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Biden Admin Declares War on Conscience Rights

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2021 1:00 pm

Biden Admin Declares War on Conscience Rights

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow

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August 4, 2021 1:00 pm

You know Xavier Becerra, Biden's Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), as one of the most anti-life HHS secretaries ever to be appointed. Now, in a not-so-shocking move, the DHS has recommended that the Department of Justice (DOJ) drop their conscience rights-related lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC). The DOJ lawsuit directly involves an ACLJ client - a nurse forced to participate in an abortion despite her conscience objections. Does this move by Biden's HHS mark the beginning of an all-out radical assault on conscience rights for medical professionals? Jordan and the rest of the Sekulow team - including ACLJ Senior Counsel Frank Manion - discuss this attack on conscience rights and the details of the case that the HHS is asking to be dropped. This and more today on Sekulow .

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Today on Sekulow, the Biden administration declares war on conscious protections. We'll talk about that and how it impacts one of our clients today on Sekulow. Keeping you informed and engaged, now more than ever, this is Sekulow. We want to hear from you.

Share and post your comments or call 1-800-684-3110. And now your host, Jordan Sekulow. Welcome to Sekulow. This is a move that is not shocking out of this administration, especially with who we've told you serves as the head of Health and Human Services. Javier Becerra in California as Attorney General. This is someone who wanted to eliminate pro-life pregnancy centers, kept going after the Little Sisters of the Poor, and even after the victories at the Supreme Court. Not giving up, always trying to advance the cause of Planned Parenthood over the cause of individuals and individual rights in the United States.

Why do I say that? Well, now HHS recommended to the Department of Justice to drop the Department of Justice lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center. You might remember, we do represent a nurse who used to work at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She had a conscience, which her fellow colleagues do, a conscience objection to participating in elective abortions.

And there are laws on the books, the church amendment laws on the books that protect Americans with these conscience protections. So, she didn't want to, this was in 2018, so this goes back three years. She contacts the ACLJ, doesn't want to file a lawsuit that makes it public and puts her job in jeopardy, but there's an administrative process you can go through by filing the complaint through the government. Then they look at whether or not there should be a lawsuit filed. So, she filed a complaint with what was the newly formed at the time, Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, that was formed by the Trump administration, the HHS Office of Civil Rights. So, it's kind of like filing a civil rights complaint with another employee, you know, if you were dealing with like employment law on its own, but this worked directly through HHS. Ultimately, you know, that didn't have to lead to a court case, but the Department of Justice decided under the Trump administration that they could not come to an agreement with the University of Vermont, that they had to file a federal lawsuit. So, that was about to begin. The lawsuit was about to begin, and then the Biden administration, surprise, surprise, pulled the plug on that lawsuit, told the court to dismiss this, that they no longer want to pursue this. So, the question now is, if you are an individual in this situation, what do you do? Because here, this was a unique situation because you didn't want to file a lawsuit. We respect that. I wanted to keep her privacy. We've got a new blog up at ACLJ.org.

We come back, Frank Manu will be joining us. Also, he's the lead attorney, senior counsel with the ACLJ, representing this client, but also on the fight for your rights here. It is not over because the DOJ decided not to bring a lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center. You still have rights, and that is important for people to know. They have protections under the federal law. Absolutely, and have for decades, Jordan. I just want to reiterate, the Trump administration took a statute that was decades old and actually enforced it for the first time.

I would just say this at the outset of this broadcast, Jordan. We say this a lot, but the statutory law matters, but so does administration of the law. So does enforcement of the law.

We saw both of those things finally start to take place under the last administration, but right now, you've got HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and the Attorney General Merrick Garland. Jordan, they're not administering the law. They're not enforcing the law.

They're laying down. It's going to take groups like the ACLJ pushing back and exposing that. All right, folks, we come back. Frank Manion will be joining us, and we'll get a live report on, again, this situation, this attack on the rights of those who are pro-life, but also on how to move forward as well, because we believe this is one of those reminders that the ACLJ is needed now more than ever. Support our work at ACLJ.org. We have a very hostile, we have made no mistake about that, no question about that, an extremely hostile health and human services when it is led by someone who is owned by the abortion industry, and that is very true when you're talking about Xavier Becerra.

If you look at his record, look at the actions that have just occurred. We'll be right back on Secular. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. Whether it's defending religious freedom, protecting those who are persecuted for their faith, uncovering corruption in the Washington bureaucracy, and fighting to protect life in the courts and in Congress, the ACLJ would not be able to do any of this without your support.

For that, we are grateful. Now there's an opportunity for you to help in a unique way. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes $100. This is a critical time for the ACLJ. The work we do simply would not occur without your generous support.

