• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Ditsie’s Performance at Salon

Brett Kavanaugh is a blend of toxic male privilege and affluenza: A perfect fit for Donald Trump

Kavanaugh already represented white male privilege on steroids; assault allegations are just icing on the cake

by Chauncey Devega  at Salon:

Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is Horrible Political Theater.

With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Donald Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court in the District of Columbia, as his replacement.

During his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh has by some accounts committed perjury. (Even more plausibly, he has committed perjury during earlier confirmation hearings for the judicial post he now holds.) He has been less than forthcoming about his views on women’s rights to control their own bodies, and whether those are being absolute and fully protected by the Constitution.

Kavanaugh’s record also shows that he does not believe that the civil rights of black and brown people and other marginalized groups should be protected.

Predictably, Republicans have done everything in their power to prevent a full and proper accounting of Kavanaugh’s record as a clerk and judge and what this signals about his likely decisions if confirmed to the country’s highest court. Kavanaugh now faces a credible and serious accusation that, along with his friend Mark Judge, he committed an act of forcible sexual assault and attempted rape in the early 1980s, when both were in high school.

It was announced on Tuesday that Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who is now a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about these accusations.

Of course, Republicans, conservatives and the right-wing media have rallied to Kavanaugh’s defense.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah told Bloomberg News that, “If that were true, I think it would be hard for senators not to consider who he is today. He has denied this and I feel bad that this happened to him.”

Fox News commentator Ari Fleischer had this to say:

But high school behavior — how much in society should any of us be held liable today when we lived a good life, an upstanding life by all accounts, and then something that maybe is an arguable issue took place in high school? Should that deny us chances later in life? Even for Supreme Court job, a presidency of the United States, or you name it. How accountable are we for high school actions, when this is clearly a disputable high school action? That’s a tough issue.

Conservative journalist Rod Dreher wrote on Twitter: “In high school, I was physically bullied by 17 y.o. boys, in a sexually humiliating way (but not sex). It affected the direction of my life. They never apologized. Still, I wouldn’t hold that against them if they were nominated for the Court. They were boys.”

New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss said on MSNBC: “What about the deeper, moral, cultural, like, the ethical question here? Let’s say he did this exactly as she said. Should the fact that a 17-year-old, presumably very drunk kid, did this, should this be disqualifying?”

Fox News columnist Stephen Miller (not the White House official of the same name) went so far as to suggest that Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge and Christine Blasey Ford had been playing “seven minutes in heaven.”

This effort by conservatives and Republicans to defend Brett Kavanaugh is a function of unadulterated, raw, unrestrained partisanship. It also demonstrates how today’s Republican Party and conservative movement possess a deep contempt for women’s freedom, autonomy, bodily integrity and full and equal human rights.

Ultimately, the defense of Kavanaugh by Republicans, conservatives, their media and public is a manifestation of America’s rape culture — the latter being neither “colorblind” or “race neutral.”

When Kavanaugh’s defenders make excuses for his alleged sexual assault and attempted rape of Christine Blasey Ford, they are endorsing and channeling white male privilege and toxic white masculinity. In America, these unearned advantages are the almost exclusive province of those who are white and male. This type of white entitlement is also amplified and exaggerated for rich, white, conservative heterosexual men.

Elite white men like Brett Kavanaugh (and of course Donald Trump) represent white male privilege and entitlement on steroids. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh will be the White Male Privilege Affluenza Justice.

Almost by definition, black and brown boys and men are not allowed the protections and excuses afforded to men like Kavanaugh and Trump.

Black men and boys cannot hide behind folksy excuses that “boys will be boys” and cannot present attempted rape and other crimes as some type of “horseplay” or a “game” that they will “grow out of.”

White boys are apparently engaging in “adolescent indiscretions” when they are accused of committing a crime. Black and brown boys are allowed no such safe harbor. We have heard it all this week: “He was just 17, and should not have his life ruined” or be “judged as an adult” for a mistake committed when he was young. These are the mantras and proclamations of white privilege. Negrophobia prevents such excuses and logic from being applied to black and brown boys and other young people. White men are infantilized in America; black boys and men are pathologized in America.

In American society to be black and young, even a child, is to be subjected to a cruel type of “adultification” that can often be lethal. Even when it isn’t, it is nonetheless damaging and diminishing to one’s health and humanity.

The examples are legion.

Tamir Rice was 12 years old when he was killed by Cleveland police. He was a child playing in a park with a toy gun. It took less than two seconds for the police to make the decision to shoot and kill him. The child Tamir was shown no compassion or mercy.

Michael Brown was 18 years old when he was street executed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer and an admitted racist, in Ferguson, Missouri.

Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when he was hunted down and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman would escape justice because of racist “stand your ground” laws that permit and encourage the killing of black and brown people by white vigilantes.

The Central Park Five, a group of black and Latino teenagers accused of raping and viciously beating a white women in 1989, were put on trial and found guilty. They spent years in prison before being exonerated in 2002. They sued the city of New York and were awarded tens of millions of dollars in damages. At the time of the crime, Donald Trump placed ads in several New York daily newspapers calling for them to receive the death penalty. He has never apologized or admitted he was wrong.

