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The Sweet Smell of Chick-fil-A

Bryce X. Rhodes 7 August 2012 3 Comments

“The cat’s in a bag and the bag’s in a river.”
Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) in the motion picture “The Sweet Smell of Success”

The unctuous and reptilian Rahm Emanuel has always reminded me of the sinister and malevolent schemer played Tony Curtis in film noir classic “The Sweet Smell of Success.” Both men specialize in backstabbing their opponents utilizing character assassination techniques such as distortion and scandal mongering. Having easy access to media figures willing to reprint the defamatory insinuations as news makes it all so simple.


If you accept for a split second that there is an iota of truth to the reported series of “disappointments” that caused US Representative Jesse Jackson (D-2nd) to disappear from the public eye in order to undergo treatment for undisclosed disorders at a private sanitarium, apart from potential worries over being prosecuted for political corruption, there may be something in his mother’s public statements. Junior once imagined himself as being a mayoral contender. At least, he did until reports began circulating about his association with a blonde “social acquaintance” from the District of Columbia. After that revelation was made public, Jackson dropped out and Chicago’s black political community could not coalesce around a solid mayoral candidate. Rahm Emanuel had no difficulty in putting away the discredited and penniless Carol Moseley Braun, who had not been viable for over a decade.

It was refreshing, for a change, to see the too slick by half Emanuel stick his foot in it last week when he tried to pile on during the manufactured controversy about issuing licenses and building permits to construct a Chik-fil-A fast food restaurant in Logan Square. Emanuel jumped into the controversy after Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (1st) had publicly announced his opposition to the opening of such a restaurant in his ward. Refreshingly, in the aftermath, many voices have been raised criticizing Emanuel and Moreno for violating the First Amendment.

The gentrification taking place in portions of Logan Square, which includes attractive boulevards, brownstone and granite buildings and prompt access to public transportation and some of the city’s largest parks, has been fueled, in part, by bohemians and artistic hipsters reveling in the cultural diversity of the neighborhood. This eclectic mix also includes some gay activists and this in turn may have prompted the alderman to denounce the restaurant chain. More likely than not, however, Moreno, who was appointed to serve as alderman by Emanuel, was tasked with the job of criticizing Chik-fil-A.
No one has been able to convincingly advance the idea that the restaurant chain actually discriminates against gay customers or employees at its various retail stores. The real issue is that Chik-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, is publicly committed to defending traditional marriage with his personal charitable and political contributions. The First Amendment be damned: the Chicago Democratic Machine now functions like the ruling class pigs in Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Some animals are more equal than others. Ditto for forms of free speech and religious liberty.

The mayor, who seems to be on a lengthy leave of absence while completing a special assignment as an Obama campaign surrogate, is showing his partisan colors again. A few months ago, Emanuel was vocally opposed to the plans of the Ricketts family to utilize a public/private partnership to refurbish Wrigley Field after ninety-eight seasons. It was not a matter of Emanuel being opposed to revitalizing the ballpark, which has been a vital economic engine to the Lakeview neighborhood. Wrigley Field, which generates considerable revenues from tourism, is unique not only account of its age, but as the only major league stadium that has not benefited from Chicago taxpayer dollars to date. Emanuel’s opposition was more a matter of his attempting to stop an out of state member of the Ricketts family from contributing funds to a political action committee opposed to President Obama’s reelection.

Curiously, Emanuel has not berated another Ricketts relation who supports both the Lambda Legal Organization, a public interest law firm committed to gay issues, and the plan to remodel and improve Wrigley Field. Significantly, Lambda Legal is a participant in the controversial litigation described below.

In May, twenty-five homosexual couples entered the offices of the Cook County Clerk and demanded marriage licenses be issued to them.
Not all of the applicants, who were refused licenses in conformity to Illinois law, were even Cook County or Illinois residents. This was a choreographed publicity stunt, pure and simple. It was also the opening salvo in a campaign to upend the statutes prohibiting same sex marriages in Illinois and, perhaps, to challenge similar marriage licensing statutes throughout the nation.

On May 30, 2012, two separate lawsuits were filed against Orr in the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court. Orr, who has the duty of issuing licenses in compliance with Illinois law, praised the plaintiffs who had filed the lawsuits against him. Anita Alvarez, the Cook County State’s Attorney, who is obligated to defend the County Clerk, declared the law to be unconstitutional and essentially agreed with the plaintiffs in court filings. Lisa Madigan, the Illinois Attorney General, quickly followed suit. Madigan, who is supposed to represent the Governor and the General Assembly, balked at vigorously defending the statutes in question. Madigan actually asked to intervene in support of the plaintiffs.