Take part in our Matching Challenge today. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, Planned Parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. Welcome back to Sekulow. We are joined by ACLJ senior counsel Frank Manion, lead attorney representing, you know, just a reminder here, this was a case we've talked about a lot now over three years. So just a reminder, again, if you're just joining us on Sekulow, we have represented a nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She's now moved on. She did not do this publicly. She went through an administrative process. She can remain anonymous, continue her career.

You can understand the reasons there. This operating room nurse was coerced into assisting in abortion, even though her name, it was actually on a list of nurses who had moral and religious objections to being part of those kind of procedures. She was told she put her scrubs on it for the operation. Then she was met by the surgeon who knew of her objection, who said, don't hate me. And then she had to participate in what is, again, as it stands now, a legal killing under US law of an innocent human being.

She didn't want to be part of this. They did not swap her out for a different nurse who didn't have these concerns. And the situation moved into directly with the HHS.

I want to bring in Frank Manion now, because Frank, it was a unique situation. It wasn't a normal kind of file, a lawsuit case. It went through an administrative procedure similar to an employment, if you had an employment situation and one of your rights were violated under the Equal Opportunity Employment Act, something like that. But what we saw was that HHS, under the Trump administration, opened up their own civil rights division where you could file complaints on these matters, and after three years had determined they needed to go to court on their own through the Department of Justice because they could not come to an agreement with University of Vermont Medical Center on how to move forward.

That's right, Jordan. I mean, it's important for people to understand what happened here. This nurse did not want to file a civil lawsuit. We talked to her about that as an option. She didn't want to put her family through the anxiety and the rigors of what a civil lawsuit entails. In fact, she left the state shortly after this happened. She was so upset by what happened. She left the whole area of operating room nurse, then she left the University of Vermont, and she moved to another part of the country. So she didn't want to be dragged back to Burlington, Vermont to do a civil lawsuit, especially when we were able to tell her three years ago under the previous administration that there was now something called the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which would take her case and vindicate her rights against the University of Vermont, punish the University of Vermont, and something like that. She wouldn't get anything out of this personally, but they would vindicate her rights and those of her colleagues who also had been subjected to pressure and in some cases coercion to participate in abortions. But it's also clear to understand, not only did HHS take this case, they referred to it as the most open and shut conscience violation case they had ever seen, the Department of Justice did file a lawsuit on her behalf eight months ago. And now, all of a sudden, because there's a different name at the top of the department's letterhead, they decided to abandon the position that they vigorously and forcefully argued last December and have asked the court to just drop the case and said to the University of Vermont, we're sorry we investigated you.

Have a nice day, never mind. It's a complete outrage, Jordan. Yeah, and Frank, I do want to make sure people understand here because this was a unique situation. We have these laws on the books that do protect conscience rights. This was an opportunity to see it be enforced from the Department of Justice against a medical center like this. We were looking for the precedent this could set because it would make employers, again, think twice before taking these kind of actions because they would see it wouldn't just be the individual's complaint, but this larger action and investigation by the Department of Justice. But now that we've said that, and even though there has been this shift and we know we've talked about Becerra and his hostility to the pro-life movement, it's not even that he's so pro-abortion and that he is hostile to the pro-life individuals, people who have a pro-life position.

We've gone through his history in the past in California that basically tried to shut down. Pro-life pregnancy centers still try to win after the little sister of the poor, even after those cases were decided at the Supreme Court. So we know the hostility there for the administration, but there is hope here because if someone is an individual in one of these situations and does choose and they feel like they would want to go the route of the lawsuit, that option is still available.

Though, of course, this is a setback to the life movement as we knew the Biden administration would be. There's no question about it, Jordan, and we have to be clear, as outrageous as this is and as angry as I and you and others feel about what they've done here, we haven't relied on the government to enforce pro-lifers' rights before. We've been doing these cases for over two decades at the ACLJ, and we've known that this church amendment in particular could only be enforced by the government. And that's been a problem because we were not able under any previous administration before the Trump administration to have them actually enforce the church amendment. What was wonderful as far as we were concerned about this case was for the first time ever, we had the government on the side of the pro-lifers in these cases with all the weight that the government can bring as opposed to an individual civil lawsuit as effective as that can be.

But you're right. All is not lost here. We go back to where we were, and we are willing and able to fight for the rights of pro-lifers in the healthcare field and elsewhere whenever they're discriminated against. We have other laws at our disposal.

There's a patchwork of state laws that's always been on the books, and we still have the federal civil rights laws, which we have used numerous times and will continue to use. In this situation, after years, again, you had a Department of Justice. They were going in. They were making their case. I know it was exciting to see finally the teeth from the federal side, but Frank, you said something that was so important.

We have never relied at the ACLJ on the government to do the work for the pro-life movement. It's been administration. By the way, this is not always Republican-Democrat. This was new under the Trump administration, Frank, that they would even take this step, and it was a welcome step.

