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CROUSE/DIAZ: Obama’s war on women of faith

- - Monday, November 11, 2013

It seems President Obama's credibility is at an all-time low these days. His Obamacare sales pitch, "If you like your health care, you can keep it," stands exposed. The White House has been in damage control mode for weeks, but only because the powerful media gatekeepers have finally decided to press on this one issue.

The questions being asked today could have been asked long ago. Obamacare is not the only issue in which Mr. Obama's actions and statements strain credulity. Scandals over Benghazi, the National Security Agency and the Internal Revenue Service are other areas in which the left-leaning media has decided not to ask too many questions.

Here is another area: President Obama's obstinate push for judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. "We're remaking the courts," he boasted at a recent fundraiser. His credibility shattered, the only hope the president has of advancing his agenda is through executive action. Because administrative actions are reviewed by the judges on the D.C. Circuit, the president seeks to pack the court with left-wing ideologues who will uphold his agenda.

Most revealing is the type of nominee Mr. Obama is advancing. One of particular concern to women of faith is Cornelia Pillard. A cloture vote on her nomination is expected in the Senate on Tuesday. In an age where the traditional values of women of faith are under constant attack and ridicule by the liberal elite, Miss Pillard's disdain for conservative women is uniquely offensive.

In an eye-opening piece, "Our Other Reproductive Choices: Equality in Sex Education, Contraceptive Access, and Work-Family," Miss Pillard not only disagrees with abstinence education, which women can disagree on, but she actually suggests it is unconstitutional. She writes: "The abstinence-only approach is permeated with stereotyped messages and sex-based double standards about acceptable male and female sexual behavior and appropriate social roles. Public school teaching of gender stereotypes violates the constitutional bar against sex stereotyping and is vulnerable to equal-protection challenge." This is not a policy opinion, but a legal opinion, showing her radical judicial temperament.

She also wrote, "Anti-abortion laws and other restraints on reproductive freedom not only enforce women's incubation of unwanted pregnancies, but also prescribe a 'vision of the woman's role' as mother and caretaker of children in a way that is at odds with equal protection."

Her pro-abortion, feminist radicalism has led her to discuss some bizarre legal theories concentrated on what she calls a right to "reproductive self-determination" and the idea that the right to abortion comes from the concept of equal protection, which is not at all what the U.S. Supreme Court has found.

That militant belief led her to push for the application to pro-life groups of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) legislation mainly designed to deal with mobsters. The concept is so radical it was rejected by a unanimous Supreme Court in Scheidler v. NOW.

Miss Pillard holds a similarly extreme view of religious liberty. In discussing the recent Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC case, she said the church's exercise of its religious freedom presented "a substantial threat to the American rule of law." Again, a unanimous Supreme Court rejected her disturbing legal theory.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, had this to say at the committee hearing: "[Miss Pillard's] ideology shapes and motivates how she sees both the law and the facts in such cases." This is the type of nominee Mr. Obama is trying to unnecessarily elevate to the D.C. Circuit.

Aside from his political gamesmanship, there is no need for these judges. The D.C. Circuit is underworked — so much so that Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, has introduced the Court Efficiency Act of 2013, which would eliminate three unnecessary seats on the court. Mr. Grassley's evidence to support the legislation is irrefutable. "In terms of raw numbers, the D.C. Circuit has the lowest number of total appeals filed annually among all the circuit court of appeals," he revealed in Senate testimony.

The current D.C. Circuit judges themselves agree. One of them even responded to Mr. Grassley's inquiry with the comment, "If any more judges were added now, there wouldn't be enough work to go around."

Still, Mr. Obama has nominated three judges to the three vacancies available. Contrast that with the 11th Circuit, where there are four vacancies, yet the president has only nominated one judge for the positions. The president knows how important it is to pack the D.C. Circuit to get his agenda implemented.

That is why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made the D.C. Circuit a priority, saying they need "one more" to "switch the majority."

Americans, especially women, should not stand for it. We must urge our senators to exercise their constitutionally mandated role of "advise and consent" on judicial nominees to stop Mr. Obama's radicalization of the D.C. Circuit.

Janice Shaw Crouse is senior fellow at Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, and Mario Diaz is Concerned Women for America's legal counsel.