Let’s Keep Voting Until We Get It Right

There have been some strange lower court decisions regarding North Carolina in recent years. A voter ID law, passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor was overturned, while similar laws in other states were allowed to stand. Then the states voting districts were challenged, after they had been redrawn at the request of the courts. It makes your head spin. Today the Supreme Court of the United States weighed in on the redistricting matter.

The Carolina Journal reports today:

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s ruling striking down 28 North Carolina legislative districts as cases of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. But the high court has rejected the idea of holding special legislative elections this year.

The Supreme Court had issued a stay on Jan. 10 blocking a three-judge panel’s order of a special election. Today’s unsigned Supreme Court order chides the trial-court panel for ordering a special 2017 legislative election without making a convincing argument why that remedy is needed.

Justices say their trial-court colleagues should have used an “equitable weighing process” to determine the proper remedy for dealing with the racially gerrymandered election maps. “Rather than undertaking such an analysis in this case, the District Court addressed the balance of equities in only the most cursory fashion,” the Supreme Court order states. “As noted above, the court simply announced that ‘[w]hile special elections have costs,’ those unspecified costs ‘pale in comparison’ to the prospect that citizens will be ‘represented by legislators elected pursuant to a racial gerrymander.’

“That minimal reasoning would appear to justify a special election in every racial-gerrymandering case — a result clearly at odds with our demand for careful case-specific analysis,” the order continues. “For that reason, we cannot have confidence that the court adequately grappled with the interests on both sides of the remedial question before us.”

“And because the District Court’s discretion ‘was barely exercised here,’ its order provides no meaningful basis for even deferential review,” according to the Supreme Court.

North Carolina will be forced to redraw the districts until everyone is happy with them, but I am thankful that we don’t have to have another election this year. That would have been very expensive for the state and totally unnecessary.

We need national voter ID. I realize that individual states are in charge of their elections, as it should be, but there needs to be a requirement that voters identify themselves as eligible voters before they vote. Almost all free countries have some form of voter identification, and America needs to join them.

 

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.

Better Late Than Never

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon reported on a Supreme Court ruling that happened on Tuesday.

The article reports:

The court ruled Tuesday that Obama appointee Lafe Solomon illegally served as acting general counsel to the National Labor Relations Board from 2010 to 2013. Solomon, who once violated the agency’s ethics rules, should have vacated the position in accordance with the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA) after the Senate refused to take up his nomination to serve as permanent general counsel in 2011, the court found in a 6-2 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts. The appointment was an “end-run around” the Constitution.

“We cannot cast aside the separation of powers and the Appointments Clause‘s important check on executive power for the sake of administrative convenience or efficiency,” the majority ruled.

The case came to the court after the NLRB filed unfair labor practice charges against an Arizona-based ambulance service, Southwest General, following union complaints.

David Phippen, a management-side labor attorney at the firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, said the decision clarifies the meaning of the FVRA.

“The case is a reminder that the language of the FVRA statute means what it says and must be followed, not ignored by Presidents, as appeared to be the case here,” Phippen said in an email. “The decision … appears to make it somewhat more difficult for Presidents to put ‘her or his people’ into important agency positions unilaterally, i.e.,  without approval of the Senate.”

The article notes that Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were the only Justices who dissented from the majority vote.

On another note, the media spin on this story is very interesting. While The Washington Free Beacon focused on the case and the fact that the actions of President Obama were unconstitutional, Yahoo News posted the following headline about the story:

Supreme Court restricts Donald Trump’s power to fill temporary government posts

This case had nothing to do with Donald Trump, although it will prevent him from ignoring the Constitution, as President Obama did.

The Politicization Of The Supreme Court

In 1987, Judge Robert Bork was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Bork was a man of character who had a sterling record as a judge. Bork served as a Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was, however, a judge who believed in the Constitution as it was written–a problem for the Democrats. The attack on Judge Bork was without merit and brutal.

Senator Ted Kennedy, not a man of character, stated:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy … President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.

None of this was true, but the mainstream media loved it. We can expect the same kind of inappropriate behavior by the Democrats in dealing with the nomination of Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Breitbart posted an article today about the comments by Senator Ted Cruz on the nomination.

Senator Cruz stated:

“A decade ago, Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by this committee for the Federal Court of Appeals by a voice vote,” Cruz said. “He was likewise confirmed by the entire United States Senate by a voice vote without a single Democrat speaking a word of opposition.

“Not a word of opposition from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer,” Cruz said. “Not from Harry Reid, or Ted Kennedy, or John Kerry.”

“Not from Senators Feinstein, Leahey, or Durbin, who still sit on this committee,” Cruz said. “Not even from Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden.”

“Not a one of them spoke a word against Judge Gorsuch’s nomination a decade ago,” Cruz said.

Senator Cruz also pointed out that candidate Donald Trump put out a list of the people he would nominate for the Supreme Court. That list was part of the election process, and the American people were able to consider that list when voting.

The article also reminds us:

Notwithstanding its leftist political leanings, the American Bar Association (ABA) earlier this month gave Gorsuch a “well qualified” rating to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ABA has three ratings for judicial nominees: not qualified, qualified, and well qualified. The ABA’s standing committee on the federal judiciary was unanimous in granting Gorsuch its highest rating.

Judge Gorsuch needs to be confirmed quickly. He is well qualified. His becoming a member of the Supreme Court will not impact the balance of the Court, although that should really not be a part of the deliberation.

Some Random Comments On President Trump’s Budget Proposal

The first thing to keep in mind when viewing this budget is that President Trump made his money by negotiating real estate deals. He is a negotiator. I seriously doubt that his proposed budget will pass exactly as proposed. I suspect there is some wiggle room built into his budget. That being said, however, the budget moves in the direction of cutting spending, an anathema to lobbyists and professional politicians in Washington, but a necessary strategy to protect the financial futures of our children and grandchildren.

