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Keep Calling Your Senators to Oppose Terrible Judicial Nominees (Not Just SCOTUS)

Keep calling your senators to oppose terrible judicial nominees (not just those for the Supreme Court of the United States).

 

Team Trump’s assault on the judicial branch through nominating terrible far-right candidates hasn’t gotten much attention on this blog because it’s a slow-moving, ongoing crisis.

 

One Thing You Can Do tries to focus on just that–one thing you can do every day to push back against Trump. Sticking rigidly to one thing has proven increasingly difficult as the Trump administration has aged, but we’ve mostly managed it. The judges issue has suffered the most from this practice.

 

Mitch McConnell is not limiting his manipulations to SCOTUS. He deliberately held open dozens of vacant judgeships under Obama and is frantically shoving as many nominees through as he can during the current Congress.

 

This is extra-disturbing because with the GOP in Congressional control, it’s the judicial branch that’s saved us from many of the worst excesses of Trump.

 

Cramming the courts full of young Trump appointees, all of whom receive lifetime appointments, threatens to warp our judicial system and pervert justice for decades to come.

 

You won’t be surprised to learn that most of these bad nominees are getting through on party-line votes.

 

We wrote about this once before after seeing ads on CNN that urged Republicans to support McConnell’s scheming. His most recent desperate move, which ended in the eleventh-hour withdrawal of a nominee who had racist writings in his past, reminded us we should write another post that you can bookmark and revisit.

 

First, know that as long as the GOP has control of Congress under Trump, they are trying to force through far-right nominees, several of whom are seriously problematic and some of whom are unqualified (seriously, they’ve tried to push through people who got an ‘unqualified’ rating from the American Bar Association).

 

The most recent failed nominee, Ryan Bounds, was an extra-insane situation because he was from Oregon, and that state’s senators had both refused to return their ‘blue slips’ on the nominee.

 

That means that Bounds had not earned the support of either Senator from Oregon.

 

In the past, if even one Senator withheld a blue slip, that ended a judicial nominee’s candidacy. McConnell was determined to steam ahead with Bounds in the absence of both blue slips, which has never happened in the history of the Senate.

 

The only reason Bounds was stopped is a GOP Senator, who had seen the racist writings, refused to support him. McConnell, realizing he did not have the votes to confirm, withdrew.

 

So, how to stay on top of the judicial nominee crisis? First, get on Twitter if you’re not already and follow:

 

@civilrightsorg

 

@DSenFloor

 

@cspan

 

The first will alert you to bad nominees. The other two will tell you when they’re headed to the floor.

 

Also follow @Celeste_pewter if you aren’t already. She is on top of bad nominees and will alert you to them as they appear.

 

Second, check this link and see if one of your Senators is on the Senate Judiciary Committee. (You’ll have to scroll down for the membership.)

 

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov

 

If you have a Senator on the committee, then it’s extra-important that you call to oppose bad nominees.

 

You can also check the committee’s Nominations page to learn about what’s in progress on that front:

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/nominations

 

You should call both your Senators to oppose, but it’s crucial to call members of the committee early and often, in hopes of stopping bad candidates from advancing to a floor vote.

 

We can’t write you a blanket script because each bad nominee is bad in his or her own way. We can teach you to compose your own, however.

 

In checking the Twitter accounts listed above, look for:

 

The rating the nominee has received from the American Bar Association. If the person is unqualified, say so. If McConnell is rushing the nominee through so fast that the ABA hasn’t had time to issue a rating, say that, and demand that nothing go forward until the ABA can give a rating.

 

Whether or not one or both of the nominee’s home Senators has returned a blue slip. If anyone refuses, say so, and cite that as a reason to oppose.

 

If the nominee has hesitated to affirm bedrock rulings such as Brown vs Board of Education, Griswold vs Connecticut, Roe vs Wade, etc. Some nominees have given alarmingly muddled and evasive answers to questions along these lines. The only acceptable answer is ‘yes, these landmark cases were correctly decided.’

 

If civil rights and reproductive rights orgs say, flatly, that ‘Nominee X sucks and should not be on the federal bench for life,’ believe them and act accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Activism · Health Care · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Save These Tools · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)

Defend Yourself and Your Friends Against a Post-Roe World: Stock Up on Plan B and Other Forms of Emergency Contraception

Defend yourself against a post-Roe world by stocking up on Plan B, the emergency contraception medicine you can take in the hours and days after sex to prevent pregnancy.

