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Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor’s Mischaracterization of Motives in Same-Sex Wedding Case

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In a recent landmark decision regarding a same-sex wedding case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of artist Lorie Smith, granting her the freedom to decline creating wedding websites for same-sex marriages based on her religious beliefs.

However, Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion included a misleading claim about the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, according to reports from Fox News.

Sotomayor argued that the Pulse shooting was motivated by anti-LGBTQ prejudice, suggesting that it exemplified the need for strong anti-discrimination laws. She claimed, “A social system of discrimination created an environment in which LGBT people were unsafe.” However, this assertion is not supported by the available evidence.

Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were unable to verify any claims that the shooter, Omar Mateen, was motivated by anti-LGBTQ hatred. Phone and court records that emerged during the trial of Mateen’s widow indicated that his selection of the Pulse nightclub as a target was based on the venue’s lack of security rather than its status as a gay club. It was a last-minute decision made after finding the security measures at his original target to be too high.

Sotomayor’s mention of the Pulse shooting in her dissent implies that it was an act of hate by anti-LGBTQ, which is not supported by the available information. The mischaracterization of the motives behind the tragic event raises concerns about the accuracy of her dissenting opinion.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who authored the majority opinion, emphasized the importance of freedom of speech and conscience in his ruling. He stated, “Tolerance, not coercion, is our Nation’s answer.” Gorsuch further criticized Sotomayor’s dissent, pointing out that it failed to address the central question of whether the state can compel individuals to express messages that conflict with their deeply held beliefs.

While Sotomayor cited examples of discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ community, it is important to distinguish between genuine cases of prejudice and a misrepresentation of motives in a specific incident. The Supreme Court’s decision does not endorse discrimination but rather recognizes the rights of individuals to act in accordance with their conscience.

Sotomayor’s dissent raises concerns about the potential consequences of the Court’s ruling, suggesting that it may lead to increased hostility and hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. However, her argument fails to acknowledge the core principle of protecting individual freedoms and the delicate balance between non-discrimination and the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case marks an important step in reaffirming the value of freedom of speech and conscience. While the differing opinions among the justices reflect the complexity of the issue, it is essential to accurately represent the facts and motivations involved to ensure a fair and informed public discourse.

Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Screen Shot 2024 03 13 at 9.50.09 AM
Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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