The Heritage Foundation has a number of articles analyzing the budget proposal. I chose the article posted yesterday for highlights.

Here are a few comments on President Trump’s proposed budget from The Heritage Foundation:

The new budget proposal put a high priority on national defense. While the FY18 defense boost would be fully paid for with cuts to nondefense programs, the proposal would raise the FY17 Budget Control Act caps by $10 billion. Boccia (Romina Boccia, Deputy Director, Thomas A. Roe Institute) suggests that the president “should set a precedent this year that budgeting is about prioritizing which means fully offsetting any new spending.”

All-in-all she says, “the proposed cuts to non-defense programs, together with executive actions to streamline federal agencies and cut waste, signal that this administration is serious about cutting the bloated Washington bureaucracy down to size. Congress should work with the administration to bring greater accountability to government and to eliminate federal programs that intervene in areas that are rightfully the domain of the private sector or state and local government.”

Two other experts comment on the State Department cuts:

Brett Schaefer (Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs) and James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation’s Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, E. W. Richardson Fellow, and Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies) weigh in on the budget cuts to the State Department, saying, “the cuts to the State Department budget proposed by the Trump administration largely represent a return to focusing taxpayer dollars on the business of true statecraft and away from funding global pet projects championed by the Obama administration.” 

Furthermore, they add “the State Department budget grew roughly 30 percent under President Obama, yet the jump in spending has failed to make the world safer for the United States or our allies. North Korea continues to threaten Japan and South Korea, Iran – further emboldened by a misguided nuclear deal – is destabilizing the Middle East, and Russia continues to exert itself over eastern Europe largely unchecked. The administration is right to refocus on supporting statecraft that will advance American interests and benefit our allies.” and James Carafano weigh in on the budget cuts to the State Department, saying, “the cuts to the State Department budget proposed by the Trump administration largely represent a return to focusing taxpayer dollars on the business of true statecraft and away from funding global pet projects championed by the Obama administration.”

The article also examines the changes in education spending:

“For the first time in decades, the Trump administration is significantly trimming the budget at the U.S. Department of Education, demonstrating a commitment to restoring federalism in education,” according to Lindsey Burke, Director of the Center for Education Policy at Heritage.

Burkes argues, “the budget correctly zeroes out funding for various programs, such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Supporting Effective Instruction state grants program.” According to her, “ it is not appropriate for the federal government to fund high school counseling programs, after-school programs, teacher professional development and a myriad other programs it currently runs.”

The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It seems that we have forgotten the Tenth Amendment when we produce federal budgets. It is time to get back to the country our Founding Fathers designed. That includes an end to career politicians and an end to the bloated federal government.

Quietly Taking Away The Rights Of American Citizens

There was much discussion about the Second Amendment during the presidency of Barack Obama. President Obama was the most successful gun salesman of all time. That became obvious at local gun shows when sales dropped precipitously after November. However, President Obama left a legacy in the courts that may not protect the rights of gun owners.

A website called cheaperthandirt posted a story on January 29th about a decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The article reports:

The case, United States v. Robinson, has been a roller coaster of conflicting opinions ever since Mr. Robinson first moved to have the evidence in the case against him suppressed for violation of his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. The issue presented by the case is whether police officers, having reason to believe a person is in possession of a firearm, can legally treat the individual as dangerous, even if they have no reason to believe the possession is illegal and even if the person’s behavior is not overtly threatening.

On March 24, 2014, an anonymous tipster called the Ranson, W. Va. police department claiming to have seen an African-American male in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven load a handgun, conceal it in his pocket, and leave the lot as a passenger in bluish-green Toyota Camry driven by a white female.

Within minutes, a police officer responded to the location and observed a vehicle less than a mile away from the 7-Eleven matching the description provided by the caller. The officer observed that the occupants of the car were not wearing seatbelts, which allowed him to execute a lawful traffic stop under West Virginia law. Mindful of the anonymous tip, the officer ordered Robinson, who was in the passenger seat, out of the car.

Meanwhile, back-up had arrived. The second officer approached the car, opened the passenger side door, and asked Robinson if he had any weapons. He would later testify that Robinson’s only reply was to give him a “weird look.” The officers then had Robinson place his hands on top of the car and frisked him for weapons, finding a firearm in his pants pocket.

Both officers testified that Robinson was cooperative throughout the encounter and that they never observed any gestures indicating he intended to use any weapons against them.

After the frisk, one of the officers realized that he recognized Robinson from prior criminal proceedings. Confirming that Robinson had a felony record, the officer arrested him for felon in possession of a firearm. The case was then tried in federal court.

Under Supreme Court precedent from 1968 (Terry v. Ohio), police officers who believe a suspect they have detained for investigation but have not arrested can conduct a limited “pat down” of the suspect’s outer clothing when they have reasonable suspicion that the suspect is “armed and dangerous.” This was the basis for the search the officers used to find the incriminating firearm in Robinson’s pocket.

But Robinson claimed that the officers had no reason to believe that he posed any danger to them and therefore that they had no legal authority to frisk him. He noted that people may lawfully carry firearms in West Virginia, that the police had no information at the time of the frisk that his carrying was unlawful, and that he did not act aggressively or uncooperatively toward the officers.

