A new report by Bloomberg Government indicates that Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
HHS’ Burwell Caught Low-Balling Congress on Cost of Healthcare.gov

A new report by Bloomberg Government indicates that Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), gave a potentially misleading answer when she told Congress that Healthcare.gov – the federal government’s ObamaCare portal – cost taxpayers $834 million to build.

Nicole Kaeding at the CATO Institute teases out some of the unstated, but related, costs that balloon the overall price tag to $2.14 billion, far north of Burwell’s testimony.

I’ve summarized them here as bullet points: $300 million contract to process paper applications to serve as backups to electronic files $387 million for real-time interfacing between the IRS and Healthcare.gov to verify income and family size for insurance subsidy calculations $400 million in accounting tricks…[more]

September 30, 2014 • 07:25 pm

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Against Foreign Abuses in American Courts Print
By Quin Hillyer
Thursday, April 12 2012
What these laws do is protect civil liberties against abuses from parts of Islamic sharia and other foreign practices.

The Legislature in Alabama, the home state of perhaps the single most prominent American-born jihadi, is poised to become the latest in a line of states outlawing the application of foreign laws in American courts if those laws violate American constitutional rights. The laws are desperately needed: Confused American trial court judges are surprisingly susceptible to citations of foreign standards to excuse otherwise appalling, even criminal, behavior.

As was well explained by Investor’s Business Daily on April 3, the Alabama bill and others like it are the subjects of a massive disinformation campaign by a group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Despite the myths pushed therein, these laws are not aimed at negating innocent religious practices or at barring all use of foreign laws (such as business contracts) from American courts. These laws are not some sort of anti-Islamic fear-mongering, nor mere jingoism.

What these laws do is protect civil liberties against abuses from parts of Islamic sharia and other foreign practices. Consider a case in New Jersey, S.D. v M.J.R., in which a couple was subjected to an arranged marriage in Morocco, moved to the United States, and soon were at odds over the wife’s inability to cook traditional Middle Eastern meals, among other perceived weaknesses. The husband physically abused her (allegedly, but police photographs do show multiple bruises, etcetera), and repeatedly subjected her to nonconsensual (and rough) intercourse. He did not challenge the allegation that he forced sex upon his wife, but claimed his religion allowed him that privilege – and a trial court judge, ignoring contrary state law, excused the conduct on those grounds.

Fortunately, an appeals court overturned the decision, saying the trial judge “abused [his] discretion.” Wrote the appeals court:

"Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice?"

But relatively few trial court decisions are appealed, or even memorialized in writing. Yet the Center for Security Policy, in what it described as “a very cursory search,” found at least 50 cases where foreign law or religious practices were accepted by trial judges as excuses for sometimes heinous activities.  At National Review Online, Andrew McCarthy wrote about a Pennsylvania case where a judge excused a violent assault because the victim’s “Zombie Mohammed” costume for Halloween violated Muslim sensibilities.  And child custody cases in numerous venues have seen foreign practices allowed to trump the “best interest of the child” standard usually applicable in American law.

“This is a real problem in U.S. courts,” said Christopher Holton, a vice president at the Center for Security Policy. “We don’t want to go down the slippery slope like Europe already has. For example, there are 85 sharia courts operating openly in Great Britain. It’s not harmless. Now you have shadow legal systems operating in Germany too, and we see some courts going that way here.”

Hence the successful moves in Tennessee, Arizona and Louisiana to pass similar versions of “American Laws for American Courts” laws. Hence serious activity in seven other states, including Alabama, to do the same. The bill passed the Kansas House 122-0 and is scheduled for an April 26 Senate vote; in Missouri, it passed the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee and awaits further action; it also passed the House in New Hampshire.

Yet for whatever reason, it seemed stalled in Alabama. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, but died in the Rules Committee. It passed Judiciary again this year on March 1, but again seemed to be languishing in Rules. Until Thursday. Shortly after noon on April 12, Rules forwarded the bill to the full Senate for a Tuesday vote. Easy passage and transmittal to the House is expected.

The proposed law is measured. It applies only to individuals, specifically excluding business contracting arrangements from its strictures – thus allowing, indeed promoting, foreign trade. It applies not to purely internal religious matters, but only if there is risk of abuse of individual rights, “including, but not limited to, due process, freedom of religion, speech, assembly, or press, or any right of privacy or marriage.”

Such bills are especially important to protect women from the horrible treatments often meted out under sharia and other foreign systems. Particularly in the area of family law, the American system is a relative beacon of humaneness and fairness. Every reason exists to protect women and children living in these United States. Domestic abuse may not be jihad, but it still can be a serious manifestation of terror – of the sort no American state should ever countenance.

Question of the Week   
When did the Secret Service assume full-time responsibility for the protection of the President of the United States?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"The United States military and intelligence community have learned a lot over the past decade of conflict. Our commander in chief, unfortunately, has not. Since the start of his administration, President Barack Obama has ignored his generals and the intelligence community. Over the past few weeks, he has half-heartedly pursued a strategy that destines us to fail in our mission, and over the past…[more]
 
 
—Joseph Miller, Daily Caller. Joseph Miller is the pen name for a senior Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
— Joseph Miller, Daily Caller. Joseph Miller is the pen name for a senior Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
Liberty Poll   

In selecting a nominee to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General, will President Obama choose someone who is less ideological and less divisive to serve as the country’s chief law enforcement officer?