theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Sotomayor’s ‘RELIGIOUS Liberty’

‘The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our Founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment.’
 Sotomayor's BROKEN RECORD: It took some brass for Justice Sotomayor to base her dissent against President Trump's so-called Muslim travel ban on the idea that it's a violation of religious freedom. She has dissented in nearly all the recent cases in which the court has protected religious parties seeking shelter under the First Amendment. So it looks like her concern is not religious liberty but President Trump.


Those are the words with which Justice Sotomayor opened her dissent in the case in which the Supreme Court vindicated President Trump in respect of the so-called Muslim travel ban. The question is why a jurist of such eloquence and passion — and she is certainly such a jurist — was, in this case, so unconvincing, as she manifestly was, having been joined by only, in Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the other eight members of the court.

The answer to this puzzle is that Justice Sotomayor has scant credibility as a tribune of religious liberty. The justice acceded to our nation’s highest bench amid a historic struggle in which religious Americans of all creeds had come under legal attack, from secularists, bigots, and leftists. Hundreds — more by some estimates — of religious liberty cases are before our courts. Almost never has Justice Sotomayor fetched up on the religious side.

In this term alone, Justice Sotomayor joined Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in Masterpiece Cakeshop, in which the high court ruled — seven to two — that Colorado had failed to give a neutral hearing to a Christian fundamentalist who’d declined to craft a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. “What prejudice infected the determinations of the adjudicators in the case before and after the Commission?” sneered Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor. “The Court does not say.”

Justice Sotomayor also sided against the religious parties in National Institutes of Family and Life Advocates. That was the case of the crisis pregnancy centers that, animated by religious principle, challenged California law requiring them to put up notices that California taxpayers might pay for abortions elsewhere. In 2014, Justice Sotomayor issued a dissent against accommodating Wheaton College’s plea to be excused on religious grounds from Obamacare contraception mandate.

For that matter, Justice Sotomayor joined Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in Hobby Lobby, a major test of the birth control mandate. It was hard to tell whether she was more horrified at the protection of corporations or religious people or statutory law. Justice Sotomayor also joined the dissent in the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the town of Greece, New York, to host voluntary prayer before its town meetings. That dissent was written by Justice Kagan.

It’s not the position of The New York Sun that freedom can prosper only when religious parties win every case before the Nine. Nor is it our position that there is no room for any dissent (it’s said that the Great Sanhedrin wouldn’t issue a capital sentence unless there was a dissenting sage). It is our position that it takes some brass for Justice Sotomayor suddenly to hoist the flag of religious freedom against the President’s immigration policies. It just doesn’t comport with her record. She writes as if her real concern is not religious freedom but President Trump.



A member of a group of clergy is arrested during a civil disobedience protest in front of a federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Immigrant-rights advocates asked a federal judge to order the release of parents separated from their children at the border, as demonstrators decrying the Trump administration's immigration crackdown were arrested Tuesday at a rally ahead of a Los Angeles appearance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
A member of a group of clergy is arrested during a civil disobedience protest in front of a federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Immigrant-rights advocates asked a federal judge to order the release of parents separated from their children at the border, as demonstrators decrying the Trump administration's immigration crackdown were arrested Tuesday at a rally ahead of a Los Angeles appearance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

