The TRUTH About HR 973 & Gay Rights

Posted on April 1, 2011


    UPDATED July 7, 2011 for further clarity:

    All of these (63) Republicans (list from GovTrack) are affirming that they are against Gay Rights and Children’s Rights by supporting this bill.

    Do not support them if you like your right to privacy or your children’s right to be heard on issues concerning their welfare… HOWEVER, if you prefer a religious police state… sure then, these are your girls/guys:

    Spencer Bachus [R-AL6]
    Lou Barletta [R-PA11]
    Diane Black [R-TN6]
    Marsha Blackburn [R-TN7]
    Mo Brooks [R-AL5]
    Ann Marie Buerkle [R-NY25]
    Dan Burton [R-IN5]
    Ken Calvert [R-CA44]
    John Carter [R-TX31]
    Jason Chaffetz [R-UT3]
    Howard Coble [R-NC6]
    Mike Coffman [R-CO6]
    Tom Cole [R-OK4]
    Jeff Duncan [R-SC3]
    John Duncan [R-TN2]
    Renee Ellmers [R-NC2]
    Chuck Fleischmann [R-TN3]
    Bill Flores [R-TX17]
    Randy Forbes [R-VA4]
    Jeffrey Fortenberry [R-NE1]
    Elton Gallegly [R-CA24]
    Scott Garrett [R-NJ5]
    John Gingrey [R-GA11]
    Louis Gohmert [R-TX1]
    Robert Goodlatte [R-VA6]
    Walter Herger [R-CA2]
    Tim Huelskamp [R-KS1]
    Darrell Issa [R-CA49]
    Walter Jones [R-NC3]
    Steve King [R-IA5]
    Jack Kingston [R-GA1]
    Doug Lamborn [R-CO5]
    Robert Latta [R-OH5]
    Daniel Lungren [R-CA3]
    Donald Manzullo [R-IL16]
    Thomas Marino [R-PA10]
    Tom McClintock [R-CA4]
    Thaddeus McCotter [R-MI11]
    Howard McKeon [R-CA25]
    David McKinley [R-WV1]
    Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-WA5]
    Candice Miller [R-MI10]
    Jeff Miller [R-FL1]
    Randy Neugebauer [R-TX19]
    Richard Nugent [R-FL5]
    Ronald Paul [R-TX14]
    Mike Pence [R-IN6]
    Joseph Pitts [R-PA16]
    Bill Posey [R-FL15]
    Tom Reed [R-NY29]
    Scott Rigell [R-VA2]
    Phil Roe [R-TN1]
    Thomas Rooney [R-FL16]
    Dennis Ross [R-FL12]
    Jean Schmidt [R-OH2]
    James Sensenbrenner [R-WI5]
    Marlin Stutzman [R-IN3]
    Timothy Walberg [R-MI7]
    Lynn Westmoreland [R-GA3]
    Addison Wilson [R-SC2]
    Frank Wolf [R-VA10]
    Bill Young [R-FL10]

    Please see the post HR 973: An Attack on Childrens Rights from the Far Right for more information on how this bill could potentially effect children’s rights.

    UPDATED April 17th FOR CLARITY**********************

    Have people been warning you about Sharia Law and its implication on the the US Justice system. Don’t worry, that’s not how it works. The amendment they want you to get behind has nothing to do with it, since there is and never will be a constitution that reads: “If a person is Muslim, they can throw rocks at you / others, because its Sharia Law.”

    Here’s what you really need to know:

    HR 973 is a bill being pushed through Congress by Representative Sandy Adams to change the wording in Title 28 of the US Constitution adding:

    Chapter 183 – Use of Foreign Law In Federal Courts

    Sec. 4201. Limitation on use of foreign law in Federal courts

    `In any court created by or under article III of the Constitution of the United States, no justice, judge, or other judicial official shall decide any issue in a case before that court in whole or in part on the authority of foreign law, except to the extent the Constitution or an Act of Congress requires the consideration of that foreign law.’

    What does this have to do with gay rights?

    That wording could have a retroactive effect on 3 federal court rulings including:

    …a landmark decision in Lawrence v. Texas, holding that states cannot criminalize the consensual homosexual relations of adults in the privacy of the home… and Roper v. Simmons when the Court abolished the juvenile death penalty in the United States.

    These two recent Supreme Court decisions fuel a long-waged battle over the status of foreign and international law in interpreting the Constitution. Lawrence and Roper may usher in a mode of constitutional jurisprudence more cognizant of a “world increasingly united by globalization, democratization and the spread of universal human rights.”

    Ms. Adams herself notes the Lawrence case in her appeal to have this bill passed… referring to it as if it were an abomination of the Constitution to allow citizens privacy. Here is her appeal:

    Imagine waking up one Sunday morning and reading the headline in your local newspaper: “Supreme Court rules that the press can’t question the president,” and imagine that their ruling cited international case law from nations like China or Cuba, where it is illegal to question the word of the executive branch. While this idea may seem far-fetched, it is a daunting possibility.

