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Westlake Legal Group > Supreme Court (Page 5)

WATCH: Would you prorogue again? “Let’s wait and see…the lie of the land”, Raab tells Marr

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Vice Magazine Writer ‘Hopes That Terrible Men Like Jeffrey Epstein and Brett Kavanaugh Will Ultimately Get What They Deserve’

Westlake Legal Group Kavanaugh-4 Vice Magazine Writer ‘Hopes That Terrible Men Like Jeffrey Epstein and Brett Kavanaugh Will Ultimately Get What They Deserve’ Vice (Magazine) Supreme Court Sofia Barrett-Ibarria Politics Media Mark Hemingway Liberal Elitism Justice Brett Kavanaugh Judicial Jeffrey Epstein Front Page Stories Featured Story fake news Culture crime corruption Allow Media Exception Aileen Wuornos Abuse of Power 2020

 

Vice Magazine published an article about the life and death of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a sex worker who was found guilty of killing seven clients between 1989 and 1990. She claimed she had shot these men in self-defense.

After spending ten years on death row Wuornos died by lethal injection in 2002. She has become a cult hero to some, including rap star Cardi B, who featured her photograph on a single she released in May. According to the author, Sofia Barret-Ibarria, “to her fans, Wuornos’s story offers a powerful example of a survivor who defies the respectability politics of victimhood.”

Writer Mark Hemingway read this article as it was originally published (paragraph below). Barret-Ibarria equates Justice Brett Kavanaugh to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and “countless others.” She hopes they “will ultimately get what they deserve.” That is to say, they deserve to be shot to death by a serial killer.

As reports of powerful men who abuse vulnerable women continue to surface, it’s hard to deny that survivors are craving stories of revenge—stories where victims not only live to survive the abuse, but fight back. “I think part of her appeal to me personally, in this cultural moment, is that Aileen Wuornos was a woman that men feared,” said Bailey. Wournos story offers hope that terrible men like Jeffrey Epstein, Brett Kavanaugh and countless others will ultimately get what they deserve. “A prostitute hunting men instead of being hunted is a deeply comforting story.”

Hemingway rightly points out in the tweet below that “the author is saying Brett Kavanaugh DESERVES TO BE MURDERED BY A SERIAL KILLER?!…Were all the responsible editors left in journalism killed in a purge night or something.”

The emphasized sentence was changed after it was widely criticized.

As reports of powerful men who abuse vulnerable women continue to surface, it’s hard to deny that survivors are craving stories of revenge—stories where victims not only live to survive the abuse, but fight back. “I think part of her appeal to me personally, in this cultural moment, is that Aileen Wuornos was a woman that men feared,” said Bailey. At a time when we are constantly inundated with stories like that of Jeffrey Epstein and Brett Kavanaugh, her story is an example of men facing repercussions for their actions. “A prostitute hunting men instead of being hunted is a deeply comforting story.”

Although the revised sentence no longer implies that Kavanaugh deserves to be murdered by a serial killer, she still includes him in the same category as Epstein.

I am not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that some of the language used by liberal writers and commentators in their coverage of Justice Kavanaugh meets the legal criteria for libel. I realize that Kavanaugh is a public figure and the bar is set higher than if he were a private citizen. He is also a conservative, so the bar goes higher still.

Justice Kavanaugh has not been convicted of a crime. He is the victim of the most vicious character assassination campaign in U.S. political history.

At some point, those who peddle fake news must pay a price for it.

The post Vice Magazine Writer ‘Hopes That Terrible Men Like Jeffrey Epstein and Brett Kavanaugh Will Ultimately Get What They Deserve’ appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Kavanaugh-4-300x199 Vice Magazine Writer ‘Hopes That Terrible Men Like Jeffrey Epstein and Brett Kavanaugh Will Ultimately Get What They Deserve’ Vice (Magazine) Supreme Court Sofia Barrett-Ibarria Politics Media Mark Hemingway Liberal Elitism Justice Brett Kavanaugh Judicial Jeffrey Epstein Front Page Stories Featured Story fake news Culture crime corruption Allow Media Exception Aileen Wuornos Abuse of Power 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Dis-robed: Is it time for the Supreme Court to take up toplessness?

Westlake Legal Group KiaSinclair Dis-robed: Is it time for the Supreme Court to take up toplessness? topless The Blog Supreme Court free the nipple Fort Collins Colorado 10th circuit

No, not for themselves, although not not for themselves either. A decision by Fort Collins, Colorado not to challenge a 2-1 10th Circuit ruling that struck down ordinances against topless women in their city has the impact of striking down similar statutes across six states. It might be late in the season, but the Free the Nipple movement can celebrate the win in their preferred style in Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming as well as the Rocky Mountain state:

Fort Collins, Colorado, decided not to continue its challenge to a federal court’s decision that a ban on going topless in the city amounts to unconstitutional discrimination, NBC News reported.

The city had argued that a repeal of the ban would lead to women “parading in front of elementary schools or swimming topless in the public pool,” according to the report.

The city decided not to appeal the decision this month after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the legal battle already, NBC reported.

The decision to not move forward with the appeal effectively legalizes the practice in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit court, according to the report.

