Tag Archives: Judges

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds marriage amendments in four states

GOOD NEWS! Ryan T. Anderson writes about it in The Daily Signal. (H/T WGB)

Excerpt:

Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled lower court decisions that had struck down state laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The 6th Circuit Court ruled that constitutional amendments passed by popular vote in Michigan (2.7 million votes), Kentucky (1.2 million), Ohio (3.3 million) and Tennessee (1.4 million) do not violate the U.S. Constitution. Citizens remain free to define marriage as a male-female institution.

Today’s decision helpfully explained why these laws are constitutional, why it is reasonable for citizens to support such laws, and why arguments for court-imposed redefinition of marriage do not succeed. It also sets the stage for marriage to return to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is a beautiful decision. It does NOT tell the people in the states what marriage is or is not. It simply says that the people in the states have to decide – NOT a handful of judges.

Look:

As the 6th Circuit decision helpfully notes, at issue in these cases is “whether to allow the democratic processes begun in the States to continue in the four States of the Sixth Circuit or to end them now by requiring all States in the Circuit” to redefine marriage. The court ruled that the democratic process should continue:

Our judicial commissions did not come with such a sweeping grant of authority, one that would allow just three of us—just two of us in truth—to make such a vital policy call for the 32 million citizens who live within the four states of the Sixth Circuit.

[…]A dose of humility makes us hesitant to condemn as unconstitutionally irrational a view of marriage shared not long ago by every society in the world, shared by most, if not all, of our ancestors, and shared still today by a significant number of the states.

Look what Ryan writes at the end:

Today’s decision pointed out that in our system of government, a change to marriage, if it should come, should occur “through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”

Indeed, “When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers.”

[…]Ultimately, the 6th Circuit ruled that it would not usurp the authority of the American people to discuss, debate and make marriage policy. The ruling argued that change could come in one of two ways: through a judicial usurpation of politics or through the political process. And the court rightly refused to take the former course. It would leave to the people the question of whether to take the latter.

The court argued that it “is dangerous and demeaning to the citizenry to assume that we, and only we, can fairly understand the arguments for and against gay marriage.” No, judges alone should not have this discussion—all Americans should.

We are so often bombarded with the arrogance of judges imposing laws on us from the bench, that it is amazing when we actually hear a judge doing what judges are supposed to do – interpret the laws passed by the representatives of the people. When you hear Republicans like George W. Bush talk about “strict constructionist” judges, these are the judges he means – interpreters of the law. When you hear the Democrats like Barack Obama talk about “the Constitution is a living document”, they mean that judges make the law – not the people. We need to elect a President who believes that judges are not superior to the people’s representatives.

I recommend printing out and reading the entire article. It’s very good. It assesses the reasons for a state to define marriage, explains the concept of federalism, and assesses common objections to natural marriage. It’s good for us to know how these arguments are used so we can talk about it.

You can also read the press release from Liberty Counsel, the law firm that argued the case for marriage.

UPDATE: More on the decision from Ed Whelan of National Review.

Mitt Romney raised taxes by $740 million while he was governor of Massachusetts

Deroy Murdock explains in this Scripps Howard News Service article.

Excerpt:

Hot on the heels of his eight-vote Iowa-caucus landslide, Willard Mitt Romney is crisscrossing New Hampshire before Tuesday’s key primary. Romney is masquerading as a limited-government, free-market executive from next-door Massachusetts. From the Golden Gate to the Granite State, voters should greet Romney’s impersonation with a quarry full of skepticism.

In fact, Romney increased taxes by $309 million, mainly on corporations. These tax hikes, described by Romney apologists as “loophole closures,” totaled $128 million in 2003, $95.5 in 2004, and $85 million in 2005. That final year, Romney proposed $170 million in higher business taxes, the Boston Globe reports. However, the Bay State’s liberal, Democratic legislature balked and only approved an $85 million increase.

“Tax rates on many corporations almost doubled because of legislation supported by Romney,” Boston Science Corporation chairman Peter Nicholas explained in the January 6, 2008 Boston Herald. Also, Romney raised the tax on subchapter S corporations owned by business trusts from 5.3 percent to 9.9 percent — an 85 percent hike.

“Romney went further than any other governor in trying to wring money out of corporations,” the Council on State Taxation’s Joseph Crosby complained.

Romney also created or increased fees by $432 million. He was not dragooned into this by greedy Democratic lawmakers; Romney himself proposed these items. In 2003 alone, Romney concocted or boosted 88 fees. Romney charged more for marriage licenses (from $6 to $12), gun registrations (from $25 to $75), a used-car sales tax ($10 million), gasoline deliveries ($60 million), real-estate transfers ($175 million), and more. Particularly obnoxious was Romney’s $10 fee per Certificate of Blindness. Romney also billed blind people $15 each for discount-travel ID cards.

