Monday, July 03, 2023

Oklahoma leaders celebrate after ending June with major conservative wins at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ended June (or as I saw one person dub it, "LGBT Ramadan") with a string of major wins for conservatives. Below are press releases from Congressmen Brecheen and Hern, Senator Lankford, Attorney General Gentner Drummond, and OCPA on several of these rulings.

Congressman Josh Brecheen Issues Statement After Conservatives Rack Up Wins at the Supreme Court

Washington, D.C. (June 30th) – Congressman Josh Brecheen issued the following statement after the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s student loan bailout in Biden v. Nebraska and defended religious liberty and the First Amendment in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.

The conservative victories come a day after the Supreme Court ruled that colleges cannot racially discriminate in admissions and reaffirmed that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on religion.

“In the last two days, conservatives have scored major wins, as the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the First Amendment, religious liberty, and against racial discrimination,” said Congressman Josh Brecheen. “American taxpayers should also applaud the fact the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s unconstitutional student loan bailout, which would have been a $400 billion+ transfer of wealth from the working class to some of the most well-off Americans. I am glad to see the Supreme Court stand up for freedom and Americans’ constitutional rights. Today is a day for all Americans to celebrate.”

Lankford Celebrates Supreme Court Protecting Americans’ Free Speech

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (June 30th) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement celebrating the Supreme Court decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which affirms a Colorado business owner’s right to exercise her free speech:

“The Supreme Court once again affirmed that the government should never have the power to compel speech or threaten Americans with fines to force them to say things they disagree with. A diverse nation has diverse opinions that should be heard and respected. Compelling speech does not honor diversity. The Supreme Court firmly upheld Americans’ First Amendment rights and ensured no one is forced to speak against their will or conscience.”

Lankford and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) led a bicameral amicus brief for this case. The petitioner, Lorie Smith, runs the website design company 303 Creative and cannot provide custom services for same-sex weddings without violating her Christian faith. Under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), however, she was compelled to not only provide these custom services, but she was also prevented from explaining her disagreement. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that the state can compel Ms. Smith’s creative speech—a decision that was wrong and was rightly reversed by the Supreme Court.

This case is a follow-on to Masterpiece Cakeshop, for which Lankford also submitted an amicus brief and celebrated the victory for the case at the Supreme Court in 2018. The case involved the shop’s owner, Jack Phillips, who argued that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated his constitutional rights by acting with hostility to his religious faith.

Lankford Praises Supreme Court Decision on Biden's Student Loan Scheme

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement praising the Supreme Court decision overturning President Biden’s student loan debt relief program in Biden v. Nebraska

“Cancelling student debt sounds easy, and everyone likes ‘free money,’ but it is actually not free, it is a bill that someone else has to pay. President Biden tried to give away almost half-a-trillion-dollars to a few while handing the bill to the rest of Americans who are already facing high inflation costs due to Biden’s out-of-control spending. Families who worked two jobs in college, or never attended college should not have to pay someone else’s student loan debt. The Supreme Court stated today what we already know is clear in the Constitution, Congress writes the laws and agencies can’t just rewrite them to fit a political agenda.” 

Lankford and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TX), and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led more than 40 of their colleagues in an amicus brief urging that Biden’s decision to forgive federal student loan debt in these circumstances constitutes unprecedented executive overreach and defies the separation of powers between Congress and the President.

Lankford also introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn President Biden’s student loan cancelation scheme, which would transfer up to $20,000 in student loan debt per borrower onto taxpayers, costing an estimated $400 billion.

Lankford Applauds Supreme Court for Protecting Religious Accommodations at Work

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement applauding the Supreme Court for unanimously ruling in favor of protecting the right to live out your faith in the workplace in a case where a USPS employee believed he must “[r]ember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”:

“As we approach our nation’s celebration of independence, we are reminded that one of the many ways we are unique is our commitment to religious liberty, which is enshrined in the First Amendment of our US Constitution. Today, the Supreme Court corrected a decades-old misapplication of the rights of employees regarding religious accommodations. Now it is clear to every employer that Americans can have a faith and live their faith everywhere, including at work.”

Lankford alongside Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA) led a bicameral amicus brief in this case asking the Court to correct the misapplication of Title VII’s religious accommodation. Lankford also led an amicus brief asking the Court to grant review in the case. Lankford has stood fervently to protect the right for every American to exercise their right to religious liberty, including supporting Coach Joe Kennedy when he was fired from his job as a high school football coach for silently praying after games. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Coach Kennedy in June 2022. Lankford also submitted an amicus brief in the case of 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, calling for the Supreme Court to review a circuit court decision that prohibits a Colorado business owner from exercising her free speech.

OCPA praises Supreme Court ruling favoring religious liberty

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 30, 2023)—Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small said the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis preserves citizens’ core right to religious liberty and free speech.

“The right to practice one’s religion is a foundational freedom granted in the U.S. Constitution, yet many special-interest groups have sought to use government power to force Christians to effectively endorse and promote activities they do not support,” Small said. “Today’s ruling protects citizens from that type of coercion, ensuring the rights of all citizens, religious and non-religious alike, to live their lives in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs.”

Lorie Smith, owner of a web design company called 303 Creative LLC, objected to being forced to create websites for homosexual weddings, saying that required her to endorse and promote something offensive to her as a Christian.

In a 6-3 decision issued today, the U.S. Supreme Court held, “The First Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.”

“The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands,” the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision states. “Colorado cannot deny that promise consistent with the First Amendment.”

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is a free-market think tank that works to advance principles and policies that support free enterprise, limited government, individual initiative and personal responsibility.

Hern applauds the Supreme Court striking down Biden’s student loan giveaway

WASHINGTON, DC — Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) released the following statement after the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s student loan bailout in a vote of 6-3.

“Forgiving student loans is not under the jurisdiction of the President of the United States,” said Rep. Hern. “Even former Speaker Nancy Pelosi agrees. On July 28, 2021, she said, ‘People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. […] That has to be an act of Congress.' Today, the Supreme Court sided with the American taxpayers and rejected President Biden’s student loan bailout, which would have been the most reprehensible transfer of wealth away from the working class that our country has ever seen. I applaud their decision.” 

Drummond lauds U.S. Supreme Court decision as victory for religious liberty

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 29, 2023) – Attorney General Gentner Drummond praised today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Groff v. DeJoy, a case affirming religious freedoms in the workplace. Oklahoma had filed two amicus briefs in favor of Gerald Groff, a former mailman who had declined to make deliveries on Sundays.

“I am pleased by the Supreme Court’s resounding affirmation of religious liberty,” said Drummond. “This unanimous decision emphasizes that Americans of all faiths have a Constitutional right to live and work according to their religious beliefs.”

As an evangelical Christian, Groff indicated to his U.S. Postal Service (USPS) bosses that he reserved Sundays for worship and rest. USPS refused to accommodate the postal carrier. He eventually resigned and sued the agency under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, asserting that USPS could have accommodated his request.

The Court ruled 9-0 in Groff’s favor, holding that Title VII requires employers who deny a religious accommodation to show that the burden of granting the request would result in substantial increased business costs.


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