The article goes on to explain that when the case was originally heard by a magistrate judge, the judge agreed with Mr. Robinson and asked that the evidence of the firearm be disallowed. The district court judge rejected the recommendation. Mr. Robinson then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The article reports the majority opinion from the three-judge panel:

Judge Pamela Harris’s majority opinion stated:

[I]n states like West Virginia, which broadly allow public possession of firearms, reasonable suspicion that a person is armed does not by itself give rise to reasonable suspicion that the person is dangerous for Terry purposes. Where the state legislature has decided that its citizens may be entrusted to carry firearms on public streets, we may not make the contrary assumption that those firearms inherently pose a danger justifying their seizure by law enforcement officers without consent. … Nor will we adopt a rule that would effectively eliminate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed persons … authorizing a personally intrusive frisk whenever a citizen stopped by the police is exercising the constitutional right to bear arms. [Quotation marks and citations omitted].

President Obama’s Justice Department then asked the entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the decision. The decision was then reversed.

The article further explains:

The majority insisted that the “armed and dangerous” language in Terry really meant “armed and therefore dangerous” (emphasis in original). In other words, “the risk of danger is created simply because the person, who was forcibly stopped, is armed.”

The court also asserted the same “logic” applies, even if possession of the weapon is legal. “The presumptive lawfulness of an individual’s gun possession in a particular State does next to nothing to negate the reasonable concern an officer has for his own safety when forcing an encounter with an individual who is armed with a gun and whose propensities are unknown,” the majority opinion concludes.

Thus, because Robinson was lawfully stopped, and the police officers had reasonable suspicion to believe he was armed, “the officers were, as a matter of law, justified in frisking him and, in doing so, did not violate Robinson’s Fourth Amendment right.”

Incredibly, though the court resolved the case on the broadest constitutional proposition possible, the majority opinion then went on to describe all the circumstances known to the officers that would have allowed them to make an individual “dangerousness” determination under the facts of the case. Thus, the majority essentially admitted that the patently anti-gun holding of the case–that all persons armed with a gun are a per se lethal threat to police officers–wasn’t even necessary to its resolution.

If the majority opinion were not bad enough, Judge James A. Wynn wrote an incendiary concurrence berating the majority for focusing broadly on “weapons” rather than on firearms specifically. Wynn’s opinion argued that the majority’s reasoning also necessitated recognition of two other “key issues.” The first, Wynn wrote, is that “individuals who carry firearms—lawfully or unlawfully—pose a categorical risk of danger to others and police officers, in particular.” The second is that “individuals who choose to carry firearms [therefore] forego certain constitutional protections afforded to individuals who elect not to carry firearms.”

Judge Wynn went on to explain how he believes the law of the Fourth Circuit—which includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia—is now that lawful gun owners are second class citizens.

“[T]he majority decision today necessarily leads to the conclusion that individuals who elect to carry firearms forego other constitutional rights,” Wynn wrote, “like the Fourth Amendment right to have law enforcement officers ‘knock-and-announce’ before forcibly entering homes.” He continued, “Likewise, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that individuals who choose to carry firearms necessarily face greater restriction on their concurrent exercise of other constitutional rights, like those protected by the First Amendment.”

Mr. Robinson’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure was violated. I understand the feeling the police may have had that they wanted to prevent a crime, but the frisking of a passenger in a car that was stopped because people were not wearing seat belts is over the top. A man carrying a gun in West Virginia is not all that unusual. I hope Mr. Robinson takes his case to the Supreme Court. A person with a gun does not automatically need to give up his Fourth Amendment rights. Admittedly, the case is muddied by the fact that Mr. Robinson should not have had the gun, but that is a separate issue. The police had no reason to frisk a passenger in a car just because the passengers were not wearing seat belts.

 

 

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.

What Would Be The Result Of This Goal?

On September 13th, The Daily Signal posted an article about one of the goals of the current Democratic Party. This explains one of the reasons this coming election is so important.

The article reports:

Sen. Chuck Schumer has reminded us just how important the upcoming presidential election will be in shaping the federal judiciary, calling getting a progressive Supreme Court his “number one goal.”

So what would a progressive Supreme Court mean?

The article cites a few examples:

Schumer specifically criticized a 2013 decision involving a 5-4 decision about voting rights. In Shelby County v. Holder, the court held that Section 4 of the Voting Right Act, which set forth a 40-year-old coverage formula laying out which states needed to get preapproval from the federal government before making any changes in their voting laws, was unconstitutional.

The court explained that Congress “did not use the record it compiled to shape a coverage formula grounded in current conditions” and that the formula had “no logical relation to the present day.”

As Roll Call reported, Schumer “predicted that the Shelby County decision on voting rights would be overturned by a Supreme Court with the kind of progressive justices he would prioritize confirming as majority leader.”

A progressive Supreme Court would, therefore, be willing to infringe on states’ rights.

The article further reports:

The high court has been closely divided on a number of contentious issues in recent years: the Second Amendment (Heller, McDonald), religious liberty (Hobby Lobby, Town of Greece), the First Amendment (Citizens United), racial preferences (Fisher I), and the death penalty (Glossip), among others. One vote made the difference in each of these cases, which most consider as victories for the conservative wing of the court.

Our basic liberties are at stake. Are we going to follow the Constitution or are we going to become a banana republic? Consider this when you vote.

Rewriting History For Future Generations

Last month the new Smithsonian Museum celebrating black history opened. Unfortunately, the political slant involved in the museum does not give an accurate picture of black history nor does it provide a picture that promotes any sort of healing of race relations in America.

The Daily Caller noted in an October 3 article that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is barely mentioned in the museum. However, Anita Hill, who accused him of sexual harassment is given a place of prominence.

