ACLU hiding parts of portfolio in religion suits

Full story: Monterey County Herald

I n her Sunday guest commentary, Pacific Grove attorney and ACLU board member Michelle Welsh cited an impressive display of cases to support her position that the ACLU is not "anti-religion." But she is cleverly arguing a bait and switch.
Comments
1 - 20 of 34 Comments Last updated Feb 25, 2010
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Since: Nov 09

Stamford, CT

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#1
Dec 1, 2009
 

Judged:

2

1

1

Bravo David. When Ms. Welsh wrote her Op-ed, I knew she had to be challenged. Our constitution, as I read and interpret it, seems pretty straight-forward. I urge all to actually read the words, but before doing so, remove all prior (mis)conceptions as to what you have been programmed to think it means. The constitution says nothing about "the seperation of Church and State". That comes from the 1st amendment. The phrase is commonly thought to mean that the government should not establish, support, or otherwise involve itself in any religion. I can't find any supporting evidence that the City has done so by leaving the cross in place. Just my opinion.
Fabioso

Tallahassee, FL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#2
Dec 1, 2009
 

Judged:

4

2

2

But have you read all the SCOTUS cases interpreting the Constitution?

I'll give you a hint. They are also law.

The idea that the ACLU is anti-Christian is pure propaganda that ignores the demographic fact that Christianity is overwhelmingly the majority religion in this country. For that reason alone, they are going to be THE religion that runs afoul of the Establishment clause the vast majority of the time.

Your literalist argument as to separation of church and state ignores decades of case law interpreting the First Amendment.

Can't find any supporting evidence? WTF?

Since: Nov 09

Stamford, CT

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#3
Dec 1, 2009
 

Judged:

1

1

Are there any case law decisions in which you disagree? Any which you feel are incorrect? Any rulings that eventually get overturned? Any explanation as to the case law referenced in the above article in which the ACLU has lost that you feel they shouldn't have? I don't agree with the ACLU on every position they take, and I don't disagree with them on every postition. In my simple world, I look at each case objectively (with my specially tinted glasses), and render my opinion. Just as you do with your glasses (of a different tint).
Fabioso

Tallahassee, FL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#4
Dec 1, 2009
 
Seaside Mark wrote:
Are there any case law decisions in which you disagree? Any which you feel are incorrect? Any rulings that eventually get overturned? Any explanation as to the case law referenced in the above article in which the ACLU has lost that you feel they shouldn't have? I don't agree with the ACLU on every position they take, and I don't disagree with them on every postition. In my simple world, I look at each case objectively (with my specially tinted glasses), and render my opinion. Just as you do with your glasses (of a different tint).
Sure there are decisions with which I disagree. But they are the law, and I would recognize them as such even if I disagree with them.

But we aren't talking about ONE decision here. Your stance is opposed to far more than one decision.

My point is I think your glasses have a much darker tint than mine.

Since: Nov 09

Stamford, CT

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#6
Dec 1, 2009
 

Judged:

1

1

Fabioso wrote:
<quoted text>
Sure there are decisions with which I disagree. But they are the law, and I would recognize them as such even if I disagree with them.
But we aren't talking about ONE decision here. Your stance is opposed to far more than one decision.
My point is I think your glasses have a much darker tint than mine.
Arguing who's "bias" is more is silly and intellectually lazy.

Let's stay on subject. There are numerous case laws pointed out above that shows the ACLU being on the wrong side of the law. "Far more than one decision" as you so astutely pointed out. The line is a little more blurred than you make it. There is certainly a different viewpoint out there, and another way of looking at it. This article presents the other side to Ms. Welsh's Op-Ed. Agree, or disagree. Don't disparage.
Fabioso

Tallahassee, FL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#7
Dec 1, 2009
 

Judged:

1

Seaside Mark wrote:
<quoted text>
Arguing who's "bias" is more is silly and intellectually lazy.
Let's stay on subject. There are numerous case laws pointed out above that shows the ACLU being on the wrong side of the law. "Far more than one decision" as you so astutely pointed out. The line is a little more blurred than you make it. There is certainly a different viewpoint out there, and another way of looking at it. This article presents the other side to Ms. Welsh's Op-Ed. Agree, or disagree. Don't disparage.
And there's plenty of cases in which they were on the right side of the law. So? I don't blame them for being overzealous in their defense of civil rights, even where I disagree with them - and I often do, but not on this issue.

