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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

I Hate Ahistorical Analysis

No, Gaius Publius (at Digby), just no:

these state militias (state standing armies)

They were most assuredly NOT standing armies.  Militias were seen as a defense against standing armies because the former obviated reliance on the latter.  JFC.


October 6, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, October 03, 2015


Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause...

 - Geo Washington to Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792

We officially beg G-d's pardon:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks...

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions...To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

But who can trust a deist, really?


October 3, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Wait, There Was A Whole Bill Of Rights?

October 2nd 1789:

In pursuance of the enclosed resolution I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency a copy of the amendment proposed to be added to the Constitution of the United States.

I have the honor to be,

With due Consideration,

Your Excellency’s

Most Obedient Servant

George Washington

Wonder how he'd feel about our well regulated militia these days...


October 2, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Government Is As Government Does

As I have oft noted, I read old Congressional journals for fun:

And the following message was received from the President:
Gentlemen of the Senate:
    I nominate, for the district of New York, James Dunne, Judge; William S. Smith, Marshal; Richard Harrison, Attorney. For the district of New Jersey, David Brearly, Judge; Thomas Lowry, Marshal; Richard Stockton, Attorney.
    And I Iikewise nominate Thomas Jefferson, for Secretary of State; Edmund Randolph, for Attorney General; Samuel Osgood, for Postmaster General.
                                                        GEO. WASHINGTON.
    September 25, 1789.
And the appointments were immediately confirmed.

Jefferson had just returned from France, where he resided when this was going on three years prior:

Thus far, the demonstrations in Western Massachusetts had been made against the Inferior Courts...the next step was, of course, to stop the Supreme Judicial Courts, and, at this point, the rebellion changed its footing, and became plainly and unmistakably treasonable. The Supreme Judicial Court was to open at Springfield on Tuesday, Sept. 26th...The Court was opened at the appointed time, but the Grand Jury did not appear, and was, in fact, under arms, at the door, for the protection of the Court that could do no business without them.

During the day, the insurgents occupied ground about three quarters of a mile North of the Court House, in the vicinity of the present Ferry Street. Throughout the day, numbers flocked in from the towns around, and attached themselves to either standard, a company of militia not unfrequently marching in a body to join the insurgents, after they had been ordered from abroad to support the Government . The Government party wore a strip of white paper in their hats, to distinguish themselves from the hemlock bearers, and spies were traversing the space between the two bodies, alternately using the paper and hemlock badge, as they approached and mingled in the respective camps.

In the course of the day, the insurgents sent a message to the Court, proposing the conditions on which they would consent to disband and retire. These conditions were that the people should not be indicted for rising in arms to prevent the Courts from sitting at Northampton, or for appearing at that time to stop the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Court; that no civil causes should be tried, except those in which both parties were ready and willing; that the militia embodied by the Government should not receive payment for their services, with several others of smaller moment. The Court refused these conditions, promptly and decidedly, and declared that they should execute the laws in accordance with their oaths.

As Abigail Adams wrote the following January:

With regard to the tumults in my Native State which you inquire about, I wish I could say that report had exagerated them, it is too true Sir that they have been carried to so allarming a Height as to stop the Courts of Justice in several Counties.

Jefferson replied:

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.

And a couple months after the Constitution was submitted to the People, most famously:

Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure

While this is perhaps a little more extreme than I'm willing to be, it is actually one reason I don't find anti-government types running for office to be hypocritical.  Jefferson the revolutionary was consistent in believing the People had every right--even a duty--to rise up against government from time to time, and he worked within the government structure to keep it as honest (in his view) as he could.  Similarly, Tea Partiers--who I certainly don't think carry the same intellectual or ethical heft as the deeply-flawed Jefferson--ostensibly go into government to get rid of the parts they don't like.  It's not contradictory from where I sit.

Shay's Rebellion perhaps is best summed up by this petition from the town of Athol, MA:

[O]ur Property is torn from us & our Gaols filled & still our Debts are not discharged; but our Property daily diminishing greatly to the injury of Debtors and in many cases but little to the advantage of the Creditor.