But as we saw with elections, you put in new actors. We don't know if they'll continue to even operate this HHS new civil rights office that they opened. But at the same time, it does remind people the hostility still that exists at a major level, including at the cabinet level.

When it comes to just people's rights, they don't believe that those rights should be protected. I mean, that's the bottom line. That's what the Department of Justice is saying. That is the outrage part of this.

You're right. The hostility is what's new. I mean, before we had apathy, even under Republican administrations.

Let's be honest about it. And even under the Obama administration. But now we have hostility. Remember, the church amendment was passed in 1973 by an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans in the United States Congress, including, by the way, a brand new senator from Delaware named Joe Biden. And the reason that it was passed was we understood that what the Supreme Court had done in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, but it was understood by people of goodwill on both sides that there were deeply held religious beliefs by millions of Americans against participating in this. And what they tried to do was to make it legally impossible for employers to force pro-life healthcare workers to have to violate their consciences. And the wonderful thing was that in the three years that we had the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, we had the government finally putting teeth in that amendment.

And as of this week, and you're right, not exactly a shock, as of this week, that's over with. Yeah, I mean, this is, to me, Than, what is upsetting here is that the government is deciding, hey, these protections that Frank just laid out, they've been there since the 1970s. And instead of saying, hey, it's not about whether abortion is legal or not, and whether or not the procedure can move forward, it's whether this individual's rights were violated. That shouldn't matter to Xavier Becerra, as extreme as he is for this individual, but that's how extreme he is, Than. That is how, this is why there was so much opposition to his appointment to be HHS Secretary. It's also one of the reasons why he ended up in that role, coming out of being an Attorney General to HHS. He is an activist for the abortion industry.

Jordan, he is that extreme. It is why he was chosen. But look, whether he agrees or doesn't agree with federal law, it is his obligation to uphold it. And frankly, it's the Attorney General's obligation to uphold it, too. So if a decades-old statute was violated, and if this nurse's fundamental rights were violated, as they clearly were in this case, it is their duty, Jordan, to enforce that law and to see this lawsuit through. They've failed in that duty.

I would tell you this, though, Jordan. Frank mentioned how, the way the church amendments are structured, they're dependent on the federal government to enforce them and to bring lawsuits. There is a provision, or there is a piece of legislation that's been introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Lankford and a number of his colleagues that would actually create a private right of action for cases like this. I think this is probably a moment in history where an idea like that needs to be revisited. I know the Senators are looking at it again, but the dropping of this case, this might be the catalyst to give something like that momentum, Jordan. All right, we come back. We'll continue to discuss this as well, bringing in more of our team members.

But Frank Mania, I think, is going to stay with us as well so he can continue this discussion. If you've got questions, comments, Facebook, Periscope, YouTube, listen, this is just the hostility towards a lot of people because you can take this hostility and say it's a hostility towards Christians, a hostility to those who believe that life, have a different view of where life begins, and they're not going to be protected by the federal government, but that doesn't mean that we can't fight for their rights. That's the key here. The ACLJ, you can file the lawsuit if that's what you choose to do, and you need to speak up and stand out. We can't let this precedent be set that these universities can force you to violate your conscience and participate in procedures that could haunt you for the rest of your life. So we'll be right back on Secular. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, the play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. At the American Center for Law and Justice we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. Whether it's defending religious freedom, protecting those who are persecuted for their faith, uncovering corruption in the Washington bureaucracy, and fighting to protect life in the courts and in Congress, the ACLJ would not be able to do any of this without your support.

For that we are grateful. Now there's an opportunity for you to help in a unique way. For a limited time you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes $100. This is a critical time for the ACLJ. The work we do simply would not occur without your generous support.

Take part in our Matching Challenge today. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. Welcome back to Second Hill. Frank Maiden, Senior Counsel for the ACLJ continues to join us as well.

I just want to put this into kind of the larger context as well. A reminder to everybody in this first half hour of the broadcast that if you are someone in a situation like this, ACLJ is there for you. As we had on yesterday, a pastor joined us live from a live church, Pastor Perdue, that we're representing in a land use matter. And the church there, we're able to represent them at no cost to the church.

If you are someone in a situation like this nurse was, we are there for you. You go to ACLJ.org forward slash help. Or if you go right onto the homepage, you'll see it right on the top of the homepage as well. There's a little contact form you fill out, name, information, a little bit about your situation so that we can get the right attorney to the right person to contact you to decide what the right course of action is to protect your rights. That is there. It is the best way for us to know if your rights are being violated, if you need representation.

Again, it's ACLJ.org forward slash help. Remember that. If you're in one of these situations, if you work in one of these environments where these kind of decisions, the medical world, the nursing world, are commonplace. Now, Thanh, I know you mentioned in the chat, a good friend of ours, Senator Langford, is going to put forward legislation to try and privatize this right of action.