I would totally agree the line is blurry. That's the problem. It creates fertile ground for people to misunderstand or misrepresent the law. Just look around this forum...and those are the ones that deserve disparaging.
Alice Smith

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#8
Dec 1, 2009
 

Judged:

3

3

2

Separation of Church and State means just that. Why not use church funds or facilities to perform the services which Mr. Balch has cited for children in private schools? The ACLU has focussed correctly on what is constitutionally correct.
Salinas Observer

Salinas, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#9
Dec 1, 2009
 

Judged:

3

3

3

Alice: I think the point of the editorial was that the ACLU LOST the cases. They weren't focusing "correctly" -- rather they were making anti-religion arguments that were rejected by the courts and not supported by the constitution.

Nowhere in the constitutinon does it say there is a separation of church and state. All it says is that congress can't "establish" a religion. We can't have a national religion like the Church of England. That's it. There are PLENTY of places where religion and the public sphere mix, and the courts have ruled that it is permissible.
Alice Smith

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#10
Dec 1, 2009
 

Judged:

3

3

3

For years, the courts held that separate but equal was justified under the constitution. That didn't make good law.

The ACLU has supported first principles and as such has taken specific and consistent stands on not funding church-based projects. The protection of the minority against the tyranny of the majority includes not having established religions receive federal funds. The extent of the undermining of the funding for public schools can not be minimized and public should be public, and not religious.

Since: Mar 09

Monterey Peninsula, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#11
Dec 2, 2009
 

Judged:

2

2

2

Alice Smith wrote:
Separation of Church and State means just that. Why not use church funds or facilities to perform the services which Mr. Balch has cited for children in private schools? The ACLU has focussed correctly on what is constitutionally correct.
The phrase "Separation of church and state" is not found anywhere in the Constitution. Courts have said that government must be neutral towards religion. The government is not supposed to favor any religion, or be hostile to any religion. Therefore, as I see it, when it comes to eligibility for government funding, churches should be treated the same as any other non-profit organization. If government places religious organizations in an inferior position compared to other organizations that is discrimination, plain and simple.

When the ACLU convinced the courts that private citizens shouldn't be allowed to place creches on public property at Christmas time, they did nothing to advance civil rights. In so doing, the ACLU and the courts actually limited free speech rights. If free speech is to mean anything, then wherever political and artistic expression is allowed (essentially everywhere), then religious expression must also be allowed. The ACLU succeeded in restricting religious expression to private property, violating two clauses of the First Amendment, free speech and the free exercise of religion.

I can read the Constitution as well as anybody. The courts got it wrong.

Mr. Toy
www.montereypeninsula.info
Fabioso

Tallahassee, FL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#12
Dec 2, 2009
 

Judged:

2

2

2

Salinas Observer wrote:
Alice: I think the point of the editorial was that the ACLU LOST the cases. They weren't focusing "correctly" -- rather they were making anti-religion arguments that were rejected by the courts and not supported by the constitution.
Nowhere in the constitutinon does it say there is a separation of church and state. All it says is that congress can't "establish" a religion. We can't have a national religion like the Church of England. That's it. There are PLENTY of places where religion and the public sphere mix, and the courts have ruled that it is permissible.
The ACLU has never made an "anti-religion" argument, period. Also, your view of the state of the law is wholly incorrect and completely at odds with the decisions of the Supreme Court on the First Amendment.

Every time I see someone say "those words aren't in the Constitution.", I laugh. THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE.
Salinas Observer

Salinas, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#13
Dec 2, 2009
 

Judged:

1

Fabioso wrote:
<quoted text>
Every time I see someone say "those words aren't in the Constitution.", I laugh. THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE.
I guess that is where we will have to agree to disagree. I don't believe in giving up my democracy to allow 9 unelected judges to make new law. If it's in the constitution, it's in there. If it's not, it's up to the democratic process.