The article reports:

“I am not surprised that Justice Thomas’ inspiring life story is not a part of the new museum,” Mark Paoletta, an assistant White House Counsel in the George H. W. Bush administration who worked on the Thomas confirmation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Civil rights leaders have tried for decades to malign Justice Thomas because he actually dares to have his own views on race issues. One prominent liberal Supreme Court practitioner has called Justice Thomas ‘our greatest Justice,’ but you would never know that listening to the civil rights leadership.”

The exclusion is especially odd given Thomas’ intimate experience with racial discrimination.

Thomas was born in Georgia’s coastal lowlands among impoverished Gullah-speakers. By his own account, he did not master the Queen’s English until his early 20s. He came of age in Jim Crow Savannah, where he was in turn ridiculed by white neighbors and classmates for his unpolished style, one of many indignities typical of his adolescence in the racist south. The startling racial injustices of his youth, by discipline and sheer force of will, gave way to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. and Yale Law School.

It is a shame that young visitors to the museum will not be able to read his inspiring story. It is also a shame that a women who had no evidence for her charges against Justice Thomas and who followed him from job to job a number of times ( why would she do that if she were being sexually harassed?) is given a place of prominence. As I have said before, “I thought only communist countries rewrote history.”

Voter Identification

I have listened to statements that voter identification laws are racist, that conservatives want to suppress the vote, and that there is no voter fraud in America. None of that is true. However, there are people who genuinely believe that the above is true, and that is a problem. Voter registration groups have not always been honest. There are numerous videos on YouTube by Project Veritas and others showing how easy it is to commit voter fraud. Recently I heard a man from an organization that is working to stop voter fraud talk about bus loads of people brought into North Carolina from other states to register to vote as if they were residents. During the voting, people claiming to be those people show up at the polls and vote. Remember, a fraudulent vote cast in any election means that a legal vote may not count. It is time to be on the alert for voter fraud and to prosecute it to the full extent of the law.

Now about the voter identification thing that is going on in North Carolina. In the primary election this year, a picture identification was required to vote in North Carolina. Voter turnout was actually higher than it had been in the last two primary elections. Voter identification does not in any way suppress the vote. I would also like to point out that in today’s world, a photo id is not something unusual. Admittedly, not everyone drives, but most people at some point in their lives have to cash a check, enter a federal building, or purchase certain drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. I have a basic prescription that the drug store asks for photo identification every time I fill. When I buy some allergy medications, I have to show photo identification. Voter identification is not a burdensome requirement–it is a requirement that ensures that every legal vote counts.

So where are we with the North Carolina law? The Daily Haymaker updated the story today.

The article reported:

Governor Pat McCrory has formally requested U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to stay a ruling by the Fourth Circuit and reinstate North Carolina’s Voter ID law.

“Today we have asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the Fourth Circuit’s ruling and reinstate North Carolina’s Voter ID law,” said Governor McCrory. “This common sense law was upheld by the U.S. District Court. Our Voter ID law has been cited as a model and other states are using similar laws without challenges.

“Allowing the Fourth Circuit’s ruling to stand creates confusion among voters and poll workers and it disregards our successful rollout of Voter ID in the 2016 primary elections. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling is just plain wrong and we cannot allow it to stand. We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold our state’s law and reverse the Fourth Circuit.”
 
A formal petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case will follow this request for a stay.

The article further reports:

This IS actually a great move on McCrory’s part.  IF Roberts grants a stay, voter ID can stay alive for the November voting.  An appeal of the 4th circuit’s ruling will be filed by the state with the high court. It likely won’t be heard until 2017.  (However, we may have governor Cooper and attorney general Stein to deal with by then.)  

If this all works the way McCrory hopes, it will mean a lot less chaos and confusion on Election Day –two “crops” the Alinskyites and BluePrinters have been sowing in the state for four years now.  

Stay tuned. Just a note–I am for the suppression of all illegal votes–that’s why I support voter identification laws.

When Political Operatives Use The Legal System To Attack Their Opponents

When political operatives use the legal system to attack their opponents, we all lose. We have seen numerous examples of this in recent years. In 2002 House Majority Leader Tom Delay was charged with money laundering as part of a plan to redraw the Texas political map in 2002. He was finally cleared in 2014, thousands of dollars later. He also lost his position as House Majority Leader. Recently we saw the indictment of David Daleiden who took undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood‘s selling of aborted baby body parts (later overturned).

Fred and Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell

Fred and Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In January 2014, Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were indicted on federal corruption charges. Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on the case.

Politico reported yesterday:

A unanimous Supreme Court has overturned the corruption convictions of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, ruling that federal prosecutors relied on a “boundless” definition of the kinds of acts that could lead politicians to face criminal charges.

The decision from the eight-justice court could make it tougher for prosecutors to prove corruption cases against politicians in cases where there is no proof of an explicit agreement linking a campaign donation or gift to a contract, grant or vote.

If you read the details of the case, there was definitely some sleazy behavior there, but the actions of Governor McDonnell were not illegal under Virginia law. Also, note that this was a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court. That is rare.

Our political system has become toxic. It is time for all Americans to do their own research and draw their own conclusions. When you see the media gang up on a candidate or office holder, don’t believe anything you hear. This is an election season, and nothing should be a surprise. When you read in the mainstream media that the Trump campaign is being run by aliens that Donald Trump meets with in Dennis Kucinich‘s back yard, pay close attention–the media has an ulterior motive.

The List

Donald Trump has released his list of the judges that he would nominate for the Supreme Court if he is elected President. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted the list along with a few comments.

