Archives for May 2009

Legal Analysis of Tuesday’s California Prop. 8 Ruling by the California Supreme Court

For Immediate Release
Contact: President Brad Dacus (916) 857-6900

logoLegal Analysis of Today’s Prop. 8 Ruling

Sacramento, CA – Attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute have reviewed today’s highly-anticipated decision from the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8. PJI submitted several legal briefs to the Court in defense of Prop. 8, and offers the following assessment of the 186-page opinions.

The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Ronald George, who also wrote last year’s opinion declaring unconstitutional Prop. 8’s predecessor, Prop. 22. Today’s majority opinion was joined by Justices Joyce L. Kennard, Marvin R. Baxter, Ming W. Chin, and Carol A. Corrigan. Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar reluctantly agreed with the majority’s conclusion, but not its reasoning, so she wrote separately to express her own views. Justice Carlos R. Moreno was the lone dissenter. Chief Justice George’s majority opinion alone carries the force of law.

The 136-page majority opinion begins by emphasizing that the Court was not called upon to decide whether Prop. 8 was wise or sound as a matter of policy, but only whether Prop. 8 was a valid amendment to the state Constitution, rather than a revision, which would have required additional approval by the legislature.

The court considered numerous prior decisions that discussed the distinction between amendments and revisions to the state constitution. The court determined that a revision “referred to the kind of wholesale or fundamental alteration of the constitutional structure that appropriately could be undertaken only by a constitutional convention.” The Petitioners in the present case had argued that Prop. 8 was a revision because it altered a fundamental aspect of the state constitution-equality. The court disagreed, holding that Prop. 8 does not “fundamentally alter” basic equal protection guarantees, or for that matter, the rights of same-sex couples to privacy or due process in choosing relationships that have the “incidents of marriage.”

The court also rejected the novel arguments offered by Attorney General Jerry Brown that Prop. 8 should be struck down because “inalienable” constitutional provisions – such as the right to privacy – should supersede other constitutional provisions, such as Prop. 8. The court noted that there was no legal authority to support this theory.

The court then addressed the validity of the gay weddings conducted after its opinion last summer, and the enactment of Prop. 8 on November 4. The court held that Prop. 8 was not retroactive, and therefore those same-sex unions would continue to be considered valid marriages. On this holding, all the justices agreed. The court specifically did not decide the validity in California of same-sex marriages entered into in other states, such as Massachusetts.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Kennard, who previously voted to strike down Prop. 22, emphasized that this case was different because the court had previously been interpreting a statute in light of the state constitution, whereas it now was dealing with the enactment of a new constitutional provision. She explained, “Interpretation of existing statutory and constitutional provisions is a fundamental power of the judicial branch, while alteration of existing statutory and constitutional provisions – by addition, deletion, or modification – is a fundamental legislative power that the people may exercise through the judicial process.”

In another concurring opinion, Justice Werdegar reluctantly agreed with the majority’s conclusion, but disagreed that the amendment/revision question should turn on whether an initiative affected the structure or framework of government.

In his separate opinion, Justice Moreno concurred with the court’s unanimous decision that Prop. 8 was not retroactive, but he dissented from its holding that Prop. 8 was a valid constitutional amendment. He blasted the majority – and the voters – writing, “Proposition 8 represents an unprecedented instance of a majority of voters altering the meaning of the equal protection clause by modifying the California Constitution to require deprivation of a fundamental right on the basis of a suspect classification.” Justice Moreno warned that today’s decision endangers the rights of “all disfavored minorities.”

Pacific Justice Institute has advised hundreds of churches as to their legal rights to adhere to the definition of marriage prescribed by their faith. PJI has also offered legal assistance to individuals who have been blacklisted, terminated from their jobs, or had their property defaced by anti-Prop. 8 activists.

How the Waxman-Markey Climate Change bill got pushed through Committee

HERE’S HOW SERIOUSLY YOUR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TAKES THEIR JOB, (they hired a speed reader to legally fulfill their obligation to read the legislation into the record)… watch this travisty of governance.

