Big govt, Courts, Politics

SCOTUS Nominee Now in Series of Senate Meetings

Brett Kavanaugh has begun a gauntlet of pre-confirmation meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell following his Monday night nomination by President Donald Trump for confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice. Vice President Mike Pence and former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have been specifically chosen to guide him through what is expected to be a bitter, brutal and hyperpartisan confirmation process.  Republicans are hoping to have him confirmed by Oct. 1 when SCOTUS begins its new term despite the complication from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) not voting giving a slim 50-49 majority and requiring support from every remaining Republican to put Kavanaugh on the bench.

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

Brett Kavanaugh kicked off his first day of Senate meetings on Tuesday by talking with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and is expected to schedule several others in the coming weeks in his bid to win confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh Monday night, and the judge was accompanied to the Senate on Tuesday by Vice President Mike Pence and former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who has been selected to shepherd him through the process.

Kavanaugh met with McConnell, R-Ky., in the leader’s office near the Senate chamber at 11 a.m.

“I think the president made an outstanding nomination,” McConnell said as he stood in his office next to Kavanaugh, Pence, ad Kyl. “We look forward to the confirmation process and it will unfold in the next few weeks.”

Pence said the White House “is very confident,” the confirmation process will show Kavanaugh “is the most qualified and most deserving” of the appointment to the Supreme Court. None of the men answered questions from reporters about whether they believe they can win over any Democrats.

Kavanaugh is also expected to sit down with another critical leader, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who will decide the pace and timing of Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Grassley has not scheduled Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing yet, and Republicans are pushing to have him on the bench by Oct. 1, the start of the court’s next term.

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Big govt, Courts, Politics

Breaking: Trump Announces SCOTUS Nominee

President Trump has been teasing his pick for the Supreme Court for the better part of two weeks. And the political web has been abuzz with speculation about who the final pick may be. But at 9pm Eastern last night, Trump finally answered all the pundits with an announcement that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the official pick.

At 53, he’ll be one of the youngest members of the Supreme Court if confirmed. And that was precisely one of the president’s goals as he works to reshape the Court with conservatives who can serve for 20 years or more. Kavanaugh brings with him a strong resume from the DC Court of Appeals along with a uniquely conservative record. And that reality has Democrats already preparing for the confirmation battle in the Senate in hopes of blocking Kavanaugh and preventing Roe v. Wade from being overturned.

Here’s more from The Daily Wire…

Over the weekend reports had concurred that President Trump had narrowed down his final choices for the Supreme Court to four.

Those four were D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh; 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Hardiman; 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett; and 6thCircuit Court of Appeals Judge Raymond Kethledge.

All are smart lawyers with high praise from their supporters.

Read more…

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Adriana Cohen, Big govt, Media

Free Speech for the Goose

Editor’s Note: Adriana Cohen is off. The following column is by Laura Hollis.

The New York Times, borrowing Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s language from her dissent in last week’s Janus v. AFSCME case, purported in a June 30 article to explain “how conservatives (have) weaponized the First Amendment.”

The plaintiff in Janus successfully argued that he should not be forced to pay public sector union dues that support political causes he opposes. And the Janus decision was released the day after National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. In Becerra, plaintiffs were pro-life pregnancy centers opposing California’s Reproductive FACT Act, a statute which forced them to promote and advertise for abortion services. Both plaintiffs won their cases on First Amendment free speech grounds. (And three weeks prior, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips won his suit challenging a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision sanctioning him for refusing to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. Phillips, too, won on First Amendment grounds.)

As Times author Adam Liptak notes, passionate defense of First Amendment rights was once de rigueur for self-proclaimed leftists. But now that it’s conservatives who are asserting their rights to free speech, the left is sounding the alarm.

Liptak writes, “Liberals, who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them.” Immediately thereafter, he quotes renowned First Amendment litigator Floyd Abrams, who says, “Now, the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.”

