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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who is Barry Soetoro???

Do you know Barry Soetoro? How about Barry Dunham?

You should.

He is running for President of the United States of America.

Looks like Barack Obama has some explaining to do. Turns out he has a number of aliases and some citizenship issues as well.

Civil Action No. 08-cv-4083 has been filed challenging Obama's eligibility to run for President. The suit claims that he was born in Kenya. But even if he was born in the USA he has other impediments that come into play because of dual citizenship and expatriation of citizenship.

You can read all about it at ObamaCrimes.com.

The Obama campaign responded by posting his birth certificate on Daily Kos. But it seems that the certificate is a "horrible forgery"

Here is the forgery analysis.

Here is discussion of the analysis.

Could it be that Hillary is not down for the count just yet?

Fumed by Columcille at 10:36 PM. |

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain Picks Sarah Palin as Running Mate

Sarah Palin, current governor of Alaska, is the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate. This is a simply masterful pick by McCain, and good news for pro-lifers.

Fumed by Thales at 12:05 PM. |

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Prof. Garnett Says Kmiec Is Missing the Point

Over at National Review Online, Prof. Rick Garnett argues that Kmiec is missing the point by his support for Obama: reducing the total number of abortions is not the only pro-life goal; overruling Roe is just as, or even more, important:
Yes, overruling Roe would not end abortion (though it would certainly make a difference). This side of Heaven, I'm afraid, nothing will. The problem with Roe, though, is not just that because it facilitates wrong choices by private persons; it is also, and fundamentally, at odds with our constitutional structure and with democratic self-government. As long as Roe is the law, We the People are not allowed to write into law the conviction - assuming that it is or becomes our conviction - that the unborn child ought to be protected from lethal private violence. The debate is cut off; the conversation is silenced; the "dialogue" that is so often celebrated by the same people who are enthusiastic about Sen. Obama is distorted.
(As an aside, I also believe that the numbers of abortions will go up under an Obama presidency, considering his Freedom of Choice Act and commitment to eliminate abortion restrictions and increase funding.)

Fumed by Thales at 1:49 PM. |

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama's Lies Regarding the Illinois Born Alive Bills

I'm finding the story about Obama and the Illinois Born Alive bills to be fascinating. To recap the story briefly, when Obama was an Illinois senator, he opposed bills which tried to give protection to live infants who were fully born following a botched abortion (even NARAL remained neutral on this issue). (Obama's words opposing the bills where he effectively argues in support of infanticide are disturbing.) A similar federal law passed unanimously, with even pro-choice politicians supporting it. When confronted by his extremely radical position, Obama said that he found the language of the Illinois law problematic and that if it had been worded similarly to the federal law, he would have not opposed it. Turns out, this is a huge lie by Obama, because at one point, the Illinois law was similar in language to the federal law, and yet Obama still was against it.

The National Right to Life Committee has been at the forefront in documenting this story and Obama's attempt to white-wash it, and in calling out Obama on his lies. The nonpartisan, nonprofit FactCheck.org recently reported on the story, confirming much of what the NRLC has said. (HT: Professor Bainbridge.) When it comes to life issues, there is no doubt that Obama is the most extreme presidential candidate we've ever seen.

Fumed by Thales at 11:28 PM. |

Why I'm Glad Obama Picked Biden as VP

I think Obama's choice of pro-abortion "Catholic" Joe Biden as vice-president is good news for pro-lifers: Biden should guarantee continual controversy throughout the election season with people debating whether Biden should be receiving communion as a pro-abortion Catholic, with bishops making statements against Biden and other pro-abortion Catholic politicians, and with reporters following Biden around on Sundays in order to see whether the local priest decides to withhold communion from him. All of this will keep the abortion question front and center during the entire election season. With his usual wisdom, Canon Lawyer Ed Peters gives some thoughtful considerations on the issue of withholding communion from Biden.

Fumed by Thales at 11:27 PM. |

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Catholic Hierarchy Speaks Out Against Pelosi

Thank you to all the commenters who have been linking to the Nancy Pelosi story.