 

With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), countless Americans fear that the Roe vs. Wade ruling will be overturned, reverting legislation on abortion to the individual states instead of allowing it on the federal level.

 

Those who express fear over this possibility are correct. It is, indeed, time to panic and take defensive stances. The far right has been hell-bent on overturning Roe since the SCOTUS decided it in 1973. Evangelicals and other far-right extremists don’t want women to control their own bodies. It’s not about preserving life. It never was. It’s about making women slaves to their fertility. Period. Full stop.

 

We’ve reached the point in this shitshow where it makes sense to buy and bank doses of Plan B, the emergency contraception medication that can prevent pregnancy in the hours and days after an act of penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex. Plan B is the best-known, but those who are over a certain weight should use ella instead. Plan B works less well with folks who weigh 180 pounds or more.

 

Emergency contraception can be effective as late as five days after sex, but it’s best to take it as soon as you suspect you might be pregnant. Emergency contraception is NOT, repeat, NOT an abortificient, aka a drug that causes an abortion. It prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the wall of the uterus. If the egg does not implant, it cannot lead to pregnancy.

 

And hurrah hurrah, you can purchase it over the counter (OTC). It costs $40 to $60, generally. If you’re wealthier than most, it’s even more important that you consider building an emergency contraception stash to help friends and family who are less well-off. Being forced to find an extra $40 to $60 is a legitimate hardship for many. If you can step up, please do so.

 

The options below allow you to place your order online, which lets you avoid judgmental and nosy pharmacists who might refuse to fill the script over a “religious objection”.

 

If you yourself are past the point of needing to worry about an unwanted pregnancy, it still makes sense to bank doses to help daughters, nieces, cousins, and their friends who might find themselves suddenly flung into hell in a state with anti-abortion trigger laws.

 

As noted below, Plan B has a shelf life of four years, and the expiration date is printed on the box. Afterpill, another variant, is good for 18 months. There doesn’t appear to be information on ella but the expiration date should be printed on the box.

 

Emily L Hauser (@emilylhauser) had a good, short Twitter thread on this on June 27, 2018 (Note that the coupon linked in the second tweet might be expired by the time this post goes live):

 

Between the election & the inauguration, I bought two rounds of Plan B (the morning after pill) to have on hand should my children or their friends need it in the anti-choice hellscape that I imagined would come into being. We’re a step closer to that hellscape now. 1/2

 

I just called Plan B customer service to confirm the following: Plan B (& other levonorgestrel meds) has a 4-yr shelf life; the exp. date is printed clearly on the box. Here’s a coupon: Here’s info from Planned Parenthood 2/2

 

I’m being reminded that Plan B isn’t nearly as effective over a certain weight. The

alternative is known as ella. Here’s information on the ella morning after pill

Here’s a way to order online [She included this link]:

https://www.prjktruby.com/about/products/ella/

[Here also is an info link about Ella]

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/morning-after-pill-emergency-contraception/whats-ella-morning-after-pill

PS It’s worth remembering that online information can lose its funding & go missing, be changed, etc & so on. Books are harder to get rid of. This is a terrific resource on human sexuality, geared toward teens/young adults & good for anyone with questions

[She included this link] https://www.dacapopress.com/titles/heather-corinna/s-e-x-second-edition/9780738218854/

PPS A lot of people are talking about how useful this information will be for their daughters – SONS (/people with any reproductive organs) NEED THIS INFORMATION, TOO. Please and thank you.

Another followup for the record: Plan B, ella, & all of their various forms do NOT terminate pregnancies – they prevent pregnancy from occurring in the first place. Here’s information on that: Also for the record, abortion is healthcare & yes I’ve had one.

Later, in the comments, she included a link for purchasing Afterpill, another brand of emergency contraception:

https://afterpill.com

Further along in the comments, another poster included an Amazon link to a generic emergency contraception medication:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NKMY5E2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_xEdnBbPECGPX2?th=1

 

 

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Attend a #SaveSCOTUS Event Between Monday July 9 and Friday, July 13, 2018

Attend a #SaveSCOTUS event between Monday, July 9, and Friday, July 13, 2018.

 

Team Trump intends to announce the name of its Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) nominee on Monday, July 9, 2018.

 

A team of organizations, headed by the good folks at Indivisible, have planned a week-long series of actions to protest the nominee, who will no doubt be a hard-right extremist.