Jazz covered the 10th Circuit’s ruling back in February, but it’s worth revisiting again after Fort Collins’ surrender. The court ruled that the ordinance barring female toplessness had no other rational basis than gender discrimination. The city had argued that exposed female breasts had an “inherently sexual nature,” which raised “myriad concerns” about public order if unrestricted toplessness was adopted. As the ruling notes, the city outlined a few of those concerns:

The officials testified that female toplessness could disrupt public order, lead to distracted driving, and endanger children. Citing these concerns, the City claims that prohibiting only female toplessness serves to protect children from public nudity, to maintain public order, and to promote traffic safety.

Needless to say, the traffic safety argument didn’t carry the day. Instead, the court panel blamed “negative stereotypes” about the female breast for gender discrimination:

We’re left, as the district court was, to suspect that the City’s professed interest in protecting children derives not from any morphological differences between men’s and women’s breasts but from negative stereotypes depicting women’s breasts, but not men’s breasts, as sex objects.

One can endlessly debate whether the sexual allure of women’s breasts are a negative, let alone a “stereotype” in the sense that it falsely portrays reality. The vast experience of human sexuality seems to clearly indicate that women’s breasts contribute to their sexual allure far more than men’s breasts to to theirs. In his dissent, Judge Harris Hartz notes that gender-discrimination laws and precedents traditionally apply where there are no rational differences between the sexes. The Fort Collins ordinance does not irrationally discriminate, Hartz wrote, but follows a long line of public-indecency laws that necessarily deal with rational physical differences between the sexes:

It is part of a long tradition of laws prohibiting public indecency—the public display of portions of the anatomy that are perceived as particularly erotic or serve an excretory function. These laws may be justified as reducing or preventing antisocial behavior caused by indecent exposure: offensive behavior ranging from assault to corruption of youth to simply distraction from productive activity. The Ordinance does not discriminate against women on the basis of any overbroad generalization about their perceived “talents, capacities, or preferences.” To the extent it distinguishes between the sexes, it is based on inherent biological, morphological differences between them. Those differences are not stereotypes. They are not statistical differences, they are not matters of degree. They are differences in anatomical structure that reflect the unique biological roles played by males and females. (Plaintiffs’ “evidence” that the breasts of men and women are essentially identical cannot be taken seriously.) We are not dealing here with a “simplistic, outdated assumption that gender could be used as a proxy for other, more germane bases of classification.” Mississippi University for Women, 458 U.S. at 726 (internal quotation marks omitted).

And, to go back to first principles in equal-protection jurisprudence, there is nothing inherently invidious to an adult of either gender in declaring that an inherent biological, morphological feature of his or her body is erotic. That view would be inconsistent with the fundamental role of sexual attraction in our most revered social institution—marriage; to believe that a spouse is sexually attractive is not to demean the spouse. I do not think the Supreme Court has embraced the view that it is.

In this light, it is apparent that the rationales supporting heightened scrutiny of gender discrimination have no purchase in the context of indecency laws based on inherent biological, morphological differences between the sexes.

I’m torn between libertarianism, subsidiarity, and conservatism on this point but end up agreeing with Hartz. It might well be that Fort Collins’ ideas on public indecency are outmoded and that their concerns are overblown, but that’s an issue for Fort Collins voters, not the federal courts. There are natural and significant differences between men and women that require specific attention in public indecency laws, which means there is a rational and essentially non-discriminatory reason for drawing those distinctions. Federal courts should have stopped when the obvious rational basis for this was made clear. (And to be honest, I’d prefer that men cover up rather than free their nipples in public, too, but I don’t live in Fort Collins.) The role of the federal judiciary is to judge cases in light of the Constitution and federal law, not to strike down laws they think are foolish. That’s the job of legislatures and voters.

Back in February, it looked likely that Fort Collins would appeal this to the Supreme Court. Now that they’re out of the action, will one of the states impacted by their forfeit take up the challenge instead? As NBC News notes, it’s ripe for cert, and thanks to another similar case, the court might end up taking both at the same time regardless:

Most other courts have rejected equal-protection challenges to bans on female toplessness, as the Tenth Circuit acknowledged in its February ruling, saying “ours is the minority viewpoint.”

But the ruling said the trend has been toward “requiring more⁠— not less— judicial scrutiny when asserted physical differences are raised to justify gender-based discrimination.”

A challenge to a local topless ban in New Hampshire is now pending before the US Supreme Court, brought by three women who appeared topless at a lakeside beach. The state supreme court acknowledged that the law treats men and women differently. But it said public exposure of the female breast “almost invariably conveys sexual overtones.”

The U.S. Supreme Court will announce later this year whether it will hear the case.

We now have the kind of split that usually merits a grant of cert by the Supreme Court. If they do take this up, it will almost certainly be one of the most-watched cases on the docket this year. Oh come on, you know what I mean.

The post Dis-robed: Is it time for the Supreme Court to take up toplessness? appeared first on Hot Air.

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The Left Accuses President Trump and Conservatives Of Taking Advantage Of the New York Times’s Libel Of Justice Kavanaugh

What started out as a cynical and ugly effort by the New York Times to drag the name of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh through the mud…again…and to help the Democrats delegitimize the Supreme Court has blown up in their face.

Two New York Times reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, who also have a new book coming out on the Kavanaugh hearings, had an story based on that book appear in the New York Times “Sunday Review” that purported to reveal a new instance of alleged inappropriate conduct by Kavanaugh at Yale. The only problem was that in the book, the authors say that the alleged victim says she doesn’t remember it happening. Pogrebin and Kelly threw their editors under the bus during a cable television appearance saying they had included that fact in their draft of the story. By yesterday, they were reduced to blaming FoxNews.

