From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
More Trouble for Judge Sotomayor
Barack Obama wants the U.S. Senate to pull out a rubber stamp for his Supreme Court pick, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to force this nomination through as quickly as possible. And now we know why. The more we learn about Judge Sotomayor, the more apparent it is that she should not sit on our nation’s High Court.
First, we learned about Judge Sotomayor’s racist statements. During a "cultural diversity lecture" at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law in 2001, for example, Judge Sotomayor said the following: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life." She has also said that "experiences as women and people of color" should affect judicial decisions and that Hispanics should have "greater comfort" with the legal system knowing she is on the federal bench.
Then, Judicial Watch uncovered Sotomayor’s 12-year relationship with the radical race-baiting Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). Sotomayor was the "top policy maker" on the PRLDEF’s Board of Directors. And during her tenure the organization aggressively pursued a number of controversial lawsuits and took objectionable public positions.
To give just two examples of many, in 1998, the PRLDEF filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department over a promotion exam they deemed "racist" forcing the NYPD to change to a more "race sensitive" and less difficult version. In 1990, meanwhile, a spokesman for Sotomayor’s group also said that the FALN terrorists who shot five members of Congress in 1954 were merely "fighters for freedom" like Nelson Mandela. (Judicial Watch published a special report on Sotomayor and the PRLDEF, which you can read here.)
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Friday resigned her membership in an all-women organization, hoping to head off criticism that she belonged to a discriminatory organization before her confirmation hearings begin next month.
The group, the Belizean Grove, calls itself "a constellation of influential women" formed in response to the all-male Bohemian Club, whose annual revels at its expansive Northern California estate are attended by powerful and influential men.
Judge Sotomayor defended her membership in the organization, saying that she believes the Belizean Grove "did not discriminate in an inappropriate way." To bolster her point, Judge Sotomayor said that men are allowed to "participate in trips, host events, and speak at functions." However she also admitted "to the best of my knowledge, a man has never asked to be considered for membership."
So, in other words, the club is exclusive to women only. Men need not apply.
According to the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges: "A judge should not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin."
I’m not going to get into the back and forth over whether or not an all-male or all-female club is inherently discriminatory. However, it does appear that membership in Belizean Grove is prohibited by the judicial Code of Conduct. If it weren’t a problem, the judge wouldn’t have resigned her membership. But this issue also strikes at the heart of one of my major criticisms of Judge Sotomayor. The judge (and, frankly, too many other liberals) seems to believes discrimination is fine as long is it is the "right kind" of discrimination.
Judicial Watch held an important panel on the Sotomayor nomination this week at Washington, DC’s press club. Included on the panel were "leaders of the opposition" to Sotomayor, so it would be well worth your time to listen in. To access an audio recording of the event, you can click here.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: Americans must make their opinions known regarding the Sotomayor nomination. It is not too late. Please call the Senate switchboard today and log calls to your U.S. Senators. Tell them what you think. Here’s the number: (202) 224-3121.
My sources in the Senate and elsewhere tell me that unless individual Senators hear from their constituents, this nomination will get rammed through with little debate. If you value the Constitution, you’ll want to make your voice heard.
Liberals Call for Fannie and Freddie to "Relax" Mortgage Standards – AGAIN!
You’re not going to believe this. Here we are in the midst of a major financial crisis – a crisis largely brought about by lax and corrupt lending practices at mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – and guess what Democratic Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Anthony Weiner (D-NY) want to do.
Yep, you guessed it. They want the quasi-public organizations to "relax" their mortgage standards yet again!
Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.
In March, Fannie Mae said it would no longer guarantee mortgages on condos in buildings where fewer than 70 percent of the units have been sold, up from 51 percent, the paper said. Freddie Mac is due to implement similar policies next month, the paper said.
In a letter to the CEO’s of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold "may be too onerous" and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.
Now, there is no question that the condo market has been slammed in this economy, wreaking havoc in many parts of the country, especially in places like Florida. But relaxing standards is clearly not the answer. As The Atlantic recently noted: "…It’s a little unclear…why Fannie and Freddie should listen to Congress, since guaranteeing condos poses greater risk to taxpayers’ wallets than single-family home mortgages."
In other words, trying to slap a quick fix on the condo problem will only make matters worse. Don’t we already know how this works?