George Stinney Jr. was 14 years old in 1944, when he was convicted of murdering two white girls in South Carolina. A new trial and review of the evidence some 70 years later revealed that Stinney, like so many other black people in the Jim Crow South, was innocent of the crimes with which he was charged. That did not matter. He was convicted and executed within three months of his arrest. Stinney was so small that he had to sit on a Bible so that the electric chair could kill him.

Emmett Till was 14 years old in 1955, when he was accused of accosting a white woman. He was later kidnapped, tortured and mutilated and his body thrown in a Mississippi river. Till’s body was found three days later. In a remarkable act of bravery, Till’s mother insisted on an open-casket funeral so the world could see her child’s horribly disfigured body. It was a galvanizing event for the black freedom struggle and one more example of how American bigotry and racism shamed the country before the world.

There are many other such examples. They are not disconnected anecdotes. They are indicative of a much larger problem in America.

READ MORE: I was wrong about the “blue wave”: It’s here. But where will it land and what does it mean?

Black teens and boys are much more likely to be suspended from school and subjected to other harsh punishments, as compared to whites in the same age group. This is the “school-to-prison pipeline” at work.

Black and brown youth are much more likely than white youth to be imprisoned in juvenile correction facilities.

Black youth are five times more likely than whites to be incarcerated. This is not because black young people commit more crimes but rather because of how they are over-policed and subjected to surveillance. This also reflects the fact that black people as a group receive harsher punishments for the same crimes, as compared to white Americans.

Social psychologists and other researchers have repeatedly found that black children are consistently viewed by whites (and some others) as being older than they actually are. This reflects a broader cultural problem where the lives of black and brown children and other young people are deemed to be less valuable than those of whites.

Donald Trump has shown an utter disdain and contempt for the rule of law. Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is best understood as part of Trump’s assault on American democracy. A president who has bragged about assaulting women has now offered a lifelong appointment to the highest court in the land to a man accused of the same thing. This is another stain on one of our country’s most esteemed and respected political institutions.



Remember the Bloombergers Who Harassed Mary Matalin for Forecasting Trump 2016 Victory!

Mary Matalin forecast of Trump Victory Two Novembers Ago……Pray It Will Happen Again and Again!


SPECIAL!! Flake Andrew, the Cuomo Running New York, Says He’ll “Sue” If Supreme Court Overturns Roe!

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: If The Supreme Court Overturns Roe, I’ll Sue

by Allahpundit  at  HotAir:

He’ll sue? Who does he think he’s going to sue, Brett Kavanaugh?

Somehow, some way, this guy is a law-school graduate.

 I’ve said this before but the terrible truth of it bears repeating: Chris is the “smart Cuomo.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’ll sue if the Supreme Court rolls back Roe v. Wade.

Gov. Cuomo has been calling on lawmakers to increase protections in New York.

“We never passed the New York State law because we relied on Roe v. Wade and everyone assumed it would always be there,” Gov. Cuomo said.

When he says “I’ll sue,” he doesn’t really mean anything by it. He’s terrified that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s House primary upset is a harbinger of what Cynthia Nixon’s going to do to him in the gubernatorial primary so he’s making whatever beast-like grunts and whistles he feels he needs to in order to protect his left flank. Next week he’ll be threatening to challenge Kavanaugh to a duel. He’s a clod. But in an indigo blue state, when your daddy was a popular governor, the right grunts and whistles are all you need to win.

As for what he says about New York law being tougher on abortion than Roe, that’s marginally true. You’re free to liquidate your fetus up until 24 weeks but late-term abortions are forbidden even there unless a doctor decides it’s necessary to save a woman’s life. Cuomo naturally wants abortion removed entirely from the Penal Code if possible, which would presumably make the dream of abortion on demand up to the moment of crowning a reality.

Kathleen Gallagher, the director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, a key opponent, said that the governor’s proposal would make late-term abortion available “for almost any reason,” would let health providers other than doctors perform abortions and would eliminate the crime of an “unwanted abortional act.” The latter applies in cases where, for instance, an abusive partner pushes a woman down stairs with the intent of ending a pregnancy. Without abortion being part of the penal code, that partner could still be charged with assault on the mother, but with no crime against the fetus.

He’s going to try to use the lefty froth over Kavanaugh to get New York’s law repealed now. But even if he can’t, is there any doubt that New York Republicans would be steamrolled if Roe really were overturned and the state’s liberal voters demanded full legalization? Cuomo’s scaremongering is an ironic reminder to blue-staters that not only would nothing change in their backyards if Roe were dumped, the new legal regime that replaces it in the state legislature might be more liberal than what Roe has provided them. If that’s possible.


It’s Brett Kavanaugh!

Supreme Court Nominee: And The Winner Is…Brett Kavanaugh

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the pick. Check out Allahpundit’s post about Kavanaugh here. Before we get to some of the transcripts and reactions, let me just point out that CNN Chris Cillizza, who said Amy Coney Barrett was the likely pick because she looked the part, was wrong. Having said that, the oppo is already rolling out against Kavanaugh:


Why NOT anti-abortion Amy Barrett for the Supreme Court….?