Sounds very much like our situation today.  The differences, I think, are that we do have a better system of government than that under the Articles, and people actually responded with torches and pitchforks instead of just posting about doing so online (I'll also note that anti-Federalists did actually try to make government function).  Would that more would get engaged in some way, even if they're cynical about the effectiveness of government.

I'm not going to suggest that I've done things right, but I will say my experience of running for office as an independent in 2010 did show me a few things.  The biggest lesson I took away from it was that by actively campaigning, I made a great deal of contact with so many people, which ultimately enabled me to be elected to a leadership spot of a major party (despite my disillusionment and disengagement, I was once again sent to the county committee by our town caucus) and to a seat in local government (re-elected this year, in fact).  It ain't much, but none of this would have happened if I'd not tried in the first place.

Gandhi said, "be the change you wish to see."  So find a way to keep his and Jefferson's legacies alive, lest our property continue to be torn from us.


September 26, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, September 25, 2015

When The Father Of The Constitution Loves The Bill Of Rights Very Much...


The Senate proceeded to consider the message from the House of Representatives of the 24th, wth amendments to the amendments of the Senate to "Articles to be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States;" and, 

Resolved, That the Senate do concur in the amendments proposed by the Home of Representatives to the amendments of the Senate.

Yet this #SlatePitchEsque post ought remind even Kim Davis' lawyers that there are limits to our rights enumerated in those First Ten...


September 25, 2015 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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But What If Denying Civil Rights Is A Compelling State (Or County) Interest?

I mean, 10th Amendment and all that.  Plus, Dred Scott, amirite?!


September 25, 2015 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Unforgiven Kim Davis

Bless Kim Davis' heart:

"What probably hurt me the worst is when someone tells me that my God does not love me..."

Unlike those icky gay people whom God hates?

“No, I’m forgiven — washed clean,” she said.

How convenient!

“I don’t think dignity is guaranteed in the Constitution,” Davis said. “I think dignity is something that you find within yourself.”

I happen to have constitutional precedent right here, and it says even you have dignity.

“I feel really sad,” she continued, “(that) someone could be so unhappy with themselves as a person that they did not feel dignified as a human being until they got a piece of paper. I mean, there’s just so much more to life than that.”

One might say that about being "forgiven" and "washed clean"...


September 22, 2015 in And Fuck..., Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Monday, September 21, 2015

In Defense Of Dr Ben Carson, Rocket Surgeon

Much is being made of this comment:

I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not.

Is it bigoted?  Yes.  Is he making a constitutional claim?  No.

While the Constitution does contain a ban on religious tests for official qualification, it has no bearing on how the electorate makes its collective decision.  Nowhere in Carson's various Islamophobic statements has he said they should be barred from office in a legal sense.


September 21, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happy Conception Day!

Today is notable:

On the question to agree to the Constitution enrolled in order to be signed. It was agreed to all the States answering ay.
The members then proceeded to sign the instrument.

Whilst the last members were signing it Doctr. FRANKLIN looking towards the Presidents Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. I have said he, often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicisitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.

The Constitution being signed by all the members except Mr. Randolph, Mr. Mason, and Mr. Gerry who declined giving it the sanction of their names, the Convention dissolved itself by an Adjournment sine die-

But of course, we still operated under the Articles of Confederation.  So to extend the metaphor, would ratification be when the Republic began to show (or in today's parlance, the sonogram was posted on Facebook)?  And the actual birthday be when Congress first met under the new framework?

Regardless, Happy Constitution Day.  May it be whatever you want it to be.


September 17, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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I Hear Pink Triangles Are Coming Back In Fashion

Jesus wept:

A mayoral candidate in a small Charlotte suburb wants to “eradicate” homosexuality and throw LGBT people in jail, the Kings Mountain Herald reports.

Eugene Holmes, who is running for mayor of Kings Mountain, says he doesn’t want to be mayor, but he’s running because of his anti-gay views. He views Kentucky clerk Kim Davis as something of a role model.

“In my administration I would do just like Mrs. Davis did in Kentucky,” Holmes said. “If you elect me, I’ll uphold the law of the state of North Carolina. I would get the D.A. to swear out a warrant on any man who says he’s gay. Sodomy is a crime, a felony in the state of North Carolina.”

