Tag Archives: SCOTUS

Polygamy is next: Montana throuple applies for wedding license

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

The Supreme Court redefined marriage so that it no longer means one man, one woman, for life. What follows from attaching the word “marriage” to people who have temporary feelings of love for other people?

Here’s the story from MSN.com.


A Montana man said Wednesday that he was inspired by last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage to apply for a marriage license so that he can legally wed his second wife.

Nathan Collier and his wives Victoria and Christine applied at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings on Tuesday in an attempt to legitimize their polygamous marriage. Montana, like all 50 states, outlaws bigamy — holding multiple marriage licenses — but Collier said he plans to sue if the application is denied.

“It’s about marriage equality,” Collier told The Associated Press Wednesday. “You can’t have this without polygamy.”

[…]The Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday made gay marriages legal nationwide. Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent that people in polygamous relationships could make the same legal argument that not having the opportunity to marry disrespects and subordinates them.

Meanwhile, this lady writing in The Federalist explains how she wants polyamory to come next after the gay marriage. Why? Because she and partner don’t always feel “in love”. Her solution is that she be able to add people to her current relationship so that she can have those “in love” feelings.

She writes:

The problem is, fires don’t burn indefinitely unless you keep adding more wood. They start with a spark, work their way up to a roar, then calm back down to a crackle. When the crackling gets too quiet, someone throws another log on, and the flames flare back up. The cycle repeats over and over again, as long as there are more logs, more fuel.

Our fuel is running out. Brad and I have tried all the tricks. We’ve fanned the flames. We need more logs—new energy, a fresh perspective. It doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, or that we are done with each other. It just means we need something new.

[…]Four years into our relationship, we found ourselves in the typical rut of co-dependence, resentment, boredom, and fighting over the grocery bill. We’d had an unplanned baby, I’d quit my job to do attachment parenting full-time, and Brad was working long hours in a dungeon of a warehouse. I was stuck at home washing dishes, folding laundry and talking to a two-year-old, bored out of my mind. If we didn’t have anything to fight about, we’d find something, just to make life a little more interesting.

Now for the part that’s interesting to me. I have heard this same reasoning from so many formerly Christian women:

I had freed myself from the grips of government, religion, and parents. The only chains left to throw off were those on my sexuality—particularly the chains of monogamy.

The first authority I came to see as illegitimate was government, shortly after discovering Ron Paul in 2008. I stumbled upon his campaign like a rabbit hole that led me to question all of society’s rules. Soon after, I started to question my religion—Christianity. How much of it had been made up, twisted, and contrived—in collusion with the government—to support the powers that be?

Along with the fear of God, I cast off any respect for parental authority I once had. Since the punitive, authoritarian man in the clouds was no longer real to me, who was to say children should obey their parents?

[…]Then, one day, I came across an article about polyamory. One article led to another, and soon I was watching documentaries about polyamorous triads and quads. I became obsessed with the reality TV show “Polyamory: Married and Dating,” and ordered the book “Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships.”

“This is it!” I thought. I’d finally found what seemed like a desirable alternative to the wedded misery I saw all around me.

She exchanged the God of the Bible for a reality TV show about polyamory. And do you think it was because she worked through all the arguments for Christian theism? No – it was because she wanted to throw off the authority of God and her parents.

This focus on self-centeredness and personal autonomy will work for her for a while, too. It will work until she hits 40 and loses the only thing that gives her value to the men she prefers – her youth and beauty. She has not used her youth to take responsibility, accept obligations and develop the skills, work experience, assets and character traits that will make her a good wife and mother. She is headed for a disaster once her youth and beauty fades. When she is cast off for being too old, it will be too late for her to turn back and rebuild the character traits that a marriage-minded man values no matter how old a woman is. A typical man is willing to put up with self-centeredness for a beautiful, young woman, but not for one who loses that beauty and youth.

That’s why we had marriage, so that a woman learned to love a man with more than just looks and youth, and a man learned to look beyond looks and  youth, because he knew he was committing to a woman for life. Marriage (prior to no-fault divorce) was society’s answer to the fading of a woman’s youth and beauty. Since marriage was for life, men looked for more than just fun and thrills from a woman, they looked for character and ability as a wife and mother. And women responded to men by minimizing youth and beauty, and trying to cultivate skills, work experience, assets and character traits that would help her support and encourage a man in his life plan.

