] Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 91 (1985) (then-Justice Rehnquist dissenting). More recently, dissenters, including now-Chief Justice Rehnquist, have appeared reconciled to a ”constitutional tradition” in which governmental endorsement of religion is out of bounds, even if it is not correct as a matter of history. See Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2678, 2683-84 (1992) (Justice Scalia, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices White and Thomas, dissenting).

[Footnote 12] Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2667 (1992) (Justice Souter, joined by Justices Stevens and O’Connor, concurring).

[Footnote 13] Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 668 (1970).

[Footnote 14] Id.

[Footnote 15] 16 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 281 (A. Libscomb ed., 1904).

[Footnote 16] 98 U.S. 145, 164 (1879).

[Footnote 17] Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 16 (1947); Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 211 , 212 (1948); cf. Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 317 (1952) (Justice Black dissenting). In Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 614 (1971), Chief Justice Burger remarked that ”the line of separation, far from being a ‘wall,’ is a blurred, indistinct and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship.” Similar observations were repeated by the Chief Justice in his opinion for the Court in Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 673 (1984) (the metaphor is not ”wholly accurate”; the Constitution does not ”require complete separation of church and state [but] affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any”).

[Footnote 18] Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 314 (1952); Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962); Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963); Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 305 (1963) (Justice Goldberg concurring); Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 694 -97 (1970) (Justice Harlan concurring). In the opinion of the Court in the latter case, Chief Justice Burger wrote: ”The course of constitutional neutrality in this area cannot be an absolutely straight line; rigidity could well defeat the basic purpose of these provisions, which is to insure that no religion be sponsored or favored, none commanded, and none inhibited. The general principle deducible from the First Amendment and all that has been said by the Court is this: that we will not tolerate either governmentally established religion or governmental interference with religion. Short of those expressly proscribed governmental acts there is room for play in the joints productive of a benevolent neutrality which will permit religious exercise to exist without sponsorship and without interference.” Id. at 669.

[Footnote 19] Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 249 (1968) (Justice Harlan concurring).

[Footnote 20] Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 222 (1963).

[Footnote 21] Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 674 -75 (1970).

[Footnote 22] 403 U.S. 602, 612 -13 (1971).

[Footnote 23] E.g., Committee for Public Educ. & Religious Liberty v. Regan, 444 U.S. 646, 653 (1980), and id. at 665 (dissenting opinion); Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39, 40 (1980), and id. at 43 (dissenting opinion).

[Footnote 24] The tests provide ”helpful signposts,” Hunt v. McNair, 413 U.S. 734, 741 (1973), and are at best ”guidelines” rather than a ”constitutional caliper;” they must be used to consider ”the cumulative criteria developed over many years and applying to a wide range of governmental action.” Inevitably, ”no ‘bright line’ guidance is afforded.” Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672, 677 -78 (1971). See also Committee for Public Educ. & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 761 & n.5, 773 n.31 (1973); Committee for Public Educ. & Religious Liberty v. Regan, 444 U.S. 646, 662 (1980), and id. at 663 (Justice Blackmun dissenting).

[Footnote 25] See, e.g., Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 636 -40 (1987) (Justice Scalia, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, dissenting) (advocating abandonment of the ”purpose” test); Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 108 -12 (1985) (Justice Rehnquist dissenting); Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U.S. 402, 426 -30 (1985) (Justice O’Connor, dissenting) (addressing difficulties in applying the entanglement prong); Roemer v. Maryland Bd. of Public Works, 426 U.S. 736, 768 -69 (Justice White concurring in judgment) (objecting to entanglement test). Justice Kennedy has also acknowledged criticisms of the Lemon tests, while at the samed time finding no need to reexamine them. See, e.g., Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU, 492 U.S. 573, 655 -56 (1989). At least with respect to public aid to religious schools, Justice Stevens would abandon the tests and simply adopt a ”no-aid” position. Committee for Public Educ. & Religious Liberty v. Regan, 444 U.S. 646, 671 (1980).

[Footnote 26] See Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983) (upholding legislative prayers on the basis of historical practice); Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2655 (1992) (rejecting a request to reconsider Lemon because the practice of invocations at public high school graduations was invalid under established school prayer precedents); Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist., 509 U.S. 1 (1993) (upholding provision of sign-language interpreter to deaf student attending parochial school); Board of Educ. of Kiryas Joel Village v. Grumet, 114 S. Ct. 2481 (1994) (invalidating law creating special school district for village composed exclusively of members of one religious sect). The Court has also held that the tripartite test is not applicable when law grants a denominational preference, distinguishing between religions; rather, the distinction is to be subjected to the strict scrutiny of a suspect classification. Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 244 -46 (1982).

