Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Homosexuality: The Seventh Circuit Stretch
If Congress won’t rewrite the law, liberals will find a court who will! That’s been the M.O. of the Left for decades: packing the bench with wannabe legislators who’ll impose the agendas they could never pass democratically. It worked on school prayer, abortion, and marriage, as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) bragged last year. Now, the Left is using the same playbook on the gender debate — knowing full well that it’s the only way it can force its vision on an unwilling America. Fortunately, there are some judges who agree with us that if the Left wants to change the definition of discrimination, it’s asking the wrong branch of government. Unfortunately, those judges aren’t in the majority on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a mind-boggling decision Tuesday, the judges not only stole Congress’s job — they admitted they were doing it!
For years, liberals have tried to pass legislation making “sexual orientation” a protected category under the Civil Rights Act — first with ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) and then with the “Equality Act.” The House and Senate rejected them every time. They recognized, as we do, that sexual orientation wasn’t on the minds of legislators 53 years ago when it was trying to weed out prejudice — and more importantly, it wasn’t in the text of the law that passed! No bother, liberals said. We’ll just rewrite the policy through our activist courts.
And Tuesday, the 7th Circuit was more than willing to comply. “For many years,” Chief Judge Diane Wood admitted, “the courts of appeals of this country understood the prohibition against sex discrimination to exclude discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation.” So by her own admission, there’s absolutely no justification for rewriting the law. Still, she goes on, it’s the court’s responsibility to take a “fresh look” at its position. And in doing so, she writes, “we conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.”
The decision, an 8-3 bombshell, was astounding because it bucked not just the 7th Circuit’s precedent but every circuit’s precedent. Judge Diane Sykes was just as shocked as we are. “Any case heard by the full court is important,” she wrote in her dissent, “This one is momentous. All the more reason to pay careful attention to the limits on the court’s role… We are not authorized to infuse the text with a new or unconventional meaning or to update it to respond to changed social, economic, or political conditions.” In a powerful rebuke, she warns her colleagues that they’ve crossed into dangerous new territory.
Our role is to… [interpret] the statutory language as a reasonable person would have understood it at the time of enactment. When we assume the power to alter the original public meaning of a statute through the process of interpretation, we assume a power that is not ours. The Constitution assigns the power to make and amend statutory law to the elected representatives of the people. However welcome today’s decision might be as a policy matter, it comes at a great cost to representative self-government.
Translation: If you want to be a legislator, run for office! Stop “smuggling in” your own agenda, Sykes writes, “under cover of an aggressive reading of loosely related Supreme Court precedents.” Legislative change, she recognizes, “is arduous and can be slow to come. But we’re not authorized to amend Title VII by interpretation.” Despite what the Left would have you believe, impatience with Congress is no reason for throwing the separation of powers overboard! A panel of the 11th Circuit Court argued the same point in a similar case three weeks ago. Led by Judge William Pryor, it came to the opposite conclusion on the Civil Rights Act, upholding it the way it was written. Unlike Judge Wood, it understand that if liberals want to make the workplace an incubator of their radical agenda, they’ll have to persuade America the old fashioned way: democratically!
Of course, the backdrop for both decisions is the ongoing debate over Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch. Is it any wonder the knives are coming out for the president’s nominee? The 49-year-old has been adamant about respecting the court’s limited role. Trust me, that’s not what the Left wants to hear. It’s in the market for an undercover legislator. And if this case has illustrated anything, FRC’s Peter Sprigg points out, it’s “how important it is to appoint judges who understand their limited role in our constitutional system, who will exercise judicial restraint, and who will interpret both the Constitution and federal statutes in accordance with their original meaning.”
Transgender bathroom policy still hurting Target
IF THE experience of US retailer Target is anything to go by, when it comes to controversial political issues, businesses should adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Last year, the company sparked a massive boycott after publishing a seemingly innocuous blog post welcoming transgender shoppers to use bathrooms and fitting rooms corresponding with their “gender identities”.
