Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow


From Graduation, to Supreme Court Vacancy

posted by Jay Sekulow

Barry, the big news, of course, is the reported retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter.  The news comes just 102 days into the Obama Administration and sets the stage for President Obama to move to put his liberal stamp on the federal judiciary in a big way. 

More about that in a moment, but wanted to answer your question from your last post about our graduation case out of California about the student we’re representing who was told she could not perform a tap dance number because the song mentions “God.”  The song, in fact, is My One Thing by Rich Mullins - and the song simply reflects the student’s personal religious experience.  The fact is that the song is not proselytizing and reflects the student’s relationship with God and its importance to her.  And, Barry, that is protected by the First Amendment.

Speaking of the Constitution, President Obama is certainly going to select a Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring Justice Souter who will be liberal by all accounts.  The question is – does this really shift the balance on the high court?   With Souter often siding with the liberal wing of the Court, some would argue that President Obama is merely replacing a liberal-leaning Justice with another.

In an interview this morning I indicated my belief that there’s much more at stake here and that President Obama can certainly set the tone for future appointments (including additional Supreme Court opportunities) with who he selects to replace Justice Souter.  And, it’s no surprise that many of the top candidates are extremely liberal – and have a judicial philosophy that’s much more to the Left than Justice Souter. 

Let’s not forget what President Obama has said in the past.

In explaining his vote against [the confirmation of Chief Justice] Roberts, Obama opined that deciding the “truly difficult” cases requires resort to “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.” In short, “the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.”

How about what’s in the Constitution?  If that isn’t judicial activism, I don’t know what is.

I suspect we’ll learn more soon about who President Obama wants to nominate to the nation’s highest court.  But there’s one thing we already know – the replacement of Justice Souter marks the beginning of President Obama’s legal legacy – a legacy that will move this country dramatically to the Left.

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Your Name

posted May 1, 2009 at 9:30 pm


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.
What part of ‘prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ does the left not understand?
The free exercise clause *requires* government to permit religious speech. It cannot prohibit it. Court precedence to the contrary is in error.
Essentially, activist judges seek to rewrite the first ammendment in such a way as to codify into law their hostility to religion. If they have their way, the first ammendment would read more like this:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, and must prohibit the free exercise thereof in all public forums”
The bill of rights was added to the constitution because the states were reluctant to ratify without better protections of civil rights. If the original constitution had been written the way the left sees it today, it never would have achieved ratification.



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DSJulian

posted May 2, 2009 at 5:50 am


Sekulow: “But there’s one thing we already know – the replacement of Justice Souter marks the beginning of President Obama’s legal legacy – a legacy that will move this country dramatically to the Left.”
One can only hope. Conservative presidential appointments currently outnumber liberal presidential appointments 9 – 2 on the Supreme Court. Replacing Souter with a liberal will change the balance to: 9 – 2, the same as it is now. I guess anything other than 100% righties is what Sekulow defines as “a dramatic shift to the left”. A similar conservative tilt occurs in the Courts of Appeals and the District Courts. Sekulow should know tht even if the court was 100% Regan-Bush appointees, the ACLJ still would not be able to overturn Roe v. Wade or stem the tide of the gay marriage momentum.



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Mary-Lee

posted May 2, 2009 at 10:03 am


In explaining his vote against [the confirmation of Chief Justice] Roberts, Obama opined that deciding the “truly difficult” cases requires resort to “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.” In short, “the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.”
How about what’s in the Constitution? If that isn’t judicial activism, I don’t know what is.

One would hope that the values embodied in the Constitution are also the ones in the judge’s heart.
Our Constitution was enacted to provide each of us with equal rights. It did not give these rights to our African-American citizens or to citizens who are women, but later amendments righted those shortcomings.
The Supreme Court has further extended those rights, while not requiring that we amend our Constitution to do so. In every case, empathy and “heart” have been factors in the decisions.
Let’s not expect the Constitution to do all our thinking for us.



