Sarah Posner at The Nation: "Leaked Draft of Trump's Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination."
A leaked copy of a draft executive order titled "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom," obtained by The Investigative Fund and The Nation, reveals sweeping plans by the Trump administration to legalize discrimination.There is much, much more at the link, and I strongly encourage you to head over to read the whole thing.
The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers "any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations," and protects "religious freedom" in every walk of life: "when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments."
Every single thing about this is terrible and profoundly troubling, but I am particularly gobsmacked that it goes so far as to stipulate participation in "the public square." It's just literally the suggestion to legalize discrimination in a way that prevents people from participating in public life. Fucking hell.
Not that everyone in this dumpster fire of an administration isn't fully behind this trash, but Mike Pence's filthy fingerprints in particular are all over it.
It reads like Pence's Greatest Hits of Hatred: "The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women's access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act."
Even the cursory details of this proposal suggest that it is unconstitutional. And it is almost unfathomably indecent.
Tellingly: "The White House did not respond to requests for comment." That they did not reflexively and vociferously disavow it speaks volumes.
One might reasonably wonder why the White House would even contemplate an order that so blatantly violates the rule of law. Well, apart from a pending Supreme Court nominee who seems to hate marginalized people as much as the man who nominated him, there's also this little issue, which has not gotten nearly the attention it deserves: Trump has inherited more than 100 federal court vacancies, giving him "a monumental opportunity to reshape the judiciary after taking office."
Confirmation of Obama's judicial nominees slowed to a crawl after Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015. Obama White House officials blame Senate Republicans for what they characterize as an unprecedented level of obstruction in blocking the Democratic president's court picks.So here we are. A vile order looms, and a Republican Senate stands ready to help a despot reshape the courts to make them more disposed toward upholding it. If not now, someday.
The result is a multitude of openings throughout the federal circuit and district courts that will allow the new Republican president to quickly make a wide array of lifetime appointments.