FRC’s Blackwell Pens 14-Month-Late Attack On Obama’s DOMA Decision
April 10, 2012 11:10 am ET by Carlos Maza
Sometimes, one can’t help but wonder what it takes to get hired at the Family Research Council (FRC). From the looks of it, all it takes to become an FRC “Senior Fellow” is a history of anti-LGBT extremism and a willingness to ignore reality.
Case in point: an April 6 Townhall.com column written by FRC’s Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment and former Ohio Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell. In it, Blackwell decides to attack Obama’s nearly 14-month-old decision to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.
Unfortunately, his arguments weren’t worth the wait.
Blackwell’s criticism of Obama begins with the patently false assumption that DOMA is no longer being enforced by the federal government:
We understand that he rejects the Defense of Marriage Act and views it as unconstitutional. Still, until it is repealed, or until it is deemed by our courts--including the highest court--to be unconstitutional, he has taken an oath to “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.” The Constitution that he swore before God to “preserve, protect, and defend” requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Not just the laws he approves of, not merely those laws he would have voted for as a legislator, but the laws.
Based on that premise – which, again, has been demonstrably false for over a year – Blackwell goes on to make a number of wild assertions about the Obama administration’s alleged wrong-doing, including:
Abraham Lincoln would have defended DOMA:
Lincoln taught Americans to reverence the laws. He broke with the abolitionists of his day over the hateful Fugitive Slave Act. Lincoln hated that law, too, but he said we had to obey it because the Constitution provided for it. We had to obey that law, Lincoln wrote his dearest friend, slaveholder Joshua Speed of Kentucky, even though “we crucify our feelings” in so doing. Crucify our feelings. What a phrase.
Obama’s actions could justify his impeachment:
There are serious consequences for failure to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. In 1974, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives voted three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. Article III charged Nixon with “failure to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Once the Nixon White House tapes were handed over, under order of the Supreme Court, Republicans and Democrats together demanded Nixon’s ouster. No one could deny that a two-year secret campaign of denial, diversion, and obstruction of justice had resulted in, at the very least, a failure to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Nixon was soon forced to resign.
No one is suggesting that Mr. Obama’s defiance of law will result in his defeat or in his impeachment. What we are suggesting is that he does grave harm to the power and legitimacy of his own high office by his contempt for law. As a former constitutional law professor, he should be the first to uphold the majesty of the law.
Repealing DOMA would “overturn the civil right of marriage” won by married slaves in the 1800s:
It will be a tragedy of historic proportions if this president, of all presidents, is the one to overturn the civil right of marriage. In 1866, thousands of freedmen and women walked to Tennessee. Many of them walked barefooted. Why? They desperately sought to have their slave marriages recognized in law. Those newly freed Americans understood the civil right of marriage better than do many constitutional law professors today. Let’s preserve marriage. And let’s take care that the laws that defend it be faithfully executed.
As far as right-wing misinformation about DOMA goes, Blackwell’s column is pretty typical. But Blackwell isn’t just your run-of-the-mill conservative zealot. The FRC “Senior Fellow” is frequently invited to appear on major news networks to provide political commentary on issues ranging from Sesame Street to attacking Iran. After over a year of being able to learn about the Obama administration’s DOMA decision, Blackwell still failed to [get] express even a basic handle on the law’s status.