December 17, 2011

Mitt Romney’s Same-Sex Marriage Betrayal, Part 2: What Romney Really Did

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:49 am

Part 1 — Rick Santorum Exposes the Truth
Part 3 — Romney Did It Because He Promised He Would

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Last night, I:

  • Noted how people who should (and in my opinion do) know better like Maggie Gallagher, Ann Coulter, and others are defending Mitt Romney’s indefensible same-sex marriage record when he was Massachusetts Governor.
  • Showed and transcribed Rick Santorum’s mostly correct critique of Romney’s handling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s November 2003 Goodridge same-sex marriage “ruling” at Thursday’s GOP primary debate in Iowa.
  • Noted that after the debate, Romney dared Santorum to back up his claims. As Steve Deace described it, “Romney issued a challenge that Santorum wouldn’t be able to find any respected legal authorities that would agree with his characterization of Romney’s (same-sex marriage) culpability.”

So here we are. This is the part where we take Mitt Romney’s goose and thoroughly cook it.

As carried at Deace’s place, here’s “respected legal authority” Number 1 (bolds are mine throughout this post):

When I contacted Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, for his response to the exchange, he sent me the following statement:

“Rick Santorum’s statement during the debate about Mitt Romney’s actions regarding same-sex marriage are correct. I litigated in Massachusetts by filing a suit in federal court to prevent the implementation of same-sex marriage. Due to federalism issues with the federal courts being asked to block a state court action, the federal courts were constrained not to get involved.

Having spent considerable time reviewing the Massachusetts Constitution, drafted by John Adams, I can say that the Massachusetts Constitution is unique with respect to marriage and domestic relations by vesting the authority over marriage to the Legislature. The provision is explicitly set forth in the Massachusetts Constitution. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Legislature should act within a certain time to implement same-sex marriage, but the Legislature refused to act. Yet, Gov. Romney on his own went ahead of the Legislature and forced the implementation of same-sex marriage. Not only was he not required to implement same-sex marriage, the Massachusetts Constitution gave him no authority to do so. Gov. Romney should not have acted until the Legislature acted as that is the body vested by the Massachusetts Constitution with authority over marriage.

Sen. Rick Santorum was right and Gov. Mitt Romney was wrong.”

Staver is also the dean of Liberty University Law School. His work on behalf of constitutional law has been endorsed by three of the most pivotal figures in Christian political activism, who have since passed away — D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, and Bill Bright. Staver is a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society. He’s written 11 books. He may or may not meet Gov. Romney’s definition of a respected legal mind, but his bio begs to differ.

Staver identifies the one place where Santorum was not correct.

Santorum said:

So Governor Romney was faced with a choice. Go along with the Court or go along with the Constitution and the statute. He chose the Court, and ordered people to issue gay-marriage licenses and went beyond that. He personally, as Governor, issued gay marriage licenses.

Staver makes it clear that Romney didn’t “choose the Court.” Instead (“Yet, Gov. Romney on his own went ahead of the Legislature and forced the implementation of same-sex marriage”), Romney acted totally on his own without any constitutional authority whatsoever and imposed same-sex marriage on Massachusetts by fiat. He forced Justices of the Peace in the Bay State to Issue “Partner A/Partner B” marriage licenses instead of ones reading “Husband/Wife.” I am told that a small number of JPs resigned rather than do so. And yes, he indeed, as Santorum said, “personally … issued (some of those) gay marriage licenses.”

Again at Deace’s place, let’s get to “respected legal authority” Number 2, who in no uncertain terms reinforces the points made in the previous paragraph, and takes it further:

Dr. Herb Titus was the founding dean of the School of Public Policy at Regent University, and later served as the founding dean of Regent Law School. Before that he studied under Dr. Francis Schaeffer, and graduated from Harvard Law School. Titus has worked with the U.S. Justice Department, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. His book “God, Man, and Law” is a must-read for anyone interested in preserving the rule of law for the next generation.

I contacted Dr. Titus on Friday morning for his response to the Santorum-Romney exchange. He replied back with the following:

“Rick Santorum challenged Mitt Romney to justify the former Massachusetts Governor’s decision to implement the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruling that declared that the exclusion of otherwise qualified same-sex couples from civil marriage violated the state constitution.