Here is the list:

Steven Colloton (8th Cir.)
Allison Eid (Colorado Sup. Court)

Raymond Gruender (8th Cir.)
Thomas Hardiman (3d. Cir.)
Raymond Kethledge (6th Cir.)
Joan Larsen (Mich. Sup. Court)
Thomas Rex Lee (Utah Sup. Court and brother of Sen. Mike Lee)
William Pryor (11th Cir.)
David Stras (Minnesota Sup. Court)
Diane Sykes (7th Cir.)
Don Willett (Texas Supreme Court)

To be perfectly honest, I know nothing about any of these judges, but the article at Power Line has a few comments:

The fact that state court judges make up nearly half of the list also seems like a good sign. It is, at a minimum, a nod to federalism.

The list confirms what I have heard — that Trump’s is talking to the right conservatives when it comes to the Supreme Court. It doesn’t guarantee a conservative nominee, but it does highlight what is probably the best argument, from a conservative perspective, for voting for Trump — his judicial nominations (and not just to the Supreme Court) are virtually sure to be vastly better than Hillary Clinton’s.

As I have previously stated, Donald Trump was not my first choice, but if he surrounds himself with good people, I may come around. If Americans are paying attention, they will factor the possible Supreme Court selections into their voting decisions in November.

Religious Freedom Wins A Victory

The Daily Signal today posted a story about the recent Supreme Court case regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor. I am not a lawyer and do not totally understand what I am about to report (other than the fact that it is good news for those of us who treasure the freedom to practice our religion in our daily lives).

The article reports:

In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court “vacated,” meaning erased, all of the lower court cases and required them to reconsider the claims brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor and others that the regulations promulgated pursuant to Obamacare violate their religious exercise in light of the government’s admission that it could indeed provide contraceptive coverage without the Little Sisters’ collaboration.

…The Little Sisters of the Poor and other challengers suggested, among other things, that the government could require insurance providers to make separate contraceptive plans available to employees whose employer plans do not include such coverage.

This would require a separate enrollment process along the lines of how some employers have separate dental, vision, or prescription plans, as well as separate “insurance cards, payment sources, and communication streams.”

They maintained that such “truly independent efforts to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees” would allay their religious objections because they would be removed from the process entirely.

According to the Supreme Court, “the government has confirmed” its scheme could be modified in a manner that leaves the Little Sisters of the Poor out of the process, as they requested, while still insuring women employees receive contraceptive coverage.

…The ruling means that all the lower court opinions that went against the religious freedom of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the other religious nonprofits are wiped away and their flawed reasoning cannot be used as precedent in the future.

It illustrates that the government could have accommodated the Little Sisters of the Poor all along without affecting contraceptive coverage, but chose not to. And it guarantees that the government cannot force the Little Sisters of the Poor and the other challengers to choose between violating their consciences as the government demands or face crippling fines and penalties.

In the coming months, the lower courts will reconsider these challenges, but it is hard to see how the administration and the lower courts can find a way to get around the Supreme Court’s unanimous order—making the decision a big victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The underlining in the quote is mine. I wanted to make sure that anyone who reads this article understands that this entire legal dust-up was unnecessary. It was another example of bullying by the Obama Administration. The Administration wanted to bully any Christian who might want to practice their faith in their mission or occupation into accepting terms of ObamaCare that are unacceptable in Christianity.

Notice also that the Supreme Court decision to ‘vacate’ the lower court cases was unanimous–even the liberal justices realized that what was done to the Little Sisters of the Poor was simply not appropriate.

 

 

The Current Administrative Branch Of Our Government Is Ignoring The Constitution

President Obama has played fast and loose with the U.S. Constitution since he took office. All of the executive orders issued altering ObamaCare after it was passed were not constitutional, and many of his other actions were not. The lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution runs rampant through the Obama Administration. The latest example can be found in the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Daily Caller is reporting today that despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on actions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in February, the EPA is going ahead with a key part of the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

The article reports:

The EPA submitted a proposal to the White House for green energy subsidies for states that meet the federally mandated carbon dioxide reduction goals early. The Clean Energy Incentive Program would give “credit for power generated by new wind and solar projects in 2020 and 2021” and a “double credit for energy efficiency measures in low-income communities,” according to Politico’s Morning Energy.

Generally speaking, ‘clean energy’ is more expensive than traditional electricity-generating sources. Companies involved in green energy are generally heavily subsidized by the government and could not exist without those subsidies. If green energy is ever going to be a reality, we have to let the free market come in and play a role in the industry. That way, inexpensive technology may develop that will give us reasonable green energy.

The article further reports:

EPA has been moving forward with aspects of the CPP despite the Supreme Court’s decision. After the court’s February decision, EPA began signalling it would continue to work with states that want to “voluntarily” move forward.

“Are we going to respect the decision of the Supreme Court? You bet, of course we are,” McCarthy told utility executives in February. “But it doesn’t mean it’s the only thing we’re working on and it doesn’t mean we won’t continue to support any state that voluntarily wants to move forward.”

Likewise, the head of EPA’s air and radiation office, Janet McCabe, has also suggested the rule will eventually be upheld.

“EPA utility rules have been stayed twice before, and ultimately upheld,” McCabe said while participating in a panel discussion in Bloomington, Ind., last week. “It’s only smart for states to keep working on this.”

“We stand ready at EPA to help any state that wants to move forward with their planning activities,” McCabe said, noting that some states pledged to cut CO2 after the Supreme Court stayed CPP.

Whether or not the EPA’s plan is valid is not the point–the Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional. Does anyone in the Obama Administration listen to the Supreme Court?

When Tolerance Is A One-Way Street

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about George Mason University. The University has announced that the University’s law school will be renamed the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University. Steven Hayward notes that this is surely going to cause a reaction among the students.