To summarize: On Meet the Press, Pelosi said that she was "an ardent, practicing Catholic" and that she had studied "for a long time" the issue of when the Catholic Church thinks life begins. (You can see a video and transcript of Pelosi here.) Pelosi said that the doctors of the church have not been able to make a definition over the centuries, that when life begins has been a matter of controversy in the Church, and that the current position about life starting at conception has only been around for the last 50 years.

Of course, what Pelosi said was completely untrue, so she must be lying about studying Church history or lying about what she learned.

What is great to see is that the Catholic hierarchy had an immediate response to Pelosi. Archbishop Chaput in Denver (where Pelosi is now staying for the Democratic Convention) fired back in very biting words:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.....

Since Speaker Pelosi has, in her words, studied the issue "for a long time," she must know very well one of the premier works on the subject, Jesuit John Connery's Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective (Loyola, 1977). Here's how Connery concludes his study: ..... [Exactly the oppposite of what Pelosi said.].....

Ardent, practicing Catholics [The good bishop is really going after Pelosi. Nice.] will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil......

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it - whether they're famous or not - fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith.
What is even more exciting to see is that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops quickly issued a statement against Pelosi:
In the course of a "Meet the Press" interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.

In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (No. 2271)
A big thank you to our shepherds! Keep it up!

UPDATE: Washington, DC Bishop Wuerl and New York Cardinal Egan have also issued statements against Pelosi.

Fumed by Thales at 9:40 AM. |

Monday, August 25, 2008

Would Kmiec Support Obama Even If It Meant More Abortions?

I've blogged before about the Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation of Doug Kmiec, from pro-life Catholic law professor to rabid supporter of pro-abortion Obama. Kmiec endorsed Obama as a "pro-life" candidate who "chooses life", arguing that Obama's policies encouraging adoption and personal responsibility will reduce the total number of abortions.

But as John McCormack observes in a recent article, electing Obama won't reduce the total number of abortion:
But Kmiec's argument ignores one very inconvenient fact: Obama's policies on abortion, taken as a whole, would very likely lead to a higher abortion rate. That's because Obama supports subsidizing abortion by repealing the Hyde amendment, which prohibits Medicaid and other government funding for abortions. According to a study by University of Alabama political scientist Michael New, "state laws restricting the use of Medicaid funds in paying for abortions" reduce the abortion rate by more than 29,000 abortions for every 1 million women of childbearing age.
McCormack then gives a fascinating account of his dialogue with Kmiec about this issue:
Squaring Obama's pledge to subsidize abortion with his goal of reducing the number of abortions is quite a difficult task. In a phone interview in late May, I asked Kmiec if he was aware that Obama supports public funding for abortion. "I can't say that I am quite frankly," he replied.

I asked Kmiec, in light of Obama's commitment to taxpayer funding of abortion, if he would consider renouncing his endorsement if the senator didn't change his position. "I haven't seen the social science literature that you're obviously much more privy to and obviously sending me," he said. But assuming that public funding would significantly increase the abortion rate, Kmiec added, "I would be at a loss to say anything other than I can't support the senator at that point."

Kmiec pointed to a piece he had written for Slate, in which he declared his endorsement of Obama "will be renounced more loudly than it was given," if Obama failed to "work to reduce the incidence of the practice [of abortion]".

I emailed Kmiec reports on a number of studies showing that Medicaid funding of abortion causes a higher abortion rate. But when he got back to me in mid-June, he said Obama's position on abortion funding was not a dealbreaker. Kmiec explained that one "must take full account of the church's social teaching" on other issues like poverty, war, and the environment. When I asked him about his statement that he would likely renounce his endorsement if Obama didn't reconsider abortion funding, he replied: "If I said it quite that categorically, that's not quite where I'm at."
Wow. It looks like Kmiec would still support Obama even if that meant an increase in the total number of abortions in this country. Kmiec now seems to be firmly in the camp that thinks that a candidate's positions on economics, the environment, and immigration can trump the candidate's position on abortion. Of course, that is an invalid position for a Catholic to hold, considering cooperating in abortion entails a penalty of excommunication, while the other issues don't.