I don't want to get too into the details there. Basically, make it clear-cut and available that people still could, on their own, file a lawsuit. Yeah, Frank has talked about the ability to bring a lawsuit on the part of individuals in cases like this one. Jordan, Senator Langford has put forward a bill that he calls the Conscience Protection Act.

It looks like it's got about 25 in that range co-sponsors in the United States Senate. It would explicitly say, in violations of this kind of case, in violations of the Church Amendment, that series of conscience protections, there would be a private right of action. So the nurse in this case could bring the suit on her own.

She wouldn't have to depend on making a complaint to the Department of Health and Human Services and then having it referred to the Department of Justice for a lawsuit. So while there are existing options on the table, Jordan, this piece of legislation would explicitly say that there is a private right of action. As I look at this case, I think we've moved past a time where we can depend on the political branch to enforce these laws because we warned about this, Jordan. We knew it was coming.

We knew they would drop it. I think it's time to give individuals an opportunity to pursue it on their own. You know, Frank, I think what is unique here is that we are seeing a bigger picture. We have this major case at the Supreme Court out of Mississippi.

This fall, we filed three separate briefs in that matter. The issue of life and the protection of the unborn is going to probably get more attention than it's gotten in maybe a decade or more. It may be longer than that because of this case that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. So we're starting to see the pro-abortion side of this, the Xavier Becerra, the Biden administration, they are becoming more and more radical, more and more, yes, defensive, but also taking offensive steps to try and protect the abortion industry. I think you're right, Jordan, and that's what frightens me about what they've done here. You know, everyone reads the headlines this week.

Department of Justice drops case that they filed on behalf of a pro-life nurse in Vermont. How many human resource managers in hospitals across the country just read the headline or just read the very superficial account of what they did underneath the headline and think, oh, OK, it's OK to do that now. You know, they're not aware of the other laws that are on the books, but they're not aware of the details of what happened here. And that's what concerns me, particularly with the radicalization of the abortion forces that we've seen who now are in the highest places in the government.

Because you're absolutely right about that. They are on the defensive. They're frightened of what the Supreme Court's going to do with the Mississippi case. And it seems to me that is leading them to do exactly what you're talking about, which is take extreme measures against individual pro-lifers based on hostility.

I also want to say something about what Dan was talking about. Senator Lankford's bill is exactly what we've been looking for for 20 years. You know, this church amendment and similar federal laws are on the books, but they lack this private right of action.

If there were a private right of action under the church amendment, we would have filed dozens more lawsuits than the ones we've filed over the years because the church amendment, quite frankly, is stronger than the generic Civil Rights Act of 1964, which we then litigate under. So, yes, Senator Lankford's bill is right on point. I've read it. It fills the need that we've been looking for for decades, whether it gets passed or not. I understand the politics of all that. But that's something that we need to get behind. Well, listen, we have seen, and Frank, thanks for joining us on both sides of the broadcast, because we've seen how an administration can radically change this for good, for ill. We only got a brief time with it for good, but we saw you could create this new division within the Health and Human Services to protect the civil rights, which would include conscience rights of the American workers when they are in the workplace to have these conscience protections.

And we have seen, again, that you can put that in place. The DOJ can take action on behalf of those individuals if they file a complaint so they don't have to go through the normal litigation process. But you see that when a hostile administration comes in who isn't even looking at it as the individual's right. I mean, Wes, to me that's what can be the most upsetting is that they put abortion, they put the politics of it ahead of protecting the individual American who by law has this conscience protection. And, you know, if it was someone saying, I don't want to be, you know, I'm against the draft, I'm against the war, they have conscience protection, we allow these conscience objectors, we always have in our country.

And I feel like Javier Becerra would be standing beside them. Oh, absolutely. But when it came to the pro-life nurse, that same kind of objection, which we're not supposed to get into and analyze why and how, and that's what the courts have said, they side with the big industry or the big hospital over the individual.

Yeah, yeah. And this case in Vermont, as we know, is not an isolated case. When we've been talking about this for the last several years, I mentioned the fact that my wife, who is a surgery nurse, had the same thing happen to her where she's forced into a situation. You can't leave a patient there in the operating room and they tell you after you're already gowned and gloved, this is an abortion and you can't leave for the safety of the patient itself.

This happens more than people know. And Jordan, there is a legal and a moral issue that are tied to this. The moral issue, of course, the obvious one is abortion itself. But there is also the moral issue that this individual nurse in this particular case, that her rights also were legally transgressed on. But that is not just a legal issue. That is a moral issue too. And there needs to be recourse.

There needs to be right of action to protect people like this because the legal issue and the morality of this abortion and of forcing people to perform abortions are inseparably connected. Harry, when I look at this, I see we had the right motions put in place, but I think what Frank said is important is that you don't give up in these because the government didn't enforce the right. I mean, we still have all these legal options available to us. It's just important that people speak out because, as Frank said, what the headline will be is that if you manage one of these hospitals, well, it doesn't matter if this person speaks out. But we can take this to court. We can represent these people.