As you may recall, the first domino to fall in this financial crisis was the housing market. And the reason for that? Under pressure from the Clinton administration and their liberal allies in Congress, Fannie and Freddie relaxed their lending standards and provided home loans to people who could not afford them.
Here’s how The New York Times described this risky scheme back in 1999:
In a move that could help increase homeownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders…Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate-income home people and felt pressure from stockholders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
The article goes on to predict that such a strategy might not cause problems during times of economic prosperity, but that Fannie Mae could run into serious financial difficulty during an economic downturn.
Now Frank and company seek to repeat this mistake, even after the collapse. (Frank has a sorry history of protecting Fannie and Freddie.)
By the way, if you haven’t yet checked it out, click here to watch Judicial Watch’s educational panel entitled "The Truth About the Financial Crisis." (We have a written transcript available as well.) Then you’ll have an even better understanding of why Frank and Weiner’s plan is a terrible idea.
New FDA Records Obtained by Judicial Watch Indicate 28 Deaths Related to Gardasil in 2008
Evidence of the deadly and dangerous side effects associated with Gardasil, the hastily approved vaccination for human papillomavirus marketed for young girls, continues to pour into the federal government.
We recently obtained records from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documenting 28 deaths in 2008 associated with Gardasil, up from 19 deaths in 2007. The total number of Gardasil-related deaths is 47 since the vaccine was approved in 2006. Overall, the FDA documented 6,723 "adverse events" related to Gardasil in 2008, of which 1,061 were considered "serious," and 142 considered "life threatening."
In other words, the already serious problems with Gardasil appear to be getting worse.
Just take a look at a few "adverse events" that occurred in 2008 as detailed in the FDA’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS):
"15 months from the completion of the GARDASIL HPV vaccination, I had full blown cervical cancer. My oncologist would like to do a hysterectomy at this time, but [as I have] always wanted children, I have chosen to wait . . . I have two of the [strains] that the shot is suppose to prevent . . . I now have cervical cancer and I am left wondering what role the GARDASIL HPV vaccination played in the hasty onset." (ID: 319836)
"After receiving her second dose of GARDASIL … she could crawl but … needed to use crutches or a wheel chair … She was experienced problems breathing and had ‘super migraines’ that never went away … She had swelling in her face, jaw and wrists. The patient was diagnosed with GUILLAIN-BARRE syndrome, myelin sheath degeneration and peripheral neuropathy. Patient was hospitalized twice … patient has not recovered from symptoms." (ID: 318052)
A 19-year-old girl with no medical history immediately experienced side effects after receiving the Gardasil vaccine. Within eleven days her symptoms included "Aggression, Arthralgia, Complex partial seizures, Confusional state, Convulsion, Crying, Dizziness, Epilepsy, Fatigue, Feeling abnormal, Grand mal convulsion, Immediate post-injection reaction, Irritability, Myalgia, Nausea, Pain, Postictal state, Somnolence, Syncope, Tremor, and Unresponsive to stimuli." (ID: 320598)
"Two weeks after the third dose, the patient developed a complication. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance but passed away during the transport from an unknown cause…Upon arrival in ER unresponsive, pupils fixed and dilated, no cardiac activity. Resuscitation unsuccessful and patient expired." (ID: 314769)
The FDA VAERS reports show that since last June, 235 cases detailed permanent disability. There were also 29 new cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and 147 cases of "spontaneous abortions," or miscarriages, when the vaccine was given to pregnant women.
Moreover, 62 girls developed warts after receiving the vaccine. This development is of particular concern because Gardasil, which is designed to prevent two strains of genital warts, is not supposed to react with other HPV strains. However, not only did previously healthy women experience genital warts after the vaccination, but 21 girls developed warts on other areas, most commonly the face, hands and feet, and in one case, "all over her body." (ID: 330671)
Of the 47 reported deaths, 41 occurred within a month of receiving the vaccine and of those 17 were within two weeks or receiving the vaccine. In most of the deaths the cause is still unknown.
The FDA is supposed to be a guardian of public health, and yet the agency continues to turn a blind eye to what seems to be an extremely serious public health problem. The public relations push for Gardasil by Merck, politicians and public health officials needs to stop so that these adverse reactions can be further studied. And it should go without saying that no one should require this vaccine for young children.
Until next week…
Tom Fitton President
Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.