Supreme Court rules against EPA’s job-killing tax on electricity

Atmospheric temperature measurements though April 2015
Atmospheric temperature measurements though April 2015

If you have to pay your own electricity bill out of your own earnings, then I have some good news for you.

The Daily Signal has the story.


Today, the Supreme Court in Michigan v. EPA held that the Environmental Protection Agency improperly ignored costs when it decided to regulate hazardous air pollutants from power plants. The court, in this 5-4 opinion, struck down this extremely costly rule, known as Utility MACT or Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, which applies to power plants, the EPA administrator shall regulate if the regulation is found to be “appropriate and necessary.” According to the EPA, they didn’t have to consider cost when deciding to regulate, even though the statute specifically says that the regulation has to be “appropriate.”

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, explained, “[a]gainst the backdrop of this established administrative practice [consideration of cost], it is unreasonable to read an instruction to an administrative agency to determine whether ‘regulation is appropriate and necessary’ as an invitation to ignore costs.”

The EPA was going to ignore an astonishing amount of costs. The EPA estimated the costs to be $9.6 billion annually. This compared to benefits of $4 million to $6 million annually. As pointed out by Scalia, “[t]he costs to power plants were thus between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” As the court succinctly explained, “[n]o regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”

Unfortunately, energy prices are still going to go up, and jobs are still going to be lost as a result of previous EPA regulations.

The Stream says:

While this is a major legal win for the coal industry, it may have come too late. Power plant operators have already slated to retire 13 gigawatts of coal-fired power by the end of this year. Coal plant owners also must ready themselves to comply with upcoming ozone and greenhouse gas regulations.

Well, it’s been a rough week, but we have to take our victories where we can. A win’s a win. Hopefully, the next President will abolish the EPA and the Department of Energy entirely, so that those clowns have to get real jobs doing something useful for a change.

ADF offers advice on SCOTUS marriage redefinition ruling

States with non-discrimination laws
States with non-discrimination laws

(Source: ACLU)

Erik Stanley of the Alliance Defending Freedom offers advice to churches on how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage to remove the gender requirement.

He says:

[…][T]he greatest threat for churches lies in the application of the Court’s decision to believers who live in jurisdictions covered by so-called “non-discrimination” laws and ordinances. Everywhere that marriage has been redefined in the last several years has seen an awakening of non-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, or places of public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. These laws are peppered throughout the states and local governments and are a linchpin of the sexual revolution’s broader legal and political strategy: to establish non-discrimination laws at all levels throughout the country and to to “ensure that religion is not used as an excuse to discriminate.”

In coming days, the threat from these non-discrimination laws will materialize in numerous ways as same-sex couples marry. But there are proactive steps your church can take to protect itself.

I put the map from the ACLU above. I think that’s what he is talking about when he says non-discrimination states. Keep in mind that the ACLU supported redefining marriage, and opposes religious liberty.

Erik’s article covers 3 areas:

  1. Church’s statement of faith
  2. Pastors officiating same-sex marriage ceremonies
  3. Church’s facility usage policy

Part 3) was the most interesting to me:

3. Churches should ensure their facilities usage policies are revised to allow only uses consistent with the church’s religious beliefs.

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, some churches may be approached by same-sex couples seeking to be married in the church facility. Churches should not feel as if they have to close their doors to the community just to prevent wedding ceremonies with which they disagree. Churches must continue to be a welcoming presence in the community and can do so through updating or revising their facility usage policy. The key point is to tie usage of the church’s facility to the statement of faith and religious beliefs of the church. And then to make clear that uses inconsistent with those religious beliefs will not be allowed. Alliance Defending Freedom has a sample facilities usage policy available in our Protecting Your Ministry manual.

So you update your statement of faith, and then tie usage of the the facility to that statement of faith. Simple.

I took a quick look at the booklet, and it also talked about tying employment within the church and church membership to the statement of faith.

