This Decision Does Not Protect Women

Yesterday The National Review posted an article about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Louisiana’s law regarding doctors at abortion clinics. The law in question required doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Because women can die from legal abortions, hospital admitting privileges are important. The Supreme Court struck down this requirement, putting the lives of women at risk. Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote on the issue, disappointing many Americans who expected him to be a conservative voice on the Court.

The article reports:

The conservative legal establishment has long been particularly enamored of this ideal: the umpire calmly calling balls and strikes. It is a very important virtue. But it is not the first virtue. An umpire who can be cowed by the crowd will not call the same strike zone for both teams. Without courage, good ideas about the law are just empty words on a page. Without courage, even the clearest-written rights are empty promises, the plainest limitations on power are easily overwhelmed, and the entire project of rule by written law becomes just another hollow formality.

Two of today’s Supreme Court decisions, on abortion and separation of powers, are further evidence of this. Chief Justice John Roberts has yet again shown the absence of courage that has so often undermined his Court. Roberts’s repeated demonstrations of lack of courage are rapidly becoming a threat to the Court itself, and to the conservative legal project.

First up, we have June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo, which by a 5–4 vote struck down a Louisiana abortion-clinic regulation challenged by the clinics. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch would have upheld the Louisiana law, but Chief Justice Roberts sided with the Court’s four liberals, claiming that his hands were tied by precedent.

In the 2016 case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court ruled 5–3 against a Texas abortion law that required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. States routinely impose such requirements on the practice of medicine, especially invasive or surgical procedures. As Justice Gorsuch observed, the Louisiana law “tracks longstanding state laws governing physicians who perform relatively low-risk procedures like colonoscopies, Lasik eye surgeries, and steroid injections at ambulatory surgical centers.” The Court in both Whole Woman’s Health and June Medical ruled that “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right” to an abortion. Yet what the Court defines as an “unnecessary” requirement would be uncontroversially legal for any other medical procedure under the sun, and the “constitutional right” itself is, of course, nowhere even vaguely mentioned in the actual Constitution.

Chief Justice Roberts has been a disappointment almost from the beginning. His ruling on Obamacare was questionable at best. Please follow the link to the article to read further details regarding the contradictions between the decision on the Louisiana law and the previous opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts

Destroying The Basis Of Past Unity

America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our original laws were based on the Ten Commandments as listed in the Bible. In colonial America, children were taught to read using the Bible. The Bible was the common thread that united us. We were Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, but we all believed in the Bible. Religious freedom was  a major right of all Americans. Now that common thread is becoming frayed, and there are those who want to eliminate it altogether.

Just the News posted an article yesterday titled, “Democrat congressman calls religious liberty a ‘pretext for discrimination.’”

The article reports:

Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney described religious liberty as a “bogus term” and a “pretext for discrimination.”

The New York congressman made the comments Monday on MSNBC while reacting to a Supreme Court ruling banning discrimination against gay and transgender people.

“And we know that Neil Gorsuch is a supporter of so-called religious liberty, which is a bogus term,” Maloney said, describing it as a “pretext for discrimination hiding behind the guise of religion.”

The article concludes:

During his interview Maloney also said that America would benefit if there were high schoolers in the nation’s legislature.

“If we had more high school kids in Congress we’d be a better country,” he said, adding that young Americans are leading progressive movements.

I’m saddened to think this Representative thinks that religious liberty is a bogus term. It’s one of the things the Founding Fathers fought for. Does he think freedom of speech is also a bogus term? As for high school kids in Congress, the reason many of them are progressives is that they have not yet encountered the real world. Many high school progressives abruptly become conservatives when they see the amount of money the government takes out of their paycheck.

Some Thoughts On Our Religious Liberty

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review about a recent Supreme Court decision. The title of the article is, “It wasn’t just religious liberty that Chief Justice Roberts strangled.” The article is detailed and complex, so I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. However, there are a few things I want to point out that I think are very significant.

