Tag: SCOTUS

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Sadly, Senator Grassley is going all wobbly in public, tweeting half-apologies to Judge Kavanaugh, while pathetically tweeting that (by his own actions) he was being made to look “second trombone” to the Senate Minority Leader. It strikes me that this is all due to his and “Leader” McConnell’s, self-created, weak hand with the two abortion […]

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Democrats Have Gone to the Mattresses. Someone Tell the Republicans.

 

 The Brett Kavanaugh nomination serves as a useful reminder of why about one-third of the US electorate are firm Trump supporters. While Democrats declare war in the Senate, Republicans are lining up to buy Kavanaugh’s accuser plane tickets. If Trump were chairman of the Judiciary Committee, do you think he’d respond to waking up with a horse’s head in his lap by asking Ms. Ford if she preferred a window or aisle? Of course not. He may lose an eye in the confrontation but you can be sure he’d emerge with Dianne Feinstein’s bloody ear clenched between his teeth.

Much has been said about the damage done to the institution by the Democrats’ petulance while ignoring the institutional damage done by Republicans in humoring them. “But the optics!” shout Republican pollsters. Whenever I hear the “optics” argument I can’t help but notice that it invariably refers to how things might likely appear to the Democrats’ base. To an extent, this makes sense as in lieu of workable ideas, “optics” is all the Democrats’ base has. But what about the Republican base? Isn’t abandoning fundamental principles of the Constitution also a “bad look?”

If there’s one aspect of this saga upon which there seems to be a consensus it’s that Dr. Ford’s voice “deserves to be heard.” I know it can’t be said in polite company but I will anyway: no she doesn’t. What she deserves is to be called what she is: a Democrat activist who’s smearing a good man’s name. No fewer than 65 women have testified on behalf of Kavanaugh’s character and my, understanding is that I’m obliged to believe the women. 

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Politico has the following piece of data about the Kavanaugh accuser: “The GOP has been told that Ford does not want to fly from her California home to Washington, according to the Republican senator, which means she may need to drive across the country to make the hearing. Ford has reportedly told friends she is […]

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Yes, *And* — “Kavanaugh” from Knife Fight to Cold War?

 

Much has been written about the Kavanaugh brawl, some of it quite good. Reading these pieces, I keep coming to yes, and. It has been asserted that this has nothing to do with Kavanaugh. Dr. Bastiat writes:

My point is that this really is not about Mr. Kavanaugh – he’s just collateral damage. It’s a shame somebody had to be destroyed, but as long as he’s conservative, it’s not too much of a shame.

Chairman Grassley Slams Door on Further Delay Tactics in Kavanaugh Brawl

 

Chairman Grassley followed up his scorching letter to the Democrats, with a letter to Ranking Member Senator Feinstein, setting 10 AM, September 21, as the deadline for Dr. Ford to agree to be interviewed or testify on Monday. He was very flexible in how and where the appearance would take place. He was completely firm on not letting the process drag on any longer.

The letter setting the witness response deadline was published with another scathing press release, denouncing Feinstein’s continued concealment of the original, unredacted, letter that made the sexual assault allegations: “Ranking Member Refuses to Disclose Secret Allegations Even After Dr. Ford Goes Public.”

Chairman’s Letter Breathes Fire Against Democrats’ Delaying Tactics on Kavanaugh

 

Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, wrote a scorching letter Wednesday to committee Democrats concerning their handling of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Since many of the impartial firefighters in the DC press corps are only providing a few quotes in their effort to oppose Kavanaugh, I have reprinted the entire text below. In addition, I bolded several stand-out passages in which Grassley clarifies the misperceptions on the issue.

September 19, 2018

Senator Collins: A True Stateswoman in the Kavanaugh Brawl

 

Senator Susan Collins is my hero for the day. I am always wary of Senators Murkowski (R-AK) and Collins (R-ME) when any check on abortion-on-demand is at issue. However, Senator Collins has been a true stateswoman in the Kavanaugh hearings. She has sent a letter to Chairman Grassley, published on her Senate webpage, which will make the absolute best out of the mess intentionally created by Senator Feinstein.

Senator Collins proposed the Judiciary Committee hearing open with the attorneys for the accuser and the accused questioning the two of them. This would let the strongest questions be asked before Senators start grandstanding or pulling punches. Senator Grassley knows he has a problem: he has no female Senator on his side of the room, so the optics will be bad if they don’t roll over. The two attorneys are both women.

Steven Hayward of Power Line believes that Senator Collins’ recommendation, if wisely adopted, will be decisive in this political contest:

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Due to the Golden State’s “top-two” jungle primary scheme, California voters will only be able to pick between a pair of Democrats for U.S. Senate on their General Election ballot — namely, five-term incumbent Dianne Feinstein or hard-Left state senator Kevin de León. All things being equal for conservatives and the California GOP, re-electing Feinstein […]

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Kavanaugh in the #MeToo Era

 

In the wake of the revelation of Christine Blasey Ford’s identity, some have suggested that her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh will be handled more sensitively than such accusations once were thanks to the #MeToo movement. That may turn out to be true, but only if at least one other woman comes forward with similar charges.

#MeToo gave courage to women, and some men, to speak up about sexual harassment and abuse. It helped to clarify that gross sexual misconduct is not a perk of power. It revived a sense of shame. Whereas for too long, many women felt powerless in the face of this abuse, the movement offered strength in numbers. Once one victim of a brutish man found her voice, others summoned the courage to come forward.

And there were always others. The high-profile men felled by #MeToo: Harvey Weinstein, John Conyers, Jr., Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Bill O’Reilly, Kevin Spacey, Roger Ailes, and others faced accusations from multiple victims. That’s the way such men are. They’re predators. Few of the accused even denied the allegations.

#HimToo? Call Wavering Senators’ Bluff

 

If Sen. Flake, who the careful John Hinderaker now calls “traitor,” truly believes Judge Kavanaugh’s 11th -hour Democrat accuser, he will immediately call for the judge’s impeachment. If Flake and the abortion-on-demand supporters, Senators Collins and Murkowski, believe a word of the accusation against Judge Kavanaugh, if they even really believe the allegation is serious, then they will also immediately hold a press conference demanding the impeachment of Justice Clarence Thomas. They will do no such thing because they believe none of this.

As John Hinderaker explains:

“Traitor” is normally considered a harsh word, but it is the only printable thing I have called “Republican” Senator Jeff Flake since he announced, a few hours ago, that he is “not comfortable voting yes” on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. His concern is the ridiculously stale allegation by Democrat professor Christine Ford that Kavanaugh groped her and tried to kiss her at a party when they were both high school students more than 30 years ago. You might reasonably think this is a joke. Unfortunately not.

Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, the Administrative State, Free Speech, and Silicon Valley Regulation

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had legendary classical liberal legal theorist and longtime professor at University of Chicago Law School and now at NYU Law — and prodigious Ricochet podcaster Professor Richard Epstein on the podcast to discuss among other things:

  • The role that Professor Epstein’s famous book, “Takings” played in Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing — and then-Senator Joe Biden’s hectoring
  • Professor Epstein’s groundbreaking theories on private property rights, eminent domain and the Takings and Commerce Clauses
  • The practical argument against progressivism
  • Whether we should deconstruct the administrative state, and if so how to do it
  • The danger to free speech emanating from college campuses in a world of microaggressions, trigger warnings, de-platforming
  • The folly of regulating Silicon Valley social media companies
  • Classical liberalism versus socialism and libertarianism

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

Progressives Come After Brett Kavanaugh

 

Two different lines of attack have been launched against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, now of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to replace Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court: one personal and one substantive. On the former I have little to say, except to note Yale Law School Professor Amy Chua’s glowing endorsement of Kavanaugh in the Wall Street Journal. Of far greater importance is the attack on his intellectual orientation, both generally and as it relates to specific issues that have come up already, and that will surely come up again before the Supreme Court.

On these issues, the progressive forces aligned against Kavanaugh have given no quarter. The chief object of their intellectual denunciation is the Federalist Society, with whom I have been actively involved since its formation in the early Reagan years. The great success of that organization, as the New York Times columnist David Brooks has recognized, is its single-minded devotion to a long game in which the study of first principles is the main object of intellectual inquiry. The basic insight is that every political movement needs strong intellectual foundations to insulate it from the passions of the day, and that the free exploration of ideas is the best way to achieve that end. The Federalist Society took off in the early 1980s precisely because the dominant liberal ethos of the time was so sure of its political and moral invincibility that it had not taken the time to develop its own comprehensive view on the fundamental relationship between the individual and the state.

Nothing much has changed since then. The utter absence of that foundational work is evident from the legal left’s unthinking and overwrought denunciations of Kavanaugh’s nomination. To indignant progressives, no candidate of libertarian or conservative persuasion is fit for a seat on the Supreme Court. That much is evident from the juvenile criticisms of the Kavanaugh nomination by a group of progressive senators who fear he will undo much of the modern New Deal state. In a similar vein, a group of Yale Law School students and alumni announced that they were “ashamed” of their institution and its Dean, Heather Gerken, for praising a nominee whose positions they found utterly unacceptable because, among other things, Kavanaugh penned “a 2015 dissent arguing that the ACA’s contraceptive mandate violated the rights of religious organizations, even though those organizations were granted an accommodation that allowed them to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage.” Michael Waldman, the President of the Brennan Center for Justice, described his nomination as “an alarming day for the law of democracy” because “the Roberts Court has been activist, relentless and destructive,” citing as support the rulings in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) dealing with corporate speech and Shelby County Alabama v Holder (2013) “gutting the Voting Rights Act.” To New Yorker commentator John Cassidy, Kavanaugh is “an ‘extreme nominee’ whose confirmation would represent an imminent threat to Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act,” and should be rejected by anyone “who harbors a sense of fairness and history.”