 

See the website below to find an event near you:

http://savescotus.indivisible.org

 

 

Download the #SaveSCOTUS toolkit, which includes tips on how to plan a local #SaveSCOTUS event:

https://savescotus.indivisible.org/toolkit/

 

 

Visit Indivisible’s main website:

https://www.indivisible.org

 

 

Donate to the Indivisible Project:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/indivisibleproject?refcode=homepage

 

 

Like the Indivisible Guide on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/indivisibleguide/

 

 

Follow the Indivisible Guide on Twitter:

@IndivisibleTeam

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Learn How To Get Your State to Rescind A Resolution Calling for a Constitutional Convention

Learn how to get your state to rescind a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention.

 

A cadre of right-wing folks have been agitating for years to call a new Constitutional Convention (also known as a “Con Con”) with the notion of reshaping the U.S. Constitution. They want to pass a balanced budget amendment, evidently to curtail spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

 

See OTYCD‘s past post on how to thwart a Constitutional Convention:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/03/24/thwart-a-constitutional-convention-by-electing-democrats-to-state-legislatures/

 

A minimum of 34 states are required to call a convention, and anything hatched at the convention would need 38 states to pass.

 

Set aside the fact that a Constitutional Convention would bring a heap of chaos–the Constitution does not lay out any procedural rules, and Article V, the part of the Constitution that allows conventions, has never been invoked before.

 

The fact remains that the push for a Constitutional Convention is a right-wing hobby horse, pursued by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other dubious folk.

 

Working to elect Democratic state legislators helps thwart these plans, as we note in the previous post. But there is another step that should be taken.

 

A state that assents to a Constitutional Convention is not locked in. It can rescind its resolution agreeing to the Con Con.

 

Some states have rescinded. In 2017, Nevada, Maryland, and New Mexico all did so.

 

If your state has passed a resolution calling for a Con Con, you can petition your legislature to rescind it.

 

A pro-Con Con group, COS Action, tracks its progress with a map. Yellow states have passed the bill in one chamber. Green states have passed the bill outright. Blue states are those where the bill is “active legislation.” White states are inactive–they have not passed Con Con legislation and don’t appear to be targeted for legislation.

See the map by scrolling down to the header ‘So, Are You Making Any Progress?’ and click on the progress map button:

https://conventionofstates.com

 

 

If you don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are, go to the link below and plug in your address and zip code to get their names:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

 

Is your state colored green on the map? Are your state legislative representatives open to sponsoring a bill to rescind a call for a Con Con? If so, ask them to get to work, and check in on them periodically to make sure they’re on it.

 

If your own state legislators would favor this move, do some research and see if there are other legislators in your state who would support it. Recruit friends in that part of the state and ask them to ask their reps for this.

 

 

Is your state colored blue on this map? Call your state legislators, say you oppose calling for a Constitutional Convention, and ask them to fight any state bill that calls for one.

 

 

Yellow states are trickier. The COS map indicates that the bill has passed in one state chamber, but does not say which one. In this case, call your state legislators, say you oppose calling for a Constitutional Convention, and say what you know–a pro-convention interest group indicates that one chamber has passed a bill but you’re not sure which one.

 

Ask for help finding out which state chamber passed the bill. When you have that information, you can take the next step. If the bill passed in the house and is now in the senate, ask your state house rep to prepare a bill to rescind, and ask your state senator to vote no on any state senate counterpart that might be live. If it’s the other way around, act accordingly.

 

And as stated before, continue to work to elect state-level representatives who aren’t on board with a Con Con. In general, that means voting for Democrats, sane Republicans, and sane Independents.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read a November 2017 backgrounder on the Con Con from the CBS website:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/will-there-be-a-new-constitutional-convention/

 

 

Read an August 2017 piece from the Bill Moyers site on the right-wing push for a Con Con, led by ALEC:

http://billmoyers.com/story/alec-constitutional-convention/

 

 

Read a May 2017 story from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) website on states that rescinded their calls for a Con Con:

https://www.cbpp.org/blog/nevada-joins-maryland-new-mexico-in-rescinding-calls-for-a-constitutional-convention

 

 

See the language of Nevada’s 2017 state bill rescinding its call for a Con Con:

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Bills/SJR/SJR10.pdf

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Call Your Senators to Oppose the Nomination of Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State

Call your senators to oppose the nomination of Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. 

 

First, some background: Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 13, 2018, in a move that surprised no one except Tillerson, and he quickly nominated Mike Pompeo, head of the CIA, to replace him.

 

Unlike other posts close to Trump, Pompeo will have to face confirmation hearings in the Senate. (Despite the way Trump moves people around in his administration, being confirmed by the Senate for one job does not transfer to any subsequent high-level jobs.)