Fumed by Thales at 5:04 PM. |

Abort Obama

As the Democrats gather in Denver this week to fondle cocktail waitresses, get drunk, and put forth the latest litany of socialist aspirations (did anyone see the crazy hijinks of Sr. Helen Prejean at the "Inter-Faith Gathering" prior to the convention? Never gets old!), it is an opportunity for us to laugh and have fun. Truly there is nothing more infuriating to one's enemy as when he is the object of laughter!

That's why I'll be selling "Obama Ears." No, Boko, they are not "elephant ears"--that tasty morsel of fried dough that one would find at county fairs across the country--rather, they are not unlike the Mickey Mouse Club "mouse ears." I'll be at Joseph Lighthorse's Amoco down the street from the convention selling "Obama Ears," all proceeds will benefit pro-life charities. Demonstrate your support for the unborn and poke fun at the self-conscious Barry's second most embarrassing physical attribute.

On a more serious note, check out AbortObama.com. Do your part to abort Obama's candidacy!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:28 AM. |

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Fumed by Boko Fittleworth at 7:43 PM. |

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

AMSL Associate Dean of External Affairs Charles Roboski Resigns

Begins new position at Michigan State....Developing...

Fumed by Tommy More at 6:05 PM. |

Obama's Brother = Our Future with Obama

Obama thinks he should be paid more money to answer the question, "At what point does a baby get human rights?" with specificity.

Hmm. . .

He reminded the Evangelical Church that Jesus said, "Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me."

Doesn't a baby in utero, at the moment of conception, qualify as one of "the least of my brothers?" If so, then Obama would support Jesus' abortion.

Do you protest? Do you think this is an unfair and malicious example of the kind of divisive politics that this country needs to move away from?

Well, perhaps a look at how Obama treats the least of his blood brothers would help us understand how he thinks of Jesus?

I know, both Carter and Clinton both had their unsightly brothers. But did they leave them in squalor?

Obama thinks that Jesus should have been aborted, and he would leave Jesus living in a tin shack on 1 dollar a month.

What does solidarity mean, when he treats his blood brother as some charming fleeting cameo in his biography, when the reality is, the fella is living from hand to mouth in a shanty town?

Pay attention, an Obama presidency will end with an aborted America and as impoverished as his blood brother is today.


Mirror of Justice on this issue.

Fumed by Columcille at 10:04 AM. |

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kmiec Thinks that Solidifying Abortion in the Democratic Platform Is a Pro-Life Step

The Democratic Party has proposed new language in their platform regarding abortion, which it hopes to ratify at the convention in Denver. Here it is:
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre and post natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.
The current platform language is the following:
Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman's right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
To me, it looks like the new statement is a much more defiant statement in support of abortion: The Democrats now "strongly and equivocally" support the right to abortion and "oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine" that right, as opposed to "stand proudly for" the right to abotion and "stand firmly" against efforts to undermine that right.

Also, a significant difference is the removal of "rare" from the old Clinton-era saying that "abortion should be safe, legal, and rare." Over at Slate.com, a pro-abortion editorial argues that this change is long overdue and is a necessary step to reclaiming the "morality" of abortion. The article says that "rare" gave the connotation that abortion was a "necessary moral evil," something which women would choose only as a last resort and which they might later regret. Removing the word "rare" now makes abortion about "the value of women's lives." Abortion can now be a moral positive.

So who is responsible for this new language more firmly entrenching the pro-abortion view? Apparently, "Catholic legal scholar Doug Kmiec . . . helped in the drafting of this new language."

Great. Now Kmiec is not just defending pro-abortion policies, he's creating pro-abortion policies.

Catholic Online has an article by Kmiec entitled "Democrats Steps Toward Honoring Life in Their Party Platform." In the article, Kmiec argues that the new platform language is a pro-life step "considerably toward the side that favors life from the moment of conception" because it recognizes abortion as a choice left ultimately for women to make free from government intervention and because there is additional language about prenatal assistance and adoption.

In response to Kmiec's second point, I note that Republicans also pledge support for prenatal assistance, adoption, etc., so I don't know why Democrats are better on this point than Republicans. As for the first point, Kmiec has lost all reason. Here is Kmiec:
Barack Obama is a different type of candidate. As he sees it, Roe is not an endorsement of abortion, so much as an affirmation that abortion is a moral question for which only the potential mother can give answer. To impose either safe or legal or rare is, to him, to have the government displace the woman's freedom . . . .

