The ongoing Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Brown Jackson is a high stakes debate over judicial philosophy.
It was President Theodore Roosevelt who once wryly noted, “The President and the Congress are all very well in their way. They can say what they think, but it rests with the Supreme Court to decide what they have really thought.”
- Conservative vs. Liberal Judges – Understanding the Difference as Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Begin
From The Daily Citizen:
The Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to replace retiring Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer started on Monday, and will last several days. After that, her nomination will proceed to the floor of the U.S. Senate, where a majority vote will determine whether she will be confirmed to her new position.
If there is a valuable focal point to the typical confirmation hearing, it’s when the questioning gets down to things that matter, such as the nominee’s judicial philosophy.
Why is that important?
A judge’s judicial philosophy tells us how the jurist approaches a legal question involving the interpretation of constitutional provisions or laws passed by Congress. Most laymen would be surprised to learn that there is no universal standard passed down over the centuries as to how a judge should approach a question of interpreting the language of a legal text. There are linguistic tools that have been developed and passed down to assist judges, but no over-arching philosophy of how to begin when confronted by a law that the parties appearing before the court are suggesting supports their arguments.
The two major competing philosophies currently in use are the originalism/textualism viewpoint, whose most well-known proponent was Justice Antonin Scalia, and the “living Constitution” approach, which has evolved over the years.
Originalism/textualism is considered the “conservative” approach to interpreting the Constitution and the nation’s laws. A judge taking this approach looks first at the text of the legal provision involved in the case to ascertain its meaning. If it’s clear on its face, the judge merely applies that plain meaning to the facts of the case and renders a decision.
If, however, the text is ambiguous and can’t be understood using any of the “canons of construction” that judges typically use, then an originalist judge would attempt to resolve the ambiguity by trying to ascertain the original understanding of members of society at the time the constitutional provision or statute was adopted. If the case involved the First Amendment, for example, an originalist would look at the historical writings of people around the time the Constitution was ratified; if there’s a 14th Amendment question, an originalist would look at the history of the provision and its understanding from the late 1860s.
2. Another Faith-Based Foster Care Agency Wins in Michigan
From The Daily Citizen:
The state of Michigan has agreed to settle a religious freedom discrimination lawsuit brought by Catholic Charities West Michigan in 2019 over the state’s attempt to force it to place children with same-sex couples, contrary to the agency’s religious beliefs about marriage and the need of children for a married mom and dad.
As part of the settlement, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will allow the agency to continue placing children only with a married mom and dad, and the department has agreed to pay Catholic Charities $250,000 to cover its attorneys’ fees spent in the case.
3. Indiana governor vetoes bill to bar male-born athletes from girls’ sports
From the Washington Times:
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill Monday to bar male-born athletes from K-12 female sports, saying the bill would foster confusion and litigation in a state with no recorded cases of transgender athletes trying to join girls’ teams.
The Republican governor said in his veto message that House Bill 1041 presumes “that there is an existing problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further state government intervention.”
“It implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met,” Mr. Holcomb said. “After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal.”
The legislation could still become law if the Republican-controlled House and Senate override the governor’s veto after returning to the statehouse May 24 for the veto session. An override requires a simple majority in both chambers.
Rep. Jim Banks, Indiana Republican, said he was “disappointed with Gov. Holcomb’s veto of a common sense bill that frankly doesn’t go far enough to Save Women’s Sports.”
Feminists protesting Lia Thomas say they are ‘disenfranchised’ from Democratic Party
A group of feminists staged a demonstration outside the women’s NCAA swimming championships last week to protest transgender swimmer Lia Thomas from the University of Pennsylvania competing against biological women. Many of the feminists noted that they had been supporters of the Democratic Party. However, they felt betrayed since they believe the Democrats have abandoned women and girls.
Save Women’s Sports – a “coalition that fights to preserve sex-based eligibility for female sports” – organized a protest outside Georgia Tech’s athletic center in Atlanta, Georgia. Amy E. Sousa – a self-proclaimed “engaged embodiment expert” and “radical feminist” – voiced her displeasure with the Democratic Party.
“I am a lifelong registered Democrat who ultimately feels politically homeless,” Sousa told Fox News. “With the whole Biden election, I began to feel more and more disenfranchised from Democrats as a party, and I began to feel more and more that they did not represent my beliefs or my views.”
- Disney Drives Conservatives Into Closet
Rod Dreher writes in The American Conservative:
Can you imagine what it’s like to work at Disney as a political, social, or religious conservative under the reign of this mob of tyrants? You don’t have to. Today a group of anonymous Disney employees have released the following “open letter” begging the company’s leadership to keep the company politically neutral. The letter points out that these slacktivists have created a hostile work environment for anyone who doesn’t go along with their demands. Here’s the open letter text (which a Disney employee leaked to me):
Why does Disney force its conservative employees into the closet, where they have to live in fear, for the sake of appeasing this woke mob that wants to sexualize children? Has Disney forgotten who and what it is supposed to serve? And what about you, Mom and Dad? Do you really want to support a company that treats its religious and politically conservative employees like this — and that empowers a woke internal mob to compel it to interfere in politics to disempower parents’ control over the sexual education of their children, and to turn popular art into culture-war propaganda?