The update of the article includes the following reaction by a student:

Please Tell Me GMU Law School Is Playing a Really Sick April Fools Joke

It’s bad enough that GMU’s Mercatus Center is a Koch-sucking far-right-wing organization (e.g., see this New Yorker article, which discusses how “the Koch family foundations have contributed more than thirty million dollars to George Mason, much of which has gone to the Mercatus Center”).  But now….this??? Let me remind everyone that Antonin Scalia was a corruptbigoted extremist. Why would anyone in their (far) right mind want to name anything after that guy, let alone a law school? Has GMU gone completely off its rocker or what? Or, as ThinkProgress Justice Editor Ian Millhiser puts it, GMU can now “stop pretending to be anything other than a conservative policy shop with students.” Ugh. I mean, what’s GMU going to do next, the Trump School for Ethics and Tolerance?

I seem to remember that many of our university students were asking for ‘safe spaces’ where their ideas would not be questioned or challenged. How horrible that our students at higher learning institutes might be forced to think through or defend their ideas. At any rate, this reaction does not seem to be very tolerant. Does the student understand that the money donated by the Koch family is partially responsible for making his/her education possible? Has it occurred to the student who wrote the above to consider the political leanings of The New Yorker when reading their comments about the Koch family? How does this student feel about the money George Soros pours into American politics?

It is a shame that this particular student does not respect the role Antonin Scalia played in defending the U.S. Constitution at the Supreme Court. It seems that a major part of the student’s civic education is missing.

This Man Is Not A Moderate

On Friday, Life News posted some information on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Obviously their issue is abortion, but the article sheds some light on the broader issue of religious freedom.

The article reports:

Garland joined in a unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in November 2014, which concluded last year that the HHS mandate doesn’t abrogate the religious freedoms of Priests for Life or 11 other religious groups that also challenged the mandate.

Priests for Life was one of the earliest organizations to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control drugs and drugs like ella that can cause very early abortions. But Garland’s court ruled against the pro-life groups.

The court case and  others like it are part of a move to keep the practice of religion inside the walls of the church and take away the influence of religion in everyday life. Although the Constitution makes clear that the state has no authority to set up a national religion, our Constitution assumes that we will be government by a God-fearing moral people and protects the right of Americans to practice their religion. John Adams stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Religion does belong in the public square–not as a denomination–but as the foundation of our values. Our legal system is based on a Judeo-Christian ethic, and is not designed to work for an amoral people. Unfortunately the political left in America is attempting to move us away from traditional morality to a place our government was not designed to go. Political correctness is one way the left is attempting to overcome America’s religious roots, and using a very loose definition of ‘hate speech’ is another way.

The article further reports:

Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Samuel Alito handed down the decision for the high court, saying, “The Supreme Court holds government can’t require closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage.”

The court ruled that the contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, a 1993 law and it held that the mandate “substantially burdens the exercise of religion” and that HHS didn’t use the “least restrictive means” to promote this government interest, tests required by RFRA.

Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy joined in the majority decision. Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Garland’s decision would put him squarely against the then-majority of the Supreme Court and would have someone who oppose religious liberty for pro-life groups replace a champion of it in Justice Scalia.

…Garland has praised the author of Roe v. Wade and said his court paper are “the greatest gift to the country.” And information has surfaced showing that his former clerks have gone on to serve liberal judges by a 3-1 margin.

Unfortunately, if Hillary Clinton is elected President, chances are that her nominee for the Supreme Court will be even further to the left. Meanwhile, we all need to remember and follow the Biden Rule.

A Few Notes On The Nomination Of A Supreme Court Justice

This is the quote from Joe Biden on confirming Supreme Court Justices during a campaign season (taken from The New York Post):

“Once the political season is underway,” Biden said, “action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee . . . Otherwise . . . we will be in deep trouble as an institution,” stuck in “a bitter fight, no matter how good a person is nominated by the president.”

Yesterday Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Nothing has changed. Senate Republicans deserve credit for using their ‘Advice and Consent’ authority to ensure the American people’s voices are not ignored as they are in the process of selecting their next president.  The next president —  Republican or Democrat — should be in the position to fill the Court’s vacancy with the advise and consent of the Senate.

“President Obama and Senate Democrats will no doubt call Judge Garland a ‘mainstream Federal judge’ and promise his ‘approach to deciding cases on the law and the Constitution, not politics or an ideological agenda.’ Of course, they said those exact words when liberal Justices Sotomayor and Kagan were nominated. We are one liberal Justice away from seeing gun rights restricted and partial birth abortion being considered a constitutional right. The Republican majority exists to block these type of nominees.”

Yesterday Townhall.com reported the following:

Back in 2007, Judge Garland voted to undo a D.C. Circuit court decision striking down one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. The liberal District of Columbia government had passed a ban on individual handgun possession, which even prohibited guns kept in one’s own house for self-defense. A three-judge panel struck down the ban, but Judge Garland wanted to reconsider that ruling. He voted with Judge David Tatel, one of the most liberal judges on that court. As Dave Kopel observed at the time, the “[t]he Tatel and Garland votes were no surprise, since they had earlier signaled their strong hostility to gun owner rights” in a previous case. Had Garland and Tatel won that vote, there’s a good chance that the Supreme Court wouldn’t have had a chance to protect the individual right to bear arms for several more years.

Moreover, in the case mentioned earlier, Garland voted with Tatel to uphold an illegal Clinton-era regulation that created an improvised gun registration requirement. Congress prohibited federal gun registration mandates back in 1968, but as Kopel explained, the Clinton Administration had been “retaining for six months the records of lawful gun buyers from the National Instant Check System.” By storing these records, the federal government was creating an informal gun registry that violated the 1968 law. Worse still, the Clinton program even violated the 1994 law that had created the NICS system in the first place. Congress directly forbade the government from retaining background check records for law-abiding citizens.