The article notes:

Most startling was that Chief Justice John Roberts not only joined the court’s four left-leaning justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) in declining to uphold religious liberty. Roberts also wrote a brief opinion explaining his decision. 

That opinion is an eye-opener. Roberts accords the right to worship no deference by virtue of its being a fundamental liberty expressly protected by the First Amendment. We are to see it as an activity like any other activity, commercial or social, the pros and cons of which technocrats must weigh in fashioning regulations. The opinion, moreover, champions the power of government officials to dictate to the people who elect them without “second-guessing by an unelected federal judiciary” — exactly the power that the Bill of Rights, and the incorporation jurisprudence by which the court has applied much of it to the states, are meant to deny.

The article also points out:

In rejecting the religious liberty claim, Roberts counters that it is not a matter of unlawful discrimination if different things are regulated in different ways. Religious gatherings, he rationalized, are being restricted like gatherings that are physically similar, such as lectures, concerts, theater productions and spectator sports. He conceded that less intense restrictions have been imposed on other activities, such as shopping, banking and laundering. But that, he insists, is because of salient differences in the way they are conducted: small groups, no extended proximity, and so on.

But wait a second. What about the constitutional pedigree of religious exercise? That was the point pressed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a brief dissent joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. (Justice Samuel Alito also opposed the denial of First Amendment relief but did not join Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion.)

The article concludes:

There is no recognition, in Roberts’ rendering, that there is another side to this equation — a side where 400 times the number of people who’ve died have lost their jobs, millions of them facing ruin. The stubborn message: Don’t expect the court to help you, you’re the ones who elected these people; if you don’t like what they do, un-elect them. If you’ve elected social engineers who say the Bill of Rights is above their pay grade, that’s your problem.

The justices are happy to order that abortion must be available, to decide which couples (or perhaps throuples) must be permitted to marry, and to dictate what’s ever next in the ceaseless march of progressive, organic “liberty.” But as for the liberties that are actually in the Constitution, we are on our own.

Unfortunately Justice Roberts has been something of a disappointment to those of us who expected him to be a responsible judge who would uphold the Constitution. He has wandered away from the constitutional role of the judiciary more than once.

So What Did He Do?

Yesterday Chicks on the Right posted an article listing the top twenty-five accomplishments of President Trump.

Here is the list:

  1. Passage of the tax reform bill providing $5.5 billion in cuts and repealing the Obamacare mandate.
  2. Increase of the GDP above 3 percent
  3. A rebound in economic confidence to a 17-year high.
  4. Prioritizing women-owned businesses for some $500 million in SBA loans
  5. Signed an Executive Order demanding that two regulations be killed for every new one creates. He beat that big and cut 16 rules and regulations for every one created, saving $8.1 billion.
  6. Withdrew from the Obama-era Paris Climate Agreement, ending the threat of environmental regulations.
  7. Eliminated an Obama rule on streams that Trump felt unfairly targeted the coal industry.
  8. Made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  9. Worked to bring companies back to the U.S., and companies like Toyota, Mazda, Broadcom Limited, and Foxconn announced plans to open U.S. plants.
  10. Ended Obama’s deal with Cuba.
  11. Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
  12. Ended the Obama-era “catch and release” of illegal immigrants.
  13. Boosted the arrests of illegals inside the U.S.
  14. Started the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.
  15. Removed 36 percent more criminal gang members than in fiscal 2016.
  16. Trump has nominated 73 federal judges and won his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
  17. First, the president declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency on opioids.
  18. In his first week, Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy that blocks some $9 billion in foreign aid being used for abortions.
  19. Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program.
  20. Directed the rebuilding of the military and ordered a new national strategy and nuclear posture review.
  21. Imposed a travel ban on nations that lack border and anti-terrorism security.
  22. Saw ISIS lose virtually all of its territory.
  23. Pushed for strong action against global outlaw North Korea and its development of nuclear weapons.
  24. Ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase used in a chemical weapons attack.
  25. Made good on a campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

That’s a pretty good year for someone who has had to fight the Democrats, the establishment Republicans and the mainstream media.