You're absolutely correct, and you're absolutely correct to emphasize the rights that we still enjoy, notwithstanding the spineless decision by the Biden administration, which essentially has declared deer hunting season on religious folks. All right, folks, we come back, second and a half hour coming up. We're going to get more into the infrastructure issue or what's going on at Capitol Hill with that legislation.

It's back and forth consistently. Go to ACLJ.org, that new blog up on our client out of Vermont in this pro-life case. We're going to continue fighting. Support the work of the ACLJ at ACLJ.org.

Be right back. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20. A $50 gift becomes $100. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family.

Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. Keeping you informed and engaged, now more than ever, this is Sekulow. And now your host, Jordan Sekulow.

Welcome back to Sekulow, folks. And again, we're going to continue fighting. There might be, again, a full-on declaration of war against the pro-life individual in America by the Department of Justice, by the Biden administration, by the Health and Human Services.

We knew that was coming. It was how the vehicles that they were going to utilize, we are paying close attention to. But reminding you, I think Frank said it best when he said, at the ACLJ, we have never relied on the federal government to protect our rights under the law, especially when it comes to those individuals who are pro-life or when it has gone to the pro-life movement, fighting back against the abortion industry. It relied on the government. And so while the Trump administration was putting in place a great new way to give teeth to the laws that are on the books and make it easier, the laws are still there.

The protections are still there. But we have to be the ones to fight. We cannot rely on the government to fight for us, but we never have at the American Center for Law and Justice. Of course, if you have a friendly administration, you help, you assist, you put in place, you help with policies, that was being done. But in the Biden administration, time, it was just a matter of time until they got a handle on what was going on and they tried to shut it down. That doesn't shut down our work at the ACLJ.

It doesn't take away your rights under the law. Remember that. Now, I want to turn to something and go to Stan Bennett in Washington, D.C., because, Stan, there is a lot of talk if you cut through some of the other stories in the news. One that I think will affect most Americans is this infrastructure talk and kind of putting in place the idea that I think most Americans would be okay with even the $900 billion, the huge infrastructure bill, maybe it ends up a little more, a little bit less. But that is not the full story and it's becoming more and more partisan, so we're starting to see any kind of bipartisan work. It feels like it was already difficult to start with to get anything done bipartisan and this now has become extremely politicized.

Yeah, as usual, Jordan, I mean, the devil is always in the details. We've said on this broadcast that we thought there was a bipartisan infrastructure deal to be had if they focused really on a targeted level on roads and bridges and waterways, broadband, those kinds of things. Jordan, there has been a bipartisan group of senators trying to get a deal like that and about a week ago, they announced again that they had a deal. It was a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal. We got the legislative text just a couple of days ago, about 2,700 pages, Jordan, so again, not the best way to run this process. Senators still going through the piece of legislation, finding things that, quite frankly, should not be in there, but here's the bottom line. I would tell you that that is a process that could have gotten us to a place that we were talking about, where it was a true infrastructure bill, that it was targeted, that it wasn't $3.5 trillion like Joe Biden was asking for, but really focused on infrastructure. Jordan, I think we could get to a place on that bill where it would pass on a bipartisan basis, but now Democrats in Washington, D.C., I would say led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have said they are going to block that bill. No matter how it ends up, Jordan, unless it's attached to the $3.5 trillion wish list that they have through the reconciliation process. So look, from where I sit, Jordan, even though a reasonable infrastructure bill might be a good thing, I think Senate Republicans have to look at this and realize that what they're really voting on at the end of this week, if they ever get to the end of this process, is a $5 trillion bill, $3.5 trillion of which they won't get any say in. Jordan, I hope if that's how this plays out, they don't take that bait.

All right, folks, we come back. We get into this further. We continue to talk about, you know, because there's this kind of holdup by AOC and others to talk about, you know, do they really have the power to hold this up or to put all these provisions in? And right now it is stalling on Capitol Hill, so we will see how this moves forward. But there still reportedly would be enough Republican senators. I'm not going to name names because this was kind of an old report after this has all happened.

Are they still there? Are they going to, you know, be willing to go down this road knowing what's coming? That's what we'll talk about when we come back. Always, I remind you to check out ACLJ.org to see all the work that we're doing.

We'll be right back on Secular. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. Whether it's defending religious freedom, protecting those who are persecuted for their faith, uncovering corruption in the Washington bureaucracy and fighting to protect life in the courts and in Congress, the ACLJ would not be able to do any of this without your support.

For that, we are grateful. Now there's an opportunity for you to help in a unique way. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes $100. This is a critical time for the ACLJ. The work we do simply would not occur without your generous support.