Nominating Amy Barrett Would Be Political Genius

by Conrad Black  at American Greatness:

The desperation of the Democrats to stop the apparently inexorable rise of a president they so completely discounted and despised, and assumed they could remove or emasculate just by turning up the volume and activity of their media organ monkeys, may drive them to accidental suicide over the latest Supreme Court vacancy. I have no standing at all to intuit whom the president may nominate. But if, as I suspect, it is Judge Amy Barrett, it would be a tactical masterpiece on the level of Napoleon’s conduct of the Battle of Austerlitz, or Hannibal at Cannae.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Barrett to the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on October 31, by a 55-43 vote. Three Democrats voted for her and two did not vote. It would not be easy to justify changing their votes now, as she has served unexceptionably. At her confirmation hearings, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee’s aged ranking Democrat, asked Barrett about her religious views, and the nominee responded that no judge should allow personal views, whether based on faith or anything else, to influence the imposition of the law. “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that is a concern,” Feinstein said infamously. This was an outrageous comment; Feinstein doesn’t know anything about the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, and she has no idea what privately motivates Judge Barrett.

The fury and haste of the Democrats once the starting gun went off with the announcement of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court, expressed their blind panic that their entire protracted regime of encroachments and embellishments on the Constitution—buttressing their centralized and authoritarian notion of administrative juridical governance with pretense to defending the rights of women, affirmative action, and the legislative role of the judiciary generally—was now under mortal assault.

Both sides have followed the legendary practice of Irish footballers of getting their retaliation in first, and in an astonishing permutation of the ambitions of the country’s founders for a non-political judiciary, have launched massive television advertising blitzes to whip up opinion for and against the president’s nominee, whose identity will not be made known before Monday.

The Democrats seem convinced, and are in any case trying to convince the country, that the president is going to assault the authority of Roe v. Wade, the shabbily reasoned decision of 1973 that gave a carte blanche to abortion on the ground of a woman’s right to determine what goes on within her own body. They have amplified this issue, vital though it is, to personning the barricades for the female sex against the president, and defending it against chauvinism, servitude, serfdom, and concubinage.

Knowing the president as we now do, it is hard to believe that he can resist the temptation of giving battle, putting forth Judge Barrett as his candidate as an entirely qualified, recently Senate-approved, woman judge who is on record as resisting personal feelings in the application of the law, and is in all respects a poster-lady for contemporary career women and for devoted wives and mothers, with five natural and two adopted (Haitian) children. She is a distinguished alumna and 16-year law faculty member of Notre Dame University, former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, a member of the Federalist Society, and practicing Roman Catholic. There are signs, as seasoned and balanced news commentator Brit Hume of Fox News remarked this week, that the Democrats are cranking up to portray her, if she is the Supreme Court nominee, as “a kook.”

It is, in Keatsian terms, “a wild surmise,” but I believe the president is luring the Democrats into a trap constructed of their own witless fanaticism, compounded by his long victory streak as he has stretched them out on the rack of elusive, tantalizing, but evanescent semblances of vulnerability.

Muslim migration, white supremacy (Charlottesville), war in Korea, health care, breaks for the rich and ”crumbs” for everyone else, Russian collusion (now reduced to quarterly onslaughts against Paul Manafort for matters that allegedly happened years before he knew Trump, and down-loaded harassment of one of Trump’s many lawyers, Michael Cohen); it’s all piffle. The Democratic media cannon will fire on command: Joe and Mika, the malignant CNN dunciad, the pitiful wailing sirens of the old networks, and of the Times and Post, will all rage and foam and fume at the nominee whomever it is, but it is the sporadic fire of a defeated army.

I believe the president will nominate Barrett, that the Democrats will take definitive leave of their depleted senses, apostrophize the judge as a Trojan Horse of female submission, that she will clear her hearings with flying colors while the president’s formidable battery of social media and talk show supporters roast the Democrats for attacking an exemplary female achiever and a fine jurist whose only offense is to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church, by far the largest in the country with more than 70 million adherents. Remember, too, the Supreme Court in the final days of its term ruled that crisis pregnancy centers need not advertise  the virtues of abortion with Planned Parenthood, and in 2016 said the Little Sisters of the Poor could not be compelled to pay for birth control and sterilization.

Watch Them Crumble

As at Cannae and at Austerlitz, the center of the defending force (Democrats), will crumble and President Trump will sweep the field. The Democratic playbook of endless ear-splitting allegations of serial outrages by the president, will not, finally, bring him down. On this issue, of mobilizing unfounded sexist paranoia against a flawless nominee, thereby insulting tens of millions of American women and U.S. Roman Catholics, before raising the objections of fair-minded non-Catholic men, at least another 20 percent of the population, the Democrats will immolate themselves in an unprecedentedly spectacular launch of their midterm election campaign.

