Administrative State • America • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Immigration • Law and Order • Post • The Courts

Depose the Deep State or a Wall Is Meaningless

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Last week in the Russian collusion saga, we learned that the FBI opened an investigation into the president because it disagreed with him on a matter of foreign policy.

Yes, the agency first formed to catch people who crossed state lines with white women to have sex—and that now keeps secret files on UFOs—surmised in the aftermath of the 2016 election that Donald Trump might be an agent of the Kremlin because he favored diplomatic rapprochement.

Much can be inferred from this, not the least of which is that our chief law enforcement officers are idiots. Maybe not the gumshoe “just the facts ma’am” guys you know from the church picnic, but certainly the ones who ran the place who are now getting big-money book deals as they fend off indictment.

Beyond Andrew McCabe’s monumental stupidity, though, investigating the president for treason confirms that there is a deep state with an agenda separate from the will of the electorate.

It means, at some level, that America is governed by unelected bureaucracies that were originally created to assist the various branches in carrying out their ministerial functions.

These have grown, by mission creep, into a shadow government so cocksure of its impervious reach that it does not even hide its nefarious intentions.

Welcome Bravado in the Face of Deep State Defiance
Do you want to know how cocksure? Well, recall former FBI counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok’s annoying smirk as he testified falsely before the United States Congress, and it’s at least that much.

As Trumpism devolves into a debate over a wall, with “wallriors” like Ann Coulter telling everyone that building a wall was the sine qua non of Trump’s presidency, here’s a little reminder.

The wall is important, sure. But people did not vote for Trump out of heartfelt certainty that he would build a wall. No, people voted for Trump because he said he would build a wall.

That may seem to be a distinction without a difference, but let me explain.

By the time of the last election, people where I am from—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—were noticing that everyone in Washington was droning the same monochrome politically correct Bush-Clintonism about everything. There really wasn’t much difference between Bush III and Clinton II.

Elected officials were not so much enacting and enforcing laws—which is the sole expression of their delegated authority—as they were defying laws to “do the right thing” so they would not be accused on CNN of starving children.

Immigration loomed large because it perfectly exemplified the problem: Washington was refusing to enforce immigration laws over ginned up moral qualms.

And, imagine that, the phony moral posing just happened to serve big money donors at the expense of workers who were having their wages driven down by abundant cheap labor.

It was not just immigration, though. The secretary of Health and Human Services was telling nuns to buy condom insurance and federal judges were intruding to order high schools to provide separate bathrooms, for boys, for girls, and for anyone who identified as something else.

People were fed up.

A candidate who said, “I will enforce the law” would not have sufficiently driven a stake into the heart of Washington’s preening conceits.

Voters wanted someone who demonstrated his defiance. “I’m going to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it” was welcome bravado. It showed voters that the speaker did not care a whit about pleasing CNN.

The only way to fix illegal immigration was to elect that guy. Whether or not he ever built a wall was secondary.

Solve the Real Problem
If you’ve been watching you know that even if a wall is built, the establishment will simply get their federal judges to tell bureaucrats to entertain asylum applications at all points of entry, and illegals will enter through the gates.

They will be given accommodations at motels in El Paso while their asylum applications are processed and will disappear into the night from there. Or some unassailable expert will come up with another tortured civil rights pretext to let everyone in.

So long as the wall has gates, it does not solve the problem of Washington insiders refusing to enforce immigration laws. Which is kind of what General Patton meant when he said, “fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.”

Of course, the wall is where the political battle is now being waged and President Trump cannot capitulate, or they win.

But, as working-class voters who elected Trump know, the real problem is unpunished freelancing by the deep state that regards laws as something for the little people.

Want to stop illegal immigration? Well, then, someone please wipe that smirk off Peter Strzok’s face. Depose the deep state or a wall is meaningless.

There has been a nighttime warrant executed on the president’s personal lawyer to root through his private files to find something, anything, to cause damage. Trump’s one-time campaign manager is in solitary confinement.

This is a coup d’etat.

Trump is under your skin, Swamp Things, I get that. But we’re in charge, not you. That is what elections mean. We want our wall. Or fence. Or wall-and-fence combo with stepped-up border security.

If the president wants to support legislation that gives “dreamers” a three-year stay of deportation in exchange for a wall, that’s how politics works—compromise.

At least it would be an exception adopted into law. Which is preferable to the present regime, where laws are ignored.

And no, wallriors, the wall is not everything. The whatfor of Trumpism is a restoration of constitutional governance even if it defies the preferences of our betters in Washington.

Drain the swamp and the rest will follow.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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America • American Conservatism • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Greatness Agenda • Post • Pro-Life • The Courts • The Culture

MAGA and the Pro-Life Movement Need Each Other

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Many MAGA adherents may think pro-lifers are whiny or too focused only on abortion. But without the right to life, the reinvigoration of a recognition of the people’s sovereignty that the MAGA-types yearn for is but a wistful dream and useless to boot; for the right to life precedes all other rights. And while pro-lifers might find MAGA-ites distasteful, yoked to a man they find morally subpar, the surest path to attain their ultimate victory over the culture of death is to recognize that MAGA articulates ideas and embodies a political posture essential to that victory.

America will rise or fall on the strength of the bond between MAGA and the pro-life movement, their ability to work together and learn from one another to “secure the Blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our Posterity.”

On Friday, I was privileged to join hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers who descended upon Washington, D.C. for the 46th annual March for Life. These marchers added themselves to the ranks of the millions of marchers from years past who bore witness to the truth that the legalized slaughter of tens of millions of our tiniest brothers and sisters is a horrendous moral atrocity. Our country’s abortion regime threatens us all because it attacks the inalienable right to life at its root. For decades, we have gathered to protest the mass destruction of an unfathomable number of the most defenseless and innocent among us—and we will continue to do so until abortion is recognized as the horrific crime it is.

And yet abortion remains as legal as it was when Roe v. Wade was handed down by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. But the pro-life movement can do more to hasten the long-awaited termination of the most immoral system of dehumanization since chattel slavery; it can learn from the original expositor of “MAGA”: Abraham Lincoln. How?

By drawing more explicitly and fervently upon the fruits of his statesmanship and moral-intellectual worldview.

Christians believe that Christ’s Passion, death, and resurrection secured the ultimate and definitive victory over sin and death; in other words, the eschatological battle has already been won, but each of us must draw upon its salvific power in our daily lives to defeat the evil that has not already been made His footstool in the here and now.

In much the same way, Lincoln’s political defeat of slavery is the paradigmatic victory over those who would deny the Declaration’s principle of moral equality. From this foundational, “self-evident” truth—“that all men are created equal”—we discern our sovereign right to self-government. We can draw upon the lessons of Lincoln’s careful, mid-nineteenth century victory to defeat a remaining, tyrannical force—the pro-choice faction—who dehumanize and destroy those who stand in their way to power, prestige, and pleasure.

Lincoln knew that slavery was a grievous affront to our rights as articulated in the Declaration of Independence. Because of fatal compromises at the founding, however, the truths of the Declaration at the level of principle could be ignored in practice by a slave power—one that eventually would become the Confederacy—built on the backs of subjugated and brutalized African Americans and legitimized by our compromised Constitution.

To rectify this grave injustice and preserve the Union, Lincoln successfully prosecuted the Civil War and reified a correct reading of the Constitution in light of Declaration principles, which later were solidified in the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.

His prudent statesmanship and moral courage brought an end to the slave power, and because of his actions, rhetoric, and the legal change precipitated and effected by both, we now possess the intellectual, legal, cultural, and moral resources to effect a similar—but, we hope, bloodless—devastation upon the abortion power.

Lincoln forged an anti-slavery, pro-equality constitutional consensus in the bloody crucible of civil war; it is a consensus that we are now in danger of squandering. While that consensus has its own momentum and inner logic, it, and the principles of the Declaration that animate it, are not self-executing. “Self-evident” does not mean “obvious,” so there must be a political movement in support of these principles at all times. No political movement is viable that does not include adherents who are, when challenged, willing to fight, as Lincoln was willing to fight against slavery.


Fighting on behalf of such fundamental principles needn’t always be violent, even as its adherents must be willing to be. Thus, while we don’t now march upon Gettysburg, we can instead march peacefully upon the Supreme Court, a body ultimately responsible to “We the People,” and demand respect for the principles that Lincoln already showed us undergird our liberty. But peace, though precious, is hard to maintain when a consensus for the principles of liberty is not also maintained.

The pro-life movement needs to become more steeped in the political ramifications of its heritage; otherwise, we will never stamp out abortion. Abortion is perhaps the most radical denial possible of the principle that all human beings are created equal and cannot be ruled without their consent.


Those who would deny us our right to life certainly would deny us our sovereign right to govern ourselves, and those who would deny our sovereignty eventually will deny us our right to life.

It is therefore not surprising that we see the progressive Left—which increasingly militates against the principles of the Declaration as well as the Constitution itself—is opposed to both rights: our right to self-government and our right to life.

Pro-lifers need an iron will like Lincoln’s to fight pro-choice, anti-equality zealots, and they need also to study and emulate his political savvy; and MAGA needs something important enough to fight for. Unless they work together, our divided house—which admirably weathered the struggle over slavery—will collapse under the weight of 60 million tiny corpses.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

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Administrative State • America • Donald Trump • Immigration • Political Parties • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • The Resistance (Snicker)

Why the Citizenship Question Matters

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The Judicial Resistance has struck again. As I have explained here and here, the historic 2016 election revealed how our federal courts have harnessed their power to stifle any change on the cardinal issue of the day and the signal issue defining the division between the American Left and Right: illegal immigration.

The Judicial Resistance made its first strike two years ago, invalidating the so-called “travel ban” on multiple occasions, forcing President Trump to narrow the ban to a near-nullity. It struck again in blocking President Trump’s efforts to withdraw federal funding from states that refuse to enforce federal immigration law. And it struck yet again, just last month, when a district court issued a nationwide injunction mandating that the Trump Administration must permit the Central American caravaners to stay in the United States for as long as it takes to process their asylum claims.

Now, in a 277-page opinion issued Tuesday, Judge Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan held that the Trump Administration’s decision to place a citizenship question on the 2020 census was illegal. Judge Furman rested his opinion on two principal reasons. One, Judge Furman claimed that the administration’s decision violated the Census Act by failing to report the change to Congress. Two, he deemed the administration’s decision to be “arbitrary and capricious” in failing to consider the extent to which this census change would lead to an underreporting of persons in immigrant households and a resulting financial and political cost for areas with significant immigration. Because the failure to consider this impact was “arbitrary and capricious,” Judge Furman concluded it violated the Administrative Procedures Act, the federal law governing the procedural requirements that administrative actions must follow.

Judge Furman’s decision is important, both for the American Left and Right, and for this reason it is almost certain to reach the Supreme Court. For the Left, the census question is important, because as William Frey at Brookings writes, the addition of the citizenship question might lead to census underreporting, thus depriving urban residents, ethnic minorities, and high-immigrant states of federal funding and political representation. According to Frey, the state most likely to be harmed from this census question would be California and the state most likely to benefit would be West Virginia.

For the American Right, the census question is instrumental in determining just how many illegal immigrants are in the country. This is a critical question, because the mainstream media continues to claim that there are nearly 11 million such persons, despite a recent exhaustive MIT-Yale study finding that the number is likely more than twice that amount. Much of the controversy over The Wall turns on determining how big of a problem illegal immigration actually is—and that requires determining precisely how many illegal immigrants are in the country. Judge Furman’s decision is a strike against answering that critical question.

In waging this attack, Judge Furman’s decision bears three indelible marks of the Judicial Resistance. Like the other cases, the census decision arose from the collusion of civil-rights organizations (such as the ACLU) and powerful liberal states (the lead plaintiff in this case is the State of New York). This is a testament to how the nation’s leading civil rights organizations and liberal judicial activists no longer operate to resist the state; they now operate in tandem with the state.

And like many of the other Judicial Resistance cases, Judge Furman’s census decision used traditionally conservative principles of legal interpretation to reach the desired political result. For example, the travel-ban decisions invoked a strict separation of powers to limit President Trump’s discretion over our borders. Similarly, the sanctuary-city decisions invoked federalism principles and the 10th Amendment to limit the administration’s power over state and local obligations to enforce federal immigration law. And Judge Furman’s decision used principles designed to reign in the administrative state to prevent the Trump administration from using the census to answer a pressing demographic question.

This should not fool anyone to believe that liberal judges actually believe in these principles or will eventually use them to curb the next Democratic president. Judge Furman’s decision, for example, refused to resolve New York State’s equal-protection claim under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, because Judge Furman claimed that, at this point, there is not sufficient evidence to reveal a racial animus underlying the administration’s decision. On its face, this might seem like an exercise in judicial restraint. But it is, in fact, a careful legal maneuver by a skilled legal technician. Indeed, by framing the decision this way, Judge Furman was able to discuss how racist the administration is (Kris Kobach’s and Steve Bannon’s roles in the census question are discussed throughout the opinion) without opening up Judge Furman’s decision to a reversal on that ground by an appellate court.

Finally, like many of the other judges leading the Judicial Resistance, Judge Furman is a President Obama appointee, and a well-connected one, firmly entrenched in the progressive elite (his mother is Gail Furman, a wealthy Democratic party activist and donor; his father is Jay Furman, a New York City real-estate mogul; his brother is Jason Furman, Obama’s chief economic adviser in the 2008 campaign and Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers chair; and his wife is a former Columbia law professor and current head of the Heschel School).

Judge Furman’s decision might be reversed, but the impact of this ruling is permanent, as it represents yet another step in a disconcerting direction. Our elites are increasingly more concerned about those seeking to make a new life in California than those who are losing their way of life in West Virginia. Whatever one thinks about the census decision, this is not a trend any of us should be celebrating.

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Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Environment • Post • The Constitution • The Courts

The Celebrated Fake Frog That Is Taking Down the Deep State

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When President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the top constitutional lawyers in the country shared one predominant hope and expectation. Before the hearings, I spoke with five of the men who fought and won hard Supreme Court battles for religious freedom, property rights, and freedom of speech. All of them told me the same thing: the Kavanaugh court will take on the administrative state.

Recently, I received an email from the Pacific Legal Foundation that their hopes are coming true. It is a comic tale of frogs, mice, and deep state overreach, but far from trivial for America’s future.

President Trump, we are often told, is not a principled man, certainly not a constitutionalist. These critics mistake a habit of abstract thinking for principles. President Trump has a patriotic grasp of the essentials. He ran on the promise to appoint top quality, conservative judges, and unlike the GOP political class, he takes pride in keeping his pledge to voters over donors. Trump used the constitutional experts at the Federalist Society to draft his list of candidates, unlike the politically safe Bush appointments, which irresponsibly added to the liberal court majority.

President Trump’s appointees, Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh, are now showing their mettle.

With liberals dominating the federal agencies and the courts, the Environmental Protection Agency’s power has grown decade by decade—that is, until President Trump appointed these two strong constitutionalists to the Supreme Court. The EPA is on the front lines of this battle because its rulings directly impact private property and economic freedom.

Without property rights, we have no freedom. The founding fathers understood that private property is the boundary which limits the tyranny of state power. As David D’Amato wrote, the leftist assault on liberty preaches that private property is inherently unjust. The sanctity of your private property has no place in their dystopia of social justice under an all-powerful state.

Enter President Trump’s new conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In the very first case of the new term, the court, with Kavanaugh taking his seat, took on a seemingly comical case that goes to the heart of government overreach.

Constitutional Ground Zero
The Supreme Court, since 1984, has been guided by the precedent that administrative regulations are the specialized work of “experts,” creating the infamous “Chevron deference,” that gives federal bureaucracies the right to create rules with the force of law but not subject to judicial review.

Ordinary people victimized by federal regulations often find little recourse in the courts. The deep state gets away with no judicial limits to their power. This is rule without law.

Politicians take advantage of this unwise court deference by writing vague laws, seemingly uncontroversial, and pass on the writing of the concrete—and at times politically explosive—details to unelected bureaucrats. Bureaucrat diktats are set above the courts. Thus, the Supreme Court’s Chevron deference throws open a wide door to government action without accountability to voters.

The impact on America has been devastating. Flying in the face of everything our founders accomplished, judicial deference to the bureaucracy allows government power to grow unchecked. And grow it has. It has meant a diminishment of our liberty and our prosperity.

Robert Alt, head of the Buckeye Institute, told me that we now have 4,500 federal criminal laws, that is, laws passed by Congress. That may sound like a lot but compare it to the 300,000 federal regulations written by unelected administrators. Bureaucratic rules are not insignificant when they carry criminal penalties. These 300,000 regulations are more powerful than any law, because no one is politically responsible for them, and the courts rarely review them.

The EPA is ground zero in the constitutional battle surrounding the rule of law, balance of powers, and limits on powers. Activists at the EPA hide behind the respect we give to scientists and our desire to protect nature and human health. They take popular, important safeguards, and pervert them into unscientific, unfair, and undemocratic power grabs. The EPA’s abuse of the Endangered Species Act is a power tool in the liberal shed that seeks to diminish property rights and limit economic activity.

Fighting a Mythical Jumping Mouse
The Pacific Legal Foundation emailed happy news about their victory against administrative overreach, “The U.S. Supreme Court gave PLF client Edward Poitevent—and all Americans—another huge reason to give thanks.”

