Ben Johnson

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Conservatives stunned by Roberts’ health care ruling, ask ‘did he cave’ to Obama pressure?

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – For once, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews spoke for most conservatives. “There must be a strange feeling down in Texas right now in the Bush family,” Matthews said after President George W. Bush’s choice for chief justice, John Roberts, ruled to uphold the health care law, the signature bill of the Obama administration.

The decision by a justice one thought to be reliably conservative has left pundits grasping for an explanation, citing everything from social approval, to a desire to subvert Congressional authority. Sources who spoke with LifeSiteNews cited everything from the Left’s bullying of the Court to “the rise of a corporate-state.”

Tom Fitton, president of the investigative powerhouse Judicial Watch, told LifeSiteNews.com Roberts may have been bowed by“the unprecedented left-wing assault on the Court.”

“The president participated personally in this pressure campaign,” Fitton said.

“You have to wonder whether or not [Roberts] bent to that pressure,” he said. “He didn’t want the Court to be to subjected to the whims of these attacks anymore and one way to do that was not only to preserve ObamaCare, but to help the Obama administration in its lawless immigration policy, as well.”

Before Thursday’s ruling, few questioned the 57-year-old’s credentials. He clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, served as a legal adviser in the Reagan administration, and was appointed by President George H.W. Bush as deputy solicitor general and a federal appeals court judge.

After Thursday’s ruling, when he ruled the health care law’s mandate that individuals purchase insurance passed constitutional muster if it is understood as a tax, Young America’s Foundation spokesman Ron Meyer told The Daily Caller, “Our Constitution is dead, and we can thank our chief justice for that.”

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Adding to the confusion are signs Roberts switched his vote at the last minute

Howard Kurtz, Newsweek‘s Washington bureau chief, wrote that Roberts’ “acquaintances say[he]  cares deeply about how he is portrayed in the press.”

In April, President Obama took the unusual step of preemptively criticizing the Supreme Court’s decision. He said invalidating his law would amount to “judicial activism, or a lack of judicial restraint,” and he was “pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

It was part of an escalating pattern of tongue-lashings the president had administered to that co-equal branch of government. In the 2010 State of the Union Address, with the justices present, Obama referenced the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case, saying, “The Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.” Justice Samuel Alito visibly mouthed that the statement was “not true.”

Such directed attacks may have their roots in the president’s theory of executive power. In a 2001 public radio interview, Obama stated the High Court should “take judicial notice of” societal phenomena and interpret the Constitution accordingly. “[Y]ou’ve got a whole host of social conditions that the Court inevitably is influenced by,” he stated with approval. 

Others worry of more dangerous steps ahead. “The Court has certainly been facing increasing political attacks from both sides of the aisle, so it’s possible that Roberts was attempting to save face,” John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, told LifeSiteNews.com. However, he worries “the Court has completely lost focus of what powers the government is entitled to per the Constitution, and is willing to defer to the government is almost all cases.”

“We are seeing the rise of a corporate-state, one which is slowly dismantling the legal rights of the states and the people in favor of a unilateral, top-down form of governance,” he said.

If Roberts’ motivation is good press, his decision succeeded wildly.

Kurtz wrote that Roberts “proved himself capable of rising above ideology and following what he believed to be the law.” 

Yale Law constitutional professor, and Elena Kagan’s former teacher, William Eskridge told Forbes Roberts’ opinion on Obamacare was one of the most skillful opinions he had ever read. 

Bloomberg News columnist and Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman wrote, “Roberts now enters the pantheon of true judicial conservatives, judges who hold back from activist results no matter how it affects presidential politics. By helping the court avoid making history, Roberts’s place in history is assured.”

Had Roberts “joined the four right-wing judges in striking down the entire law,” it would have been read as an endorsement of Mr. Romney’s presidential candidacy,” wrote New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal. The chief justice, he wrote, was “on the verge of writing himself a reputation after seven years in office as a highly partisan player who was using see-saw majorities to further not just a conservative judicial philosophy but also the broad aims of the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party.” 
 
Fitton told LifeSiteNews Roberts has written himself a different legacy. “Between the assault on the sovereignty of the people in the Arizona case and in the ObamaCare case you can’t fairly describe Roberts as being part of the conservative bloc on these key issues anymore,” he said.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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