Nearly a year later, and Target is still feeling the effects of the backlash.
The irony for Target is that many retailers and businesses have similar policies — they just don’t advertise them publicly. “Transgender-inclusive policies are not a safety risk,” the National Center for Transgender Equality writes. “If they were, we would know by now, as transgender people have been using public bathrooms and locker rooms for decades.”
It came amid a heated debate over a move by the state of North Carolina to introduce legislation requiring people to use bathrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificates, one of a number of so-called “bathroom bills” fuelling debates about equal rights and privacy.
“Recent debate around proposed laws in several states has reignited a national conversation around inclusivity,” the blog post on April 19 read. “So earlier this week, we reiterated with our team members where Target stands and how our beliefs are brought to life in how we serve our guests.
“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day.
“We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.
“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the rest room or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
“We regularly assess issues and consider many factors such as impact to our business, guests and team members. Given the specific questions these legislative proposals raised about how we manage our fitting rooms and rest rooms, we felt it was important to state our position. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the post was sparked after a number of staff requested their bosses to clarify the company’s stance. After an internal memo to managers reiterated the policy, some in the company sent an email to executives informing them of a plan to announce it publicly.
Target’s chief executive, Brian Cornell, reportedly did not receive that email, and so never approved the blog post — which, within hours, prompted a customer backlash and condemnation from Christian groups.
A petition to boycott the retailer, launched by the American Family Association, has attracted more than one million signatures. Foot traffic to a number of stores, particularly in the conservative southern states, declined considerably.
“Target didn’t adequately assess the risk, and the ensuing backlash [AFA boycott] was self-inflicted,” Mr Cornell told staff, according to the Journal.
While Target has said on a number of occasions the boycott had “no material impact on the business”, one analyst said it “seemed to matter”. In February, the company reported falling sales for three quarters in a row.
“Since the boycott started, Target’s stock has lost 35 per cent of its value, and [it has] shuttered plans for major expansion projects,” said AFA senior vice president Buddy Smith.
“Together we are making an unprecedented financial impact on a corporation whose policy is to allow men to use women’s rest rooms and dressing rooms. Target’s decision is unacceptable for families, and their dangerous and misguided policy continues to put women and children in harm’s way.”
While an investigation by CBS found no evidence of a predator ever posing as a transgender person committing a bathroom assault, the Family Research Council compiled a list of incidents in which “men violated the privacy of women in bathrooms, locker rooms, and other private spaces”.
“It is important to note that the concern is not that transgender individuals are more likely to be sexual predators, but rather that sexual predators could exploit such laws by posing as transgender in order to gain access to women and girls,” the FRC wrote.
“Beyond this, when companies such as Target implement any-sex bathroom/dressing room policies, it encourages criminals to take advantage of these policies to commit crimes.”
In ‘Scary’ Episode, This Employer Is Hoisted in Effigy by Anti-Trump Agitators
Anthony J. Saliba is no shrinking violet. As a prominent Chicago financier as well as a trustee of the nation’s leading conservative think tank, he has seen his share of rough-and-tumble battles.
But Tony Saliba hadn’t ever seen a crude effigy of himself paraded around, one that represented him a puppeteer manipulating the president of the United States. Until recently at a landmark of Chicago’s financial district, anyway.
That’s when 100 to 200 protesters, depending on who is counting, descended on the Bank of America Building on South LaSalle Street, in effect looking for Saliba. His business offices are on an upper floor of the 45-floor structure.
“I was, like, wow,” Saliba says in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.
The demonstrators marched and chanted, blocked the street and main entrance, and carried signs with messages directed at President Donald Trump, Saliba himself, and The Heritage Foundation, the Washington-based think tank where the entrepreneur has served on the Board of Trustees since 2012.
One sign read: “Tony Saliba: Put people over profit.”
“They filled the revolving doors so nobody could come or go,” Saliba says, who learned about the protest afterward.