Obama's theory of government is to put the human person at the center -- to not have the government impose from top-down, but to encourage greater for life by making sure that a woman's life circumstance is not so cruel that ignorance or economics coerces a choice the mother would otherwise not make . . . .

But Catholics ought also be the first to observe that insofar as Obama leaves the present law giving the potential mother the ultimate choice, he has successfully persuaded his party to commit to conditions that will make it more, not less, likely that the choice will be in favor of life.
Yes, you read it right: Kmiec said "potential mother," not once but two times. I guess Kmiec now thinks that the foetus is a mere "potential human life."

I'm starting to believe in alien abductions because I don't know what other reason there is to explain Doug Kmiec's complete transformation into pro-abortion Obama groupie.

Fumed by Thales at 2:00 PM. |

Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain-Obama Debate at Warren's Saddleback Church

On Saturday, McCain and Obama were at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church for a debate. The format was interesting: both candidates were asked the same set of questions and had to answer without hearing the opponent's response. Here is a good summary of the event. An excerpt:
There's really no other way to put it: John McCain stole the show at the Saddleback church.

He was quick, confident, and often funny, even if most of his seemingly off-the-cuff quips are staples of his stump speech. He connected effortlessly with the live church audience, to judge from their loud and sustained ovations, and evidently with the media, which has largely pronounced the event a win for Sen. McCain.

To considerable effect, McCain also mixed heavy doses of patriotic and religious themes, twice invoking, in some detail, his experience as a prisoner in Vietnam. The crowd ate it up.

Barack Obama, by contrast, was treated politely by the crowd, but not much better than that. His answers to moderator Rick Warren's questions were long, nuanced, and mostly humorless, and he sounded like a man very much aware that any poorly-phrased thought could haunt him for the rest of the campaign. He treaded cautiously and made few emphatic points.

Of course, it's an open question how many swing voters tuned in or will even hear much about Saturday’s proceedings.

The forum, which featured separate one-hour interviews with the candidates, aired live on CNN and MSNBC, but on a Saturday night in the middle of the summer, most voters were probably preoccupied - especially with Michael Phelps preparing to go for his eighth gold medal over on NBC.

That the forum was specifically geared toward evangelical voters further thinned the audience. The image of McCain and Obama meeting briefly on-stage between their grillings, the image that made the papers, is all that most swing voters will take from Saturday night.
Did you see the debate? Any comments?

Fumed by Thales at 12:46 PM. |

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Attention Law Professors!

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InThePastTM will help you move on from those embarrassing moments and even more embarrasing decisions! But don't take our word for it, let's see how InThePastTM has helped one such law professor. Steve S. from Michigan, writes: "My association with some questionable people for 5 years put me in a no win situation. I was a pariah in the academic and legal community. Thanks to Fumare's InThePastTM my reputation and CV have not only been restored, but enhanced! Thanks Fumare!"

Previously the bio from Steve S.'s CV read thus: " Professor Steve S. is a visiting professor. Prior to joining our faculty Professor S. taught at Ave Maria School of Law. Before he began his teaching career, he worked at the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins. Immediately after law school he clerked for Judge O'Scannlain on the Ninth Circuit."

With InThePastTM Professor Steve S.'s bio has been enhanced, and more importantly, his reputation restored: "Professor S. is a visiting professor. Professor S. has taught at Michigan law schools for over a decade including the University of Detroit Mercy. Before he began his teaching career, he worked at the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins. Immediately after law school he clerked for Judge O'Scannlain on the Ninth Circuit."

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Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:26 PM. |

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Olympics and Chinese Subterfuge

I've been watching and enjoying the Olympics in my spare time. (Go Michael Phelps!) If you miss any of the TV coverage, NBC has extensive coverage on its website, with thousands of hours of video for every event, both live and replays. Check it out if you want to see the Opening Ceremonies again, watch the gold medal highlights, or catch the latest victory of the Romanian women's handball team.