Take part in our Matching Challenge today. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, the play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. So the squad, AOC, they're threatening to bring the whole infrastructure package down. Now maybe that's not a bad thing because they don't think it's enough money. They want $3 trillion. They want the Green New Deal. They want all these different projects which you would not get bipartisan support for. Thus it would not get through the U.S. Senate likely, and then you wouldn't have the opportunity to even go through reconciliation. But they want reconciliation first.

So I want to play the sound, go to Thanh to explain how she's talking about this process working on Bite 2. If there is not a reconciliation bill in the House, and if the Senate does not pass the reconciliation bill, we will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in. So Thanh, everybody will want to know, do they have the power, do they have the votes to do that in the House? With such a small margin, they probably do. But at the same time, what some people may hear is, why would you get to reconciliation before passing the actual legislation?

Yeah, I mean, this is an unusual situation, Jordan, but you're correct. In this situation, she absolutely has the votes to block both of these bills from moving. And here's sort of why. I mean, I think first you have to say the very reason that you had a number of Republicans coming to the table to debate the bipartisan bill and then ultimately voting to proceed to it is because, Jordan, the idea is that that would be a compromise and that that would be passed instead of a reconciliation bill that was going to be much larger. If that is no longer the case, if it's no longer going to take the place of a reconciliation bill, but it's going to be in addition to it, the very reason that those Republicans came to the table would go away. So it would be undermined.

But here's procedurally how she would do it, Jordan. The reconciliation package has to move separately. You have to have both a budget resolution and then a reconciliation package that moves. So no matter what happens with the bipartisan bill, if AOC does not see passage of the bill that she wants, the large one, the monstrosity, the reconciliation one, if the Senate doesn't pass that first, all she has to do is get the group to oppose either bill when it's in the House, Jordan.

And it really doesn't matter what order they put them up in the House. If the Senate has not moved the reconciliation bill, she could bring both bills down in the United States House. You know, that is, I think, interesting because, Harry, when you talk about real infrastructure, there's a lot of agreement. It's very bipartisan in our country. That, yes, this might be expensive, but it's worthwhile because, you know, we do have roads, bridges, whether it's, you know, the Internet, whether it's, again, there's a lot.

The airports, when it comes to transportation, though, specifically, the railroads, we've seen the high speed not being able to work because the railroads are too old and things like that, that everyone would agree on. This would be bipartisan. It's a lot of money, so you think the Democrats would like that. It would create potentially new jobs, new economic opportunities, and it's something a country our size likely has to do, hopefully quicker, so that things don't get to the level that they are. But then when you add on the politics of this, it is, what she is saying in that bite is that if you don't give me the Green New Deal, you don't get the new roads.

Absolutely. So I think you hit on a key phrase, real infrastructure. And the key question is whether or not Democrats actually believe in real infrastructure. My conclusion is they do not believe in real infrastructure. They see real infrastructure as an instrumental goal that enables them to reconstruct, to reframe the entire country.

That indeed is their objective. And so my hope, I hope it's not a vain one, is that the Republicans can see through this particular strategy. The President has signaled his support of this two-track strategy, but many Republicans still remain committed to supporting, quote, unquote, real infrastructure, but they better be sure that that is precisely what they are getting.

Otherwise, the American people will eat an awful experience. Let me play Chuck Schumer now, because AOC says if you don't do this before this, we'll kill it. But listen to him, because he's not necessarily agreeing with her strategy, because he needs to get ten Republicans on board to get the real infrastructure done. But then he is saying that right after we do that, I will use reconciliation, which doesn't require meeting the 60-vote threshold, to try and get the additional $2 trillion and all of the things that are much more partisan, people are much more divided about.

Take a listen. From the very beginning, my stated goal for the July and August work period has been that the Senate pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions. This is our so-called two-track strategy, both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions.

It sounds so blah, Wes. It's like an infrastructure bill, just a little bill of reconciliation, but what we know is that they are trying to utilize that to put in their partisan wish list, and it will divide the country. It will also, if the Republicans at this point go along with this when they're being told, this is what we're going to do next and we won't need you then, and you can protest all you want, but it won't matter because you gave us the vehicle to get this done.

That's what makes me nervous. I get why the Republicans on the surface would say, yeah, I support the one package because there's bipartisan support for that. I think most Americans support it, but you've got to worry about what procedure you're allowing to move forward if you okay that package. Listen to what the opposing party is saying.

Simply listen. You listened to Chuck Schumer's statement, AOC's statement, and even the President you played a moment ago by President Biden, the statement there. That is an insult to the intelligence of the American people. It is not bipartisan if you say we're going to pass and sign the bipartisan, but only if we get our Green New Deal socialist wish list. That's not bipartisan at all. Much of this bill is not about infrastructure, but none of it, Jordan, to any thinking American is bipartisan. At best, if the Republicans in the Senate are naive enough to go along with it, it is token bipartisanship, but it's not really bipartisan at all. They need to wake up. Like I said, this is an insult to the average thinking American who even understands how legislation passes.