While Romney can take credit for a $275 million capital-gains tax rebate, property-tax relief for seniors, and a two-day, tax-free shopping holiday, he also must take responsibility for signing $740.5 million in higher taxes, plus that $85 million in business taxes that he requested and legislators rejected.

“Romney did not even fight higher death-tax rates,” notes former California State Assembly Minority Whip Steve Baldwin, a Romney critic. “When the (Massachusetts) legislature considered this issue, Romney’s official position was ‘no position.’ This echoed Barack Obama’s ‘present’ votes in the Illinois State Senate.”

As Romney drained his constituents’ pockets, the Public Policy Institute of New York’s Cost of Doing Business Index rated Massachusetts in 2006 as America’s fourth costliest state in which to practice free enterprise. The Tax Foundation dropped Massachusetts from America’s 29th most business-friendly state to No. 36. The Tax Foundation also calculated that, under Romney, Massachusetts’ per-capita tax burden increased from 9.3 percent to 9.9 percent. In real dollars, the Romney-era per-capita tax burden grew by $1,175.71.

As if impoverishing his own taxpayers were not bad enough, Romney’s March 5, 2003 signature raised taxes on non-residents retroactive to that January 1. Perpetrating taxation without representation, Romney’s law declared that, “gross income derived from… any trade or business, including any employment,” would be taxable, “regardless of the taxpayer’s residence or domicile in the year it is received.”

Consequently, according to data furnished by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, between 2002 and 2006, New Hampshire residents who work or do business in the Bay State shipped Massachusetts $95 million above what they paid when Romney arrived. The average tax paid by New Hampshirities to Massachusetts grew by 19.1 percent, from $2,392 in 2002 to $2,850 in 2006.

Romney has a pro-abortion record and pro-gay-marriage record. Not only did he pass Romneycare in Massachusetts, but now we know that he also raised taxes. Why is he running as a Republican? I don’t see anything in his record that would cause me to believe that he is a Republican.

You can see Mitt Romney explaining all of his liberal views in his own words in these videos.

Mitt Romney raised taxes by $740 million while he was governor of Massachusetts

Deroy Murdock explains in this Scripps Howard News Service article.

Excerpt:

Hot on the heels of his eight-vote Iowa-caucus landslide, Willard Mitt Romney is crisscrossing New Hampshire before Tuesday’s key primary. Romney is masquerading as a limited-government, free-market executive from next-door Massachusetts. From the Golden Gate to the Granite State, voters should greet Romney’s impersonation with a quarry full of skepticism.

In fact, Romney increased taxes by $309 million, mainly on corporations. These tax hikes, described by Romney apologists as “loophole closures,” totaled $128 million in 2003, $95.5 in 2004, and $85 million in 2005. That final year, Romney proposed $170 million in higher business taxes, the Boston Globe reports. However, the Bay State’s liberal, Democratic legislature balked and only approved an $85 million increase.

“Tax rates on many corporations almost doubled because of legislation supported by Romney,” Boston Science Corporation chairman Peter Nicholas explained in the January 6, 2008 Boston Herald. Also, Romney raised the tax on subchapter S corporations owned by business trusts from 5.3 percent to 9.9 percent — an 85 percent hike.

“Romney went further than any other governor in trying to wring money out of corporations,” the Council on State Taxation’s Joseph Crosby complained.

Romney also created or increased fees by $432 million. He was not dragooned into this by greedy Democratic lawmakers; Romney himself proposed these items. In 2003 alone, Romney concocted or boosted 88 fees. Romney charged more for marriage licenses (from $6 to $12), gun registrations (from $25 to $75), a used-car sales tax ($10 million), gasoline deliveries ($60 million), real-estate transfers ($175 million), and more. Particularly obnoxious was Romney’s $10 fee per Certificate of Blindness. Romney also billed blind people $15 each for discount-travel ID cards.

While Romney can take credit for a $275 million capital-gains tax rebate, property-tax relief for seniors, and a two-day, tax-free shopping holiday, he also must take responsibility for signing $740.5 million in higher taxes, plus that $85 million in business taxes that he requested and legislators rejected.

“Romney did not even fight higher death-tax rates,” notes former California State Assembly Minority Whip Steve Baldwin, a Romney critic. “When the (Massachusetts) legislature considered this issue, Romney’s official position was ‘no position.’ This echoed Barack Obama’s ‘present’ votes in the Illinois State Senate.”