This is something to think about. I am not a gun person. I didn’t grow up in a hunting family, and until I moved to North Carolina I had never been around guns. That has changed since I have been here, and I will be taking a gun safety course in the near future. I believe it is necessary to have a population that has the freedom to bear arms. I believe that is the intent of the Second Amendment. I am also convinced that the Second Amendment will protect us from government takeovers from both internal and external sources. It is important to the preservation of our freedom and it protects the other Amendments.

I realize that if Hillary Clinton becomes President, a more liberal judge will be nominated, and we will probably lose our Second Amendment privileges. However, I still believe the nomination process should be put on hold until after the election.

Karma Is Always Interesting

Someone much wiser than I once said, “Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.” That man was Andy Rooney. Eating your words is something no one likes to do, but in this age of digital information, everything a public figure has said can be easily discovered.

On Monday, Truth Revolt posted the following statement made by then Senator Joe Biden in 1992:

JoeBidenSCOTUSIf you follow the link above, it includes the C-SPAN video of Vice President Biden making this statement.

Sometimes The Age Of Google Is Very Inconvenient

Today’s Washington Examiner weighed in on the current discussion about replacing deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Obviously, the Republicans (hoping for a Republican President in 2017) want to name Justice Scalia’s replacement after the next President takes office. The Democrats, logically, want President Obama to pick Justice Scalia’s successor. When you think about it, that it is very interesting situation. The Democrats are not confident enough on a victory in the presidential election in November to be willing to allow the next president to name a Supreme Court Justice.

However, the idea of a lame-duck President appointing a Supreme Court Justice who will serve in the Supreme Court for life has not always been popular with the Democrats.

Below is a YouTube video from July 2007 of Senator Chuck Schumer speaking to the American Constitution Society. Senator Schumer explained that no Supreme Court nominees should be approved for the remainder of the term of President George W. Bush. This was almost a year and a half before the presidential election. Here is the video:

Another article in the Washington Examiner includes the video and the following:

Sen. Chuck Schumer said in July 2007 that no George W. Bush nominee to the Supreme Court should be approved, except in extraordinary circumstances, 19 months before a new president was set to be inaugurated.

“We should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, except in extraordinary circumstances,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in prepared remarks to the American Constitution Society, a liberal legal organization.

Schumer cited ideological reasons for the delay.

“They must prove by actions, not words, that they are in the mainstream rather than we have to prove that they are not,” Schumer said at the time.

As the Democratic Party attempts to convince us that President Obama should choose another radical ideologue for the Supreme Court, we need to remember the words of Senator Schumer. We also need to remember that the rules don’t change because the party in power changes–the rules apply to both parties. It would be a matter or courtesy to allow the next President to choose Justice Scalia’s successor. Let’s see if there is any courtesy left in Washington.

This Is What Civility Looks Like

Yahoo News posted an article yesterday that included the following statement from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg about the death of Justice Scalia:

Toward the end of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, tenor Scalia and soprano Ginsburg sing a duet: “We are different, we are one,” different in our interpretation of written texts, one in our reverence for the Constitution and the institution we serve. From our years together at the D.C. Circuit, we were best buddies. We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation. Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots—the “applesauce” and “argle bargle”—and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion. He was a jurist of captivating brilliance and wit, with a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh. The press referred to his “energetic fervor,” “astringent intellect,” “peppery prose,” “acumen,” and “affability,” all apt descriptions. He was eminently quotable, his pungent opinions so clearly stated that his words never slipped from the reader’s grasp.

Justice Scalia once described as the peak of his days on the bench an evening at the Opera Ball when he joined two Washington National Opera tenors at the piano for a medley of songs. He called it the famous Three Tenors performance. He was, indeed, a magnificent performer. It was my great good fortune to have known him as working colleague and treasured friend.

Politically, you could not have found two people that were more ideologically opposed, yet they respected each other and were good friends.That is a wonderful example that I wish all of those in government (or aspiring to be in government) would follow.

The Election In November Just Got Even More Crucial

My San Antonio posted an article today reporting that Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, age 79, was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas.

The article reported the statement by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement Saturday afternoon, calling Scalia a man of God, a patriot and an “unwavering defender of the written Constitution.”

“He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution,” Abbott said. “We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

The Associated Press quoted Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts:

“He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family.”

The Associated Press also quoted former President George W. Bush:

“Laura and I mourn the death of a brilliant jurist and important American, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was a towering figure and important judge on our Nation’s highest court. He brought intellect, good judgment, and wit to the bench, and he will be missed by his colleagues and our country.”

The National Review reported:

It’s been more than 80 years since a Supreme Court justice was confirmed in an election year to a vacancy that arose that year, and there has never been an election-year confirmation that would so dramatically alter the ideological composition of the Court.
[Update: I’ve encountered some mistaken quibbling on Twitter with the first half of the sentence above. Yes, Anthony Kennedy was confirmed in February 1988, but to a vacancy that arose in June 1987. He was nominated in November 1987 — after the Democrats’ defeat of the Bork nomination. The last justice to be confirmed in an election year to a vacancy that arose that year was Benjamin Cardozo — confirmed in March 1932 to a vacancy that arose in January 1932.]

Justice Scalia was an important figure on the Court. He believed in the U.S. Constitution and took his oath to uphold it seriously. He will be missed. It is also easy to predict a contentious battle over whether or not President Obama should be able to appoint a new Justice before leaving office. Letting the next President fill the vacancy would be the gentlemanly, appropriate thing to do, but I am not expecting miracles.