Chicago police said they arrested eight men and women, ages 26 to 78, and charged them with criminal trespass for blocking the doors to the building.
Since Trump’s inauguration, the Windy City has been the stage for some sizable protests, including a series of “Resist Trump Tuesdays” during the new administration’s first 100 days.
The reason for the self-described resistance March 21: Trump’s proposed budget cuts across most of the government, many of them recommended by Heritage policy experts as part of the think tank’s “Blueprint for Balance.”
In particular, the protesters said they were angry about recommended cuts in spending at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Some of their signs and slogans singled out HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
Heritage analysts, among others, have identified specific HUD programs as ineffective and wasteful.
As it turned out, Saliba didn’t go to his office that day. He was at home, fighting a cold, and only learned about the disruption a day later when family members, co-workers, and friends began emailing him with links to photos and stories posted online.
“They used my name and address and Heritage board affiliation,” he says of the protesters in the interview with The Daily Signal, which is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.
Trading Pioneer and Leader
Saliba, 61, admits to being amused at first—until he showed the photos and stories several days later to his wife, Moira, and she “freaked out.”
It was a bit intimidating, he admits in retrospect, seeing a blown-up photo of his smiling face mounted atop an effigy that cradled a hand puppet with Trump’s face on it.
“It was just scary that my picture was bigger than life on a big doll they were carrying around,” Saliba says of the effigy. “I was holding a puppet of Trump’s head on a stick, like I was a puppet master.”
The protesters also pasted fake U.S. currency to the images of Saliba and Trump.
Saliba, considered a pioneer and leader in the Chicago derivatives market, was the only options trader to be profiled in the best-selling 1989 book “Market Wizards.” He is now an author himself.
Saliba credits police for handling the situation calmly, and for preventing protesters from reaching the elevators in the Bank of America Building.
What seems to bug Saliba is the personal attack by Trump opponents who probably have no idea that his own dozen or so business ventures have provided jobs for about 500 residents of Chicago since 1981.
“They don’t even get the good things I do,” he says. “That’s the narrow-mindedness, and they look at business only as profit.”
Reflecting on the highly charged anti-Trump rhetoric and disruptions continuing across the nation, Saliba says he tends to agree with an assessment shared with him by Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, the think tank’s lobbying affiliate.
“Settle in and consider this disruptive protesting is going to be the baseline for the bulk of the next year or so,” Saliba says. “They may try to keep these things going until the midterms.”
“They’re trying to disrupt [the Trump administration] and continue to energize their base. You gotta give them credit, they seem to be pretty organized.”
DeMint, who attracted heat on the national stage as a conservative congressman and senator from South Carolina, says he has seen this sort of thing many times before.
“When liberals lose political arguments, they resort to shameless intimidation tactics,” DeMint told The Daily Signal in an email, adding:
We rush to condemn Islamophobia. What about anti-Christian attacks?
Miranda Devine writes from Australia:
WHILE we constantly are lectured about Islamophobic violence, despite little evidence of its existence, there is official silence about its flip side: religiously motivated attacks on Christians.
One Greek community leader, Rev George Capsis, has gone so far as to warn Christians not to wear overt religious symbols when they are travelling though Muslim enclaves of southwestern Sydney.
But last Tuesday afternoon, 30-year-old Greek Orthodox Christian, Mike, discovered too late the risks of wearing a large cross outside his clothing while travelling on the train from Campsie to Bankstown with his girlfriend.
He says he was minding his own business talking on his mobile phone, when four young men of Middle Eastern appearance allegedly violently ripped the crucifix off his neck, and stomped on it while swearing “F*** Jesus” and referring to “Allah”.
He says they punched him and kicked him in his face, back and shoulders during the attack which began about 3pm, just after the train left Belmore station.
When his girlfriend tried to defend him, two Arabic-speaking women also allegedly hit and kicked her.
