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Commentary

Hewitt: Assessing Jeb 7-14-15

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

In my new book “The Queen,” I write brutally frank assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the potential GOP nominees.  In this and future radio commentaries, I’ll summarize some of my key points, beginning today with the man Irish book makers—people who chart real odds and take real money risk on being right—say is the GOP front runner: former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

His strengths are obvious: He was a tremendously successful governor of a big state. He’s deeply conservative, a successful vote getter and he’s fluent in Spanish. But he’s burdened by his advocacy of Common Core which has become a killer for the base.

Jeb is a gifted and large-hearted conservative. The party will be well served if it keeps an open mind about all of the would-be nominees—but especially about the one they are most likely to dismiss on the basis of cliché and conventional wisdom.

Jeb needs to get out there on talk radio and persuade the conservative faithful that the man who ran Florida is the man they want at 1600 to begin to clean up the mess left behind by President Obama.

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Hewitt: Prepare Now 7-13-15

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

No sooner had the Supreme Court issued its gay marriage decision that voices began calling for the end of tax-exempt status for churches, colleges and other organizations that hold to a Judeo-Christian view of sexual morality.

There is a new law in the land, but not a new morality, and the issue is whether holding to this traditional morality will soon be the equivalent of holding racist views in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service and thus cause of losing tax exempt status.  We hope not; we pray not; and we urge proponents of the decision last month to step up and say no, this is not what we sought.

In the meantime we urge all churches, para-churches, and not-for-profits with morality as a central tenet of their being to contact the Alliance Defending Freedom to learn what they ought to do to prepare for the challenges that are now very clearly in front of us. It is time to prepare now, not after the attack on tax exempt status has occurred.

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Mohler: Astounding 7-10-15

The Supreme Court’s overreach in its Obergefell decision on same-sex marriage is astounding. That’s not just my opinion, just look at the dissenting justices who voiced their own urgent concerns.

Chief Justice John Roberts accused the majority of “judicial policymaking” that endangers our democratic form of government. “The majority,” he made clear, “lays out a tantalizing vision for the future for Members of this Court. If an unvarying social institution enduring over all of recorded history cannot inhibit judicial policymaking, what can?”

Justice Antonin Scalia offered a similarly stinging rebuke to the majority. “This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government,” he stated. Then he offered these stunning words of judgment: “A system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.”

Again: the grave concern did not come first from pundits and commentators and public intellectuals. It came from the sitting justices on the nation’s highest court.

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Medved: The Fight For Independence Vs. The Secession Mistake 7-9-15

During the Fourth of July holiday some supporters of the Confederate battle flag asked why Americans celebrate the colonists breaking away from Britain, but condemn the attempt by Southerners to separate from the federal government.

Actually, a key slogan of the Revolution was “no taxation without representation” –Parliament had full taxing power, but no representatives from the colonies. But Southerners were well represented in Washington and dominated the government most of the time before the Civil War. Among the 15 presidents before Lincoln, a big majority—nine—were from the South. Of the five presidents who won election from northern states, every one of them had a Southern Vice President. Southerners were also over-represented in the House of Representatives because their 4 million slaves counted as three-fifths of a person for apportionment purposes under a notorious Constitutional compromise, even though they weren’t allowed to vote.

American Independence has been a blessing but Southern secession was a tragic, ill-conceived mistake.

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Mohler: End Tax Exemptions 7-7-15

“Now’s the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.” That headline landed on the website of Time magazine only hours after the decision by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage landed. It was piece by the widely respected reporter Mark Oppenheimer. “In a real sense, you and I are subsidizing Mormon temples, Muslims mosques, Methodist churches,” he writes.

That’s a very important issue. He uses the word “subsidizing” and that is exactly what the tax exemption is not doing. The key statement on these issues was made by the Supreme Court in 1970 where Chief Justice Warren Burger made very clear that a tax exemption is not a subsidy. Rather, the tax exemption is granted with respect to institutions the government does not feel that it has the right to tax on the one hand and on the other hand, institutions that it believes are essential to the well-functioning of society. We knew this argument was coming.

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Davenport: Roberts Moves From Umpiring To Batting On Healthcare 7-6-15

Somewhere we have lost Chief Justice Roberts.  I mean the Roberts who told the Senate Committee in his confirmation hearing that his judicial philosophy was to be an umpire calling balls and strikes, not a batter or pitcher. But twice now Roberts has rewritten the Affordable Care Act in order to save it. First he changed the law from an unconstitutional penalty to a constitutional tax. Now he’s ruled that “state exchange” is ambiguous and includes a federal exchange, rescuing it again.

Roberts apparently feels the need to step in the batter’s box and engage in judicial activism in order to protect the Court from having to invalidate Obamacare and be accused of, yes, judicial activism.  And so Chief Justice Roberts joins Harry Blackman, David Souter and Anthony Kennedy in the hit parade of supposed conservative justices who took big turns to the left once seated on the Court.

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Hewitt: Happy Fourth Of July 7-3-15

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

As we continue the long days of summer and of celebrations like the Fourth of July or family vacations, it is important to keep in mind that across large parts of the world the idea of either freedom or leisure much less both is so far off as to be the stuff of legend. For us, it’s a “taken for granted” annual ritual. We are so blessed that we often simply forget to count those blessings and marvel at their largely uninterrupted enjoyment for 200-plus years. No, we are not a perfect nation, not even close, but we are the best hope of mankind, exceptional for all of our history and ever more so as the world collapses in so many places into abject barbarianism.

Our political leaders and our courts may disappoint. Our common culture may disparage our uniqueness, but the facts of history do not lie. In the face of our many imperfections, we should all give thanks for living in this time and in this country. Happy Fourth of July—from all us here with the Salem Media Group.

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