Read all of our Kavanugh coveage.

Since the day of the first article, President Trump has been in the forefront of the effort to stuff this story deep up the backside of the New York Times.

Now the left is claiming that President Trump is [show my shocked face] milking the entire episode: Trump milks the Kavanaugh backlash.

For Team Trump, the ongoing focus on Kavanaugh is a political gift. The president and his aides are latching on to the uproar to energize conservatives about another hot-button emotional issue that resonates with the base, a move that can support GOP fundraising and ultimately bolster get-out-the-vote efforts.

“Grabbing guns and smearing Supreme Court Justices? Next the Democrats will hold up a dismembered eight-month-old fetus!” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president. “They are handing the election to President Trump.”

The Kavanaugh allegations continue to carry such weight because they will set the tone for the next Supreme Court vacancy and nomination process regardless of the president in office.

“This is a warning to anyone who will put their names out there for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat when it becomes vacant. This is all about Ginsburg,” said one conservative activist. “This is not going away. This ripped the scab off of what happened last summer and that is why people are so upset.”

A senior administration official rebutted this idea, however. “The White House is not concerned that the shameful episode involving The New York Times will impact the quality of future federal court appointees at any level.”

I think that any relatively sane conservative who is nominated to the Supreme Court would anticipate a vicious and unhinged campaign of character assassination that, like the attacks on Kavanaugh, are totally unmoored from reality. They have to know stuff is just going to be made up out of whole cloth and the salaciousness of the allegations used to demand further investigation. What this incident is signaling, in addition to how the nominee will be attacked, is that the President and his administration will fight back on behalf of their nominee. That will go a long way towards attracting an nominee who will be an actual conservative and not a stealth candidate like David Souter or Anthony Kennedy who made it to the Supreme Court because they really didn’t seem to believe in anything…until they showed they were actually fairly liberal.

The Times came under intense scrutiny for its Kavanaugh story, which ran as an excerpt in the book review section, because it left out a crucial detail that the woman who was allegedly harassed by Kavanaugh at a drunken Yale party has told friends she does not remember the incident, and she declined to be interviewed by Times reporters.

The newspaper also put out an insensitive tweet, since deleted, promoting the Sunday story. Both liberal and conservative activists criticized it because they said it trivialized sexual assault, misconduct and victims with its breezy tone.

I think this is another key data point in what will eventually be seen as a massive “own goal” by the New York Times. What they did wasn’t even supported by their sisters-in-arms in the liberal media. In fact, what the New York Times managed to do was shock the vestigial bit of conscience that remained in the world of professional journalism by actually lying about the facts of the story. This will not be forgotten. Between Avenatti, and Blasey Ford, and now the New York Times future allegations will face a bit of a higher bar before being accepted.

Conservatives have been in overdrive trying to elevate boogeymen out of the Times’ Kavanaugh piece. They’ve used the publication’s snafus as an opportunity to bash and try to weaken the integrity of the institution, which has published a raft of critical coverage of the Trump administration.

Very true. The New York Times and other media have completely torched their credibility with their cheap and nasty hits on an honorable man. The nation realizes what went on and they will be looking for it again in the future. It will be much easier for those of us defending President Trump’s next nomination to point back to this disgraceful incident and show how it is actually a template of behavior and not merely an unfortunate accident.

So, yes, we are milking it. And we’re milking it for all the reasons stated in the article. But you know what, if there is no lactating cow, you really can’t milk anything.

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The post The Left Accuses President Trump and Conservatives Of Taking Advantage Of the New York Times’s Libel Of Justice Kavanaugh appeared first on RedState.

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Newest Claim By Authors of Kavanaugh Book Is The Most Farfetched Of Them All

Westlake Legal Group kavanaugh-620x349 Newest Claim By Authors of Kavanaugh Book Is The Most Farfetched Of Them All The Education of Supreme Court Robin Pogrebin Politics Mainstream Media Liberal Elitism Kate Kelly Justice Brett Kavanaugh journalism Huffington Post Front Page Stories Featured Story democrats Allow Media Exception 2020

 

On Wednesday evening, New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, co-authors of the hit piece about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, attended a National Press Club event in Washington, D.C. The president of the club, Alison Kodjak, later tweeted that the women told fellow guests that Kavanaugh had agreed to be interviewed “for their book – If they wrote that they didn’t talk with him.” She wrote that they refused to this condition and “walked away from the interview.”

Fox News’ reported they had contacted Kavanaugh’s office, but did not receive an immediate response.

Call me skeptical, but I can’t imagine Kavanaugh even entertaining an interview with hostile reporters knowing there was a 100% chance that his words would be twisted to fit their narrative.

Nor do I find it conceivable that Kavanaugh would take the risk of putting himself into the very situation that he now finds himself – the women reporting ‘Kavanaugh told us that if we lied and said he didn’t meet with us, he would meet with us.’

The Huffington Post reported the story with this headline, “NY Times Reporters Say Kavanaugh Asked Them To Lie In Exchange For An Interview.” And this was their lede: “New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly said that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed to let them interview him for their upcoming book ― as long as they would publicly lie about it.”

According to the Huffington Post, “Kelly and Pogrebin said they couldn’t agree to the justice’s terms, so they couldn’t conduct the interview.” The article includes tweets from the Washingtonian’s Andrew Beaujon writing that Kavanaugh “wanted a line in there saying he had declined an interview. They were on their way to Washington to interview him.” This implies something even worse, that Kavanaugh had initially agreed to an interview, then once they were on their way, he altered the conditions.