The crucifix, which his mother had given him, was bent, and the silver chain broken in two places.
“I was born in Australia of Greek heritage,” says Mike. “I’ve always worn my cross. For him to rip it off and step on it has to be a religious crime... It’s not on to feel unsafe in your own country.”
He says the men also destroyed his Ray-Ban sunglasses.
Mike has a doctor’s report cataloguing his injuries, which include abrasions and bruises on his face, left shoulder, and upper and lower back.
He claims that five uniformed railway “Transport Officers” watched the attack and did nothing to help him, although police were waiting for the train when it reached Bankstown station.
Two police officers took the names of three alleged assailants and a statement from Mike, photographed his injuries, told him they would review CCTV footage from the train and that he should expect a letter in a month, which may require his attendance at court.
After the assault, Mike was so shaken up that he contacted Baptist minister Rev Capsis, a pillar of the local Greek community, and former deputy mayor of Sutherland Shire Council.
Capsis claims Mike is the fourth Christian who has complained to him of a religiously-motivated attack in the past six months.
“This is not an isolated incident. There are gangs of these young fellows of Muslim background who have been harassing people they identify as Christian… You don’t hear about it because no one’s reporting it.”
The other three attacks Capsis says have occurred around public transport in southwest Sydney: “It’s like their territory; they don’t want Christians or other types of infidels there…
“People like Greek Orthodox carry a big cross. I tell them to be practical and if they’re in those areas and wearing a big cross and a group of young guys comes, hide it in your shirt. Why provoke it?
“If this keeps up, someone will be hurt. It’s got to be nipped in the bud.”
After our media inquiries, police contacted Mike and reinterviewed him yesterday.
A spokeswoman confirmed that detectives from Bankstown Local Area Command are investigating “reports of alleged religiously-motivated abuse on a Sydney train this week”.
“The incident has prompted police to remind the community that any bias-motivated crime will not be tolerated.”
Sydney Trains yesterday defended the inaction of its Transport Officers, with a spokesman saying they are not authorised to intervene in assaults and their primary responsibilities are customer service and fare evasion.
If an incident takes place, such as the attack on Mike, they are trained to stand back in a “safe space” to observe, and contact police, if necessary.
He confirmed that Transport Officers conducting operations on a train between Campsie and Bankstown stations on April 4 “requested Police assistance in response to a physical altercation between two groups of people”.
Apart from the fact that this description of an unprovoked attack of six people against two is a curious downplaying of its seriousness, why are ticket inspections deemed more important than passenger safety? Surely, if taxpayers fund dedicated Transport Officers to ride the trains all day, they should be authorised to do more than just observe crimes and call police. Anyone can do that.
In any case, Mike says he and his girlfriend are now too scared to catch the train.
He doesn’t want his surname published because he fears for his safety, but has decided to speak out because he wants the attack to be taken seriously.
“It’s a multicultural society. I don’t attack anyone’s beliefs but if they attack me for no reason, justice has to be served.”
There have been isolated reports of anti-Christian abuse in recent years, such as churchgoers in Sydney’s west copping death threats from men driving past in a car bearing the Islamic State flag.
Christians also increasingly are fair game for intimidation by the militant LGBTI lobby, but for the most part, Christophobia is downplayed.
When the Australian Christian Lobby was car-bombed late last year, for instance, ACT police within hours made the extraordinary declaration that the attack was not religiously, ideologically or politically motivated.
And, while the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has reported a 10 per cent increase in anti-Semitic threats or acts of violence last year alone, the only religious bigotry we hear about is Islamophobia.
Police take it so seriously that during the Lindt cafe siege, they launched Operation Hammerhead to combat “bias crime” against Muslims, which didn’t occur. While the lives of the hostages were still at risk, hashtag activists sprang to the defence of theoretical victims of Islamophobia with the “I’ll ride with you” hashtag.
But there are no hashtags for Christians like Mike when they ride on Sydney trains.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.