 Cheryl K. Chumley

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called out critics of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” border policy on illegals as hypocrites, saying many of these same people who want to open America’s doors wide to anyone and everyone are also going home, hunkering down and resting comfortably in their gated, fenced, walled and even armed-guarded communities.
Bing. Go.
“These same people live in gated communities, many of them, and are featured at events where you have to have an ID even come in and hear them speak,” Sessions said, delivering remarks at the Criminal Justice League Foundation’s annual luncheon in Los Angeles, NBC News noted. “They like a little security around themselves.”
And Sessions didn’t say, but that goes for you, too, Pope Francis.
The pope likes to point fingers at America and chastise this president for daring to close borders — and then race his little golf cart back to the walled safety of Vatican City. Enough of the hypocrisy, already.
“And if you try to scale the fence,” Sessions went on, “believe me, they’ll be even too happy to have you arrested and separated from your children. And I would like to see that.”
Wouldn’t we all.
After all, we regular folk of the country, legal as we may be, have to at times even take our shoes off and run through a metal detector check-in process before entering the hallowed office halls of the very lawmakers who want to law-break and let in all the illegals — and those are offices we pay for, too.
Why the so-tight security checks?
Why, it’s all in the name of securing the safety of our national leaders — the same national leaders who have separate doors and separate entrances and the right to speed by these same security measures on their walks to their tax-paid offices.
In other words: Taxpayers not only pay for the security that protects these legislative leaders. Tax dollars also pay to keep the taxpaying citizens away from these legislative leaders. We pay to keep ourselves out. Go figure.
But then some in Congress actually have the audacity to demand open borders? To unleash whomever-may-come on the taxpaying regular folk citizens of America?
It’s a fend for yourself type of governance. A real “I got mine, who cares if you get yours” approach to leading. And Sessions is right.
“The rhetoric we hear from the other side on this issue — as on so many others — has become radicalized. We hear views on television today that are on the lunatic fringe, frankly,” he said. “And what is perhaps more galling is the hypocrisy.
Yes, it’s the hypocrisy that sickens.
The solution for it, of course, is to turn the tables and demand these same politicos who want open borders go without their own armed protection details and gate-guarded security systems for a month, a week, even a day. That’s really what they’re asking the rest of the country’s citizens to do, by pressing back against this president’s policies on immigration, isn’t it? So, let’s strip ‘em of their taxpayer-funded security for a bit. Tit-for-tat, see how they like it, and so forth.
“Sessions, where’s your heart?” protesters outside of the attorney general’s speaking gig chanted, NBC News reported.
A reply?
Democrats: Where’s your brain?
Enforcing border controls is not an act of cruelty.
But demanding open borders in the morning, heading back to the safety of armed guarded, metal-detected offices in the afternoon and going home to sleep safely behind gated communities at night are pure acts of hypocrisy. The American people deserve better. The American people deserve lawmakers who live as they preach — or, at least, who preach as they live.

Trump SLAPS DOWN Democrats' 'ABOLISH ICE' Push: 'It Will Never Happen'

'It Will Never Happen'

Trump slaps down Dems' 'abolish ICE' push, says agents are 'doing a fantastic job'

Adam Shaw

President Trump on Saturday defended Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the face of calls by some Democrats to abolish the agency, saying the agents are “doing a fantastic job” and that scrapping the agency “will never happen.”
“The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen,” he tweeted. “I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations. They are great!”
Calls to “abolish ICE,” once limited to the far-left parts of the Democratic Party base, have shifted into the mainstream of the party in response to the Trump administration’s tough policies on illegal immigration -- particularly the “zero tolerance” policy on detaining all illegal border crossers. 
In New York, far-left primary challenger and ICE opponent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's shocked the party’s establishment by beating Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y. In the days after, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Bill de Blasio have added their support to the cause.
"I believe that [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] has become a deportation force … and that's why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works," Gillibrand said in a CNN interview Thursday night.
“We should abolish ICE,” de Blasio said Friday morning on WNYC radio. His Democratic colleague in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is also facing pressure to back such calls after primary challenger Cynthia NIxon has called ICE a terrorist organization.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif has said that the U.S. should consider “starting from scratch” while Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., announced Monday that he would be introducing a bill to abolish the agency.
But, while it was unlikely to gain much traction on the right, Trump on Saturday backed ICE agents and said there was “zero chance” of ICE being abolished.
“To the great and brave men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit. You are doing a fantastic job of keeping us safe by eradicating the worst criminal elements,” he said. “So brave! The radical left Dems want you out. Next it will be all police. Zero chance, It will never happen!”
Republicans and immigration hardliners have welcomed the Democratic shift on the issue, believing that it spells electoral victory for the GOP outside of Democratic enclaves like New York and California.
"Based on the last week, Democrats apparently want to campaign on open borders, mass migration, & abolishing ICE," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tweeted this week. "Give them points for honesty. Let's vote."

Friday, June 29, 2018

Ex-CLINTON Aide: 84% of Americans SUPPORT Turning ILLEGAL Immigrants OVER to Authorities

Tess Bonn
Prominent Democratic pollster Mark Penn said on Thursday that a vast majority of Americans don’t really support so-called sanctuary cities that shield immigrants in the country illegally from deportation.
Penn, who served as chief strategist for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, revealed that 84 percent of Americans favor turning undocumented immigrants over to federal agents.
“I asked them, ‘Do you think notifying ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] would in fact increase crime because it would inhibit people from reporting crimes or does it decrease crimes because it takes criminals off the street,’ and they overwhelming said ‘decrease,’ ” Penn told Hill.TV's “Rising.”
Penn said the response was strikingly “out of sync” with what the public might think about sanctuary cities. The broad term refers to cities that don’t fully cooperate with federal authorities when it comes to turning over people in the country illegally to immigration enforcement.
“When someone’s arrested, they expect someone will notify federal immigration authorities just as they would expect someone who violates state tax law will find out that they notified the IRS,” the pollster said.
President Trump has made sanctuary cities a frequent target during his administration, arguing that they make the U.S. less safe. In January, Trump signed an executive order in an effort to withhold money from sanctuary cities, though some of that money did still go to those cities.
Some cities protested Trump’s crackdown. Mayors, including New York’s Bill de Blasio and then-New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, boycotted a meeting with Trump following his executive order. De Blasio called the order a "racist assault" on sanctuary cities. 
But it looks like Trump has achieved a victory — at least for now.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily narrowed the scope of a nationwide injunction against the Trump administration's attempt to withhold grants from sanctuary cities.