BTW, the "They don't have to be in there" argument for constitutional language is precisely why the Supreme Court, in the 1940s, upheld the constitutionality of internment camps (concentration camps) for Japanese-Americans on the West Coast. Be careful when you let 9 unelected people make fundamental law. You might not always like the result. But once you've ceded that power -- good luck getting it back.
Fabioso

Tallahassee, FL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#14
Dec 2, 2009
 

Judged:

1

Salinas Observer wrote:
<quoted text>
I guess that is where we will have to agree to disagree. I don't believe in giving up my democracy to allow 9 unelected judges to make new law. If it's in the constitution, it's in there. If it's not, it's up to the democratic process.
BTW, the "They don't have to be in there" argument for constitutional language is precisely why the Supreme Court, in the 1940s, upheld the constitutionality of internment camps (concentration camps) for Japanese-Americans on the West Coast. Be careful when you let 9 unelected people make fundamental law. You might not always like the result. But once you've ceded that power -- good luck getting it back.
I think you need to understand that you are not just disagreeing with me, you are disagreeing with the law. You are arguing against the Constitution of the United States and the decisions interpreting it. Just another right-wing wacko that got an F in Basic American Civics, and believes every lie he reads on World Nut Daily or Fascist Republic as if it were the gospel.

Your argument isn't with me, it's with objective reality. You should probably get some medication for that.
Salinas Observer

Big Sur, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#15
Dec 2, 2009
 

Judged:

1

1

1

Actually, I am agreeing the five supreme court cases cited in the main editorial. Those cases are the law. And the ACLU lost each of them.

You may not like it, but the pronouncements of the Rehnquist and Roberts courts carry just as much as do the rulings of the Warren court. Sorry that Justice Brennan is no longer around to re-write our constitution.

You seem to have a problem arguing cogently, hence the ad hominem attacks. Spend more time on your logic and less on your emotion. It would be more effective.
Fabioso

Tallahassee, FL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#16
Dec 2, 2009
 
As if you didn't know my comment was far more general, and directed at your ridiculous statement about 9 unelected judges making the law, as well as your overblown strict constructionist stance.

You seem to have a problem with reading comprehension and avoiding straw man arguments.
Salinas Observer

Big Sur, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#17
Dec 2, 2009
 

Judged:

1

1

1

Fabioso wrote:
As if you didn't know my comment was far more general, and directed at your ridiculous statement about 9 unelected judges making the law, as well as your overblown strict constructionist stance.
You seem to have a problem with reading comprehension and avoiding straw man arguments.
We may be using terms differently. When I refer to judges "making law" I am not referring to simply interpreting existing law in new situations (which technically is "making law" b/c there is no firm standard yet -- but that is what judges do). Rather, it is judges who, for policy reasons, state what they wish they law could be, and then "interpret" existing law so as to be consonant with their view. When conservatives talk about judges "making law" they are using it in this narrower sense.

Is it ridiculous that judges should be bound by the rule of law? That they should be umpires and not legislators? I don't want a neutered umpire -- but I sure as hell don't want black-robed legislators either. That is what Warren, Brennan, Marshall, et al. were.

Can you tell me where Roe v. Wade is dictated by the terms of the Consitution or statutory law? Bush v. Gore? Miranda? Wickard v. Filburn? Korematsu?
Alice Smith

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#18
Dec 2, 2009
 
The right of privacy or non governmental interference with a woman's body is built into the 10th amendment, and subsumed into the purpose of the constitution: freedom from tyranny, seeking liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Do you really want to go back to coat-hanger, back-alley abortions or only the rich can fly to Mexico (a Catholic country), Canada or Europe to get an abortion legally and those of modest or no means who have unwanted pregnancies will end up jeopardizing their lives, and ending up in emergency hospitals with septicemia? Men seem to think that women's bodies are to be mastered and controlled by stupid legislation such as that proposed by Stupek and deny everyone safe and free access to healthcare.
Fabioso

Tallahassee, FL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#19
Dec 3, 2009
 