A public interest law firm, the Thomas More Society, had to seek leave to intervene in the litigation on behalf of two Downstate County Clerks for the purpose of defending the existing law. What makes this consolidated lawsuit so peculiar is its timing. The Illinois General Assembly approved one of the statutes in question nearly two decades ago. It was subsequently signed into law by the Governor Jim Edgar without being subjected to any serious constitutional challenges to date.

What has also been overlooked by most commentators is the distinct possibility of “judge shopping” by the plaintiffs. Not one, but two virtually identical cases challenging the constitutionality of the statute were filed by two separate law firms. Interestingly enough, the two complaints (Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr) were filed almost simultaneously. Both cases wound up being numbered consecutively by the court clerk.

Does anyone suspect that there may have been some cooperation or collusion as to the time and the date of the initial court filings?

It does seem to be a stretch to think that the circumstances surrounding the consecutive case numbers being assigned were purely coincidental.

Given the myriad abuses which were commonplace in the Cook County in the bad old days when an ex parte basis fix was only a telephone call away — that’s all it took to see that an interesting case could be assigned to a wired judge who was a player or a faithful party loyalist — a system of random selection was created to allow computers to choose the initial judge assigned to a given case.

By filing two cases on the exact same subject, the creative legal eagles doubled their chances of finding a friendly judge to preside over the case. Once the preliminaries were concluded, the requisite motion to consolidate the two cases was filed. The purpose of such a motion is to promote judicial efficiency and economy. There is simply no need for two judges to being trying identical cases concerning the same issues when all of the matters could be combined and properly decided by a single judge.

Motions to consolidate are typically referred back to the presiding judge of a division to be reassigned. In this instance, Judge Moshe Jacobius, heard the motion and ruled that the cases should be consolidated and be heard by Judge Sophia H. Hall. Obviously, this was not a random computer driven assignment. It was a deliberate decision.

There is a method behind this madness or process of manipulation. The liberal devotees of the Capitol Fax Blog pitched a fit when a law professor, Rena Lindevaldsen, from the Liberty University College of Law in Lynchburg, Virginia, spoiled their fun and attempted to let the cat out of the bag. How dare an out of state resident interfere in the internal politics of Illinois (unless, of course, the out of state residents were gay activists applying for marriage licenses in order to file lawsuits challenging Illinois laws)!?

Professor Lindevaldsen stated the obvious when she opined that Judge Hall ought to recuse herself from the case on account of her openly lesbian lifestyle. Judges should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Conduct a brief Internet search engine inquiry and you will learn that Hall is not merely a judge who happens to be out and openly gay, but may in fact be more aptly described as a gay activist who also happens to be a judge.

The furor that accompanied the decision of US District Judge Vaughn R. Walker to invalidate a voter initiated amendment to the California constitution which prohibited same sex marriages seems certain to be repeated in Illinois. Recall the fact that following his retirement from the bench a few months later, Walker publicly acknowledged that he was gay and engaged in a decade long same sex relationship. Walker did not recuse himself from the case nor did he make these facts known until months after he ruled the state constitutional amendment unconstitutional and invalid.

In a press release, David Orr lauded the handful of states that have authorized same sex marriages. One of the states which did so, following the issuance of a judicial opinion, was Iowa. Orr’s press release omitted one salient fact. On November 3, 2010, something incredible happened across the Mississippi: Iowa voters participating in a judicial retention election removed not one, but three Supreme Court Justices. No member of the Iowa Supreme Court had been denied retention since 1962. The four members of the court to survive the purge were those fortunate enough not to be on the retention ballot in 2010, otherwise it might have been a clean sweep. Iowa follows the Missouri plan of judicial merit selection and judges seeking retention need only secure more than fifty percent of votes cast in order to be retained.

Homosexual activists constantly trumpet the fact that momentum and public opinion are on their side, especially since Barack Obama has switched his position on the issue for the third or fourth time. Poised for possible electoral defeat, Obama came out of the closet on same sex marriage in order to rally his demoralized leftist base and pick up some contribution checks. The activists conveniently ignore the fact that in thirty-one of thirty-one referendum elections held across the USA, including one held in liberal California, the voting public has rejected same sex marriage as a civil rights issue.

Illinois has exceedingly restrictive laws on submitting questions of public policy to the voters. The Illinois political elites are never going to permit a referendum vote to be held on this question since they realize that traditional marriage forces may prevail and that would anger the gay activist wing of their crazy quilt political coalition. So maybe the cat’s in the bag and the bag’s in the river after all.

Well, Chik-fil-A sandwiches are still delicious.


Bryce X. Rhodes is no relation to Dusty Rhodes of the 1954 World Champion New York Giants nor does he hold a lifetime pass to the Polo Grounds.
image 21 restaurant, setting for 1957’s “Sweet Smell of Success”


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