 

The History Of The Judicial Filibuster

The following is taken from a transcript of the Rush Limbaugh Show:

All that is happening today is that the Senate is being returned to the rules that lasted for 100 years prior to 2003.

The judicial filibuster was invented by the Democrats in 2003. The point is there was no filibuster anywhere… It’s not even mentioned in the Constitution. It’s a Senate rule. The Senate can make whatever rules it wants. The Democrats… I just listened to Dick Durbin. (paraphrased) They’re talking about decades and centuries of Senate tradition being wiped aside by these evil Republicans! The Republicans didn’t do anything but stand aside while the Democrats changed the rules. So all that’s happening is that Democrat rules that created filibustering judicial nominees are now being removed.

That’s all that’s happening. The Senate is being returned to normal. That’s all that’s happening. There is no great earthquake happening here. The Senate is not being forever undermined and changed. But that’s the media’s story, and so the Democrats are going along with it. The media’s devising all this strategy, and they’re showing by virtue of controlling the news how the Democrats should act and what the Democrats should say.

…The Senate has just affirmed the nuclear option on the Gorsuch confirmation. To prove the point that prior to 2003 judicial filibusters didn’t exist, look at Clarence Thomas! Clarence Thomas — after all of that crap that was his confirmation hearings — was confirmed to the court with fewer than 60 votes. So was Samuel Alito, and there have been others.

But in the modern era, those are two prominent justices confirmed with fewer than 60 votes. The filibuster didn’t exist. The Democrats invented the judicial filibuster in 2003 to stop the nominees to lower courts of George W. Bush. Harry Reid pulled it again in 2013 to include all presidential judicial nominations except those nominated for the Supreme Court. What McConnell has done today is not alter the Constitution.

McConnell and the Republicans have not nuclearized the Constitution. They have not actually triggered a nuclear option. That’s just words. All that’s happened here is that Mitch McConnell has returned to the Senate its rules that existed prior to the Democrats changing them in 2003. And, by the way, the Senate can make whatever rules it wants. And if a majority votes on the rules change, then it’s changed. The Constitution does not say anything about filibusters, because the filibuster was not actually invented until long after the country was founded and began operating.

So what is this actually about? This whole exercise was nothing more than a political game of chicken. I am still not convinced that the Democrats thought the Republicans would use the nuclear option. There will be Senate and House seats up for grabs in 2018. The recent track record of the Democrats in Senate and House elections is abysmal. It is hoped that all this fuss about the nuclear option (and forcing the Republicans to use it) will energize the Democratic voter base. It has nothing to do with the qualifications of Judge Gorsuch (and it doesn’t even have anything to do with Judge Merrick Garland). Judge Garland is a good excuse for the Democrats to throw the temper tantrum they are currently throwing. It’s all about the next election. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Somehow Most Of The Media Has Avoided The History On This

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the confirmation process of Judge Gorsuch. The bottom line of the article is that it will take real talent for for Republican party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in this instance. The article reminds us that until the administration of the 43rd President of the United States, Supreme Court Justices were sworn in by a simple majority.

The article reports the following quote from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on both FOX News Sunday and Meet the Press yesterday:

“I can tell you that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends. How many of them are willing to oppose cloture, on a partisan basis, to kill a Supreme Court nominee? Never happened before in history, in the whole history of the country. In fact, filibustering judges at all is a rather recent phenomen[on] started by your next guest, Senator Schumer, after George Bush 43 got elected president. We didn’t used to do this. Clarence Thomas was confirmed 52-48, the most controversial Supreme Court nominee in history. And not a single Senator said he has to get 60 votes.”

Senator Harry Reid brought back the traditional concept of an up or down vote to confirm lower court judges. It will not be a big step to go back to the historical precedent of confirming Supreme Court judges the same way. The question is, “Do the Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to do what they need to do to put Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court?” This is nothing more than a political game of chicken. If the Democrats force the issue, the filibustering of Supreme Court judges will end. Because the Democrats are generally the party that uses this tactic, it will be their loss. There may be other vacancies on the Supreme Court in the next three years, and the Democrats will have given up a tool to oppose those nominations. If the Democrats allow this nomination to go through, they will simply replace a conservative judge with a conservative judge. They will also keep their powder dry for the next fight which may involve replacing a more liberal judge. It’s their choice.

