ACLU Sues Four Federal Agencies For Plans On How They’ll Implement Trump’s “Religious Liberty” Order

Via press release from the ACLU:

The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against four federal agencies demanding documents from the Trump administration that provide clarity on how the administration plans to implement its ‘religious freedom’ executive order.

The ACLU initially filed records requests with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Justice, and Treasury in March following the leaking of a draft executive order that would have created broad religious exemptions that would enable discrimination against women and LGBT people.

No federal agencies complied with the request and, in May, President Trump signed an executive order that directed the Department of Justice to issue ‘religious liberty’ guidance. Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated in a speech last week that the department is “finalizing the guidance” and will soon be issued.

“The executive order that President Trump signed was vague and open-ended, but we know that this administration is exploring different ways to license discrimination against women and the LGBT community, among others, in the name of religion,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. “Now that the administration has taken its first steps to use religious exemptions to pave the way for discrimination, the American people deserve clarity and transparency on what is coming next.”

The lawsuit today demands any communications regarding, among other items, plans for how the Department of Justice’s ‘religious liberty’ guidance requested in the executive order might be implemented.

Among other possibilities, earlier drafts of the executive order provided broad exemptions to permit any employer to refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraception as otherwise required by law, to authorize federally funded child welfare organizations to make decisions based on religious directives regardless of the best interests of the child, and allow federal employees, contractors, and grantees to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, women seeking reproductive health care, and even those who had had premarital sex.

  • Treant

    In unrelated news, Lowe’s has announced a 20% off sale on pitchforks, short pieces of wood, and oiled cloth. Matches are still regular price.

    • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

      It helps to have a piece of flint handy. Don’t leave home without it.

      • Treant

        In a pinch, a small piece of wire and a 9-volt battery will serve.

        • djcoastermark

          If nothing else, Hey buddy, can I borrow a light ?

          • Karl Dubhe

            I’ve got 5 pink lighters, just in case.

            Pink, because nobody steals pink lighters. Nobody. 🙂

          • Treant

            Once upon a time, a shopkeep refused to sell me a pink lighter. I didn’t friggin’ care what color it was.

          • Karl Dubhe

            I’m sure he thought he was helping…

            Somehow.

          • Treant

            It was the nineties, when shopkeeps felt free to offer an opinion on one’s gender-biased coloration choices.

          • Karl Dubhe

            I lived thru that time too. 🙂 None of them objected to my choice of lighters though.

            Might have been my hair. I had it back then. Horrible stuff, head hair.

        • Butch

          Hide witch hide.
          The good folk’s come to burn thee.
          Their keen enjoyment hid behind
          A Gothic mask of duty.

        • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

          That’s what my ex said. 😐

      • JWC

        A Flick of the bic

    • JWC

      Dates for the Storming are still being planned

      • Treant

        Not a Friday, please, that’s the day when we pick up other guys for fun.

        • JWC

          lets settl on a Saturday ( bar later) or Sunday

          • PickyPecker

            What about BRUNCH?!?!?!

          • JWC

            ok after v brunch get up late do brunch then the storming

          • SammySeattle

            Mani-pedi after the storming?

          • JWC

            Most assuredly

          • JWC

            You know it

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    “Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated in a speech last week that the
    department is “finalizing the guidance” and will soon be issued.” Sure, now that he’s met with LGBT hate groups, he has a much better idea of how to move forward.

    Donate to the ACLU:
    https://action.aclu.org/secure/donate-to-aclu

    • another_steve

      My husband and I are major contributors.

      In these times of the Trump Horror, there’s no better place to send your financial contributions than to the ACLU.

      • Skokieguy [Larry]

        The first time I donated was when the Nazis sought a permit to march in Skokie, where I grew up and again live. The ACLU fought for their right TO march, on the grounds of free speech. As detestable as their speech is, I also understood as teenager that this is an important bedrock principle of America.

        In today’s America, we have schools that have banned speaking of contraception & homosexuality. We have legislated that doctors are required to give medically false information, our President lies as easily as he breathes, yet wants to suppress the free press. The America that I felt I was defending by donating to the ACLU back then (and still do) is gone.

        • another_steve

          The Skokie case was a watershed in the history of the struggle to retain free speech as a bedrock of democracy. The ACLU lost some members as a result of its stance in that case. It comes up from time to time here on JMG, when hate speech laws are discussed in the comment threads.

          I believe with respect to this the same thing I think the ACLU believes:

          The most abhorrent, the least popular, speech is precisely the speech most in need of protection in a democratic society.

          • Skokieguy [Larry]

            Yes. Its very much along the lines of “And then they came for….”