When Republicans wanted amendments read aloud, committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-California) hired an oral speed reader, whose pace–far too fast for anyone to follow thoughtfully–would have reduced reading time to about nine hours.  In the face of that threat, Republican committee members backed off. As a result, much of the 946-page bill hadn’t been read by most committee members before they voted on it.

Phone Kirtpatrick, Giffords, Mitchel, Grajalva or Pastor’s office and ask if they’ve read one tenth of this new legislation?

Within those 946 pages however, are the stuff that will increase your monthly utility bill dramatically.  One public utility official pegged the increase to Arizona electric rates on the order of better than 60% before the dust settles.

Its all about *CHANGE*

Gabrielle Giffords Town Hall in Tucson

Thanks to James Bretney aka “ConservadorSonora” in Tucson for covering this sham town hall event on Tuesday, May 26th. The “town hall” was held at Saguaro High School and featured a tightly controlled lineup of speakers, attendees and agenda.

Arizona 8th was also able to cover the event and even posted a photo of Gabby jumping out of her foreign-made SUV.

James was able to get in to the event at the last minute and shoot several clips. Here are three of those clips:


This clip features Paul Parisi, Vice President of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce who spoke out against a nationalized single-payer health care plan.


This clip features James asking Gabby about the town hall program and how it was organized.


In this clip, James asks Ron Barber, Giffords’ District Director, on why the town hall speaker lineup was stacked.

 

Focus On the State- Senator Jack Harper

by Gayle Plato

 Senator Jack Harper along with other legislators for Arizona, first crossed my path at the February Tea Party. Along with the always energetic Tom Jenney of the AZ branch of Americans For Prosperity, Senator Harper and other legislators were jumping up on the Tempe Town Lake Wall, like soap box candidates of history past.   

It was hot, the crowd was small and dedicated, and these guys were passionately talking about citizens’ rights and keeping government small.  I was impressed, but I also worried about them falling in the drink!  

Today I’ll begin a Focus on the State  with a look at Jack W. Harper, Republican, conservative, veteran,  experienced small businessman, husband and father. The senator was elected to his third term in the Arizona State Senate in Legislative District Four, winning his elections by an over-whelming majority.  Here are some answers to my questions, in his own words-

 

Q. Tell SA about your district, why you ran, and what you feel your main job is as a State Senator?

A.  I have a diverse district that contacts me about a variety of issues.  Some examples of dominate issues are:

 “Don’t raise my taxes and continue to prevent illegal immigration.”
 “Don’t override my HOA’s CC & R’s with state statutes.”
 “Get rid of the photo radar cameras.”
 “Support the troops and veterans.”
 “Re-assert states rights and pass HCR2024.”
 “Get the US out of the UN and guard against a North American Union.”
 “Defend my Second Amendment Rights!”

The main reason I ran the first election, was to remove a three-term incumbent who passed laws to promote homosexuality and spent public money on illegal alien healthcare.  Now, I believe it is my responsibility to explain my legislative philosophy at election time and vote accordingly throughout the term.

 

Q. The AZ budget still seems fragile at best with this newly balanced agreement. What are your ongoing concerns, and what would you tell your constiuents about the next fiscal year in AZ?

A. The budget negotiations are a moving target.  A couple of members keep adding to their demands and leadership will scrap an agreement if revenue figures come in lower in a month, and the budget would not be balanced.  We have adjusted the Fiscal Year 2009 budget a few times and the FY10 budget will need to be reconciled throughout the year as well.  It’s time to pass what we have.

To constituents, I would say that we are trying to keep a property tax rate from springing higher. 

There are two ways that could happen: 1) If we do not permanently eliminate the state property tax that was cut for three years, it will come back this year; 2) If the Legislature suspends Truth in Taxation (T-n-T).  Your valuation is going down, but if we do not let the Qualifying Tax Rate follow it lower, you will pay higher taxes than usual.  Your property tax might be lower even with suspending T-n-T, but technically this is what school districts do to you as your valuation is rising and the take more of your money on a lower rate. 