The federal government designated this farmer’s private property in Louisiana a critical habitat for a threatened frog that does not—and cannot—even live on his farm. This species of frog hasn’t been seen in Louisiana for 50 years. Biologists stated it couldn’t live on his property even if someone put it there.

The new Supreme Court reached a unanimous decision that the EPA does not have authority to extend the definition of critical habitat to absurdity. The importance of the case is that the Court judged the issue at all. It is a significant step in taking back the power of review over the Deep State. This goes beyond the particular justice done for a single farmer facing down the EPA.

Justices Gorsuch and Thomas have signaled they view Chevron deference as unconstitutional. Joined by Kavanaugh, they are exerting a leadership role on the court.

The non-existent frog is not alone. In cahoots with activist environmental groups, the EPA has been able to define critical habitat where the endangered species does not exist and could not exist in many places, precisely in order to deprive citizens of the free enjoyment and value of their private property.

The Pacific Legal Foundation is taking on the Preble’s Jumping Mouse as the next stage in this battle.

Twenty years ago, the EPA undertook to protect a mouse subspecies at the behest of activists fighting development in a broad area south of Denver. DNA studies show the Preble’s Jumping mouse never has existed. There is no such distinct genetic subspecies.

Yet the EPA forced ranchers in Wyoming, hundreds of miles away and where even alleged Preble’s Jumping mice were never found, to do mitigation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the price tag to ranchers has topped $200 million. These are not rich folks with extra money lying around in bank accounts. If PLF prevails, they will get relief. The frog case should help them.

A New Era of Constitutional Limits
Cases like this go far beyond the actions of the EPA. The untouchability of liberal rulings from the bench are based on precedence and deference. Precedence and deference shelter the unconstitutional New Deal expansion of the commerce clause to allow federal regulation of all economic activity. They also shelter Roe v. Wade.

Changing the court’s application of precedence and deference, as in the Louisiana frog case, is a building block of constitutional reform. Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh are conservative in that they make narrow rulings, try to avoid big public controversies, and build up new precedents case by case. We will not see overnight revolutionary changes. We will see a gradual restoration of constitutional limits on the government.

The assessment of their Louisiana frog victory by the Pacific Legal Foundation is jubilant: “The takeaway is a very clear, severe message the justices sent to government agencies intent on abusing their administrative powers: stop exploiting your power!”

The task will take time, but we should note and celebrate that we are on the way. Victories like this are essential if we wish to return to a nation of free enterprise and liberty.

None of this is academic. Fake frogs and imaginary mice have been powerful weapons against property rights and freedom. We are battling for constitutional rule once again. Our new conservative majority on the Supreme Court has used a small frog to take a small, but hopeful, step to restore legal limits on the power of Big Government.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

 

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Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Law and Order • Post • The Courts • The Left

RBG’s Hubris Is a Gift for Donald Trump

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The 85-year old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, is approaching her 25th anniversary as a justice. She is historic in many respects: the second female to serve on the high court, the first Jewish female justice, and the longest-serving Jewish justice ever. Her record as a reliable liberal vote on the court, along with her well-publicized background as a trail-blazer for women’s rights, has made her an icon on the Left—celebrated as the “Notorious RBG” and featured in the recent film “On the Basis of Sex.”

Her ultimate legacy, however, may be that her stubborn—and, in hindsight, ill-considered—refusal to resign while President Obama was in office may allow the Left’s nemesis, President Donald Trump, to appoint her successor.

The potential for this scenario, which would tilt the court 6-3 in favor of originalists/conservatives (assuming Trump fills the vacancy from his solid list of candidates), is beginning to sink in among the liberal media in light of Ginsburg’s latest cancer scare, and is provoking a full-blown panic.

The prospect of Trump selecting Ginsburg’s replacement as his third Supreme Court pick has caused some of Ginsburg’s previously-fawning admirers to turn against her, as their hatred for Trump overwhelms their loyalty to her. As Mother Jones acidly noted, after her most recent fall but before her latest cancer surgery, “The situation today is one many liberal lawyers feared years ago and worked hard to avert. But the feisty justice rebuffed them all, a decision that makes all the hero worship hard for some of us to stomach.”

While I don’t wish to speak ill of an elderly jurist in failing health, and certainly don’t wish to see her condition worsen, realistically her prognosis is not good. Ginsburg, who previously survived bouts with colorectal and pancreatic cancer, was not exactly robust prior to her recent surgery to remove two malignant “nodules” from her left lung.

Moreover, she received a cardiac stent in 2014, has fallen down more than once (most recently breaking three ribs), and was seen falling asleep during the state of the union address in 2012 and 2015. She has been observed nodding off on the bench for years. Despite her much-vaunted exercise routine, Ginsburg’s physical appearance reveals that Ginsburg is obviously frail, speaks haltingly and faintly, and walks with difficulty.

None of this is surprising. Ginsburg, who will turn 86 in March, is the oldest justice on the court. Aging ineluctably leads to physical (and, often, mental) decline, and eventually results in death. Despite her intention, announced in July, to serve “at least five more years,” the Almighty may have other plans.

Liberal Hopes Fade
Federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, have life tenure, meaning that they can choose—absent disability—to serve until death. But few do so. As they approach looming mortality, most justices retire at an advantageous time to allow a “friendly” administration (i.e., representing the same political party as the president who appointed them) to select their successor. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement was the most recent example of this tradition.

Following Obama’s reelection in 2012, many liberal leaders hoped that Ginsburg would retire so the president could appoint a younger, equally reliable activist in her place—in the vein of Sonia Sotomayor. When no action was forthcoming from Ginsburg, the Left began a public lobbying campaign. The National Journal ran a piece in December 2013 with the title “Justice Ginsburg: Resign Already!” No subtlety there. As the clock continued to run on Obama’s final term, the campaign became even more heavy-handed. In March 2014, left-wing legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky (now dean of UC Berkeley’s law school) wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “Ginsburg should retire from the Supreme Court after the completion of the current term in June,” arguing that “only by resigning this summer can she ensure that a Democratic president will be able to choose a successor who shares her views and values.”

Ever the diplomat, Chemerinsky noted, “I do not minimize how hard it will be for Justice Ginsburg to step down from a job that she loves and has done so well since 1993. But the best way for her to advance all the things she has spent her life working for is to ensure that a Democratic president picks her successor.”

Waiting too long, Chemerinsky cautioned, could lead Senate Republicans to delay confirmation of her successor in the hope that the White House would change hands. This, of course, is exactly what happened when Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Scalia in 2016. Still, the stubborn Ginsburg was not swayed. She had not secured her seat on the High Court until the relatively-late age of 60, and wasn’t interested in cutting her tenure short.

Ginsburg’s Real Legacy
Ginsburg explained in an interview with the New York Times why she planned to ignore calls for her to retire: “There will be a president after this one and I’m hopeful that the president will be a fine president.” She presumably expected that Hillary Clinton would defeat the Republican nominee, who turned out to be Donald Trump (of whom she had injudiciously expressed her low opinion). Perhaps the blind adulation of her cult-like followers went to Ginsburg’s head. Perhaps the death of her beloved husband of more than 50 years, Martin, in 2010 left her with little else to live for. In any event, Ginsburg chose not to retire, betting that when the right time came, her seat would be in safe hands.

She may have chosen poorly. In an article titled “What the Cult of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Got Wrong,” Mother Jones harshly condemns Ginsburg’s failure to retire under Obama: “No amount of swag or hagiography can obscure the fact that, while Ginsburg is responsible for a great number of landmark legal decisions, her legacy may be sorely tarnished by one truly terrible one: refusing to retire when President Barack Obama could have named her replacement.” Ouch.

Although I can feel the Left’s pain, and sincerely wish Ginsburg a full recovery and long life, schadenfreude compels me to recognize the opportunity this could present for President Trump: the potential for decisive, long-term realignment of the court. A 6-3 Republican majority would compensate for occasional wavering by Chief Justice John Roberts. Conservative hegemony would prevail in the court for decades.

Mother Jones realizes this, and if Ginsburg’s health quickly deteriorates (as some medical experts predict) others on the Left will follow suit. The RBG cult will turn on her. The Mother Jones article ends with these scornful words: “By refusing to gracefully transition off the court when Obama could have named her successor, she has raised the very real risk of her seat being filled by someone who will spend a generation trying to undo all she worked for. If that happens, RBG will become truly notorious.”

RBG’s hubris may be her legacy, and her gift to President Trump.

Photo Credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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Administrative State • California • Democrats • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • Republicans • The Constitution • The Courts • The Media

RINO Droppings: The Legacy of California’s Girlyman Gov

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Tani Cantil-Sakauye, chief justice of the California Supreme Court, is giving up her Republican Party registration. The cause, she explained, was the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

But Cantil-Sakauye was not disturbed by the sleazy charges Democrats unleashed against the Trump nominee, which evidently she believed. Instead, California’s chief justice wondered why Republicans would bring in a female prosecutor to question Christine Blasey Ford. Perhaps to find out if her story that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her was true or false? Though that is hardly all this jurist doesn’t get.

Last year Cantil-Sakauye wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Secretary John Kelly stating: “As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests. Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.” It was all unsafe, unfair, and so on.

Sessions and Kelly replied that “stalking” has “specific legal meaning in American law,” and it was “criminal activity.” On the other hand, “the arrest of persons in a public place based on probable cause has long been upheld by the United States Supreme Court,” as U.S. v. Watson confirmed. Federal statutes authorize arrests where probable cause exists to believe that “such aliens are in violation of immigration laws.” Courthouses are not only public places, but visitors are screened for weapons, Sessions and Kelly wrote, therefore “the safety risks for the arresting officers are substantially decreased.”

Besides her apparent ignorance of the law, Cantil-Sakauye also overlooked recent cases of violent criminals who should not have been in the United States, who remained at large, and who murdered police officers and innocent civilians. These criminals include Mexican national Luis Bracamontes who gunned down Sacramento deputy Danny Oliver, detective Michael Davis and wounded motorist Anthony Holmes, an African American. In court, Bracamontes said he wished he would have killed more “motherf—ing” police officers, deployed the N-word, and told the jury “black lives don’t matter.”

Repeatedly deported Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was in custody but not turned over to ICE. In July 2015, this illegal felon gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier. The state Supreme Court is in San Francisco but the killing of an innocent 32-year-old woman did not prompt Tani Cantil-Sakauye to write a letter challenging the city’s sanctuary policies. For this chief justice, ICE agents are the bad guys.

Last week, Cantil-Sakauye describe herself open-minded on social justice issues and praised the judicial appointments of Governor Jerry Brown  as “people-centric” and “underdog-centric.” It was all about “what are we going to do about homelessness, what are we going to do about climate, what are we going to do about guns.” Reporters recalled that Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had nominated Cantil-Sakauye in 2010, but there’s a back story to that move.

According to a longtime friend of Arnold, the governor outsourced his judicial selections to his wife Maria Shriver, a Democrat insider of high standing. That would also explain other key choices.

State director of finance is an important position that merits an experienced economist with a Ph.D. or a master’s degree. Arnold’s pick was Ana Matosantos, a Puerto Rican with a B.A. in political science and feminist studies. Besides the meager qualifications and lack of experience, her hiring also defied state law, Proposition 209, which forbids racial and ethnic preferences in state employment, education, and contracting.

In 2011, Matosantos was busted for drunk driving and offered to resign but incoming governor Jerry Brown kept her on the job. Covered California, the state’s wholly owned subsidiary of Obamacare, picked up Matosantos for $20,000 a month. Her wealthy family has been embroiled in a conflict of interest case in Puerto Rico, but incoming governor Gavin Newsom has now hired Matosantos as his cabinet secretary.

Meanwhile, Tani Cantil-Sakauye was not California’s first female chief justice. During the 1974 election campaign, Rose Bird served as Jerry Brown’s campaign chauffeur. She was only 40 and without judicial experience but Brown picked her for chief justice.

In 10 years as chief justice, Bird heard 64 capital cases and never voted to uphold a death sentence. Even for staunch death-penalty opponents, including those on the court, it defied belief to think that every case was unfounded. The cases included that of Theodore Frank, duly convicted of kidnapping, torturing, raping, murdering and mutilating two-year-old Amy Sue Seitz in 1978.

On November 4, 1986, California voters ousted Rose Bird by a margin of 67 to 33 percent. California voters also ousted Justices Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin, both Brown appointees, who sided with Bird on the death-penalty cases.

In similar style, Tani Cantil-Sakauye keeps quiet when racist criminal illegals murder Americans but gets agitated when ICE agents arrest criminal illegals in courthouses. She also finds it disturbing that anybody would question the wild accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. Tani Cantil-Sakauye has changed her registration from Republican to “no party.” A better description for this Rose Bird clone might be “no justice, no peace.”

Photo credit: NBC Los Angeles

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Administrative State • America • Big Media • Book Reviews • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • First Amendment • Law and Order • Post • Progressivism • The Constitution • The Courts • The Left • The Media

The Mental State of the Ruling Class

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In some ways, Todd Henderson is living the dream. He has worked as an engineer, a management consultant, a practicing lawyer, and ended up as a professor at his alma mater, the University of Chicago Law School, focusing on business regulation and securities law. Now he can add mystery novelist to his curriculum vitae with his debut thriller, Mental State.

The story, as well as the publication’s reception, sheds light on the sometimes toxic culture of our elite and their institutions. For all the talk of “engagement with ideas” and “encouraging critical thinking,” elite universities are more rigid and conformist today than perhaps any previous time in our history—yes, including the dreaded 1950s.

Henderson’s thoughts echo those of another University of Chicago professor who some 30 years ago noted we were experiencing the Closing of the American Mind.

By Chicago’s standards, Henderson is a man of the Right. In reality, he is more in keeping with the law school’s traditions of law and economics and libertarianism, made famous by two prolific and influential emeritus professors, Richard Posner and Richard Epstein. Unfortunately, Chicago is now becoming less distinguishable from peer institutions, not least in its demand for ideological conformity.

Mental State, as well as its tortured path to publication, exemplify this unfortunate trend.

Art Imitates Life
A good mystery or thriller, while not an account of actual events, is fundamentally honest. It presents believable characters and explores their motivations, problems, skills, and flaws. As such, Mental State is a good book, and it will prove to be of particular interest to lawyers, especially those uneasy with the “deep state.”

The story revolves around the supposed suicide of a law school professor, Alex Johnson, who resembles the author in important ways. He teaches at an elite Chicago law school, Rockefeller University, a facsimile of the University of Chicago, right down to the Bauhaus-style law school building.

What appears at first to be a suicide turns into a mystery, as the professor’s FBI agent brother, Royce, suspects the local police are missing something. He goes outside the normal chain of command to learn, not only about the death of his brother but also more about his brother’s life.

The professor is white collar, professional, bookish, surrounded by others of the elite, and variously reflects or rejects their styles. Considering the obvious resemblance to the author, the portrayal is brutal at times, exposing the deceased as flawed and venal, especially in his initial lack of courage in the face of institutional pressure. He is led astray not only by his ambition but also by the modest glamour that comes with being a law professor, such as the international conferences and hero-worshiping students.

His brother, by contrast, has common sense and tenacity, as well as no small measure of physical courage. He is an agent of the system, but he also really believes, as cops often do, in justice and in doing the right thing. The mid-level lawman has a corresponding blind spot to the gap between the ideology of the managerial elite—whose chief qualification consists of credentials bestowed by institutions like the fictional Rockefeller—and the gritty, Machiavellian reality of highly placed ideologues.

As if a suicide and the possibility of murder were not dark enough, the story also involves tolerance of the most grotesque double standards. The liberal president, who vaguely resembles Hillary Clinton, aims to appoint a suitably progressive jurist to the Supreme Court. The potential nominee has the right kind of credentials to ensure that he and the president make history. He would be the first Asian-American justice, has had a brilliant career, is a reliable progressive, and is connected from childhood to the late professor.

But he has a secret, and its exposure would be devastating to his candidacy. Was the professor killed as part of a cover-up?

The book ends up exploring more than one kind of hypocrisy. We learn how the elite looks out for its own and cultivates the future leadership class, selected chiefly for a combination of their academic pedigrees and ethnic diversity. Failing grades can be changed, particularly when they would damage the narrative. Indeed, even high crimes can be overlooked, so long as the cause is at stake. The individual and truth mean little compared to the cause.

This diversity bean-counting and concern for ideological goals have a dark corollary; underprivileged or not, inconvenient people are quickly and callously victimized when this serves the broader goal of advancing the agenda. One is reminded of the crude smear campaign levied against Clarence Thomas, whose black ancestry did little to deflect the mob of leftists that are usually so ostentatiously concerned for diversity. Among the managerial elite, the only kind of diversity that proves fatal, whether to one’s career or one’s life, is diversity of thought.

One of the more interesting aspects of Mental State—which was authored before Donald Trump descended the escalator, but only released this year—is the exploration of an emergent human type: the careerist, left-of-center, deep state bureaucrat. Echoing Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, and James Comey (himself a Chicago alumnus), a clique of political and law enforcement insiders at the highest levels of the federal government evince a disturbing willingness to bend any rules to serve the president in her pursuit of the right kind of Supreme Court appointee. After all, in the words of one of the fixers, “Our whole agenda would be in peril. . . . We just couldn’t let that happen.”