This brief passage obscures an important distinction between traditional liberalism and its more contemporary cousin, progressivism. Historically, liberalism has defended principles, and — subject to very limited exceptions — the universal application of them. Progressivism, by contrast, exalts not universal principles, but specific outcomes (which fluctuate wildly and change when the wind blows). In the progressive worldview, principles are malleable, and useful only to the extent that they achieve whatever the outcome du jour happens to be.

The United States Constitution — and the principles enshrined therein — is no exception.

For example, after tragedies like mass shootings, there are routinely calls for gun control. But now we are hearing arguments that it is time to repeal the Second Amendment. The hue and cry following the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Becerra and Janus cases sounds suspiciously like the first salvos in an attack on the First Amendment.

Here’s a poorly kept secret that the recent Supreme Court cases reveal about progressive objectives: They rarely win in a free and flourishing marketplace of ideas. As a result, progressive ideologues have resorted to legislation and lawsuits intended to stifle speech they don’t like and compel that which they do.

Alas, the left is waking up to the reality that all Americans have free speech rights — not just Vietnam protesters, flag burners and abortion rights activists. Surprise! The constitutional protection that is sauce for the progressive goose is also sauce for the conservative gander.

For all their posturing about the fear of fascism under the Trump administration, it is the so-called progressive left that makes known its loathing for the constitutional protections that get in the way of whatever utopic vision they’re fever-dreaming about today. And it is they, not the Christian right, who have the zeal of the converted on their quest to perfect America by dismantling the constitutional protections for anyone who gets in their way.

It is not hysteria to warn of the need to aggressively protect our liberties. Other western democracies have begun to severely curtail free speech in the name of some other progressive “good.” Author and humorist Mark Steyn spent nearly two years fending off allegations of human rights violations associated with a sarcastic piece he published in Canada about the decline of western civilization, titled, “The future belongs to Islam.” And just last week, a court in England upheld a city law banning prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics. The justice who handed down the court’s decision acknowledged that the city law violated the rights of those who sought to peacefully pray in protest, but insisted that such a law was “a necessary step in a democratic society.” Democracy for me, but not for thee, that is.

Unlike progressives, traditional liberals understood that society is stronger when everyone — even those whose ideas we find distasteful — plays by the same rules.

On this Independence Day, we would do well to treasure the gifts our forefathers gave us, and not trade our birthright as free Americans for the mess of pottage that progressives would force us to eat.

To find out more about Laura Hollis and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

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Big govt, Courts, Politics

Trump Reverses Obama-Era Affirmative Action Regs

President Trump continues to unravel the Obama legacy this week.
After reading a report that Harvard University is intentionally discriminating against Asian applicants in order to ‘diversify’ its campus in the favor of other (non-white) minorities, President Trump acted.
He announced a reversal of Obama administration guidelines strongly encouraging that schools consider race as a factor in admissions in order to achieve ‘diversity’ regardless of grades or other compelling candidate qualities.
Affirmative action is nothing more than reverse racism under another name. We do well to remind ourselves of Martin Luther King’s oft-quoted speech at the Lincoln Memorial in which he hoped people would be judged by the ‘content of their character, not the color of their skin’.
Here’s more from Hot Air…

The Trump administration is advising schools to avoid using race in admissions decisions. The change will reverse guidance issued by the Obama administration which recommended that schools consider race as one factor in admissions. The NY Times reports the change appears to be aimed at having an impact on a lawsuit filed against Harvard University over its admissions policies:

The Obama administration believed that students benefit from being surrounded by diverse classmates, so in 2011, the administration offered schools a potential road map to establishing affirmative action policies that could withstand legal scrutiny.

In a pair of policy guidance documents, the Education and Justice departments told elementary and secondary schools and college campuses to use “the compelling interests” established by the court to achieve diversity.They concluded that the Supreme Court “has made clear such steps can include taking account of the race of individual students in a narrowly tailored manner.”…

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Big govt, Courts, Politics

Politico: Conservatives Urge Woman for SCOTUS

With the news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s impending retirement, Democrats’ plan to oppose whomever President Trump nominates may get a little tricky.