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Mary-Lee

posted May 2, 2009 at 10:19 am


The song, in fact, is My One Thing by Rich Mullins – and the song simply reflects the student’s personal religious experience.
I just read over the lyrics of this song, and I find it deeply offensive. It does not, as I had thought, make one passing reference to God, but instead consists of an entire lyric embodying the Christian concept of God.
As a Jewish person, I would be deeply upset by the presentation of this song at a high school graduation in any form. I expect that Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and students of many other religions would also be upset… and would feel significantly marginalized at their own graduation.
Unlike “Your Name’s” assertion, liberals… along with the majority of U.S. citizens… are not saying “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, and must prohibit the free exercise thereof in all public forums.” We object to the exercise of religions beliefs in government sanctioned and supported forums. A public school is a government sanctioned and supported forum.
If the young lady is indeed an accomplished dancer, she needs to select another piece to dance to. There are certainly many others!
There is no reason why the achievement in the arts cannot be celebrated at graduation ceremonies, but “My One Thing” has to go.



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Gwyddion9

posted May 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm


The Republican Party and the RR brought it on themselves.
And you wonder why people are of the opinion they are?
Please.



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Craig

posted May 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm


What is it that the religious right doesn’t understand about the difference between one’s expressing their personal religious beliefs in a non-government sponsored forum, and performing clearly religiously themed music at a public school graduation. It is not appropriate to invoke any god at an event such as this, and to state otherwise is disingenuous.



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Tracey

posted May 2, 2009 at 9:26 pm


Mary-Lee, you said: “Our Constitution was enacted to provide each of us with equal rights… The Supreme Court has further extended those rights…”
Can you elaborate on this statement?



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The Rev

posted May 3, 2009 at 9:05 am


The Constitution does not grant any rights, ladies and gentlemen. Our rights pre-date the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, even the Articles of Confederation.
We are BORN with these rights. The Constitution is a written enumeration of SOME of those rights. And, since they are unalienable, no government can take them away, meaning no piece of legislation can take them away. Ever.
The only way your rights can be taken from you is if you LET THEM BE TAKEN FROM YOU.
Which, by the looks of it, most of you are more than willing to allow.
The Rev



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Rich

posted May 3, 2009 at 9:55 am


So, for all those jumping up and down to allow religious speeches at a public function, a few questions:
Can my child get up and leave the minute someone starts yammering on about Jesus?
Can my child boo or hiss at religious references or are you expecting that everyone be required to be respectful?
Can my child give a speech containing direct attack on fundamental religious philosophy?
Please don’t tell me that my child is required to listen to this nonsense, if you want to give a sermon, don’t expect my son to stick around. As well, if you get to praise Jesus, my child gets the opportunity to denigrate this myth. Finally, if you believe that someone should be allowed to carry on about the personal benefits that a faith in Jesus has provided, be prepared to allow for those who might want to talk about the lives wasted by a belief in the ridiculous.



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Boris

posted May 3, 2009 at 1:53 pm


Anyone who thinks people are born with rights has never visited one of the communist or fascist dictatorships where women still have no reproductive rights. We get our rights from the governments that rule our nations. There are no exceptions to this rule. People go check the Rev’s website. He’s as phony as a three-dollar bill. He’s no Rev, he’s a redneck.



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Jimbino

posted May 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm


Boris,
You haven’t heard of natural, inalienable rights? Our rights do not derive from government fiat, though governments keep trying to abuse those natural rights. That’s why Darwin gave us the Second Amendment and the Atom Bomb.



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Rich

posted May 3, 2009 at 6:24 pm


Jimbino,
I think talking about “natural rights” always requires a certain amount of mangling of the English language. These rights do not seem to have been naturally occurring during our history, truly they have only been relatively recently acquired. Even though we love to call them inalienable, a whole lot of people find themselves alienated from these rights. When I hear religiously inclined folks talk about “god-given” rights I have to smile, this god of theirs sure is not too good at giving out these rights when 90% + of the people don’t really have them.
I generally think rights come from the point of a gun. No other place.



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Boris

posted May 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm


Jimbimo,
Darwin gave us the Second Amendment and the Atom Bomb? Regardless atomic theory is just a theory you know. No one has actually seen an atom or electron.



