Barto On Hand For Historic SCOTUS Abortion Hearing

Barto On Hand For Historic SCOTUS Abortion Hearing

By Corinne Murdock |

State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) shared that she was the sole state legislator from Arizona in attendance at the rally outside the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Wednesday. Inside, the justices held a hearing for a watershed case in abortion law: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Their ruling is anticipated in the spring.

Barto told AZ Free News that the hearing was historic, as was the gathering outside the SCOTUS building advocating for an end to abortion. She said the rally was peaceful, and recounted how diverse their rally was: individuals reportedly represented from all across the political spectrum, the religious and non-religious, and a generational attendance from tikes to older adults such as herself.

“America has lived this lie long enough. Our laws need to be modernized to recognize [the science]: viability is different now, women are not burdened by pregnancy anymore. The greater standard is, of course, that our constitution needs to fit our laws and protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” observed Barto. “We will wait and see and keep praying for these justices to really follow the changing hearts in America, hearts that really have turned. People no longer support abortion through nine months; the more that they learn about what abortion does to women and the unborn in terms of pain, and how the development of an unborn child is trackable from the earliest moments in utero.”

The case brought by Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Mississippi abortion clinic challenging the constitutionality of Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. On behalf of the defense, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch countered that SCOTUS should leave abortion law to individual states. A SCOTUS ruling in favor of Mississippi would overturn the precedent set by the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationally, Roe v. Wade, which was upheld in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey

The crux of the plaintiff’s arguments during the hearing concerned the need for SCOTUS to stand by precedent set in previous rulings, discussed as the question of “stare decisis.” They also insisted that the interests of the woman outweighed those of the state, especially prior to the viability of the unborn child.

The plaintiffs also admitted that they were arguing a constitutional right to abortion under the constitutional guarantee of liberty when pressed by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas as to what right they were arguing needed protecting. Previous SCOTUS rulings on abortion considered concepts entailing rights under the Constitution and various amendments, such as personhood, undue burdens, and privacy.

Founding Father James Wilson warned of licentiousness, a concept conflated with liberty but truly its antithesis. “Licentious,” or “license,” comes from the Latin term “licentia”: an unbridled, wanton, chaotic freedom. The distinction between liberty and license wasn’t made by anyone in the hearing. Wilson was one of the original SCOTUS justices, serving from the onset of its establishment by the Judiciary Act of 1789 until his death in 1798. 

“Liberty and happiness have a powerful enemy on each hand; on the one hand tyranny, on the other licentiousness. To guard against the latter, it is necessary to give the proper powers to government; and to guard against the former, it is necessary that those powers should be properly distributed,” asserted Wilson.

After the hearing, Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ-06) shared one of his floor statements from earlier this year describing how his life was saved when his birth mother chose life over abortion and gave him up for adoption.

“I was born in an unwed mother’s home – so was my brother, so was my sister. You’ve all met my little girl that came to us as a gift out of nowhere. But I’m 38 years old [at the time] and through a series of accidents, I get the phone number for my birth mother – and I call her. And the first words were just through the tears and this high-pitch almost – she was struggling, you could hear her almost hyperventilating – is: ‘I prayed for you every morning. Are you okay? Are you healthy, are you happy?’ And I’m crying on my side, saying, ‘I have a great life. Thank you for letting me live.’ […] My little girl’s third generation adopted, now. […] And we will get together with our birth moms and our moms. The amazing thing is my mom became best of friends with my birth mom. This is the American family of today – let’s love it and respect it.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Supreme Court To Consider Arizona’s Petition To Defend Rule Refusing Citizenship, Green Cards Based On Welfare Reliance

Supreme Court To Consider Arizona’s Petition To Defend Rule Refusing Citizenship, Green Cards Based On Welfare Reliance

By Corinne Murdock |

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) accepted Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s petition to defend previous President Donald Trump’s updates to a rule limiting green cards and citizenship to those who haven’t and won’t become dependent on welfare programs. Brnovich announced this update in a press release Friday.

