Displaying items by tag: Supreme court
The Pakistani Supreme Court has issued a highly significant and welcome ruling, which includes the declaration that the preaching of Christianity ‘is not a crime, nor can it be made into one’. The nine-page ruling is a clear and comprehensive denunciation of the way in which ‘blasphemy’ laws are misused in Pakistan. The court raises issues such as false and malicious accusations, the lack of credible evidence in many cases, and the mob violence with which an accused person is often threatened. One judge said, ‘Many a time false allegations are levelled to settle personal scores, and cases are also registered for mischievous purposes or on account of ulterior motives’.
Attempts to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in a case against a Belfast bakery have been rejected. Seven years ago, Christian-led Ashers Baking Company refused to write ‘support gay marriage’ on a cake. Gareth Lee sued Ashers, then lost his case at the UK Supreme Court. He took the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the UK had failed to protect his human rights. Before the Supreme Court ruling, a Belfast county court and an appeal court had both ruled that the bakery had discriminated against Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The Supreme Court will not hear the case of Alina Dulgheriu, who has challenged a protection order introduced in 2018 around a London abortion facility. The order criminalises silent prayer and offers of help. The young mother, who herself had received help from a now-banned group, argued that this violated fundamental rights to freedom of speech and assembly. She is now considering her options for challenging this decision. Ms Dulgheriu said, ‘My little girl is here today because of the practical and emotional support that I was offered outside a Marie Stopes centre. I brought the appeal to ensure that other women did not have this vital support option removed. It is unthinkable that any council would criminalise an offer to help a woman keep her child.’ She is now considering the possibility of bringing her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
After the Supreme Court had decided that the proroguing of Parliament was illegal, MPs returned to the Commons on 25 September for an evening of inflamed rhetoric with debate resorting to a session of offensive, dangerous language. The BBC reported, ‘We are seeing the raw conflict that had to play out, the fight Theresa May delayed but couldn't make disappear. Politics moves so fast, it's impossible to tell if the cries of horror in SW1 will fade to nothing, or how far they have reached beyond Westminster's bubble. The situation is ever-shifting and could transform within days. It is almost impossible to imagine this group of politicians being able to agree on much.’ Let us pray according to Proverbs 15 for gentle answers to turn away wrath, for God to adorn MP’s tongues with wisdom, and knowledge and for the eyes of the Lord to reach every corner of parliament, prompting calm considerations and restraint. May the Houses of Parliament produce great treasures of domestic debate, spoken by wise lips and spreading knowledge.
Christian evangelist David Robertson tweeted, ‘Having read the judgement, it seems to me that the court was right - although the motives of those who brought the case were more to do with stopping Brexit than asserting the sovereignty of the House of Commons - which of course they want to give away.’ Christian blogger Archbishop Cranmer said, ‘If the prorogation was “void and of no effect”, then the Queen's Order was “void and of no effect”, and so the Crown has become subject to the judgments of the Supreme Court. Her Majesty's constitutional powers to advise and warn her Prime Minister, or even “in extremis” to refuse his or her advice, are now subject to the judgments of the Supreme Court. If the Queen wills it, the Supreme Court can un-will it. This is a seismic constitutional shift in the United Kingdom, if not an inglorious revolution.’ Sir Gary Streeter MP, chair of Christians in Parliament, said it was time for a general election.
Florida’s supreme court historically backed abortion rights, but now has more conservative justices. In a victory for abortion opponents, an appeals court overturned a judge’s ruling from January 2018 stating there was no need to make a person wait 24 hours before having an abortion. They argued that the law violates privacy rights and places roadblocks in the way of women seeking abortions. The 24-hour time gap will now give the person time to consider more deeply the act of abortion and ensure they give ‘informed consent’. This case could become a key test for anti-abortion lobbyists.
Brett Kavanaugh replaces Justice Kennedy as a US Supreme Court judge, and is expected to keep the position for decades. He was one of the lead writers of the report that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and was a White House lawyer and adviser under the George W Bush administration. A devout Catholic, Kavanaugh is expected to establish conservative control of the court as he becomes Trump's second appointment to the nation's highest judicial body. The Supreme Court’s decisions have a profound impact on American society. It is often the final word on highly contentious laws. Disputes involving abortion, immigration, gay rights, voting rights and transgender troops could all be ruled on soon. Kavanaugh is expected to cast conservative votes in all of them. He is against abortion and supports the right to bear arms including semi-automatic weapons. Historically he has ruled against regulations regarding air pollution and climate change.
President Trump named Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States, to replace Justice Antonin Scalia who died last February. Gorsuch currently serves on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and has the backing of pro-life and conservative groups. Trump recognised the importance of the decision, saying, ‘He is the man our country needs to make sure the rule of law and the rule of justice are followed. After defence of the nation, appointing a justice is the most important decision a president makes.’ Gorsuch pledged that, if confirmed, he would uphold the Constitution of the United States. There is likely to be strong opposition from the Democrats and other liberal groups when his confirmation is voted on. See