If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, it will send abortion to the states for individual regulation, not confine reluctantly pregnant Americans to back alleys and butchers. This controversy, if it happens, will also expose the hypocrisy of the Joe Biden-John Kerry school of Catholicism, that in the name of liberality declines to “impose” anything on anyone and redefines the Church of Rome that Christ allegedly asked St. Peter to found, as lapsed Unitarianism leavened by Catholic church-step photo-ops.

With their demand for a rollback of the Trump tax cuts and their affection for open borders, the hydra-headed pygmy army of the once (and future) great Democratic Party will complete the conversion of the blue wave, en route to the electoral shore, to a crimson tide of molten lava. It could be a merciful and early deliverance of the Democrats from rabid Sandersism, the self-destructive fantasy of Democratic Socialism, and spare them a reenacted McGovern electoral suicide.


Democrat Party’s CBS Claims Trump’s Down to Two Finalists

CBS: Trump’s Down To Two Finalists For SCOTUS Picks

by Ed Morrissey  at HotAir:

Will the nomination to replace Anthony Kennedy come sooner than expected? According to CBS News, Donald Trump has narrowed down his short list to two finalists. It’s between a longtime conservative favorite and … a more recent conservative favorite:

CBS News has learned that D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Chicago Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett are currently Mr. Trump’s leading contenders for the appointment to the nation’s highest court.

Kavanaugh and Barrett both appear on Mr. Trump’s list of 25 possible nominees and he’s said he plans to interview about half a dozen potential candidates before announcing his selection. …

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump was in Bedminster, New Jersey. Although the president hinted last week that he might meet with potential nominees there, CBS News has confirmed that no candidates were present on the weekend trip.

How seriously can we take this? There isn’t any reporting other than CBS to back up the idea that Trump has already narrowed his consideration to Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Furthermore as Blair Guild notes in the follow-up, Nancy Cordes also reports that none of the contenders met with Trump over the weekend, so the interviews haven’t even yet begun. It seems unlikely that Trump would have narrowed down his list without conducting any interviews at all on a nomination that will be key to his presidential legacy. On the other hand, Ramesh Ponnuru apparently hears the same thing.

Perhaps Kavanaugh and Barrett are the “top contenders” going into the narrowing process because they’re archetypes of the two strategies Trump has open to him. Kavanaugh has extensive experience in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, is well known to conservative activists, and will be reliably conservative at the Supreme Court. That’s the recipe for the low-key strategy, or at least as low-key as this can get. Barrett exemplifies the in-your-face strategy — small amount of experience, solid conservative track record, and the ability to make this into a high-tension fight with Democrats, as her confirmation last year to the appellate court amply demonstrated. Trump’s long list has potential nominees that fit into either or both slots, but none personify the two tracks as well as these do.

One dark horse could be Raymond Kethledge in the Kavanaugh track. Despite his recent reversal in Carpenter (or perhaps in addition to it), conservatives have started to take note of his originalist bent and the potential sharp departure from Kennedy that it might take on the Supreme Court. Ed Whelan points out Kethledge’s textual approach to the separation of powers, but his hostility to Chevron might put him on the Barrett track with Senate Democrats:

Judge Kethledge’s views on Chevron originate with the text of the Constitution. As he has explained, “Article III of the Constitution vests in Article III courts ‘[t]he judicial Power of the United States’—which means not some of it, but all of it.” Raymond M. Kethledge, Ambiguities and Agency Cases: Reflections After (Almost) Ten Years on the Bench, 70 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 315, 323 (2017). The Framers agreed: “Hamilton said in Federalist No. 78 that ‘[t]he interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts,’” and “Chief Justice Marshall said almost verbatim the same thing in Marbury v. Madison, with all but an exclamation point at the end.” Id. Under Chevron, however, the interpretation of an ambiguous statute “becomes the province of an executive agency.” Id. “One may fairly ask, therefore, whether the doctrine allocates core judicial power to the executive—or perhaps simply blocks the exercise of judicial power in cases where the doctrine applies.” Ambiguities and Agency Cases at 323. …

Some have tried to sidestep the conflict between Chevron and Article III by arguing that agencies are not really “interpreting” ambiguous statutes; they are making policy judgments that have the force of law. To be sure, this way of thinking has one advantage—it better describes how agencies often go about their business. As Judge Kethledge has recognized, agencies that ask for deference often are “not trying to answer the same question that [courts] are.” Ambiguities and Agency Cases at 323. When courts interpret statutes, they look (or should look) for the “best objective interpretation” of the text: in other words, “the meaning that the citizens bound by the law would have ascribed to it at the time it was approved.” Ambiguities and Agency Cases at 316, 323. When agencies “interpret” statutes, however, they are often looking for a “colorable interpretation that will support the policy result that [they] want[] to reach.” Id. at 323.