“When other federal officials won’t defend the law, I will,” asserted Brnovich. “The Public Charge Rule is a commonsense policy based on a real inconvenient truth. Overrunning our welfare programs right now would be like pulling back the last safety net for Americans who need it most.”

Congress first enacted the “Public Charge Rule” in 1882: a concept that officials could deny immigrants entrance, visas, and even citizenship if officials deemed they were likely to become a “public charge.” The definition of “public charge” varied over the years. In 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defined “public charge” as illegal immigrants who received one year’s worth of welfare benefits in the aggregate within a three-year period. Under that definition, two benefits received in one month counted as two months.

According to the latest available data analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies, about 55 percent of noncitizens relied on welfare in 2018. Noncitizens in their study included both green card holders and illegal immigrants. While the law does prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving welfare benefits, noncitizens may receive benefits on behalf of any children they have born in the U.S.

In April, SCOTUS rejected a previous petition from 14 states attempting to revive Trump-era litigation that the Biden Administration halted. Texas led the charge on that petition. The states claimed that dropping the Trump rule would force them to provide millions of dollars of government benefits to illegal immigrants.

SCOTUS determined that states would have to work through lower courts before they’d take up the case, if at all.

Their recent acceptance means that Arizona and 12 other states – Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia – may be eligible to defend the rule even though the Biden Administration has decided against doing so.

SCOTUS will not be deciding on the legality of the rule, and oral arguments haven’t been scheduled.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

The Supreme Court’s Decision to Protect Donor Privacy Is the Right One

The Supreme Court’s Decision to Protect Donor Privacy Is the Right One

By the Free Enterprise Club |

Every American should be free to support nonprofit organizations they believe in without being harassed or intimidated. You would think this is obvious. But leave it to California’s former Attorney General, Kamala Harris, to trample on that freedom.

Back in 2010, Harris began ordering nonprofits that fundraise in the State of California to disclose the information of their major donors. Of course, the California government had no real need for this information. And, despite the fact that the state was required to keep donor names private, they were regularly leaked to the public.

You may even remember the name of Brendan Eich. In 2014, Eich, who created JavaScript, became CEO of Mozilla. But soon after, he was forced to step down from his position amid a flurry of backlash when it was made public that he donated money in support of California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The harassment didn’t stop with Eich. Organizations like Thomas More Law Center and Americans for Prosperity Foundation faced similar intimidation. In fact, Thomas More Law Center donors, employees, and clients even faced death threats, hate mail, and an assassination plot from those who oppose them.

>>> READ MORE >>>

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates California Donor-Disclosure Rules

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates California Donor-Disclosure Rules

On Friday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, struck down California’s demand that nonprofit advocacy groups turn over confidential information about their donors. The 6-3 ruling in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta is considered a major victory for First Amendment advocates.

At issue was a dispute that began in 2014, when the Thomas More Law Center and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation went to federal court to challenge California’s rule.

“The case ends more than a decade of litigation that began when then-Attorney General Kamala Harris abruptly ended the practice that allowed nonprofits to turn in their annual reports with private information redacted, as a security measure. That had been allowed for many years, since if the Attorney General’s office ever actually needed such information, it could easily get it in many other ways—such as a subpoena or audit,” explains Timothy Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute in a blog post. “But in 2010, Harris ordered any nonprofit that collected money in California to hand over copies of their unredacted IRS paperwork. That information would be placed into a government database that Harris promised would be kept confidential. Of course, it wasn’t—a trial judge later found almost 2,000 instances in which Harris’s office allowed this information to be publicly circulated. (The Goldwater Institute received such a demand, but refused to disclose this information.)”

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion which reverses the 9th Circuit Court opinion.

In his blog post, Sandefur says the Court’s ruling “vindicates the privacy rights of millions of Americans who choose to contribute to nonprofit organizations that articulate the political, cultural, or religious values they hold dear. That choice is guaranteed by the First Amendment—yet many federal, state, and local officials continue to devote their powers to stripping donors of their privacy rights whenever they exercise that constitutional freedom. This is often done under the guise of “transparency,” but transparency is for government—privacy is for people. Today’s decision is a victory for the free speech rights of all Americans, whatever their ideological background—and we look forward to continuing the fight for freedom of speech and privacy at the federal, state, and local levels.”