China is hosting the Olympics, and I've been amused by the recent reports of subterfuge undertaken by the Chinese. (What do you expect when the Games are being run by a Communist government?) Here's a sampling of what the Chinese have been up to:

-During the Opening Ceremonies, some of the fireworks were faked on the footage broadcast to TVs across the world and to the screens inside the Olympic stadium.

-The little Chinese girl who sung at the Opening Ceremonies was lip-syncing to the previously-recorded voice of another girl who wasn't considered cute enough to be on TV. From the article:
"The reason was for the national interest," said Chen Qigang, the ceremony's musical director, in a state radio interview. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression....."

The decision was made at the highest levels, Chen said.

"We had to do it," he said. "We'd been through several inspections. They're all very strict. When we rehearsed at the spot, there were several spectators from various divisions, especially leaders from the Politburo, who gave the opinion it must change."
-Also during the Opening Ceremonies, the group of children who came in dressed in the costumes of each of China's ethnic minorities, weren't actually of those ethnicities: they were from China's Han majority, which makes up 92% of the Chinese population.

-And in the most egregious example, it appears that several members of the Chinese women gymnastics team, which won gold over the U.S. a couple of days ago, are younger than 16, which is against Olympic rules. Nine months ago, the Chinese government news agency reported that one of the girls was 13. Now the Chinese government says the girls are all at least 16 and they've produced passports proving that fact.
Asked whether the federation had changed their ages to make them eligible, Zhang [an official with China's gymnastics delegation at the games] said: "We are a sports department. How would we have the ability to do that?"
The Chinese Politburo forging documents to cheat at the Olympics? Inconceivable!

Here are a couple of entertaining sports editorials discussing China's subterfuge: Mariotti in the Chicago Sun Times and Albom in the Detroit Free Press.

But don't let the scandals discourage you from watching the drama of victory and defeat that only comes once every 4 years. Go USA!

Fumed by Thales at 4:03 PM. |

Email from Phil Pucillo

From: Pucillo, Philip A
Sent: Fri 8/15/2008 1:10 AM
To: All Law System Distribution; All Alumni
Subject: contact information for departing/absent professors

Beloved members of the Ave Maria School of Law community,

Twenty (20) individuals who served Ave Maria School of Law as faculty members and/or full-time instructors as of last summer are no longer employed by the Law School, will no longer be so employed at the close of business today (Friday, August 15), or are otherwise expected to be absent from their usual Law School duties for all or most of the coming academic year. For whatever reason, the Law School has not announced many of these departures/absences, and provided no contact information when it did make such an announcement.

Under the circumstances, I have prepared the list below, which contains a status update and any publicly listed contact information (or an available web link thereto) for each of the 20 individuals in question. My hope is that this information will facilitate your effort to check in with someone on the list, whether it be to obtain assistance - such as a recommendation letter to a prospective employer or bar committee - or just to say hello.

Robert Bork, who remains on leave of absence from his service at Ave Maria, may be reached at the Hudson Institute, where he is now serving as a Distinguished Fellow.



Howard Bromberg may be reached at the University of Michigan School of Law, where he is now serving as Clinical Assistant Professor.


Anne Marie Burr may be reached at Wayne State University Law School, where she is now serving as Director of Legal Research and Writing. A profile containing her contact information will soon be available on that school's "Full-time Faculty" page, which may be accessed using the second link below.



Lesa Bynes may be reached at the University of Toledo College of Law, where she is now serving as Legal Writing Professor.


Bridgette Carr may be reached at the University of Michigan School of Law, where she is now serving as Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor.


Stephanie Crino may be reached at Michigan State University College of Law, where she is now serving as Assistant Clinical Professor of Law.


Kathryn Day may be reached at Wayne State University Law School, where she is now serving as Legal Writing Instructor. A profile containing her contact information will soon be available on that school's "Full-time Faculty" page, which may be accessed using the second link below.



Bernard Dobranski, who remains on a medical leave of absence from his service at Ave Maria, may be reached at his home in Dexter, MI. The publicly listed contact information for his home is 6225 Webster Church Rd., Dexter, MI 48130, (734) 424-2376.