This is all fiction, of course. But it is a believable story of what might happen and how. We know strange things are afoot, and not only in the shady origins of the Steele dossier. Consider the aggressive efforts to sink a boy scout like Brett Kavanaugh, coupled with the indifference and slap-on-the-wrist treatment of Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein. We have a powerful elite, concerned not only with ideological goals but equally with shoring up its own power and immunity from oversight.

The strong relationship between elite schools and the upper echelons of the nation’s political and business structures cannot be overstated. The Supreme Court at the moment is made up exclusively of graduates from Yale and Harvard law schools. Facebook’s founders and executives hail from Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and similar institutions. The culture of those elite schools is now becoming the culture of our tech giants and high government officials, up to and including their increasing indifference to free speech, their separation from the country’s more conservative or traditionalist interior, and their Draconian enforcement of the party line.

The most notable change from yesteryear’s elite is that today’s managerial elite makes no distinction between thoughts and actions. For them, good character is demonstrated by expressing the right kinds of opinions, and this low bar allows for extremely low behavior. This inversion of traditional morality ends up being the meta-narrative of Henderson’s novel, which begins as a thriller-mystery but ends up being an important critique of the spirit of the age.

Life Imitates Art
While it has been addressed elsewhere in some detail, one might imagine that a subversive work such as this did not receive the most welcome reception. Mental State was at one point unceremoniously yanked from Amazon and all pre-orders were lost. Amazon, like Facebook, Google, and the other tech monopolists, has decided to leverage its power not only for profit but also for progressive ends.

In addition, the author has received various threats, not only for the book but for making observations that ran counter to the acceptable narrative. Affirmative action—a theme of the plot and a source of controversy earlier this year involving Henderson’s criticism of Justice Sotomayor—depends, above all, on not noticing things. The elite not only must permit lower standards in the service of its group diversity, but its members and the general public must pretend that this is not happening at all. We’re just supposed to conclude the elite as a whole are what they tell us they are: “The best of the best!”

While those struggling in the business world may find much to envy in the protections of tenure, those protections are not what they used to be, particularly for conservatives, who make up a vanishingly small percentage of professors at elite institutions. Worse, they must self-censor if they are to avoid a sometimes violent and always insolent cohort of activist students, the cat’s paw of the equally leftist deans and professors. A sizable number of conservative academics publish their most interesting thoughts using pseudonyms.

This is not just melodrama. What is happening at these schools matters because it is not confined only to universities or at least not for very long. Universities are “beta testing” what will soon appear in the business world, in government, in the military, and in courts of law. This includes the labeling of nearly any right-of-center view as “hate speech,” the use of threats and intimidation against iconoclasts, and the Soviet-Style replacement of due process with “class justice,” as exemplified by the anti-truth formula “believe all women.”

Legal Realism Has Reached Its Logical Conclusion
Henderson and I were students at the University of Chicago’s law school around the same time. Compared to Harvard and Yale, Chicago was something of an oasis, a place of diverse views, vigorous debate, and rigorous scholarship. Scalia taught there for a time in the 1980s, but so did prominent liberal academics, Catherine MacKinnon and Cass Sunstein, as well as then-state-senator Obama. More recent events, including the reception of Mental State and a student-led attempt to kick conservative groups off campus, suggest the monoculture of other elite schools have started to undermine the unique culture of Chicago’s law school.

The roots of these elite law schools’ degradation may have deeper roots in what initially made them so influential. In the middle of the 20th century, each of these schools embraced the cutting-edge approach of legal realism to one degree or another. The alternative to legal realism is what most people think of when they think of law, sometimes called formalism. Formalism still exists in the world of practice, on the bar exam, in court, and at most schools, where the degree leads not to the Supreme Court, but rather the ranks of workaday practitioners. Formalism counsels that law is a closed and self-referential system, the careful and honest study of which can yield, more or less, correct answers to legal questions. It treats law as its own idiom, distinct from opinion, politics, or private morality.

Legal realism—similar to Marxism—suggests that all of this is a mask, an ideology. In its descriptive sense, legal realism teaches that law exists to serve the particular group in power and, by implication, to harm the socially and economically marginal. In keeping with the Progressive Era from which it sprang, legal realism also has a normative aspect: courts, lawyers, and legal educators should aim to fashion legal rulings and legal minds in order to advance the “correct” progressive agenda. The strong inculcation of “realist” views is the chief purpose of Chicago’s famous 1L course, Elements of Law.

Such a vaguely cynical point of view pervades elite legal education. It’s how a 200-year-old Constitution can be tortured to find au courant rights to gay marriage and abortion, while disregarding hoary guarantees like the right to bear arms. Wordy legal opinions mask this reality by design, appearing on the surface to involve the careful weighing of precedents and the precise applications of five-part tests.

But one may safely assume legal realists know the score; after all, everything in their education told them the law is just a tool, not an inherent limitation upon both the governed and the governors.

Legal realism planted the seed that grew into the contemporary decadence of the law’s elite ranks. After all, if all the robes, oaths, and judicial opinions are just a mask for the real reasons things are done—advancing progressivism—then perhaps other more egregious deviations from the formal constraints of the law may be authorized. It all comes down to the seductive lure of power masquerading as higher order wisdom and sophistication, a combination of “the end justifies the means” and “everyone is doing it.”

One thing these elite schools do undeniably well is select for intelligence. Through LSATs and undergraduate grades and thousands of applicants for comparatively few slots, the elite schools gather truly brilliant young people from every corner of the country and then dispatch them to the centers of power: New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Chicago.

The slow decline of the nation’s institutions and the increasing cleavage between the governed and the elite suggests that our governing elite should be chosen and educated in a different fashion.

Law and governance are not only about intelligence but also about character. But very little in the selection process for elite law school distinguishes the wise and the good from the merely clever. Worse, the pervasive “realism” of these institutions encourages the least mature and malformed characters to also pursue naked power. The product of a Yale or Chicago is far more likely to resemble the power-hungry and deceptive Mark Zuckerberg or James Comey than an Atticus Finch.

“Who guards the guardians?” The age-old question of Cicero does not suggest an easy answer, but one answer is the law, properly understood as containing limits. Mental State shows the pit into which a self-satisfied, clever, arguably well-intentioned, but ultimately immoral, elite may sink when the law is viewed not as a restraint, but as a mere mask. And, more frighteningly, Mental State asks what kind of ugliness we may encounter when we dare to look behind the mask.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the form of transportation Donald Trump used ahead of making his announcement in 2015 to run for president. The editors all know it was an escalator. The managing editor has been flogged.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Carpe Diem

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America • Post • Pro-Life • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture

Kavanaugh: Too Soon to Be Reading Tea Leaves

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Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Savor those words: They are the culmination of a harrowing ordeal—for Kavanaugh, his family, and the entire nation.

At his despicable confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh was subjected to a pummeling more brutal than the gauntlets faced by Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, combined. Kavanaugh’s replacement of moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy, long the fickle swing vote on the sharply divided court, was expected to create a conservative majority for the first time in decades. Understandably, therefore, court watchers have been monitoring Kavanaugh closely to discern any shift in the court’s direction.

Good grief. He’s only been sitting on the court for a couple of months—still learning where the bathrooms are. All the speculation about how Kavanaugh will vote and what his judicial philosophy will look like is premature.

Ocean liners don’t turn on a dime, and neither do decades of constitutional jurisprudence. Give the man a chance to write some actual opinions or join in other justices’ opinions on the merits. As someone who has been harshly critical of the Supreme Court, I believe it is too soon to be disappointed in Kavanaugh—or, for that matter, to draw any meaningful conclusions about his alignment on the court. What we know is that he served with distinction on the D.C. Circuit for over a decade.

My esteemed Law & Liberty colleague, Northwestern University law professor John McGinnis, recently decried Kavanaugh’s apparent attitude toward stare decisis—the precedential weight of the court’s prior rulings—based on a question Kavanaugh asked at oral argument in an important double jeopardy case.  McGinnis fears that Kavanaugh may be too cautious regarding the court’s overruling of previous decisions, declining to do so unless they were “grievously wrong.” McGinnis’s concerns may prove to be well-founded, but I’m willing to give Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt until I see how he actually votes in the case, Gamble v. United States. Until then, observers are simply reading tea leaves.

Another kerfuffle, involving the court’s discretionary decision not to hear a case (the denial of certiorari, to be precise), has provoked widespread commentary about Kavanaugh’s willingness to overrule the notorious decision in Roe v. Wade.  

This is silly. The court typically receives over 8,000 cert petitions (requests for review) each year, but only accepts review of about 80 to 100 of them. In other words, the court decides to hear only one in 100 of the cases submitted to it for review. Roughly 99 percent of the cases are rejected. The denial of review is not a ruling on the merits, does not signify the court’s agreement with the decision below, and is generally made summarily—without any written opinion by the court. Four of the nine Justices have to agree to “grant cert” (or accept review) in a case.

The recent spate of conjecture surrounds Gee v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast, a decision from the Fifth Circuit raising a technical—but important and contentious—legal issue: whether Medicaid recipients have a private right of action to challenge a state’s determination of “qualified” Medicaid providers under a federal statute.

The case was fraught with political implications because it arose in Louisiana, where the state had removed Planned Parenthood as a state Medicaid provider due to that organization’s (and its affiliates’) involvement in the illegal sale of fetal organs and fraudulent billing practices. The case, while not about abortion rights per se, involved the nation’s leading abortion provider and concerned the rights of individual Medicaid patients to bring suits challenging the state’s decision to remove Planned Parenthood as a provider.

The federal courts of appeals are split on the legal issue raised by Gee, which is one of the factors the court normally uses to determine whether to grant review.  What made the denial of review in Gee noteworthy is that Justice Clarence Thomas—joined by Justices Alito and Gorsuch—issued an unusual, four-page dissenting opinion explaining the importance of the issue and implicitly criticizing the court for declining to grant review. Thomas is generally regarded as the most conservative justice on the court, with Alito and Gorsuch not far behind. The dissent seemed to be directed at one or both of their Republican-appointed colleagues, Chief Justice John Roberts and the newly-seated Justice Kavanaugh. Thomas’s dissent could be interpreted as scolding Roberts and Kavanaugh for timidity in not voting to grant review, going so far as to contend that the court was “refusing to do its job” for political reasons:

Some tenuous connection to a politically fraught issue does not justify abdicating our judicial duty. If anything, neutrally applying the law is all the more important when political issues are in the background. The Framers gave us lifetime tenure to promote “that independent spirit in the judges which must be essential to the faithful performance” of the courts’ role as “bulwarks of a limited Constitution,” unaffected by fleeting “mischiefs.” . . . We are not “to consult popularity,” but instead to rely on “nothing . . . but the Constitution and the laws.” . . . We are responsible for the confusion among the lower courts, and it is our job to fix it.     

Commentators are reading all kinds of silly things into Kavanaugh’s failure to join Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch in granting review in Gee: he’s aligned with the liberal bloc, he’s going to be a moderate like Kennedy, he won’t vote to overrule Roe v. Wade, he’s been intimidated by the opposition to his confirmation, he’s lying low, he’s under the sway of Roberts, he’s unwilling to jeopardize the institutional legitimacy of the court, and so on. We don’t know why Kavanaugh didn’t join his colleagues. Absent the unusual dissenting opinion, which strikes me as not-very-collegial, we wouldn’t even know how many justices voted in favor of review, let alone who.

Give Kavanaugh a chance to develop a record on the court before judging him. Thomas has been on the court for nearly three decades, Alito since 2006. Gorsuch, who assumed the High Court bench in 2017, is on his second term. Each of these justices has developed, and exhibited, a distinctive profile on the court. Kavanaugh hasn’t . . . yet.

There are many possible reasons why Kavanaugh felt Gee wasn’t deserving of review, out of the many thousands of cases seeking to be heard by the court. Justices don’t have to explain why they didn’t grant cert to the 99 percent of cases they reject. Until Kavanaugh has produced a track record of rulings on the merits, trying to make sense of his way of thinking by scrutinizing his questions during oral arguments or his votes on cert petitions will produce nothing more substantial than a fortune teller’s divinations, an astrologist’s celestial insights, or the reading of tarot cards.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Administrative State • America • Congress • Conservatives • Deep State • Democrats • Post • The Constitution • The Courts

Reasserting Self-Government and Sovereignty Won’t Be Easy

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We are all aware that our politics is broken. There is more hate dividing Americans than in recent memory, and especially is there corrosive ire directed at our president and those he has appointed, particularly to judicial office. If our politics is riven, however, the cause may be deeper, and it may lie in a division over the nature of our law.

For almost two generations our law schools have been dominated by the theory, usually labelled “legal realism,” that law is inherently uncertain, and that it is, essentially, nothing more than the will of those in power, whether they are legislators or judges.

One emerges from law school with a skepticism about whether there really is any such thing as the rule of law, or whether, instead, law is constantly recreated and modified by judges doing what they can to ameliorate the still-existing injustices in American society.

The paradigm cases for many lawyers and law students are Brown v. Board of Education (1954), in which the Supreme Court unanimously ordered an end to state-mandated racial segregation in the public schools, and Roe v. Wade (1973) in which a 7-2 majority declared that there was a Constitutional right to terminate pregnancies before fetal viability.

Both of these decisions flew in the face of existing precedents, and both, whatever their merits as advances in the cause of social justice, tended to reinforce the view that it was inevitable and right that justices made law rather than simply interpret it. A few sober voices in the academy and on the bench recognized that our historic claim to be a nation governed by laws and not men was at risk, but in the excitement of possible reform and eradication of discrimination these protests were generally ignored.

The heroes of the law and the legal profession became men like Earl Warren and Anthony Kennedy—those who refashioned constitutional rules to accord with their personal ideas of fairness and equality. What happened in the courts, really, was part of a broader phenomenon dating to the Progressive period and brought to fruition in the New Deal with the triumph of the belief that experts, particularly those in the federal government, could refashion American society in a more equitable and just manner. This led to the rise of what is now generally called the “administrative state,” where Americans are governed not by their elected representatives, but by an elite bureaucracy operating with considerable discretion and very little legal control.

The Elites and the Bootlicker Hacks Strike Back
The election of Donald Trump, we are coming to understand, represented a reaction on the part of ordinary Americans, those whom Kurt Schlichter calls “militant normals,” and Hillary Clinton called “deplorables,” to the loss of what they believed to be their constitutionally guaranteed right of self-government. When Donald Trump urged that he be given a chance to “Make America Great Again,” his supporters understood he was promising to restore the rule of law and put an end to the usurpations of the federal leviathan.

It is no wonder, then, that the administrative state (or the “deep state,” as many of Trump’s supporters call it) struck back, and thus the appointment of a special counsel, Robert Mueller, with a mandate, really, to undermine and ultimately to destroy the Trumpian threat to government by elite technocrats.

The attack on the president is not conducted simply by elites who still control the levers of the bureaucracy. Prominent Democrats, sensing an opportunity to regain power they have lost in recent elections, have determined that the disgraceful political tactic of branding the Republican president as a corrupt and oligarchic racist (with the new spin of being a Russian puppet) might profitably be employed in the effort to enlist the mainstream media in this coordinated enterprise of destroying the threat to their hegemony.

Mueller, the Steele dossier, the corrupt activities of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Sally Yates, the Clintons, Susan Rice, and others are all signs of this struggle, but it is important to see all of this for what it is—a flaw in the theory of progressive politics.

Progressives believe that if only a little more expert tinkering can be done, an earthly paradise is within reach. This explains the constant effort to pass campaign finance reform legislation, for example, which has actually created a web of incumbency protection regulations carefully calculated to hurt outsiders such as the president, who now finds himself enmeshed in a dubious assertion of violating those regulations by payments to purported paramours.

A Hell of Our Own Making
Setting aside the Orwellian implications of our campaign finance regulations (and many of the other suspect laws to which the special prosecutor has had to resort) which have resulted in a situation where virtually anyone can be the subject of a federal prosecution, we ought to recognize that it is time to reject the belief that all we need is more law and regulation to produce the just society.

The late acerbic Grant Gilmore—a Yale law professor, no less!—was quite correct when he remarked, “In heaven there will be no law, and the lion shall lie down with the lamb . . . In hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed.” We are now in Gilmore’s hell, one of our own making.

We cannot legislate or regulate our way to nirvana, Valhalla, or Utopia, and what the federal leviathan tends to create is a corrupt class of political parasites, demagogues, and miscreants. Exhibit A is the team of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, as Peter Schweitzer demonstrated in his book, Clinton Cash. This is why the framers disdained the idea of professional politicians, and the election of a non-politician, Donald Trump, as President is a sign that many Americans still understand the wisdom of the framers’ insight.

With the Democrats about to be in charge of the House of Representatives, with its attendant subpoena and investigative powers, we can expect that party—the party of the bureaucracy, the deep state, and regulation—to do all in its power to prevent the Trumpian Counter-Reformation from succeeding. With the mainstream media behind them, and with the still-powerful prerogatives of the deep state at their command, they will be positioned to threaten impeachment of the president, and, in any event, will be able to harass and hound him in innumerable ways.

We are, then, in the midst of a constitutional and legal crisis, and in a battle for popular sovereignty itself. In a world in which government by impersonal, entrenched, and isolated bureaucracies is increasingly common, this country once again has an opportunity to preserve our position as a bastion of liberty and freedom. This will only happen, however, if the American people themselves resist those who would wrongly use tainted legal institutions to preserve their power and influence.