The Supreme Court’s Decision to Protect Donor Privacy Is the Right One

U.S. Supreme Court Finds In Favor Of Arizona, Ballot Harvesting Law Constitutional

By Terri Jo Neff |

In a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Arizona election laws were not “enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose.”

The Court also found that “Arizona law generally makes it very easy to vote. Voters may cast their ballots on election day in person at a traditional precinct or a ‘voting center’ in their county of residence.”

Justice Samuel Alito authored the 44-page opinion for the majority on two cases which were ruled on together. Justice Neil Gorsuch, with Justice Clarence Thomas joining, concurred with Alito’s opinion but tagged on a one-paragraph notation about an issue involving the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which was assumed in the majority opinion but had not been decided in the Arizona cases.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote a dissent on behalf of herself and Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

The case involved Arizona’s election laws related to ballot harvesting and to out-of-precinct voting. Specifically, the justices ruled on a law passed by the Legislature in 2016 which makes it illegal for organizations to “harvest” or collect voters’ mail-in ballots and then deliver them to election officials.

The other law requires election officials to invalidate, or not count, ballots that are cast by voters outside their registered precinct.

Gov. Doug Ducey called the ruling “big victory for Arizona voters, the rule of law and the integrity of our elections.”

As reported by AFN earlier this month:

Two Yuma County women charged by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office with ballot fraud are scheduled to be back in court next month, two local election integrity watchdogs say the problem in their county runs much deeper, and it has garnered the attention of the FBI.

Gary Garcia Snyder and David Lara revealed in a radio interview with Sergio Arellano that they utilized hidden cameras to record ballot harvesting incidents at two San Luis polling stations on Aug. 4, 2020, which was primary election day. The city of 33,000 is in the far southwest corner of Arizona on the Mexico border.

RELATED ARTICLE: Concerned Citizens Provided FBI With Videos Of Ballot Abuse, Harvesting In Yuma County

The Court on Thursday found:

Arizona law generally makes it very easy to vote. Voters may cast their ballots on election day in person at a traditional precinct or a “voting center” in their county of residence. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §16–411(B)(4). Arizonans also may cast an “early ballot” by mail up to 27 days before an election, §§16–541, 16–542(C), and they also may vote in person at an early voting location in each county, §§16–542(A), (E). These cases involve challenges under §2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) to aspects of the State’s regulations governing precinct-based election day voting and early mail-in voting. First, Arizonans who vote in person on election day in a county that uses the precinct system must vote in the precinct to which they are assigned based on their address. If a voter votes in the wrong precinct, the vote is not counted.

Second, for Arizonans who vote early by mail, Arizona House Bill 2023 (HB 2023) makes it a crime for any person other than a postal worker, an elections official, or a voter’s caregiver, family member, or household member to knowingly collect an early ballot— either before or after it has been completed. §§16–1005(H)–(I).

[View Court’s Opinion Here]

The Democratic National Committee and certain affiliates filed suit, alleging that both the State’s refusal to count ballots cast in the wrong precinct and its ballot-collection restriction had an adverse and disparate effect on the State’s American Indian, Hispanic, and African-American citizens in violation of §2 of the VRA. Additionally, they alleged that the ballot-collection restriction was “enacted with discriminatory intent” and thus violated both §2 of the VRA and the Fifteenth Amendment. The District Court rejected all of the plaintiffs’ claims. The court found that the out-of-precinct policy had no “meaningfully disparate impact” on minority voters’ opportunities to elect representatives of their choice. Turning to the ballot-collection restriction, the court found that it was unlikely to cause “a meaningful inequality” in minority voters’ electoral opportunities and that it had not been enacted with discriminatory intent. A divided panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed, but the en banc court reversed. It first concluded that both the out-of-precinct policy and the ballot-collection restriction imposed a disparate burden on minority voters because they were more likely to be adversely affected by those rules. The en banc court also held that the District Court had committed clear error in finding that the ballot-collection law was not enacted with discriminatory intent.