[Footnote 27] Justice Blackmun, concurring in Lee, contended that Marsh was the only one of 31 Establishment cases between 1971 and 1992 not to be decided on the basis on the Lemon tests. 112 S. Ct. at 2663, n.4.

[Footnote 28] In 1990 Justice Kennedy, joined by Justice Scalia, proposed that ”neutral” accommodations of religion should be permissible so long as they do not establish a state religion, and so long as there is no ”coercion” to participate in religious exercises. Westside Community Bd. of Educ. v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226, 260 -61. The two Justices parted company, however, over the permissiblity of invocations at public high school graduation ceremonies, Justice Scalia in dissent strongly criticizing Justice Kennedy’s approach in the opinion of the Court for its reliance on psychological coercion. Justice Scalia would not ”expand[ ] the concept of coercion beyond acts backed by threat of penalty.” Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2684 (1992). Chief Justice Rehnquist has advocated limiting application to a prohibition on establishing a national (or state) church or favoring one religious group over another. Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 98 , 106 (1985) (dissenting).

[Footnote 29] Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 222 -23 (1963). See also Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 248 -49 (1968); and Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672, 689 (1971); Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2673 (Justice Souter concurring) (”a literal application of the coercion test would render the Establishment Clause a virtual nullity”).

[Footnote 1 (1996 Supplement)] Board of Educ. of Kiryas Joel Village v. Grumet,114 S. Ct. 2481, 2498-99 (1994).

[Footnote 2 (1996 Supplement)] Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 688 (1984) (concurring); Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU, 492 U.S. 573, 625 (1989) (concurring); Board of Educ. of Kiryas Joel Village v. Grumet, 114 S. Ct. 2481, 2500 (1994) (concurring).

[Footnote 30] 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 679 (1872).

[Footnote 31] 344 U.S. 94 (1952). Kedroff was grounded on the Free Exercise Clause. Id. at 116. But the subsequent cases used a collective ”First Amendment” designation.

[Footnote 32] Id. at 116. On remand, the state court adopted the same ruling on the merits but relied on a common-law rule rather than the statute. This too was struck down. Kreshik v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, 363 U.S. 190 (1960).

[Footnote 33] Presbyterian Church v. Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church, 393 U.S. 440, 447 , 450-51 (1969); Maryland and Virginia Eldership of the Churches of God v. Church of God at Sharpsburg, 396 U.S. 367 (1970). For a similar rule of neutrality in another context, see United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78 (1944) (denying defendant charged with mail fraud through dissemination of purported religious literature the right to present to the jury evidence of the truthfulness of the religious views he urged).

[Footnote 34] Presbyterian Church v. Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church, 393 U.S. 440, 449 (1969); Maryland and Virginia Eldership of the Churches of God v. Church of God of Sharpsburg, 396 U.S. 367, 368 (1970). See also id. at 368-70 (Justice Brennan concurring).

[Footnote 35] The Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Dionisije Milivojevich, 426 U.S. 697, 720 -25 (1976). In Gonzalez v. Archbishop, 280 U.S. 1 (1929), the Court had permitted limited inquiry into the legality of the actions taken under church rules. The Serbian Eastern Court disapproved of this inquiry with respect to concepts of ”arbitrariness,” although it reserved decision on the ”fraud” and ”collusion” exceptions. 426 U.S. at 708 -20.

[Footnote 36] 443 U.S. 595 (1979). In the majority were Justices Blackmun, Brennan, Marshall, Rehnquist, and Stevens. Dissenting were Justices Powell, Stewart, White, and Chief Justice Burger.

[Footnote 37] Id. at 602-06.

[Footnote 38] Id. at 606-10. Because it was unclear whether the state court had applied such a rule and applied it properly, the Court remanded.

[Footnote 39] Id. at 610.

[Footnote 40] The Court indicated that the general church could always expressly provide in its charter or in deeds to property the proper disposition of disputed property. But here the general church had decided which faction was the ”true congregation,” and this would appear to constitute as definitive a ruling as the Court’s suggested alternatives. Id. at 606.

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Top Ron Paul aide learns fate for 2012 campaign violations …

Posted: at 7:42 pm

n this Dec. 29, 2011 file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, listens as campaign chairman Jesse Benton has a word with him as he signs autographs in Atlantic, Iowa.

Charles Dharapak, AP

DES MOINES– The chairman of Ron Pauls 2012 presidential bid was sentenced Tuesday to probation and home confinement rather than prison, and two other top aides were awaiting their sentences for a scheme to cover up campaign payments to a former Iowa state senator who agreed to endorse their boss.

