Supremes throw out restrictions on sidewalk counseling

In a major pro-life victory, the Supreme Court overturned laws providing “buffer zones” outside abortion clinics and other restrictions on the sidewalk counseling that attempts to talk women out of aborting their children.  This was yet another unanimous vote.  (The justices, both conservative and liberal, have been finding that the Constitution speaks clearly on at least some issues after all.) [Read more...]

Supremes reject Obama’s “recess” appointments

The Constitution’s balance of powers is re-asserting itself.  President Obama had been appointing officials that need Senate approval by doing so during holidays when Senators were out of town.  Since the Constitution allows for temporary appointments when the Senate is in recess (back when the Senate was a part time body with long periods between sessions), the President claimed these short holiday breaks constituted a “recess,” even though the Senate was still in session.

The Supreme Court has ruled–unanimously!–that these appointments  are illegal.  The Judicial branch is reining in the Executive Branch in its attempts to exert its power at the expense of the Legislative branch.  The Constitution still works. [Read more...]

Supremes rule for cell phone privacy

The Obama administration and the state of California argued that law enforcement officials should be able to go through the information on a person’s cell phone, which they argued was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets.  But the Supreme Court, striking a blow for privacy in 21st century technology, ruled–unanimously, no less–that cell phone data (which includes not just call records but with your calendar and appointments a record of nearly all of your activities) is private and cannot be accessed by authorities without a warrant. [Read more...]

Preventing Christian groups from hiring only Christians

In what could be yet another attempt to secularize religious groups that work with the government, the Obama administration is getting lots of pressure to require that religious organizations that take federal funds not be allowed to discriminate according to religion when it comes to hiring.  That would mean Catholic or evangelical charities operating under a federal contract or grant would have to hire people who do not hold to the organization’s faith. [Read more...]

The fourth branch of our government

Law Professor Jonathan Turley discusses how the Patent and Trademark office rescinded the trademark for the Washington Redskins on the grounds that the name disparages Native Americans.  This is one example, he says, of a larger trend of federal agencies that originally had a narrow focus using their power to enforce social and political policies.  The agencies are taking on legislative and judicial functions with the force of law, making them, in effect, the fourth branch of our government.  Prof. Turley tells some harrowing stories. [Read more...]

Behind the laws banning religious conversions

The militant Hindu political party won big in India’s recent elections.  Now the party’s vice chairman is calling for a law in Nepal to ban religious conversions. Hindus would just not be allowed, by law, to become Christians.  This is already the case in Muslim countries.

The thought of banning thoughts and inner convictions seems very odd, as if a person could turn off what he or she believes by force of law.  For Christians, especially Protestant Christians, religion is a matter of what a person believes.  Other religions are about what a person is.  If you are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or animist, your religion constitutes your cultural identity.  To change your religion is to reject your family and to commit a kind of treason against your community.  Christianity, on the contrary, is a faith for people of “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9), which is first manifested at Pentecost. [Read more...]


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