Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Roberts Fails to Uphold First Amendment Religious Rights

SCOTUS rules 5-4 against California church's challenge of Gov. Newsom's restrictions.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against San Diego’s South Bay United Pentecostal Church in its lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom’s restriction limiting places of worship to meetings no larger than 25% of a building’s capacity or no more than 100 people, whichever is less. Tellingly, Newsom has not applied these restrictions on secular venues such as supermarkets, offices, and restaurants — none of which are listed in the First Amendment. This conflict has been a theme during lockdown.

Siding with the four liberal justices against the church, Chief Justice John Roberts contended, “Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time. And the order exempts or treats more leniently only dissimilar activities, such as operating grocery stores, banks and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.” Essentially, Roberts views church services as “nonessential” activities. So much for the right to peaceably assemble and freely exercise religion.

Rejecting assertions that Newsom’s order violates Californians’ First Amendment right to religious liberty, Roberts argued a rather tortuous “states rights” rationale for refusing to challenge the constitutionality of the order — and in so doing threw the Court’s credibility under the bus. Roberts lectured, “Where those broad limits are not exceeded, they should not be subject to second-guessing by an ‘unelected federal judiciary,’ which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.” In short, Roberts both hid behind a reticence to be an “activist” and appealed to that tired trope of “trusting the experts,” as if all experts are always in unanimous agreement, in order to avoid actually addressing the issue.

Writing for the dissent, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was unequivocal: “I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses. Such discrimination violates the First Amendment. Absent a compelling justification (which the State has not offered), the State may not take a looser approach with, say, supermarkets, restaurants, factories, and offices while imposing stricter requirements on places of worship.” Kavanaugh added, “The State cannot ‘assume the worst when people go to worship but assume the best when people go to work or go about the rest of their daily lives in permitted social settings.”

Finally, it has become increasingly clear that Roberts can’t be counted on to be constitutionally consistent, demonstrated by his chastisement of the conservative justices’ dissenting opinion. What is the job of the judiciary if it is not to judge whether the actions of an executive or the laws passed by legislators are in conformity to the Constitution?


Mayhem: Rioters Set Historic Church Ablaze Near the White House

It's past the 11 p.m. ET Sunday night curfew in Washington, D.C., but hundreds of people are still out rioting in the nation's capital. For several nights in a row now, major cities have been upended by rioters and looters in reaction to the police killing of an unarmed, African American man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis last week.

The mayhem in D.C., it seems, began in full force at Lafayette Park, not far from the White House. Demonstrators jumped the gated barrier, forcing park police to move forward and try to push individuals back.

The night only devolved from there. One of the most devastating scenes of destruction in D.C. has to be the fire at St. John’s Episcopal Church on H Street, which has stood in D.C. since 1816. Just how historic is it? Every president since James Madison has worshipped there at some point. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. But rioters, it appears, lit the church on fire Sunday, and the inferno was captured on camera by Fox News reporter Kevin Corke.

Thankfully, D.C. fire crews rushed to the scene and appear to have put out the fire.

At least 50 Secret Service members were injured in the riots.

Former D.C. homicide detective Ted Williams, who was sickened by this evening's scenes, said part of the problem was that the D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser set an "ignorant" 11 p.m. curfew, because law enforcement is at a disadvantage at this time of the night.

"This is no longer about George Floyd," he said. It's about committing crime.


It’s Not About Race

The Left exploits another black victim

David Horowitz

A black man is arrested and murdered in an act of heinous violence while handcuffed and defenseless. Three fellow officers, in close proximity to the killer cop, watch the crime, listen to the black man plea for his life and do nothing to stop it. For the next several days angry mobs tear up American cities, looting stores, burning buildings, police cars and American flags and even killing individuals in their path.

The rationale offered for their violence and criminal acts is that they are protesting a racist system - or in Senator Bernie Sanders more colorful words, “a grotesque system of ingrained racism and economic disparity that now more than ever needs to be ripped down.” These attacks on America are what the riots are really about. Sanders’ “grotesque system of ingrained racism” is a leftwing fantasy that fuels the rage of the rioters and their violence, which is directed not only against white Americans but also black Americans whose neighborhoods and shopping centers and businesses Sanders’ comrades are pleased to torch.

No one knows for certain the motives that actually led Officer Derek Chauvin to take George Floyd’s life and to do so in such a brutal manner. Chauvin was a bad cop with a long dossier of misconduct complaints and three killings already on his record. But let’s posit the most logical explanation: he was a racist. And so were his three accomplices. What does this say about “a grotesque system of ingrained racism” in America? Absolutely nothing.

Is there a cop, or a politician from the president on down, or a publication that in the week of George Floyd’s murder rose up to defend the murderer? Is there any public voice claiming that there were extenuating circumstances – that he was resisting arrest for example – that would justify the act? There wasn’t. The attorney general for the state of Minnesota is black; the police chief is black; the vice president of the city council is black, the congresswoman for the district is black. A normal view of this matter would recognize it as an isolated incident involving four bad cops who should long before have been removed from the force by the Democrat politicians who control the state.

But these are not normal times. In the same statement, Sanders accused President Trump of “advocating violence” against black communities across the nation because he called for law and order, while at the time praising those demonstrators who were actually protesting and doing so peacefully. We live in times when the Democrat Party and its leaders conflate the black community with its criminal element in order to indict white Americans as “white supremacists,” bearers of “white skin privilege – a term coined by the Weathermen, a domestic terrorist organization in the 1960s.

