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07.01.2008 0

All Rise Kangaroo Court is Now in Session

  • On: 07/17/2008 10:35:34
  • In: First Amendment
  • “There are four characteristics which brand a country unmistakably as a dictatorship: one-party rule- executions without trial or with a mock trial, for political offenses- the nationalization or expropriation of private property- and censorship. A country guilty of these outrages forfeits any moral prerogatives, any claim to national rights or sovereignty, and becomes an outlaw.” – Ayn Rand

    Another day and another story of a quasi-legal Kangaroo Court trying to strip law abiding citizens of their Constitutional rights- this time it’s the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.

    In the fall of 2006 Elaine Huguenin, co-owner of Elane Photography, declined a request from a lesbian couple to photograph their commitment ceremony. According to Jordan Lorenc of the Alliance Defense Fund:

    “Elane Photography is basically a husband-and-wife, small, little commercial photography business run by devout Christians who have a variety of things they won’t want to take photographs of.”

    However, Ms Vanessa Willock, one of the women who was to take part in the ceremony, decided that her preference demanded Mrs. Huguenin’s deference. So she filed a complaint with the Commission stating she had been denied public accommodations by Mrs. Huguenin on the basis of her sexual orientation in violation of New Mexico’s Human Rights Act.

    The Commission issued a determination of probable cause and scheduled a hearing for December 12 & 13 2007. Unfortunately for Mrs. Huguenin, this hearing didn’t take place before a judge and jury- but rather before a three-member panel of commissioners. And, in true Kangaroo Court fashion…

    “Formal rules of evidence not binding on the commission: The formal rules of evidence governing the courts of law or equity shall not bind the commission or hearing officer in hearing the evidence…

    “Any other information contained within a division investigation file will not be considered public records…The deliberations of the commission related to a case which the commission is hearing are not part of an open public meeting and are not considered to be public records.”

    In other words: There is no trial before a jury of peers…there is no resorting to the courtroom of public opinion…There is nothing for the respondent but pleading her case before an quotes-legal star chamber, with no recourse or judicial appeal, with nothing bu the sanctity of her own word—which no one else will be allowed to hear.

    Due to the unfortunate lack of main stream media coverage surrounding this case, it is uncertain if a decision has been reached by the Commission in this case- and attempts by ALG News to wrest vital information about the pending verdict were blocked by a veritable Cerberus far more concerned with the chamber’s rules than the respondent’s rights.

    But while the verdict in this case may remain uncertain- the ramifications of this case are crystal clear. According to the Alliance Defense Fund:

    “The constitutional right of Americans to refrain from participating in a ceremony or other event because their sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with its message is at stake. If the New Mexico Human Rights Division rules against Elane Photography, Christians could be forced to advocate for viewpoints with which they disagree or to participate in events that violate their conscience.”

    Additionally, if this Commission rules against Mrs. Huguenin, she will effectively be forbidden to decline to photograph a same sex ceremony again- thus forcing her to give up her cherished livelihood, or betray her basic beliefs and work against her will.

    There is a name for that- involuntary servitude- and, for all but the keepers of the Kangaroo Court, it was outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment.

    ALG CTA: It is patently absurd that a quasi-legal “Star Chamber” has the so called “legal authority” to strip a law-abiding, private business owner of their right to do business as they see fit. Therefore, we urge you to contact Lois* at the New Mexico Human Rights Division: (505) 827-6838 and let her know that American people expect a restoration of due process in a court of law, nothing less.

    *Names not changed to not protect the guilty.

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