The framers understood that ultimately the constitutional scheme they bequeathed us would only survive if the American people possessed and employed the virtue necessary for self-government. That virtue must now be used properly to restore the rule of law, to eradicate the corruptions of the deep state, and to return control over their lives to the American people themselves.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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America • Conservatives • political philosophy • Post • Pro-Life • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • The Left

John Roberts Will Be the New Anthony Kennedy

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John Roberts will be the new Anthony Kennedy. He stopped short of admitting as much in his recent rejoinder to President Trump, claiming there are no “Obama judges” or other politically motivated federal judges—a statement untrue on its face. But the implication was clear. He has already had a trial run as the swing vote—in the Obamacare case, in which Roberts deserted his fellow Republicans and joined the liberals with a tangled decision that redefined the health insurance law’s individual mandate as “a tax.”

Roberts also was joined by the newest Justice, Brett Kavanaugh (so much for the liberal women clawing at the doors of the court chamber) in a decision supported by the four liberal members of the court. It declined to hear an appeal in a case denying conservative states the authority to defund Planned Parenthood in Medicaid services.

But then, why wouldn’t Roberts want to be the swing vote? It would make him the most powerful man in American government, able single-handedly to change American social, cultural, or political life in historic new directions, as Kennedy did with the same-sex marriage decision.

Roberts would wield his power from an unassailable position: a lifetime term never vulnerable to public vote. Only dictators enjoy such legislative powers. Kennedy could not resist the temptation to power that came with being the swing vote, and Roberts won’t either.

Roberts was a George W. Bush nominee, but Republicans have a long history of Supreme Court appointments who went spectacularly sour for them, including some of the most liberal activist judges in history—Earl Warren and David Souter.

Harry Blackmun, a Richard Nixon appointee, was the architect of Roe v Wade. Sandra Day O’Connor, a Ronald Reagan appointee and the first woman on the court, was supposed to be an Arizona conservative. She ended up voting with the liberal bloc. Souter, about as far left as you could go in liberal activism, was nominated by the George H. W. Bush. Anthony Kennedy was another Reagan appointee, but he saved Roe, and cast the deciding vote in granting same-sex marriage rights. In doing so, he created the 4-1-4 configuration of the court, with himself in the middle on many issues.

This put Kennedy in the position of being the wise man, the compassionate sage, above the fray where he could exercise a higher spirituality, expressed in such gobbledygook sentences as this one: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.”

The power may be irresistible, but how did it come to be? Anyone who reads Article III of the Constitution can see that it is not there at all: no judicial review, no authority to overrule Congress or the states, no legislative powers, no superiority over the other branches of the federal government. In fact, quite the opposite.

The three branches of government are not separate but equal as so many commentators insist. They were meant to be separate, but not equal. Congress was far and away the great power, followed by the president, with the courts in a weak third place. They were “the weakest of the three departments of power,” wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 78. They were “the weakest because weakest in capacity,” he wrote, adding a quote from Montesquieu, an architect of tripartite government, “of the three powers above mentioned, the Judiciary is next to nothing.” Hamilton also made it clear that “there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative…”

At the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, the framers twice voted down a veto power over congressional law by the courts. They did grant such a veto to the president, but added a check and balance by making it possible for Congress to override a presidential veto. Had they granted a veto to the courts, there surely would have been a check and balance. Yet today the courts enjoy an unchecked veto power not only over Congress but over anything and everything.

The Supreme Court today essentially is a judicial dictatorship which can amend the Constitution the easy way, by a 5-4 vote. (The hard way is the path everyone else has to follow—a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress and approval by three-quarters of the states).

Historically, this extraordinary judicial-legislative power comes from the unilateral seizure of it by Chief Justice John Marshall in the famous Marbury v. Madison case of 1803. The case was of minimal importance, but the implication for the future was ominous. This illegal power wouldn’t be used again until the disastrous pro-slavery Dred Scott decision of 1857, which helped bring on the Civil War by overruling Congress on its hard-earned extension of slavery laws.

Abraham Lincoln brilliantly explained the limits of the Dred Scott decision, but no president since has had the courage to defy the courts when it comes to the use of “judicial review,” the mechanism by which courts nullify laws of the people, write new laws of their own, and impose them on the entire nation. John Roberts will be the new pilot of these flights of judicial review. Count on it.

Photo credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

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Administrative State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Law and Order • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • The Left

In the Case of Trump vs. Roberts, the President Prevails

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Who gets it right, President Donald Trump or Chief Justice John Roberts? The president earlier this week attacked “Obama judges,” whom he believes are erroneously interpreting the law and the Constitution to frustrate his administration’s policy initiatives. The chief justice told the Associated Press on Wednesday there is no such partisan thing. All federal judges, Roberts explained, essentially are noble public servants striving selflessly to apply a neutral rule of law.

The president, of course, is  correct—though we can wish that the chief justice were, too.

Say this for John Roberts: he probably really does believe that the members of the Supreme Court, at least, strive together to reach the right result. When he claimed at his 2005 confirmation hearings that justices are simply “umpires,” neutrally applying pre-existing rules, he likely was being sincere.

The chief justice, like his great predecessor John Marshall, wants his court to be above politics. Remaining above the political fray would help explain his unfathomable opinion in NFIB v. Sibelius, where he wrote for a majority consisting of himself and the four liberals then on the court and invoked a dubious theory involving Congress’s power to tax, which he used to uphold the clearly unconstitutional and falsely labelled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). In that way, one suspects, Roberts thought he could avoid plunging the court into another maelstrom like the one it encountered with Bush v. Gore, when so many Americans wrongly concluded the court was simply favoring a Republican over a Democrat.

Perhaps Roberts believes that in rebutting the president’s attack on judges who are using politics rather than the law to make decisions, he will protect the judiciary from the charge that it is partisan, and thus help to preserve the noble American ideal that ours is a government of laws, not men. Preserving that noble ideal is indeed worthy, and perhaps it is even true that most judges, at most times, are not simply political actors.

But it is the president, not the chief justice, who is most faithful to our tradition in this case.

Dueling Theories of Jurisprudence
The judges on the Ninth Circuit and in other jurisdictions who spin spurious theories to deny the president the authority clearly given by legislation and the Constitution—authority that other presidents have exercised without comment or rebuke—are misguided and should be corrected.

We are at an extraordinary period in history when one of our political parties, the Democrats, has become committed to a jurisprudential theory at odds with our tradition, while the other, the Republicans, exemplified by the president, and, oddly enough, the chief justice (most of the time, anyway) still embodies that original understanding.

The notion is now completely dominant in our law schools, in the media, and on one side of the aisle in Congress, that it is the job of judges to refashion the law and the Constitution along progressive ends, to mold our jurisprudence, as the Warren Court did, to meet what they perceive to be the needs of the times.

Somehow, however, others (including the president) recognize that many judges appointed by Democrats, when they engage in legislating new rules, are betraying our constitutional scheme, where lawmaking is supposed to be for the legislature, not for the judiciary. For judges to make law, to depart from precedent and from original understanding—in other words, to ignore the strictures of the Constitution and our statutes—is to deprive us of self-government. Paradoxically, then, for these appointees of Democratic presidents to frustrate the acts of the president, is to betray the very democracy they claim to represent.

Resisting Judge-Made Law
For almost a generation, a group of law students and lawyers, banded together as the Federalist Society for Law and Social Policy, have been seeking to spread the understanding that this now dominant “living Constitution,” or progressive judicial theory, is misguided and dangerous to our ideals of separation of powers and dual state and federal sovereignty. President Trump’s nominees to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, came from a list of suggested names who embrace Federalist Society beliefs.

The president probably also understands that he owes his election to a feeling on the part of much of the American electorate that for too long social policy has been formulated and implemented not by the people’s representatives, but by judges.

Indeed, the president and the Federalist Society probably both grasp that the current deep divisions in the country have been caused partly by a federal judiciary and a federal leviathan exercising power that, to paraphrase the 10th Amendment, properly belongs to the states and to the American people themselves.

The progressives’ judiciary acted from seemingly laudable motives, seeking to promote equality and other favored causes among all Americans, but in depriving their fellow citizens of the right to determine how to live their own lives, the judges struck at the purpose of the rule of law itself. Taking back their own government is what motivated much if not all of President Trump’s support, something the Left still finds it difficult to understand.

I suspect that Chief Justice Roberts’s statement on the judicial role was not meant as a rebuke of the president so much as a simple affirmation that we seek to be governed by our laws and Constitution, and not by the whims of particular jurists. The Federalist Society, President Trump’s nominees to the court, and even Justice Roberts, understand that conservatives do not seek to impose their own views on the polity, but simply to follow the pre-existing rules.

Sadly, it will fall to Roberts’s court ultimately to administer the needed rebuke to the errant judges whom the president has properly excoriated.

Photo Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

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America • Center for American Greatness • civic culture/friendship • History • Post • Religion and Society • The Courts

Thanksgiving: The Odd Bird Holiday

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President Trump’s traditional pardoning of Thanksgiving turkeys displayed both his wit and partisanship in service of a higher understanding of American politics.

Even the Washington Post writer, its drama critic, had to offer grudging praise for Trump’s performance, even excusing his “earnest platitudes.”

The mixture of comedy and earnestness arises from the very origins of Thanksgiving, in its blend of politics and religion. If not the most popular holiday, Thanksgiving is certainly America’s oddest. It is in a literal sense a religious holiday—we do not confine our thanks to quarterbacks, cooks, or cousins. Even the most cursory reflection on the holiday puts thanks to God at its core.

Even the closing words of the president’s proclamation, as do all presidential proclamations, repeat the last words of the original Constitution: “I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.” Time is measured in Christian time and in American, Declaration of Independence time.

But such thanks goes beyond all measure of what we could possibly return. We could never properly thank our parents. How do we thank our country? How dare we identify God and country!

But at the least we Americans can show gratitude, as generations of Americans have done. Immigrants often excelled in this trait, to the extent that we are astounded when they turn out to be ingrates. But it is impossible to demand love.

The courts, the political establishment, and above all our education system make this impossible task of gratitude also look insane, ridiculous, even immoral. The courts have distorted the “separation of church and state;” our political establishment has “pragmatically” elevated “globalism” over patriotism; and our impoverished educations have taught us that the only way in which America is exception is in being exceptionally evil.

Yet, some impossibly ambitious tasks constitute the most serious duties we have. By taking ourselves seriously, we make fools of ourselves. Shakespeare’s King Lear allows us to see that. But we would be even greater fools, and we know this, if we did not hold ourselves to be serious men and women on whom the fate of the world depends.

Fortunately, we are not at a loss, for the original Thanksgiving Day proclamations offer steady guides for shaping our gratitude. George Washington offers what may appear to be a coldly rational view of Thanksgiving, but it is in fact a highly instructive brief discourse on what we must do to be patriotic.

Following the intent of Congress, Washington proposed that Americans devote the last Thursday of November, 1789 to the “service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

It is how the “service” to be rendered that should intrigue us. That follows in light of the blessings we have received:

That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies,

Which are to be examined in light of various political benefits:

and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the greatest degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

God has led us through a successful revolution, peace and prosperity, freedom, and the fruits of “useful knowledge”—in a word a political system of one nation and several states that gives us “safety and happiness”—the low and the high, the necessary and sufficient conditions of political life. Our constitutions have arisen in a “peaceable and rational manner.” The revolution was violent, but thankfully we are governed not by General Washington but through the rule of law, our deliberations led by the Federalist Papers, as well as the anti-Federalist authors. In thanking our republican selves, we do not worship idols; we honor the image of God in our fellow men. In this sense political science is “useful knowledge,” a practical philosophy which submits to God and reason, his laws of nature.

The last paragraph of the Proclamation turns from America and its need for patriotic citizens and thanks the “great Lord and Ruler of Nations,” looking at Americans as denizens of the world, “to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us [N.B.!]) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.”

There are blessings beyond those that stem from life under a particular form of government—such as “true religion and virtue” and “science.” We can pray for the good intentions of the world, but we can act as Americans only in practicing self-government, within ourselves and among our fellow citizens. Thanking God is the first step in that political task.

Only Abraham Lincoln would compare with Washington in his October 3, 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation, offered in the midst of the Civil War. Like Washington he would note the blessings of freedom, science, prosperity, and God, amidst the sorrow of a savage and destructive war. “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

Lincoln’s prayer portends the glorious language and the somber teaching of his Second Inaugural.

The Thanksgiving holiday allows us to ponder the human condition and our relation to country and God. May our blessings be a boon for such a reckoning! May our gratitude be unending!

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Photo Credit:  Shelley Swanland

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America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • civic culture/friendship • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture

Originalism and Birthright Citizenship

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Republicans have long proclaimed their belief in constitutional originalism. Like low taxes, it’s become a mantra, but one wonders how serious they are. Originalism has consequences, and if embraced, a large part would involve undoing court-created rights that have restrained the political branches, particularly the states. Another large part would require scaling back the federal welfare state, which goes far beyond the boundaries of regulating interstate commerce. Contrary to critics, originalism would also allow ending the accidentally created right of birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment.

Trump Is Serious About Originalism

Donald Trump, for all the claims that he is undoing historical limits on the presidency, is in fact an unironic originalist operating well within the constitutional mainstream. While not an attorney, he is old enough to remember when things were not the way they are now. Trump’s nostalgia for the “great” America of the past forms his lodestar, which stands out sharply from the general undoing of America’s norms since the social revolution of the 1960s and ’70s.

His appointments to the Supreme Court—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—conformed to his promise to name justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia, and have muted the criticism he was a closeted Democrat unserious about traditional Republican concerns. Further, his expression of a robust, tangible American national identity—including the right to control the country’s borders and to say who may and may not be admitted to citizenship—addresses the most pressing threat to our national unity and the health of our political institutions.

Proving he is ever the master of the news cycle, Trump displaced the suspiciously timed pipe bomber and the maniac Pittsburgh synagogue shooter from the news by proposing he was prepared to issue executive orders ending birthright citizenship. This became the story.. The media, as one would expect, were apoplectic, and suddenly every 3.0 GPA telecommunications major became a constitutional scholar. This order would be unconstitutional and the end of the republic, we were told. Apparently, legions of illegal immigrants and a robust birth tourism industry have become central to American life.

Trump’s critics, however, were not only to be found on the left. Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said, “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order. . . . We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives we believe in the Constitution.”

Indeed, we do.

The 14th Amendment Does Not Mandate Birthright Citizenship

Well established precedent, the debate on the 14th Amendment, and common sense all weigh in favor of President Trump’s proposed executive order, as I have written previously. Chapman University constitutional lawyer John Eastman has also argued that birthright citizenship is not the most natural or originalist reading of the post-Civil War-era 14th Amendment, which was designed to secure civil rights and citizenship to the newly freed slaves. The relevant text is straightforward: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Some conservatives, including now-Judge James Ho, have argued that the use of the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” should be given its ordinary broad meaning as including anyone under the authority of the government and obliged to follow its laws. Jurisdiction is a familiar concept in the law, no doubt, but this does not appear the best reading of the phrase in context, as near contemporaneous precedents suggest.

While some have dismissed the 1884 precedent of Elk v. Wilkins as sui generis because it addressed the citizenship of Indians—who were at the time treated as quasi-foreign nations whose rights were controlled by treaties and not like ordinary American citizens and aliens—the language of the decision is instructive. In Elk, the petitioner was an American Indian who had moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and assimilated among American citizens, although he did not formally apply for U.S. citizenship. There is no doubt while living in Omaha he was obliged to follow the laws of the United States and was subject to its jurisdiction, in the same manner as a foreign tourist or green card holder today. Nevertheless, his claim of citizenship—premised on having been born in the United States and otherwise observing its jurisdiction—did not justify his claim of citizenship.

As the court held, “[t]hough the plaintiff alleges that he ‘had fully and completely surrendered himself to the jurisdiction of the United States,’ he does not allege that the United States accepted his surrender or that he has ever been naturalized, or taxed, or in any way recognized or treated as a citizen by the State or by the United States.”

In the debates over the 14th Amendment, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan acknowledged that the amendment recognized the existing law of citizenship, and “[t]his will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”

A common originalist interpretation of the 14th Amendment is that it was designed to protect the Civil Rights Act of 1866 from an adverse court ruling. Congress wrote the 1866 law to prevent newly freed slaves from being reduced to second class status by recalcitrant southern legislatures. The Elk decision noted that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 declared protection for “all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed.” In other words, “subject to the jurisdiction” and “not subject to any foreign power” were treated as synonymous concepts at the time of the 14th Amendment’s ratification.

Even the famous case of Wong Kim Ark, from which birthright citizenship proponents gain much of their confidence, noted that the other branches had failed to weigh in on the matter, and thus the Supreme Court was required to rely upon common law principles to resolve the question of birthright citizenship. Notably, too, the petitioner in that case was born in the United States to legal aliens who were subjects of China.

Democrats Used to Know the President Has Substantial Authority Over Immigration

Trump’s proposed executive orders are controversial, but they should not be as a constitutional matter. Does anyone remember Elian Gonzalez? His capture by armed federal agents and repatriation to Cuba was a major controversy in 2000. Janet Reno, Bill Clinton’s attorney general, argued in favor of nearly unreviewable discretion by the executive to determine Gonzalez’s status.