 

Pompeo should not have been CIA director, and he should not become secretary of state. He believes in a form of evangelical Christianity that makes him view Christian-Muslim relations as something out of the Crusades, and not something more appropriate to 2018. Separation of church and state is already a problem for this guy; he should not be in charge of managing how America deals with Muslim-led countries.

 

You won’t be surprised to learn that Pompeo holds dangerously retrograde views on LGBT rights, and pretty much the rights of anyone who isn’t straight, white, Christian, male, and able-bodied. He’s the sort of Christian that Christopher Stroop has doggedly warned us all about. He should not get this job, no matter how much Trump likes him personally.

 

The GOP holds a Senate majority by a painfully narrow 51-49 margin (the two Independent senators caucus with the Democrats), and Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky has already said he will vote against Pompeo for Secretary of State as well as voting against Pompeo’s proposed replacement at the CIA, Gina Haspel (we at OTYCD are prepping a separate post on her).

 

This Washington Post story quotes Paul as saying he “cannot endorse [Trump’s] nomination of people who loved the Iraq War so much that they want an Iran War next.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/sen-rand-paul-opposes-confirming-trumps-secretary-of-state-and-cia-nominees/2018/03/14/dc941f9e-27b0-11e8-874b-d517e912f125_story.html?utm_term=.441f7b6e9a96

 

Paul’s refusal is helpful, but it’s no guarantee that Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State will fail. When the Senate confirmed Pompeo to his CIA post last year, it wasn’t all that contentious. He succeeded with a vote of 66 for, 32 against. (Paul voted against Pompeo as CIA director, and was the only Republican to vote no on that nomination.)

 

The following Democrats and Independents voted for Pompeo as CIA director in 2017:

 

Joe Donnelly of Indiana

Dianne Feinstein of California

Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire

Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota

Tim Kaine of Virginia

Angus King of Maine

Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

Joe Manchin of West Virginia

Claire McCaskill of Missouri

Jack Reed of Rhode Island

Brian Schatz of Hawaii

Chuck Schumer of New York

Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire

Mark Warner of Virginia

Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island

 

Two other Democratic senators, both from Connecticut, did not vote because of a winter storm that stopped them from arriving in time to participate: Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.

 

We at OTYCD are asking you to call your senators and ask them to vote no on Pompeo for Secretary of State.

 

Suggested script: “Dear Senator [Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname from town, state], I am calling to ask you to vote against Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Pompeo is a committed theocrat who privileges his religious views of the world, and would rely on them as Secretary of State. If he’s appointed, he will almost certainly complicate and worsen our relations with Muslim-led nations, such as Iran and Iraq. Anyone who has as much trouble as Pompeo has with separating church and state should not become Secretary of State, a post that is all about diplomacy. Again, I urge you to vote against his nomination. Thank you.”

 

 

Read a CNN piece on the firing of Tillerson, which includes an acknowledgement that Trump has long wanted to replace him with Pompeo:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/13/politics/rex-tillerson-secretary-of-state/index.html

 

 

Read more articles that show why Pompeo is a bad choice for Secretary of State:

https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/3/15/17117298/mike-pompeo-trump-secretary-of-state-politics-battle-evangelical-holy-war-christian

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/pompeo-muslims/555680/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/13/why-new-secretary-of-state-mike-pompeo-is-probably-bad-news-for-iran.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-vanburen-pompeo-commentary/commentary-the-pros-and-cons-of-pompeo-as-secretary-of-state-idUSKCN1GR2DL [This is an Op-Ed]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pompeo-will-face-a-host-of-foreign-policy-challenges-if-confirmed-as-secretary-of-state/2018/03/13/a37180d4-26c6-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html?utm_term=.3ca062537ea3

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-04/mike-pompeo-is-the-anti-tillerson

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

First Amendment, Defending a Free Press · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Uncategorized

Support the Student Press Law Center, Which Fights for the First Amendment Rights of Journalists In High School and College

Support the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), which fights for the First Amendment rights of journalists in high school and college.

 

Good journalists don’t come from nowhere. They have to learn their craft, and many start with their high school or college papers.

 

Unfortunately, these young journalists face barriers that adult journalists face far less often–outright censorship from school staff, pressure to change stories, retaliatory budget cuts, and the like.

 

The SPLC is the only nonprofit that defends the free press rights of journalists in high school and college. It fields more than 2,000 inquiries on its legal advice hotline every year. It also advocates for open campus government, defends online speech, and encourages civic participation. It provides its legal services to students for free.

