ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight wrote this column appearing on the WashingtonTimes.com on April 8, 2010.
What do Craig Becker, Chai Feldblum and Jacqueline Berrien have in common?
They're the latest left-wing activists to gain public office in Barack Obama's gallery of radical rulers, courtesy of recess appointments on March 27.
Becker is a labor attorney who has pledged to force "card check" on the nation's workplaces, which would end the right to work without being a union member. Instead of secret ballot elections determining whether a workplace would be unionized, which preserves the employees' freedom to disagree, "card check" would automatically unionize a workplace if a majority of employees signs a form, or card. This would be done under the watchful eye of union goons, of course. No pressure there. Becker, who was counsel for Andy Stern's radical, ACORN-linked Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as well as the AFL-CIO, is now on the five-member National Labor Relations Board. That's the federal agency that serves as a neutral arbiter between employers and labor. Putting Becker on the board makes about as much sense as naming Yogi Berra as the plate umpire in a Yankees-Red Sox game—no offense to Yogi, a great American.
Chai Feldblum, a lesbian activist at Georgetown Law Center who has said that she cannot think of a single instance in which religious freedom would trump "gay rights," is the newest commissioner on the five-member Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That's the agency that enforces federal civil rights laws in the workplace. Feldblum once said that the culture war can be resolved in a simple manner: "Gays win, Christians lose." She is an author of the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), another of Barney Frank's nuclear gifts to the radical Left. ENDA would affect every employer in America with 15 or more employees. By elevating "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" into federally advantaged "rights," ENDA would put a gun to the head of any employer failing to promote the gay rights agenda in the workplace. This means that devout Christians, Jews (and even Muslims if the Obama Administration is serious), would see their beliefs become a form of bigotry punishable by law. Joining Feldblum as chairman of the EEOC is Jacqueline Berrien, most recently of the NAACP's Legal Defense and Education Fund. Her resume is a litany of racial and feminist entitlement claims, and she filed a brief arguing that Virginia Military Institute (VMI) should be forced to admit women. Did I mention that she was a staff attorney for the ACLU?
These latest appointees fit right in with the 40 or so "czars" that Obama has appointed to high places in federal agencies. Since "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones resigned on Sept. 6, 2009 after being outed as a self-described communist, Obama has been a bit more careful to appoint people who are merely radical leftists, not necessarily communists.
Still, he has an outright Socialist as "energy czarina" in Carol Browner, who is charged with making the case for the "cap and trade" bill, which would cripple industry, impose the biggest energy tax in history, and turn Al Gore into a multi-billionaire. Browner, who was at the far-left Center for American Progress, was on the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, an elite arm of the Socialist International. She is also a former board director of APX, Inc., which facilitates—surprise!—trading in carbon offsets.
As long as we're talking radical, here are some more snapshots of Obama appointees.
- Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (better known as the "regulatory czar"). As bureaucrat in chief, Sunstein, a prolific author and radical legal theorist, can meddle with every federal agency. This is daunting, since Sunstein has written that animals should have the right to sue human beings, that the government owns our organs and can take them unless we specify otherwise, that marriage laws should be abolished, along with hunting, and that U.S. courts should be subservient to international legal opinion.
- John Holdren, director of the White House's Office on Science and Technology Policy (the "science czar"). Holdren has the president's ear about how to spend our money on science. During the '70s, he co-wrote a book with the overpopulation panic couple Paul and Anne Ehrlich in which they floated the idea of putting birth control agents in public drinking water and made the case that mandatory abortions could be justified under the U.S. Constitution. More recently, Holdren has been a major backer of global warming treaties. During his confirmation hearing on Feb. 12, 2009, he told an incredulous Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that he stood by his 1986 prediction that man-made global warming could kill as many as 1 billion people by 2020.
- Harold Koh, State Department legal advisor ("foreign law czar"). Koh, a self-described "transnationalist," thinks the days of the U.S. as an exceptional nation are over, and that our laws and court decisions should reflect international legal opinion. He once referred to President Bush as the "torturer in chief," and has tried to have former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo drawn and quartered for drafting a legal opinion about the limits of interrogation techniques. He has testified in support of crackpot UN power grabs including the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Among its activities, the CEDAW committee has attacked conscientious objections against abortion by doctors in Italy, the observance of Mother's Day in Belarus, and has promoted legalization of prostitution.
These folks are just the tip of the iceberg. Obama's recess appointments make it clear that we're probably in for even more loons at the top.