If a constituent has a high-maintenance family and has become dependent on state services, I would say that we do not have the money for the same level of services as years past.  Your options are to turn to a local church for compassion or explore moving to a higher-taxing state.  To balance a budget that starts out $3.3 billion in deficit, without raising taxes, we have to cut many programs.  We need to eliminate “Parents of KidsCare”, non-federal funded Arizona Long Term Care, and several other programs that are not mandated by the voters, the constitution, the federal so-called stimulus bill, and things not fully funded by the federal government.

Q. Do you think that it’s worthwhile to consider either overhauling or dropping AHCCCS?

A. Because of Proposition 204 that passed years ago, we have to provide AHCCCS to every person at the federal poverty level or below.  We need the voters to take that mandate off of the legislature to keep 20 % of every Arizonans from getting free healthcare on the other 80 percent. 

Q. What are your top priorities this year as a legislator?

A.  I have three goals this year.  I want to see that Nancy Barto’s bill on abortion passes, that the NRA’s bill that I carry yearly passes to allow restaurant owners to decide if they want to allow a patron to carry a firearm, regardless of having an on-site alcohol consumption license, and to reform judicial selection at the ballot and take the State Bar out of the process.

Q. Do you see yourself running for another office in state at some point in the future?

A.  I was exploring a race for Secretary of State before Governor Napolitano left and Jan Brewer appointed Ken Bennett to the SOS position.  I believe I am going to explore running for the State House of Representatives, now.

Q.  Finally, what else do you want us to know about you and why you felt a need to run for office and do this job? Why be state legislator?

A.  I have been blessed to have the opportunity to restore fiscally and socially conservative values to public policy.  My work is not done though.  The State Legislature has thrown up roadblocks over the years to economic freedom.  It is time to deregulate and allow the average person the opportunity to be a small business owner.

Think North Korea is Crazy? Here’s more CHANGE du Jour

 It is a way to coerce people out of their cars, yeah,” LaHood admitted. …  And all of you who live around here know exactly what I’m talking about…. About everything we do around here is government intrusion in people’s lives.”

They’re planning to use $8 billion dollars of debt your children will have to pay off to force social change in American’s transportation habits.  Is that the role of a government by the people and for the people?

“You’re going to see new buses; you’re going to see ability of transit districts to really have the equipment…. And we’ll begin at DOT to set a standard for our ability to get out of the recession, get people back to work in good-paying jobs.”

This moron is ignoring totally the fact that public transit hasn’t paid for itself since before WWII and that without another Law Enforcer authority (the Transit Police), public transit in many urban areas is quite crime ridden.

Moving along to more of the CHANGE you can expect from the Morons-in-Charge…

… yes, you guessed it; Your Diet is Causing Climate Change!

Here it is directly as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

“Changing our lifestyles, including our diets, is going to be one of the crucial elements in cutting carbon emissions,” said David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change.

Alcoholic drinks are another significant contributory factor, with the growing and processing of crops such as hops and malt into beer and whiskey helping to generate 1.5% of the nation’s greenhouse gases.

The Carbon Trust, a government-funded firm, is working with food and drink companies to calculate the “carbon footprints” of products – sometimes with surprising results.

President Nominates Social Activist over Judical Experience …

The title change is for Kenny.  Yes, I read her speech and it is a matter of record that 60% of her decisions have been overturned … I think Grumpy Gus is right, Sonia should have run for the (California) legislature.  Judge Sonia views the world through “race” not the law as the following quote illustrates.  Thanks Kenny.

I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman…”

[a] “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

This IS a judical activist woman who does not understand the role of a Supreme Court Justice (and I don’t care if she went to Yale or not, so did GWB and look what he did).

But what will this man do?