Making Trump’s claims of executive authority appear weak in comparison, the government’s brief in the Gonzalez case is full of gems. Janet Reno’s Department of Justice argued that “judicial deference to the Executive Branch is especially appropriate in the immigration context where officials ‘exercise especially sensitive political functions that implicate questions of foreign relations.’“The brief stated further, “[t]he Supreme Court’s recognition of immigration law as occupying a unique status for purposes of judicial review dates back more than a hundred years” and that “[o]ur cases ‘have recognized the power to expel or exclude aliens as a fundamental sovereign attribute exercised by the Government’s political departments largely immune from judicial control.’“ . Finally the Justice Department quoted again from the court’s 1999 ruling in INS v. Aguirre-Aguirre: “The judiciary is not well positioned to shoulder primary responsibility for assessing the likelihood and importance of such diplomatic repercussions.”

In short, while there are limits to executive orders, ample precedent exists for substantial executive control over immigration, particularly when the precedent is mixed, interwoven with unnecessary dicta, and contrary to the original intent of the Congress, as revealed in its ratification debates over the 14th Amendment.

One wonders if the supposed originalists have ever noticed the Constitution grants Congress the authority to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization . . .. ” Do they worry about Supreme Court precedents that deviate greatly from our historical understanding of “equal protection” to the point of requiring the government to provide “equal benefits” such as Medicare and public schooling to illegal aliens? Even if there may be some debate on the propriety of an executive order on birthright citizenship, the Constitution contemplates that the various gray areas of citizenship, naturalization, and special cases, like birth in the United States to temporary visitors who owe no allegiance to the United States, can and should be resolved by the political branches, ideally through legislation.

Immigration Laws Should Evolve With the Times
A nation’s circumstances and priorities change. While we do not have a living Constitution, we do have a living set of laws. The Constitution contemplates that laws and enforcement priorities will vary substantially from time to time. Far from being a prism through which the right policy answer can be found for any controversy, the Constitution is silent on a great many subjects, and the political branches—the legislature and the executive—are commissioned with divining good policy and reconciling such policies with public sentiment.

The right level and quality of immigration is a quintessentially political question. When America had a frontier and a need for large numbers of unskilled laborers, immigration was less burdensome and arguably more necessary. But even then, it was a matter rightly decided politically. A court-created “birthright” citizenship removes an important political issue from political control and the input of concerned citizens.

Illegal immigration is amplified by birthright citizenship, which allows the children of immigrants to become citizens and then, in turn, to sponsor their parents and relatives under the ill-advised provisions of U.S. law allowing for family reunification. These are the so-called “anchor babies.” While family reunification should be a low priority, this is a statutory matter.

On the other hand, the initial provision of citizenship to the children of illegal aliens—the first link in the chain that is “chain migration”—is not called for by statute or the language of the 14th Amendment, properly understood.

As the Supreme Court observed in Elk, legality and consent of the governed loom large in the question of when and how immigrants may become citizens of the United States: “[A]n emigrant from any foreign State cannot become a citizen of the United States without a formal renunciation of his old allegiance, and an acceptance by the United States of that renunciation through such form of naturalization as may be required by law.”

Unlawful immigration (particularly with foreign flags waving proudly) does not imply any such renunciation. More important, without formal naturalization by the United States, illegal aliens are mere trespassers and interlopers, whose disrespect for our laws and institutions bodes ill for good citizenship more generally.

If someone marched into your home and squatted, he would not become your family member entitled to an inheritance. Our greatest inheritance as Americans is our country, its resources, its Constitution, and its people. This inheritance, too, should be preserved jealously, and Trump’s efforts to do so deserve our applause.

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Democrats • Great America • Law and Order • Post • The Courts

Christina Blasey Ford’s Polygraph Was B.S.

The fact that Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers refused to release the results of her polygraph exam until the day before her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month caused some suspicion. And when we finally got a look at them, a lot of Judge Kavanaugh’s supporters were confirmed in their suspicions.

It turned out that Ford’s examiner, former FBI agent Jeremiah Hanafin, only asked her two relevant questions. And that’s not how most folks imagine polygraph exams are supposed to go.

But, surprisingly, while Ford’s exam was indeed irregular in ways that render it a worthless scam, the number of questions asked isn’t one of them and, in fact, focusing on that only distracts from Hanafin’s real trick.

The Truth About “Lie Detectors”

Even if Ford’s exam had been entirely on the up and up, despite the credence most people give them, polygraph tests are something of a joke among serious research psychologists. The American Psychological Association will tell anyone who cares to listen (which unfortunately isn’t many) that “most psychologists and other scientists agree that there is little basis for [their] validity.”

The APA has such a dim view of the procedure in part because, though research indicates that a polygraph exam can detect deception better than chance, there’s still a significant likelihood of error. And doing better than flipping a coin isn’t all that great when someone’s reputation is on the line.

Polygraphs are unreliable because, contrary to what they’re usually called, they do not detect lies. They only measure physiological responses, such as heart and respiratory rates, that intensify when you’re nervous. To quote the widely ignored experts one more time, “there is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception.”

Moreover, the responses polygraphs measure can be controlled by drugs or techniques such as self-hypnosis—the latter of which it turns out Ford happens to know something about.

More Questions, Less Reliability

But, if we ignore the experts’ dismal assessment of this whole profession, there was nothing at all odd about Hanafin asking Ford only two relevant questions. In fact, asking as few relevant questions as possible is standard operating procedure, and all polygraph examiners seem to claim that’s because the more questions asked, the less reliable the exam becomes.

That seems counterintuitive at first but, with a little reflection, it makes perfect sense. The more questions asked, after all, the more comfortable the subject is likely to become with lying to the examiner. Hence, asking many questions allows a liar to get used to lying as any nervousness subsides. Moreover, asking exactly two relevant questions is precisely what’s called for by the particular version of the exam Hanafin used: the “You Phase Zone Comparison Test” or ZCT for short.

The manual produced by the Department of Justice laying down the proper procedures for polygraphs administered by federal agencies says the ZCT must consist of five questions, two of which are called “relevant questions,” which are the ones about which the examiner is trying to determine the subject’s truthfulness. Two of the others are control questions, constructed to test how the subject reacts to queries that do and don’t make him nervous. The remaining question is called a “sacrifice relevant question,” which is used to prepare the subject for the two relevant questions but gets ignored when the test is scored.

After administering the exam and recording the results, the examiner crunches the numbers. The outcome is supposed to represent the difference between how the subject reacted to the relevant questions and how he reacted to the controls. If the crunched numbers make it look like the subject had a nervous reaction to the relevant questions rather than a normal one, the ZCT brands him a liar.

If Hanafin’s report is to be believed, he followed all of the Justice Department’s protocols when he administered Ford’s exam. So, contrary to what many of Kavanaugh’s supporters thought, there was nothing inappropriate or crafty about the number of relevant questions Ford was asked. The problem isn’t what Ford’s examiner didn’t do during the exam, it’s what he did before it started.

The Real Tricks

Hanafin departed from ZCT protocols by giving Ford time writing up a statement describing what she claims happened the night in question and then interviewing her about her statement before administering the exam. That might not seem so bad until you realize that interviewing someone is just asking them a lot of questions.

So Hanafin did exactly what he wasn’t supposed to do; he asked Ford a lot of questions about the subject on which he was testing her truthfulness. The only difference being that Ford wasn’t hooked up to the machine for most of the too-many questions she was asked. Since he also had her spend time writing her story down, his irregular procedures would likely have had an even worse effect on the test’s validity than simply asking a lot of relevant questions during the exam.

If Ford was lying, Hanafin essentially allowed her to spend an undisclosed but significant amount of time practicing doing so immediately before she had to face the actual exam; not just verbally in answer to his questions, but also in writing. Thus, she had the opportunity to get accustomed to the story she intended to tell, along with the intrusive questions her examiner would ask, rendering the exam results worthless.

Hanafin seems also to have departed from ZCT procedure by asking Ford the most general possible relevant questions about her written statement, rather than focusing on specific aspects of her story.

He chose as his relevant questions: “Is any part of your statement false?” and “Did you make up any part of your statement?” The examples of proper relevant questions for the ZCT provided in the Justice Department manual, however, are all excruciatingly specific and are supposed to test “the possible direct involvement of the examinee.” For example, “Did you steal that Mustang?” Indeed, even the following question, which is much less general than the relevant questions Hanafin chose, isn’t labeled a relevant question in the Justice manual: “Regarding whether you stole that Mustang, do you intend to answer each question truthfully?”

The manual, instead,  categorizes it as a “sacrifice relevant question”; the one used to prepare the subject for the actual relevant questions but isn’t counted at all when the test is scored.

It seems likely that, if Ford was lying, she would be much less nervous about the completely general questions Hanafin asked her concerning the truth of her overall written statement—questions that didn’t refer to any of her specific allegations against Kavanaugh or even make any reference to the man she would be falsely accusing—than she would be about any number of very specific question Hanafin might have asked, such as: “Did Brett Kavanaugh throw you on the bed and attempt to sexually assault you that night?”

All the more so, given how the process of writing down her allegations and being interviewed by Hanafin would have given her time to get comfortable telling the phony story.

In an interview with Fox News, Hanafin responded to the red herring issue of why he only asked two relevant questions during Ford’s exam by explaining the ZCT is the “most validated polygraph” exam. In his report on Ford’s results, he includes an impressive-sounding paragraph mentioning the studies that are supposed to support that claim.

But, of course, these studies would have been conducted following standard procedures rather than the routine Hanafin used and, hence, are worthless as a means to vouchsafe the legitimacy of Ford’s exam. In reality, Hanafin covertly violated the rule against asking a lot of questions; allowed his subject more time to get used to telling her story by first writing it down; and asked her the most general possible relevant questions concerning the truth of her written statement without mentioning the man she would have been accusing falsely, or referring to any of the heinous actions she would be attributing to him that might have made her nervous were she lying.

More Hanafin Dissembling

In his report on Ford’s polygraph results, Hanafin claims he conducted his interview after she wrote her statement “in an effort to formulate the relevant questions.” But that’s a nonsense justification. Hanafin could have chosen his relevant questions based on her written statement alone without going to the further trouble of interviewing her or simply skipped both by getting her story from her attorneys.

Indeed, Hanafin even told Fox News that he discussed which questions were appropriate with Ford’s attorneys the night before her exam! So what possible purpose was achieved by having Ford write out a statement and then asking her numerous questions about it other than making her comfortable both with her examiner and her story to make sure the results of his number-crunching elicited a favorable result?

Moreover, how can the claim in his report that he interviewed Ford in order “to formulate the relevant questions” be true given that nothing about the interview played any role in the questions he wound up choosing?

Remember, Ford’s relevant questions were completely general ones about whether her written statement was true and made no reference to the details contained in it, let alone to anything he might have discovered while interviewing her. So nothing he learned in the interview played a role in determining the relevant questions he chose. The justification Hanafin offers in his report for interviewing Ford is disingenuous at best.

Hanafin also told Fox News that he’s “done some work” for Ford’s attorneys “in the past.” But he closes his eyes while saying it, then looks down and to the side, and says “and um” before continuing. To me, he seems obviously nervous when mentioning his previous work for Ford’s lawyers. If you find this consideration not worth much, I’m probably inclined to agree. But my point in making it is, as untrustworthy as it may be, it’s worth more than the obviously rigged exam Hanafin administered to Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser that’s supposed to make us believe that Kavanaugh is the despicable human being Ford is trying to say he is.

Hanafin’s departures from procedure not only destroyed any validity the ZCT might have; they also only make sense if he was trying to make sure Ford wasn’t branded a liar by the exam he was about to administer. But if there was any doubt about Hanafin’s motivations, the nonsensical and obviously false justification he gave for interviewing Ford in his report closes the book on them.

As a result, Hanafin’s absurdly justified pre-exam procedures reveal something disturbing about both his ethics and those of Ford’s attorneys; who apparently make it a habit of using him to convince people that their clients aren’t lying and definitely aren’t stupid enough to not know what they’re paying for. Hanafin’s nonsensical explanation for why he interviewed Ford suggests he’s lying better than any polygraph exam could.

Hopefully, Ford herself will be investigated for perjury, since plenty of reasons have emerged to think she’s lying. And since Hanafin’s report was submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Hanafin’s explanation of why he interviewed Ford appears untruthful, he may very well have committed a felony. In any case, the Senate has ample grounds for further investigation. Whatever professional bodies Hanafin and Ford’s attorneys belong to should be investigating their ethics as well; assuming, that is, that they even expect their members to have any.

Congress • Democrats • Law and Order • Political Parties • Post • The Courts

Power Struggle: What Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Really Means

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When President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court last year, I predicted, “The real fight will come later, if and when one of the liberal Justices (Ginsburg, for example), or the swing-voting Kennedy, departs the court through death or retirement and creates another vacancy. At that point, when the ideological balance of the court could tilt decisively rightward, the Democrats will really pull out the stops. In the meantime, consider the liberal opposition to Gorsuch a dress rehearsal for the ugly battle yet to come.”

Later in 2017, after Justice Gorsuch had been narrowly confirmed by a 54-45 vote, I warned American Greatness readers, “The recent Senate battle to confirm . . . Gorsuch, requiring elimination of the filibuster, will seem like a chorus of ‘Kumbaya’ when the pivotal seats now held by Justice Anthony Kennedy or Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg become vacant.”

Kennedy’s retirement triggered an even greater firestorm than I expected, the ferocity of which became evident when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) repeatedly was interrupted by Democratic committee members while trying to open the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The hearing turned out to be a raucous circus. By the time Grassley finally got to make his opening statement on September 4, after an hour of frivolous objections by his disruptive colleagues across the aisle, his call for the Senate to atone for the unseemly rejection of Robert Bork 31 years earlier—quoting yours truly in  the Wall Street Journal—fell on deaf ears:

As Mark Pulliam said in an op-ed over the weekend, “The borking of Robert Bork taught special-interest groups that they could demonize judicial nominees based solely on their worldview. Worse, character assassination proved an effective tactic, nearly sinking Justice Clarence Thomas’s appointment four years later.”

Appeals to conscience proved pointless, since the vicious Senate Democrats were on a mission to destroy Kavanaugh at any cost. The proceedings were already off the rails, and would continue in that vein until the final 50-48 confirmation vote on October 6. Now that Justice Kavanaugh has been confirmed, sworn in, and seated, what have we learned? Here are some reflections.

Back to Bork
In recent decades, the Left’s tactics in Supreme Court confirmations have escalated, even as they have generally missed the mark. In 1987 the Left unfairly vilified Bork, one of the most qualified people ever nominated to the Supreme Court, as an intemperate extremist, ultimately defeating him 58-42. Bork was replaced by the inconsistent Kennedy, who nevertheless voted with his conservative colleagues in some important cases (including District of Columbia v. Heller and Citizens United). Had Bork been confirmed instead, President Obama would have been able to replace him upon his death in 2012. Instead, Neil Gorsuch filled the vacancy.

In 1991, Clarence Thomas was subjected to baseless allegations of sexual harassment in an unsuccessful campaign to defeat his nomination. He was confirmed—albeit closely—by a 52-48 vote. In 2006, Judge Samuel Alito was threatened with a filibuster before ultimately being confirmed by a 58-42 vote. Both Thomas and Alito are resolute constitutionalists. Senate Democrats’ flirtation with filibusters when they were in the minority emboldened Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to eliminate the filibuster for lower court nominations in 2013, when Democrats controlled the Senate.

Reid’s improvident decision to exercise the “nuclear option” enabled his successor, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to abolish the filibuster for high court nominations as well, allowing the GOP-controlled Senate to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch in 2017 by that narrow 54-45 vote. The spiteful behavior of Senate Democrats during the Kavanaugh hearings prompted President Trump to scrap the longstanding “blue slip” tradition of consulting with home state Senators before selecting judicial nominees. The Democrats’ mean-spirited tactics have consistently backfired.

The Left’s disgraceful treatment of Judge Kavanaugh combined the Bork and Thomas attacks—impugning both his judicial philosophy and his personal conduct—and then added a new element: disingenuous criticism of his “judicial temperament,” for having the temerity to defend his reputation with righteous indignation!

Senate Democrats were unflinching in their despicable ruthlessness, and sought to smear Kavanaugh with a maniacal zeal.

High-Stakes Politics
The Senate, once regarded as the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” has become stridently partisan and shockingly dishonest. Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory “I am Spartacus” Booker (D-N.J.) used the Judiciary Committee hearing as an audition for the 2020 presidential campaigns, and even the normally dignified Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) engaged in the political theater. There were interruptions, staged demonstrations, numerous arrests, leaks, dirty tricks, attempts to stall and delay, absurd histrionics, and brazen character assassination of a nominee who had undergone six FBI background checks, was a 12-year veteran of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and had received a unanimous “well qualified” rating from the ABA—the ABA’s highest rating for Supreme Court nominees.

Senate Democrats had an enthusiastic and uncritical audience on the Left, revealing the frightening potential of mob behavior. “Progressive” interest groups and the liberal media have become devoted allies of the Democratic Party, shamelessly making (and repeating) groundless charges without scruples.

The “fake news” media lived up to their nickname, going “all in” against Kavanaugh and abandoning all pretenses of journalistic ethics or impartiality. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was a sordid spectacle, managing further to diminish already-low public respect for Congress and damaging the Supreme Court in the process.