Although this approach better describes reality, it simply trades one separation-of-powers problem for another. When judges read their policy preferences into a statute, Judge Kethledge explains, “we call it judicial activism”—something that “most observers condemn … as an arrogation of legislative power to the judiciary.” Id. And it is unclear “why the result is any better when the arrogation is done by the executive.” Id. at 323–24. This way of understanding Chevron may “escape the jaws of Article III’s Vesting Clause,” therefore, but “it runs headlong into the teeth of Article I’s.” Michigan, 135 S. Ct. at 2713 (Thomas, J., concurring); see alsoGutierrez-Brizuela, 834 F.3d at 1152–55 (Gorsuch, J., concurring).

As a judge on the court of appeals, Judge Kethledge remains bound by Chevron. But Chevron is not an inflexible doctrine, and it can properly be applied in ways that minimize its harm to the separation of powers. Judge Kethledge has done so in two ways: first, he works hard to find the objective meaning of the statutory text before declaring it ambiguous, and second, he refuses to defer to agencies that fail to justify their interpretations.

Be sure to read both all the way through. Kethledge ended up on Trump’s list for a reason, and the new reading of Chevron might make for a nuanced redirection of the court to oppose regulatory overreach and demand more clarity from Congress. However, it seems a lot more likely that Trump would choose bombast over nuance and try to stick a finger in Chuck Schumer’s eye by nominating Barrett.



Trump Is Going on the Offensive!

Five Ways Trump Can Dominate Everything

From trade to NATO to the Helsinki summit, Trump is going on the offensive. His opponents should beware.

by Jacob Heilbrunn  at  National Interest  

With the resignation of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Donald Trump has fresh wind in his sails. As he prepares to nominate a second Supreme Court Justice and to head to two big foreign-policy summits as well as travel to the United Kingdom, Trump is on something of a rebound from his crisis at the border last week. Writing in CNN, the Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer argues that Democrats have badly underestimated Trump: “The possibility for President Trump to seriously transform American policy keeps growing and the potential for a two-term presidency can no longer be dismissed. This unstable, shallow television star is starting to demonstrate that he has some very real political muscle to keep pushing forward.”

Here are five ways Trump could dominate.

First, trade. After declaring that trade wars are “easy” to win, prudence appears to winning out over bellicosity, at least when it comes to China. For now, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin seems to have the upper hand. Trump backed off his most draconian threats towards China. He might also ponder that British prime minister Theresa May is desperate to strike a trade accord with America to avert the worst effects of Brexit. In June, she explained her dismay at the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump had imposed on Britain and the European Union. According to her, “I am deeply disappointed at the unjustified decision by the US to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminum imports. The US, EU and UK are close allies and have always promoted values of open and fair trade across the world.” She pleaded for a permanent exemption. Trump should push for a bilateral trade deal that is attractive to the UK.

Second, NATO. Trump can easily dominate the upcoming NATO summit either by blowing it up or by turning it into a success. This past Thursday, Trump met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and told him “Germany must demonstrate leadership in the alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions.” Trump clearly sees the allies as a bunch of moochers who have been exploiting American largesse. The mood in Europe is grim, with allies openly questioning Trump. But this provides the perfect setting for Trump to upset expectations of a tense summit. As with trade, his demands have put him in an effective bargaining position—if he chooses to use it. The man who boasts about the art of the deal has a chance to show that he can deal artfully with Europe.

Third, Russia. Trump can burnish his foreign-policy credentials when he meets Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16. Trump has displayed deft public relations skills in meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and now Putin. Trump does not appear to have emerged with an agreement that will actually prompt North Korea to denuclearize, but the meeting did allow him to back off his fire and fury threats and make it look as though he was achieving peace, or at least a pause in hostilities. Congress has crimped Trump’s ability to lift sanctions. But Trump will likely seek to push for progress on Syria and Ukraine. If he can return with an agreement that let’s him start pulling out troops from Syria, it will be greeted with hosannas by his base, no matter what Beltway elites may say.

Fourth, Iran. Right now, Trump is pursuing a very hard line against Iran indeed. The decision of Russia and Saudi Arabia to increase oil production while the Trump administration is seeking to drive Iranian exports to “zero” could also force Tehran into a more conciliatory posture. Maybe Trump will be able to emulate Ronald Reagan and watch as Iranians rise up an overthrow the regime. Another path forward would be a new Iran agreement. Such a move would allow him to perform an end run around his critics. If Trump were to seal a détente with Tehran, he would be could go down in history as the great peacemaker.

Finally, Trump’s opposition. In seeking to bolster his presidency, Trump can count on the fact that he is driving his foes bananas. They’ve started to advocate the political equivalent of Defcon 1 measures to counter his administration. A case in point is an article in the Huffington Post titled “Hey, Democrats: Pack The Court.” It recommends “expanding the Supreme Court bench to 11 justices under the next Democratic president. Other reforms, including term limits to remove aging conservatives, may well be appropriate.” How would reforms target “aging conservatives” alone and not “aging liberals”? The author does not seem to consider that the next Republican president could emulate a Democratic predecessor and pack the court again, raising the number of justices to fifteen or more.

Is a Trump success guaranteed? Not a chance. Perhaps Trump will drive the economy into recession, or even depression, by pulling out of the World Trade Organization or by embarking upon a calamitous war with Iran. Maybe it really will be America alone if Trump blows up our alliances in Europe and Asia, while antagonizing China.