… As Governor, Mr. Romney has claimed that he had no choice but to obey the Supreme Judicial Court’s opinion. This claim is false for several reasons.

First, Mr. Romney was not a party to the case. Only parties to a case are bound to obey a court order. As President Abraham Lincoln said in support of his refusal to enforce the United States Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott case – the nation’s policy regarding slavery was not determined by a court opinion, even by the highest court of the land. Likewise, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ policy regarding marriage may not be determined by the Supreme Judicial Court, the State’s highest court.

Second, the Supreme Judicial Court did not order any party to do anything. Rather, it issued only a declaration that, in its opinion, excluding otherwise qualified same-sex couples access to civil marriage was unconstitutional. Thus, even the Massachusetts Department of Health, which was a party to the case, was not ordered to do anything.

Third, the Massachusetts Board of Health was not authorized by statute to issue marriage licenses. That was a job for Justices of the Peace and town clerks. The only task assigned by the Legislature to the Board of Health was to record the marriage license; it had no power to issue them even to heterosexual couples. So the Department of Health, the only defendant in the case, could not legally have complied with an order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Fourth, if the court were to order the Department of Health to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, then Mr. Romney’s duty as governor would have been to instruct the Department that it had no authority to do what the court ordered. Nor could the court confer such authority, such an authorization being in nature a legislative, not a judicial, act.

Fifth, the decision whether to implement the Supreme Judicial Court’s opinion was, as the court itself acknowledged, for “the Legislature to take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of [the court’s] opinion.” By the very terms of the (Court’s) order, the Massachusetts legislature had discretion to do nothing.

Sixth, because the legislature did nothing, Mr. Romney had no power to act to implement the court decision. By ordering justices of the peace, town clerks, and other officials authorized to issue marriage licenses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Mr. Romney unconstitutionally usurped legislative power, a power denied him by the Massachusetts constitution that separated the three kinds of powers into three different departments.

The only quibble I have with Mr. Titus is his use of the word “order.” Yes, it’s technically correct, but when you say, as the Goodridge court did, that it wanted “the Legislature to take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of [the court’s] opinion,” that was hardly an “order” as laymen understand it. If the Legislature, either consciously or out of sheer laziness, chose to do nothing, it was still in compliance with the court’s “order” (really an “opinion” or “suggestion”) as written. Roughly 2,950 days after the ruling, the Massachusetts legislature has as far as I can tell still not followed the Court’s suggestion. (Update: Because of that lack of legislation, it is a constitutionally valid fact that no same-sex marriage license issued in Massachusetts, even the one issued to the couple involved in the Goodridge case itself, is valid or enforceable.)

Memo to Mitt: If Mat Staver and Herb Titus aren’t “respected legal minds,” Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were pathetic tinkerers who accomplished nothing meaningful. Consider your goose thoroughly cooked.

Deace goes on to cite a July 1997 WorldNetDaily item which included more expert opinion and critically important truths:

Experts: Credit Romney for homosexual marriage
‘What he did was exercise illegal legislative authority’

Some opponents contend that with those actions, Romney did no more or less than create the first homosexual marriages recognized in the nation.

And (Herb) Titus agrees.

(Hadley) Arkes (cited earlier in the item as “a professor of jurisprudence at Amherst,” and who is also a universally recognized “respected legal mind” — Ed.) wrote about the situation in National Review shortly after the implementation of the law. He called the developments a “dramatic abuse of power by the Supreme Court” and a disappointment from the legislature.

But, he wrote, “a deeper failure must go to the man who stood as governor, holding the levers of the executive. … Against a plural body like a legislature, a single executive could act as force to impart focus and energy. … The range of things he could do in combination with the legislature was considerable – if there was a will to do them.”

“In the Goodridge case in Massachusetts, Romney could have announced that he would respect the decision for the plaintiffs allied in the case, but he might have pointed out that the case was not a ‘class action.’ He could have insisted then that clerks should issue licenses of marriage only to couples who have come through comparable litigation and received a comparable order from a court,” he said.