Holmes said he’s a member of the Church of God and also the Promise Keepers, a men’s religious organization. 

“What’s wrong with eradicating homosexuals? We should jail them, throw them all in jail!” Holmes told the Herald.

Just another ignorant asshole who's never heard of Lawrence, or the Supremacy Clause.  Also goes to show that unconstitutional laws remaining on the books can be dangerous...


September 17, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Thank Goodness There Was Only The Constitutionally-mandated USPS And Not Email Back Then

On this date in 1789, Hillary Clinton's Department of Benghazi Emails got its name.

Back in July the very first Executive department was established, denominated (in the parlance of the times) as the Department of Foreign Affairs.  But a month later the House, followed by the Senate several days after that, passed another bit of legislation dealing with how exactly to transmit and publish new laws was passed.  Not sure if there was any controversy surrounding the bill, but it was apparently referred to an ad hoc committee for a few days in the Senate, then Washington signed.

So I'm sitting here thinking, why the hell did they need to change the name?  I guess it makes sense since what was originally supposed to deal with foreign relations had some new internal responsibilities (later assigned elsewhere) added to its workload, thus the first name wouldn't really be fitting.

The department still handles domestic things like certifying amendments to the Constitution and such, so it isn't just dealing with issues between sovereign states but also between the Several States.  Thus, it's a good name.

I just find it interesting how much the First Congress had to feel its way through all the bootstrapping.  They realized there was more stuff to be done, so quickly made adjustments to an existing department to take on the tasks.  All while organizing other Executive departments, debating the Bill of Rights, figuring out relations with Native Americans, arguing about compensation for elected officials, and tackling mundane things like establishing the post office and oversight of lighthouses.  It was a brave new world...


September 15, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Say Hello To Ye New Boss, Same As Ye Olde Boss

On this date in 1788:

On the question to agree to the proposition [on organization of the government under the Constitution] which was yesterday postponed by the State of Delaware the yeas and nays being required by Mr [Nicholas] Gilman

So it was resolved as follows

Whereas the Convention assembled in Philadelphia pursuant to the resolution of Congress of the 21st . of Feby . 1787 did on the 17th . of Sept of the same year report to the United States in Congress assembled a constitution for the people of the United States, whereupon Congress on the 28 of the same Sept did resolve unanimously "That the said report with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same be transmitted to the several legislatures in order to be submitted to a convention of Delegates chosen in each state by the people thereof in conformity to the resolves of the convention made and provided in that case"

And whereas the constitution so reported by the Convention and by Congress transmitted to the several legislatures has been ratified in the manner therein declared to be sufficient for the establishment of the same and such ratifications duly authenticated have been received by Congress and are filed in the Office of the Secretary therefore

Resolved That the first Wednesday in Jany next be the day for appointing Electors in the several states, which before the said day shall have ratified the said constitution; that the first Wednesday in feby . next be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective states and vote for a president; and that the first Wednesday in March next be the time and the present seat of Congress the place for commencing proceedings under the said constitution.

Yay, we a plan for implementing the new government!  Henry Lee wrote to George Washington the same day:

Some delay has attended this business from a difference in opinion respecting the place of meeting, but this delay has not in the least affected the sooner or later operation of the constitution. The southern gentlemen did not accord in the place of temporary residence, from a discordance in sentiment, of its effect on the establishment of the permanent seat of govt. Some considered this city, others a more southern position, as the most favorable theatre to negotiate the determination of the ten miles square. Many plausible & some cogent reasons are adducible in support of either opinion & time only can shew which is founded in propriety.

The solemnity of the moment, & its application to yourself, has fixed my mind in contemplations of a public & a personal nature and I feel an involuntary impulse which I cannot resist of communicating without reserve to you, some of the reflexions which the hour has produced. Solicitous for our common happiness as a people, & convicted as I continue to be, that our peace & prosperity depends on the proper improvement of the present period, my anxiety is extreme that the new Govt. may have an auspicious beginning. To effect this & to perpetuate a nation formed under your auspices, it is certain that again you will be called forth.