    Foreign law poses a very real threat to the American judicial system. In recent years, Supreme Court justices have allowed foreign and international law to permeate our court systems, interjecting it into their rulings and creating an environment of disregard for national sovereignty. Our Constitution laid the foundation for our nation’s judicial system, and referencing or using foreign law in American courts will lead to its erosion. Each case that sites foreign law is another opportunity to set precedent and for the Constitution to be challenged or overrun.

    That is why I have introduced legislation to protect our Constitution and federal court systems from this type of practice. My two-page bill, H.R. 973, simply states that “in any court created by or under Article III of the Constitution of the United States, no justice, judge, or other judicial official shall decide any issue in a case before that court in whole or in part on the authority of foreign law, except to the extent the Constitution or an Act of Congress requires the consideration of that foreign law.”

    Not only is using international precedent a transparent disregard for the Constitution, but it could be used to advance a judge’s personal political agenda over the best interests of the nation. Judges have a responsibility to interpret the laws of the land, not legislate from the bench, and the practice of referring to foreign law puts their underlying motives into question. There are three particular Supreme Court cases where judges have cited foreign and international precedent: Lawrence v. Texas, where the court overturned state anti-sodomy statutes; Atkins v. Virginia, where the court held against the execution of mentally retarded capital defendants; and Roper v. Simmons, where the court outlawed application of the death penalty to offenders who were under 18 when their crimes were committed. International and foreign laws were cited in all three cases by our Supreme Court justices in reaching their decisions, setting precedent for future rulings.

    This disconcerting trend has gained traction across the country, sparking national concern. Currently there are over a dozen states that have introduced legislation banning foreign law on the state level — including the state I represent, Florida. Furthermore, the issue is of such concern that questions about it have become a fixture of the confirmation process for Supreme Court justices. In her 2010 confirmation hearing, Elena Kagan was questioned by Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, who asked if she thought international law should factor into a federal court’s decision-making process. She confirmed that she did, stating: “I think it depends. There are some cases in which the citation of foreign law, or international law, might be appropriate.”

    This kind of practice begs the question: Are we going to allow our court systems to dictate our policymaking process based off of foreign sources or are we going to go through the proper channels prescribed by our Constitution? We must remember that we have an American judicial system in place for a reason; it is based off of our country’s rich history and it is intentionally unique to our great nation. As we move forward as a country, we must work to protect it.

    Rep. Sandy Adams represents Florida’s 24th Congressional District.

    Apparently this bill is being pushed by super-conservative Deiner Consultants through the Conservative Action Alerts newsletters and blogs that go out to right leaning constituents to get support for conservative causes. Now, if this were being pushed to constituents as a bill to abolish gay rights or reinstate the juvenile death penalty, I would not be quite as concerned since such appeals would be difficult to find support for. Unfortunately, it is being posed to constituents as:

    Defense against Muslims consideration of Sharia law in the United States Judicial System:

    “We must get behind this bill with every effort we can muster up. Our entire judicial system is at stake here. Shortly, Sharia Law may be accepted in YOUR courtroom. Already, several U.S. towns have accepted the use of Sharia Law in their courts! This is outrageous. “

    The most concise answer I’ve found on the effect of Sharia Law on the US Constitution:

    The truth? Sharia is religious law, and no religious law can be imposed on the US without amending the Constitution — twice — to repeal both the opening clause of the First Amendment, and the Supremacy Clause in Article 6.

    One interesting part of the wording of the amendment that sort of clues you in immediately to the fact that this is mostly a game:

    except to the extent the Constitution or an Act of Congress requires the consideration of that foreign law.

    Meaning, that though Judges will not be able to cite it, and past occurrences of such would be reevaluated, if the Constitution (which was basically a brand new document completely inspired by various foreign laws and precedents) warrants use of foreign law, or if Congress cites it, then it would be just fine. It’s basically only targeting the Judicial Branch. Or shifting powers.

    A Look at Sandy Adams

    Recent news about Rep. Adams:

    Rep. Sandy Adams still takes public health care while pushing for repeal of health reform

    Ms. Adams, low on cash, has not run a single campaign commercial. But a host of outside groups have swept in to swamp Ms. Kosmas with attack ads, helping establish Ms. Adams as the favorite without her having to spend on television.

    It would be easy to assume that Rep. Adams is being indirectly financially supported by the same people supporting this bill:

    Conservative Action Alerts (run by Diener Consultants, ie. Phillip Sheldon – guy who sold names of folks who donated to Terri Schiavo’s cause). This guy is also affiliated with Alan Keyes and William Greene (The Declaration Alliance) i.e. spreaders of misinformation.

    And just an FYI on these guys, apparently, they have been lining their pockets with this stuff for years.

    I’d encourage the reading of this post from April 16th by Reinbach’s Observer that states it pretty clearly but also goes into more particulars of the legal system than mine does:

    Sharia Law: Right-Wing Boogyman