Exclusive — Jindal On ACLU Lawsuit Against His Religious Liberty Protections: ‘Their Hypocrisy Is Absolutely Stunning’

AP Photo/Nati Harnik
AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, tells Breitbart News exclusively that he’s appalled by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) decision to turn against defending civil liberties.

“Their hypocrisy is absolutely stunning,” Jindal said when asked about how the ACLU’s website, and their legal argument history, is filled with defenses of religious liberty.

You look on their website, on their website, there is information where they have previously supported the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in court and statements where they say that religion in the public square is fundamentally protected and religious liberty is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the First Amendment and it’s not just a right to believe but a right to express those beliefs. Again, it is a fundamental right yet here they are trying to sue us trying to stop us from protecting religious freedom rights for individuals and businesses in Louisiana. The hypocrisy is stunning. We are simply saying a state should not discriminate against businesses and individuals who have a sincerely held religious belief defining marriage between a man and a woman.

Jindal’s interview with Breitbart News came just hours after the ACLU announced it would be suing Jindal over an executive order he issued in the state of Louisiana aimed at protecting religious freedom.

The executive order, as Breitbart News reported, tried to protect those officials with religious liberty objections from being forced to comply with the Supreme Court ruling that gay marriage is legal nationwide. It’s similar to actions that have been taken on a bipartisan basis, for example by Mississippi’s Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood and Texas’ Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton.

According to the New Orleans Times Picayune, what Governor Jindal’s office’s executive order does in addition to federal and state law is “protect clerks and state employees who have moral objections to gay marriage and don’t feel comfortable handing out licenses to same-sex couples.”

So in response to this action from Jindal, the ACLU came out and planned to sue Jindal.

“Governor Jindal has violated the Louisiana Constitution by setting up special protections for those who share his belief system,” Louisiana ACLU branch executive director Marjorie Esman said. “In our country no one is above the law, including the Governor. He swore to uphold the laws of Louisiana. This lawsuit seeks to hold him to that oath.”

Jindal isn’t backing down, although some in the Republican Party have.

“You’ve seen other states threaten businesses with thousands of dollars in fines or force them to choose between closing if they want to follow their religious beliefs,” Jindal told Breitbart News.

That is absolutely ridiculous. In America, we understand that America didn’t create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States. This isn’t new. Remember Hillary Clinton a few weeks ago in response to a different contest said those of us who are pro-life need to have our religious beliefs changed. Our religious beliefs aren’t between us and Hillary Clinton. They’re between us and God, and we’re not changing them just because she doesn’t like them. The Supreme Court’s decision didn’t end the debate—it simply ignited a new debate and that is about the assault on our First Amendment and religious liberty rights. The left wants to silence us. We will not be silenced.

Since the ACLU’s lawsuit against Jindal’s executive order directly contradicts the public materials the group has put out before and the legal arguments the group has made in court, Jindal said it “absolutely” proves that this is purely political.

“They are for religious liberty except when it turns out there’s an evangelical Christian being persecuted,” Jindal said.

The reality is they were for these birth rights before it meant protecting Christians from gay marriage. This is absolutely political by the ACLU, by Hillary Clinton and by President Obama and look everybody knows—it’s obvious that—President Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s views on marriage evolved as the polls evolved. It’s the easiest thing for a politician to do: Evolve on this issue. Let me tell you a dirty little secret. There are a bunch of Republicans in D.C. who are glad the court ruled the way it did. The reality is they view this as a distraction, and they weren’t just happy with this ruling they were happy with the Obamacare ruling because they don’t want to do the hard work coming up with a replacement plan. Only in D.C. is losing called winning. Jeb Bush says we’ve got to be willing to lose the primary to win the general—all that means is they want us to try to make the left and the media like us. I’ve got a different idea: What if the Republican Party actually embraced our own principles? What if we actually fought to win? In this case and others? We need to actually stand up for religious liberty, we need to stand up for our First Amendment rights, and this is not a new struggle. Our Founding Fathers went through this too. That’s why they put it in the First Amendment to the Constitution. They came down on the side of God in the public square. They came down on the side of individuals being able to live our lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week according to our religious beliefs. I wish the ACLU, I wish President Obama, I wish Hillary Clinton better understood not only our history but the Constitution as well.

Jindal added, too, that the Supreme Court’s actions here over the past week plus prove that Republican voters in the 2016 primary need to select a nominee who will select judicial nominees who stand up for the nation’s core values.

“We need a president who will nominate Justices who actually read the Constitution like [Antonin] Scalia does, like [Samuel] Alito has more recently,” Jindal said.

We don’t need another [Chief Justice John] Roberts. He’s a great politician but isn’t actually following the Constitution. We need Justices who will actually follow the Constitution. It’s ironic that it seems to always be the Republican appointees who flip once they get to the Court. The Souters, the Kennedys, the Robertses more recently. I don’t recall in recent history a Democrat appointed Justice all of a sudden becoming surprisingly more conservative. Unfortunately some of these like Souter didn’t even start conservative and then become liberal: they were liberal throughout. I think we need a president who’s bold enough to nominate Justices who will actually read the Constitution, unafraid if they have records and history of ruling, but show that they can actually follow the Constitution. Too often, Republicans seem to shy away—we don’t want to nominate individuals with records. Then here’s the irony, when those individual Justices are nominated Democrats still won’t vote for them. President Obama did not vote to confirm Roberts even though he’s the man who saved his Obamacare law twice. Republican senators for whatever reason always seem to feel obligated to vote for bad Democrat nominees. We need our next president to be a conservative Republican who will be unafraid to nominate as Justices conservatives who actually read the Constitution and then challenge the Senate to confirm these qualified individuals.

While Jindal is—along with a handful of other 2016 GOP presidential candidates like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and others—standing firm for religious liberty protections in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling last week, others like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have caved to the ruling. Neither Bush nor Rubio would back a Constitutional marriage amendment and both implied in their response statements that the fight is over.

When asked to respond to Bush’s and Rubio’s statements, Jindal said his “job as a candidate is not to explain other candidates’ remarks.”

“My job is to beat these other candidates,” Jindal said.

We’re here to win this election. My belief is that it isn’t over. Unfortunately the left tries to continue to move in more and take away our religious liberties and rights. We’re standing up for religious liberty in Louisiana and I continue to support efforts at the federal level to restore our 10th Amendment rights. They never should have been able to trump the decision that voters of Louisiana made to define marriage as between a man and a woman. I continue to support federal efforts to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Other candidates can explain their stances—my job is not to explain theirs, my job is to beat them.


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