According to a Politico report, conservatives are urging Trump to nominate a woman, most likely stalwart conservative Amy Coney Barrett.

If he does, Democrats in the Senate will be faced with the prospect of appearing anti-woman just ahead of the November elections.

Recall Barrett was assailed by Democrats — Sen. Diane Feinstein in particular — last year during her confirmation hearing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Things went south when Feinstein attacked Barrett for her devout faith charging that “the dogma lives loudly within you.”

Here’s more from Hot Air… 

How can Donald Trump best indemnify himself against political attacks over his upcoming Supreme Court nomination? Some conservatives concerned about the optics of replacing Anthony Kennedy, the center square on abortion issues for the last generation, have a strategy in mind, reports Politico’s Josh Gerstein. And that’s to play a little identity politics with the party that usually masters it:

No matter whom President Donald Trump picks for the Supreme Court this time around, the nominee is almost certain to come under withering liberal attack as a grave threat to women’s rights. Several conservatives close to the White House, however, say they know just how to blunt that looming assault: Pick a woman for the job.

With Roe v. Wade appearing to hang in the balance, the battle to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy will be an order of magnitude more intense than the fight last year over filling the seat left vacant after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Choosing a female nominee could turn down some of the heat on the abortion issue, give some political cover to female Republican senators like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, and complicate the imagery in TV ads that are expected to savage the nominee, whoever he — or she — may be.

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Big govt, Politics

Trump Just Made It Easier to Fire Federal Bureaucrats

One of the most pervasively corrosive aspects of federal bureaucracy — in addition to wasted taxpayer dollars and gross inefficiency — is the near impossibility of firing unionized federal employees.

But that is about to change after President Trump signed three separate executive orders making it easier to ax do-nothing bureaucrats.

Among the orders is a recommitment to merit-based employment which means people will be terminated more quickly for non-performance.

Another order puts restrictions on the union-related business bureaucrats can conduct.

And the last order cuts salaries for negotiators whose sole job is to drag out long and costly contract negotiations with federal unions.

In short: American taxpayers should get what they pay for, and now that’s closer to becoming a reality.

Here’s more from Daily Caller…

President Donald Trump issued three executive orders Friday to prevent unions from protecting government employees who don’t perform in their jobs.

Critics say Trump is stripping unions of their power by changing how federal agencies approach collective bargaining agreements, but the administration says the goal is to protect taxpayers from overspending on labor.

“By holding poor performers accountable, reforming the use of taxpayer-funded union time, and focusing negotiations on issues that matter, we are advancing our efforts to elevate the federal workforce,” Jeff T.H. Pon, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, said.

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Big govt, Politics

McCabe Bought Outrageous Conference Table, FBI Hides

A few days ago we reported that Sen. Chuck Grassley issued a demand to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to turn over the full transcript of the 300-plus text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

The original copies sent to the Senate by the FBI were heavily redacted, so much so that very little of the content was discernible.

Among those redactions were details not materially related to the investigation by Congress of potential collusion and obstruction by the FBI.

And now we know that one of those redactions was the cost of a new conference table ordered by Mr. Honesty himself, recently fired Andrew McCabe.

We now also know he misled Congress by attempting to hide the fact that he spent 70 grand…on a table!

So, while he was presiding over efforts by the bureau to aid Hillary’s election, he was living high on the taxpayers’ dime.

Typical.

Here’s more from BizPacReview…

Disgraced former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, an Obama holdover who was fired for lying to the FBI, used taxpayer money to buy a $70,000 conference table and then tried to hide it from Congress.

McCabe’s cronies in the FBI redacted the table’s outrageous price tag when they turned over documents that the Senate Judiciary Committee had requested for months. The redactions caused a delay in the FBI handing over the documents to the committee, which oversees the agency.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on May 24, Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged the FBI to stop slow-walking document requests in an attempt to redact out embarrassing information.

Grassley said there is no national-security reason to edit out the cost of office furniture and cause unnecessary delays in document production. The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating the DOJ’s dubious role in special counsel Robert Mueller’s fruitless investigation of Trump-Russia collusion.