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Your Name

posted May 4, 2009 at 9:35 am


Has anyone studied history? Like our History? King George was a tyrant. The constitution was designed as a bedrock to prevent Government from trampling the rights of the private citizens. At that time in England tradition dictated rights, and the king and the progressive parliament of the day made more and more restrictive laws–as a result the citizens were almost slaves to the state–with NO voice. The constitution and the bill of rights were a direct response to this experience–to prevent gov’t from getting too powerful and in the way of the citizens lives–this reigning (checks & balances–limiting power in each branch) in of gov’t keeps a democracy a democracy. WHen a branch of government oversteps its bounds, and isn’t reigned in (like a judge who legislates law from the bench) our gov’t is headed down a very dangerous road–which limits personal freedoms and starts the trend towards the tyrannical form of government that our FOunding Father’s tried to prevent.



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hopey dopey

posted May 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm


Mary-Lee
“We object to the exercise of religions beliefs in government sanctioned and supported forums. A public school is a government sanctioned and supported forum.”
In essence you are “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”



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Mary-Lee

posted May 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm


We object to the exercise of religions beliefs in government sanctioned and supported forums. A public school is a government sanctioned and supported forum.”
In essence you are “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

That’s right. The government has no right to free exercise of any religion. It is, or should be neutral on religion.



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Cara Floyd

posted May 5, 2009 at 1:01 pm


It does not take a degree to figure out that our government is taking life for disease control and letting others take life for a so called freedom of choice, otherwise known as abortion. I am here to say that it is wrong.
Posterity defense! Posterity rights in The Constitution Of The United States!
Cara Floyd



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Akihito

posted May 5, 2009 at 4:12 pm


Wow does no one actually study history around here?!? Mary Beth says that government should be neutral when it comes to government. Then explain to me why the State Capitol in D.C was also used as a Christian church for the Legislative Branch for over 130 years! Or how one of the first acts that President Jefferson did with Congress was ordering the publishing of over 50 Bibles to give to certain Native American tribes all done with tax payer’s money of course. He was supposed to be a Deist of course. Or how the opening prayer for the First Continental Congress not only called God “Our Heavenly Father” but also closed “in the name of Jesus”. Or how our Founding Fathers after a hard week of debating in trying to create our Constitution all went to Christ Church on Sunday in order to hear the Word of God and pray for the country. The same church of course that Ben Franklin and his wife went to EVERY Sunday they could so much so that they had their own assigned seats.
Let’s talk about how Washington gave a copy of the Constitution that Connecticut had to every Founder during the making of the U.S. Constitution as the model we should use. That Constitution of course invoked the Christian God many times and held that religion was vital to moral well being and good government a view that Washington strongly held.
In fact the very idea of our Constitution comes directly from the Bible. The idea that God makes covenants was what directly influenced the Mayflower Compact and other later Constitutions pref. the U.S. one.
I’m sorry but over 95% of our Founding Fathers were devout Bible believing Christians. Read ANY of their primary documents and you will know this. A Univ. of Houston study found that over 35% of our Founder’s writings on the forming of our government and political theory used direct quotes from the Bible in a positive way. The other two biggest writings they used were of Locke (Two Treatises of Government)and Charles de Secondat, baron of Montesquieu who come to find out mainly also used the Bible as their shining example of how government should be.
I havent even gotten into George Whitfield and other great Christian preachers who directly influenced the Fathers nor the Great Awakening that John Adams himself said was what led to our founding.



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Rich

posted May 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm


Akihito,
Instead of exhorting people to study history, I would suggest that you do the same. As well, perhaps some time working on logical inference would serve you well.
You state that, if I read any of the founding documents, I will certainly discern the religious leanings of the founders. Ok, let’s try the only founding document that matters, the US Constitution. I am not seeing a whole bunch of love for Jesus in that document. I guessed I missed it. Perhaps, you could be so kind as to let me know of which particular Articles do this.
The fact that Congress once did this or that religious thing does not make it right or proper. Seems to me that in the early years of our country, slavery was sanctioned, denial of suffrage was the norm, and native Americans were hunted down and murdered. So, I think you get the picture here. If they were what you call religious people, based upon what they tolerated, I want nothing of them. In their more lucid moments these men built a wall between Church and State. We are all the more better off because of it. The fact they could not live by the very standard they put in place does not surprise me nor should it surprise you, I am quite sure a serious student of history like yourself is well-versed on pedophile priests, wayward televangelists, etc, etc.