So far, however, his turbulent presidency is already more influential than many of his adversaries ever dreamed it would be. Once upon a time liberals dismissed Ronald Reagan as an “amiable dunce.” History rendered a different verdict. If Trump scores some successes in coming months, his improbable presidency could prove to be a Waterloo for his detractors.



Regarding President Trump’s Replacement for Retiring Supreme Court Judge Kennedy

Meet the Man Who Will Be Advising Trump on Kennedy’s Replacement

by Rachel Del Guidice  at the Stream        Article sent by  Mark Waldeland:

The man who will be serving as an outside adviser to the President Donald Trump for judicial nominations says that he thinks Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement will be like Justice Neil Gorsuch.

“President Trump’s list of potential nominees for this vacancy includes many of the very best judges in America, judges who have records of being fair and independent and applying the Constitution as it was written,” Leonard Leo said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal.

“I expect the nominee to be like Justice Gorsuch, to demonstrate excellence in every respect, and to earn widespread support from the American people, and bipartisan support for confirmation in the Senate,” said Leo, who is on a leave of absence as of Wednesday from his position as executive vice president of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

Leo, who also served an outside adviser on judicial nominations to Trump in 2017, was instrumental in seating Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch told the Senatein a response to question 26 in the Senate’s 68-page questionnaire to Gorsuch that he was first approached about being a Supreme Court nominee by Leo.

John G. Malcolm, the vice president of The Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, says he has great confidence in Leo.

“I have known Leonard Leo for over 25 years and hold him in the highest regard,” Malcolm, who calls Leo a friend, said in a statement to The Daily Signal.

“I cannot imagine a better person to be advising President Trump and White House Counsel Don McGahn when it comes to selecting from among the outstanding men and women who are on the president’s list of potential nominees,” Malcolm said. “I have no doubt that, with Leonard’s assistance, the president will nominate someone who is independent, fair-minded, and who is prepared to interpret statutes and the Constitution as they were written.”

A replacement for Kennedy’s seat could be filled by October, Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

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“I do think it is definitely doable to get someone on the court by October … the logical end game is trying to get someone on who can sit by October,” Severino said.

“The great news here is President Trump has a wonderful list of two dozen of the top lawyers, top judges in the country that have a record of hearing arguments on both sides fairly, impartially and are some of the brightest rising legal stars in the country.”

“I think the hardest thing here is going to be picking which one to nominate,” she added.

Trump released an updated list on Nov. 17, 2017, of potential Supreme Court candidates he would consider nominating to the high court.

The list includes Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Don Willett of Texas’ Supreme Court; Robert Young of Michigan’s Supreme Court, who is retired; Patrick Wyrick of Oklahoma’s Supreme Court; and Charles Canady of Florida’s Supreme Court.

In addition to Gorsuch, Leo previously led outside coalition efforts to support Chief Justice John Roberts’ and Justice Samuel Alito’s confirmations.

In 2004, he was the the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign’s Catholic strategist and was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve three terms as chairman on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Leo was born in 1965, graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in 1987, and finished his law degree at Cornell Law School in 1989. He currently lives in Northern Virginia and is married to his wife, Sally, and has seven children.

Kennedy announced in a letter Wednesday to Trump that he is retiring, saying that it was an honor to serve on the highest court in the land.

“For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honors to serve on this court,” Kennedy wrote. “Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret, and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.”

Kennedy was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court in 1987 and sworn in on February 18, 1988.

He was known for being a swing vote on 5-4 decisions and wrote majority opinions in the court’s gay rights cases such as Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage.

On Wednesday, several conservatives weighed in on Kennedy’s legacy.

Michael Farris, president, CEO, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, thanked Kennedy for his service on many issues but said that Kennedy departed from faithfully interpreting the Constitution in ruling to legalize same-sex marriage.

“We respectfully disagree with those decisions where Justice Kennedy created ‘rights’ not found in or intended by the United States Constitution,” Farris said, adding:

He deeply disappointed many Americans with his constitutional jurisprudence favoring abortion and same-sex marriage. But we also praise Justice Kennedy’s insight and forceful celebration of First Amendment freedoms, his sensitivity to the danger of authoritarian government, and his refreshing desire to preserve and teach the necessity of freedom of speech to future generations.

J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and a former Justice Department lawyer, thanked Kennedy for his service and said that Trump has a significant opportunity to nominate a candidate who is committed to upholding the Constitution.

“I’m thankful for Justice Kennedy’s decades of service to this nation,” Adams said. “He was the last link on the Supreme Court to the great revitalization of American principles by Ronald Reagan. President Trump should continue his demonstrated commitment to advancing judicial nominees with a strong commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Heritage’s Malcolm says Kennedy made a significant impact on the Supreme Court.