Fueling the flames of hate against white people, against police, against America’s president and America itself is the daily message of Democrat leaders like Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden. This hatred is magnified by the Trump-hating and America-trashing leftwing media. This hate has now born bitter fruit across the nation.

There are voices, however – black voices on the left - who see through the hypocrisy. Atlanta is a major American city that has been run by black politicians for decades. In Atlanta  rioters attacked the CNN Center, site of a channel that is relentless in attacking Trump, white America, and its allegedly racist system. CNN is openly blaming “white supremacy” for the riots. An Atlanta black rapper named “Killer Mike” had this to say about CNN’s role in fueling the hatred whose chickens had come home to roost: “I love CNN, I love Cartoon Network. But I’d like to say to CNN right now, ‘Stop feeding fear and anger every day. Stop making people feel so fearful. Give them hope.’”

Virtually every official in Minnesota with influence over the Minneapolis police and the decision to keep Derek Chauvin on the force despite his alarming record is a Democrat: the governor, the attorney general, the Minneapolis congresswoman and the mayor. The city council consists of 12 Democrats and a Green Party member. The Democrat Party is the “system” that protected the bad cop and led to George Floyd’s death.

Just as the Democrats protected the bad cops, so they encouraged the rioters by fueling the myth of America’s systemic racism, by not providing a sufficient police presence, when the mayhem started, to nip it in the bud, and by attacking Trump for “glorifying violence,” when he warned the rioters that if the local authorities failed to protect law-abiding citizens he would meet force with force.

The organizers of the violence were two far left organizations – Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Until the Minneapolis riots Attorney General and former DNC head, Keith Ellison featured a picture on his website advertising the Antifa handbook for conducting civil war. The proximity of the Antifa-spearheaded riot in Minneapolis prompted Ellison to remove the photo, because Antifa’s destruction of his capital city would obviously lead to bad press.

The racist organization Black Lives Matter, which has led the war on cops for several years, is officially endorsed by the Democrat Party, was invited multiple times to the Obama White House, and is funded along with Antifa by Democrat donors like George Soros.

The Democrat Party’s leaders without exception have spread the lies that there is an open season on black Americans conducted by (white) police. They neglect to mention  that police departments in major cities are frequently run by black Americans; that black cops are actually more likely to kill black suspects than white police officers, and that an unarmed black is less likely to be killed by police than to be struck by lightning.

Black males are 6% of the population but they are responsible for more than 50% of the homicides and violent crimes. This is why virtually every civil rights cause celebre of the last fifty years has involved encounters with the law rather than racist vigilantes from the general populace.

Democrat leaders like Sanders, Warren and Harris feed the myth that economic inequality is a systemic oppression of blacks when the majority of African Americans are in the middle class, and the source of gross poverty is the bad behavior of individuals. It has been statistically shown that not having children out of wedlock and getting a high school education will lift an individual out of poverty. The Democrat Party controls virtually all the failed public schools in the nation where year in and year out 40% of the students drop out before they graduate and 40% of those who do graduate are functionally illiterate.

Democrat welfare policies and political dependence on teacher unions are 100% responsible for these deficiencies. The Democrats’ defense of their indefensible behavior is to blame Trump and Republicans for the resulting inequities and to call all their critics racists. Democrats are wedded to a collectivist ideology called Identity Politics, which erases the individual and individual accountability in order to indict and hold races responsible, as it happens the white race. This is the poisoned well of Democrat politics and it is why self-anointed champions of “black folk” have felt so free to dishonor the memory of George Floyd by burning American cities in order to advance their civil war against the United States.


Erie County DA Makes Surprising Observation About Weekend Protests in Buffalo

Erie County, New York District Attorney John Flynn told the press on Sunday that police made 10 arrests the previous evening during riots in the city of Buffalo. It was the sixth straight night of protests around the country in the aftermath of the police killing of an unarmed African American man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis. One of the Buffalo rioters, 21-year-old Daniel D. Hill, was arrested for breaking into a liquor store, throwing bottles at police officers, and other violent acts. However, thanks to the state's recent bail reform, Hill was released Sunday morning and is expected to return to court on July 15.

Flynn's hands are full of investigations. His office is currently assessing this weekend's damage, including acts of arson, an attack on a young woman who is currently at ECMC with a serious injury, and an attack on a WIVB cameraman. There's also the incident involving a man who threw a flaming object through the window of city hall in Buffalo, an act which earned him the title "idiot" from the city's mayor, Byron Brown.

But, Flynn noted it could have been a lot worse.

"Buffalo police did a great job last night," Flynn said, adding that officers from neighboring cities came to help too. "All law enforcement last night did a fantastic job."

The riots we've seen in major cities across the country have been flooded with signs sounding off on "police brutality," or likening cops to the KKK. Derek Chauvin, the arresting officer who was filmed pressing his knee into Floyd's neck until he went motionless, and kept his knee there after Floyd was unresponsive, was white. Yet, Flynn perhaps surprised people in his remarks when he noted that the majority of the arrests Saturday night were of white individuals. The African Americans who came out to protest, the DA said, were largely peaceful.

"Just so you know, the overwhelming majority of the 10 individuals who were arrested last night, were white," Flynn said at the Sunday presser. "They were not African Americans. The African Americans who were down here last night were peacefully protesting, doing the right thing, as I have seen all across the country."

He charged that it is "white individuals who are the agitators and that is true here in the city of Buffalo."

Buffalo officials were forced to issue an emergency order Sunday night, and enforce a curfew. It appears to have worked because Mayor Byron Brown said the evening was largely peaceful.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here

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