People For the American Way


MARCH 2009

In This Issue

SPOTLIGHT: Playing Politics With Justice


Obama's First Judicial Nominee

Two Big Victories for Public Education

Marriage Equality Opponents Blur Distinction Between Civil And Religious Marriage

--Featured Video


And the winner is...

EPA Awared mini

The winners of February's Equine Posterior Achievement Award were co-nominees Janet Porter, Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern and Alan Keyes, for pushing communist conspiracy theories. They all deserve their equal share of the award (we hope they enjoy it).

See who's been nominated this month and cast your vote now.

Read More & Vote more

Tell Congress How to Restore Justice

Restoring Justice means accountability for past wrongdoing and prevention of abuses in the future by ensuring strong checks and balances. Here are some recommendations for what the Legislative Branch must do as its part.

Sign our three-point petition to congressional leaders to be one of the first people to endorse this campaign.

Sign the Petition


Playing Politics With Justice

DOJ Seal

We're making great progress in the effort to bring Justice back to the DOJ. President Obama's Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, Solicitor General and Associate Attorney General have all been confirmed -- despite some efforts by the Far Right to obstruct their confirmations. But now we could be in store for the biggest fight yet over Dawn Johnsen, the president's pick to head the incredibly important Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

The OLC was perhaps the most shamed office within what was arguably the executive branch's most shamed department during the Bush administration. It's where the "legal" rationale for policies like torture, rendition, domestic spying and more were developed and approved. Dawn Johnsen is an EXCELLENT pick to fix the damage and make sure the OLC upholds the rule of law instead of undermining it.

On March 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Dawn Johnsen's nomination to the full Senate for consideration on a party-line vote with all the Republicans on the Committee voting "no" and Ranking Member Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) passing. This could signal significant opposition from the full Republican cause -- even a possible filibuster.

Read More:

DOJ nominations page >

The Facts on Dawn Johnsen >



Harambee, a Kenyan tradition of community self-help events, is also the name of a series of events going on this week at the Howard University Divity School in Washington, DC. People For the American Way Foundation's African American Ministers Leadership Council is co-sponsoring the Harambee celebration and hosted two important panel discussions on "Homophobia in the Black Church" and "The Role of the Black Church in the Age of Obama."

Read More >

Obama's First Judicial Nominee


The president's first judicial nomination is a good one: David Hamilton, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit... and, of course, some on the Right are going off the deep end, pulling out some truly outrageous distortions and mischaracterizations in their collective attempt to smear this excellent nominee (and derail his confirmation).

Read More >

Young People For Newsletter

Check out the latest and greatest from People For the American Way Foundation's progressive leadership development program Young People For!

Read More >

Young People For is a program of People For the American Way Foundation.

Two Big Victories for Public Education

This month, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment that would have continued sending taxpayer money to the District of Columbia school voucher program. The legislation, which was not reviewed by any Senate committee, was defeated by a vote of 58 to 39.

Press Release >

And the Arizona Supreme Court rejected publicly funded voucher schemes that send public money to religious and other private schools. People For the American Way, along with a group of allies, filed suit against the state in 2006, pointing to clear language in the Arizona Constitution that forbids appropriating taxpayer money in aid of "private or sectarian schools."

Press Release >

Marriage Equality Opponents Blur Distinction Between Civil And Religious Marriage

RWW in focuse sm

The latest RWW In Focus from People For the American Way Foundation examines a specific angle of how efforts to bring down discriminatory legal barriers to marriage equality have met with fierce resistance led by Religious Right organizations. Anti-equality leaders routinely blur the distinction between civil and religious marriage in order to portray legal marriage equality as a threat to their religious liberty. The truth can be a powerful weapon against that deception: when Americans understand that allowing same-sex couples to be legally wed would not require any church or congregation to bless or perform such weddings, support for legal equality jumps substantially.

Read More >

RWW In Focus Archive >


vid cap

Because What America Needs Now Is Another Right-Wing Group

WJAC TV in Pennsylvania has run a short profile of a new right-wing group billing itself as The Faith and Freedom Institute and its leader, Gary Dull, who have pledged to rid America of "satanic wickedness" and bring the nation to Christ "in order to save the nation from the judgment of God."

Read More and Watch >


Right Wing Watch: Understanding the GOP's Pre-Emptive Filibuster Threat (3/9)

Yesterday, the New York Times ran an editorial criticizing Senate Republicans for preemptively and hypocritically threatening to filibuster President Obama's judicial nominees if they are not consulted and approve of any nominees before they are made. Predictably, The National Review's Ed Whelan doesn't like it...

Read More >

Supreme Court Dismisses Al-Marri Case (3/6)

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by Ali al-Marri, who has been in federal custody in South Carolina since January 2002 when Bush designated him as an enemy combatant, claiming that he was an al-Qaeda sleeper agent. The order was in response to the Obama administration's important move last week in filing criminal charges against al-Marri after nine long years of detention without review by Bush, a move which transformed al-Marri's detention to a criminal matter that will be heard in the normal course through the federal courts.

Read More >

Right Wing Watch: What Steele Meant By "Beyond Cutting Edge" (3/26)

Shortly after Michael Steele was elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee, he declared that the GOP's messaging and outreach efforts were going to be not merely "off the hook" but downright "beyond cutting edge." He then proceeded to try and take on Rush Limbaugh, got his head handed to him and quickly apologized. Steele is now claiming that it was all part of his master plan (and that he just might run for president, should the opportunity arise).

Read More >

Right Wing Watch: The Great and Powerful ACORN (3/18)

When President Barack Obama announced his nomination of David Hamilton to a seat on the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network was first out of the gate to blast the nomination because Hamilton reportedly had ties to the ACLU as well as the Right's favorite bogeyman, ACORN. I knew that ACORN was influential, but I had no idea it was so powerful that the President of the United States was obligated to pay it back by giving a federal judgeship to someone who worked for it for one whole month some thirty years ago.

Read More >

Supreme Court Chips Away at Voting Rights Protections (3/11)

Twenty four hours after thousands marked "Bloody Sunday" earlier this week -- a voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery where civil rights marchers were attacked and brutally beaten by police, but ultimately led to the historic passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- the Supreme Court undermined some of the enforcement mechanisms of the Voting Rights Act.

Read More >

More Blog Posts >

More Right Wing Tracking >  |  privacy policy  |  subscribe   |  unsubscribe  |  contact us | Facebook  |  Twitter  |  YouTube

Do not reply directly to this e-mail. Please use

1101 15th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005-5002, 202-467-4999
Powered by Convio