|Volume 37, Number 6 www.nrlc.org June 2010|
Obama and Top Hill
Democrats Push New Bill to
WASHINGTON (June 11, 2010)—President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders are pushing hard for quick enactment of a bill that would place extensive new legal restrictions on the ability of corporations–including incorporated nonprofit citizen groups such as NRLC–to communicate with the public about the actions of federal lawmakers.
NRLC is strongly opposed to the bill, viewing it as a blatant political attack on the constitutional rights of the organization and of its members and donors.
The bill, called the “DISCLOSE Act,” was crafted in response to the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, handed down on January 21, 2010. In that case, the Supreme Court invalidated federal laws and regulations that had prevented an incorporated group called Citizens United from buying TV ads to promote a movie critical of Hillary Clinton while she was running for president. By a 5–4 vote, the Court ruled that the First Amendment protects the right of corporations to spend money on ads or other communications that criticize or praise those who hold or seek federal office.
In previous arguments before the Court, the Obama Administration, represented by the office of Solicitor General Elena Kagan, had argued that the government could prohibit a corporation from disseminating even a book if it contained material that opposed a federal candidate.
NRLC opposes confirmation:
When pro-abortion President Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace retiring pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the most common description of the 50-year-old Kagan was that she resembled a “blank slate.” This was no doubt part of her appeal as Obama sought to make sure his second Supreme Court nomination ran as smoothly as his 2009 nomination of now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Kagan, the one-time dean of the Harvard Law School, has never served on the bench (if confirmed, Kagan would be the first justice without judicial experience in almost 40 years), written sparsely as an academician, and, all in all, remained under the radar.
But two months plus out from her nomination, a clearer picture of Kagan is beginning to emerge. Based on an accumulation of direct and indirect evidence about her positions on abortion, assisted suicide, and cloning, along with her general support for an activist, results-oriented approach to constitutional law, National Right to Life opposes Kagan’s confirmation to be the Court’s 112th justice.
Within minutes of Obama’s May 10 announcement of his pick, the Associated Press reported that “Obama has started making calls to Senate leaders to inform them of his choice, while his White House team is launching a broad campaign-style outreach to Capitol Hill and the media.” The effort, the AP explained, “is designed to shape the national image of Kagan, an unknown figure to much of America.”
From the President
The political life of the nation is, shall we say, “unsettled” or even “turbulent.” The common observation is that there is anti-incumbent fervor. There is a demand for “change” in the air. But didn’t we just go through the “hope” and “change” thing in the last election? Paradoxically, now after that election, it seems there is far too little hope and way too much change of the wrong kind. How to fix the current financial and ecological disasters is not part of NRLC’s mission, but the increased threats to life, both born and unborn, that have arisen as a result of the last election are of deep concern to us at NRLC—as, indeed, they are to all pro-lifers. It gives us very little comfort to know that we warned of that happening before the last election.
When, as now, committed pro-abortionists control both the White House and Congress, the right to life is under attack. The method of these (and other) attacks—heavy-handed and duplicitous governmental over-reach—troubles not just pro-lifers, but many more. So, there is, indeed, ferment and turbulence in our civic life.
In the remaining primaries and the November election pro-lifers, like the rest of the voters, have a chance to correct the disastrous mistakes of the current Congress. The opportunity is there, since voters are infuriated by what has happened, but let’s think carefully before we act. When emotions are high, when the energy is great, and when the current office holder obviously deserves to be returned to private life—the temptation is right away to do something, anything. But acting too quickly could be self-defeating. And that has happened many times before. Thus it is worth repeating some of the “rules” of the successful pro-life strategy from last February’s column.
Increasing the numbers of pro-life voters. Politicians may sometimes not understand what they are voting for, but what they do understand is political power. They generally know how to count, especially the successful ones. The prospect of a large number of pro-life voters electing you to office or sending you home in defeat does clarify a politician’s mind.
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