Just as a point to remember–for those who are still screaming because Merrick Garland never got a hearing, remember that the Biden rule was called into effect during the last two years of the Bush Administration. The Republicans simply made the Democrats follow the rule that Joe Biden had stated! They simply enforced the same rule for both political parties.

I’m Not Sure What The Underlying Strategy Is On This

John Hinderaker at Power Line is reporting this morning that the Democrats plan to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

The article reports:

It seems odd, too, that Schumer didn’t even wait until the hearing on Gursuch’s nomination has been concluded to announce the Democrats’ filibuster. This would appear to support the view that the decision is political and has little to do with the merits of Gorsuch’s nomination.

I don’t know how to explain Schumer’s announcement, except as evidence that 1) Senate Democrats perceive that they need to cater to the party’s hysterical base, and 2) they are convinced that the filibuster, as to Supreme Court nominees, is dead in any event.

This is an awkward decision–Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate on July 20, 2006. In September 2016. He was respected by members of both parties. He has done nothing in his career since his 2006 confirmation that warrants any changed votes. It is unfortunate that the choosing of a Supreme Court Justice is now a political exercise rather than a judgement on qualifications. I would like to point out that the Republicans gave Democratic presidents most of their nominees (with the exception of following the Biden Rule, which the Democrats have now chosen to ignore). An elected President should be able to put his nominees on the Supreme Court. In this case, because President Trump released a list of potential nominees during the election campaign, the people who voted for him obviously approved on the list. The filibuster may please the base of the Democratic Party, but I suspect it will make moderate Democrats (if there are any left) very unhappy.

If You Repeat A Lie Often Enough, It Becomes The Truth

The above quote is attributed to Vladimir Lenin. It has been used successfully by the political left for a very long time. The Wall Street Journal posted a story on Wednesday illustrating how the political left is repeating a lie in order to gain advantage in the efforts to confirm a Supreme Court Judge.

The article reports:

…But Democrats are still itching for a fight, and their first line of offense is the myth of the “stolen” seat.

“This is a seat that was stolen from the former President, Obama, that’s never been done in U.S. history before,” declared Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley in announcing that he will attempt to filibuster Judge Gorsuch. “To let this become normal just invites a complete partisan polarization of the Court from here to eternity.” The “stolen” line is echoing across Progressive Nation, but it’s a complete political invention.

The “theft” is supposedly the GOP Senate’s refusal last year to vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat. But the standard of not confirming a Supreme Court nominee in the final year of a Presidency was set by . . . Democrats. And by no less a Beltway monument than the current Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer.

 

“We should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, except in extraordinary circumstances,” Mr. Schumer declared in a July 2007 speech to the American Constitution Society. Democrats then held the Senate and Mr. Schumer was putting down a marker if someone on the High Court retired. George W. Bush didn’t get another opening, but Mr. Schumer surely meant what he said.

Ah, but that was then and this is now. We had a Republican President then. Last year we had a Democratic President.

The article continues:

The Democratic theft standard goes back further to Joe Biden’s days as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In June 1992 in President George H.W. Bush’s final year, Robber Joe opined that the President “should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.”

Naming a new Justice, he said, would ensure that a confirmation “process that is already in doubt in the minds of many will become distrusted by all.” If Mr. Bush made an election-year nomination, Mr. Biden said his committee should consider “not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”

Does anyone outside the MSNBC audience think that had the roles been reversed in 2016, and a Democratic Senate faced a Republican Court nominee, Harry Reid would have held a confirmation vote? As John McEnroe liked to shout, “You can’t be serious!”

It must be frustrating to the Democrats (and at times to the Republicans) than anyone can google a subject and find out what politicians have said in the past. What we need now is an honest mainstream media that will report previous statements.