            And in the case of speech, they have been coming at of for some time, but the pace is increasing under Trump Look at the Breitbart headline in one of Joe’s early posts. I fear in the near future, their may be few left with the ability to speak freely.

          • another_steve

            I’m somewhat more optimistic, Larry.

            Once a right is granted, it’s very very hard to take it away from people.

          • Dazzer

            Never believe that, Steve.

            In the UK and the EU there is a massive fight taking place on the rights of EU and UK citizens. The UK government is fighting to take away the rights of freedom of movement and rights of residence that non-Brit EU citizens have enjoyed for 44 years.

            Never ever take your rights for granted. A malicious government can take them away in a day if they have sufficient power.

          • another_steve

            In the fullness of time, malicious governments do not thrive. Nazi Germany and fascist Italy are but two illustrations of that. There are many more.

            People must not be passive. People must fight back. But in the fullness of time, hateful regimes do not thrive and eventually fade away.

          • Skokieguy [Larry]

            I would like to share your optimism, but look at reporters being put in pens. Look at people at political rallies being thrown out for what’s on their t-shirts (Remember “NO BUSH”). “Free speech zones” at political rallies to keep protestors corralled and out of site. Disabled protesters being tossed out of wheelchairs and arrested at the Capitol. What about “don’t say homo” laws and gag rules preventing counselors from providing information on abortion to pregnant women? Its been happening incrementally for a while and I fear the pace is increasing.

          • another_steve

            So I’m a Philosophical Daoist by temperament and adhere to basic Philosophical Daoist tenets. The first and foremost of which is that there is no objective problem in the universe. The universe is perfect. We cannot improve it.

            The rest, as fellow Philosophical Daoists may attest to, is that the ultimate direction (as opposed to the ‘temporary direction’) of things is toward the most useful.

            That which is most conducive to continuance will thrive.

          • Skokieguy [Larry]

            That’s a beautiful philosophy that gives hope and permits forgiveness for the crap the universe is suffering through today. A lovely antidote for my unfortunate pessimism that is in desperate need of change. Thank you.

      • Adam Schmidt

        I literally don’t have a job, we’ve cut back on spending, and we STILL contribute to the ACLU.

        • customartist

          Robert Muller quotes Alan K. Simpson:
          “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”

          • Danajmcdaniel

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pa175d:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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      • ted-

        Thanks for that information. I know where my next donation is going to now.

      • Skokieguy [Larry]

        Stop this world, I want to get off. Just came across this:

        “SPARTA, Tenn. – Inmates in White County, Tennessee have been given credit for their jail time if they voluntarily agree to have a vasectomy or birth control implant, a popular new program that is being called “unconstitutional” by the ACLU.”

        http://www.newschannel5.com/news/inmates-given-reduced-jail-time-if-they-get-a-vasectomy

        • Nychta

          “The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics”
          http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796

        • another_steve

          So you said “Stop this world.”

          Irredeemable fairy that I am, it immediately made me think of “What Kind of Fool Am I?,” which was introduced by Anthony Newley in the musical “Stop The World – I Want To Get Off.”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJN7TEC0UYM

          • Skokieguy [Larry]

            Sweetie, it never occurred to me that you wouldn’t get the reference. And you might not be aware, but if for some reason you hadn’t you would certainly have been issued a gay demerit. Accumulate 3 in a 12 month period and you lose brunch privileges for a year. What’s next, you’re going to tell me you don’t know what Sam did to the pants?

          • another_steve

            Lol.

            You’re wicked. 😉

        • customartist

          North Carolina carried out involuntary sterilizations on the “mentally infirm”

      • Hanwi

        I donate heavily to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Religion is
        the root issue with most bullshit in the world. You help fight it from
        one side, I’ll help fight it from the other.

        https://ffrf.org/

        • another_steve

          I applaud you for your resolve, Hanwi. But I have news for you.

          The religious/spiritual impulse is intrinsic to the human psyche.

          Like hunger and thirst, it cannot be eradicated.

          • Hanwi

            I guess we’ll agree to disagree. In my opinion religion is the most destructive ideal created by man.

          • customartist

            Granted, some diseases cannot be cured, but only managed, like Diabetes.

        • customartist

          Bless you my child!

    • customartist

      I don’t think that they really CARE if they are successful or not; they merely want to keep their already-hyper base on the team

      • Skokieguy [Larry]

        That is the common wisdom on the arbortion issue as well. If abortion were made illegal, the wedge issue goes away and what new divisive outrage must be developed to replace it?