But, in the end, Beaujon implies that Kelly and Pogrebin had too much integrity to agree to those terms. Please.

It sounds too much like the fable of the crocodile who convinces a frog he will transport him safely across a fast moving river and, of course, eats him before they reach the other side. Why? Because it is in the crocodile’s nature.

Pogrebin and Kelly will go on dropping incendiary soundbites to keep the Kavanaugh story alive and to sell books. Because it is in their nature.

Note: I will update this post if Kavanaugh’s office issues a comment.

The post Newest Claim By Authors of Kavanaugh Book Is The Most Farfetched Of Them All appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group kavanaugh-300x169 Newest Claim By Authors of Kavanaugh Book Is The Most Farfetched Of Them All The Education of Supreme Court Robin Pogrebin Politics Mainstream Media Liberal Elitism Kate Kelly Justice Brett Kavanaugh journalism Huffington Post Front Page Stories Featured Story democrats Allow Media Exception 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Interview with Laing, candidate for Speaker: It’s “extraordinary” that whoever holds the office “is totally unaccountable”.

Eleanor Laing, one of eight declared candidates to become the next Commons Speaker, says “it’s time we did things a bit differently”.

She chooses her words carefully in this interview, as befits someone already serving as a Deputy Speaker. But she declares that if elected, she will not model herself on the current Speaker, John Bercow, who

“has said various things fairly publicly over the past few months which lead one to conclude that on some matters he might not be totally impartial.”

In her view, there is no need “to diminish people in order to discipline them”. She regards Betty Boothroyd, Speaker from 1992-2000 – whom Laing watched, admired and was helped by after arriving in 1997 as Conservative MP for Epping Forest – as a far better role model.

Laing deplores “the underculture of bullying that has been identified” at the Palace of Westminster. She says the Cox report, which came out almost a year ago, is “an important piece of work”, but is taking too long to implement, because there is no proper accountability:

“it is extraordinary that the Speaker of the House of Commons, almost uniquely for a person who has power and influence in a democracy, is totally unaccountable.”

In her view, this deficiency can only be remedied with the next Speaker’s consent, which if elected she would give.

She is perturbed by the case now being heard in the Supreme Court,

“Because if they take a controversial decision then they will be upsetting the very fine balance which is the basis of our constitutional settlement, between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary…and that is very dangerous territory.”

ConHome: “You’ve been a Deputy Speaker for six years, so you know a great deal about it, and have worked very closely with John Bercow, who has a very distinctive style. Do you intend to follow suit?”

Laing: “That’s a great question, and the answer is ‘No’. We are an always evolving institution here, and I think it’s time we did things a bit differently.

“I have sat in the chair for six years, so that part of the Speaker’s job I have experienced, and I know it quite well.

“And the way in which I keep order and direct the proceedings in the House is rather different from the way Speaker Bercow does it.

“Everybody has their own style and their own way of doing things.”

ConHome: “So how would you characterise your style?”

Laing: “I hope that I have exerted authority with kindness. I don’t see any need to diminish people in order to discipline them.

“It is perfectly possible to ask someone to conclude their remarks, or to require people to stop making a noise, or to sit down, or in some other way to direct the proceedings in the House.”

ConHome: “After you were elected an MP, you had three years with Betty Boothroyd as Speaker?”

Laing: “Yes, and I was an Opposition Whip for two of those years with Betty Boothroyd.”

ConHome: “So you were sitting very near to her.”

Laing: “Very near to her. Betty was really helpful, really instructive, and I watched very carefully how she managed the House.

“Women do things rather differently from men. There is a notable difference in style.

“Most women are not as big or as loud, or as physically strong, as most men. Therefore we have other ways of exerting our authority.

“And it goes without saying that I deplore the underculture of bullying that has been identified.

“I consider that the Cox Report is an important piece of work. It has been noted, but it’s taking too long to implement it.

“I wonder why? I don’t know why it’s taking so long to implement it.

“And that brings me to the question of who has the responsibility for doing so, and where is the accountability.

“What is the role of the Commission that is chaired by the Speaker? Who appoints the Commission? Where does the power lie?

“And the answer to this is it’s not clear. And perhaps it should be rather more clear, because there’s no direct line of accountability.

“I’ve experienced this at close quarters as Deputy Speaker. People ask me, ‘How is such and such a decision made?’

“And the answer is, ‘I don’t know.’”

ConHome: “That’s astonishing, if you’ve had six years intimately involved in the whole machinery.”

Laing: “If I don’t know how a decision is made then that is evidence that there is no accountability.

“And it is extraordinary that the Speaker of the House of Commons, almost uniquely for a person who has power and influence in a democracy, is totally unaccountable.

“And I think that one of the things we have to do differently, in this time of significant turmoil in the evolution of our constitution, is to consider the role of the Speaker and the governance of the House of Commons.”

ConHome: “So how would you make him or her accountable?”

Laing: “Well first of all, we all have to be very careful about making promises. Candidates for any role like to make promises.

“Now I want to be truthful and say there are few areas in which the Speaker alone can actually change things.

“But if we had a Speaker who was willing to become accountable, it would be easier for the House of Commons to put in place measures which would cause that accountability.

“If you have a Speaker who doesn’t want to be accountable, which would be carrying on the current tradition, I’m putting this very carefully…”

ConHome: “You can put it less carefully if you like.”