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) today:

“I would expect that Senate Democrats will afford the minority the same courtesy as we move forward with this process,”

He is speaking of course of the 2006 Alito confirmation hearings during which he was in Arizona once again reminding voters who he is and why he still needs a job.  But during the actual hearings in 2006, Jon Kyl had this to say:

“One might wonder why we would need more than just a couple of days of debate, especially since nothing new has been said for weeks. But, if the public has noticed anything during this process it is that senators value their right of unlimited debate.”

Meanwhile the Democrats have August 7 as their “due date” to complete the court confirmation process, and when asked about this deadline, Jon Kyl said, “…it was “probably too ambitious a timeframe.”

Anyone paying a bit of attention will note just how cautious the Republicans are being in their public comments regarding a Hispanic woman nominee.  And that’s just the point, race and gender.

The decisions of this radical activist judge are being muted by fear of being labeled “racist” or worse.  Is that what its come down to in America today?  It was ok to drag Clarance Thomas through the mud of sexism and racism, but hands off to the pick of a minority by a minority president.

Of course the Democrats aren’t a bit shy about their intentions.  They need Ms. No-to-mayor on the bench because of pending radical climate change legislation and radical health care socialization bills working their way through Congress presently.

Look carefully at how many times this candidate for the SCOTUS has been rebuked by her own Second Court of Appeals.

The bottom line is, this president is playing the race card and no one is calling him on it.  The consequences of this judicial nomination will be with our children and our great grandchildren for generations to come.  Can we really afford to continue this affirmative reverse race game?

How about nominating a real judge (of any color, gender, or sexual orientation) who can make the case for Obama’s progressive programs based squarely and logically on law as written, and not on the richness of their ethnic and gender experiences.

Unfortunately, as Lawrence Butler (Rowan University political scientist) Tuesday put it, the aggressiveness with which the GOP chooses to go after Sotomayor “is more of a political decision, not one based on principle.”

We see the truth in Mr. Butler’s comment in the statements of Jon Kyl.

Kudos to Kavanagh for Sponsoring H.B. 2474

A property owner, tenant, public or private employer or business entity shall not prohibit a person who lawfully possesses a firearm from transporting or storing the firearm in a locked and privately owned motor vehicle that is parked in a parking lot, parking garage or other area designated for parking motor vehicles.

B.  A property owner, tenant, public or private employer or business entity or the agent or employee of a property owner, tenant, public or private employer or business entity is not liable in a civil action for damages resulting from or arising out of an act involving a firearm that is transported or stored pursuant to this section in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle that is parked in a parking lot, parking garage or other area designated for parking motor vehicles.

Charlton Heston would be proud John.  H.B. 2474 is a fine piece of needed legislation.  Short, sweet and to the point.  Representative Kavanagh understands the difference between “responsible gun owners” and criminals.

The facts are, and studies confirm, that criminals intent on violence prefer unarmed victims.  Lets face it, 911 is nothing more than “government sponsored dial-a-prayer”.

How many times do individuals intent on committing gun violence give consideration to laws?  For example, have you noticed that its schools, churches, and places of employment that are often the target of deranged individuals?   Have you also noticed that those are usually places with many potential victims all with little to no means of self-defense?

Nick Dranias of the Goldwater Institute however has a slightly different take, “Arizona House Bill 2474 would protect the right to carry, transport and store weapons on private property–effectively trumping the owner’s property rights. Advocates of limited government should avoid creating a conflict between property rights and gun rights.

Nick raises an interesting point.  However, the proposed change to paragraph B;  Section 1 of Title 13, chapter 31, of the Arizona Revised Statutes clearly states, “… property owner, tenant, public or private employer or business entity is not liable in a civil action for damages resulting from or arising out of an act involving a firearm that is transported or stored pursuant to this section in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle…”

That seems to address Mr. Dranias’s concerns regarding the rights of property owners.  What Mr. Dranias seems to be avoiding is the issue of when the employee parking lot is public property.  As I noted earlier, most incidents of gun mayhem occur in locations where potential victims are concentrated, unarmed, and the site is clearly a ‘gun free zone”.