        Regardless, even if they don’t care about the outcome, the validation their are giving to the haters, the gasoline they are pouring is damaging our country, regardless of where new laws may go.

        • customartist

          The new outrage for the next election cycle will be SCOTUS ruling that yes, bakers and florists open to the public MUST serve LGBT folks. This is sure to set some far right assholes ablaze. I think that the cons on SCOTUS have already processed this fact and actually LIKE it, from a political game standpoint.

          • Skokieguy [Larry]

            I hope you’re right. We’re going to be demonized one way or another, so I’d rather be demonized for the rights I have, rather than the rights I would like to get.

          • customartist

            That’s a good way of looking at it. Thanks.

            My overall focus is not only self interest. We may not obtain all of our rights soon, and I mean without dangerous backlash, but I remain vigilant so that perhaps the lives of the younger folks, and the yet unborn, might be brighter. I don’t want kids going though what I’ve been through.

            BTW: Skokie = Oakie?

  • JWC

    H https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/131336bad68cd260a32c73231396f603fa7ec709db52195c86cb5ca7495f149a.jpg e was a maverick in his time and pissed off his GOP party They dumped him But was he SO wrong

    • Karl Dubhe

      “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”

      He said that too, didn’t he?

      By the standards of his day, he was a hybrid between Dubya and Trump.

      • JWC

        He was far to vocal for the party and the times GOP probably paid that darn western upstart to be quiet

  • Todd20036

    When they say “religious liberty” I hear “anti LBGT” and “anti Muslim”.

    • JWC

      Read pretty much anything that isn’t old fat and white

      • Tawreos

        I am getting older and I have been fat and white for awhile, but I know damn well they are not protecting me.

        • JWC

          are you GOP

          • Tawreos

            I am too poor for that =)

          • Todd20036

            Actually, most people who call themselves GOP are too poor to really be GOP.

            They just don’t realize it.

            If they lose Obamacare, they’ll think they really stuck It to the “libtards” until their next medical bill bankrupts them.

            Then they will ask what happened, but only then

          • customartist

            There ater two types of Conservatives:
            Fool-ers, and Fool-ees.
            Those who trick the poor masses into BELIEVING they can become rich if they just vote Republican, and those who are too dumb to know that they are being tricked.

          • JWC

            ah then you are on the right side

    • customartist

      Religious Liberty means SELECTIVE liberty

  • another_steve

    The two greatest threats to the civil liberties of Americans:

    (1) The “religious liberty” scam; and

    (2) The possibility that Donald Trump may get to replace Justice Kennedy or one of the four progressive justices on the Supreme Court.

    • matrem

      # 2 will happen, and then America will be over. You people really don’t get it: we lost. It’s done. Once we have zealots controlling the SCOTUS, the constitution will be changed.

      Mark my words: we will be a Christian Iran in 15 years or less.

      • another_steve

        The danger is real.

        If and when the time comes, we – all people of good conscience – may have to shut down the Congress of the United States. Make it impossible for it to conduct business until Trump nominates someone sane.

        Trump may call out the National Guard in response, but so be it.

        • matrem

          Yeah right. People don’t care. They don’t vote.

  • Ninja0980

    https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/888040110289285121
    Just in case folks were wondering whether folks who spew racist, sexist, homophobic garbage would be kept off the courts, the answer is no.

    • Gigi

      That’s terrible, but Judd’s cute.

      • Rex

        I really prefer to get all my bad news from cute men. It helps ease the pain.

      • Oscarlating Wildely

        Known him for some time in years past. Wicked smart, and sharp.

  • Michael R

    I smell a tweet storm coming

    Deutsche Bank agrees to hand over Trump records to investigators — and they may contain Russia probe info

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/deutsche-bank-agrees-to-hand-over-trump-records-to-investigators-and-they-may-contain-russia-probe-info/

    • Tomcat

      Time for all his dealings to see the light of day for some serious airing out.

    • Gigi

      “Hillary Clinton’s the only one who cares about Russia.” — Kellyanne Conjob

      • Todd20036

        Kellyanne Meth-head is only convincing the already convinced that Trump is a decent president

        • customartist

          The never listen to anything other than FOX “News”, AKA the Propaganda Channel.

    • customartist

      Can we really trust Deutsche Bank either?

  • Rex

    It wasn’t about water fountains then, and it isn’t about Religious Liberty now.

    • JWC

      Its a twist on an old theme that is also relevant

    • Todd20036

      Unless you’re into worshipping water fountains….

  • Lazycrockett

    Its always a good day to send the ACLU a donation.

  • Gigi

    Talibangelists need to learn once and for all that their rights don’t override ours.