Romney also could have invoked the state constitutional provision that, “All causes of marriage, divorce, and alimony, and all appeals from the Judges of probate shall be heard and determined by the Governor and Council, until the Legislature shall, by law, make other provision.”

Arkes also suggested the governor could have gone to court himself, creating the circumstances in which the “court could be compelled now to face precisely the issue that the judges had skirted: whether the majority of four had themselves violated the constitution of Massachusetts.”

Remember, the Massachusetts Constitution says that “All causes of marriage, divorce, and alimony, and all appeals from the judges of probate shall be heard and determined by the governor and council, until the legislature shall, by law, make other provision.” In other words, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts had no legal authority to even take the case — but no one, including Romney’s predecessor as Governor of Massachusetts, stopped them.

Now let’s look at Romney’s assertion Thursday that Rick Santorum’s rundown, as well as everything outlined in this post and the previous one, are somehow “unusual,” and that “everybody in Massachusetts, and the legal profession in Massachusetts, and my legal counsel” believes that “I fought it (the decision) every way I possibly could.”

This is a lie. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. There can be no doubt that Mitt Romney knows better:

  • He and his people know darned well who the outspoken Hadley Arkes is (Amherst College is in Massachusetts).
  • He and his people received a wide range of legal advice from legal experts in and out of Massachusetts during the critical post-Goodridge period. They had to know that there were and still are plenty of people who were then and today remain vehemently opposed to what he chose to do.
  • Finally, in 2006, as noted here, “A letter signed by 45 Massachusetts and national pro-family leaders including the late Paul Weyrich, Sandy Rios, Gary Kreep, Robert Knight, Linda Harvey, Rev. Ted Pike, Peter LaBarbera, Gary Glenn, Brian Camenker, John Haskins, etc. was sent to Romney in December 20, 2006, urging him to use his power as Governor to reverse himself on homosexual marriage.” So much for the “everybody in Massachusetts” — “respected legal authorities” or otherwise — agreeing with what he did.

Thursday, Mitt Romney said that he would be “happy to be corrected.” Consider it done, pal. Are you happy?

As readers will see tomorrow morning in Part 3, it gets even worse.

That’s because there is credible and never-refuted evidence that Mitt Romney entered office as Governor of Massachusetts fully intending to react to the Goodridge decision as he ultimately did, proving even further that he’s inarguably and objectively unfit to be president of the United States.

Chabot/SOPA Update: Pretty Much Bad News All Around (See Updates; Committee Hearings Dec. 21)

Filed under: Economy,Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:14 am

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

The news on the progress of Software Online Piracy Act proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee is not good, with a tiny silver lining:

We weren’t supposed to be able to stop SOPA, but we could at least raise awareness, put up a fight, and prepare for the floor votes. And sure enough, the vote to keep the Internet censorship provisions went in favor of censorship 22-11.

Well, it turns out, we managed to slow the process down. After we made our threats to start working on primary challenges over that 22-11 vote, Lamar Smith put off SOPA, halting the current process until next week at the earliest. Stay sharp, but feel good about this delay. The longer we delay, the more we can gain support for the OPEN Act instead of SOPA.

SOPA opponents Darrell Issa, Zoe Lofgren, Jared Polis, and Jason Chaffetz also deserve credit. Why yes, that list does include a Democrat. Just shows how wrong Lamar Smith is to side with disgraced former Senator Chris Dodd and the MPAA on this. Two men who between them have no clue how the Internet works.

Here’s more from Adweek.com:

SOPA Markup Halted; Opponents Get a Little More Time; Adjournment only delays inevitable

With 31 co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle, the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is likely unstoppable in the Judiciary Committee, despite a well-orchestrated and highly visible campaign to kill it by SOPA opponents both in and out of the hearing room.

But the inevitable will have to wait for another day. With votes looming on the House floor, Judiciary Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the lead sponsor of SOPA, was forced to adjourn the markup in its second day. The Committee has scheduled to pick up the market next Wednesday.

Committee members, especially opponents, were no doubt breathing a sigh a relief after soldiering through a 12-hour day on Thursday and an hour Friday morning, until Smith adjourned about 1:30 p.m. following a two-hour recess.

The markup was, if anything, great theater until its abrupt adjournment.