Diane Eisenberg may be reached at the California Department of Justice, where she is now serving as Deputy Attorney General. The publicly listed contact information for her office is 455 Golden Gate Ave., Suite 11000, San Francisco, CA 94102-7004; Diane.Eisenberg[at]doj[dot]ca[dot]gov.

Joseph Falvey may be reached at the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, where he is now serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney. His office contact information, which he shared with the Ave Maria community earlier this year, is 211 W. Fort St., Suite 2001, Detroit, MI, (313) 226-9610; joseph.falvey[at]usdoj[dot]gov.

Bruce Frohnen may be reached at Ohio Northern University College of Law, where he is now serving as Visiting Associate Professor of Law.


Elizabeth Kirk may be reached at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, where she is now serving as Associate Director.


Kevin Lee may be reached at Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, where he is now serving as Associate Professor of Law.


Edward Lyons may be reached at Michigan State University College of Law, where he is now serving as Visiting Professor of Law.


Nora O’Callaghan, who will be on leave of absence from her service at Ave Maria for the coming academic year, may be reached at the University of Idaho College of Law, where she is now serving as Visiting Associate Professor of Law. Her contact information will soon be available on that school's "Faculty" page, which may be accessed using the link below.


Philip Pucillo may be reached at Tulane University Law School, where he is now serving as Visiting Associate Professor of Law.


Vanessa Pierce Rollins may be reached at Wayne State University Law School, where she is now serving as Visiting Professor. A profile containing her contact information will soon be available on that school's "Full-time Faculty" page, which may be accessed using the second link below.



Stephen Safranek may be reached at Wayne State University Law School, where he is now serving as Visiting Professor.


James Sonne, who is scheduled to teach a five-day seminar at Ave Maria in October 2008, may also be reached at the chambers of Judge Edith Brown Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, whom he is now serving as a law clerk. The publicly listed contact information for Judge Clement’s chambers is 600 Camp St., New Orleans, LA, 70130, (504) 310-8068.

Lee Strang may be reached at the University of Toledo College of Law, where he is now serving as Associate Professor of Law.


Enjoy the rest of your summer, and please keep in touch.

God bless,

Phil Pucillo

Fumed by Petronius at 12:27 PM. |

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rick Garnett Has the Right Response to Pro-Obama Catholics

Over at Mirror of Justice, Professor Rick Garnett has exactly the right response to pro-Obama Catholics like Doug Kmiec who think that Obama is the answer to all of society's problems (as long you don't think about abortion).
It seems to be a premise of many of these "for whom should Catholics vote?" discussions that "on every issue that matters, other than abortion, the election of Sen. Obama will actually yield meaningful policy actions that are edifyingly in concert with the Church's social teaching, while the election of Sen. McCain will actually yield meaningful policy actions that are distressingly in conflict with the Church's social teaching." But, this premise is false.

It is false because it ignores, or at least downplays, the political, social, cultural and economic realities that will almost certainly prevent dramatic changes with respect to most matters, and so it overestimates the "good" stuff about an Obama administration that, it is proposed, outweighs the "bad" stuff. It is also false because Sen. McCain's views (or, more precisely, the policies likely to be pursued by his administration) on a number of matters -- not just abortion -- are, in terms of consonance with the Church's social teaching, preferable to Sen. Obama's. Or, so a faithful, reasonable, informed, non-duped, non-Republican-hack, Commonweal-and-First Things-reading Catholic could conclude. It's a sad thought, but . . . I'm not sure that productive conversations -- even among friends -- are possible so long as this false premise is assumed.

Fumed by Thales at 10:56 AM. |

Friday, August 08, 2008

New York Times Article on Obama Wooing Catholic Vote

Here is an interesting article recently published in the New York Times about Obama and Catholic voters. The article has some interesting discussion about the possibility of Obama giving a prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic Convention to Senator Bob Casey, son of the pro-life Senator Casey who was shut out of the 1992 Democratic Convention for his views on abortion.
Mr. Casey's appearance would be an important signal to Catholics, especially those who follow church teachings and oppose abortion. Mr. Obama could also use his choice of a vice-presidential running mate to reassure Roman Catholics. Among those that his campaign is vetting is Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, a Roman Catholic whose faith has been part of his political identity. At least three other Catholics have also been mentioned as possible running mates: Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