Laing: “I’m putting this very carefully. If you have a Speaker who doesn’t want to be accountable then it would be difficult for methods of accountability to be put in place.

“If I were to become Speaker then the first thing I would do is make clear that I do believe the office of Speaker should be more accountable; that there should be clearer paths of accountability in the way the Commons is governed.

“It would not be for the Speaker to make these decisions. It would be for a new Speaker to suggest that, let’s say, a select committee be set up, to look at all aspects of the governance of the House.”

ConHome: “What do you hope would come out of that? You must have an idea of what you would like.”

Laing: “Yes, I do. For example, such a committee might suggest that the term of office of the Speaker should be no longer than a certain number of years.”

ConHome: “How many?”

Laing: “Let’s say six or seven.”

ConHome: “There have been great Speakers who’ve done much more than that. But you think in modern times that’s simply not feasible?”

Laing: “No, in modern times, I think the current Speaker has done longer than anyone in modern times.”

ConHome: “So he’s done too long in fact?”

Laing: “Well, that’s not for me to say.”

ConHome: “What’s it been like working with him?”

Laing: “Well I’ve always got on very well with John. We’ve been friends for 32 years. We fought seats together in Scotland in 1987.”

ConHome: “You fought Paisley.”

Laing: “That’s right, and John fought in Motherwell.”

ConHome: “So you were much more local. You could give him some instruction, perhaps.”

Laing: “I don’t claim that I did that.”

ConHome: “But he wasn’t exactly a local boy.”

Laing: “No, but he was a good candidate, because he’s a good politician. I’ve known him since then and I’ve always got on very well with him.

“And yes of course, working with him on a daily basis for six years, I haven’t always agreed with everything he’s decided, but I’ve always respected his right to make certain decisions.

“And I do know that he is assiduous, he’s dutiful, and effective. And yes of course he comes in for a lot of criticism, because he has been controversial, but he has achieved a lot as Speaker.”

ConHome: “On the accountability point, I was a parliamentary sketch writer when Michael Martin was Speaker, and there was accountability in the end, his position became untenable in 2009, but that was obviously in rather extreme circumstances, because there was a tremendous crisis over MPs’ expenses which he was seen not to have risen to.

“But I do remember the Chamber becalmed during the afternoon, almost nothing happening, you got to Question Three on the Order Paper if you were lucky, and it seemed almost impossible to debate anything which was actually happening in the outside world.

“And obviously Bercow did revolutionise that.”

Laing: “Yes. His use of Urgent Questions has been excellent. He set out to make the Government more accountable to Parliament and that’s a worthy ambition, and one which he’s achieved.”

ConHome: “But do you agree with most of your Conservative colleagues that he’s in fact a biased Speaker?”

Laing [after a long pause]: “I think the way he conducts the business of the House from the Chair is reasonably impartial. But he has said various things fairly publicly over the past few months which lead one to conclude that on some matters he might not be totally impartial.

“The funny thing is, I think one of the roles that the Speaker ought to play is to give voice to minorities. And John has said that’s what he wants to do, and to a very great extent he’s done it – Urgent Questions, Emergency Debates etcetera – and he’s also been very good at opening up Speaker’s House for charitable organisations and others to come in, to give them a base in Parliament to put their views.

“If I were to be his successor, I would hope to continue all these good things he’s done. But it’s rather ironic, is it not, that currently, the minority of Members of Parliament, who desperately want their voice to be heard, are MPs who support Brexit.

“Leaver MPs are the minority, and its rather ironic that it’s the voice of the majority that’s coming through so strongly, and the minority is struggling to be heard. I put it no stronger than that.

“Traditionally, the majority of MPs in the governing party are not usually the minority. But right now they are. The largest proportion of MPs in the party of government are a minority, and there’s no protection for them.

“But the Speaker would argue, I’m sure, that what he’s done in recent weeks is to implement the will of Parliament.

“And I recently as Deputy Speaker took a couple of decisions which were controversial and which I think were correct because they were implementing the will of Parliament.

“In the Northern Ireland Bill, where a large number of MPs had put down new clauses in respect of abortion rights for women in Northern Ireland, and in respect of gay marriage in Northern Ireland.

“And it was a finely balanced decision whether to allow those clauses to be debated and voted upon.

“And because it was the Committee stage, the decision fell not to the Speaker but to me, on that particular day.”

ConHome: “How long did you have to make up your mind?”

Laing: “About 24 hours. And I looked at it very carefully, and I read every reference I could in Erskine May.

“Sometimes people call Erskine May the parliamentary Bible. I really do treat it like a Bible. I love Erskine May, I care about Erskine May, it sits up there beside my desk at all times, and I look at it frequently.

“But then I’m a lawyer. I can’t help that. It’s part of the way your mind works as a lawyer.

“And when I took those decisions, I knew it would be controversial, and I knew they would be very unpopular with some people. But in both cases the matters which I had allowed to go to a vote were carried by enormous majorities in the Commons, and therefore I was implementing the will of the House. And I believe that’s what the Speaker should do.”

ConHome: “While also standing up for minorities.”

Laing: “Well that’s it. That’s the balance. And it is difficult.”

ConHome: “What do you think about the case now being heard in the Supreme Court?”

Laing: “Well what I will say is at the point where we’re having this conversation, the Supreme Court is sitting and we don’t know what they will decide.