Although prosecutors were seeking more than two years in federal prison, Jesse Benton was sentenced to two years probation and six months of home confinement, along with community service and a $10,000 fine. He was convicted of conspiracy, causing false campaign contribution reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission and participating in a false statement scheme.

Judge James Jarvey called the crimes serious and said Benton took advantage of the system designed to ensure transparency in how campaigns are financed.

Theres nothing like prison time to deter white collar activity, Jarvey said, before announcing that he thought the lesser punishment was enough of a deterrent in Bentons case.

Prior to the sentencing announcement, Benton told the judge he had endured years of sleepless nights and public humiliation. He said his career is ruined and that he was forced to place his home on the market after going into debt.

A steep price has been paid, he said.

Benton and his attorney declined to comment as they left the courthouse.

The campaigns manager, John Tate, and deputy manager Dimitri Kesari also were convicted. Tate was also scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. Kesaris sentencing is set for Wednesday morning.

The men have argued they broke no laws when they paid a video production company, which passed on $73,000 to former state Sen. Kent Sorenson. He dropped support for Michele Bachmann and endorsed Paul six days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

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Venture capitalist Peter Thiel tells Morley Safer why he’s given more than $2.5 million to Libertarian congressman and presidential candidate Ron…

Prosecutors said it is illegal to cause a campaign to file inaccurate spending documents.

The men said they were targeted because of their conservative politics and argued campaigns typically dont identify payments to subcontractors of vendors.

They are expected to appeal their convictions to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If the judges rule against the men, they may choose to seek further review of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three men faced up to 35 years in prison had the judge handed down maximums to be served consecutively.

Benton, 38, of Louisville, Kentucky, is married to Ron Pauls granddaughter, Valori Pyeatt. He also had managed the successful 2010 U.S. Senate campaign for Pauls son, Rand Paul, in Kentucky and served as campaign manager for Sen. Mitch McConnells 2014 re-election, but resigned that summer as the investigation intensified in Iowa.

Speaking before the men were sentenced, an Iowa political consultant said the case is a stark reminder to anyone in the early presidential contest states including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that theyll be intensely watched and they should follow the rules carefully.

What you might get away with doing in a local state legislative campaigns can get you in really deep serious trouble on a presidential campaign if its exposed, said Craig Robinson, who served on Steve Forbes presidential campaign in 2000, was state GOP director in 2008 and is publisher of the conservative The Iowa Republican blog.

2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Top Ron Paul aide learns fate for 2012 campaign violations …

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Ron Paul aides facing prison time in campaign finance …

Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:06 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa The chairman of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential bid was sentenced Tuesday to probation and home confinement rather than prison, and two other top aides were awaiting their sentences for a scheme to cover up campaign payments to a former Iowa state senator who agreed to endorse their boss.

Jesse Benton was sentenced to two years’ probation and six months of home confinement, even though prosecutors were seeking years in federal prison.

He was convicted of conspiracy, causing false campaign contribution reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission and participating in a false statement scheme.

The campaign’s manager, John Tate, and deputy manager Dimitri Kesari also were convicted. Tate was also scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. Kesari’s sentencing is set for Wednesday morning.

The men have argued they broke no laws when they paid a video production company, which passed on $73,000 to former state Sen. Kent Sorenson. He dropped support for Michele Bachmann and endorsed Paul six days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

Prosecutors said it is illegal to cause a campaign to file inaccurate spending documents.

The men said they were targeted because of their conservative politics and argued campaigns typically don’t identify payments to subcontractors of vendors.

They are expected to appeal their convictions to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If the judges rule against the men, they may choose to seek further review of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three men faced up to 35 years in prison had the judge handed down maximums to be served consecutively.

Benton, 38, of Louisville, Kentucky, is married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter, Valori Pyeatt. He also had managed the successful 2010 U.S. Senate campaign for Paul’s son, Rand Paul, in Kentucky and served as campaign manager for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 re-election, but resigned that summer as the investigation intensified in Iowa.

Speaking before the men were sentenced, an Iowa political consultant said the case is a stark reminder to anyone in the early presidential contest states including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that they’ll be intensely watched and they should follow the rules carefully.

“What you might get away with doing in a local state legislative campaigns can get you in really deep serious trouble on a presidential campaign if it’s exposed,” said Craig Robinson, who served on Steve Forbes’ presidential campaign in 2000, was state GOP director in 2008 and is publisher of the conservative “The Iowa Republican” blog.

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Ron Paul aides facing prison time in campaign finance …

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