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Tony Perkins / Mar. 17, 2016

Obama Leaves Garland Hanging

Political theater. That's the only way to describe [yesterday's] nomination by President Obama of D.C. Circuit Court's Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans have been clear both publicly and privately from day one that the American people deserved a voice in the lifetime appointment of the next Supreme Court justice. "Everybody knows any nominee submitted in the middle of this presidential campaign isn't getting confirmed," Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reiterated. That's how the Democrats governed in the majority, and it's how the Republicans will continue to.

Political theater. That’s the only way to describe [yesterday’s] nomination by President Obama of D.C. Circuit Court’s Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans have been clear both publicly and privately from day one that the American people deserved a voice in the lifetime appointment of the next Supreme Court justice. “Everybody knows any nominee submitted in the middle of this presidential campaign isn’t getting confirmed,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reiterated. That’s how the Democrats governed in the majority, and it’s how the Republicans will continue to.

Of course, that didn’t stop President Obama from dangling a phony moderate in front of the GOP to complicate matters. Like Elana Kagan, this nomination was carefully orchestrated — perhaps more so. Despite spending his career on the bench and in the Justice Department, Garland doesn’t have much of an ideological paper trail. As many have pointed out, the D.C. Circuit Court deals primarily with regulatory issues, meaning that Judge Garland’s record is virtually free of cases on abortion, marriage, or religious liberty. And that’s no accident. If President Obama wants to keep up this façade of centrism, he needs someone free of social baggage. But, make no mistake. Garland was carefully vetted. This president is too worried about his activist legacy to put it in the hands of a man who values the very Constitution it defies.

Naturally, the White House will talk about Garland’s “moderate” credentials (his fierce anti-gun stance should debunk that), but a survey of his former staff tells a different story. Of his former law clerks, 33 went on to serve liberal Supreme Court justices. Only 11 were hired by constitutionalists. “Not as liberal” is still liberal. With permanent job security, there’s plenty of room to “evolve.” As expert Ed Whelan pointed out on NRO’s Bench Memos, “Look for President Obama to argue [on Garland] that the Senate’s unanimous or lopsided vote for that person for a lower-court seat (along with nice things senators said at that time) somehow prevents the Senate from taking a very different view of the Supreme Court nomination. To take one of many counterexamples, please note that Robert Bork was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit by unanimous-consent vote.” And while many respect his intellect, like Whelan, they have “zero illusions that a Justice Garland would help move the Court in the right direction in undoing the damage of decades of liberal judicial activism.”

In the end, the Senate’s position isn’t about the person — it’s about the principle. “The only reason that they’re complaining about a hearing on the nominee is because they want to make the process as political as possible,” Grassley said. “And that goes to the heart of the matter. We’re not going to politicize this process in the middle of a presidential election year.” The other 10 GOP members of his committee have already made up their minds. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) couldn’t have been clearer when he said, “We’re not going to confirm anyone. Period.” But America’s law professor-in-chief still insists: “In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job. I hope that our senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee. That’s what the Constitution dictates…”

Wrong again. As scholars like Noah Feldman remind him, “Here’s what the Constitution says about filling Supreme Court vacancies: nothing.” Yet, as they’ve done with abortion and same-sex marriage, liberals are quite content to point to its invisible ink to suit their narrative. The reality is, President Obama has the right to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia, just as the Senate has a right to ignore it. This is exactly what the Americans people wanted when it elected a GOP majority: a Senate that would rein in the president’s unchecked powers. Now they have it. And on the biggest decision in a generation, we can all be grateful its leaders are doing their part.

Originally published here.

Womb for Improvement in Abortion Law

Eighty-four percent of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion. The other 16 percent must be serving as Democrats in Congress. [Tuesday], the Left’s extremism was on full display in a Senate Judiciary hearing about protecting unborn children from the excruciating pain of abortion. For the last few years, House and Senate Republicans have desperately tried to stop the barbaric practice of dismembering babies in the womb who are literally tortured by a mother’s “choice.”

Of course, the president’s party likes to argue that the bill is extreme — but what’s actually extreme is our current law. Believe it or not, America is one of just seven countries that allow abortion past 20 weeks — a club that includes China and North Korea. For a country blessed with such incredible prenatal technology, it’s mind-blowing that we haven’t changed our laws to reflect the basic personhood of these tiny humans. Science has expanded our knowledge of unborn pain, and it’s time for the law to catch up. As witnesses pointed out repeatedly during Tuesday’s testimony, it’s common practice for doctors to use anesthesia on babies by 20 weeks along for in-utero surgeries because they can feel pain — pain, Dr. Maureen Condic confirmed, that can be felt as early as 8-10 weeks. What kind of inhumane culture gives “wanted” babies anesthesia but tortures others? Sadly, ours.

Melissa Ohden, who miraculously survived a painful saline abortion, told her powerful story, saying, “I know where children like me were left to die — a utility closet.” Dr. Colleen Malloy testified that by 22 weeks, babies have a full complement of neurons and can feel pain. She takes care of babies born prematurely and explained the wonderment of seeing them “kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes.” There should be no difference in care, she argued, for babies inside the womb at five months than outside it.

Later, in plain defiance of science, Physicians for Reproductive Health claimed that there’s no evidence that fetal pain exists until the third trimester, a falsehood that flies in the face of countless studies proving otherwise. We protect animals and death row inmates from suffering, Angelina Baglini Nguyen of the Charlotte Lozier Institute said. Why not unborn children? While liberals yammer on about “turn[ing] back the clock on women’s health care,” it’s plain to see who’s turn back the clock — on science. For a party that claims to be pro-woman, how is it that they can lobby for women to be subjected to abortions at 21 weeks or more — when she’s 91 times more likely to die from abortion than in the first trimester?

There’s a war on women, alright. But it’s not Republicans who are waging it. Contact your senators and urge them to do as Dr. Kathi Aultman urged and “protect those who can’t protect themselves.” That starts by passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 1553).

Originally published here.

GOP Campaigns a Free Enterprise

Conservatives aren’t the only ones calling 2016 a “religious liberty election.” So is the media. During [Tuesday] night’s primary analysis, FiveThirtyEight reporter Anne Li highlighted how frequently the GOP candidates are using the phrase compared to eight years ago, when President Obama was first elected. Even former Secretary Hillary Clinton has waded into the issue with respect to the genocide of Christians overseas.

For Republicans, though, the uptick is hard to ignore. The number of “religious liberty” discussions jumped from zero in 2008, Li explains, to a whopping 29 in this year’s GOP debates alone. Obviously, there are a lot of reasons for that — not the least of which is sitting in the Oval Office. The president’s relentless attacks on men and women of faith have changed our government from a culture that was skeptical of Christians to one that’s outright hostile to them. After eight years of using the government as a weapon to punish and fine people of faith, it’s no wonder that the candidates are raising the profile of our First Freedom. Never before has religious freedom been more endangered than it is today under the policies of the current administration.

Two years ago, when FRC helped to free Sudanese mother Mariam Ibrahim, we pledged to make domestic and international religious liberty a top priority of the 2016 election cycle. Now it’s clear — not only from conservatives, but the media — that we’ve succeeded. Now, we must elect leaders who will turn the talk into action and defend American’s First Freedom.

Originally published here.

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