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Akihito

posted May 8, 2009 at 5:53 am


I’m sorry Rich but all you’ve done is try and do guilt by association. I man we ALL know how all those poor indians were killed because of the teaching of Jesus and we of course know how much Jesus just loved to molest little boys. Pedophile priests of today have absolutely NO bearing on arguments of the Constitution. Your first mistake is saying that the Constitution is the only thing that matters when actually it is considered one of the four pillers of our system of law and government. Those four pillars are: the Declaration of Independence, The Northwest Ordinance, The Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution. Now of course the Articles were superseded by our Constitution and the Ordinance by later state Constitutions but all four are considered very important for historical reasons.
Your main point is frankly because Jesus isn’t mentioned that the Constitution is a Godless document which frankly couldn’t be further from the truth. As I’ve shown earlier the very idea and even word “Constitution” was directly influenced by the Bible. The very ideas of separation of powers, freedom of speech, of religion and the inherent value of man come directly from Judeo-Christian philosophy. That is why we became a Republic. The Fathers knew that man was evil by nature and knew how power could corrupt. That is why they spent so much effort into explaining in great detail the Separation of Power of the government i.e checks and balances. More than several primary writings show that the Founders got this idea from the Bible because that was the way Israel had been run. Again they didn’t need to name Jesus in the Constitution because the people knew that practically EVERYTHING in it was based on Christian religious beliefs of that time. It was the preachers that directly motivated the Founders to declare independence.
Also about not knowing history, you do know that NOWHERE does it talk about a wall between church and state in the Con. That phrase came from a letter that Jefferson wrote in reply to a group of Maryland Baptists who were concerned about a founding of a state church. Jefferson was in France during the writing of the Con. and actually didn’t have much influence. His view of the wall though was for the use of PROTECTING religion FROM the state not the other way around. Also in the context of the letter and the 1st Amend. “state religion” meant Christian denomination not a religion in itself. Actually read the primary documents of the debates the founders had while locked up creating the Constitution. It pretty much means that Congress can’t pass anything making a Baptist (or other denomination) state church and forcing everyone to go under penalty of law. This was what the state in many countries had been doing for a long time, forcing people to go to only one type of church. Don’t believe me, read up on the debates and on Fisher Ames who actually worded the 1st Amend. and how in New York he became very depressed when he met many people there who couldn’t read. His reason was that unable to read, they wouldn’t be able to read and understand the Holy Scriptures and therefore become decent, moral citizens. Frankly the whole document is a Christian document based on what directly influenced it. The saying “The devil is in the details” and the old adage “context,context,context” is what is sorely missing today. This I mainly blame on the far left and horrible state run school teachers.



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Akihito

posted May 8, 2009 at 6:01 am


A great link on what I said to refute Rich on the Constitution is also here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMVMW8xUcw4



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Hopey Dopey

posted May 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm


Classic. You would also therefore take issue with Thomas Jefferson in many ways for his religious expressions overlapping into governmental affairs. After all he is the author of the non-constitutional phrase “separation of church and state.”
In addition, you are interferring with the student’s rights by “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”



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daniel rotter

posted May 9, 2009 at 3:46 am


In addition, you are interfering with the student’s rights by “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
No she isn’t, as long as the government does not fine or charge with a crime the student speaker who abuses his/her valedictorian speaker status to proselytize his/her religion to a captive audience in a secular setting like a public school graduation ceremony. School officials simply not allowing the student speaker to engage in this proselytization does not constitute a violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment.
And how exactly does Jefferson’s use of the phrase “separation of church and state” constitute an example of “religious expressions overlapping into governmental affairs?”



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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted December 1, 2009 at 9:58 pm


Picking a left Justice certainly did have a big effect called legislation from the bench. One day, the tides will turn again, hopefully sooner rather than later.



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