 

With the uptick in student walkouts and protests, which began rising after the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement, the intensity surrounding the plight of the Dreamers, and demands for common-sense gun laws after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, student journalists will be under more pressure and more in need of help.

 

The actions of the Trump administration has shown why good journalism is vital to a healthy democracy. We need to support tomorrow’s journalists as well as today’s.

 

 

See the SPLC webpage:

http://www.splc.org

 

 

See its ‘Covering Walk-outs and Protests’ page:

http://www.splc.org/page/covering-walkouts-and-protests

 

 

Request legal help from the SPLC:

http://www.splc.org/page/legalrequest

 

 

Become an attorney volunteer for the SPLC:

http://www.splc.org/page/volunteer

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Donate to the SPLC:

http://www.splc.org/page/donate

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/StudentPress

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@SPLC

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Tell Your MoCs to Keep Church and State Separate By Leaving the Johnson Amendment Alone (GOP Tax Bill Update–Good News)

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Tell your members of Congress to reject any efforts to destroy or rewrite the Johnson Amendment, a restriction that affirms the separation of church and state.

GOP tax bill update: Congressional Republicans included language that would lift the Johnson Amendment in the GOP tax bill. When you call to ask your MoCs to vote against the tax bill, please ask them to fight to remove the language and preserve the Johnson Amendment. See our updates on fighting the GOP tax bill for a script for calling your MoCs.

Update to the update: Democrats succeeded in removing the language from the GOP tax bill that repeals the Johnson Amendment. Read more here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/14/in-small-win-for-democrats-the-final-tax-bill-wont-include-a-provision-to-allow-churches-to-endorse-political-candidates/?utm_term=.a274d9645ca0

Original text follows.

Many people have wondered why so many evangelical Christians embraced candidate Donald Trump so heartily. Here’s your answer: He promised to gut the Johnson Amendment. Sponsored by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson and passed in 1954, it curtails the ability of tax-exempt organizations–churches included–to speak out on political issues.

According to the IRS web site, the Johnson Amendment says that tax-exempt organizations “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

To be clear: A pastor is in fact free to stand up at his megachurch pulpit today and endorse a specific candidate for public office during an election cycle. But he would put his megachurch’s tax-exempt status at risk if he did so.

Killing the Johnson amendment would embolden that pastor to endorse candidates by name to his congregants without fear of the IRS coming down on him. Mega-churches could in essence choose to become political super PACs, and all that that implies. It’d be the second coming of Citizens United, and we’re only sort-of joking when we say that.

If you value the separation of church and state, you want the Johnson Amendment to stay in place and untouched.

Important: Do you live in a part of the country that is dominated by evangelical right-wing Christianity? Then it’s extra-important for you to call your members of Congress and speak in favor of retaining the Johnson Amendment.

Sample script: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code), and I am calling to ask Senator/House Rep (Lastname) to fight any attempts to destroy or rewrite the Johnson Amendment. The law prevents tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates. If it is removed, it would inject politics into the religious sphere in a way never before seen. Church and state should stay separate, for the good of both. Please retain the Johnson Amendment in its current form. Thank you.”

 

Read the tax code language that governs political expressions by tax-exempt organizations:

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/the-restriction-of-political-campaign-intervention-by-section-501-c-3-tax-exempt-organizations

 

Read an NPR brief on what the Johnson Amendment is, and isn’t:

http://www.npr.org/2017/02/03/513187940/the-johnson-amendment-in-five-questions-and-answers

 

Read about how Trump pleased the evangelical right by pledging to scrub the Johnson Amendment:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/how-trump-is-trying-to-put-more-money-in-politics/493823/

 

Read a Nonprofit Quarterly editorial speaking against the repeal of the Johnson Amendment:

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/02/06/losing-johnson-amendment-destroy-unique-political-role-nonprofits/

 

Read about how the National Coalition of Nonprofits has launched a campaign to resist any changes to the Johnson Amendment:

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/03/02/national-coalition-nonprofits-launches-campaign-oppose-repeal-johnson-amendment/

 

Read about a poll by Independent Sector, a champion of nonprofits, that shows a majority of voters support preserving the Johnson Amendment:

http://www.independentsector.org/news-post/national-poll-johnson-amendment/

 

Read an Atlantic piece from a rabbi who urges keeping the Johnson Amendment as is:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/a-rabbi-defends-the-johnson-amendment/516981/