By Charlie Johnston
Some very good things are going on in the pro-life movement just behind the scenes. Readers here are probably interested in how things went for Texas Right-to-Life (TRTL)endorsed candidates in last Tuesday’s primary. It was a very good night for them and their allies in what they call the Freedom Caucus.
While the establishment Republicans were able to successfully defend most of their challenged incumbents, two establishment members of the State House and one in the State Senate were defeated by committed pro-lifers. Meanwhile, four Freedom Caucus incumbents in the House and two in the Senate were challenged by establishment Republicans. All the Freedom Caucus incumbents won re-nomination. The Republican nomination for four open seats (with no incumbent Republican) were taken by Freedom Caucus members. Six more such seats will be decided by runoff elections. The establishment was not swept away, but both the Texas House and Senate will be significantly more conservative – and populated by more members who are principled pro-lifers rather than who just give lip service to it to facilitate their trafficking in jobs and contracts and influence. The old establishment, which killed effective pro-life legislation before it could reach the floor, will still have a voice – but it is a diminishing voice and it will not be able to re-take leadership.
A few years ago, Planned Parenthood (PP) thought it was going to easily slap away that impudent youngster, David Daleiden, who dared to challenge its invulnerability and supremacy. You don’t hear PP crowing as much these days, because all its conniving and scheming has led it into treacherous waters. The Dept. of Justice is actively investigating its alleged illegal trafficking in baby body parts. I have been credibly informed of at least three local jurisdictions that are actively investigating it, as well. It thought it could rid itself of Daleiden by giving him a bum’s rush of legal attacks, either wearying his spirit or bankrupting his organization, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Instead it has got itself caught in a thicket. A host of decisions are pending in the various cases and in each, the best hope PP has is not to be mortally wounded. Let us look at just three:
- The criminal case against Daleiden mounted by California Atty. Gen. Javier Becerra. For those who have followed the case closely, the AG’s case has been almost comically inept. They started with creating a law just to prosecute Daleiden with, then mounted legal theories that had never been used to prosecute anyone in California with before. Becerra has abandoned all concept of law, propounding novel legal theories to enforce his will. It is not just in the PP case that his will to power has run amok. He has threatened any private citizens in California who co-operate with federal authorities on immigration enforcement with criminal prosecution. He has openly defied federal authority. Though very quiet, the feds are investigating the IT scandal by the Awan brothers and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz – and Becerra is, at the very least, a peripheral player there. Becerra is consumed with hubris, the hubris that he IS the law and all must submit to his will. He is likely to come crashing down with stunning suddenness. The main result of his angry and inept prosecution of Daleiden is likely to help facilitate his coming fall.
- Though he brought in a Planned Parenthood clinic as part of a “charity” in his role as a board member of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, Federal Judge William Orrick refused to recuse himself from presiding over the civil suit PP and the National Abortion Federation (NAF) brought against Daleiden. He passed the decision on recusal off to Federal Judge James Donato, who also brushed it aside. Daleiden appealed to the Ninth Circuit, the most liberal circuit in the country. In a very ominous (at least for PP) order, the Ninth Circuit said that Daleiden’s appeal raised issues that “warrant an answer.” It ordered PP, NAF, and Judge Donato to explain to the court why Orrick should not be recused. Even more ominously, the Appeals Panel instructed Judge Orrick that he could address the petition by “issuing an order and serving a copy on the appellate court.” In legalese, that is an invitation to recuse himself rather than being recused by a higher court order. It being California, any new judge assigned to the case would almost certainly be pro-abortion, but would unlikely be tied as intimately to PP and abortion activism as Orrick is. Plus, a new judge would be confronted with the reality that the “fix is in” justice attempted was too much for even the ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit.
- The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering granting cert to Daleiden’s effort to dismiss the injunction on releasing videos taken at a NAF conference three years ago on First Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court gets innumerable petitions for cert every year, considers about 3,000, and finally grants only about 80. So this is still a longshot, but when the court even formally considers such a request, it is a signal to lower courts that there are serious issues involved that need to be more closely adjudicated. Judge Orrick had banned the videos from being shown because they were so toxic that he thought it might endanger the lives of those caught on tape. It is an incredibly damning admission to me that the judge thought that what abortionists actually say when they don’t know cameras are on them is so toxic it would endanger their very lives if ordinary people were to see it. It is a very novel legal theory to suggest that when bad people are caught on tape saying incredibly ugly things involved in a major issue of public interest, it is the job of the law to protect the bad people from any consequence for their actions and hide the evidence from the people. Whether the Supreme Court ultimately grants cert or chooses to let the issue percolate up the chain, this strikes another big blow to PP’s image of invulnerability.
Over time, entrenched establishment organizations tend to enforce their power through raw intimidation and force. After long enough in power, this usually becomes all they have – because it has been successful for so long. That is when they become vulnerable, for when someone comes along who will not be intimidated, who will stay the course through great trial, hardship and sacrifice, the entrenched establishment rarely has anything else. Daleiden, not even 30 years old, has been battered economically and legally, constantly insulted and ridiculed by the mavens of the left, including the establishment press. But like a bulldog with a rag, he won’t let go – and the best outlook now for PP is that it survives, not that it prevails. In Texas, the entrenched establishment, even with help from cronies in business and even some churches, has been neutered by ordinary people working through organizations like TRTL that put principle ahead of power and influence.
I have re-thought the title of the piece I will be putting up this weekend. Instead of “The Center is Not Holding,” I shall entitle it “The Ballad of the Ordinary Man,” for that is the center that will hold as all else falls into ruin around us.
A long-time reader of this website and its predecessor has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Carole Tomlinson is a very faithful woman. She and her husband are in perilous financial circumstances. If you have a little extra and can help her out, her gofundme page is here. I know she will appreciate it, and I do, too. We have to take care of our TNRS family.
I will spend some time next week putting up some new links. I want to get LifeSite News and Life News linked, as they have been the most steadfastly pro-life news outlets in operation today. I also want to get some supply houses back up. St. Clare Seeds is run by long-time readers here. A few years back, they gave away packets of surplus heirloom seeds to readers of this website. Also, Full of Grace supply house is owned and operated by a very dear friend. A few of my critics suggested I owned a part of that operation. Alas, never have – but it did subsidize shortfalls in my travel expenses…and last year there were some significant shortfalls. It has great merchandise and has helped me get the word out. What’s not to like?
Finally, a hat tip to long-time reader David Drewelow for alerting me to the replica of the memorial statue to unborn children (pictured at top), that is coming to Fresno, California. It is beautiful.