The case, Mount Soledad Memorial Association v. Steve Trunk, et al, involves the cross at the Mt. Soledad veterans memorial in San Diego, which the ACLU and other groups want torn down. The Court may decide to hear the case later this year.
The ACRU’s argument – the ‘Coercion Test’ – is that public religious expression does not violate the Constitution’s prohibition against establishment of religion unless it involves coercion. ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara, author of the brief, which asks the Court to accept a Writ of Certiorari to hear the case, explains:
“At the time the First Amendment was adopted, the countries of Europe all had ‘Establishments of Religion,’ which meant official government religions enforced by laws requiring attendance at the official church, regular contributions to it, and other preferences in law for members of that church. These establishment policies all involved government coercion to force citizens to support the one favored church. Almost all of the American colonies had such establishments as well, with legal compulsion or coercion as their hallmark.
“These practices, and anything like them involving coercion in regard to religion, are what the framers meant to prohibit in adopting the Establishment Clause, for this is what an Establishment of Religion meant at the time. They did not mean, however, to prohibit any voluntary, public, religious speech, or religious expression or symbolism, which do not involve any such coercion.”
“We hope the Court takes the case and that the justices adopt the Coercion Test so that communities all across America can breathe easier when it comes to public expressions of our religious heritage,” said Susan A. Carleson, chairman and CEO of the ACRU. “It’s time to end the constant harassment by those who misread the First Amendment and demand to erase all traces of religion from the public square.”
In ‘An Unusual On-The-Record Call With Reporters,’ The White House Offered A ‘Ringing Endorsement’ Of The Move To Put Jobs On The Back Burner
White House: ‘The Bottom Line Is The White House Strongly Supports Leader Reid’s Move’
“White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler had an unusual on-the-record call with reporters Tuesday to press for confirmation of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees…” (Politico, 3/13/12)
“‘What the president is really asking — what he’s demanding — is that the Senate do its job on behalf of the American people,’ White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler told reporters.” (ABC News, 3/14/12)
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) picked up a ringing endorsement from the White House on Tuesday… ‘The bottom line is the White House strongly supports Leader Reid’s move,’ White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said in a conference call with reporters.” (The Huffington Post, 3/13/12)
“… the White House came out in strong support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision…” (The Hill, 3/13/12)
· “Reid’s maneuver and the White House’s renewed push for the nominees are aimed at… portraying the GOP as obstructionists this election year.” (The Hill, 3/13/12)
‘Are Jobs More Important Than Getting Federal Judges Confirmed?’
“Jobs bill hung up on judicial fight… a fight Senate Democrats have picked… Reid has moved to hold cloture votes on 17 judge nominations starting tomorrow. Each judge vote could tie up the Senate floor for weeks…” (NBC News, 3/13/12)
· “McConnell… argued the Senate should move right away to the JOBS bill that passed the House with 390 votes.” (NBC News, 3/13/12)
“Jobs or Judges… That brought a new round of recriminations, set beneath a question that appears to favor Republicans, if you follow the polls: Are jobs more important than getting federal judges confirmed?” (The Wall Street Journal, 3/13/12)
“Jobs bills are arguably more urgent than judicial nominations… Compared to, say, someone laid off because of the recession, a judicial nominee waiting for confirmation isn’t a particularly poignant figure.” (The Los Angeles Times, 3/13/12)
“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hit back Tuesday in the fight over judicial nominations, accusing Majority Leader Harry Reid of ‘manufacturing a controversy’ rather than addressing high unemployment and gas prices…” (Politico, 3/13/12)
· “Reid filed cloture on the nominations of 17 district court judges… It’s a move that could jam up the floor for weeks…” (Politico, 3/13/12)
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
If this is the best defense U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., can do in explaining how she differentiates between Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher, maybe we ought to not only question her judgment in standing up for basic American rights like free speech, but also her intellectual ability to think through issues.
Rush Limbaugh called a woman who testified before Congress at “slut.” He apologized. Berkley, who says she is outraged for women, is sponsoring a petition to remove Limbaugh from the airwaves.
Maher, meanwhile, who gave $1 million to re-elect President Barack Obama, does not register on her “ire-o-meter.” She says she will not sponsor a petition to remove him for calling Sarah Palin a “c—” and a “twat.”
Her reason for trying to force one off the air and not the other? She’s quoted today in “The Damon Political Report” saying:
“Berkley drew a distinction between Maher and Limbaugh, saying one is an entertainer and the other is tantamount to a Republican operative.
” ‘If you cross Rush Limbaugh and you’re a Republican office holder, then you have to crawl over and kiss his ring,’ Berkley said. ‘There’s a big difference between what is being said by Bill Maher and his humor, although I don’t find that funny, and what Rush Limbaugh does, who pretty much calls the shots in the Republican Party.’ ”
Rush Limbaugh calls the shots in the Republican Party? Seriously? Exactly what would be the specifics on that, candidate Berkley?
In Nevada, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports that embattled U.S. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley is defending Bill Maher’s disgusting jokes he has made about conservative women, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley said Tuesday that entertainers like liberal comedian Bill Maher who make jokes at the expense of conservative women are not the same as Rush Limbaugh, who last week made disparaging comments about a Georgetown University law student.
- Meanwhile, Politico is reporting that even David Axelrod is distancing himself from Bill Maher. David Axelrod will not be appearing as a guest on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” despite reports last week that he was scheduled to do the show in the next few weeks. “He’s not scheduled to go on at this time,” said Ben LaBolt, the press secretary for President Obama’s re-election campaign. … Axelrod’s cold feet are not the only sign that the right’s attacks on Maher seem to be gaining some traction. On Thursday, The Daily Caller reported that the Alabama Democratic Party had scrubbed its website of an announcement for its upcoming fundraiser headlined by Maher.
- Additionally, the Associated Press reports that Senator Dean Heller wants to cut off lawmakers’ pay if they can’t pass a budget. The idea is simple. If Congress doesn’t pass a budget and all 12 of the accompanying spending bills setting annual agency budgets on time, every lawmaker’s paycheck would get cut off. No exceptions. … “I’m trying to help people understand that if you don’t have a job it has to do with uncertainties in the markets and it has to do with the fact that Washington, D.C., refuses to do its job, which is to tell people what their tax rates are going to be,” Heller said. “You take any other Nevadan or any other American and tell them you don’t have to do their job for 1,000 days — they probably don’t keep their job.”
- Finally, KTVN-TV in Reno reports that Heller assailed Berkley for supporting Barack Obama and Harry Reid’s failed energy policies. [Heller’s] campaign also says Obama administration energy policies endorsed by Berkley are to blame for higher gas prices.
That’s a change from 10 years ago, when tech and software ranked third among industries that produce billionaires. In 2002, 26 of the 243 Americans on the Billionaires List made their fortunes in technology. Today they are almost double. Here’s the list as it stands in 2012:
Turntable.fm may not be as much of a household name as some of the other music streaming services out there, but it’s certainly doing its best to catch up. After launching in June and releasing an iPhone app in September, the company has now taken another step toward the big leagues, thanks to a quartet of high profile licensing agreements. As Billboard reports, Turntable.fm has officially inked licensing deals with all four of the major music labels, confirming rumors that had been circulating last week. Founders Billy Chasen and Seth Goldstein made the announcement at SXSW yesterday, during their Turntable.fm panel. Details on the terms remain fuzzy, but both sides are already gushing over each other, with the labels seeing the service as a potential platform for talent, as well as a tool to drive purchases and subscriptions. Chasen, in return, lauded the labels for being cooler than he expected. More