Common Sense From Joe Brown

For whatever reason, the media seems to take delight in destroying people who espouse ideas they do not agree with. We no longer discuss ideas, we destroy the people who put forth ideas we do not like. Most of the obvious examples of this are conservative politicians, but occasionally other people fall into the net. One of the people recently attacked (justifiably so, but attacked) is Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby over the years has evidently done some horrible things. However, that doesn’t mean that what he has said about the problems that we face is not valid.

Yesterday Joe Brown at the Tampa Tribune posted a short commentary on Bill Cosby. Mr. Brown reminds us that there were a lot of people who took issued with Bill Cosby‘s speech given at an NAACP event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is on excerpt from the speech (taken from the American Rhetoric Website):

Now, look, I’m telling you. It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out. Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants. These people are fighting hard to be ignorant. There’s no English being spoken, and they’re walking and they’re angry. Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house.

They sit there and the cousin says, “What are you doing here?”

“I just killed somebody, man.”

“What?”

“I just killed somebody; I’ve got to stay here.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Well, give me some money, I’ll go….”

 “Where are you going?”

“North Carolina.”

Everybody wanted to go to North Carolina. But the police know where you’re going because your cousin has a record.

Five or six different children — same woman, eight, ten different husbands or whatever. Pretty soon you’re going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you’re making love to. You don’t who this is. It might be your grandmother. I’m telling you, they’re young enough. Hey, you have a baby when you’re twelve. Your baby turns thirteen and has a baby, how old are you? Huh? Grandmother. By the time you’re twelve, you could have sex with your grandmother, you keep those numbers coming. I’m just predicting.

I’m saying Brown versus the Board of Education. We’ve got to hit the streets, ladies and gentlemen. I’m winding up, now — no more applause. I’m saying, look at the Black Muslims. There are Black Muslims standing on the street corners and they say so forth and so on, and we’re laughing at them because they have bean pies and all that, but you don’t read, “Black Muslim gunned down while chastising drug dealer.” You don’t read that. They don’t shoot down Black Muslims. You understand me. Muslims tell you to get out of the neighborhood. When you want to clear your neighborhood out, first thing you do is go get the Black Muslims, bean pies and all. And your neighborhood is then clear. The police can’t do it.

Mr. Brown points out:

For years I’ve heard rumors about Cosby, but, I’m ashamed to say, I chose to ignore them, or hoped against hope that they weren’t true. I felt his messages of self-determination and nonvictimization were too important to be derailed by his personal conduct. I didn’t put him on a pedestal, but I ignored any flaws he might have had. As I had to admit to my friend, I was wrong.

(Speaking of people on pedestals, a fictional character I and millions of other Americans had put on one, Atticus Finch, the hero of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was knocked off of his with the release of the novel’s prequel, “Go Set a Watchman.” Who’s next?)

So, as Martin Luther King asked in the title of his last book, where do we go from here?

Before the rape allegations, Cosby caught hell from a lot of people because he scolded those who have failed to take advantage of the hard-fought victories of the 1950s and ’60s. Well, someone still needs to do that, although maybe not as curmudgeonly as he did.

As the comedian joked, Cosby drugged women and dropped his pants, but our youngsters still need to pull theirs up. The messenger was flawed, but his relevant message still needs to get through.

We are all flawed people, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have something of value to say. What Bill Cosby did was horrible, but we need to have a discussion on what he said–it might  help us deal with the poverty and violence we see in the black community.

 

When Politics Gets Totally Out Of Hand

I am a conservative. I totally disagree with liberal policies. I do what I can to see that conservatives who believe in the U.S. Constitution get elected. However, I am willing to believe that there is some common ground between conservatives and liberals and I believe they are as entitled to work for their causes as I am for mine. I am not sure how many liberals share that belief.

National Review posted an article today about an attack on conservatives in Wisconsin that has been going on for a while. I mean a physical attack based on something called a John Doe law.

The article tells the story of one incident:

It was still dark outside when “Jonah” (not his real name) heard the pounding on his front door. As luck would have it, he was awake — or mostly awake. He’d gotten up at 4:00 a.m. on October 3, 2013, to see his parents off to the airport. They were leaving on a quick trip to raise money for the children’s charity his father runs. Jonah was 16 at the time, old enough to stay home alone for a short time, but not old enough to deal with what awaited him on the other side of the door.

The pounding continued, and Jonah peered out the window to discover its source. To his horror, he saw uniformed officers, their guns drawn. “Police,” they yelled. “We have a warrant.” An officer shined a flashlight on a document Jonah couldn’t read. Unsure what to do, but unwilling to defy the authorities, he let them in.

Jonah was ordered not to tell anyone what had happened–even officials at his school. When he asked first to call his parents and then to call a lawyer, he was told no both times.

The article further reports:

The pretense for the October raids was suspected “coordination” between various conservative organizations and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s campaign — activity that a trial court has held constituted nothing more than entirely legal “issue advocacy,” if it even occurred. Because they’d had the temerity to engage in this issue advocacy — constitutionally protected free speech — multiple conservative citizens were subjected to so-called John Doe proceedings by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat.

…At present, John Doe II is halted. In response to a challenge from Wisconsin conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a trial judge blocked multiple prosecution subpoenas, holding that they “do not show probable cause that the moving parties committed any violations of the campaign-finance laws.” This ruling has been appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and a decision that could potentially end Chisholm’s witch hunts once and for all is expected any day. At least one victim isn’t waiting for such a decision before she takes action. Cindy Archer has filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Chisholm, and more suits may be coming.

I have posted other stories about the activities of the Milwaukee Country District Attorney here and here. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you choose to occupy, this story should concern you. If public servants are allowed to use their offices to intimidate political opponents, we are in serious trouble. I hope all of the people whose houses were stormed into by misguided police sue everyone responsible. That may actually be the best remedy, as the courts, as of yet, do not seem overly concerned.