The topic of the14th Amendment of the United States Constitution is continuing to stir debate in Washington, with those who favor increasing the debt limit at any cost raising the specter of President Obama simply overruling Congress and authorizing the issuance of new debt without the consent of lawmakers. According to this storyline, the president need only invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” If Congress refuses to abide by its constitutional obligation to ensure government debts are paid, argue certain of Obama’s supporters, then the president would be justified in simply imposing his will on Congress to ensure that the 14th Amendment’s prohibition of government default is honored.

In an op-ed published last Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), declared that “Republicans in the Senate are united” behind the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment.

A conservative legal advocacy group has come to the rescue of a New Jersey man who was told by authorities in his community that he could not display a cross in his yard. In early July the Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to officials in the township of Livingston (picture, left) asking them to cease from employing an ordinance prohibiting homeowner Patrick Racaniello from displaying crosses in various areas of his front yard. Local police had used the ordinance as justification for ordering Racaniello to remove a cross he was displaying on a tree in his front yard in celebration of Lent, after one of his neighbors had complained.

Liberty-minded Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) announced plans this week to re-introduce a bill that would hold Transportation Security Agency (TSA) screeners liable for violating laws on sexual assault, as well as laws on the production of lewd images and potentially causing harm through mass radiation of passengers with so-called “naked body” scanners.

The legislation, called the “American Traveler Dignity Act,” would subject TSA employees to the same system of rules governing everyone else. “It means they are not above laws the rest of us must obey,” Paul explained in his July 5 “Texas Straight Talk” report announcing the decision to reintroduce the bill.

Several veterans groups in Houston, Texas, are joining an area pastor in suing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for religious discrimination, charging that at least one VA official banned prayers and certain religious terms during funerals for veterans at the Houston National Cemetery (pictured). The latest charges follow a Memorial Day controversy in which the cemetery’s director, Arleen Ocasio, censored a prayer that the Rev. Scott Rainey had planned to deliver during a service at the cemetery, removing the name of Jesus from the prayer. As reported by The New American, Rainey filed suit, and a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against the VA, ruling that Rainey’s prayer qualified as free speech protected under the First Amendment, and allowing him to proceed with his original prayer.

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