Salinas Observer wrote:
<quoted text>
We may be using terms differently. When I refer to judges "making law" I am not referring to simply interpreting existing law in new situations (which technically is "making law" b/c there is no firm standard yet -- but that is what judges do). Rather, it is judges who, for policy reasons, state what they wish they law could be, and then "interpret" existing law so as to be consonant with their view. When conservatives talk about judges "making law" they are using it in this narrower sense.
Is it ridiculous that judges should be bound by the rule of law? That they should be umpires and not legislators? I don't want a neutered umpire -- but I sure as hell don't want black-robed legislators either. That is what Warren, Brennan, Marshall, et al. were.
Can you tell me where Roe v. Wade is dictated by the terms of the Consitution or statutory law? Bush v. Gore? Miranda? Wickard v. Filburn? Korematsu?
Google this: "penumbra of rights."

It makes little sense and often leads to absurd results when we try to treat the Constitution as a stolid, static document not open to interpretation appropriate to new and changing circumstances and times. I do not for a second believe this is what the Framers intended.

And I'm willing to bet that like most conservative strict constructionists, your application of this principle to the Second Amendment is hypocritical.
Salinas Observer

Big Sur, CA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#20
Dec 3, 2009
 

Judged:

1

Fabioso and Alice: what does "penumbra of rights" mean?(I know what it means. I'm a lawyer. But what does it MEAN?) It is so open-ended. Liberals like it b/c it was used in a way they liked.

But liberals sure as heck didn't like Bush v. Gore. That case was simple judicial legislation, I can admit it. It was wrongly decided. But once the barn door is open to judicial activism, it is hard to get the horse back in.

BTW, on the second amendment, we don't have state militias. My own reading is that the two clauses are gramatically tied. I don't think there is an inchoate right to bear arms absent the need for a militia.

You may not have realized it, but I am a democrat. A slightly left-of-center person who would just rather see changes come through the democratic process rather than through the judiciary. Change is more stable when it has the buy-in of the populace.

As to Alice's comments, realize that between 1967 and 1973, the trend was to legalize abortion. That trend likely would have continued, but would have been the product of a healthier national debate. Instead, we had 9 unelected people change fundamental law. The uprest this has caused since 1973 has been significant.
Fabioso

Tallahassee, FL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#21
Dec 3, 2009
 

Judged:

1

Salinas Observer wrote:
Fabioso and Alice: what does "penumbra of rights" mean?(I know what it means. I'm a lawyer. But what does it MEAN?) It is so open-ended. Liberals like it b/c it was used in a way they liked.
But liberals sure as heck didn't like Bush v. Gore. That case was simple judicial legislation, I can admit it. It was wrongly decided. But once the barn door is open to judicial activism, it is hard to get the horse back in.
BTW, on the second amendment, we don't have state militias. My own reading is that the two clauses are gramatically tied. I don't think there is an inchoate right to bear arms absent the need for a militia.
You may not have realized it, but I am a democrat. A slightly left-of-center person who would just rather see changes come through the democratic process rather than through the judiciary. Change is more stable when it has the buy-in of the populace.
As to Alice's comments, realize that between 1967 and 1973, the trend was to legalize abortion. That trend likely would have continued, but would have been the product of a healthier national debate. Instead, we had 9 unelected people change fundamental law. The uprest this has caused since 1973 has been significant.
This isn't a political issue, so what's with the "liberals" business? Take politics out of this.

It's not as open ended as you make it seem. There are still parameters within which the courts have to operate, stare decisis still applies, as you well know.

But what about new and novel situations? New technology? Changing demographics? Anything that creates an issue the courts have not dealt with before. Why risk, or more than risk, absurd or unjust results by applying a strict constructionist view that does not recognize how the real world works? Overly literal or strict interpretations of ANY law have the potential to create injustice or results that fly in the face of logic or fairness. The courts have to have some flexibility in interpretation to remain relevant at all.

But hey, there's no winning this argument for either of us. It's a core dispute in American legal philosophy that isn't going anywhere for the time being.

As for your being a Democrat - all I can say is that most of the time I find the die-hard strict constructionists to be conservative. But you just proves my point that despite what most people think it really ISN'T a political issue, or not as much of one as people seem to think.

Tell me when this thread is updated: (Registration is not required)

Add to my Tracker Send me an email

First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

•••