The same principles of devotion to the good of mankind which has invariably governed your conduct, will no doubt, continue to rule your mind however opposite their consequences may be, to your repose & happiness. It may be wrong, but I cannot suppress in my wishes for nationalfelicity, a due regard to your personal fame & content.
It would certainly be unpleasant to you & obnoxious to all who feel for your just fame, to see you at the head of a tumbling system. It is a sacrifice on your part, unjustifiable in any point of view. But on the other hand no alternative seems to be present.

Without you the govt. can have but little chance of success, & the people of that happiness, which its prosperity must yield. In this dilemma, it seems wise that such previous measures be in time adopted, which most promise to allay the fury of opposition, to defer amendments, till experience has shewn defects & to ensure the appointments of able & honest men in the first Congress. 

Then they all threw their wigs in the air and went out to ye olde taverne to get pissed.


September 13, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I Dred Bad Analogies And History

'member this from the other day?

“Well, you obey it if it’s right. So I go back to my question. Is slavery the law of the land?” Huckabee attempted as way of an explanation. “Should it have been the law of the land because Dred Scott said so? Was that a correct decision? Should the courts have been irrevocably followed on that? Should Lincoln have been put in jail? Because he ignored it.”

Yastreblyansky knows this is bullshit.  As do my three or more loyal readers.


September 8, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, September 07, 2015

Deuteronomy 17:12


Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who's refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, on Monday asked the Kentucky governor to immediately free her from jail, according to court documents obtained by CNN.

"We would like them to release her from jail and provide reasonable, sensible accommodation so she can do her job," one of her lawyers, Horatio Mihet, said in a statement. "That would be taking her name off of marriage licenses in Rowan County and allowing her deputies to issue the licenses."

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's office said Monday he won't respond, noting that the conflict was a "matter between her and the courts."

She was the one who rejected the accommodation of allowing her clerks to issue the certificates.  Now she wants the Governor to engage in Executive Tyranny and ignore the Rule of Law?


September 7, 2015 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Sunday, September 06, 2015

Don't Get Me Started On That Tyrannical Huckabee

Ah, I see our modern GOP's dedication to the Rule of Law:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said on Sunday that U.S. citizens only have to follow court orders if judges get “it right,” and that he would follow his conscience as president even if it meant the type of jail time Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis is serving.

Speaking with host George Stephanopolous, the GOP presidential candidate claimed court orders only become binding upon citizens when state or federal legislatures take the ruling and codify it into law.
“Well, you obey it if it’s right. So I go back to my question. Is slavery the law of the land?” Huckabee attempted as way of an explanation. “Should it have been the law of the land because Dred Scott said so? Was that a correct decision? Should the courts have been irrevocably followed on that? Should Lincoln have been put in jail? Because he ignored it.”

Turning to presidents following their conscience, Stephanopolous played a clip of President John F. Kennedy in 1960 stating: “When if the time should ever come and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible, when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office.”

“Would you make that same statement in your candidacy for president?” the host asked Huckabee.

“I can’t see any circumstance in which I would be required to violate my conscience and — and the law,” Huckabee conceded before adding, “And if so, I think maybe there is a point at which you say either I’ll resign or put me in jail.”

Slavery was not the law because of Taney, but rather because of the Constitution, which also provides for a judiciary to do its job.  And a certain a conservative, anti-gay judge actually did just that when another government official tried to impose her religion upon her constituents instead of doing her fucking job.

But at least Huckster has given Obama a pass on all his executive actions...


September 6, 2015 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (3)

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Go Home, [Currently Hated Minority]!

It wasn't racism, see:

The state militia barred nine Negro students from the white high school here [in Little Rock, AR] today.

Fully armed, the troops kept the Negroes from the school grounds while an angry crowd of 400 white men and women jeered, booed and shouted, "go home, niggers." Several hundred militiamen, with guns slung over their shoulders, carrying gas masks and billy clubs, surrounded the school.

The nine Negro students said that they would again attempt to enter the all-white Central High School tomorrow morning.

The troops acted under direct orders of Gov. Orval E. Faubus. In a news conference in his office, Governor Faubus said he would not permit Negroes to enter white schools in this city, despite the order from the Federal District Court. He insisted that he was not flouting the court's orders, but acting to preserve peace and to prevent bloodshed.