It's really, really a sad thing. The idea here, there was some bipartisan support early in this process to move forward in the Senate specifically with the $900 billion to a trillion dollar actual infrastructure legislation. Are those senators now wising up to the fact that whatever they've been told behind the scenes publicly, and I think believe Chuck Schumer, believe AOC, that they're going to take those votes, utilize them moving that forward, and then put in place their wish list without any input from the Republicans? I think they're seeing that, Jordan.

I hope they will. Look, I don't think there's any other way you can translate Leader Schumer's comments other than that I am willing to sacrifice the infrastructure bill in order to pander to those calling for the reconciliation bill. Jordan, if you're going to tie the two together, both of them are going to fail. That's just the reality of it. But to answer your question about whether or not Republicans are going to see through this, I think that is happening right now because what happened is this 2,700 page bill got unveiled and they literally started going through it as it was on the Senate floor and they were trying to amend it.

Jordan, they continue to find things. Just about every 10 or 15 minutes, I see another provision that really should not have been in there that the senators who agreed to the framework probably did not realize was in there. And an amendment gets filed and offered to either strip out that provision or to amend it. Jordan, there are almost 300 amendments filed on the floor of the United States Senate right now, so I think some of that waking up is literally happening as we talk.

It's expected that the debate's going to go probably all the way through Saturday, maybe even beyond that, and I think we'll find out. I'll tell you this though, Jordan, there still are enough senators on the Republican side that want to do a true bipartisan infrastructure deal. I just don't think that option has been afforded them by Leader Schumer. No, I think Senator Hagerty is a good friend of ours from Tennessee. I think he's one of those senators that if it was a real bipartisan bill, he would be there for him, wants to be at the table. He's an economics guy, a business guy. This is what he does. He was the head of economic development for a state that is doing very well economically in Tennessee.

Take a listen to him. This is the transformational component of what Joe Biden has promised America will be a transformation into socialism, and everything that we've heard that will go into this $3.5 trillion bill, and I think that's the low number. A lot of what I've heard is the way they use budget gimmicks here in Washington is actually a much higher number. It could be north of $5 trillion. If you add that to the $1.9 trillion that was passed in March, you add it to the $5.50 that will come through in the bipartisan infrastructure package, we're talking three to four times the size of the GDP on a normal year that they're talking about, quote, stimulating the economy with. It's going to be massively inflationary. Again, this is coming from a senator as I know is a good friend of ours that would be there if it was bipartisan to get the infrastructure to the American people. No one is really opposed to that. It is the other $3 trillion that will easily get through if the senators don't remain, again, very weary. You have to be very careful of any deals with the Democrat Party right now, unfortunately, because of how divided the country is. As we come back, we'll be talking about another issue, which is the Government Accountability Project at the ACLJ, holding the government accountable.

We'll be right back on Sekulow. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support, and the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. Whether it's defending religious freedom, protecting those who are persecuted for their faith, uncovering corruption in the Washington bureaucracy, and fighting to protect life in the courts and in Congress, the ACLJ would not be able to do any of this without your support.

For that, we are grateful. Now there's an opportunity for you to help in a unique way. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes $100. This is a critical time for the ACLJ. The work we do simply would not occur without your generous support. Take part in our Matching Challenge today. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. Welcome back to Secular. We have got a project for the ACLJ, our Government Accountability Project, and the work against these deep state bureaucratic actors that from administration to administration want to remain in Washington, D.C. and continue to make life miserable for anyone who has a different idea of how to run the government or the positions of the government. So I want you to check this out. It's part of, again, the ACLJ. We talked about it today with Frank.

We talked about it yesterday with the pastor. We are needed, we believe, now more than ever when we are fighting such a hostile administration and a hostile Congress right now. Take a listen or watch. You often hear the term deep state, and people wonder, well, what does the deep state mean?

What does that mean? It reminds me of a priest who once said to me, parish councils come and go, but I remain. The elected representatives of the people move along, but there is someone who is always there, and in this case, it's the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. The deep state has been a puzzling and difficult to deal with problem, and it's been a problem for the last 30 to 40 years. I mean, the current fight that we're seeing right now with the deep state and our FOIA practice, our government accountability project, is something that really began back in 2011, 2012. So one of the largest lawsuits we've ever had is our case against the IRS. There were some boneheaded decisions out of a long office. With no mass corruption.

Not even mass corruption, not even a smidgen of corruption. What created the need for our government accountability project was the IRS cases. When we got one call, and then eight calls, and then 20 calls of groups that were specifically targeted because of their name. And we knew that there would be more people who may want to add, but we didn't know just how many.