I stand with the internally silenced and persecuted Disney employees, and with the Florida legislature that is not allowing woke capitalist bullies to tell parents to sit down and shut up and hand their children’s minds over to activist teachers. I hope you will too. Trying to stop activists and woke capitalists from queering little children through the schools is a fight worth having.
5. ‘Babylon Bee’ Gets Locked Out of Twitter, CEO Says, “Truth Is Not Hate Speech”
From The Daily Citizen:
Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, tweeted from his personal account that the satirical Christian website had been locked out of its Twitter account for a March 16, 2022, post that read, “The Babylon Bee’s Man of the Year is Rachel Levine.”
Twitter, which has almost 400 million users, told The Bee that it was locked out for “violating our rules against hateful conduct” which state, “You may not promote violence against, threaten or harass other people on the basis of … gender identity …”
The company was told by Twitter that its account could be re-opened if it deleted the post
The CEO responded, “We’re not deleting anything. Truth is not hate speech. If the cost of telling the truth is the loss of our Twitter account, then so be it.”
He added, “They could, of course, delete the tweet themselves. But they won’t. It’s not enough for them to just wipe it out. They want us to bend the knee and admit that we engaged in hateful conduct.”
6. Is it OK for Christians to attend same-sex weddings? Al Mohler answers
From The Christian Post:
Christians shouldn’t attend same-sex wedding ceremonies, as attending would be to an inherent show of support, according to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr.
In an episode of Mohler’s “The Briefing” podcast that aired Friday, the Evangelical theologian was asked by a listener about what to do if one is invited to a same-sex wedding ceremony.
Mohler responded by noting that the “whole context of the wedding as a public event is the public exchange of vows and the public declaration of the rightness of this relationship.”
“Remember that the traditional word used of those who are attending a wedding is that they are celebrants,” he added. “They are there to celebrate the wedding. It is virtually impossible to go to … a wedding of a same-sex couple and go and smile and not give affirmation to what you believe to be fundamentally contrary to nature and injurious to human flourishing.”
Mohler went on to say that “if you are consistently biblical in your thinking, you simply can’t go to a wedding that actually isn’t a wedding, for a marriage that you don’t believe is actually a marriage.”
“One of the principles that has guided the Christian church through the centuries is that the Church cannot sanction and Christians should not celebrate weddings that are illicit or unlawful according to Scripture.
7. We’re watching ‘post-Christian America’ unfold in real time
From the Deseret News:
In recent years, we’ve been hearing a lot of talk about “post-Christian America,” and a new poll from Deseret News and The Marist Poll suggests we’re seeing it unfold in real time.
As Kelsey Dallas wrote in her analysis of the survey data, “The younger you are, the less likely you are to believe in God, describe yourself as spiritual or regularly pray.”
Of Americans ages 18 to 29, only 21% report going to church at least weekly and just 27% say they pray daily. Even more concerning is this finding: Only 31% of young adults say they believe in God as described by the Bible.
These numbers do not herald thriving churches and other places of worship in future decades. In fact, they predict a future in which churches are as empty as offices during the pandemic.
8. A psychologist says parents who raise resilient, socially intelligent kids always do 5 things during ‘hard times’
We all want to raise resilient, confident and socially intelligent kids. As a psychologist who specializes in adolescent development, I’ve found that the key is for parents to provide reassurance starting at a young age.
Kids, especially teens and tweens, sometimes need validation that what they are thinking and feeling is normal and okay. In fact, psychologists believe that validation is one of the most powerful parenting tools, and yet it is often left out of traditional behavioral parent training programs.
Validating your child’s feelings doesn’t necessarily mean you condone or agree with the actions they take. It simply means showing that you hear, understand and accept them. This can help teach them to effectively label their own emotions and be more in tune with their social environments, thereby increasing emotional intelligence.
- How Long Should It Take to Grieve? Psychiatry Has Come Up With an Answer.
From The New York Times:
After more than a decade of argument, psychiatry’s most powerful body in the United States added a new disorder this week to its diagnostic manual: prolonged grief.
The decision marks an end to a long debate within the field of mental health, steering researchers and clinicians to view intense grief as a target for medical treatment, at a moment when many Americans are overwhelmed by loss.
The new diagnosis, prolonged grief disorder, was designed to apply to a narrow slice of the population who are incapacitated, pining and ruminating a year after a loss, and unable to return to previous activities.
Its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders means that clinicians can now bill insurance companies for treating people for the condition.
- UK’s most premature twins reunited as sister returns home
From the BBC:
A pair of twins thought to be the most premature to survive in the UK are both home with their family.
Harley and Harry Crane were born at 22 weeks and five days at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham.
Harry was discharged last week after almost five months in the neonatal unit, and his sister Harley is now home too after 140 days in intensive care.
When they were born, Harry weighed 520g (1.14lb) and Harley 500g (1.10lb). They were described by doctors as the size of Mars bars.
The babies were put into the bereavement suite for parents because doctors expected only one of them would survive.
However, their parents said they had been “little fighters.”