Hoping to defy the odds and delay the markup, SOPA opponents Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., joined by other members such as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah., used every tactic and argument at their disposal, including offering some 60 amendments. They are part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers pushing the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act, an alternative bill to SOPA in the House and Protect IP in the Senate.

All three bills are aimed at shutting down foreign websites that infringe on copyright holders and sell counterfeit goods, but OPEN takes a different approach than SOPA and Protect IP. To combat rogue sites, OPEN would set up the International Trade Commission to go after foreign sites by cutting off advertising and payment to those venues. SOPA would use the U.S. legal system to force domain name servers and Internet service providers to block websites and links to infringing material, an approach the Internet community believes goes way too far.

… At the beginning of markup Day 2, Issa knew he couldn’t win the markup fight. “It’s very clear we’re going to lose here today, and lose in the worst possible way, without all the facts,” Issa said.

But now at least, he and SOPA opponents have got a little more breathing room.

Almost, Adweek. We KNOW it goes too far.

I can’t seem to get any committee roll call detail, but there’s very little doubt that “my” congressman, erstwhile Tea Party supporter turned co-sponsoring Internet censor Steve Chabot, has been voting with the committee’s misguided majority.

Not that yours truly’s travails are of surpassing importance, but I should inform readers that I called Chabot’s office four times during the previous three days asking for some form of documented justification as to why he is co-sponsoring this travesty. It wasn’t until yesterday on call #4 that I was informed that they could/would not send me information because I don’t live in his district.

Until this week, the BizzyBlog bunker was located in Jean Schmidt’s OH-02. But effective on December 14, when the redrawn congressional map out of Columbus became official (still subject to challenge, I think, but it’s official until a challenge succeeds), it is now in Chabot’s OH-01. The person I spoke with on call #4 (I should emphasize that Chabot’s peeps have been uniformly polite despite the tension) told me that she thought that eligibility for communications might be based on Chabot’s old district lines until Election Day 2012. At that point, I invoked the fact that I have editorialized on the topic, that perhaps Mr. Chabot might recognize me from past commentaries on his performance — usually good (e.g. here and here) and occasionally bad (here and here), and that surely he has said something somewhere about SOPA’s alleged desirability.

So far, I’ve received nothing. For now, we must assume that Mr. Chabot is on board with what has accurately been described as “China-Style Internet Censorship.”

If Mr. Chabot continues to lead the charge for this, he’s lost my vote. I only wish that it were realistic in the short time between now and next year’s primary for a credible challenger to emerge. Sadly, that’s a pipedream.

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UPDATE: Paul Tassi at Forbes“How SOPA Could Ruin My Life.” Read the whole thing. Folks, this is not idle chit-chat or nerdy paranoia.

Law prof Instapundit’s reax: “Tar. Feathers.”

UPDATE 2: At TechDirt

Despite the fact that Congress was supposed to be out of session until the end of January, the Judiciary Committee has just announced plans to come back to continue the markup this coming Wednesday (Dec. 21). This is rather unusual and totally unnecessary. But it shows just how desperate Hollywood is to pass this bill as quickly as possible, before the momentum of opposition builds up even further.

Another Instapundit reax: “SOPA Hearing Not Delayed Until Next Year — Rescheduled For the 21st In The Hope You Won’t Notice.”

Victor Davis Hanson’s Early Christmas Gift

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:12 am

His latest “Work and Days” post is as complete a collection of Obama myths vs. reality as I’ve seen.

Just one example:

That his brilliance is a myth was not just revealed by the weekly lapses (whether phonetic [corpse-man], or cultural [Austria/Germany, the United Kingdom/England, Memorial Day/Veterans Day] or inane [57 states]), but in matters of common sense and basic history. The error-ridden Cairo speech was foolish; the serial appeasement of Iran revealed an ignorance of human nature; a two-minute glance at an etiquette book would have nixed the bowing or the cheap gifts to the UK.

Read the whole thing.

Many happy returns, sir.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121711)

Filed under: Economy,Lucid Links,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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At Fox News: “Climategate Bombshell: Did U.S. Gov’t Help Hide Climate Data?” The Occam’s Razor answer is “yes”; otherwise, why would the government be on a manhunt (HT JWF) to identify the Climategate II leaker when it appears to have done no such think in the wake of the original Climategate two years ago?