We're now looking at somewhere around 100 different contacts have come in. I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. We want to know why you didn't give tax exempt status to certain organizations because they had Christian names attached to them, or because they had liberty related to them, or because they didn't follow the liberal leftist line. Ms. Lerner, why would you say Tea Party cases were very dangerous?

I will not answer any questions or testify about the subject matter of this committee's meeting. She just testified. She just waived her Fifth Amendment right to privilege. You don't get to tell your side of the story and then not be subjected to cross-examination. That's not the way it works. Of course, Lois Lerner had to apologize.

They used names like Tea Party or Patriots, and they selected cases simply because the application had those names in the title. That was wrong. The IRS would like to apologize for that. I say apology not accepted, okay? So we wanted action.

An apology was not enough. We wanted the IRS to stop its practices. A lot of attorneys would probably tell them, you know, just go along with what the IRS wants, or stop what you're doing. This isn't worth fighting. We took on the Internal Revenue Service.

That was pretty unheard of. Nobody did a direct challenge to the IRS because of the way they were enforcing laws, regulations, and policy. Jeff Sessions settles several lawsuits with the Tea Party and other conservative groups targeted by the IRS back in 2010 under then leader Lois Lerner. Currently, there are pieces of legislation that want to re-empower the IRS, but it's actually legislation that would protect IRS officials, and it would actually make it legal. There is a move right now in Congress to undo the very victory we had in court, including the decree, the consent decree, that the IRS executed, and allow these bureaucratic deep state operatives to go after conservative organizations. The best way to define the deep state is to indicate that it is a permanent bureaucracy within government with its own independent agenda, and it does not necessarily see that it is bound by the rule of law. They don't do what the elected public wants them to do.

They do what, in their mind, is the thing that is appropriate to do. And it can actually trample on the constitutional rights of the average American. Transparency is key to any democracy. If we allow leaders in Washington D.C. to make decisions behind closed doors, unaccountable to the people, then we are going to get corrupt decisions. So if you're an elected official, the thing you're often most focused on is making sure you continue to be an elected official.

Apart from that, your responsibility is to reflect the will of the people that you have been elected to represent. We started years ago after the victory with the IRS case, a government accountability project, where we have expanded in a great way our FOIA practice. We believe that our government officials should be held accountable.

One of the best protections that we have as the American people is the ability to participate in the government process. And one of the best tools is called the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. This is a law that says since we are a government of the people, that we have a right to see how our government is functioning. And so with FOIA requests, you rarely receive the documents that you actually ask for.

So what we do when we see that is we say, fine, you don't want to give it to us, perhaps the judge will give it to us. And the judges have said to those agencies, give up that information, take out the redactions. Without transparency, we don't have our way of government. As a former cabinet official, I can tell you when you get these requests from the media that you have to really look at all of the information that hasn't been released. You have to ask yourself, why hasn't this information been provided to the public?

If there's not a good explanation, then you should release it. One of our current cases is ACLJ versus the National Security Administration. This is the case that involves the waning days of the Obama administration when there was an explosion of what are called unmasking requests. This is when an official, someone who has taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States, makes a request to unmask to reveal the identity of a U.S. citizen. They were flagrantly violating U.S. law and the protections afforded to U.S. citizens. We, the public, through organizations like ACLJ, must continue to pressure the U.S. government in order to make sure that we get the background information and that we hold our leaders to account.

I hear all the time from people, like, what can I do? I'm just one person, I'm a single voice, and one of the best ways to make your voice heard is to sign a petition. The power of Washington, D.C. only works when the rest of us, the rest of Americans, are kept in the dark. People are being inundated with scandal after scandal. There's so many scandals on Monday, only to be overtaken by scandals on Tuesday.

And by the time you reach Wednesday, you forgot about what happened on Monday. And so we at ACLJ believe people need to be held accountable. And that's why we need the ACLJ now more than ever. Hey folks, I encourage you, we've got that series running at ACLJ.org. You can check those out. I think, again, at MoreThanEver.com, you can see all the ACLJ More Than Ever short documentaries we're putting together on these different topics. You can share those with your friends and family. It's a great way to educate friends and family members about what we do at the ACLJ. It's breaking down all the issues in those shorter, kind of very, as you'd say, mini-documentaries.

So if you're listening on radio, those are videos you can share that have got the content, the visual side as well. So I encourage you to check out MoreThanEver.com. That's MoreThanEver.com. And as always, if you want to learn about the case involving the church, as we discussed yesterday with the pastor that we represented, if you want to talk about the pro-life issue and the case out of Vermont, that's at ACLJ.org.

We will talk to you tomorrow. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20. A $50 gift becomes $100. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-17 18:52:38 / 2023-09-17 19:15:20 / 23

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