“Over his 30 years on the bench, Justice Anthony Kennedy certainly left his mark on the law. It was not always easy to pigeonhole Justice Kennedy’s jurisprudence, except that it was seemingly marked by an occasional breathtaking inconsistency,” Malcolm said, adding:

Hailed by some as ‘King Kennedy’ there was no question that, particularly in recent years, he was usually the deciding vote in close and controversial cases. While he sided with the conservative justices in many of these cases involving religious liberty, civil rights, voting rights, campaign finance laws, and the Second Amendment, he cast the deciding vote in several seminal cases restricting capital punishment and advancing socially liberal causes.

While he had a complicated relationship with conservatives, the Heritage Foundation thanks Justice Kennedy for his many years of dedicated service to our country and for giving President Trump another opportunity to appoint a committed constitutionalist justice to the Supreme Court.


Ditsy Chicks of the US Supreme Court = TROUBLE, TROUBLE, TROUBLE for Truth and Freedom

The plaintiffs in Trump v. Hawaii would have the Supreme Court invent a principle that the president’s powers are reduced when he says nasty things.

by Kyle Sammin  at the Federalist:

 The Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit’s ruling against President Trump’s travel ban on Tuesday in Trump v. Hawaii. In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court held Trump’s order banning people from several foreign countries from entering the United States was constitutional and consistent with the power granted him in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

That the court held the so-called “travel ban” to be constitutional is not surprising; the Ninth Circuit is the most often overruled appeals court and its holdings are often at odds with mainstream jurisprudence. What is shocking is that the decision was 5-4, not 9-0. That four justices — including the more thoughtful members of the court’s Left — were willing to adopt a radical theory of intent-based law shows how deep the rot of Trump Derangement Syndrome goes, and how far activists in the judiciary will go to thwart the man they hate, even when he acts strictly within the rule of law.

The travel ban, which went into effect in its current form in March 2017, barred nationals of several foreign nations (some of which are majority-Muslim nations) from entering the United States, stating that each of those countries “is a state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organizations, or contains active conflict zones.” The order set up a period of administrative review in which its terms might have been further refined. It was also challenged immediately in court.

District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland quickly entered injunctions against the order, which were just as quickly appealed. Writing at the time of the district courts’ opinions, Mollie Hemingway noted the enormous problem with the rulings:

Trump said the temporary travel restriction was needed for national security. In issuing his temporary restraining order, Watson said Trump’s order was a result of nothing more than religious animus against Muslims. The judge’s order is predicated on what he thinks Trump wants to do, not the order itself.

Throughout the ruling, Judge Watson concedes there’s nothing about the executive order that would be problematic if not for his interpretation of Trump’s statements made in the months and years prior to issuing it. He repeatedly states his feeling that Trump had a bad motive in issuing the order.

New Ruling, Same Nonsense

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the ruling but not its bizarre reasoning. Their holding, equally unmoored from reason or precedent, was that while the INA “vests the President with broad powers to regulate the entry of aliens,” it is also true that “[t]hose powers … are not without limit.” That would be reasonable as far as it goes, except that the Ninth Circuit judges failed to identify any such limit in the INA or in the Constitution. They wrote that Trump’s order “conflicts with the statutory framework of the INA by indefinitely nullifying Congress’s considered judgments on matters of immigration,” but fail to identify the provision with which it actually conflicts.

That is because there is no such provision. Congress granted the president broad discretion in enforcing the immigration laws. Ignoring the text, which they admit would allow for the president’s actions, the Ninth Circuit suggested a “holistic review,” including consideration of the “statute’s legislative history … congressional policy… and ‘common sense as to the manner in which Congress is likely to delegate a policy decision of such economic and political magnitude.’”

The law — the thing that passed both houses of Congress and was signed by the president in accordance with the Constitution — is not enough for the Ninth Circuit. They need to mix in “common sense.” And when the court itself gets to define “common sense,” what do you know? They get to call something illegal whether it was in accordance with the law or not. (The case they cite for this theory of interpretation, FDA v. Brown & Williamson, dealt with whether the FDA had authority over tobacco, a completely inapposite point here since no one doubts that in INA Congress explicitly delegated this very power to the president.)

All of this talk of “common sense” and “holistic reviews” is the Ninth Circuit’s way of avoiding the nonsensical implications of the Hawaii court’s ruling, that Trump’s campaign rhetoric against Muslim immigration somehow removes from him the power to act under the INA, even though any past or future president would retain that power.

The Supreme Court rejected the Ninth Circuit’s eccentric ruling, as it often does. Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion for the Supreme Court begins with the law: “Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States undergo a vetting process to ensure that they satisfy the numerous requirements for admission.

The act also vests the president with authority to restrict the entry of aliens whenever he finds that their entry ‘would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.’” The INA, as Roberts puts it, “exudes deference to the President in every clause.” It gives him wide authority what restrictions he may impose, on whom, and for how long. Roberts makes all of these points with citations to the text of the law, a refreshing change after the lower court’s mystical holism.

Trump’s order gave his reasons, but the plaintiffs say that those reasons are not good enough, or else are just a smokescreen for Trump’s real reason: an animus against Muslims. As the court notes, no such rationale has ever been demanded of previous presidents. The court also cites orders by presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, which explained temporary exclusions of certain aliens with a single sentence.