Sessions' REVERSALS on Four Obama POSITIONS Validated by Supreme Court

Included cases over cutting names from voter lists and labor unions charging dues to unwilling worker.

Plaintiff Mark Janus stands outside the Supreme Court after the court rules in a setback for organized labor that states can't force government workers to pay union fees, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Plaintiff Mark Janus stands outside the Supreme Court after the court rules in a setback for organized labor that states can’t force government workers to pay union fees, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Alex Swoyer

It seems the Trump administration knows the law better than the Obama administration.
The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed positions of the Obama administration in four cases decided by the Supreme Court this year — and won all four of them.
They included constitutional technicalities, such as whether a certain set of appointments needed Senate confirmation, and politically charged cases over cutting names from voter lists and labor unions charging dues to unwilling workers.
“In four cases, after careful review, we changed the department’s position in order to follow the law,” Mr. Sessions said Wednesday as the court closed out its term. “The favorable Supreme Court decisions in all four cases reflect that we took the proper course of action. The decisions speak for themselves.”
Reversals of position at the department are a big deal and set tongues wagging in legal circles.
That was the case last year when the Trump administration said it was backing an Illinois state employee who objected to being forced to pay dues to a labor union he didn’t belong to, and which took stances he disagreed with.
The Obama administration sided with the unions — and a 1977 Supreme Court precedent — in saying the state could make the dues mandatory.
The court overturned that precedent this week, sided with the administration and ruled 5-4 in favor of the employee.
Yet another reversal came in the voter registration case out of Ohio, where the state has a policy of removing names of people who don’t vote in several consecutive elections and don’t respond to notices.
During oral argument in the court this year, Justice Sonia Sotomayor chided Solicitor General Noel Francisco on the department’s new position, saying it contradicted decades of Justice Department stances under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
“After that many presidents, that many solicitor generals, this many years … how did the solicitor general change its mind?” She demanded.
Mr. Francisco said the law changed in 2002 and that his office was recognizing the new standard.
The court agreed with him, ruling 5-4 in favor of Ohio.
The justices also sided with the administration in a case over forced arbitration clauses in labor contracts, another 5-4 ruling, and in a case over appointments to the Securities and Exchange Commission, in which the Trump administration position prevailed 7-2.
Lawyers said the Justice Department reversals amounted to a housecleaning.
“It seems like wiping everything Obama did from the books,” Lucas A. Powe Jr., a law professor at the University of Texas, told The Washington Times earlier this year.
During Mr. Obama’s time in office, his Justice Department reversed course in five high court cases over eight years.
Most of those flips came around the time of his re-election. In contrast, Mr. Trump’s flips have occurred within his 15 months in office.
The Obama case reversals included the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act, retroactive sentencing, medical malpractice and international corporate liabilities, standards for employee health care, and pension plans.
His attorneys prevailed on three of those cases but lost two, the cases dealing with medical malpractice and international corporate liabilities.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said the administration’s stance-switching doesn’t affect the outcomes of the cases because the judges’ views “are largely baked in by the time oral argument occurs.”
“The switching of solicitor general doesn’t have as much of an impact as people might think,” he said.
He pointed to the union dues case as an example, saying the high court was prepared to toss the 1977 precedent when another case arose in 2016, but the death of Justice Antonin Scalia left a 4-4 divided court.
Now, with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch in place, the court finished the job with this week’s 5-4 ruling.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Gowdy Tells Rosenstein to WRAP-UP RUSSIA PROBE, It’s Tearing the Country Apart

Gowdy tells Rosenstein to wrap up Russia probe, says it’s tearing the country apart