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At CNN, from the country Barack Obama so frequently praises — “‘Batman’ star Bale punched, stopped from visiting blind Chinese activist.”

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I don’t know if this is what ultimately got through Congress yesterday to avoid a government shutdown, but it gives you an idea of how little headway is being made against the deficit monster — “Combining the omnibus bill and other spending bills already passed, total discretionary funding for 2012 will be $95 billion less than 2011 levels.” Despite the wording, I have a hard time believing that these are real year-over-year cuts instead of reductions of projected spending with increases previously built-in. Even if they are, it’s way less than a 3% decrease in overall spending, which has running along at $3.6 trillion per year, and way below about 8% of the deficits run during each of the past three years.

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Speaking of which, as a friend and I were discussing last night, whats’s with the two-month payroll tax-cut extension? Even if you believe in the collapsed Keynesian theory of stimulus, what employer is going to hire people based on a theoretical increase in consumer spending which ends on February 28, 2012?

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For those who believe that Hillary Clinton would automatically be such a great alternative to Barack Obama (“Lafftery Detained by State Department”) — “Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) president Andrea Lafferty was targeted and detained by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security personnel this Wednesday during the closing event capping the three day closed-door conference advancing the implementation of U.N. Resolution 16/18. … When asked why she was being removed from the reception hall, the security detail announced that a phone call had identified Lafferty as a ‘security threat’ to Secretary Clinton.”

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Report from Obamaland – “While the jobless rate in other Midwest states has stayed relatively flat over the past year, Illinois’s unemployment rate has risen to 10.1% from 9%. Most of the lost jobs are in information technology and financial services, which are some of the easiest to move. … The state’s bond debt has soared to $30 billion from $9.2 billion in 2002, when Democrats seized control of both the governorship and statehouse.”

Meanwhile, Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% in November from 9.6% a year earlier.

Illinois chose to steeply raise corporate and individual income taxes, and has almost completely refused to address its out-of-control public-sector labor cost structure. Ohio Governor John Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly erased what had been a projected $8 billion deficit without tax increases. Guess whose economy has performed better?

Thanks to the defeat of Issue 2/SB5, whether the Buckeye State’s improvement will continue is unclear. Even if it does, it won’t be as good as it could be until the state’s similar problems in the public sector get fixed.

Positivity: Lynn Jones, baggage handler fired over reporting mistreated dog, offered her job back at airport

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Reno, Nevada (HT Daryn Kagan):

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Reno airport baggage handler who was fired after she refused to transport an apparently mistreated dog may be heading back to the cargo area.

Lynn Jones told The Associated Press on Monday that she was loading baggage at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport last month when she saw a skinny dog covered with sores in a pet carrier tagged for a flight to Texas.

“The transportation safety authority officers couldn’t even get the dog to stand up to be X-rayed,” she told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

“Everyone who saw it, the TSA people, the airport police officers, the girls at the ticket counter, was concerned. The dog was so weak and torn up. It didn’t look like it could survive the flight.”

Her supervisor then allegedly insisted that the dog’s condition was none of her business and told her to load it on. Eventually airport police got involved and the dog was picked up by animal welfare workers.

Jones, however, was fired and seemed bound for the ranks of unemployed until her story made international news.

“(My supervisor) kept yelling, ‘That’s it. You’re done. You are out of here. Go home,’” Jones told the newspaper. “I left.”

In a statement posted on the private baggage handling company Airport Terminal Services’ website on Tuesday, the company’s president, Sally Leible, said she offered the 56-year-old Jones her job back with back pay and an apology.

“We applaud Ms. Lynn Jones’ courage to report the unfavorable condition of the animal she encountered, and we encourage others to be as vigilant as she was,” she said in the statement.

The company will also make a three-year financial contribution to the Nevada Humane Society to educate people about animal mistreatment, she added.

Leible told the AP that her bighearted employee was “trying to protect the dog and I think she was courageous in doing that.”

“I really, truly hope she will come back,” she added. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

This story indicates that Jones was rehired.