As Romney drained his constituents’ pockets, the Public Policy Institute of New York’s Cost of Doing Business Index rated Massachusetts in 2006 as America’s fourth costliest state in which to practice free enterprise. The Tax Foundation dropped Massachusetts from America’s 29th most business-friendly state to No. 36. The Tax Foundation also calculated that, under Romney, Massachusetts’ per-capita tax burden increased from 9.3 percent to 9.9 percent. In real dollars, the Romney-era per-capita tax burden grew by $1,175.71.

As if impoverishing his own taxpayers were not bad enough, Romney’s March 5, 2003 signature raised taxes on non-residents retroactive to that January 1. Perpetrating taxation without representation, Romney’s law declared that, “gross income derived from… any trade or business, including any employment,” would be taxable, “regardless of the taxpayer’s residence or domicile in the year it is received.”

Consequently, according to data furnished by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, between 2002 and 2006, New Hampshire residents who work or do business in the Bay State shipped Massachusetts $95 million above what they paid when Romney arrived. The average tax paid by New Hampshirities to Massachusetts grew by 19.1 percent, from $2,392 in 2002 to $2,850 in 2006.

Romney has a pro-abortion record and pro-gay-marriage record. Not only did he pass Romneycare in Massachusetts, but now we know that he also raised taxes. Why is he running as a Republican? I don’t see anything in his record that would cause me to believe that he is a Republican.

You can see Mitt Romney explaining all of his liberal views in his own words in these videos.

Mitt Romney

Fascism: Canadian Supreme Court overturns right to religious liberty

Map of Canadian Provinces
Map of Canadian Provinces

UPDATE: Please vote “no” in this poll if you think tthat the Supreme Court is wrong.

Life Site News announces the death of religious liberty in Canada.

Excerpt:

In what’s sure to come down as a devastating blow to parental freedom, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously rejected this morning the pleas of a Christian family to have their child exempted from the Quebec government’s mandatory ethics and religious culture course.

“Exposing children to a comprehensive presentation of various religions without forcing the children to join them does not constitute an indoctrination of students that would infringe the freedom of religion of L and J,” the justices wrote in the majority decision.

The high court’s ruling, released at 9:45 Friday morning, comes in the case of S.L. et al. v. Commission scolare des Chênes et al., which involved a Catholic family who took their school board to court after it refused to grant their child an exemption from the province’s controversial ethics and religious culture course (ERC).

The course, which seeks to present the spectrum of world religions and lifestyle choices from a “neutral” stance, was introduced by the province in 2008 and has been widely criticized by the religious and a-religious alike. Moral conservatives and people of faith have criticized its relativistic approach to moral issues, teaching even at the earliest grades, for instance, that homosexuality is a normal choice for family life.

Despite provincial legislation allowing for exemptions from school curriculum, the Ministry of Education has turned down over 1,700 requests, and had even moved to impose the course on private schools and homeschoolers.

Critics warned that a ruling against the family would have frightening consequences for parental authority and risked emboldening provincial governments across the country as they move to impose their own versions of “diversity” education.

To me, what this means is that in Canada, the state decides what children will believe, not the parents. The state will tax parents in order to pay for government workers and government programs. And the state will use these government entities to make the children believe in the state’s values.

What is ironic to me is that Canadians likely voted to grow government. There are a lot of people in Canada who think that it is a good thing for government to help the poor. Many, many economically illiterate Christians also voted to grow the size of government over the last few decades. They voted to empty their own pockets by raising tax rates. They voted to entrust secular leftist bureaucrats with more and more power. They voted to let the state educate their children with public schools and government-run day care. They voted to let government provide health care instead of letting individuals earn and save to pay for it themselves. They voted for taxes that are so high that women cannot afford to stay at home and homeschool their children – they have to work and hand their children off to strangers.

It is very important for Christians to understand that if they believe that it is government’s job to redistribute wealth from rich to poor, then they voted for this. If you believe in “social justice” then you are opposed to religious liberty – and the free practice of Christianity itself. Many, many Christians who don’t study economics and don’t get their economic views from the Bible think that it is a good thing to vote for bigger and bigger government funded by higher and higher taxes. Christians in Canada seem to be proud of their self-inflicted secularism. They think that taxpayer-funded abortions and taxpayer-funded sex changes are a great idea – because “health care is a right”.  They think that taxpayer-funded abortion and taxpayer-funded sex changes are authentic Christianity, supported by the Bible.