Although only some of the countries named in the order are majority-Muslim countries, the plaintiffs sought to paint the order as prejudiced against that faith. They cite a section from a different area of immigration law concerning immigrant visas to back up their point, but Roberts and the majority were not fooled. Roberts notes that the provision they cite has never been construed as a limit on the one at issue here and that “presidents have repeatedly exercised their authority to suspend entry on the basis of nationality,” as Trump’s order does.

Having established what the law says and that Trump did not violate it, Roberts turns to Trump’s speeches about Islam and whether things he said on the campaign trail can invalidate his authority as president. The answer, which should surprise no one who has thought about it for a second, is no, they cannot.

The very idea is insane. If the law gives the president a power and that power does not violate the Constitution, then any president may exercise it. Going beyond even ordinary lefty rejection of textualism, the plaintiffs in Trump v. Hawaii say the Supreme Court must ignore the text entirely when the motives behind an action are impure. Hillary Clinton could have issued this order were she president because she is good; Trump is bad, so he cannot. And who would determine bad and good? The unelected courts, of course.

This is a serious error in judgment. The president’s words against Muslims may indeed have been hateful and wrong. But campaign speeches do not carry the force of law. They cannot enlarge a president’s powers, nor can they shrink them. The president is not a king whose every word is law. He is the chief executive of a republic, and his powers are those delegated to him by Constitution and statute. No more, no less.

“Plaintiffs argue that this president’s words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance,” Roberts writes, “in violation of our constitutional tradition. But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility.” As long as the order has a rational basis — which the court says that it does — looking behind the order to discern a secret motive is inappropriate.

‘I Don’t Like It’ Doesn’t Mean ‘It’s Unconstitutional’

The plaintiffs in Trump v. Hawaii would have the Supreme Court invent a principle that the president’s powers are reduced when he says nasty things. That idea is found nowhere in our Constitution or caselaw. If the president has the power to do something under the law, he has that power whether he is a jerk or not, whether he acts for the “right” reasons or the “wrong” ones. If a different president would have had this power under law — something no one disputes — it is ad hoc madness to say that this president does not have that power.

In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” It went without saying in those more enlightened times that it was not the province of the judiciary to say whether the law is being used by someone who, in their opinion, is using it for the wrong reasons.

The dissenters, led by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, try to get around this by claiming that the law has no rational basis. But they do so, as Roberts notes, “by refusing to apply anything resembling rational basis review.” What they are really doing, as Roberts writes, is expressing their disapproval of the order and their opinion of the man issuing it. They “challenge the entry suspension based on their perception of its effectiveness and wisdom. They suggest that the policy is overbroad and does little to serve national security interests. But we cannot substitute our own assessment for the Executive’s predictive judgments on such matters,” the chief justice concludes.

There is a difference between thinking something is a bad idea (and you could easily argue that the travel ban is a bad idea) and claiming it has no rational basis and is therefore void. The plaintiffs, the district court, the Ninth Circuit, and Sotomayor are committing a cardinal sin of jurisprudence: coming up with the answer they wish was true and working backward to invent a legal justification for it.

But even if they are correct that the travel ban order is terrible, that does not mean it is illegal or unconstitutional. We in this country are governed by laws, not by a judge’s personal morals. It may be at times that the laws we have do not exactly match our idea of right and wrong, but the answer in that case is to change the law, not to pretend it doesn’t say what it very clearly says.

Many of us found the president’s comments on Muslims to be wrong and hateful, and many of us find the travel ban to be the wrong way of improving our national security. But the theory advanced by the plaintiffs here would be of greater harm still to the rule of law and would create a system in which judges do not “say what the law is” but, rather, say what they think it ought to be. That is the beginning of the end for representative government. That four of nine justices cared more about their personal feelings than the rule of law is far more dangerous to this republic than anything President Trump has ever done.



Supreme Court Backs President Trump’s “Travel Ban”


by Scott Johnson  at PowerLine:

The Supreme Court vindicated President Trump’s final iteration of his so-called “travel ban” order in Trump v. Hawaii this morning. The ruling was 5-4. Although the plaintiffs prevailed in the lower courts, the Supreme Court’s rational wing was unimpressed by the arguments ginned up to frustrate Trump’s executive order. The ruling left Trump free to be Trump and interred the Court’s 1944 Korematsu decision upholding Japanese internment by the Roosevelt administration to boot.

It also reminds me again to thank the Senate Republicans who toughed it out to leave the appointment of the successor to Justice Scalia to the winner of the 2016 election. Thanks especially to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. They took a lot of abuse from the media in an early preview of the hysteria we have endured since Trump improbably won.

President Trump’s statement on the Supreme Court ruling seems perfectly reasonable to me:

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution. The Supreme Court has upheld the clear authority of the President to defend the national security of the United States. In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country.

This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country. As long as I am President, I will defend the sovereignty, safety, and security of the American People, and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens. Our country will always be safe, secure, and protected on my watch.

The Supreme Court’s ruling will not put an end to “the hysterical commentary from the media and and Democratic politicians[.]” The hysteria continues.