Although abortion is central to the political crosscurrents around Catholics - Ms. Sebelius has vetoed a number of bills that would restrict abortion rights in Kansas, prompting the archbishop of Kansas City to suggest that she stop receiving communion - part of Mr. Obama's strategy is to emphasize that there are other issues on which they can base their votes. It would be a way to address the perception that Mr. Obama has a "Catholic problem."
The article has some more claptrap from Doug Kmiec:
Douglas W. Kmiec, a conservative Catholic legal scholar at Pepperdine School of Law, said that although the formal teachings of the American Catholic bishops put primacy on the sanctity of life, including fetuses and embryos, doctrine allows for voting on other grounds, including the Iraq war, which the Vatican has opposed from the start.

Mr. Kmiec, a Republican who served in the Justice Department under President Ronald Reagan, said he was supporting Mr. Obama because his platform met the standard of justice and concern for the poor the church has always defended. This year, Mr. Kmiec was denied communion by a priest at a gathering of Catholic business people because of his support for Mr. Obama. Mr. Kmiec said, "The proper question for Catholics to ask is not 'Can I vote for him?' but 'Why shouldn't I vote for the candidate who feels more passionately and speaks more credibly about economic fairness for the average family, who will be a true steward of the environment, and who will treat the immigrant family with respect?' "
Interesting, no mention of Iraq War. That makes Kmiec's "proper question" even more intellectually dishonest. Kmiec is implying that McCain intends economic injustice, environmental destruction, and violations of immigrant's human rights, which is just not true. (I'm not saying that McCain's policies are all wonderful, but he's not the demon that Kmiec implies him to be.)

Fumed by Thales at 12:04 PM. |

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Naples News Article About Ave Maria Town Assessments

AveWatch is reporting on a fascinating article in yesterday's Naples News. The Ave Maria Stewardship Community District board (made up of 5 people elected by the Barron Collier developer and Ave Maria University) recently held a meeting where they announced to residents of Ave Maria Town that they must pay $1,287.47 per single-family home in assessments by November. Apparently, tensions were high at the meeting:
Town residents were notified in writing when they purchased their homes that the district existed and could assess them. But many said they were unaware of its presence until they received an assessment notice last month. .....

The defense of the district and the assessments were good enough for some residents, but not others.

Patrick Hanley, 65, came into the meeting not knowing anything about the board. He left with a sound understanding.

"I'm satisfied with the explanations," Hanley said.

Marielena Stuart, who declined to give her age, remained unconvinced. She pleaded for a reassessment based on current market conditions and maintained anything less would be against Florida assessment law. The lack of development has not produced the benefits to her property that the assessment had promised, she argued.
The Naples News also reports: "Slower than expected growth in the town - the town opened over a year late due to permitting delays and has sold only 13 percent of its projected homes through last month - did not increase the assessment for those living in town, district managers said."

One of the comments to the Naples News article is very interesting. Commenter "PeaceKeeper" on August 5, 2008 at 10:31 p.m. said the following:
I am a resident in Ave Maria. I have been very happy living here so far. I think it is wonderful being part of a town that is kept so nice and clean and has become one of the first communities to be safe-guarding the environment.

The only issue that I had was that this Non-Ad Valorem assessment came with short notice and these meeting which have been going on for 4 years were a mystery to most residents.

The problem here was a lack of communication between the board and the residents. I now have to come up with $1287.47 by November which is roughly $300 a month for the next 4 months. So do many of the other residents that are on fixed incomes or have large families. .....

I am still happy to be here and hope that the communication improves between the district board and the residents so they do not catch us off guard again.
This sounds exactly like past behavior of Monaghan entities: lack of communication, lack of transparency, and springing news on people without sufficient warning after people have made commitments. Sorry, Peacekeeper, but I wouldn't be so optimistic for the future. You should talk to the students and faculty of old Ave Maria College in Michigan and Ave Maria School of Law about their experiences.