So a few weeks later, Ike noted there was this little thing called the Constitution:

In that city, under the leadership of demagogic extremists, disorderly mobs have deliberately prevented the carrying out of proper orders from a Federal Court. Local authorities have not eliminated that violent opposition and, under the law, I yesterday issued a Proclamation calling upon the mob to disperse.

This morning the mob again gathered in front of the Central High School of Little Rock, obviously for the purpose of again preventing the carrying out of the Court’s order relating to the admission of Negro children to that school.

Whenever normal agencies prove inadequate to the task and it becomes necessary for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to use its powers and authority to uphold Federal Courts, the President’s responsibility is inescapable. In accordance with that responsibility, I have today issued an Executive Order directing the use of troops under Federal authority to aid in the execution of Federal law at Little Rock, Arkansas. This became necessary when my Proclamation of yesterday was not observed, and the obstruction of justice still continues.

And the militia once again stood up against tyranny.  Tyranny of state government and the mob.


September 4, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Thursday, September 03, 2015

Balancing Act

Marco Rubio:

We should seek a balance between government’s responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions. While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law, there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office.

We have a balance already: government officials abide by the law when in their office, and exercise their religious freedom everywhere else.  Easy peasy!


September 3, 2015 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

So Help Me G-d

Bless her heart:

After being rebuffed by the Supreme Court and therefore exhausting the appeals process, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis denied a marriage license to a gay couple today for the fifth time since the legalization of same-sex marriage. Davis is part of a small group of county clerks who claim that their interpretation of divine law trumps their responsibilities as public officials. Demanding that one couple seeking a marriage license leave her office, Davis said that she is acting “under God’s authority.”

She forgot whose authority is at issue, which she swore an oath to uphold:

I...will faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality...

Do your fucking job, resign on principle, or suffer the sanctions, you obstinate piece of shit.


PS--The KY Leg can remove her, but is currently not in session.

September 1, 2015 in And Fuck..., Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (6)

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Treason In The Defense Of Bigotry Is No Vice

Dying on Asshole Hill:

A Kentucky clerk's office on Thursday again refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country two months ago.
The action Thursday came just a day after a federal appeals court upheld a ruling ordering the clerk in rural Rowan County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning had already ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses two weeks ago. He later delayed that ruling until Aug. 31 or until the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling. The appeals court did so on Wednesday, denying Davis' appeal.
Mat Staver, an attorney for Davis, said he was disappointed with the ruling. He said he plans to discuss options with Davis, including an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It's unclear how Davis would react if she were to ultimately lose her appeals. She testified in federal court last month she would "deal with that when the time comes." Saturday, she spoke to thousands of supporters at a religious freedom rally at the state capitol, saying: "I need your prayers ... to continue to stand firm in what we believe."

"Regardless of what any man puts on a piece of paper, the law of nature is not going to change," Davis told the crowd.

Davis has said she will not resign. She can only be removed from office if the state legislature impeaches her, which is unlikely. If she continues to defy a federal court order, a judge could hold her in contempt and order hefty fines or jail time.

"Certainly none of those are appealing to my client," Staver said. "No one wants to be fined or go to jail and she's always been a law-abiding citizen. She's just caught in a very difficult situation."

She's always been a law-abiding citizen...'cept for, you know, this law.


August 27, 2015 in And Fuck..., Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Because The Gay Agenda Is All About Discrimination

Equal discrimination under the law, bitches!

CRUZ: Imagine if this were inverted. Imagine if there were a gay florist — now I know that’s hard to imagine, a gay florist — but just go with the hypo[thetical] for a second. Imagine if two evangelical Christians came to a gay florist and they wanted to get married, and the florist said, “You know what? I disagree with your faith. I have problems with your faith.” You have no entitlement to force that florist to provide flowers at the Christians’ wedding. We are a pluralistic nation that tolerates diversity.

I think most people just want to smell the flowers and not go out of their way to be dicks to each other.  

But hahaha, gay florist!  And he's still wrong: those unimaginable gay florists should not discriminate in the public sphere, either.  Joke's on you, asshole.


August 25, 2015 in And Fuck..., Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (2)