Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The System Isn't Working ...

Recently, Judge Robin Cauthron of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma granted a temporary injunction halting enforcement of key provisions of House Bill 1804 stating that opponents of HB 1804 stood a strong likelihood of success in their lawsuit challenging the popular legislation's constitutionality. Ironically, this was done in the same week that President George Bush issued an executive order calling for almost identical provisions for Federal contractors.

And, Oklahoma's Defense of Marriage Act and Constitutional Amendment, passed by seventy six percent of Oklahomans, has been under legal attack since its passage. These legal challenges continue despite the fact that the language of Oklahoma's DOMA very closely tracks similar federal legislation which has been held constitutional to date.

You have to ask yourself at some point, why bother? Oklahoma voters can spend vast amounts of time and money electing good legislators. They can then spend even more time and money shepherding good bills through the legislature. But, that is not the end of the story. If the money and legal talent is not available to support the inevitable legal challenges to that legislation then all of the time and money has been wasted. Make no mistake, powerful political and business forces are at work to defeat H.B. 1804. Powerful social and political forces are at work to defeat Oklahoma's DOMA. They are both literally pouring money into very powerful law firms to achieve their goals. And, they are winning.

And, not to be outdone by the courts, Governor Brad Henry vetoed Rep. Sally Kern's legislation which would have codified into Oklahoma state law U.S. constitutional protections for religious students in public schools. This legislation, patterned after successful litigation in Texas, was designed to prevent unnecessary litigation on religious rights issues that have already been decided by the Federal courts.

Inexplicably, Henry vetoed the bill on the grounds that it would cause more litigation rather than prevent it. What Henry's veto actually did was assure that every Oklahoma case would have to be litigated for a Christian student to exercise civil rights already granted to them by the U.S. Constitution and existing federal court decisions. But, (1) there are few Christian civil rights attorneys and no Christian civil rights firms in Oklahoma; (2) the expenses of civil rights litigation are out of reach for almost all Oklahoma citizens; and (3) the costs of travel, long travel times and poor airline connections make Oklahoma an unattractive venue for this type of suit by national Christian civil rights firms who work pro-bono. And, on the other side of the fence, the ACLU, the organization usually responsible for threats of litigation against a school district should a Christian decide to speak up there, has just secured a new funding package in excess of two hundred million dollars, much of it to be spent on cases just like this. So, what Governor Henry actually did was ensure that the liberal, ACLU interpretation of the First Amendment will be followed in Oklahoma regardless of court decisions to the contrary and thus enact a defacto denial of existing constitutional rights to religious public school students.

As of this moment, June 10, 2008, it is totally facetious to expect that any act of the Oklahoma legislature will actually become law if it is found offensive by liberal political or large corporate commercial interests. These people know how to work the system as it actually exists. The political system as we know it isn't working for conservative causes. It's time for conservatives to recognize that fact and start acting accordingly.


Postcript: From the Family Research Council, June 11, 2008:

The heartland is poised to get some religious heartburn, courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and mega-donor George Soros. The organization best known for suing its way to Christian suppression has its eyes on some prime conservative real estate in its $335 million local expansion. Knowing that the biggest battles may soon be fought on the smallest scales, these agents of social injustice plan to "build a civil liberties infrastructure in the middle of the country," bringing with it a radical agenda of homosexual rights, unlimited abortion, the extinction of the traditional family, and secularism. Hoping to add new offices in the battleground states of Michigan, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, and Tennessee, the ACLU has already raised the majority of the funding needed to accomplish its national campaign. With overflowing bank accounts, taxpayer dollars from attorney fees in Establishment Clause cases, and offices in key red states, the ACLU will be a formidable force. The organization's executive director, Anthony Romero, wasn't coy about the far Left's intent. "If Republicans lose control of Congress and the White House, we can be sure the religious right will be much more active on the state level--our work will be critical there." By "our work," Romero must have been referring to the ACLU's efforts to persecute Christians and bully Americans into abandoning their moral beliefs. Now that Soros aims on bringing legal intimidation to our backyards, it is vital that we respond by stepping up our efforts. As the ACLU goes on the prowl in your state, please consider how you can help FRC fight back. To protect your hometown from the ACLU's family and faith onslaught, donate today at www.frc.org.


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