Denny Burk summarizes those:

2. Religious Employment Criteria

Your church can best avail itself of the First Amendment’s protection in employee disputes if you create and faithfully enforce religious employment criteria for every employee. That requires churches to do at least two things: (1) require all employees and volunteers to sign a statement affirming the church’s statement of faith and standards of conduct, and (2) create written job descriptions for every employee and volunteer position.


4. Formal Membership Policy

If your church does not have a membership policy, you need to change that. Biblically, this should already be a priority for your church. You need to specify what the requirements for membership are, how one joins, how one resigns, and the procedures for church discipline. If all of this isn’t spelled out up front, your church could be exposed (see ADF guide pp. 17-18).

So what to make of this? Well, the ADF is an organization that I admire and trust. I cannot abide Christians who do not want to understand the details of what is happening with religious liberty in their country. The ADF has first class lawyers from the top law schools, and they defend religious liberty at every level of our justice system, up to and including the Supreme Court. If you want to help your church protect itself from prosecution, then you must point them to the ADF booklet linked above.

And this is especially true if you are in one of those states in the map above. In looking over the map, I noticed that much of the trouble we have been having with Christian businesses getting sued are in states that have these laws… Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, New York, and so on. Pay attention to that map and make decisions about where to live accordingly.

Supreme Court legislates from the bench to save Obamacare, again!

Obamacare premium increases by state
Obamacare premium increases by state (click for larger image)

Ben Shapiro who is a Harvard Law grad has a good summary of Thursday’s awful Supreme Court decision.

He writes:

On Thursday, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision on Obamacare’s IRS subsidies under federal health insurance exchanges. And, as expected, the Court rewrote the statute to help President Obama’s signature law.

[…]In King v. Burwell, four citizens sued over Obamacare, alleging that they had been forced to purchase health insurance; they said that the federal health exchange set up in Virginia in absence of a state-created health exchange under Obamacare did not count as a “state exchange” for purposes of the statute, making it illegal for them to receive federal subsidies for their health insurance. Without the subsidies, they would no longer be required to purchase health insurance, since it would be too expensive.

Now, Obamacare’s language is quite clear: it states that only those who buy insurance via state-run health exchanges may receive federal subsidies. This provision was purposefully designed to incentivize states to set up their own exchanges, in order that politicians could take credit for making health insurance more widely available with the help of the federal government. When states turned down the opportunity to set up such exchanges, the scheme collapsed. Or at least it would have, had not President Obama’s IRS casually rewritten the law, and provided federal health insurance subsidies via the federal health exchanges in violation of both the letter and spirit of the law.

Basically, the Supreme Court judges interpreted “an exchange established by the State” to mean “an exchange established by the State or the Federal Government“. If you think that’s a substantial mistake, you’re right. It’s a complete fabrication, and it amounts to writing legislation on-the-fly to save Obama’s law.

Shapiro again:

Roberts utilized the following logic, direct from the insane asylum:

[W]e must determine whether a Federal Ex- change is “established by the State” for purposes of Section 36B. At the outset, it might seem that a Federal Exchange cannot fulfill this requirement. After all, the Act defines “State” to mean “each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia”—a definition that does not include the Federal Government. 42 U. S. C. §18024(d). But when read in context, “with a view to [its] place in the overall statutory scheme,” the meaning of the phrase “established by the State” is not so clear.

Then, for page after dreadful page, Roberts and the Court majority torture the statute, declaring that if it floats, state exchanges will be deemed federal exchanges, and if it sinks, federal exchanges will be declared state exchanges.

Apparently, the plain meaning of the text is not so clear to our nine black-robed oligarchs.

Ben quotes Justice Scalia’s dissent:

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so…. Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words “established by the State.” And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words “by the State” other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges.

Investors Business Daily says that Obamacare is running into financial struggles. So it’s not just that you can’t keep your doctor, you can’t keep your health plan, and you have to pay thousands more for health insurance. Now we find out that the rosy fiscal projections for the cost of the law were false.

