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4/1/2013 - April 2013 SLI Educational Update - CPAC, Indian Gambling and Abortion



To:                  SLI Supporters                                  

Date:               April 2013  

From:              A. Eric Johnston

Re:                  CPAC, Indian Gambling and Abortion


            This year was the 40th anniversary of CPAC.  It began in 1973 at a meeting of about 175 “conservatives” and its first speaker was Ronald Reagan.  I have attended CPAC virtually every year for the last 30 years and have seen the consistency of conservative principles.  The big question is now whether the Republican Party, the political force of conservatism, will carry those conservative principles forward.

            If you watch the mainstream media and most internet media, you are being told that the Republican Party must reach out and bring everyone into a “big tent.”  This means abandon some of the principles for which conservatism has stood, i.e., sanctity of life, traditional marriage, expansion of government, etcetera.  If you watched CPAC on C-Span, you would have seen the virtual unanimous opinion of conservative leaders, most of whom are not Republican operatives, that we must not change from those principles, but demonstrate to those who block voted for Obama that the principles apply to and benefit them as well.

            The annual straw poll for whom conservatives would like to see as the next President showed 52% of participants as being 25 years of age or younger.  The significant presence of thousands of young people at CPAC, along with CPAC’s commitment to principle, was very encouraging.


            Those of us who have opposed unlawful gambling in Alabama are often criticized that we only try to stop non-Indian gambling, but let the Poarch Indians in Escambia and Elmore Counties continue.  We have explained in earlier publications the impediments of federal law and its supremacy over state law.  We have, nevertheless, done all we can to move against the unlawful Indian gambling.  There are actions that can be taken

            We were pleased that Attorney General Luther Strange filed a lawsuit against the Poarch Indians in an effort to stop their gambling.  At the same time, Congressman Spencer Bachus co-sponsored a bill (HR 279) that would operate to stop Strange’s lawsuit, as well as, our other efforts to stop Indian gambling. 

            In our July 2012 Educational Update, we addressed the Carcieri v. Salazar opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that if an Indian tribe was not recognized in 1934 as such, then its lands are not sovereign.  The Poarch Indians were not recognized until 1984.  If Carcieri means they are not a recognized tribe, then they do not have sovereign lands upon which they can continue gambling violating Alabama’s criminal laws.  They have gambled under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which permits Class II “bingo.”  Although our Alabama Supreme Court has defined the bingo that is permitted for charities under constitutional amendments to be simple paper bingo, the Indians continue to operate electronic slot machines.  The Secretary of the Interior does nothing to stop the Indians from gambling and simply says that “bingo” is “bingo.” 

            We wrote Representative Bachus requesting that he not support HR 279, known as the “Carcieri fix.”  We have not received a formal response from him, but he has indicated in a conversation that it is not his intention to assist Indian gambling.  We will continue to do all we can to stop gambling of every description in Alabama.


             The bills we referenced in last month’s Educational Update, HB 57 (The Woman’s Health and Safety Act) and HB 108 (The Religious Liberty Act of 2013) continue to make progress in the Legislature.  We have every reason to believe these bills will become law.  HB 108 would protect business entities in Alabama from having to provide contraceptives and abortifacients through insurance policies to its employees.  Attorney General Luther Strange has joined a number of other states’ attorneys general requesting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to respect these religious rights.  There is ongoing litigation in many courts around the country over this very issue.

            You may have been reading news reports of the closing of the New Woman All Women Health Clinic, an abortion clinic in Birmingham.  Its license was revoked last year and not renewed, although clinic operators have made concerted efforts to renew it.  However, sidewalk counselors discovered business was continuing as usual.  Abortions were being performed.  Presumably, the clinic’s position is that it is no longer an “abortion clinic,” but a private doctor’s office doing abortions.  We communicated to the general counsel of the Alabama Department of Public Health a case I tried in 1994 for the state, Tucker v. State Department of Public Health, 650 So. 2d 910 (Ala. Civ. App. 1994).  It held that although the office may be a private physician’s office, if it is doing abortions under certain criteria, then it is a regulated abortion clinic.  That is the case here and this clinic should not be operating.  We are continuing to urge ADPH to investigate and close down this operation.

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