What prompted this unsavory episode? Several related factors were at work: Trump Derangement Syndrome, which has gripped the Left since the 2016 election; the court, and the legal culture generally, have become much more political since President Reagan nominated Bork in 1987 (with many controversial issues being decided by narrow majorities—sometimes 5-4—including gay rights, same-sex marriage, abortion rights, racial preferences, etc.); and, most importantly, the seat at stake belonged to Anthony Kennedy, who throughout his 30 years on the court served as the “swing vote,” often joining the liberals on the court to form a five-person majority in favor of outcomes favored by liberal activists (following the role pioneered by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor).

Confirmation hearings historically have been less contentious when a conservative is replacing a conservative (e.g., Antonin Scalia replacing William Rehnquist as Associate Justice—confirmed unanimously; John Roberts replacing Rehnquist as Chief Justice in 2005—confirmed 78-22). Things are typically more contentious when a conservative is replacing a justice regarded as liberal, “moderate” or a “swing vote,” such as the seat vacated by Lewis Powell (Bork), Thurgood Marshall (Thomas), O’Connor (Alito), or Kennedy (Kavanaugh).

This, along with Senate Republicans’ playing by the longstanding rules, explains why various Democratic presidents’ high court nominees in recent years were confirmed without significant opposition: Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacing Byron White in 1993 by a 96-3 vote; Stephen Breyer replacing Harry Blackmun in 1994 by an 87-9 vote; Elena Kagan replacing John Paul Stevens in 2010 by a 63-37 vote; and even Sonia Sotomayor replacing David Souter in 2009 by a 68-31 vote. All these examples were liberals replacing liberals.

Kavanaugh was different because not only was he a conservative replacing a swing vote, his confirmation would—and did—decisively tip the ideological balance on the court in favor of an originalist judicial philosophy for decades to come. Accordingly, after an unprecedentedly fierce battle, Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48, largely along party lines. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) was the only Democrat to vote for confirmation, and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski voted “present” to balance the missing Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

Putting Our Robed Masters in the Place
The ultimate reason Kavanaugh’s nomination was so acrimonious is that, as Robert Bork explained in his 1990 book The Tempting of America, over the past 50-60 years (beginning with the Warren Court in the 1960s), the Supreme Court has usurped policymaking and lawmaking from the other branches (and the states) through an increasingly ambitious application of the “living Constitution.”

Since the middle of the 20th century, the court has been making the law, not honestly interpreting it. Bork and Scalia led the movement in favor of constitutional “originalism,” much to the consternation of the Left. When judges interpret the Constitution according to its plain text and original meaning, power is retained by the political branches and the states—We the People—not unelected judges.

Under the “living Constitution” approach favored by the Left, the court became a political body—a nine-man super-legislature. A five-person majority could—and did—govern the nation.

Over the past half-century or so, the court has delivered most of the Left’s policy objectives: inventing a variety of rights not appearing in the Constitution, at the expense of democratic self-government. The Left realized that winning lawsuits is more reliable, faster, cheaper, and more enduring than the complicated business of winning elections throughout the country.

Liberals have had control of the Supreme Court for decades. Understandably, the Left didn’t want that to end.

The Senate’s refusal to conduct a hearing or take a vote on Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 to replace Scalia was not the cause of the Democrats’ meltdown over Kavanaugh. Obama was a lame duck and 2016 was a presidential election year. The Republicans did not vilify or demonize Garland. They simply refused to consider Garland’s nomination, which is the Senate’s constitutional prerogative. The Democrats would have done the same thing if the positions were reversed, and in fact Sen. Joe Biden, then Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said so in the closing days of George H. W. Bush administration in 1992. The refusal to confirm Garland is a rhetorical fig leaf Democrats try to use to hide their shameless bad faith toward Kavanaugh.

For the first time in my lifetime, with Kavanaugh there will be a five-person originalist majority on the highest court in the land. Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle was all about preserving power. Not content simply to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination through the confirmation vote, the Left’s smear campaign continues, seeking to delegitimize Kavanaugh as a justice and to discredit the court in anticipation of its retreat from flimsy precedents issued under the period of liberal rule.

The American people watched this sordid spectacle with horror, appalled by the Left’s mob behavior and Senator Chuck Schumer’s soulless demagoguery. The Democrats’ tactics once again backfired, turning the tide in favor of Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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Administrative State • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • feminists • Identity Politics • Law and Order • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

Did the Deep State Recruit Christine Blasey Ford?

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The revelation that Christine Blasey Ford’s high school friend and onetime adult roommate, Monica McLean, happens to be a former FBI agent may have raised so few eyebrows because we’ve grown accustomed to finding the FBI lurking in the background of major news stories.

First of two parts.


The father of Parkland High School student David Hogg, the media’s go-to expert on gun control, is a retired special agent. The 2016 Pulse nightclub mass murderer’s father was a long-time FBI informant. In 2015, an FBI agent was photographing two ISIS-affiliated men just before an off-duty cop moonlighting as a security guard narrowly prevented them from turning a Garland, Texas “Draw Mohammed” contest into a massacre. Going back a bit further, it turned out that two of the 9/11 hijackers were actually rooming with an FBI informant.

The latter case, like the others involving Islamic terrorism, can be chalked up either to the agency’s bad luck or incompetence at preventing the attacks rather than to any sinister malfeasance on the part of its employees. David Hogg’s FBI connection, on the other hand, is surely just coincidental, and it’s natural to be inclined to say the same of Ford’s relationship to McLean. The FBI does, after all, employ over 35,000 people, so such coincidences are bound to happen.

Further, McLean, a high-school classmate of Ford’s who is also a lawyer, first became part of the story when an ex-boyfriend of Ford’s released a letter identifying her as Ford’s “life-long best friend”—a description neither woman has denied. He went on to claim that when he was dating Ford sometime in the 1990s, Ford coached her then-roommate on how to take a polygraph while McLean was looking for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

So when the ex-federal agent’s name first appeared, there was no reason at all to suspect that she had any involvement in Ford’s present-day attempt to block Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, (which, regardless of whether Ford is acting in good faith, is what she attempted) and, hence, no reason to think that McLean’s FBI background was in any way relevant.

Recently, however, we found out that Ford’s longtime close friend—who resigned in 2016 after 24 years with the Bureau—is involved in another part of the story. And this time, her role can’t be described as merely background or coincidental.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Leland Keyser, one of the four witnesses Ford named who has no memory of the events she claims happened who denies even knowing Brett Kavanaugh, told Senate investigators that McLean had pressured her into making her statement less unfavorable to Ford.

As much as some of Judge Kavanaugh’s supporters would like to suggest it, it’s very doubtful the actions described by the Wall Street Journal rise to the level of witness tampering. If the Journal’s report is accurate, however, it shows that McLean took an active present-day role in Ford’s effort to block Kavanaugh’s nomination.

More Coincidences?
Thanks to some top-notch sleuthing by someone calling himself Sundance at the website Conservative Treehouse, we now know more about McLean’s background that ought to raise plenty of eyebrows.

For example, in a 2009 press release, Monica McLean is identified as an FBI public information officer working alongside then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Bharara raised a big stink last year after being fired by incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Bharara implied corrupt motives were behind his dismissal, though there was nothing surprising or unusual about the move. New administrations commonly replace U.S. attorneys brought in by their predecessors. In fact, that’s how Bharara got the job from Barack Obama, after spending four years as chief counsel to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the man who recommended him to the former president. If you’re wondering what Bharara has been doing since he lost his job, New York did a profile in October 2017 headlined, “Preet Bharara is now in the Trump-opposition business.”

Moreover, the FBI press release which tells us that McLean worked with this leading figure in the so-called resistance against President Trump, identifies one Jim Margolin as working alongside her in the public information office. Margolin’s LinkedIn page says that in 2013 he switched jobs and started working directly under Bharara as his chief public information officer. Unlike Monica McLean, Margolin didn’t resign when Trump took office, nor was he fired like Bharara. And, since the U.S. Attorney’s Southern District, New York office is prosecuting Trump’s onetime lawyer Michael Cohen, you’ll find Monica McLean’s ex-partner’s name in any number of stories explaining the details of Cohen’s legal travails.

So, if the relationship between Christine Blasey Ford and Monica McLean is mere coincidence, it runs much deeper than McLean’s past work for the FBI. The lifelong friend of the woman at the center of the Democrats’ attempt to block President Trump’s most recent Supreme Court pick spent years working closely with someone who was Chuck Schumer’s right-hand man until Barack Obama made him U.S. attorney in one of the nation’s most high-profile divisions and is now a leading figure in the “resistance” against Trump. During much of that time, Ford’s schoolmate and former adult roommate was partnered with another man who is now intimately involved in Independent Counsel Robert Mueller’s attempt to pressure Michael Cohen into providing him with something that can be used against the president.

Besides discovering links between McLean and some of Trump’s prominent enemies formerly and currently collecting a federal paycheck, Sundance turned up other evidence that strongly suggests, in addition to pressuring Leland Keyser to change her statement, McLean played yet another even more active role in Ford’s attempt to block Kavanaugh.   

In her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford said that she flew to Rehoboth, Delaware on July 26, composing her famous letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct on July 30 while still there. It turns out that Rehoboth is McLean’s current hometown. Sundance used one of those people-finder websites to discover McLean’s domicile, and her page on the California Bar Association’s website tells the same story.

Sundance, however, is a little too quick to conclude that Ford and McLean were “together for the four days leading up to the actual writing of the letter.” In her testimony, Ford also said she was in Rehoboth on a yearly visit to her parents, who, according to the website Delaware Online, have a “vacation home they’ve owned in southern Delaware for at least 20 years.” So contrary to what the anonymous sleuth seems to be assuming, Ford’s traveling all the way to Rehoboth from her home in Palo Alto can be explained without supposing she was there to get McLean’s help in composing her crucial letter to Feinstein.

Though her parents’ Delaware vacation home amply explains Ford’s presence in Rehoboth, it doesn’t explain why she chose to write the pivotal letter describing her allegations against Kavanaugh there. And, there are good reasons to think that her dear friend Monica McLean’s proximity likely played a role in that decision.

Mr. and Mrs. Blasey’s Startling Lack of Support
Apart from pressuring Ford’s other high school friend, Leland Keyser, to amend her statement, Monica McLean also played another less active role in the story. She’s one of the 24 women from Ford’s high school graduating class who signed a letter supporting Ford. Keyser’s name, however, is absent from the letter, and it turns out that McLean also did more than Ford’s own immediate family were willing to do.

Ford’s parents have been surprisingly unsupportive of their daughter; and likewise, for her two brothers. None of Ford’s immediate family even signed the letter of support from “members of Christine Blasey Ford’s family” that the Senate Judiciary Committee received; indeed, no blood relatives’ names appear on it. Every single one of the 12 signatories is related to Ford only through her husband, Russell Ford. Moreover, the letter of support itself is so weak that it’s hard to understand what objections Ford’s biological kin could have had if they believed her accusations against Kavanaugh were made in good faith.

The first two paragraphs attribute various commendable character traits to Ford, and the next describes her professional competence. And, it’s only in the fourth paragraph that her husband’s blood relations say anything at all relevant to Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh. In that final paragraph, they attest to her “honesty” being “above reproach,” and say they “believe that Chrissy has acted bravely in voicing her experiences from the past.”

In short, insofar as the letter gives any indication that its signers believe Kavanaugh to be guilty, it goes no further than the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee did in their praise of Blasey Ford! So the unwillingness of Blasey Ford’s parents to sign a letter that Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham could have written indicates a significant lack of support, at the very least. Perhaps that’s why, in her testimony, Ford described making crucial decisions about how to proceed with her allegations against Kavanaugh while in Rehoboth, “sitting in the car in the driveway” (presumably of her parents’ home) and “in the Walgreens parking lot.”

Moreover, a couple days after Ford and Kavanaugh’s testimony, the Washington Post ran a story headlined, “Christine Blasey Ford’s family has been nearly silent amid outpouring of support,” in which they report having briefly by phone managed to contact her father. The expression of confidence in his daughter that the Post managed to squeeze out of the elder Blasey was so lukewarm that it inspired the following paragraph in New York Magazine:

It chilled me to read what her father, Ralph Blasey, wrung from himself to offer the Washington Post, in the conditional tense: “I think all of the Blasey family would support her. I think her record stands for itself. Her schooling, her jobs, and so on.” Then he hung up. A second call yielded this hypothetical: “I think any father would have love for his daughter.”

That same Washington Post story quotes Ford’s husband:

She didn’t always get along with her parents because of differing political views,” Russell Ford said. “It was a very male-dominated environment. Everyone was interested in what’s going on with the men, and the women are sidelined, and she didn’t get the attention or respect she felt she deserved.”

But, while Russell Ford’s comment may explain his in-laws’ unwillingness to sign a letter of support that contained nothing that wasn’t echoed by the GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the extraordinarily ambivalent remarks her own father made to the Post, it goes no way towards explaining why his wife would choose to compose the pivotal letter to her California congresswoman on her trip to such an unsupportive environment; where it appears she felt compelled to make many crucial decisions from the confines of whoever’s car she was using.

So it would make a lot of sense if Ford only wrote the letter while visiting her parents because her old friend and roommate Monica McLean was in Rehoboth to help.

Indeed, even if Ford hadn’t been in McLean’s hometown when she composed the letter, it would still be strange if McLean didn’t give her some advice on it. Besides being a close friend since at least high school and their history as roommates, Monica McLean is, after all, also an attorney who worked as an FBI agent and spokesperson. Just as it would be odd if McLean didn’t consult her roommate’s psychological expertise a few decades back, when she was looking for jobs requiring a polygraph exam.

When we add that Ford chose to write the letter while visiting her unsupportive parents with whom, according to her husband, she has a troubled history, and that she also happened to be in McLean’s hometown, it becomes very hard to believe that McLean’s presence had nothing to do with her decision to write the pivotal letter while visiting Rehoboth.

Two Photos, One Woman
But there’s even more reason to think Monica McLean was involved in writing Ford’s letter. Sundance also managed to find a photo from an April 2016 Delaware Cape Gazette, in which someone identified as Monica McLean is pictured enjoying herself at a Rehoboth wine tasting. As you can see from the caption, she’s the woman to the far left with the large pink handbag.

Enjoying the tastes are In back (l-r) Kelly Devine and Nuh Tekmen. In front, Monica McLean, Karen Sposato, Catherine Hester, Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, and Jennifer Burton. BY DENY HOWETH

And, besides providing further confirmation that McLean does indeed reside at her legal address in Rehoboth, the photograph, along with another unearthed by Sundance, also reveals yet another role McLean played in her best friend’s failed attempt to block Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. For, someone who surely must be the very same woman pictured at the 2016 Rehoboth wine tasting can be seen literally lurking behind Christine Blasey Ford in the video of her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The image below is a screenshot of the 28-second mark of a C-SPAN video of the event.

Given that (i) McLean tried to get one of Ford’s witnesses to soften her damning testimony and (ii) accompanied Ford to the hearing; together with (iii) McLean’s investigative, legal, and public relations professional expertise and (iv) likely proximity to Ford while the crucial letter to Feinstein was being composed in (v) the home of parents with whom she has a troubled history and who supported her story even less than her enemies on the Senate Judiciary Committee, it beggars belief that her (vi) longtime close friend and onetime roommate, who an ex-boyfriend has described as her “lifelong best friend,” didn’t play yet another role in the story by helping Ford compose the crucial letter that ended up in Dianne Feinstein’s hands.

But, believe it or not, we aren’t quite finished. Blasey Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee suggests that Monica McLean played yet another very important and direct role. Moreover, McLean’s likely fourth role in Ford’s project also reveals further connections to highly-placed federal employees belonging to the anti-Trump “resistance,” some of whose names will be quite familiar.

Two Lawyers, One Party
In response to questioning from Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor GOP members of the Judiciary Committee brought in, Ford testified that, during her stay in Rehoboth, “[v]arious people referred me to lawyers they knew in the Washington, D.C. area,” and that she wound up interviewing and retaining legal counsel while there.

And, of course, their longtime close friendship and McLean’s accompanying Ford to the Senate hearing alone make it overwhelmingly likely that Monica McLean was one of the friends who referred Ford to her attorney. But, since Ford was also in her friend’s hometown, it’s all but certain that she’s one of the people from whom Ford testified to getting recommendations. All the more so, since her family’s evident unwillingness to sign a letter of support that merely lauded her honesty and bravery, makes the utility of any advice they might have given doubtful.

Hence, in addition to signing the letter of support from her high school classmates, helping Ford write the crucial accusatory letter, and accompanying her to the hearing, it’s hard also not to believe that Monica McLean played a fourth role by referring Ford to her attorney.

Ford, however, was flanked by two Washington-based attorneys when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary committee, Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich. And, when Mitchell later asked if anyone else besides the previously mentioned folks in Rehoboth had recommended any lawyers, Ford responded that Dianne Feinstein’s office recommended Katz but, in response to further questioning, said they weren’t responsible for suggesting anyone else. This would imply that Bromwich was recommended by one of her previously mentioned advisors from Rehoboth. And, indeed, given Bromwich’s stature in Washington, someone with connections to an important political figure like Preet Bharara must have given Ford an introduction.

Bromwich has a very long history of working for the federal government in Democratic administrations and projects, going all the way back to the 1980s when he assisted Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh in his investigation of the Reagan Administration’s involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. In fact, Bromwich was part of the three-person team that successfully prosecuted Oliver North, only to have his conviction overturned on appeal. The man destined to become Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer later became the Justice Department’s Inspector General under Bill Clinton, and President Obama’s pick as the first director of his newly created Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Before joining Ford’s legal team, Bromwich worked for the anti-Trump resistance on the sidelines, as is amply demonstrated by his Twitter feed. In one post, he reprehensibly suggested that Rudy Giuliani’s criticism of Mueller arose from senility and, to reinforce his libel, posted a New York Times article with a picture of Giuliani that makes the ex-New York City mayor look like he got lost after wandering away from an assisted-living facility to attend the funeral of a friend who died 10 years ago.