“And I’m nervous about it. Because if they take a controversial decision then they will be upsetting the very fine balance which is the basis of our constitutional settlement, between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

“It’s like a three-legged stool, and if you change that balance, you change the creature, and that is very dangerous territory.”

ConHome: “If you become Speaker, will you wear the proper robes?”

Laing [after a pause]: “I hadn’t thought about that. I don’t think we need to bring wigs back, although of course it would be tempting, because you wouldn’t have to bother doing your hair in the morning.

“It would be tempting to think of putting on a wig because that would save time with the hair dryer.

“But I would say what is important, one of my watchwords, is dignity. What I would like to see is a greater degree of dignity restored to the House of Commons, and to the role of Speaker.

“And what is worn in the Chair is part of that dignity.

“Dignity, kindness, authority rather than bossiness, and I do believe that those things could be brought to the Chair by a woman.”

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Heartbreak: House Democratic Impeachment Caucus Is Dealt a Setback After Pelosi Smacks Them Down on Two Fronts

Westlake Legal Group NancyPelosiAPimage-620x317 Heartbreak: House Democratic Impeachment Caucus Is Dealt a Setback After Pelosi Smacks Them Down on Two Fronts washington D.C. Supreme Court SCOTUS Politics North Carolina Judicial impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats Culture Courts Congress California Brett Kavanaugh Allow Media Exception

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during her weekly media availability on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Though the “bombshell” New York Times hit piece against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has collapsed under the weight of its own deliberate omissions, that hasn’t stopped some impeachment-happy Democrats from demanding a formal impeachment inquiry.

But while the discredited report hasn’t prevented opportunistic Squad members and Democratic presidential candidates like Sen. Kamala Harris from hitting the gas on the Impeach Kavanaugh bus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a giant red “STOP” sign in hand – and is already using it:

House Democratic leaders and rank-and-file members are dismissing calls to impeach Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, with some arguing the House has limited investigative resources and others saying it is a politically toxic issue.

Asked on Tuesday night if she sees the House spending any time on the Kavanaugh matter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded with a simple “no.”

Pelosi didn’t elaborate, but other House Democrats boiled it down to fears a Kavanaugh impeachment show trial could hurt them in 2020:

Rep. Katie Hill, a California freshman, said she believes talk of impeachment could hurt Democrats on the campaign trail.
[…]
“… I know that this is not the issue that we want to be talking about just in terms of election,” she added. “I would like us to be able to just do what’s right, but I know that for many of my colleagues, it’s a really, really tough one.”
[…]
Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright also said his party should not prioritize the issue.

“Democrats are focused on the bread and butter, kitchen table issues facing ordinary Americans,” he told CNN.

Meanwhile, Politico reports on the “impeachment schism” that has grown between Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler over the committee’s slow Trump impeachment waltz:

In a closed-door meeting last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi stunned lawmakers and aides with a swipe at Democratic staff on the House Judiciary Committee.

Pelosi criticized the panel’s handling of impeachment in harsh terms, complaining committee aides have advanced the push for ousting President Donald Trump far beyond where the House Democratic Caucus stands. Democrats simply don’t have the votes on the floor to impeach Trump, Pelosi said.

“And you can feel free to leak this,” Pelosi added, according to multiple people in the room. Pelosi’s office declined to comment on the meeting.

Politico Playbook reported this morning that Democrats are far short of the votes they would need in the House to be able to impeach Trump. According to Democratic insiders they’ve talked to, 175 Democrats would vote today to impeach Trump if the issue came before the floor. That’s 43 short of the 218 needed.

So Pelosi is right to be concerned about how it would look for members if they tried and failed to impeach Trump in the middle of a crucial election cycle after months of Democrats like Nadler and AOC screaming “IMPEACH!”

They don’t have the votes now. They won’t have the votes later. Not for a Kavanaugh impeachment nor a Trump impeachment. Pelosi knows it.

(Hat tip: Ed Morrissey)

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— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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Writer Behind NYT’s Kavanaugh Smear Finds the True Culprit Behind the Outrage: Fox News (Because of Course)

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When last we left you, New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly were blaming the paper’s editorial staff for cutting out a crucial section of their weekend hit piece on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Pogrebin and Kelly have insisted that they included the exculpatory information which noted that the alleged victim of an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh has no recollection of it happening. The authors also allege that somehow during the editing process that information was was innocently removed.

Few people are buying it, which is quite possibly why Pogrebin shifted gears on the Twitter machine earlier today by pulling a tactic straight out of the leftist playbook: When all else fails, blame Fox News.

Here’s what Pogrebin tweeted:

Vox’s leading Democratic party shill Aaron Rupar asserted in the piece that Fox News has misleadingly “described changes the New York Times made to Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly’s story as a ‘correction’ at least a dozen times.”

Rupar then states that “there’s just one problem — the Times did not, in fact, ‘correct’ anything. To make a ‘correction’ to a story indicates something was factually wrong.”

The problem with Rupar’s piece and Pogrebin retweeting it is that Pogrebin herself has used the term “corrected” to describe the paper taking action to add the information to the story (h/t: Twitchy):

And as Jeryl Bier notes, by Vox’s own standards they label fixing the omission of relevant information from a news story as a … correction:

Regardless of how Pogrebin and Vox labeled the Times’ corrective actions, the whole debate is weak sauce, and a pathetic attempt at shifting the blame elsewhere for failures that can ultimately only be pinned on the two people who wrote the original piece and those who “proofed” it before it went to press:

Pogrebin and Kelly have shown no shame when it comes to the pretzels they twist themselves into to avoid blame for what happened. So their critics should, in turn, shown no mercy in their constructive criticisms. Fair is fair.