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Big govt, Politics

Senate Demands FBI Release All of Strzok-Page Texts

With as much egg on its face as the Federal Bureau of Investigation already has, one might think agency heads would be playing nice with Congress.

Not so. Despite that the text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were recovered after being ‘lost’, the FBI sent over nearly 50 pages of heavily redacted transcripts to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And it’s plainly obvious many of those redacted texts have nothing to do with national security.

So what is the FBI hiding?

We may soon find out after Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein this week demanding he turn over full transcripts to Congress within two weeks…or else.

Here’s more from Daily Caller…

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley called Wednesday for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release unredacted copies of the texts between two former FBI employees who were highly critical of President Donald Trump.

“Please provide unredacted copies of all text messages produced to the Committee no later than June, 6, 2018,” Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, wrote in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “Should the Department continue to refuse to provide fully unreacted copies to Congress, please provide a privilege log describing the legal basis for withholding that information from Congress.”

The chairman claims one redaction covered the costs of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table. He also points to one text exchange wherein an official’s name is redacted in reference to the “Obama White House ‘running’ an investigation,” making it unclear what investigation the FBI employees were referencing.

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Big govt, Politics

Clinton Pollster: Mueller Probe ‘Must Now Be Stopped’

So the fellow responsible for polling in both the Bill Clinton and Hillary campaigns appears to have just eaten his own young this week.

In an op-ed for The Hill, Mark Penn blasted the FBI (the Obama FBI, that is) for running a pseudo-investigation under Robert Mueller which in all truth was merely an opposition research operation gone awry.

With the revelation that the FBI inserted a mole into the Trump campaign for the express purpose of digging up dirt to justify a warrant and investigation, whatever shred of credibility the agency had left is now gone.

Penn is calling for an immediate end to the Mueller witch hunt, which is the best sign so far that this whole FBI charade is beginning to implode.

And ironically it may be the very thing that propels Trump to reelection in 2020…and the Democrats to defeat in November.

Here’s more from Fox News…

Former Clinton pollster Mark Penn blasted Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation on Monday, warning the special counsel’s team of a looming “reckoning” and calling for the probe to end.

Penn — who served as a pollster and adviser to former President Bill Clinton and a chief political strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign — said “this process must now be stopped, preferably before a vote in the Senate.”

“Rather than a fair, limited and impartial investigation, the Mueller investigation became a partisan, open-ended inquisition that, by its precedent, is a threat to all those who ever want to participate in a national campaign or an administration again,” Penn wrote in an op-ed for The Hill.

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Big govt, Politics

Confirmed: FBI Inserted Mole Into Trump Campaign

Multiple media outlets, including the New York Times, have confirmed that the FBI inserted a mole into the Trump campaign for the purpose of building justification for the investigation that was supposed to have destroyed him before the election.

And all the obfuscation and foot-dragging by multiple heads of the bureau weren’t enough to prevent the truth from coming out.

So, just to put a finer point on it, the FBI used a fake dossier — paid for by the DNC and Hillary’s campaign — in order to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil and investigate the campaign.

And much of the intel that led to that dossier was provided by the mole, which we now know to be former CIA operative Stefan Halper.

The ‘crazy’ tweets by Trump about a witch-hunt have turned out to be true.

And the FBI has no alibi.

Here’s more from Western Journal…

The political scandal of the decade is brewing in Washington, D.C., and it may leave President Donald Trump in a very different position than his enemies wish: Not destroyed, but largely vindicated.

Details have finally started to emerge about an establishment-led effort to plant a “mole” within the Trump campaign, and evidence is beginning to mount that its goal was to undermine and derail his run for office.

The facts are suggesting something chillingly sinister: A government operative directed by the Obama-run FBI purposely infiltrated the campaign of a candidate with the training and background needed to destabilize elections.

In a detailed piece published by The Intercept, investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald summarized the scandal and gave a blow-by-blow account of how its beginning to unravel.

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