Adam Shaw, Brooke Singman

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy tore into Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday over the long-running Russia collusion probe -- telling the Justice Department at a public hearing to “finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart.”
Gowdy’s excoriation marked a stunning moment at the already-tense House Judiciary Committee hearing, amid a months-long battle between congressional Republicans and the Department of Justice over its handling of both the Russia probe and Hillary Clinton email investigation.
At the hearing, Gowdy, R-S.C., spoke to frustration over the protracted Russia investigation that Rosenstein oversees, suggesting that despite a host of charges against Trump-tied figures, the investigation has not found evidence of presidential wrongdoing. 
“We’ve seen the bias, we need to see the evidence,” Gowdy said. "If you have evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the Trump campaign, present it to the damn grand jury. If you have evidence that this president acted inappropriately, present it to the American people.”
“Whatever you got, finish it the hell up, because this country is being torn apart,” he said. 
“The best thing we can do is finish it appropriately, and reach a conclusion,” Rosenstein assured, adding that nobody should "draw any conclusions" beyond the charges filed. 
Rosenstein, meanwhile, was grilled repeatedly Thursday by House Republicans over everything from his department’s role in Trump campaign surveillance to alleged stonewalling of congressional document requests to the damning watchdog report on FBI conduct during the Clinton email probe. 
The top DOJ official, who oversees the special counsel’s Russia probe, sought to defuse tensions – vowing to hold wrongdoers accountable in the wake of the inspector general report and defending the response to congressional requests for documents related to the Russia investigation.
“As with most things in Washington, the real work is not done on television and it is not all done by me,” Rosenstein said. “Trump administration officials are meeting and talking to your staffs every day to accommodate requests and produce relevant information to this committee, other committees and several Senate committees.” 
Yet as the hearing was ongoing, the House of Representatives was debating and voting on a non-binding resolution insisting the Justice Department comply with House committee subpoenas for documents. It passed 226-183 along party lines, with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., voting present.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, cited that looming vote as he personally challenged Rosenstein at the hearing over his compliance.
“Why are you keeping information from Congress?” Jordan asked.  
“It is not accurate, sir,” Rosenstein said.
Republican accuses the deputy attorney general of 'hiding' documents related to the Russia investigation during a House hearing.
“We have caught you hiding information,” Jordan countered.
Rosenstein insisted his team was responding to their requests.
Rosenstein also said “we’re not withholding anything,” in response to questions from committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., over newly revealed texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. A bombshell text in the IG report showed Strzok vowing to "stop" the election of President Trump. 
Rosenstein also denied allegations from Jordan that he had Strzok avoid answering certain questions during a closed-door appearance before the committee a day earlier.
Further, he said he could not discuss classified information in an open setting when asked what the DOJ and FBI did to surveil the Trump campaign, including the reported work of an informant apparently in contact with members of that campaign in 2016.  
Rosenstein further rebuffed GOP suggestions that he recuse himself from the Russia probe, repeatedly denied allegations first reported by Fox News that he once threatened to subpoena GOP committee members and declined to comment about his role in approving a surveillance application for a Trump adviser. Rosenstein would not say whether he read the application, but stressed he’s “confident” about his conduct and sees it as “highly, highly unlikely” that the inspector general would find wrongdoing on his part as part of an ongoing review.
Rosenstein, meanwhile, discussed the DOJ inspector general findings on the Clinton email case, saying “today is not a happy occasion.”
Rosenstein said it showed some FBI officials “deviated from important principles.”
“Everyone knew about some of those departures as they occurred. We learned about others through the internal investigation, such as leaking to the news media, and political bias,” Rosenstein said. “We need to correct errors, hold wrongdoers accountable and deter future violations.”  
Rosenstein said that the Justice Department has already implemented “mandatory annual training” to address the concerns.
Rosenstein and Wray have been criticized for months by Republicans on Capitol Hill who have suggested that the agencies are stonewalling congressional committees’ requests for documents related to the beginning of the Russia investigation. Committees have requested documents related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants issued to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page and on the FBI’s use of a confidential human source in the Trump campaign—also known as an FBI informant.
FBI Director Wray gives opening statement to House Judiciary Committee.
But Democrats have pushed back against those requests, with Democratic leaders sending a letter to Rosenstein and Wray on Tuesday, expressing concern that the agencies are bowing to pressure from Republicans to disclose sensitive information.
“With every disclosure, DOJ and FBI are reinforcing a precedent it will have to uphold, whether the Congress is in Republican or Democratic hands, of providing materials in pending or closed cases to the legislative branch upon request," the letter signed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said. 
"As the attacks on the Special Counsel intensify, it is imperative that you withstand pressure on DOJ and FBI to violate established procedures and norms. Your role in preserving the integrity of the Special Counsel’s investigation and, most importantly, our justice system has become even more vital," the letter says.
Last week, the Justice Department gave House Republicans some of the documents they sought related to the Russia investigation and the Hillary Clinton email probe—after lawmakers threatened to hold officials in contempt of Congress for stonewalling requests.
The House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee had requested more than a million documents from the FBI and DOJ related to the Clinton investigation and surveillance of members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Fox News' Judson Berger and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.