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— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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Richard Ritchie: It is futile to ask where political giants of old would have stood in today’s chaos

Richard Ritchie is the author of a recent history of a secretive group of Conservative MPs called The Progress Trust (Without Hindsight: A History of the Progress Trust 1943-2005). He is Enoch Powell’s archivist and is a former Conservative Parliamentary Candidate. He was BP’s director of UK Political Affairs

Anyone who has had the privilege of a close association with a political Giant of Old must be accustomed to the question “And what would ‘X’ or ‘Y’ be saying or doing now?”

Normally, it is possible to give a reasonably objective answer, and always with the important qualification of “all things being equal”. But of course they never are “all equal”, which is why nobody knows for certain how any figure of the past would react to a contemporary event.

Some politicians, however, are more careful than others to provide future generations with material on which to speculate. For example, one might argue from Churchill’s past speeches on Europe that today he would have been either a fervent remainer or brexiteer – both sides of the debate have indeed claimed as such. It is difficult, however, to banish the suspicion that their selection of the great man’s quotes are largely driven by their own political objectives, and often with less regard to when they were actually said.

In the case of Enoch Powell, with whom I worked, I always add the qualification, when asked “what would Enoch be saying now”, that it depends on what stage of his career you are speaking. When Powell started off in politics, he was an imperialist. He wished to govern India and maintain the Empire. But being young with a political future ahead of him, he abandoned this principle when it was no longer tenable – and being Enoch, he abandoned it dramatically, logically and conclusively.

I have sometimes wondered whether he would have acted similarly over Europe, had he embarked upon a political career in the 1970s. I have always thought it possible that he would have adapted to a loss of sovereignty in the same way as he adapted to loss of Empire. Of course, nobody knows. But there is at least enough material on which to construct a case for the possibility.

There is one sense, however, in which the question “what would they be saying now?” is especially difficult to answer at the moment. That is because we can no longer rely on the conventions of the past, which in turn is mostly due to the European curse – for better or worse, membership of the EU has eaten away at Britain’s unwritten constitution. And that is why we now seem to be confronted on a daily basis with one constitutional aberration after another which, only a few years ago, would have been considered unthinkable.

In the space of a matter of weeks we have had a Government accused of breaking the law, in contempt of the courts, and in contempt of Parliament; but at the same time we have a minority Government with no control of its business in the House of Commons but denied its right to hold an election in order, as it would argue, to honour the result of a referendum.

Were they alive, the great Parliamentarians of the past – the Powells, the Foots, the Benns – would have been at the forefront of these events. But nobody can be sure of what they would be saying. Perhaps it’s helpful to consider Powell again in this context – not because he is more important than many others, but because he vividly illustrates the difficulty of making parallels with the past.

Most people would surely assume that were he alive today he and his supporters – MPs like Ronald Bell, Dick Body, Nick Ridley and possibly John Biffen – would at this juncture have supported leaving the EU with no deal, although even that is uncertain had they believed in the veracity of the Yellowhammer document’s warnings. It’s worth recalling, for example, that the reason why Powell supported Macmillan’s effort to join the Common Market in the 1960s – unlike many in his Party who were already objecting to the political implications – was that he feared that our trade with Europe would be threatened outside the group.

With the global liberalisation of trade and the developing political ambitions of the European Union, his mind changed. But given his extreme distrust and dislike of America and his championing of Ulster, one shouldn’t assume that even Powell would have been sanguine over the economic dangers of leaving “without a deal.”

But whatever his views on this, it’s hard to believe he would have challenged Parliament’s right to try and prevent it. He and his friends would have been aware of every legitimate political trick and device available to thwart the Government, and provided their perpetrators acted in accordance with precedent they would have upheld their right to do so, however much they disagreed with their purpose. After all, that was the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty which all shared at the time. However dangerous and unwise it might be, Parliament has the undoubted right to ignore the result of a referendum and repeal any Act it has passed. Retribution, if deserved, will follow at a general election.

Except that now we are denied a general election – and this is something Powell could never have conceived. I am sure he would have considered it unconstitutional for a minority Government, having lost control of the business in the House of Commons, to continue in office. It is not without precedent for an Opposition leader to refuse to take over from a Prime Minister in difficulties. But for a failing Government without a majority to be denied a general election by its opponents would have been unthinkable to Powell or any of his contemporaries.

Neither could any of them have conceived of a Speaker who only respects Erskine May when it suits him and who regularly criticises the Government, even when on holiday. Powell often criticised the Speaker of his day for failing to observe precedent or to preserve Parliamentary standards of behaviour, but always in private. However, I think with Speaker Bercow he would have moved a vote of censure against him.

Above all, neither he nor any politician of his generation could ever have imagined a measure such as the Fixed-terms Parliament Act of 2011 reaching the statute book. They would have regarded this Act as madness from the start – they would not have needed the benefit of hindsight.

That does not mean, however, they would have approved of this particular prorogation. Powell and most Tories of the past would surely have been concerned that the precedents created today would prove extremely dangerous under a socialist government. Whether they would have agreed that this was a matter properly to be considered by the courts is a different matter – of course, for Powell the Supreme Court did not exist, and the high court was Parliament itself with a proper Lord Chancellor in office.