Looks like we are going to be stuck with Obamacare until we get a Republican President. I think that as more people who get their health care through their employers start to feel the premium pain that self-employed people have already felt. That may be useful for the 2016 election, especially since Hillary has already thrown her support behind Obamacare. Maybe when people are paying double what they used to pay for half as much coverage, then they’ll understand why we do not want government involved in the health care industry.

A positive thing, should the SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision go against us

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

I am looking forward to something if the Supreme Court decides to redefine marriage to remove the complementary genders.

This USA Today article from Michael Farris, head of the HSLDA, hints at it.

He writes:

Justice Alito posed a predictable, but revealing question to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., in the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage oral argument: “In the Bob Jones case, the court held that a college was not entitled to tax exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”

Verrilli replied that he would need to know more specifics, but allowed that “it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that.”

The solicitor general’s answer should have been and probably was practiced. The question was unlikely to have surprised Verrilli, especially with the kind of preparation undertaken by the highest appellate lawyer for the United States in such high stakes situations. Such preparations would include multiple moot courts, simulated arguments with various lawyers playing the roles of each of the members of the Supreme Court trying to ask as many questions as possible.

As an appellate litigator and the coach of eight collegiate national moot court championship teams, I understand the goal of such preparation. You never want to hear a question from the bench that you have not thought about ahead of time.

Alito’s question was premised on the Bob Jones University case from 1983 in which the IRS revoked the school’s tax exempt status because of its policies on interracial dating and marriage. BJU defended on the basis of the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court rejected their defense holding that the government’s goal of eradicating racial discrimination in marriage was more important than BJU’s religious rights.

So, the follow-up question from Alito’s question is obvious: If the court rules in favor of same sex marriage, how can religious colleges that refuse to acknowledge such unions avoid BJU’s fate?

No one should think that IRS implications will stop with colleges. Religious high schools, grade schools and any other religious institution will face the same outcome. And this includes churches.

All of these entities are exempt from taxation under the same section of the IRS code. And even though churches can be exempt without application, their exemption can nonetheless be revoked.

Even if it takes the IRS years to begin the enforcement proceedings against such institutions, we can expect other fallout from this decision to begin shortly after the release of the Supreme Court’s opinion.

Colleges and universities that receive federal funding will be coerced into immediate compliance. Accreditation agencies will ratchet up their bullying of Christian institutions, as has already been done against Gordon College in Massachusetts. Threats to accreditation are fatal. Colleges may not legally operate in several stateswithout it.

Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared. We must decide which is more important to us — our tax exemption or our religious convictions. Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don’t care if gifts are deductible.

A slogan of the American Revolution, “We have no King but Jesus” may well be overturned by a 5 to 4 decision of the Supreme Court near the end of June.

Now here’s what I want to see.

I have spent a lot of my life in church, youth groups, campus Christian groups (not talking about Ratio Christi of course) and around happy-clappy Christians who focused on feelings and being accepted. In my current church, issues like abortion and same-sex marriage have never been discussed, much less economics and foreign policy. The leaders of the church are very pious Calvinists who struggle with the idea that they should discuss anything. It probably has something to do with losing the money they get from having a tax-exempt status, but they couch it in piety when they explain to us why we are getting a gospel sermon for the millionth time in a row.

Well, now. I think that if we lose this same-sex marriage case in the Supreme Court, one of the wonderful things that will happen is that these pious churchy ministers will at last be confronted with the mistake they made by giving away the culture to the secularists. At last, all the decades of anti-intellectualism and feminization will hit them right where it hurts – in their pocketbooks. And there will be no denying that they made a terrible mistake in trying to make church solely about praise hymns, devotions and Bible study then. There is a price to pay for focusing on good feelings and comfort, and the churchy pastors are about to find out what it is.

Maybe the Sunday after the decision, the pastors in my church might actually talk to us about the good secular arguments and sociological evidence that there is in favor of traditional marriage. Hey, we might even get a sermon on the evils of divorce, with more arguments and evidence to support the Bible’s position on that issue. Maybe even a sermon on the sexual revolution and premarital sex, that pairs what the Bible teaches with secular arguments and secular evidence that can be used by the flock to make an impact with non-Christians in the culture. Money has a wonderful way of focusing the minds of the most pious of pastors.