Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Rolling Stone article calls out possible ethical breach between SCOTUS justices and anti-LGBTQ hate group


SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas wants to revisit decisions favoring LGBTQ Americans. Rolling Stone magazine just pointed out a possible breach of ethics between him and an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

This article from Rolling Stone magazine needs more attention. It underscores just how brazen far right conservatives and some SCOTUS justices are:

At an evangelical victory party in front of the Supreme Court to celebrate the downfall of Roe v. Wade last week, a prominent Capitol Hill religious leader was caught on a hot mic making a bombshell claim: that she prays with sitting justices inside the high court. “We’re the only people who do that,” Peggy Nienaber said. 

 This disclosure was a serious matter on its own terms, but it also suggested a major conflict of interest. Nienaber’s ministry’s umbrella organization, Liberty Counsel, frequently brings lawsuits before the Supreme Court. In fact, the conservative majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which ended nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights, cited an amicus brief authored by Liberty Counsel in its ruling. 

 In other words: Sitting Supreme Court justices have prayed together with evangelical leaders whose bosses were bringing cases and arguments before the high court. Nienaber is Liberty Counsel’s executive director of DC Ministry, as well as the vice president of Faith & Liberty, whose ministry offices sit directly behind the Supreme Court. She spoke to a livestreamer who goes by Connie IRL, seemingly unaware she was being recorded. 

“You actually pray with the Supreme Court justices?” the livestreamer asked. “I do,” Nienaber said. “They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them.” She did not specify which justices prayed with her, but added with a chortle, “Some of them don’t!” The livestreamer then asked if Nienaber ministered to the justices in their homes or at her office. Neither, she said. “We actually go in there.”

Here's something which makes it worse. The Liberty Counsel has been called an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center:

With the expansion of equal rights for LGBT people, especially, the Liberty Counsel has come into their own, working to attempt to ensure that Christians can continue to engage in anti-LGBT discrimination in places of business under the guise of “religious liberty.” 

Through lawsuits and its annual Awakening conference in Orlando, the Counsel attempts to enforce the idea that Christian beliefs and law trump all other law. Staver has warned about homosexuality, abortion, and the consequences for Christians who oppose homosexuality and marriage equality, saying they will be targeted for their views. He even went so far as to call for a new revolutionary war as marriage equality advanced. In March of 2015, Staver stated that he would personally advocate disobedience to any U.S. Supreme Court ruling that favored marriage equality, and that “collectively, we cannot accept that as the rule of law.”

 During the 2015 brouhaha over Indiana’s religious freedom law, Staver likened “the homosexual lobby” to terrorists, claiming that “it’s hard to negotiate with people who are irrational and who are inventing things that simply don’t exist.” He has also supported the criminalization of homosexuality both in the U.S. and in other countries, stating in one instance that Malawi’s anti-homosexuality laws were in its “own best interests” after the U.S. reportedly withheld monetary aid to the country because of its efforts to outlaw homosexuality.

 In the Counsel’s amicus curiae brief in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas lawsuit in which the Supreme Court decriminalized sodomy, the attorneys writing (including Staver) called for the court to uphold anti-sodomy laws, stating that “This Court again should decline to deprive states of the power to enact statutes that proscribe harmful and immoral conduct.” The Liberty Counsel went on to say that statistical evidence “demonstrates, however, that those who engage in homosexual conduct are at increased risk for numerous diseases as compared to heterosexuals.”

What the Liberty Counsel has done in the past to attack LGBTQ rights deserves special attention, particularly in light of recent comments by Justice Clarence Thomas that the court should revisit decisions made for LGBTQ people, including the outlawing of the sodomy laws. According to the Rolling Stone article, Thomas was as one of the justices the group prayed with. 

'Gay Missouri legislature candidate refuses to back down from homophobes' & other Wed midday news briefs

This gay Missouri legislature candidate refuses to back down from homophobes - Good for him!

Conservative Dominance of Talk Radio is a Threat to Democracy​ - Yep. And you just know they are manipulating the engine. 

Macy Gray goes on anti-transgender rant: Changing “your parts doesn’t make you a woman” - Just too damn simplistic. That's the problem. Folks don't want to listen because they are too busy trying to simplify a complex situation. 

SCOTUS ruling on abortion has LGBTQ families concerned about their rights - Somewhere that bitter old Clarence Thomas is wetting his pants in glee.