May 2012 | Volume 14 | Issue 1
Individual Rights Foundation Files Amicus Brief Opposing Obamacare
On February 13, 2012, the Individual Rights Foundation - the legal arm of the David Horowitz Freedom Center - filed a joint amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court (with five organizations and two individuals, including Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, the Judicial Education Project, Reason Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, Ending Spending, Inc., and former U.S. Senators George LeMieux and Hank Brown) supporting the challenge to Obamacare's individual mandate.
This is a landmark case, and IRF general counsel Manny Klausner decided not to file a brief that merely duplicated the central constitutional arguments already raised by the parties challenging Obamacare. The IRF wanted to offer something strategically useful, and the joint amicus brief has been recognized by a recent editorial in the Orange County Register for how well it articulated key reasons why the mandate should fail.
The initial argument in our brief discusses the inappropriateness of the traditional presumption of constitutionality, and we ask the Court to conduct a searching and meaningful constitutional inquiry. As stated in the joint brief:
"Here, Congress has not only exceeded the limitations imposed by federalism, it has done so most cavalierly. In contrast to its more circumscribed approach to drafting prior landmark social legislation (e.g., the Social Security Act), Congress has failed to address the constitutionality of the individual mandate in any meaningful way. Where 'one or the other level of Government has tipped the scale too far ,' and thus undermined 'the federal balance... of our constitutional structure,' it is left to this Court to intervene and enforce the Constitution’ s structural protections (quoting Justice Kennedy's concurring opinion in the 1995 Lopez case)."
In our second argument, we focus on how the legislative process leading to the passage of the bill was systemically flawed. In this section, we state: "The passage of the bill was made possible by an unseemly mix of trade-offs, arcane legislative maneuvers and politically expedient promises. Earmarks were doled out to several skeptical legislators in exchange for their support; the highly controversial tactic of budget reconciliation was employed to allow the bill’s supporters to circumvent traditional debate and amendment rules; a last-minute promise was made by the President not to enforce one provision concerning abortion funding; and $70 billion in projected cost savings turned out to be illusory when a program touted to reduce the deficit was abandoned as ill-conceived and fiscally unsound."
In the third argument in our joint brief, we discuss how prior landmark social legislation was passed with wide margins, and uniformly commanded bipartisan congressional support - reflecting a legislative process shaped by compromise, not gamesmanship. We discuss such landmark legislation as the Social Security Act of 1935, Medicare and Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Welfare Reform.
The brief states: "At bottom, Obamacare represents a fundamental departure from this history of legislative compromise and respect for constitutional boundaries in 3 matters of vast societal importance. Whereas the drafters of these prior bills repeatedly sought to curtail their legislation to meet constitutional and/or political objections en route to overwhelming bipartisan majorities, the proponents of Obamacare barreled ahead without regard to serious and duly-raised constitutional concerns."
The oral arguments in the case were an occasion to cheer for all of us who believe in limited government and the rule of law. We're hoping that the Supreme Court will enforce the Constitution and strike down Obamacare in its entirety.
Philadelphia Freedom Center Update
This Spring, the Philadelphia Freedom Center will continue their speakers’ series bringing renowned guests to Philadelphia to share their views on provocative and timely issues. Speakers have included, among others, Andrew Breitbart, Bill Kristol, John Stossel, David Horowitz, Wafa Sultan, Brooke Goldstein, Geert Wilders, Michael Ledeen, and Caroline Glick.
Our campus outreach activities in the Philadelphia area support the both Centers’ Academic Bill of Rights program and the Center’ s efforts to expose and combat the campus entities, both Islamist and Leftist, who seek to delegitimize and destroy Israel. Beginning in 2012, the Philadelphia Center is partnering with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) to bring DHFC speakers to campuses throughout the country.
In 2011, the Philadelphia Center inaugurated its “Patrick Henry Award”, given to an individual who exemplifies the values and principals enshrined in the United States Constitution. The first recipient of the Patrick Henry Award was Ambassador John Bolton. On May 31st, the Freedom Center will present the 2012 Patrick Henry Award to Glenn Beck, one of America’ s leading multi-media personalities. To register for the Patrick Henry Award event, visit the website at www.phillyfreedom.org or email mwade@horowitzfreedomcenter .org.
The Freedom Center Targets the Muslim Hate Groups on Campus
The Campus War to delegitimize Israel continues to escalate, as evidenced by the spread of the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” movement and the planned disruptions of pro-Israel events around the country. As the stakes are raised, the Freedom Center is, as ever , on the frontlines of the battle to defend Israel and publicly identify the true motivations of the Islamist and leftist groups proliferating on our college campuses.
This spring, two conferences marred the reputations of two of America’s most prestigious universities – the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. At Penn, an organization known as “PennBDS” hosted a national Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions conference from February 3-5, headlined by notorious Israel basher and founder of the “Electronic Intifada,” Ali Abunimah. Abunimah was also the featured speaker at the “One State Solution” conference at Harvard University, along with radical professor and co-author of the anti-Semitic smear book “The Israel Lobby,” Stephen M. Walt.