But when it comes to how we ended up in this situation, what would Powell, Foot, Richard Crossman, or Tony Benn have said? Powell would have started off by saying, unhelpfully, “I told you so”. Conservative governments are not expected to meddle with the constitution. But that is what a Conservative Government did when it acceded to the Treaty of Rome in 1972: from henceforth it’s been downhill all the way, and now Heath’s (or should I say the Nibelung’s) curse continues to wear away the Norns’ thread of destiny. Powell would have undoubtedly believed this.

But the existence of a legislative Parliament in Scotland; a referendum result which opposed the policy of a Government on a fundamental matter of principle; a partisan Speaker; a fixed-term Parliament; the island of Ireland now divided not only between Unionist and Republican but between the competing political regimes of the EU and the UK – this means that any revered Tory politician of the past would, today, be completely out of his depth. No point in asking what Enoch, or anyone else, would have done in today’s circumstances. We just don’t know.

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Did Amy Coney Barrett hurt her Supreme Court chances last week?

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Ramesh Ponnuru says yes. Before the latest Kavanaugh kerfuffle, I would have agreed.

After the latest Kavanaugh kerfuffle, I think this probably won’t matter.

These would be completely anodyne comments coming from a judge in any other administration, but Trump is Trump.

In comments Saturday at a panel at William & Mary Law School, Judge Barrett backed Chief Justice John Roberts ’s public statement last year that judges shouldn’t be seen as ideological mirrors of their patrons, which came after President Trump called a ruling that he opposed on immigration the product of an “Obama judge.”

“The chief justice, I think, articulated what members of the judiciary feel,” Judge Barrett said of his comments to Mr. Trump. “The chief justice responded and pushed back and said, ‘You know, we don’t have Obama judges.’”

The moderator, William & Mary law professor Allison Orr Larsen, asked the judges what they perceived as the greatest threat to the judiciary.

Judge Barrett said it was “people perceiving us as partisan.” While judges differ in their legal theories and methods—and their votes sometimes can be predicted along ideological lines—they aren’t driven to produce specific outcomes, she said.

“I wish it were otherwise, but I think this makes Justice Barrett less likely,” said Ponnuru about those comments. He’s not crazy to feel that way. Trump prizes loyalty above all things and what Barrett did at William & Mary was not only signal that she wouldn’t necessarily be “loyal” to him as a judge — again, standard patter in any other era — but she took John Roberts’s side against the president in a dispute that got major media attention. Remember?

That wasn’t the first time Trump had worried about disloyalty from a “Trump judge” either:

[E]arlier this year [in 2017], Trump talked about rescinding Gorsuch’s nomination, venting angrily to advisers after his Supreme Court pick was critical of the president’s escalating attacks on the federal judiciary in private meetings with legislators.

Trump, according to several people with knowledge of the discussions, was upset that Gorsuch had pointedly distanced himself from the president in a private February meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), telling the senator he found Trump’s repeated attacks on the federal judiciary “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”

The president worried that Gorsuch would not be “loyal,” one of the people said, and told aides that he was tempted to pull Gorsuch’s nomination — and that he knew plenty of other judges who would want the job.

Now here’s Barrett in a public forum echoing Gorsuch’s point about Trump’s demoralizing attacks on judicial independence, albeit in more tactful terms. To top it all off, Politico reported last year that Barrett’s interview with Trump for the SCOTUS seat that eventually went to Brett Kavanaugh didn’t go well, with Barrett having “performed poorly” — whatever that means. Presumably it means they didn’t hit it off. Like I said at the time, go figure that a bookish Catholic mom and the guy responsible for the “Access Hollywood” tape didn’t have great personal chemistry.

Put it all together and you can see why Ponnuru’s concerned. For all her strengths, Barrett’s unlikely to appeal to Trump as the option available to him who’s most likely to be “loyal.” Imagine, in fact, that the current Court renders a major decision that goes against him before the next vacancy opens up, with Gorsuch or Kavanaugh or both joining the anti-Trump majority. Trump will blow a gasket. Loyalty will become even more prized to him in a nominee than it is now. That means looking beyond Barrett.

But there’s one thing she has in her favor that’s very important, so much so that Trump simply won’t be able to resist nominating her. No, not the fact that she’s a woman; there are plenty of other talented Republican women judges. And no, not the fact that her devout Catholic faith appears to make her a better bet to vote to overturn Roe than most nominees. (Barrett might even take offense at that suggestion.) What she has in her favor is that she’s unquestionably the candidate whose nomination the GOP base has concluded would own the libs the hardest. In particular, if Ginsburg’s seat were to open up, there’s probably no substitute for Barrett whom righty activists would accept at this point. If you want to see Liberal Tears — and that’s what much of Republican politics is about now — then the choice is clear.

And now that righties are newly and justifiably enraged at the latest Kavanaugh smear, Liberal Tears are the only thing that will slake their thirst.

Replacing the left’s judicial heroine, the Notorious RBG, with a judge who’s cracked up to be the female version of Antonin Scalia would be an ideological triumph for conservatives so total that I don’t think Trump could resist. He’d be reluctant to go with Barrett because of all the things I laid out above, but his arm would be twisted. Barrett’s supporters would lean on him by assuring him that literally nothing he could do between now and Election Day would get them as psyched to vote as pulling off the ultimate Court-related lib-owning would. He’d have no choice but to nominate her, whatever his personal misgivings. Watch and see.

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