Representative Kavanagh is to be lauded for this piece of legislative fortitude that in time will save lives.  Now lets see if others professing a love of the Second Amendment will follow suit (like Congressional candidate William Konopnicki for example).

P.S.  Governor Brewer:  We understand you stood up your friends at the NRA National Convention this month.  I hope this is being incorrectly reported, as the last candidate for governor who avoided a state visit by Charlton Heston lost their election and gave up the Office of Governor to a Democrat.

Senate Caucus to Burns – “No Go” On Leadership PAC

Reports on Tuesday from across the plaza are that Republican Senators were vocal and quite negative with Senate President Bob Burns and his proposed leadership PAC.  A strong preference was voiced for working through the State Party as has been done for so many years.  A few Senators made it clear that they viewed Burns’ PAC as a tool likely to be used or abused for the purpose of exerting leverage over Republican Senators.  Privately, there was also some concern about how the money would be spent, who would be picking the races, and who would be directing the campaigns.  As one person put it, “Burns is a great legislator, but he’s not a campaign guy.  He’s gotten himself elected in his own district, but why should we believe that he knows better than the party and its folks when it comes to getting Republicans elected all across the state?”

It is expected that Burns will continue with his PAC, but that he will be raising its funds by himself.  The caucus appears determined to work directly through the state party and supports its efforts.

We are also hearing that Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams have been trying to convince lobbyists to skip the AZGOP’s legislative fundraiser in favor of an event that Burns and Adams are planning later in the year.  We will continue to collect information on this and see what we can find out from some of the lobbyists involved.

Remembering Kerry Martin

It is with incredible sadness that we report that Kerry Martin, wife of state Treasurer Dean Martin, has died in childbirth.  Their son Austin remains in critical condition, and we pray for him as well as Kerry’s entire family as what should have been a period of unspeakable joy has suddenly and unexpectedly turned into a time of unimaginable sorrow.

I have known Kerry and Dean for many years.  Kerry was an incredibly warm person and dedicated Republican, always working hard to advance the causes she believed in.  Kerry was also a guaranteed friendly face at GOP gatherings, no matter how early in the morning.

Needless to say, I am absolutely floored.  Dean, your family is in our prayers.  Kerry, you will be remembered fondly by all of us and you will be missed.

The State Treasurer’s Office issued the following statement.

Condolences can be sent to dean@americanvisuals.com.

“My Dearest Friend”- Honoring the Service Spouses Back Home

by Gayle Plato

On Memorial Day, I feel a need to remember the spouses and children of servicemen and women. For centuries, women have kept the home, raised families as the world around them bubbled with economic strife and social restlessness. Now, we see husbands and wives, parents and children holding firm and waiting the return of loved ones in service to our country.ABIGAIL ADAMS
25 October 1782

“MY DEAREST FRIEND,
 The family are all retired to rest the busy scenes of the day are over a day which I wished to have devoted in a particular manner to my dearest friend but company falling in prevented it nor could I claim a moment until this silent watch of the night Look is there a dearer name than friend Think of it for me look to the date of this letter and tell me what ure the thoughts which arise in your mind Do you not recollect that eighteen years have run their circuit since we pledged our mutual faith to each other and the hymeneal torch was lighted at the altar of Love Yet yet it burns with unabating fervor Old Ocean has not quenched it nor old Time smothered it in this bosom It cheers me in the lonely hour it comforts me even in the gloom which sometimes possesses my mind.”

  Familiar letters of John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams, during the revolution

I’ve a warmth for Abigail and John Adams.  Throughout the years of separation due to John Adam’s service, and political involvements, this couple wrote to oneanother.  They always seemed so real, with a love grounded in the daily trials.  They wrote about a love based on mutual respect, a love of their kids, and a hope for something bigger than themselves. Wouldn’t we all be so lucky to find a love so honest, full of letters, about faith in each other?

 Abigail usually addressed the letters to her husband as ‘My Dearest Friend’ ” I like that part most of all.   To those holding down the homefront, many blessings and a wish for peace in this combative world-