White House’s ‘duty to defend the law’ argument comes crashing down

Even the National Law Journal is now beating up on the Obama administration, and saying that the White House’s talking point about having no choice but to defend DADT in court is utter bull. I hope someone sends all of these articles to Valerie Jarrett so she can see why everyone is eviscerating her for alleging, repeatedly, that DOJ simply must defend all laws. It’s flat out untrue, as we’ve been saying for well over a year.  Unfortunately, this article is behind a firewall, but the summary tells you all you need to know.

DUTY TO DEFEND?:
The Obama administration opposes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but it’s still poised to defend the law all the way to the Supreme Court. Justice Department officials say they are duty-bound to defend an act of Congress. Yet history shows that this argument doesn’t always apply. During the last six years, according to records maintained by the Senate, the Bush and Obama administrations told Congress 13 times that they were not defending a federal law in court.

And a reader sent me the article.  Here’s a small excerpt:

In 1992, back when Congress could occasionally agree on something, there was bipartisan anger over a beverage called Crazy Horse Malt Liquor because it insulted the memory of a Native American chief who happened to frown on alcohol.

Congress quickly passed a law barring federal approval of any beer label that displayed the words “Crazy Horse.” The brewer promptly sued, and not surprisingly a federal judge found the law unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

When the question of whether to appeal the ruling in Hornell Brewing Co. v. Brady arose, then-Solicitor General Drew Days III decided it would be futile; the law was beyond rescue. “Congress seemed to accept the decision not to go forward,” Days wrote later.

So much for the vaunted governmental “duty to defend” acts of Congress, which has been invoked often in recent weeks in connection with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law barring gays from the military — a law that the Obama administration opposes but still is poised to defend. In cases much bigger than Crazy Horse — think Buckley v. Valeo and INS v. Chadha — SGs have been throwing provisions of federal laws under the bus for decades. And Senate records show that, 13 times in the past six years, during both the Bush and Obama administrations, the Justice Department has told Congress it is not defending an act of Congress.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Does ‘Sharia Law’ Have A Place In American Politics?

Sharia-law

Sharia law, or the idea of it, has been playing an increasingly important role in this year’s midterm elections, thanks in part to plans for a Muslim community center near Ground Zero. Some of the references to Sharia law have been hateful, while others illuminating, but all show that this concept moves in mysterious political ways.

Conservative leaders such as Newt Gingrich have warned that Sharia law is insinuating itself into our beloved American institutions. “We should have a federal law that says sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States,” he said last month, while discussing the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” which he called “an effort to impose Sharia law.”

Sharron Angle, the Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, also suggested last month that American towns, specifically Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas, which have large Islamic immigrant populations, had been overtaken by Sharia law.

“We’re talking about a militant terrorist situation, which I believe isn’t a widespread thing, but it is enough that we need to address, and we have been addressing it,” said Angle, after being asked about “Muslims taking over the U.S.”

“Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas are on American soil, and under Constitutional law. Not Sharia law. And I don’t know how that happened in the United States,” she opined. “It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States.”

Meanwhile, a group called “Veterans Against Jihad” recently threw itself into the crusade to “awaken American Citizens to Islam’s Jihadist religious mandate.” Clearly these views are incendiary, dangerous, and, as Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said in a letter to Angle, entirely off base.

“I am deeply distressed that you have been misled about our community and the way that we conduct our affairs,” wrote O’Reilly. “I am afraid that many share the perception that Muslims have only recently immigrated to this area and are imposing their culture on our region… Muslims have been practicing their faith in our community for almost 90 years without incident or conflict.”
 
But the specter of Sharia law swings both ways: Sen. Jim DeMint’s was roundly criticized earlier this month for saying that sexually active single women and gay people shouldn’t teach in schools. Opponents compared his remarks to, yes, Sharia law, and even the Washington Post described his comments as “DeMint’s Sharia Law.” Along the same lines of using Sharia law to hammer the right wing, there’s Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson’s ad comparing his opponent, Dan Webster to the Taliban.

Grayson’s commercial was panned for taking Webster’s words out of context, yes, but the message still heard loud and clear: right wing conservatives like Webster, who pals around with “gay regulating” Christian nationalist David Barton, have politics that are just as oppressive as those espoused by Islamic fundamentalists, the very same people conservatives criticize.

Sharia law has, for better or for worse, become a major player in American politics. It’s become rhetorical pawn, and can employed by either sides of the ideological divide to stoke xenophobic fear or to highlight radical, oppressive politics that single out women and gay men. And, with election day nearing, voters need to decide not whether they should be worried about encroaching ‘Sharia law,” but how the concept should be used on American political field, if at all.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright