< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 64 OF 64 ·
|Dec-06-22|| ||perfidious: Romney on Orange Poltroon: 'RINO!'
Is it not lovely?
<WASHINGTON ― Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) borrowed one of Donald Trump’s favorite nicknames for his critics when asked about the ex-president calling for the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution over the weekend.
“Well, the Republican Party is the Constitution party,” Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday. “So when he calls to suspend the Constitution, he goes from being MAGA to being RINO.”
Trump often refers to his Republican critics with the monicker “RINO,” which stands for “Republican In Name Only.” Over the years, he’s used it as a put-down against people like Romney, the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others in the GOP who dared to speak out against him.
The former president suggested a redo of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday because of newly released Twitter messages between the social media platform’s leaders in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. The messages discuss content moderation decisions, including the company’s decision to block a New York Post story involving Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
“A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social.
Trump later tried to argue that he didn’t say what he said and accused the media of spreading lies.
GOP congressional reactions to Trump’s comments ranged from outright condemnation to lukewarm disagreement to obvious attempts to dodge the question. No Republican lawmaker flatly ruled out supporting Trump if he becomes the GOP presidential nominee in 2024, however.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Trump’s social media post was “not a responsible thing to say.”
“I don’t know why anybody would say something like that; certainly not an ex-president. I just think it’s irresponsible,” Cornyn added.
“It’s a fantasy,” added Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “I consider it kind of a Hail Mary to maintain some hope when everybody knows it’s not the case. We’re the party of the Constitution; it’s not going to happen.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who is retiring next month to become the president of the University of Florida, said his GOP colleagues “are going to have to choose if they’re for the circus clown or if they’re for the Constitution.”
Some of Trump’s biggest allies on Capitol Hill, including those who styled themselves as “constitutional conservatives,” offered little more than a few polite words in disagreement with the idea of torching the nation’s founding documents.
“There are no exceptions to the Constitution,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told HuffPost. Asked if Trump should apologize or clarify his remarks, Paul simply reiterated his statement.
“The Constitution is enduring and it will be for millennia to come,” added Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), another self-described constitutional conservative.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) chided reporters for focusing on Trump’s comments instead of other issues like the economy.
“I’m not going to waste my time trying to dissect when he said this and how he said that. We should be focused on problems that matter to us at home,” Marshall said.
A few GOP senators did offer more fulsome rebukes of Trump’s comments. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said that suggesting to terminate the Constitution “is not only a betrayal of our Oath of Office, it’s an affront to our Republic.”
And Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said in a statement that “anyone who desires to lead our country must commit to protecting the Constitution.” But when HuffPost asked if Trump’s comments should disqualify him from running for president, Rounds demurred.
“I think what happened on January 6  is something that he disqualified himself for, but the American voters are going to have to send that message,” he said.>
|Dec-06-22|| ||perfidious: Speaking of hypocrites, are the religious Right now casting their Fuehrer aside as they no longer consider him of use, same as many a spurned lover?|
<In recent weeks, key evangelical leaders who backed former President Donald Trump have begun to show signs of rejecting him, after years of staunch loyalty. But, wrote columnist Michelle Goldberg for The New York Times, there is no moral or spiritual basis for their change of heart — they have just decided he's no longer of any use to them.
"Religion News Service reported that David Lane, the leader of a group devoted to getting conservative Christian pastors into office, recently sent out an email criticizing Trump for subordinating his MAGA vision 'to personal grievances and self-importance,'" wrote Goldberg. "On Monday, Semafor quoted Bob Vander Plaats, a prominent Christian conservative activist in Iowa, saying that evangelicals weren’t sure that Trump could win. Even Robert Jeffress, a Dallas televangelist whom Texas Monthly once described as 'Trump’s Apostle,' is holding off on endorsing him again, telling Newsweek that he doesn’t want to be part of a Republican civil war."
Russell Moore, the editor of Christianity Today and one of the few key evangelical leaders who consistently opposed Trump's candidacy from the start, takes a dim view of the shift going on in the community — noting that among evangelical voters, they are still evenly divided on Trump and leaders could run right back to the former president if their parishioners do. And there is reason to think they could.
"The last six years, said Moore, has changed the character of conservative evangelicalism, making it at once more militant and more apocalyptic — in other words, more Trump-like," wrote Goldberg. "For some people, Trump may even be the impetus for their faith: a Pew survey found that 16 percent of white Trump supporters who didn’t identify as born-again or evangelical in 2016 had adopted those designations by 2020. 'I see much more dismissal of Sermon on the Mount characteristics among some Christians than we would have seen before,' Moore said, referring to Jesus’ exhortation to turn the other cheek and love your enemies."
Instead, Moore said, these evangelicals view "kindness as weakness" — and the community could get more radicalized in certain places, because those opposed to it are splitting off into their own faction.
A recent essay by evangelical leader Mike Evans in The Washington Post has gotten heavy traction; in it, Evans remarked that “He used us to win the White House. We had to close our mouths and eyes when he said things that horrified us.” But, wrote Goldberg, it's actually the opposite. "Contrary to Evans’s lament, no one had to close his mouth and eyes. The Republicans chose to because they wanted power, and their critique now is largely about power lost.">
|Dec-06-22|| ||perfidious: Mouth of the South in new role, this as dimwitted comedienne:|
<Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has some bizarre ideas about, well, everything.
The notoriously anti-LGBTQ lawmaker has said she believes straight people face extinction within 150 years, called for the end of Pride month, and regularly spews anti-trans rhetoric that’s best left unrepeated.
Now the far-right congresswoman has offered her hot take on electricity, and let’s just say she’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.
Specifically, she appears to be in disbelief about the existence of batteries — you know, those things that were invented in 1800 to provide power without the need for cords.
After learning that Air Canada recently placed an order for 30 electric airplanes, Greene expressed some rather dim concerns. True to form, she also managed to be as offensive as possible.
“Air Canada, get this, has ordered 30 electric airplanes…I mean, it shouldn’t surprise you, look who’s the president of — I mean, Justin Trudeau, right?” she told a crowd at the Texas Youth Summit.
It goes without saying, but Justin Trudeau is not affiliated with Air Canada.
Then she really went off the rails, comparing electric planes to… slave ships?
“We were talking, how is there an electric airplane and what does that look like?” she said. “Remember back a long time ago when you’ve seen movies where people in those slave ships and, they’re down there and they’re rowing, and they’re being whipped to row?”
“We’re saying, how are they gonna keep powering these electric airplanes, what are they gonna have, it’s like a spin class in a tube? Where they’ve got everybody riding spin cycles, and those mean nasty airline stewardesses that forced you to wear masks all the time on the plane…are they gonna be forcing you to like keep spinning to keep the airplane in the air? It’s absurd!”
She followed up by saying she wants a “big, capable airplane”:
Heart Aerospace, the manufacturer of the short-range planes, explained in a press release:
“The new airplane design, called the ES-30, is a regional electric airplane with a capacity of 30 passengers and it replaces the company’s earlier 19-seat design, the ES-19. It is driven by electric motors powered by batteries, which allows the airplane to operate with zero emissions and low noise.”>
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: While your humble poster is no partisan of McConnell the Obstructive, it is most welcome to see his condemnation of the Orange Prevaricator over the latter's remarks on the Constitution:|
<WASHINGTON – For the second time in as many weeks, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell rebuked former President Donald Trump over political extremism and said it will make it even harder for him to regain the presidency in 2024.
McConnell criticized Trump's suggestion that the U.S. Constitution be terminated and he be re-installed as president, saying anyone who believes that "would have a very hard time being sworn in as president of the United States."
McConnell, who criticized Trump last week for his dinner with an outspoken white supremacist, would not say whether he would support Trump should the Republicans re-nominate him for the presidency in two years.
The Senate GOP leader had not commented on Trump's Saturday statement until he opened a news conference with reporters with a brief statement following a Republican lunch meeting; other GOP leaders have also been reticent to discuss Trump's views of the U.S. Constitution.
Trump and McConnell have clashed frequently over the future of the Republican Party; the tension will only increase in the wake of GOP reversals in the midterm elections and Trump's announcement that he will seek the presidency again in 2024.
Last week, after McConnell criticized the former president for hosting a dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes, Trump responded by calling the Senate GOP leader "a loser."
McConnell joined a slow-rising reaction among Republicans objecting to Trump's bizarre call for "termination" of the U.S. Constitution and his installation as president because of alleged problems with the 2020 election. Multiple investigations, court cases and audits have found no widespread voter fraud in 2020, although Trump continues to spread false claims.
Most Republicans did not make immediate comments on Trump's statement; some GOP members responded when asked by reporters on Sunday interview shows and after many returned to Washington, D.C., for congressional business.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., called the statement "irresponsible," and said Trump's re-nomination as president is “increasingly less likely given statements like that.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a Monday floor speech that more Republicans need to speak out: "We need nothing less than an avalanche of condemnation from Republicans but sadly all we’ve gotten so far are just a few flurries here and there."
"Republicans need to speak up," Schumer said, "because if America doesn’t extricate itself from Donald Trump and his MAGA ideology, it could undercut our American way of life."
In a Saturday post on Truth Social, Trump cited a Twitter report on how the social media giant handled news stories about Hunter Biden's laptop and posed an odd question: "Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION?"
Trump went on to say that the situation "allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution."
In a Monday follow-up, Trump denied saying that "I wanted to 'terminate' the Constitution," even though the original post – complete with the word "termination" – remains on his Truth Social account.
In another follow-up, this one in all caps, Trump again said the election "SHOULD GO TO THE RIGHTFUL WINNER OR, AT A MINIMUM, BE REDONE."....>
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: Samuel Alito playing the role of village idiot, but on a far broader scale:|
<Justice Samuel Alito faced swift and intense pushback for comments he made Monday about a Black Santa, the KKK and an online dating site that encourages extramarital affairs.
His controversial remarks came during the Supreme Court’s marathon hearing on 303 Creative v. Elenis, which asks whether a Colorado web designer with free speech concerns can refuse to design wedding websites for same-sex couples.
If you’re wondering how Santa, a white supremacist organization and dating sites came up in reference to that case, it’s because the justices spent most of the 21⁄2-hour hearing presenting and then debating hypothetical scenarios with a loose connection to the web designer’s quandary.
For example, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wondered if a photographer could refuse to photograph Black children with Santa for his “It’s a Wonderful Life”-themed photo package due to his belief that only white children work for the depiction — so long as the photographer was willing to work with Black children in other contexts.
What did Alito say about the KKK?
Alito’s most challenged comments came in response to Jackson’s Santa story. He put a twist on the hypothetical in an exchange with Eric Olson, Colorado’s solicitor general, asking whether Colorado law would allow a Black Santa to refuse to be pictured with a child wearing KKK robes.
Here’s the transcript of what he said:
Alito: “Justice Jackson’s example of the Santa in the mall who doesn’t want his picture taken with Black children. So, if there’s a Black Santa at the other end of the mall and he doesn’t want to have his picture taken with a child who’s dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, that Black Santa has to do that?
Olson: No, because Ku Klux Klan outfits are not protected characteristics under public accommodation laws.
Justice Elena Kagan: And presumably, that would be the same Ku Klux Klan outfit regardless whether the child was Black or white or any other characteristic.
Alito: You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits, right? All the — all the time.”
Court watchers denounced Alito for his joke about Black children in KKK robes, arguing that it had no place in a Supreme Court hearing.
“I’m going to need Justice Alito to stop joking about seeing ‘Black children in Ku Klux Klan costumes.’ Seriously, what am I listening to?,” tweeted Melissa Murray, a law professor at NYU, during Monday’s oral arguments.
Why did Alito reference Ashley Madison?
Alito has also faced pushback for referencing Ashley Madison, an online dating service for people seeking to have an extramarital affair, during Monday’s hearing.
More specifically, some court watchers criticized him for implying that his colleague, Justice Elena Kagan, would be familiar with the site.
Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript:
Alito: “OK. An unmarried Jewish person asks a Jewish photographer to take a photograph for his Jdate dating profile. It’s a dating service, I gather, for Jewish people.
Kagan: It is.
Alito: All right. Maybe Justice Kagan will also be familiar with the next website I’m going to mention. So next, a Jewish person asks a Jewish photographer to take a photograph for his ashleymadison.com dating profile.
Alito: I’m not suggesting that. I mean, she knows a lot of things.”
The transcript shows that Alito’s reference to Kagan did not come out of left field. He brought her up in reference to Ashley Madison because she had weighed in about Jdate.
Although Alito was almost certainly trying to be funny rather than insulting, HR professionals, among others, would still likely discourage listeners from doing a similar gag in their own office. It’s not hard to see how such a joke could cause offense....>
The rest on the way....
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: Here 'tis:
<....Alito has faced similar criticism in the past
This week’s kerfuffle [sic] comes just over four months after some other public remarks landed Alito in hot water. The justice was faulted for joking that world leaders have come to regret speaking out about the Supreme Court’s controversial abortion ruling during a speech at Notre Dame’s Religious Liberty Summit in Rome.
“I had the honor this term of writing, I think, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law. One of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson — but he paid the price,” Alito said, referencing Johnson losing his position.
Citing the speech, commentators accused the justice of centering “himself and his own feelings” and ignoring the pain his ruling caused millions of women.
In other words, they argued he wasn’t being sensitive to how his comments might land among certain less conservative listeners.
Court watchers made similar observations this week, noting, for example, that Alito must not be aware of how his comments would sound to Black listeners.
“I’m listening but this is really upsetting. The joke about Black kids in KuKluxKlan outfits? No Justice Alito, these ‘jokes’ are so inappropriate, no matter how many in the courtroom chuckle mindlessly,” tweeted Sherrilyn Ifill, former president of the NAACP’s legal defense fund, on Monday.
Some observers went as far as advocating for Alito to lose his seat on the Supreme Court.
Neither Alito nor other justices have publicly commented yet on the pushback to Alito’s remarks during Monday’s hearing.>
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: Mouth of the South casts Fuentes aside, he and white supremacist coterie have hissy fit:|
<According to a report from Vice's Tess Owen, the romance between Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and followers of notorious Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes is irreparably on the rocks after she put some distance between herself and him following his dinner with Donald Trump.
While the former president has been circumspect in attacking the young far-right anti-semitic demagogue, the equally controversial Taylor Greene fired off a tweet stating, "Of course I denounce Nick Fuentes and his racists anti-semitic ideology. I can’t comprehend why the media is obsessed with him."
That, in turn, led Fuentes to lash back out at her, and his followers have since piled on the one-time darling of the Christian nationalist movement.
As Vice's Owen reported, Fuentes told his supporters, "She’s just weak. She goes and says something edgy to get attention, and then when the pressure comes, she buckles. You know, she’s gonna be a MAGA-mom and QAnon and all that, and then the second Kevin McCarthy reprimands her and she loses her committee, she goes and apologizes.”
Noting that Fuentes has taken to referring to her as "Large Marge" in his diatribes, Owen writes that she has become a central topic among the "groypers" tied to Fuentes' extremist movement.
According to fringe conservative Laura Loomer, "MTG is no longer an ally to America First. She may have claimed to be so that she could climb the political ladder, but she has shown she is all talk and zero action, unless of course the action is selling t-shirts and wine glasses.”
Holocaust denier Vince James added, "You are their slave Marjorie, a slave to the Democrats and the Media that you constantly talk about. By that statement [disavowing Fuentes] it just got to show you're living according to the rules of their game, that they've completely rigged against us."
"Here’s my take: grifters are gonna grift, and it’s just sad that we have to go through that kind of betrayal,” far-right podcaster Dalton Clodfelter proclaimed.
According to Owen, Taylor Greene isn't taking the backlash against her lying down, calling Fuentes "immature" and then adding, "What has he ever done in his life? He knows nothing more than anyone else.”>
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: Another SCOTUS justice putting personal views before principle and looking to circumscribe the First Amendment:|
<During oral arguments in 303 Creative v. Elenis at the Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Neil Gorsuch cornered Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson with an unforeseeable question. After noting that a state “can’t change” someone’s “religious beliefs,” Gorsuch brought up Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who was sanctioned for discriminating against same-sex couples.
“Mr. Phillips did go through a reeducation training program pursuant to Colorado law, did he not, Mr. Olson?” Gorsuch asked. Olson began to reply, but the justice cut him off, pressing him again: “It was a reeducation program, right?”
“It was not a reeducation program,” Olson said. Gorsuch asked him what he called it. Olson told him: “It was a process to make sure he was familiar with Colorado law.”
“Someone might be excused for calling that a reeducation program,” Gorsuch retorted. Olson stood his ground, responding: “I strongly disagree.”
In the moment, this exchange came out of nowhere: The justice was harking back to Masterpiece Cakeshop, a 2018 case in which the Supreme Court sided with Phillips (albeit narrowly). And it really wasn’t fair for Gorsuch to ambush Olson with a hostile left-field question about a previous case in which he wasn’t involved. But this grievance is not a new one. The justice has previously signaled his belief that mandatory training for businesses that engage in unlawful discrimination violates the First Amendment. It seems this conviction has only grown stronger. What’s most notable is that today, there may be four or five other justices who agree with him.
To hear Gorsuch tell it, Colorado put Jack Phillips through Soviet-style brainwashing, forcing him to abandon his deeply held beliefs at pain of punishment and embrace the state’s orthodoxy. (He appears to have lifted the “reeducation” language from a brief by Alliance Defending Freedom, the far-right organization representing the discriminatory business in 303 Creative.) The truth is far more banal. For about as long as the law has restricted employment discrimination, it has also provided various tools to ensure compliance with those rules. Among other things, civil rights laws often require employers to inform their workers about what conduct, exactly, crosses the line into illegal discrimination.
Consider, for instance, a department store in which employees rush to help white customers while blatantly ignoring Black customers. A state might order the store to train its employees in the importance of serving all customers equally, regardless of race. Or imagine a hotel whose receptionists falsely claim they have no vacancies when Muslims try to book a room. A state might order the hotel to train receptionists not to turn away customers because of religion. If the discrimination is especially blatant or severe, a state might order employers to provide periodic updates about these corrective measures.
And that’s pretty much what the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did after it found Phillips in violation of the state’s nondiscrimination law. As the Supreme Court itself explained in Masterpiece Cakeshop, the commission told Phillips to “cease and desist from discriminating against” same-sex couples. It ordered “comprehensive staff training” in Colorado’s civil rights law and told Phillips to update company policies “to comply with” its order. The commission also directed Phillips to file “quarterly compliance reports” for two years documenting “the number of patrons denied service,” the reasons why, and the business’ response.
This mandate perturbed Gorsuch so greatly that he brought it up during oral arguments with Olson’s predecessor, Colorado Solicitor General Frederick Yarger. “As I understand it, Colorado ordered Mr. Phillips to provide comprehensive training to his staff—and it didn’t order him to attend a class of the government’s own creation or anything like that, but to provide comprehensive staff training,” Gorsuch said. “Why isn’t that compelled speech and possibly in violation of his free-exercise rights? Because presumably he has to tell his staff, including his family members, that his Christian beliefs are discriminatory.”
When Yarger responded that “a training requirement is a common remedy that is used in many civil rights cases,” the justice was not placated. “But this isn’t attending your training, Mr. Yarger,” he said. “This order was ordering him to provide training and presumably compelling him to speak, therefore, and to speak in ways that maybe offend his religion and certainly compel him to speak.”....>
Gosuck ridin' high again!
Act II a-comin'!
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: Continuation of one man's journey through Wretched Bayou at the hands of SCOTUS:|
<....Gorsuch’s comment reflected a misunderstanding of how civil rights law actually works. The justice appears to believe that states force discriminatory employers to attend “a class of the government’s own creation.” Perhaps he envisions some kind of community college–type course (How to Interact With Gays for Beginners). In reality, though, states frequently outsource compliance training to private businesses; indeed, many law firms specialize in helping companies develop nondiscrimination training to stave off future lawsuits. Gorsuch seems to believe that when the state orders an employer to conduct this kind of training, it has violated the First Amendment.
The consequences of this theory would be vast and severe. As I wrote in 2018, a hotel supervisor who thinks interracial relationships are sinful could refuse to tell employees to let mixed-race couples book rooms. A restaurant manager with spiritual objections to interfaith marriage could decline to train employees in their duty to serve customers without regard to religion. Gorsuch’s theory would extend beyond public accommodations into the realm of employment. Right now, a supervisor can be held liable when they do not stop employees from discriminating. Under Gorsuch’s theory, supervisors could refuse to educate their workers about illegal discriminatory behaviors by claiming that such instruction would violate their beliefs. Imagine, for example, a manager who says he holds the religious view that women belong in the home. He could claim a First Amendment right not to tell workers they must treat their female colleagues equally, citing his faith-based convictions about women’s inferiority.
In truth, a vast amount of unlawful discrimination involves speech. Workplace harassment is speech. Passing over a qualified Black employee for promotion is speech. Firing a worker for becoming pregnant is speech. Giving a student an F because she’s Muslim is speech. Which is why an absolutist interpretation of the First Amendment would destroy broad swathes of modern civil rights law.
It might seem strange that Gorsuch would wish to be the author of this destruction. After all, he wrote the landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County recognizing that federal law bars employment discrimination against LGBTQ people. But the justice has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quality: His occasional progressive rulings are countered and undermined by his extremism on issues like religion. And now, unlike in 2018, there is a real chance that a majority of the court shares his belief that nondiscrimination training requirements amount to an unconstitutional “reeducation program.” The court can wreak a lot of havoc with 303 Creative, most obviously by freeing companies to turn away customers on the basis of their identity. As Gorsuch’s angry tangent indicated, however, the conservative bloc has even more options at its disposal—including an assault on the remedies necessary to make civil rights laws more than an empty promise.>
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: As <fredthebore> continues to gaze into the looking-glass:|
<Still manipulating, always manipulating, looking to make trouble for others....>
Give it a rest, kid: we all understand you have trouble separating others from yourself. Perhaps a spot of analysis will help.
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: The hits keep on comin' for the Orange Poltroon:|
<Donald Trump’s legal woes are going from bad to worse, as he’s just been hit with another bombshell; this time as a spate of court rulings have rejected claims by the former president and some of his allies for executive privilege preventing them from testifying in court. Omg!
Trump’s Court Issues In Georgia
The US Justice Department and a special Georgia grand jury have been investigating whether the 76-year-old twice-impeached former president broke the law as he desperately tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election; and now several key Trump backers as well as ex-administration lawyers, such as ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows and legal adviser John Eastman, will no longer be able to avoid testifying before grand juries in Washington DC and Georgia. Specifically they are wanted regarding their knowledge of – or roles in – Trump’s mission to block Biden’s route to the White House with false claims of fraud.
Following these court decisions, Meadows, Eastman, Lindsey Graham and others will be forced to testify before the Georgia grand jury working with the Fulton County district attorney, who are focussing on the efforts of Trump and his allies to put pressure on the Georgia Secretary of State, amongst other officials, to deny Biden his crucial win there.
What Else Is Trump Fighting In Court?
As well as trying to dodge giving testimony in court, Trump has had courts rule against him for the hundreds of classified documents that were taken to his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort when he left office, helping an investigation into whether he broke laws by holding onto documents that should have gone to the National Archives. There is also the January 6th committee pursuing him for testimony regarding his supporters’ attacks on the Capitol last year. He was meant to appear in court but did not show up, instead filing a lawsuit seeking to avoid having to give testimony or provide any documentation supporting the committee’s investigation.
"Trump’s multipronged efforts to keep former advisers from testifying or providing documents to federal and state grand juries, as well as the January 6 committee, has met with repeated failure as judge after judge has rejected his legal arguments," said ex-justice department prosecutor Michael Zeldin. "Obtaining this testimony is a critical step, perhaps the last step, before state and federal prosecutors determine whether the former president should be indicted. It allows prosecutors for the first time to question these witnesses about their direct conversations with the former president."
Other former lawyers have also weighed in on Trump’s recent court rulings, agreeing that his situation is getting worse with the latest decisions. "Favorable rulings by judges on issues like executive privilege and the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege bode well for agencies investigating Trump," said Barbara McQuade, a former US attorney for eastern Michigan. "Legal challenges may create delay, but on the merits, with rare exception, judges are consistently ruling against him."
Of course, the former president has responded in his typical manner. "I have been going through this for six years – for six years I have been going through this, and I am not going to go through it anymore," he told Fox News Digital in an interview the same day special counsel Jack Smith was appointed by attorney general Merrick Garland to oversee the investigations. "And I hope the Republicans have the courage to fight this," he added.
It does look like the circle is closing in on Donald Trump! Will he be able to fight these court decisions or will he finally be prosecuted for his actions surrounding his exit from the White House? Stay tuned!>
|Dec-07-22|| ||chancho: <Charlie Sykes: Despite the evidence to the contrary we are not, in fact, living through an alternative reality simulation. |
This all actually happened:
In the last two weeks, Donald Trump pledged solidarity with the January 6 rioters, dined with two Holocaust-denying fans of Adolf Hitler, and called for the termination of the Constitution.
And he remains the front-runner and clear favorite for the GOP nomination for president in 2024.
No wonder the right would rather talk about Hunter Biden’s dick pix.>
That and comparing Biden with the Nazis (rinse and repeat), and oh the irony of ironies, fascism happening all over their own little paaahtee...
Bonhoffer's theory of stupidity in action.
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: <chancho>, I have nothing to add to Bonhoeffer's summation you posted in the Rogovian miasma. |
On a side note, <fredthebore> has no right to dictate content here; he doesn't like it, he can pound sand.
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: One comment in <pete>'s forum having been excised, <fredthebore> whinges anew:|
< The comments about ohio member are inappropriate, crossing boundaries, true or otherwise. Singling out individuals for public broadcast is so very wrong....>
I have no idea what comments are meant here, but agree that calling people out is in poor form.
<....Open discussions of others through forums is very unfair. Targeting others is CYBERSTALKING.>
Yet you had no trouble posting screeds against <zed> and myself in your actual page before it was closed down.
Guess y'all want different rules for others, a fixed set for yourself.
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: Time for Walker to break out the coat hanger:
<In the runoff for the last Senate race of the cycle, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia, earning a full six-year term and adding a 51st seat to Democrats’ Senate majority.
Networks began to call the race in Warnock’s favor around 10 p.m. Tuesday night, as Warnock had taken the lead and the vast number of remaining ballots to be counted were from Democratic counties.
Warnock, like the rest of over-politicked Georgia, can now take a breather after three years of endless campaigning. He, as Georgia’s first multiple Senate campaign-winning Democrat in some time, has provided the roadmap for other statewide candidates: Raise what one Democratic source working on the race described to me as “more money than God,” and also, run campaign ads with a dog.
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, now get to relive their recent trauma from Nov. 8
They have just lost their third Georgia Senate race in a row after not losing any for decades. There’s no need to overcomplicate the reason: It’s the same story this cycle of how Republicans lost Senate races in Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Nevada. In each case, the Republican candidate—for all of the midterm election advantages the party enjoyed—was simply bad.
And Herschel Walker, to quote the Republican lieutenant governor of Georgia, “will probably go down as one of the worst candidates in our party’s history.”
Well, he’s certainly had challenges. There were the repeated bombshells late in the campaign regarding… inconsistencies in his posture towards abortion rights. Early in the campaign—before he’d even announced—court documents showed allegations from his ex-wife that he repeatedly threatened to kill her. It wasn’t the only allegation of violence that would emerge from an ex.
Walker displayed a limited understanding of public policy, and, in the last weekend of the campaign, even for which chamber of Congress he was running. Clips of him saying nonsense at campaign stops regularly went viral. It remained unclear through the day of the runoff the extent to which Walker lives in Georgia.
So why, exactly, did Republicans nominate a candidate as lousy as Walker for this prized seat? It’s complicated.
Just kidding, it’s mostly Trump’s fault.
Herschel Walker is famous in Georgia, and he liked Trump. And if you’re a famous person who likes Trump, it’s almost automatic that Trump will push you to run for Senate in any given state. This wasn’t one of those primaries where a slew of relatively competitive candidates entered the race and Trump pushed his favorite over the top with a late-race endorsement, as he did with Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Blake Masters in Arizona, or J.D. Vance in Ohio. Walker entered the race with Trump’s backing, giving him a formidable presence in the beginning. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s team was, as Politico wrote in 2021, initially “worried that revelations about his past behavior would make him a weak nominee.” But McConnell fell in line in the fall of 2021, endorsing Walker as “the only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator Warnock, and help us take back the Senate.”
Walker, though, it turns out, was the only Republican who could not win Georgia in 2022.…>
More on da way....
|Dec-07-22|| ||perfidious: Walker, Georgia dumbass, part deux:
<....This is still a state that was comfortably red until 2020, and Republicans swept every other statewide race on the ballot in this year’s midterms—seven of them—without a runoff. Once they got through their primaries against Trump-backed challengers, sitting statewide officeholders like Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger—who had refused, with unknown powers, to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results—coasted to general election wins. Walker eluded a meaningful primary challenge because he had Trump’s support, and then lost a general election with it.
Trump, with surprising discipline, kept out of Georgia during the runoff to avoid damaging Walker any further. Instead it was Kemp, fresh off a strong reelection as governor, who tried to drag Walker over the finish line. Kemp rallied with Walker for the first time during the runoff, and he appeared in campaign ads to boost Walker. Kemp also lent the Senate Leadership Fund, the McConnell-aligned super PAC, his formidable get-out-the-vote operation.
But Walker couldn’t ride Kemp’s coattails to a victory on Nov. 8 when Kemp was actually on the ballot—and Kemp’s help in the runoff also wasn’t enough.
Walker’s win won’t come as a surprise to leading Republicans at this point. Officials were already well underway dishing out pre-election blame to the New York Times about Walker’s “pace” of campaigning. Warnock had more money, a better ground game, better ad-makers, a better grasp of the issues, and a better public image. Walker had a better college football career in Georgia.
But it must make it sting all over again for Senate Republicans, you know? These midterms, in which Joe Biden was unpopular, the economy was viewed poorly, and Republicans won the national popular vote in House races, Democrats actually expanded their Senate majority. Republicans do have a juicy Senate map to look forward to in 2024. But 2024 is in two whole years. And Chuck Schumer will spend those next two years confirming judges.
The silver lining Republicans can hope for after this final dagger of the 2022 midterms, though, is that after yet another Trump-backed candidate’s loss—following a Nov. 8 election night defined by them—the average Republican primary voter may want to move on from Trump. Republican leaders, themselves, can never convince a base that doesn’t want to hear it that Trump, and everyone he touches, is a loser. But maybe the staggering amount of data in the 2022 midterms can.
Yeah, they can always hope…>
|Dec-08-22|| ||perfidious: 'I can tell them to burn down Congress!! Nyah nyah!!'|
<Donald Trump’s lawyer argued that presidential immunity would protect him from lawsuits even if he had urged his supporters to “burn Congress down” while in office.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America Rally" near the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Trump's months-long effort to toss out the election results and extend his presidency will meet its formal end this week, but not without exposing political rifts in the Republican Party that have pitted future contenders for the White House against one another.
Trump has asserted sweeping immunity against suits by both police officers and Democratic members of Congress accusing the former president of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol in his final days in office. A federal judge in Washington previously rejected Trump’s claim, but his lawyer, Jesse Binnall, on Wednesday made a renewed argument before the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals.
The three-judge appellate panel probed the outer limits of the immunity that Trump was claiming, posing a series of dramatic hypothetical scenarios to Binnall. The lawyer denounced some of the conduct the judges posited but held firm in maintaining that a president would be immune for undertaking such actions.
Presidents do typically enjoy immunity from lawsuits over official acts, which includes election-related activity. Chief Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan on Wednesday asked Binnall if that should apply to a president who urged supporters in a private meeting to go to the polls and intimidate voters to prevent them from exercising their right to vote.
Binnall said that would be “horrible” but that, yes, immunity would apply. He said the line for liability for a sitting president should be drawn at “purely personal” conduct and interests, such as sexual assault allegations or a conversation between a president and their stockbroker about financial holdings. But he suggested a president urging his supporters to question the electoral vote count was merely using the office’s well-established “bully pulpit.”
Circuit Judge Greg Katsas said he was struggling with the fact that the case against Trump involved “at least colorable” allegations that he incited the mob that attacked the Capitol. Katsas then posed the hypothetical of a president urging supporters to “burn down Congress.”
Binnall said civil immunity would apply in that instance too, but he said impeachment and possible post-presidency criminal charges would offer other avenues for accountability.
Building off her colleagues’ hypotheticals, Judge Judith Rogers asked if Trump’s position was that there was no role for the courts even if there was a finding that a president was “seeking to destroy our constitutional system.” Binnall replied that, based on such facts, such acts shouldn’t be subject to civil litigation.
The suits at issue accuse Trump of being part of a conspiracy to interfere with Congress’s certification of the 2020 election results. The complaints focused on his tweets exhorting supporters to come to Washington, citing baseless claims that the election was stolen, and then his speech at the Ellipse the day of the riot in which he told the crowd to “fight” and march to the Capitol.
In questioning Joseph Sellers, the lawyer arguing for the plaintiffs, Srinivasan noted that presidents routinely encouraged people to express opposition to legislation before Congress. Sellers responded that Trump’s interference with the peaceful transfer of power was an “extreme” situation.
Katsas asked if a president would be immune from suits if they urged supporters to peacefully protest and, “unforeseeably,” some “bad apples” engaged in violence.
Sellers said immunity would probably apply, but that Trump’s situation was different because there was a “continuous course of conduct” for which he was responsible.>
|Dec-08-22|| ||perfidious: Would running stronger candidates on, ie, those actually committed to issues other than shilling their master's line 'the election was stolen' have made the difference in the midterms for the GOP?|
<Republicans on Wednesday blamed their loss in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoff election on several factors directly tied to former President Donald Trump, beginning with the scandal-plagued celebrity he chose as their candidate.
Herschel Walker, a former University of Georgia football star with no political experience, failed to unseat Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock after being plagued by questions about his fitness for office. Warnock's win gave Democrats a 51-49 majority in the 100-member chamber.
"You have to have candidates that appeal to the general public," Republican Senator Mike Rounds told reporters. "Herschel Walker worked as hard as he could."
Senate Republicans largely avoided citing Trump by name, but made it clear they saw Walker's loss as the latest in a series, in a year that began with party hopes of capturing the Senate and House of Representatives. Trump's party succeeded in winning a House majority, but by a smaller margin than it had expected.
The Georgia runoff followed losses in Arizona, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, where Trump-endorsed novice candidates succeeded in party primaries only to fall to Democrats in the Nov. 8 midterms.
"Candidates matter, and I think we've lost two or three or four races we didn't have to lose this year," Republican Senator Roy Blunt told reporters.
Republicans said party losses this year also stemmed from Trump's repeated false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him and his use of election denial as a litmus test for candidate endorsements.
"Forcing candidates to take positions that the 2020 election was stolen and making that the principal issue is a losing strategy," said Senator John Thune, the chamber's No. 2 Republican.
"Among the voters in the middle of the electorate, which are the ones that decide national elections and certainly swing-state elections, they just weren't having it."
Trump did not travel to Georgia to campaign with Walker during the runoff campaign, but did launch his own run for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic President Joe Biden in 2024 and drew a flurry of criticism for meeting with a white nationalist and musing about suspending the Constitution.
Republicans also said it was time to reinvigorate their ground game by embracing mail-in ballots and early voting, which Trump has falsely blamed as vehicles for fraud.
"We just need to be able to be aggressive," said Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis.
Walker was one of Trump's earliest 2022 endorsements. The former football star had support on the campaign trail from prominent Senate Republicans including Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott, who chairs the Senate Republican campaign arm.
But Walker, a staunch opponent of abortion, faced claims that he paid for two women to have abortions after getting them pregnant, which he denied. He was also widely known for gaffes on policy issues and sometimes confusing musings, including one riff on werewolves and vampires.
Warnock, who like Walker is Black, is pastor of the historic Atlanta church where assassinated civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached. In a state that was reliably Republican only a few years ago, Warnock spent much of the campaign showcasing his ability to work across the aisle.
Asked if Trump's influence had been a factor, Scott told Reuters: "Whenever you lose, everybody's responsible for figuring out what they could do better ... whatever people do on their endorsements, you've got to figure out how to get your voters out to vote."
Some of Trump's staunchest allies blamed the loss on lopsided campaign spending and the power of Warnock's incumbency, though the Democrat assumed office less that two years ago in a January 2021 runoff.
Warnock's campaign had raised more than $175 million as of Nov. 16, versus a Walker warchest of just over $58 million, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Trump himself faced some criticism from within the party for raising at least $170 million over the past two years and spending little of it on midterm candidates.
"We're losing close elections, and part of it is that we're getting outspent three to one," Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters.
Senator Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach first elected in 2020 with the help of Trump's endorsement, denied that Trump played a role in the Georgia loss.
"President Trump wasn't an issue in this," Tuberville said. "It's hard to beat experience. It really is. It's hard to unseat somebody.">
|Dec-08-22|| ||perfidious: Liz Cheney calls out Gosar and the Orange Prevaricator:|
<....Cheney weighed in on the discourse on Twitter later Wednesday, sharing a screenshot of Gosar's deleted tweet and tagging House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
"Did you see this tweet before @RepGosar deleted it?" she wrote, addressing McCarthy. "Time to condemn Trump yet?"
Last week, Cheney also addressed McCarthy on Twitter, asking the House GOP leader for his "condemnation of Donald Trump for meeting with neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes, the pro-Putin leader of the America First Political Action Conference."
"Last week you wouldn't condemn Trump for dining with Fuentes & West," Cheney tweeted Tuesday. "This week Trump said we should terminate all rules, regulations etc 'even those in the Constitution' to overturn the election. Are you so utterly without principle that you won't condemn this either?">
|Dec-08-22|| ||perfidious: It seems there is one poster who imagines himself privileged to demand the admins remove content which exposes his attacks on others, all while claiming to be simon-pure:|
<Blatant guideline violations above. More of the same abuse of the forum. Take that garbage down.>
|Dec-09-22|| ||perfidious: Another piece on <short-fingered vulgarian, aka big liar>, with a nod to <chancho>:|
<Picking Donald Trump’s worst week is a mug’s game—there are so many from which to choose, and compelling arguments for several—but simply because they encompass so many parts of the Trump experience, the last few days are emblematic.
On Saturday, the former president called for the United States Constitution to be “terminate[d]” in response to his own fake claims of election fraud in 2020. On Monday, he lied about what he’d said and blamed the media. On Tuesday, his handpicked candidate for U.S. Senate in the once reliably ruby state of Georgia lost to the Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock, concluding a midterm cycle in which Democrats defied precedent, thanks in large part to the president’s presence and primary meddling. And then there are Trump’s problems with the law.
On Tuesday, a jury in Manhattan found the Trump Organization guilty of 17 crimes, led by tax fraud and including conspiracy and falsifying business records, all as part of a scheme to avoid paying taxes on the salaries of top officers. On Wednesday, The Washington Post broke the news (soon matched by other outlets) that an outside search team hired by Trump’s lawyers had turned up still more classified documents he took with him when he left office, these ones in a West Palm Beach storage unit.
Together, these two news items show the sweep of Trump’s lawlessness, from the mundane to the unique. The business crimes are a classic small-time offense. The only remarkable thing about that case is that it happens to involve the former president’s company. Meanwhile, in the case of classified documents, the evidence suggests he committed a crime that nearly no person other than a former president could commit.
The revelation of the documents in the storage facility is the latest twist in the ongoing saga of Trump’s removal of public records from the White House. Although evidence that the former president had not complied with preservation laws emerged even before he left office, the story cracked open in August with a very unusual FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. Not only did agents turn up boxes full of documents that seem to have been improperly taken, but some of them were labeled as extremely sensitive, potentially vital to national security.
The newly discovered classified documents were turned over to the FBI, the Post reports. The search appears to represent his legal team scrambling to ensure full compliance with a subpoena, under pressure from a federal judge. Teams also combed other Trump sites to see if materials turned up, according to The New York Times. The Post reports that the unit “had a mix of boxes, gifts, suits and clothes, among other things”—an indication of the chaotic and careless manner in which Trump handles, well, pretty much everything....>
More ta come....
|Dec-09-22|| ||perfidious: Deuxieme partie:
<....In practice, only a former president could possibly have gotten into this situation. Many federal employees have classified or top-secret clearance (and overclassification of documents is a real problem), but when other federal employees are caught removing secret documents, they are clearly subject to sanctions. Trump, meanwhile, has tried to insist that before leaving office, he exercised his presidential prerogative to declassify the documents, despite there being no evidence of this beyond his word, such as that is.
But although Trump has leaned on the declassification excuse, it doesn’t have much bearing on the simpler matter that Trump took records that belong to the American people, not to himself—and other federal employees who removed such documents would be unable to claim brazenly, as he has, that he is the rightful owner of the documents and even demand that the Justice Department return them. His taking of documents and shoddy handling of them is a gross abuse of the trust placed in him as president.
If the details of the document case are jaw-droppingly unusual, the Manhattan tax case is yawn-inducingly typical. The jury found that the Trump Organization gamed the tax system to try to avoid paying taxes on executive salaries: The company gave top employees free cars, apartments, and other perks but didn’t include them in their reported compensation. That’s a simple and straightforward violation of the law—the kind of nickel-and-dime scam that happens all the time, because it’s very easy to do and often not caught. If Trump hadn’t been president, the fraud at his company wouldn’t be national news, and it might not have been been noticed; his prominence drew new scrutiny to his business.
The former president himself was neither charged nor convicted in the fraud case, although prosecutors argued in the trial that he was in on the scheme and personally approved parts of it. (Trump has denied wrongdoing and promised to appeal the ruling.) The Trump Organization was fined $1.6 million, a tiny amount compared with its revenues. Meanwhile, the New York attorney general has accused Trump of a different fraud scheme in which he offered widely fluctuating valuations on properties, allegedly in an attempt to save on tax bills or reduce his loan costs.
For now, however, the Manhattan verdict is largely symbolic—although symbolism matters in politics, as Trump has long grasped. And together with the new classified documents, it demonstrates how no trespass is too large—or too small—to tempt him.>
|Dec-09-22|| ||perfidious: Amy Coney Barrett, of all justices, goes to bat for democracy, rather than being one of those on SCOTUS trying to subvert it:|
<After three hours of oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, only one thing is certain: If the justices want to blow up federal elections, they will have nothing to hide behind—not history, not logic, and certainly not the Constitution. The three lawyers defending democracy methodically dismantled the “independent state legislature” theory from every conceivable angle, debunking each myth, misreading, and misrepresentation deployed to prop it up. They bested the conservative justices who tried to corner them, identifying faulty reasoning and bogus history with devastating precision.
Those of us who’ve been ringing the alarm over this dangerous theory—and who’ve been disgusted by the campaign to drag it from the far-right fringe all the way to the Supreme Court—can take solace knowing that these capable lawyers exposed it as an utter fraud. This idea was at the center of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, so it was a relief to hear five justices sound deeply skeptical that it has any basis in the Constitution. It is far too early to celebrate the demise of the independent state legislature theory, since four justices have already endorsed it. But the skepticism it faced at arguments suggests that democracy has a fighting chance of survival.
If Wednesday’s case, Moore v. Harper, is new to you, prepare to be startled by how ridiculous it is. The petitioners are Republican leaders of the North Carolina Legislature. They are angry that the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the congressional map that they drew after the 2020 census—which was, objectively, an extreme partisan gerrymander. The court found that the map violated various provisions of the North Carolina Constitution, including a guarantee that “all elections shall be free.” There was nothing unusual about this decision: It is a bedrock principle of federalism that state courts have final authority over the meaning of state constitutions. Other courts, including the Supreme Courts of Florida and Pennsylvania, issued similar decisions invalidating congressional districts, and SCOTUS did not get involved.
But North Carolina Republicans decided to use this case to achieve a broader GOP ambition: the revival of a long-discredited doctrine known as the independent state legislature theory, or ISLT. This theory rests on the Constitution’s elections clause, which says the “times, places, and manner” of federal elections “shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.” It posits that this clause frees the state legislature from restraints imposed by the state constitution when regulating federal elections. Specifically, it would prevent state courts from enforcing those restraints when the legislature passes a law that violates them. The usual checks and balances of state lawmaking do not apply, the ISLT claims, because the U.S. Constitution gives power over the “manner” of these elections to the state legislature exclusively.
That’s the argument that the Supreme Court considered, and rejected, in Bush v. Gore. (A young Bush lawyer named Brett Kavanaugh was especially enamored of it.) It’s the argument that Trump deployed when he tried to nullify millions of votes in 2020. And it’s the argument that Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, relied upon when lobbying state legislators to appoint “alternate electors” who would support Trump. And to be fair, it has some superficial appeal: Its proponents like to say that “legislature means legislature,” and that’s the end of it.
But it’s really not, for at least four reasons. First, when the Constitution was written, in 1787, legislature meant more than the specific body of elected representatives who pass laws. The word encompasses the entire power that makes laws—which is why, for instance, a governor can veto a congressional map. Second, even if legislature meant a specific political body, there’s no indication that the Framers intended to cut out the rest of state government, letting representatives flout all the usual rules of lawmaking. State legislatures have always been understood as creatures of their state constitutions, with no special power to bypass the charter that created them. Third, since the start of the republic, state courts have imposed limits on election laws passed by the legislature—a tradition that casts doubt on the hypothesis that the elections clause contains some secret, sweeping limit on their authority. Fourth, even if these three propositions are dead wrong, there’s still no clear, consistent standards that federal courts could use to determine when state courts misinterpret state election law. If the Supreme Court did adopt the ISLT, it would be flooded with disputes over election procedures, with no principled test to decide each case.....>
More on the battle will follow....
|Dec-09-22|| ||perfidious: In the battle for democracy, Alito, Gosuck and Thomas performed according to expectation: 'bleep you!':|
<....The justices pressed these issues through arguments on Wednesday. But before turning to them, it’s worth reiterating the cross-ideological consensus that the ISLT is bunk. A number of conservative legal luminaries filed briefs in Moore v. Harper opposing it, including Thomas Griffith, a former judge appointed by George W. Bush; J. Michael Luttig, a former judge appointed by George H.W. Bush; Steven Calabresi, a co-founder of the Federalist Society; Ben Ginsberg, a renowned GOP election lawyer; and Charles Fried, Ronald Reagan’s solicitor general. In an unprecedented move, the chief justices of all 50 states’ Supreme Courts urged SCOTUS not to adopt the theory for fear of confusion and mayhem at every level of the judiciary.
This outpouring of opposition can be attributed, in part, to Trump’s effort to use the ISLT in service of a coup. Reasonable Republicans recognize a reality described by Neal Katyal, who argued that “the blast radius” from ISLT “would sow elections chaos,” “invalidating 50 different state constitutions” and countless statutes empowering state courts to regulate elections. Katyal was in top form on Wednesday, playing both advocate and historian. The ISLT, he explained, is refuted by 233 years of history, “rejected by the Articles of Confederation, rejected by the early state constitutions, rejected by the founding practice,” and repudiated by the Supreme Court’s precedents. To accept the theory, he told the justices, “you’d have to ignore the text, history, and structure of our federal Constitution as well as nearly every state constitution today.”
Barrett sounded audibly skeptical throughout Wednesday’s arguments.
Katyal faced intense pushback from Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito, three fanatical believers in the ISLT, but he did not yield. He corrected Gorsuch’s bad history when the justice accused him of defending Virginia’s three-fifths clause. (“It’s a nice smear,” Katyal quipped.) He pushed back hard against Alito’s efforts to malign the North Carolina Supreme Court as an out-of-control partisan usurper, explaining that it sought to impose only “ordinary checks and balances.” And he soothed Justice Brett Kavanaugh by assuring him that there could be some “federal judicial review” here, just under a “sky-high standard” of deference to state courts.
Don Verrilli, also opposing the ISLT, did a commendable job conveying the ahistorical nature of the doctrine. He explained that the Founders’ fear of state legislatures’ manipulating elections could be traced back to the English bill of rights, “which was about the manipulation of electoral processes so that the Parliament would be in the king’s pocket, essentially.” This originalist argument infuriated Alito, who asked sarcastically if “anybody ever thought that the English bill of rights had anything to do with” partisan gerrymandering. (Not how originalism works!) Alito continued to slander the North Carolina Supreme Court by mischaracterizing its precedents, but Verrilli deftly corrected his mistakes. You could actually hear Alito rhythmically thumping the bench, which he tends to do when he tries and fails to pin down counsel....>
Derniere ronde next....
|Dec-09-22|| ||perfidious: Independent state legislature theory gets the bum's rush--this time.|
What happens, though, if another thoroughly unprincipled operator has a go?
<....Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar then tied up loose ends, mostly reassuring Chief Justice John Roberts that SCOTUS could reject the ISLT without relinquishing all power over state election disputes. By the time Prelogar approached the podium, the arguments were pointing toward a rough consensus: In rare, extreme cases, a state Supreme Court might misinterpret an election law so egregiously, so indefensibly, that SCOTUS could intervene. In most situations, though, state courts still get final say over the manner of federal elections.
The real debate is exactly how much deference SCOTUS should give to state courts: Should the deference be “sky high”? “Incredibly high”? Limited to cases when state courts jettison “reasonable interpretive principles” or “impermissibly distort, beyond any fair reading, the state law”? The answer matters a great deal, because it will mean the difference between maintaining a judicial check on state legislatures and handing legislators the power to rig elections.
In the end, Moore v. Harper probably comes down to Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh have all endorsed the ISLT in the past. Roberts, along with Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson, clearly has no desire to revive it. So Moore is in Barrett’s hands, and it serves as the ultimate test of her self-proclaimed originalism.
So it was noteworthy that Barrett sounded audibly skeptical throughout Wednesday’s arguments. She was pretty tough on David Thompson, who represented North Carolina’s GOP legislative leaders, suggesting that his “formalistic test” was an unworkable stab at “trying to deal with our precedent,” which cut against him. Thompson tried to draw a line between “substantive and procedural,” but Barrett wasn’t buying it: “As a former civil procedure teacher, I can tell you that is a hard line to draw and a hard line to teach students in that context as well.” She also pointedly noted that Thompson’s standards for implementing the ISLT were not “more manageable” than the North Carolina Supreme Court’s standards for measuring gerrymanders. It was a polite way of calling Thompson a hypocrite.
Barrett’s questions for Katyal, Verrilli, and Prelogar were much more sympathetic. The justice essentially asked Katyal how the court should write a decision rejecting the ISLT. And she strongly implied to Verrilli that SCOTUS did not even have jurisdiction to hear the case. Overall, Barrett sounded eager to end Moore v. Harper with a whimper.
Which is what any honest originalist would be obligated to do. Scholars of American legal history, particularly in the founding era, have lined up in this case to explain why the ISLT is totally foreign to the laws and traditions of this nation. They have presented overwhelming evidence to support their position, evidence that is not remotely countered by the other side. There are so many political factors in this case. It is haunted by the ghosts of Bush v. Gore and Trump’s coup—both confirmation that the ISLT can be manipulated for scurrilous ends. But the promise of originalism is that it lets judges cut through these extralegal considerations and cling to the original public meaning of the Constitution. Moore v. Harper is one of the rare cases in which that meaning is crystal clear. If Barrett doesn’t let politics interfere, she can turn this awful case into originalism’s shining moment.>
< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 64 OF 64 ·
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