The Richmond Federalist Society and the University of Richmond Law Students for Life are sponsoring a debate at noon on Title X funding, October 21, at the University of Richmond School of Law. The debate participants are William Saunders, senior vice president of legal affairs and lead counsel for Americans United for Life, and Stephanie Toti, staff attorney for the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Ms. Toti argued against Virginia’s partial birth abortion law in front of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals during that drawn out, two-year process. There’s less doubt as to Mr. Saunders’ position. The two should provide for an engaging give and take, to say the least. To RSVP, or for more information, please contact Carl Tate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posts Tagged ‘u.s. 4th circuit court of appeals’
A couple of weeks ago, we explained why the vote of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Virginia’s ban on partial birth abortion was so close (read here). It was a 6-5 vote from what is — or was — considered the most constitutionally sound appeals court in the country. Former President George W. Bush mismanaged his appointments to the court and was outmaneuvered by Senate liberals, not to mention sabotaged by “moderate” Republicans.
Those who prayed for the just outcome of the court on the partial birth ban might not know how truly their prayers were answered: Only a few weeks after the ruling was handed down, Chief Judge Karen Williams, who voted in the majority in that decision, has resigned from the court because of health problems brought on by the early stages of Alzheimer’s (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). Now we need to pray again, for what surely will be her mountainous struggle.
As sad as this development is for Judge Williams, it is a fact of life that her seat must be filled — along with the four vacancies Mr. Bush failed to fill. With those four, President Barack Obama already had the opportunity of a lifetime to completely flip one of the nation’s most important courts (one level below the Supreme Court). Now, with a super majority in the Senate and five vacancies, a 6-5 conservative majority could very well become a 10-5 liberal domination for several years to come.
There was barely enough time yesterday to post Thursday’s News Stand, so I omitted the commentary. However, a few of the articles merit mention and further comment.
Foremost was the Richmond Times-Dispatch article that quoted our president, Victoria Cobb, about the incredibly important ruling from the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld Virginia’s law banning partial birth infanticide. The Washington Post and Daily Press also reported on this most significant judicial decision.
The court’s 6-5 vote puts into focus the maxim that elections matter. The 4th Circuit once was the country’s most reliably conservative (i.e., constitutionally sound) court. But a retirement or two, a feel good appointment of liberal Judge Roger Gregory by President George W. Bush in the first days of his presidency (when he was all about “reaching out”) — and enthusiastically supported by then-Senator George Allen — followed by his inability to overcome a liberal Senate blockade of subsequent appointments, has made for a closely divided court. Think President Obama will nominate a conservative to this court? Not a chance — and he will have plenty of them. The court has a few vacancies.
The one confirmation to the 4th Circuit won by President Bush was that of Judge Steven Agee. A former delegate and Virginia Supreme Court Justice, who once ran for the Republican nomination for attorney general as a “moderate,” he was a compromise choice of Democrat Senator Jim Webb and President Bush after his original choices were shot down by the new Democrat majority in 2007. Thankfully, Judge Agee voted in the majority.
Majority: Judge Niemeyer, who wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Williams and Judges Wilkinson, Shedd, Duncan, and Agee joined. Judge Wilkinson wrote a separate concurring opinion (see exerpt here).
Minority: Judge Michael, who wrote the dissent, in which Judges Motz, Traxler, King, and Gregory joined.
In other news, a political shocker: Delegate Kristin Amundson (D-44, Fairfax) surprised everyone with a post-re-nomination withdrawal. Even though the 44th usually goes blue, Republican Jay McConnville is proving to be a solid candidate. Furthermore, a lefty independent is in the mix. With its success in recent Northern Virginia special elections, could this be a surprise GOP pickup?
Finally, the Washington Post, of all papers, has followed up on Republican complaints about Governor Tim Kaine’s lack of travel and expenses transparency while working his second job as Democrat National Committee Chairman. While he initially said he would only perform those duties on nights and weekends, the Post uncovered that seven of nine days he has travelled, and reported, are weekdays. The governor also previously said anyone who wants to know where he’s been only has to ask. People have, through FOIA requests, and no answers are forthcoming. Also, he now says the DNC will pick up the costs of his security detail. But why were we taxpayers ever paying for these political trips?
Statement From The Virginia Society For Human Life On The 4th Circuit’s Upholding Of Virginia’s Partial Birth Abortion Ban
OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF THE VIRGINIA SOCIETY FOR HUMAN LIFE ON THE RULING BY THE 4TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS UPHOLDING VIRGINIA’S LAW BANNING PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION
The Virginia Society for Human Life applauds the decision of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today which upheld by a vote of 6 to 5 Virginia’s Partial Birth Infanticide Ban. This vital piece of pro-life legislation protects the lives of unborn children from the gruesome procedure known as “partial birth abortion.” During such an abortion a living late term unborn baby is partially removed from his/her mother’s womb and the skull is punctured allowing the baby’s brains to be sucked out.