Why Emanate Penumbras When There’s a Ninth Amendment?

 

Our Founders, in rebelling against Mother England, claimed for themselves “nothing but the liberty and privileges of Englishmen in the same degree, as if we had continued among our brethren in Great Britain”. Along with Blackstone, our Founders treated natural rights as A Thing. They drafted the Constitution as a document constraining the federal government to enumerated powers, and recorded in the Ninth Amendment that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” We’re all familiar with the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and the affirmation in the 14th Amendment that these rights are good against the federal government, too. But whatever happened to the unenumerated rights mentioned in the Ninth Amendment?

The Founders had good reason to believe in a constitutional order protecting unenumerated rights. After all, the Founders inherited their notions of rights, due process of law, and constitutionality from Mother England. Which isn’t to say they weren’t free to deviate from English traditions of law in declaring independence; obviously they were. But their understanding of law was rooted in English understanding of law, and only then shaped by their explicit deliberations. A reasonable person living at the time of ratification could be expected to understand the nature of law in a pretty English sense, a sense in which rights are discovered by the traditions of common law, and not all rights must be explicitly summarized in order to be respected.

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Andrew McCarthy of National Review on why Kavanaugh was perhaps the perfect Supreme Court pick, and he destroys the arguments of Trump extremists calling the judge “Pro-Obamacare” and a Bushie squish.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America celebrate President Trump’s pick, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. They also reflect on what could have been had Trump nominated Catholic, conservative, mother-of-seven Judge Amy Coney Barrett. And they dismiss the single-source claim of NBC Reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell that Kennedy negotiated his replacement to be Kavanaugh before he stepped down. They also highlight the volatile protesters, who appeared with signs to reject any candidate that Trump selected and who forced Fox News Host Shannon Bream to cancel her show outside the Supreme Court.

Hello, there, and welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for July 10, 2018. It’s number 183! It is the Trump SCOTUS edition of the podcast and it is about (tada!) the Trump Supreme Court of the United States. Or, as they will be calling it, the Trump Court. And it is just another reason to chuckle at the #NeverTrump chuckleheads who voted for and pulled for Hillary because Trump was going to end America as we know it.

At the time of the recording the President had not yet picked Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee, so our discussion is a little more general than that. We also talk about abortion and Roe vs. Wade – not entirely unrelated I’m sure you’ll agree.

Brett Kavanaugh Vs The Administrative State

 

President Trump may like to spring a surprise on the news media, but with his announcement Monday night for the Supreme Court he went with the safe choice.

His pick of Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge in Washington, may have run counter to his instincts against picking inhabitants of the D.C. swamp, or those with deep connections to the Bush administration. But in elevating his reason over his impulses, Trump has picked a nominee who will work to limit the great threat to individual liberty today: the administrative state.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America herald the divers successfully rescuing the young Thai soccer players trapped in the cave and pray everyone else can be brought to safety tomorrow.  Greg rolls his eyes at reports that Hillary Clinton may be planning a 2020 presidential bid but Jim explains how a crowded field and the notion that history robbed her in 2016 could propel her to the nomination.  And they get a kick out of the media pumping out conflicting reports about which of the final four Supreme Court possibilities will be chosen by President Trump today.

Amy Coney Barrett’s “Cult”

 

When Notre Dame law professor and possible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was nominated for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, her affiliation with a religious group called People of Praise raised red flags. It was some sort of cult, they implied. Sen. Dianne Feinstein famously reproved the nominee by intoning that “the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern.”

It was an echo of the kind of anti-Catholic bigotry that characterized American life for centuries. When the Democrats nominated the first Roman Catholic for president, Al Smith in 1928, opponents warned that all Protestant marriages would be annulled and all Protestant children declared bastards if the Catholic were elected. Republicans circulated pictures of Smith posing before the almost-completed Holland Tunnel with a caption declaring that instead of emptying into New Jersey, it really led 3,500 miles under the Atlantic Ocean to the basement of the Vatican. After his loss to Herbert Hoover, Smith was reputed to have quipped that he had sent a one-word telegram to the Pope: “Unpack.”

But Feinstein’s comment and others’ insinuations that her religion is somehow creepy or suspicious reveals a broader anti-religious bias.