Fumed by Thales at 9:33 AM. |

Sunday, August 03, 2008

FUMARE Hero: Jack Priestly

A smoker who has 10 cigars day and enjoys a whisky with his morning tea has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Methinks I will light up a delicious Honduran this evening in thanksgiving to God for such heroes as Mr. Priestly.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 4:26 PM. |

Changing the Political Landscape Must be Done at the Local Level...Alaskans Have a Chance

With Stevens Out . . .
Alaskans Can Elect A Sound Catholic


With U.S. Republican Sen. Ted Stevens "lawyering up" to defend himself against a seven-count in dictment on charges of making false financial statements, Alaskan Catholics--Republicans, Democrats, and Independents--have the opportunity to replace Stevens with a staunch Catholic pro-lifer who is also pro-Constitution, pro peace, and pro-Alaska.

That candidate, Bob Bird, a teacher of history and government for 34 years, a Buchanan delegate to the Republican Convention in San Diego in 1996, a former president of Alaska Right to Life, a leader in the pro-life Alaska Rescue Project, challenged Stevens in the 1990 Republican primary, and while Stevens outspent him $700,000 to $60,000, Bird managed to win more than 34,000 votes, compared to Stevens' 81,000 votes.

"I’m the Ron Paul candidate," Bird told The Wanderer in a recent interview.

for the rest of the story, go here. (sign up for a free 3 issue subscription)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 4:19 PM. |

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Can the Catholic Church Recover Unlawfully-Obtained Consecrated Hosts?

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, there is an enormous discussion going on about a recent act of blasphemy by a university professor. Here is the background. In order to make some point about the irrationality of Catholicism, University of Minnesota professor P.Z. Myers at the blog Pharyngula requested that his readers mail him a consecrated host. Myers then pierced the consecrated host with a rusty nail and threw it in the trash with old coffeegrounds and a banana peel. Myers also discarded a few ripped-out pages of the Koran and atheist Richard Dawkins's book, The God Delusion, in order to cover all his bases of possible people to offend. (Warning: the links to Myers's blog and blog comments contain language that is highly offensive to Catholics. The entire event makes me sick to my stomach.)

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy issued a statement calling for prayer and fasting in reparation for this ugly blasphemy. The Confraternity also stated that, "The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance." Professor Volokh, however, takes issue with their characterization of the law of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I think I agree with Volokh on this; the law in America permits people to say and do certain things that are offensive to other religions, and though this freedom can be abused, it is much better than the alternative of government censorship of religious statements and actions which other people might find offensive.

But this got me thinking. Freedom of speech doesn't permit every act offending a religion. Though I might have a right to dunk a crucifix in urine or burn a Koran if that crucifix or Koran is my own property, I don't have the right to go into a church or a mosque, steal a crucifix or a Koran, and then desecrate these objects, because these are not my lawful pieces of property. In these latter instances, the church or the mosque would have a legal way to recover the stolen objects or to obtain damages if the objects were destroyed.

What is the situation with a consecrated host? Is it my own property that I have a right under civil law to use in whatever way I want including desecration, or is it illegally obtained property that can be recovered by the Church if I intend to misuse it? Although hosts are freely given at Mass, they are given with an understanding that (1) the recipient is a Catholic in good standing with the Church, (2) who will not misuse the host but will consume it (or bring it to the sick or some other authorized use). If I stood in the communion line and told the priest that I was planning on mailing the host to Myers for desecration, the priest would not give me a host and I could not force the priest to give me a host; if I tried to take a host by force, there might be possible legal remedies against me for attempted assault, battery, and conversion. In the Myers scenario, any possible consecrated host that Myers received would have to have been obtained through some kind of fraud or breach of the implicit agreement of the communion line that the recipient is Catholic and intends to consume the host.

So here is my question. If someone announced to the world that he had obtained a consecrated host and that he was going to be desecrating it publicly, would the Church be able to recover the host through legal means?

(I realize that there are a number of practical considerations which might prevent the Church from having an actual legal case against the blasphemer: the negligible financial damage because the host costs less than a penny to make; the difficulty in showing that the host is consecrated; the difficulty in showing that the host was obtained fraudulently when the Church is so free in distributing communion to anyone who stands in line without checking anyone's Catholic credentials. Also, I'm only considering this problem from the perspective of civil law. I don't know if there are any canon law considerations.)

Fumed by Thales at 2:19 PM. |