I have had Christians in Ontario tell me on Facebook that they are pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family but that they favor allowing a secular government to force all taxpayers to pay for abortions and sex changes. That is what Canadian Christianity amounts to, in many cases – because they don’t understand economics, and what economic policies promote and secure rights – including the right to religious liberty. The right to religious liberty is only guaranteed when government is limited and the free enterprise system is strong. We need to stop deciding our views of politics and economics based on feelings and peer pressure and the desire to appear “compassionate”. We need to ask what the Bible says, and study economics in order to find out what guarantees the liberty we need to live out authentic Christian lives.

I think it’s time for Christians in Canada to get serious about applying the Bible to all of life – including economics.

Mitt Romney’s tax returns would make him lose the election to Obama

Wall Street Banks contributions to Mitt Romney
Wall Street banks make huge contributions to Mitt Romney

From The Hill. (H/T Riehl Worldview)

Excerpt:

It’s important not to overstate the perils Romney faces. He is still by far the best-funded candidate in the race. He has a state-by-state infrastructure that is the envy of his rivals. Even if he were to lose Saturday’s South Carolina primary, he would  likely remain the overall favorite to clinch the nomination.

But the procession of errors has been striking nonetheless — and it has raised concerns among many in the GOP about his vulnerabilities in a general election contest with President Obama.

Most of Romney’s awkwardness has revolved around questions about his wealth. During a heated exchange during a debate last month, he ill-advisedly offered to bet Perry $10,000 that his own account of what he had written in one of his books was correct. Perry declined, saying he was “not in the betting business,” but the episode heightened perceptions that Romney is out of touch with most Americans.

The same pattern keeps cropping up. Earlier this week, he was asked about the effective tax rate he pays on his income, and managed to injure himself twice in the space of a few sentences. First, he acknowledged that his tax rate was “probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything.” He then added: “I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.”

The first claim was almost certainly true. Romney’s income is believed to come chiefly from long-term investments rather than earned income, and that would indeed make him liable for capital gains tax levied at a 15 percent rate. But it still places the multimillionaire in a more lightly taxed band than many voters — something which Newt Gingrich tried to take advantage of with his mocking proposal to introduce a “Mitt Romney 15 percent flat tax.”

Perhaps even worse was Romney’s “not very much” comment. His latest financial disclosure form, which covered the period from February 2010 to February 2011, revealed that he earned $374,327 for speeches. The sum is approximately seven times the median household income in the United States.

Those remarks had been preceded by a televised debate at which he gave a muddled response about whether he would release his tax returns.

Romney flubbed the tax-return question for a second time at a debate last Thursday, eliciting boos from the crowd when he said he would “maybe” follow the example of his late father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, who released 12 years of tax returns when running for the presidency in 1968.

Romney’s mangled syntax on these occasions seems symptomatic of a wider personal unease in discussing his finances. GOP consultants say he needs to get over that discomfort if he is to prove an effective candidate.

Another concern that I have is that Mitt Romney has $20-100 million dollars in his retirement account.

Excerpt:

Like many Americans, Mitt Romney has an individual retirement account. Unlike most Americans, Mr. Romney has between $20.7 million and $101.6 million in it, a big chunk of his fortune.

Experts on estate planning said it is highly unusual to accumulate such a considerable sum in an IRA, an investment vehicle restricted by annual contribution limits. It appears that Mr. Romney’s grew so large mostly because it holds investments in Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he helped start.

[…]Mr. Romney is one of the richest presidential candidates in decades, and his GOP opponents increasingly are trying to turn wealth into a liability. President Barack Obama is expected to do the same if the former Massachusetts governor wraps up the nomination. Mr. Romney’s tax liability has emerged as a debating point in the GOP nominating contest, a proxy for a bigger argument over who should shoulder the nation’s tax burden.

In recent days, Mr. Romney’s rivals have pressed him to release his tax returns. They have attacked him for his role at Bain Capital, the source of his wealth. When Mr. Romney revealed Tuesday that his effective federal income-tax rate had been about 15% in recent years, both the White House and GOP candidates used the number as a cudgel.

[…]Michael Whitty, a lawyer at Vedder Price in Chicago who advises private-equity executives, said it is impossible to determine from Mr. Romney’s public disclosures how the IRA grew so large. Based on its listed holdings, which include many Bain Capital vehicles, Mr. Whitty theorizes Mr. Romney may have invested in Bain funds through a 401(k)-type plan, or directed some of his Bain holdings into such a plan, which he then rolled into an IRA.

How is he going to explain that? This might be one of the reasons why Romney is not releasing his tax returns. He needs to be pounded on this by Gingrich and Santorum until he drops out – we can’t afford to choose a nominee who has no hope of beating Barack Obama.

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