Needless to say, no one calling on the phone gets to chat with an important man like Bromwich absent contacts in very high places. So some person must have referred Ford to him, and McLean’s years spent working alongside Preet Bharara, a big player himself, who was once Chuck Schumer’s right-hand man, could have provided the necessary opening. All the more so, given that Ford’s allegations had the potential to derail Trump’s bid to place Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

Here it’s worth noting that along with Ford, Bromwich also represents that other would-be wrench in the Trump Administration’s machine, disgraced and fired former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, whose name seems to pop up whenever some deep state plot against Trump is uncovered. Perhaps the fact that Bromwich was already representing McCabe was the reason his law firm asked him to resign when he added Ford to his legal purview, figuring that things were getting a little too obvious.

Of course, when she first appeared on the public stage as someone Ford may have once coached to pass a lie detector test, Monica McLean needed an attorney of her own, and she . . . well, we can’t say “hired” since there’s no reason to think she’s paying him, given that Ford isn’t paying Bromwich. So, let’s say that McLean acquired, David Laufman as her lawyer. And, though Laufman isn’t as well-known as Andrew McCabe, he is another entry in the long list of FBI agents and high-level Justice officials who’ve either resigned, retired, been demoted, or, like McCabe, fired since Trump moved into the White House. Laufman resigned from the Justice Department in February.

Moreover, Laufman’s relative anonymity when compared to McCabe looks like it might be undeserved. According to a source of Hugh Hewitt’s, Laufman’s position as, (take a deep breath if you’re reading aloud) chief of the counterintelligence and export control section in the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, means he “would have had a hand in the approval of” the FISA application to spy on Trump’s hapless campaign advisor, Carter Page.

And Hewitt’s source is supported by some of the infamous text messages between two other entries on the list of high-ranking federal employees who’ve had career trouble since Trump took office: onetime FBI lawyer Lisa Page and her married boyfriend, disgraced FBI counterespionage chief Peter Stzrok. The relevant text messages are discussed by independent journalist Sara Carter in an article headlined, “New Documents Show Obama Officials, FBI Coordinated in Anti-Trump Probe.” And, McLean’s lawyer, David Laufman, is one of the Obama officials to which the headline refers.

According to the Washington Post, Laufman’s decision to start seriously enforcing the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a 1938 law enacted to combat Nazi propaganda, also played an important role in the eventual prosecution of both Paul Manafort and General Michael Flynn. According to the Post, the Justice Department’s FARA unit, led by the man who would later become Monica McLean’s attorney, pushed Manafort belatedly to register his consulting work on behalf of a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine, resulting in two of the charges in Robert Mueller’s indictment: being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal and issuing false and misleading FARA statements.

General Flynn avoided an indictment by accepting a plea agreement from Mueller, but the special counsel wrote in a court filing that Flynn had “made materially false statements and omissions” in his FARA registration. And, independent journalist Mike Cernovich claims that sources in the FBI told him that the man who Monica McLean managed to snag as her lawyer was responsible for leaking information about Flynn to the press.

But it gets better. Laufman also ran the investigation into Hillary’s Clinton’s private email server. Indeed, Laufman even interviewed Clinton herself together with, wait for it, Peter Stzrok! And, the two also teamed up to interview Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and even two other lesser-known Clinton aides.

And, for some reason, most media accounts of Laufman’s resignation fail to mention that it occurred exactly one day after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued a less than flattering report on the investigation of Clinton’s private email server he led. The committee concluded that “a number of actions by high-level FBI officials have legitimately called . . . into question” the FBI’s “integrity and impartiality.”

Though Laufman isn’t nearly as well-known as McCabe, Stzrok, Page, or Bruce Ohr, it seems like maybe he should be. Monica McLean’s attorney was a busy man when he worked for the Justice Department and seems to have played a prominent role in the failed efforts to make sure Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump succeeded Barack Obama in the White House. And, Christine Ford’s good friend Monica McLean must be even more well connected than her time working with Preet Bharara suggests to even get a few minutes of Laufman’s time, let alone to score such a huge player as her legal counsel.

Among the many puzzles emerging from Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee is how she could have had the presence of mind to take all the necessary steps in her quest to stop Kavanaugh from taking a seat on the Supreme Court. Ford seemed sincerely ignorant of even the most basic details about her relationship to her lawyers and claimed to not even realize the obvious necessity of obtaining legal counsel until others pointed it out. For example, it’s impossible to imagine the woman we saw testifying, who claims she couldn’t figure out how to contact the Senate, having the presence of mind to scrub her high school yearbook and social media profile from the internet before going public with her accusations. Yet someone did, just as someone must have arranged and kept track of her relations to her legal counsel.

Unless she was putting on a virtuoso performance, “Chrissy,” as her husband’s relatives call her in their letter of support, must have had someone who arranged all the necessary details. She must have had what I believe her ex-FBI agent and longtime close friend, Monica McLean would call a “handler.”

Unless Christine Blasey Ford is a phenomenal actress, she would have needed one even if her accusations against Kavanaugh were made in good faith. But, despite the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee’s attempt to walk the fine line of believing Kavanaugh and Ford are both victims, the idea is preposterous. One of them must be lying, and a careful look at her testimony shows that it’s obviously Christine Blasey Ford.

Photo credit: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

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Big Media • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • Republicans • The Courts • The Culture

Here’s What Democrats and The New Yorker Don’t Want You to Know About Kavanaugh Accuser Deborah Ramirez’s Story

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In his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 26, Brett Kavanaugh argued that the allegations of sexual misconduct raised against him were part of an orchestrated attempt to block his nomination by congressional Democrats and their allies. We likely haven’t seen anything to match the phony indignation coming from Democrats in response to that charge since the famous scene in “Casablanca,” when Claude Rains expresses astonishment to find gambling in an illicit casino his character regularly patronizes. U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) had her Rains moment, laughably describing Kavanaugh’s testimony as “shocking.”

Everyone knows the accusations against Kavanaugh were raised purely for political purposes. The campaign against Kavanaugh was ready to go the moment his name was announced. Even if his accusers were sincere, the claims never would have seen the light of day if his judicial philosophy was more congenial to the Left.

Nevertheless, Kavanaugh’s enemies insist his accusers should be heard and believed. But Christine Blasey Ford’s claims do not hold up under scrutiny. And the New Yorker article by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow that broke the story of his second accuser Deborah Ramirez’s allegations is strangely vague on crucial points.

Moreover, once the gaps are filled in, it looks like the narrative we’ve been fed about how the Senate first learned of Ramirez’s story is false and, as Kavanaugh suggested, Democratic politicians were involved in creating and promulgating at least her allegations from the very beginning.

Alarming Vagueness About Sources
Farrow and Mayer are silent about how they learned of Ramirez’s story. All we’re told is that the reporting duo contacted Ramirez “after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh.” Their reticence about who tipped them off suggests, as is often the case with mainstream journalists, the real story here might be who wanted us to know about the story they’re telling rather than the story itself.

After all, if their source was someone associated with Ramirez who wanted to keep his or her role a secret, they might simply have said that the story came to them from an anonymous acquaintance of hers. And, if their source isn’t associated with Ramirez, the only other option seems to be that someone linked to the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee leaked the story to the New Yorker, which, of course, goes some way towards confirming Kavanaugh’s “shocking” allegations.

Farrow and Mayer are also short on details about how the Senate Judiciary Committee learned of Ramirez’s allegations. First, they say her story was “conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer,” without giving any indication whatsoever of who this person is or how he or she learned of it. Since Ramirez’s allegations fall loosely under the rubric of “civil rights,” their description of the committee’s source masks how strange the little information they give us is. Farrow and Mayer tell us nothing about how this civil rights lawyer is connected to their story, so, stripped of the false sense of relevance their description imparts, their account isn’t any less bizarre than if they had told us without any further explanation that “a chiropractor conveyed her allegations to the Senate.”

Much later in the New Yorker story we’re given more details, but the anonymous civil rights lawyer’s role remains completely mysterious:

As Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings became a national story, the discussions among Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s classmates took on heightened urgency, eventually spreading to news organizations and to the Senate. Senate aides from Ramirez’s home state of Colorado alerted a lawyer, Stanley Garnett, a former Democratic district attorney in Boulder, who currently represents her.

A casual reading of this statement is likely to leave the impression that some unidentified classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh became so concerned by the “heightened urgency” that one of them, presumably the civil rights lawyer mentioned much earlier in the piece, informed the committee’s Democrats. But on a more careful reading, it turns out that the appearance of content is an illusion and the paragraph tells us almost nothing about how the story got from Ramirez to the Senate.

A “discussion among Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s classmates,” after all, might very well include Ramirez herself. And the story having “eventually spread” from such a group is about as imprecise an account as is possible. It would be true if Ramirez herself told the committee. Nor would Farrow and Mayer be guilty of any explicit lies if someone entirely unconnected to the unidentified classmates got the story from Ramirez and passed it to the Senate.

Moreover, “the discussion” among Ramirez’s classmates to which Farrow and Mayer refer isn’t quite what the description they use makes it seem.

Roughly 1,000 words in to the story (well after Ramirez’s sordid tale has been given credibility by the presumption that the New Yorker wouldn’t possibly tell it without corroboration), Farrow and Mayer write that after contacting “several dozen” of Ramirez’s classmates, they could find no one to confirm her account and only one person who’d heard anything about it at all. And “the discussions among Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s classmates” that play such an important role in the story’s account of how Ramirez’s tale got to the Senate comes from an earlier passage in which we’re told that a classmate of Ramirez’s named Mark Krasberg said,

Kavanaugh’s college behavior had become a topic of discussion among former Yale students soon after Kavanaugh’s nomination. In one e-mail that Krasberg received in September, the classmate who recalled hearing about the incident with Ramirez alluded to the allegation and wrote that it “would qualify as a sexual assault,” he speculated, “if it’s true.”

That’s all Farrow and Mayer say about what they describe as “the discussions among Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s classmates.” For all we’re told, the phrase might refer to nothing more than one classmate emailing a bunch of others in an unsuccessful attempt to get them to confirm Ramirez’s account.

The fact that Farrow and Mayer contacted at least 36 of Ramirez’s classmates and could only find one person providing only hearsay evidence would help explain why the New York Times initially passed on Ramirez’s story. But even if there was more to “the discussions among Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s classmates” than what Farrow and Mayer mention, the lack of confirmation also leaves completely mysterious who the “fellow classmates” Farrow and Mayer mention could be. If such a group were concerned enough to take her allegations to the Senate, one would think they’d have been willing at least to provide anonymously some kind of confirmation, however tenuous. Moreover, if some of Ramirez’s classmates did relay the story to the Senate, what possible reason could there be for not explicitly but anonymously saying so?

That one person providing only hearsay evidence of Ramirez’s allegations refused to go on the record for Farrow and Mayer’s first article. But 10 days later, the duo published a sequel that  identified him as Kenneth G. Appold, “the James Hastings Nichols Professor of Reformation History at Princeton Theological Seminary.”

Farrow and Mayer are being tricky with Appold’s title here. Contrary to what their description might lead you to believe, Appold does not hold a named chair at Princeton University, which would make him one of the world’s most respected historians at the very top of the academic pecking order and, thus, for many, lend some credence to his words. The only connection between Princeton University and the Princeton Theological Seminary is that both happen to be located in the same town, allowing the latter to cash in on the former’s prestige by adopting a name designed to cause confusion about its nonaffiliation. So, whatever other virtues he may possess, Appold is at the bottom rather than the top of the academic pyramid.

Moreover, Appold’s homepage at the seminary is itself designed to leave the false impression that he’s a named chair at Princeton University. For the very first sentence after his credentials are listed reads, “Prior to coming to Princeton, he served as a research professor at the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France . . . ”

And, of course, very few readers will realize that by “Princeton,” he’s referring to the town and not the university. So, the only person providing even hearsay evidence for Ramirez’s allegations is guilty of the most vulgar dishonesty. And Farrow, who has a J.D. from Yale—the university, not the manufacturer of locks—certainly wouldn’t have been fooled by Appold’s crass deception. Yet he and Mayer made a point of using Appold’s full title, but couldn’t be bothered to clarify the misimpression it was sure to leave and, hence, are equally dishonest.

More responsible journalists—or at least one of the New Yorker’s famously obsessive fact checkers—would have made the theological seminary’s nonaffiliation with Princeton University evident; just as they wouldn’t have written a sensational story they were utterly unable to confirm. If for some reason they did produce such a story, more responsible journalists would have mentioned the lack of confirmation upfront rather than 1,000 words deep, when all but committed researchers have long stopped reading. Farrow and Mayer have already reached an astonishing level of journalistic malfeasance and one wonders whether their editor, David Remnick, would have published the story if Farrow weren’t the official scribe of the #MeToo movement and the journalist who shot to fame exposing movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual misconduct and assault.

Alarming Vagueness About Ramirez’s Professional Life
Farrow and Mayer’s story is also vague about Ramirez’s professional life. All we’re told is that “she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence.” Here, though, a puff piece about Ramirez in Westword, a local news outlet in Ramirez’s current hometown of Boulder, Colorado, fills in some of the gaps. We learn that Ramirez “once worked” at an organization called Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN) “as a volunteer coordinator before taking a position with the Boulder County’s Housing and Human Services department.” Sadly, even Westword isn’t giving us the full story. Like Farrow and Mayer, the publication presents Ramirez’s association with the organization entirely in the past tense, for some reason neglecting to mention that Ramirez is still affiliated with SPAN.

A story in the New York Times gives a truer picture of Ramirez’s involvement with SPAN, saying she “has worked with a domestic violence organization, both as a volunteer and in a paid position. She joined the board of the organization in 2014.” But even the Times declines to name SPAN. Nor does it tell us Ramirez’s role on SPAN’s board of directors. The information is available on SPAN’s website, however, and it turns out that Ramirez is actually co-vice chairman, along with another woman but listed before her even though Ramirez’s name comes alphabetically second.

In an interview with the Boulder NPR affiliate, Anne Tapp, the executive director of SPAN, explains how the group was in a position to release a statement supporting Ramirez the very day after the New Yorker story appeared. “When Debbie was first approached by a reporter—by Ronan Farrow—by happenstance we had a board executive committee meeting that evening,” she said. Total happenstance, nothing to see here, according to Tapp.

So why don’t Ronan and Mayer, the New York Times, or Westword mention the simple fact that Ramirez currently serves on the board of directors of Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence as co-vice chair?

A clue seems to be provided by the identity of the gentleman who briefly served as her first attorney. In their first article, Farrow and Mayer say, “Senate aides from Ramirez’s home state of Colorado alerted a lawyer, Stanley Garnett, a former Democratic district attorney in Boulder, who currently represents her.”  But once again the journalists don’t tell us all we might like to know. Garnett isn’t just some one-time local Democratic D.A.; he’s a huge figure still active in the state Democratic Party with national political ambitions.

In 2010, Garnett ran unsuccessfully for Colorado attorney general. In March 2017, Garnett announced that he wouldn’t try again in 2018, stepping aside to let civil rights attorney Joe Salazar run for the nomination unopposed. There was speculation that Garnett would instead run for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District’s vacant seat this year. But in July 2017, Garnett stepped aside and allowed another civil rights attorney, Joe Neguse, to run in his stead. Garnett cited his commitment to “staying focused on the reform work we’re doing at the D.A.’s office.”

In response to requests that he reconsider entering the congressional race, however, Garnett replied that he intends “to look closely at a certain 2020 U.S. Senate race,” all but saying that he has bigger ambitions and plans to challenge Republican Senator Cory Gardner, who is up for reelection in that year. In January, Garnett’s commitment to “staying focused” on his job in the Boulder district attorney’s office suddenly evaporated. Garnett resigned and took a job with Colorado’s powerhouse political law firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

Though few ordinary citizens would know the name, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck happens to be one of the most powerful lobbying firms, not just in Colorado, but in the nation. Like any such firm, they employ lawyers and lobbyists from both sides of the aisle. But the firm tilts decidedly toward the Democrats. The New York Times called its first partner, Norman Brownstein, a “longtime power broker in state and national Democratic politics.” The second partner, Jack Hyatt, retired 17 years ago and passed away in 2017. But the third partner, Steve Farber, who the New York Times claimed is one of the most well-connected lobbyists alive, as well as a golfing buddy of Bill Clinton’s (we suppose he would have to be), was the chief fundraiser for the 2008 Democratic convention for Barack Obama. The final name on the firm’s masthead, Frank Schreck, belongs to one of Bill Clinton’s chief fundraisers.

Moreover, the firm’s lawyers and lobbyists are well known in Colorado for moving back and forth between positions in the firm and local and state Democratic administrations. For example, current Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper’s chief of staff returned to the firm this year and also once served as city attorney under Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. So it’s not surprising that Stan Garnett took a job with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, given his stature in Colorado Democratic politics and apparent plans to run for the Senate in 2020.