    • matrem

      But they do override ours. We didn’t vote in the numbers we needed. The courts will soon be gone and then its curtains for America.

  • LeeCMH

    Of course the hateful Christians want to keep their plans secret.

  • boatboy_srq
    • TampaDink

      Excellent reporting.

  • customartist
  • shellback

    I’m going to keep saying this until it happens:

    Okay boys and girls, it’s time to grab your pitchforks and torches and
    storm the castle. We’ve got to get rid of the monster terrorizing the
    village. Are ya with me?

  • Professor Barnhardt

    [OT]: Speaking of bathrooms:

    Retweeted by David Fahrenthold: https://twitter.com/fahrenthold

    I’m disappointed that it’s not gender-neutral.

    Just found out that my alma mater (Cal Poly) actually put a commemorative plaque next to the restroom where I recorded “My Bologna” in 1979.

    https://twitter.com/alyankovic/status/888063633590173696

  • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

    I can’t wait to see the number of soon to be overturned EOs. And remember one thing, Pence will be gone too. Unlike Nixon/Ford, guilt points everywhere in this administration.

    • coram nobis

      Actually, Gerald Ford wasn’t Nixon’s running mate, and the country lucked out. If Spiro T. Agnew hadn’t been caught in a separate scandal, he, not Ford, would have been the 38th President of the United States.

      That’s the joker card in the deck. Even if Mike Pence goes down with Donald, and there’s an impeachment shuffling the whole deck, it might not be Paul Ryan but somebody else picked to be VP.

      • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

        That’s right! Memory of a six year old. Forgive me. 😉

        • coram nobis

          It’s okay. If anything happens to me, who will teach the children about nattering nabobs, or the Mann Act?

          • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

            Mann Act? I thought it was the Menz Act!

          • coram nobis

            I think you’re confusing it with the So Do Me Act. It took a dim view of reciprocity.

      • customartist

        What is that process, of picking the President in such circumstances as we may be currently faced with?

        • coram nobis

          25th Amendment. VP office vacated by resignation or promotion to president. We had three VPs because of this in the 1973-1977 presidential term. Agnew, resigned; Ford, assumed presidency; Nelson Rockefeller to replace Ford as VP. Unless both Donald and Pence suddenly vacate their offices, someone would fill Pence’s slot before Paul Ryan had a chance at succession.

          • customartist

            Logical.
            What is THAT process – of picking the replacement VP?

        • coram nobis

          You’d have to wait till 2020. It’s like the situation in 1976, when we had a president and a vice president that no one had voted for, and had to wait for the election cycle to play out. It’s not like a parliamentary system, where you could get a new PM in a matter of a few days, depending on the breaks.

    • customartist

      The Flynn problem is also the Pence problem, is also the Manafort problem, is also the Kushner problem, etc. etc. “We ALL forgot”.

      Lying [either directly or via blatant omission of facts on mandatory government documents] about contacts which I believe will eventually be sufficiently demonstrated by an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence, and an ever expanding degree of real evidence.

      Further indication that Trump now knows he is in trouble is the reporting that he is making inquiries into how and/or whether he can pardon himself, and staff and family members. Acting guilty. It’s a thing.

  • Buford

    Worth a reminder… no one should gain the right to ignore laws they don’t like as the result of simply choosing to join an organization whose members all collectively dislike the same things.

    Choosing to join a religion is a lifestyle choice.

    • customartist

      Not a very smart one at that IMHO

      • Buford

        I tend to agree. I deeply respect sincerely spiritual people, but deciding to be religious belies a flawed character.

        • customartist

          One can have the very best of intentions to live a righteous life, which I commend, yet completely without the unsubstantiated blind faith in supernatural beings, ghosts, or talking animals.

          Although I support others’ Constitutional rights to believe as they may, I don’t necessarily have to refrain from logical criticism of same

          • Buford

            Agree, but even those who live their life according to a sincere belief in the teachings of some supernatural being will get my respect before those who feel need to join large, vocal, visible groups and then loudly profess what they believe and what can be definitively considered right/wrong.

  • teedofftaxpayer

    Trump wants to follow in Russia’s footsteps in regards to “religious freedoms”.

    • customartist

      Denial that gay men are being sent to concentration camps, tortured and murdered?

      Here in America the Department of HHS has stopped even Counting LGBT seniors – folks who have managed to survive lifetime of extreme adversity AND NOW have this compounded by their very own government, or I should say one party of said government, to be accurate.

      • teedofftaxpayer

        Yep and I’m one of those seniors.

  • JCF