The procedure also puts the baby’s mother at grave risk of future complications both physical and psychological. It is a clear victory for the lives of babies and their mothers in Virginia that the Court has upheld this reasonable and important law.
“There is no doubt that the Virginia’s Partial Birth Abortion Infanticide Ban will save the lives of hundreds of Virginia babies from this horrible and violent procedure. The mothers of these children deserve medical care that respect and protect their lives as well, rather then subject them to the dangers of abortion. Partial birth abortion is a deadly act that the people of Virginia have rightly rejected through the General Assembly and the Court was correct to uphold this important law,” said Olivia Gans, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life.
VSHL is very grateful for the leadership of the office Attorney General of Virginia, in particular Mr. Bob McDonnell for successfully guiding this issue through the courts during his term of office.
The next several posts will be statements from the major players who had significant roles in crafting the legislation that became Virginia’s law banning partial birth abortion/infanticide; in defending its constitutionality in the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals; and other organizations that play a leading role in defending unborn, innocent life in Virginia public policy.
This is the statement delivered by Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb (see archived video) at last week’s news conference regarding the Virginia State Police chaplains who resigned after ordered to stop praying in Jesus’ name. More than a dozen pastors attended, including ministers from our pastors outreach arm, Pastors For Family Values, and other organizations, as well as from various denominations and ethnic backgrounds, many of whom addressed the media as well.
Remarks of Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia states, “That all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” Today, thanks to the action of State Police Superintendent Flaherty (contact here) and its endorsement by Governor Tim Kaine (contact here), Thomas Jefferson’s words are little more than ink on paper. Today, the words of the Statute for Religious Freedom that is the foundation for the tradition of religious liberty in our nation, rings hollow in the ears of a handful of Christian chaplains who have had their opinions in matters of religion diminished and their civil capacities affected simply because they refuse to silence their faith.
Unfortunately, expunging our Judeo-Christian heritage from the public square seems all too in vogue in 21st century America, with elected officials and their political appointees leading the way. In the name of tolerance, public faith is frowned upon. While we would hope that Virginia’s rich heritage of freedom would insulate us from such discrimination, recent history proves this not to be the case.
The recent decision by Superintendent Flaherty and its subsequent endorsement by Governor Kaine is an act of anti-Christian hysteria based on a flawed decision by a three judge panel of the 4th circuit court that has yet to be upheld and is, in fact, in conflict with other circuit court decisions from around the country.
The policy clearly violates the First Amendment protected rights of free speech and religious freedom. Requiring a Christian chaplain to effectively pray “to an unknown God” should frighten every American and Virginian regardless of their faith. Once again our sacred rights are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.
At The Family Foundation, we are urging our members and members of our pastor outreach arm, Pastors For Family Values, to contact Governor Kaine (contact here) and Superintendent Flaherty (contact here) to urge them to reinstate the religious freedom and free expression rights of chaplains by reversing their decision. The people of Virginia are responding. Today, you see before you several members of Pastors For Family Values who are also here to show support to the chaplains and to encourage that this policy be reversed.
In the meantime, The Family Foundation is working with attorneys from Alliance Defense Fund and members of the General Assembly to determine what legal or legislative remedies are available to us. While we would prefer that the governor and superintendent do the right thing, we will be prepared for them if they choose to entrench themselves behind this poor decision.
It is unfortunate that at a time when the commonwealth faces a $3 billion revenue shortfall because of poor planning, the governor’s administration has found the time to restrict the religious freedom rights of state police chaplains. Of course, this isn’t the first time in recent years that a governor and his staff have chosen to try to reduce religious liberty rights or remove traces of our Christian heritage from our nation.
During the administration of Governor Mark Warner, efforts were made to remove the phrase “In the Year of our Lord” from official documents. In fact, today if you apply to be a Notary Public, you are given the option to have that simple phrase left off of your certification paperwork. One must ask, for what reason did Mark Warner choose to spend time while governor removing a simple Christian phrase from state documents? Perhaps it was motivated by his fear of the “Christian Coalition, right to lifers, and home-schoolers” who he once referred to as “threatening to what it means to be an American.“
Considering the challenges of being governor, it is disturbing that both governors Warner and Kaine have found the time, or their staffs have found the time, to attack religious freedom.
Virginians are growing tired of these attacks on public faith. Our commonwealth and nation are founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and no amount of revisionist history or politically motivated anti-Christian bigotry will erase the truth.
The Family Foundation urges the governor and state police superintendent to reverse this discriminatory policy immediately. We urge them to reflect on what it means to be a Virginian, to reflect on the responsibility they have to our Founding Fathers. Stand for religious liberty — true religious tolerance — and protect the rights of these chaplains.