The BDS National Conference at U Penn and the One State Solution Conference at Harvard are by no means stand-alone events. In fact the BDS movement shares radical political DNA (and personnel) with the international “Israel Apartheid Weeks” and “Palestine Awareness Weeks” that take place on campuses around the country each spring. The goal of these events, designed by Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), is to garner support for the Palestinian Authority and Hamas who seek to “push the Jews into the sea” and annihilate the Jewish state. These “weeks” have regularly sought to intimidate Jewish students, occasionally through acts of physical violence, and have become frequent occurrences at campuses across the country.
One such event occurred on February 27 at University of California at Davis, where Jewish student groups presented a talk entitled “Israeli Soldiers Speak Out” in an effort to engage students of all political stripes in a dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to dispel the biased media narrative about the Israeli military.
But members of the UC Davis branch of the national Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) had conspired on a strategy for suppressing the free speech of the scheduled speakers: pack the room with pro-Palestinian students, many of whom would walk out together during the event, leaving other members behind to disrupt the event relentlessly.
The event was disrupted from the beginning by hecklers intent on preventing it from going forward. The talk progressed with difficulty as the heckling continued nearly unabated. When Ran and Ranya mentioned soldier friends who had been killed in the conflict, the pro-Palestinian students laughed. The question-and-answer period devolved into shouted statements of accusations of Israeli atrocities from the crowd, but no questions, and so the event organizers curtailed it.
The David Horowitz Freedom Center is taking several steps to combat such campus anti-Semitism and infringements on freedom of speech, including the distribution of over 100,000 copies of a recent DHFC pamphlet by FrontPage contributor and Shillman Journalism Fellow Daniel Greenfield. “Muslim Hate Groups on Campus” documents the radical origins and violent objectives of the main Muslim student organizations across our nation, such as the Muslim Students Association (MSA), founded by the virulently anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood, and SJP . Both are sponsors of hate-fests like Israeli Apartheid Week and Palestine Awareness Week. The Freedom Center has also distributed a new pamphlet titled “Faces of Palestine” to over a thousand students electronically and sent hard copies to more than fifty campuses. “Faces of Palestine” features images of Palestinian leaders drawn by cartoonist Bosch Fawstin along with some of the bloodcurdling quotes they’ve uttered, thus counteracting the whitewashing of these leader’ s true aims, which is par for the course in the American press.
Several representatives from the campus division of the Freedom Center attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC in February to recruit students to participate in pro-Israel and pro-America campus activism. DHFC representatives distributed hundreds of copies of our popular pamphlets free to students to bring back to their campuses including Muslim Hate Groups on Campus and Barack Obama’ s Rules for Revolution.
Dozens of these students signed up to bring the Freedom Center's message back to their campuses by displaying the Wall of Truth, hosting speakers, distributing pamphlets and screening films like The Case for Israel and Iranium.
David Horowitz’ s tireless efforts to speak on campuses and expose the enemies of Israel and the Western world continued this Spring with a speech at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and upcoming events at Bucknell, DePaul, and UCLA. Co-Sponsored by the Freedom Center , Christians United For Israel, and the Committee for a Better Carolina, David’ s UNC speech was titled “Why Israel is the Victim and Why There is No Peace in the Middle East.” This event, created to present a strong defense of Israel, was not sponsored by any Jewish organizations on campus. About 20 minutes into the lecture, members of the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine staged a “walk out,” with about 30 students getting up to disrupt the event and leave all at once. In the campus paper the next day, the president of Hillel condemned David’ s speech and announced that Hillel stood in solidarity with the Islamist students.
The Freedom Center will be also hosting “Apartheid” conferences of our own – Islamic Apartheid conferences on both the East and West Coasts, featuring panels of experts to discuss the persecution of women, gays, racial minorities, and other religions in Islamic countries. This month, the East coast panel will be held at Temple University and is scheduled to feature experts such as Robert Spencer , Pamela Geller , Nonie Darwish, and Simon Dang. There will also be a West coast iteration of the panel held at UCLA in May .
The Freedom Center will continue to make an impact on the campus debate even in the summer months. In light of the lack of strong pro-Israel Jewish students and the continued cooperation between Hillel and the MSA, the Freedom Center will be hosting a leadership training seminar at Pepperdine University, which will be designed to give strong conservative and pro-Israel students a dynamic crash course in Horowitz-style campus tactics and how to put the left and anti-Israel students and professors on the defensive. We’ll also be updating our student websites to become a true hub of information for concerned students and incorporate more social networking elements for leaders to connect with each other .
With the left on the march, Israel on the brink, and the future of our civil society in doubt, it is more important than ever for the Freedom Center to take the fight to our nation’ s campuses and stem the tide of indoctrination and Jew-hatred.