The upshot is that Garnett isn’t just the humble former Boulder D.A. that most readers of Farrow and Mayer’s story might assume. Ramirez’s first attorney is a major player in Colorado’s Democratic Party, with a hankering to be its next junior Senator, who now works for a powerful law and lobbying firm with deep connections to the Democratic Party at the local, state, and national levels.

Moreover, according to Farrow and Mayer, when they first contacted Deborah Ramirez, “she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty,” and it took “six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with” this well connected big wheel in Colorado Democratic politics with national ambitions before “she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers” the allegations she made against Kavanaugh.

Alarming Vagueness and Unanswered Questions
We’ve been deservedly hard on Farrow and Mayer. Here, in fairness, it must be said that they explain Garnett’s involvement in getting Ramirez to relay her allegations to them toward the very beginning of the article. Even here, however, they only refer to Garnett as “her attorney” and don’t name him or describe him as a “former Democratic district attorney in Boulder” for another 2,280 words. So only the most committed readers who also know Boulder politics would know of the connections between the Democratic Party and the man who appears as though he may have coached and convinced Ramirez to go public.

Though Farrow and Mayer reported that Garnett was Ramirez’s attorney; and, though a notice was posted the next day at Ramirez’s home directing any questions to him while he was inside meeting with her; when reporters enquired at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, they were told that another lawyer, John Clune, from a different firm was handling the case. And when reporters tried to question Garnett as he was leaving Ramirez’s home, he pointedly refused to comment.

Given that Farrow and Mayer’s article from the preceding day as well as the sign on Ramirez’s home while Garnett was inside identified him as her attorney, obviously the switch in legal counsel must have been done at the last minute.

What could have precipitated it?

And why do Farrow and Mayer give zero information about their source?

And why are they so deceptively vague about how the Senate became aware of Ramirez’s allegations?

And why leave out the fact that Ramirez is co-vice-chairman of Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence?

And why do Farrow and Mayer present Garnett as a humble ex-district attorney rather than what he is: a big wheel in Colorado Democratic politics, working for one of the most powerful lobbying firms in the nation that also happens to have strong connections to the Democratic Party, who’s all but announced his intention to run for the Senate in 2020?

And who is the mysterious “civil rights attorney” who Farrow and Mayer say passed Ramirez’s allegations to the Senate?

A clue to the answers to these questions is provided by something Farrow and Mayer do say and something else they don’t.

The journalists tell us that Garnett became Ramirez’s attorney when, “Senate aides from Ramirez’s home state of Colorado alerted a lawyer, Stanley Garnett.” An NPR story that came after but on the same day as Farrow and Mayer’s tells us what we could have guessed; that it was Democratic Senator Michael Bennet’s office that contacted Garnett. But neither Farrow and Mayer nor NPR nor any other media accounts mention the surprise Ramirez surely must have felt to find out that someone with whom she was well acquainted with through her work on the board of directors of SPAN would be her attorney.

Garnett has been involved with SPAN for at least almost a decade, and it’s impossible to believe that Kavanaugh’s second accuser and the big wheel Democrat weren’t previously acquainted. In chronological order:

2010: An article on then-District Attorney Garnett’s response to the 2009 Bolder homicide rate in Colorado Daily quotes “Alexandra Lynch, development director for the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence.” Anyone who knows how these things work will realize that Garnett must have referred SPAN to its author.

2010: The Boulder D.A.’s office and a group called “Community Justice Services” issued a “Domestic Violence Statistical Report.” Garnett signed the opening statement and SPAN Executive Director Anne Tapp, the woman who claimed that the SPAN board of directors meeting on the day Farrow and Mayer’s piece came out was mere “happenstance,” was on the committee that produced it.

2012: Garnett prosecuted a SPAN employee for stealing money from their clients.

2014: Garnett was quoted in a puff piece on SPAN in the Daily Camera praising the group’s work. Again, anyone who knows how these things work will tell you that SPAN likely sent the reporter to Garnett.

2016: Garnett was on the discussion panel at a film screening/fundraiser for SPAN.

2018: SPAN partnered with the D.A.’s office and a few other charitable organizations to host a panel discussion called “Smart Parenting in a World with Sexting.” Garnett’s name appears on the list of sponsors along with Ann Tapp. Probably she would say it was just more happenstance.

2018: In one of his final public appearances as Boulder district attorney, Garnett was the keynote speaker at SPAN’s annual fundraiser in February.

Boulder’s population is only around 100,000. So, the odds of SPAN board of directors’ co-vice chair Deborah Ramirez and Stan Garnett having no prior acquaintance are astronomically small given the connections between Garnett and SPAN. It’s also possible Garnett being referred to Ramirez by Michael Bennet’s office really was mere happenstance. But then, why didn’t Farrow and Mayer or any of the other journalists covering the story mention their previous acquaintance? Either they are hiding something, or Ramirez and Garnett are. Moreover, their prior acquaintance provides simple answers to all the puzzles mentioned above.

Ramirez switched lawyers at the last minute because she or somebody on her team realized that her prior acquaintance with Garnett and his deep connections to national Democratic politics were likely to emerge if he remained her counsel.

Farrow and Mayer give us zero information about who tipped them off to Ramirez’s allegations because it was someone connected with Democratic Party.

Farrow and Mayer are deceptively vague about how Ramirez’s story made its way to the Senate because it involved Democratic politicians and was one part of an orchestrated plot involving the well-connected Democratic politician who spent six days coaching her before she was willing to tell them of her allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.

None of the outlets covering the story reported that Ramirez is currently serving as co-vice-chair of SPAN because it would have made it too easy to discover she was already acquainted with Garnett.

Farrow and Mayer present Garnett as a simple district attorney because describing him as an important player in Colorado’s Democratic Party establishment would have raised suspicions that her emergence was a coordinated effort by Democratic politicians rather than a spontaneous grassroots phenomenon.

Finally, the mysterious civil rights attorney who Farrow and Mayer claim told the Senate about Ramirez’s allegations may be either Joe Salazar, who you’ll recall was put on the ballot for attorney general when Garnett decided not to run, or Joe Neguse, who was put on the ballot for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District when Garnett declined to seek that office.

This last answer is mere conjecture on our part. But if, as surely must be the case, Deborah Ramirez and Stan Garnett knew one another before he took her on as his client and spent six days encouraging her to speak with Farrow and Mayer about her lurid allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, then Farrow and Mayer’s silence about the pair’s prior acquaintance is damning. It becomes almost impossible to believe that Garnett wasn’t involved in bringing her allegations to Michael Bennet’s office.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has said Dianne Feinstein and her staff will be investigated to determine their role, if any, in leaking Christine Blasey Ford’s letter to the press. We hope Cotton and his fellow Republicans’ disgust with their colleagues from across the aisle isn’t feigned or forgotten. The last thing we need right now is a return to the kind of collegiality that allows the Democrats to play the dirtiest game imaginable while Republicans blather on about their “principles.” Republican principles are only good insofar as they protect Americans from the disastrous effects of the Democrats’ policies and political appointments. More often than not, however, those “principles” serve only to protect GOP lawmakers from those terrible effects, leaving Americans twisting in the wind.

So we very much hope that Feinstein’s role in the macabre charade that was inflicted on the nation in the last half of September receives the thorough investigation it deserves. While they’re at it, Senate investigators might look into Michael Bennet and Stan Garnett. Americans need to know whether the story Farrow and Mayer and other news outlets are peddling about how Ramirez’s allegations reached the Senate is a ruse to conceal just the sort of collusion that Kavanaugh denounced in his opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Given all we’ve uncovered, we’d be sincerely shocked if it weren’t so.

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America • feminists • First Amendment • Hillary Clinton • Post • Progressivism • The Courts • The Culture • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

Post-Kavanaugh, the Culture War Will Only Get Worse

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Did you hear Hillary Clinton talking about America’s cold civil war the other day?

She didn’t call it that, but that’s what she meant. Just days after the U.S. Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court by a razor-slim majority, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee joined the chorus of outrage from America’s political left. She stopped short of encouraging mobs to get in Republicans’ faces and interrupt senators’ meals, but Clinton left little doubt where she stands.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” she told CNN. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”

Ah, yes. Strength.

Clinton, who is still smarting over winning the popular vote and losing the Electoral College vote (the only vote that matters — for now), has spent the better part of two years trying to delegitimize the 2016 election. Her voters—the sort who scream helplessly at the sky in protest—have been pumping each other up, grasping for any and all justifications for their “resistance” to the “authoritarian regime” now occupying the White House.

It’s not enough to say Republicans and Democrats differ on policy or even disagree on first principles. According to the true believers, the other party is in the business of destruction. We used to believe in a democratic republic, we put “ballots over bullets.” Today, votes are the equivalent of violence . . .

Read the rest at the Sacramento Bee

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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America • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Elections • First Amendment • Free Speech • Identity Politics • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

The Phantom Pain of the Left

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As the president of the Senate called for a sufficient second to move to a vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a . . . noise . . . erupted from the Senate gallery.

It was as though the gates of Hell had been opened and a demonic voice shrieked, “Where is my representation?” As the sergeant-at-arms restored order in the gallery, the voice cried out “I do not consent! Where is my representation?” The scream continued as the protester was dragged out by Capitol police.

Her voice reverberated through the halls of the Capitol as she was removed from the chamber, eerily calling to mind the sounds that might emerge from a torture room in a Soviet prison.

Can we blame her? She had been told for months that Judge Brett Kavanaugh was evil incarnate. For weeks she had heard how he tried to rape a 15-year-old in high school. That he indecently exposed himself at a college party. That he repeatedly drugged young women and raped them. That if he were appointed to the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade would be overturned and women across the country would not be able to get abortions. That he would reinstate racial segregation. That he was a shill for corporate America. That he hated homosexuals, women, and minorities.

If we had watched only CNN and MSNBC for the past two years (you know, to get both objective news and commentary), we would believe that a Russian puppet had nominated a rapist to the Supreme Court and that a Senate wholly owned by Big Business was about to approve him to the highest court in the land. Was about to approve him to make law and be the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong. We would believe this is not normal and that any action or force was appropriate to ensure that tyranny did not govern and to abate fascism.

If we read only the New York Times, we would view President Trump as a deranged narcissist, determined to start World War III. We would view his business prowess as the product of shady and corrupt business practices mixed generously with outright lies and falsehoods. His presidency and cabinet as a Frankensteinian hodgepodge of what happens when capitalist greed mixes with idiotic governance. His domestic and foreign policy as an ad hoc collection of lunacy with the sole purpose of enriching Trump’s own bank account.

If we only consumed mainstream media, we would know that civil war was imminent. That the only solution was violence writ large on a national scale. That violence was necessary to abate the rise of racism, xenophobia, totalitarianism, and treason.

We would believe all of this at the same time that national unemployment hit its lowest point since the Vietnam War. At the same time that obsolete and harmful trade deals were being renegotiated. At the same time that order was being restored to our country and our deeply flawed and unfair immigration system was being slowly, but surely, repaired, even without a wall.

We must have compassion for the poor souls enraptured by the constant sirens’ scream of leftist media and apocalyptic rhetoric. We must understand that many of our fellow citizens don’t understand just how good things are. We must understand that a large cohort of our country has been hijacked by absent-minded nihilism, moral relativism, and cultural Marxism. We must minister to the lost and harrowed souls of the Left.

We must forgive them, for they know not what they do.

When presented with a patient in abject pain, a doctor should not simply drug her with morphine. The first question he should ask is, “Where does it hurt?” He should try to determine the cause of the agony and treat the cause, not the symptom.

Our politics needs a doctor right now. A doctor who will empathetically, but rationally, treat the cause of the torment that afflicts so many of the members of our society. We must be firm—after all, surgery and treatment can be painful, but we must not let the constant screams deter us from removing the tumor that corrupts the minds of so many. The medicine may be bitter; but we must administer it faithfully to help the agonized souls in our midst.

We, as a country, must win. But we, as a country, must not leave the many who currently feel abject misery in the dust. We must be strong and try to explain to those beguiled by the enchantments of leftism exactly why the world is the way it is and why we must work with reality, and not against it.

Take a moment. Talk to a liberal friend. Try to explain why the current administration is making this country great again. In the face of hatred, we must show firm love. That is our civic duty.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

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America • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • feminists • First Amendment • Identity Politics • Post • Progressivism • The Courts • The Culture • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

War on Men Is a Long-Term Plan for Democrat Victory

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Encouraging women to hate and fear men as rapists is not a cultural development. It is a political weapon. Democrats are trying to replicate their electoral success among blacks, which they cheaply achieve by convincing them Republicans are racists. Smears such as “racism” and “rape culture” are effective substitutes for policy achievements or a platform, and so much easier to deliver. Democrats cynically ignore the unhappiness wrought by this ugly emotional manipulation of women and blacks. With these two monolithic voting blocs in the bag, Democrats figure they may happily predict a “blue wave.”

Encouraging a war between women and men is not an improvised reaction to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is a calculated initiative of the hard Left, put on steroids under President Obama. It is working exactly according to plan.

Obama’s burning dream was to solidify voters into identity voting blocs that can deliver a permanent Democratic majority, and end this pesky American tradition of a two-party system. Black voters were already sewed tight, by virtue of the president’s skin color. Turning single women into a Democratic monolith became the party’s critical priority in achieving success. The Obama Administration targeted the vulnerable Millennial generation.

Weaponizing Title IX
Obama’s legacy as a community organizer in the White House will long outlast his term in office. It is widely known he left the Democratic Party in shambles. What no one discusses is that Obama made a calculated choice to strengthen outside leftist groups at the expense of the Democratic Party. Obama deprived the party of money from his famous fundraisers in order to train 30,000 agitators through his personal group, Organizing for Action. He also illegally diverted half-a-billion dollars of federal bank fines to radical groups.

Among these radical initiatives, promoting the fear of rape and gender wars was a signature achievement of his administration.

“It’s On Us,” the White House task force on campus sexual assault, “engaged students at almost 500 schools in 48 states, had more than 250,000 people sign the ‘It’s On Us’ (anti-rape) pledge, and worked with community members and celebrities alike to support (abuse) survivors and change the culture around sexual assault.”

On campuses, the Obama Justice Department forced colleges to hire radical feminist thought police and start rape witchhunts against white men, using the threat of civil rights lawsuits and the loss of federal funds. Resistance was futile. A letter was sent to every college administrator in the country, threatening them with federal Title IX sanctions if they didn’t fight sexual abuse by following new federal guidelines. Obama’s guidelines defined sexual abuse as any unwelcome touch (including a pat on the shoulder), which “does not have to be objectively offensive” in the judgment of an “objectively reasonable person” and instituted kangaroo campus courts to punish men. Criticizing this misuse of Title IX was itself grounds for a Title IX abuse investigation. Franz Kafka, meet Barack Obama.

It was a jobs-for-radicals program: get progressives hired on campus, where they recruit thousands of young people and encourage girls (and blacks and Hispanics) to major in one or another grievance studies offered on campus. UC Davis has 28 different departments of identity studies. The result is an explosion of campus agitation, which led to more hiring of grievance professors and staff, and more power for the hard Left. The key propaganda tool to recruit girls was the danger of sexual assault on campus.

Colleges staffed up their rape protection, diversity, and bias offices—150 full-time staff at UC Berkeley alone. These professional community organizers set to work creating a culture of antagonism and grievance on campus. They turned colleges into centers of progressive indoctrination and bullying.

Their graduates are the shock troops manning #TheResistance and forcing normal Democrats to shift radically left.

Campus Courts Were the Dress Rehearsal for Kavanaugh
The disgusting treatment of Judge Kavanaugh is something that has been visited on college boys for years. They no longer have a presumption of innocence, the right to face their accusers, or even to know the exact charges against them. No distinction is made between real rape and abuse and obviously unjust accusations motivated by revenge, shame, or mental problems.

How many potential Brett Kavanaughs, boys of excellence and distinction, have found themselves expelled from college and blacklisted from transferring to another campus? How many girls’ lives have been blighted by being encouraged to obsess about sexual victimization?

The treatment meted out to Kavanaugh has been honed on campuses during Obama’s eight long years. Kavanaugh’s nomination hearings was its debut on the national scene. It met with tremendous applause from the Democrat media. It has been embraced enthusiastically by the single women who remain the Democratic Party’s most important and loyal voting bloc. Woe betide them.

Obama’s cynical rape propaganda and social coercion campaign on campus have paid off big time for the Democratic Party in mobilizing activists. Congressional Democrats have no achievements and no program to tout in the upcoming midterms, but crying rape activates their base like nothing else. They expect it to deliver a blue wave.

Weaponizing rape allegations for political gain marks the ascendancy of cultural Marxism. They are destroying our civil and political contract, undermining law and liberty, and destroying individual lives. They are making it increasingly difficult to have happy, healthy heterosexual relationships, and undermining women’s equality in the workforce. It is a nightmare for men, but the long-term consequences are equally a nightmare for girls and women. It is good for the neo-Marxist politics of destruction.

Leftists are playing a long game. They have won on campuses, in Hollywood, in Silicon Valley, in boardrooms through intimidation, in the mainstream media. They have been thwarted by President Trump’s election, but not weakened in their bastions of power.

This is not good for anyone except for Democrats. Then again, judging from the more than 1,000 elected offices Democrats lost under Obama, it is not even so good for Democrats. The Democratic Party has become a hollowed out Trojan Horse, stuffed with neo-Marxists, creaking towards D.C.

In the upcoming midterms, the American people will have to choose sides.

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Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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