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A Welcome Change

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs has this post with the above title:

As the nation gets ready for Memorial Day, a day to remember the people who died while serving in the nation's armed forces, the past week signaled a welcome change in attitude towards law enforcement from the highest leadership in the nation. From the symbolic act of lighting the White House in blue during that week to an executive action directing a review of federal law that could lead to legislation making it a federal crime to attack law enforcement officers, there has been a sea of change in support for law enforcement.
 
Under the prior administration, law enforcement was often in the crosshairs of a rush to judgment. The pattern that started from the first days with the knee jerk condemnation of Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley for "acting stupidly," and continued non-stop with the invitation to the White House of a rapper who had a song dedicated to a fugitive cop killer, or using a police memorial service to defend anti-police protestors and lecture on criminal justice "reform" and gun control. 
Kent noted today's travel ban case, decided in an opinion written by Chief Judge Roger Gregory of the Fourth Circuit.

There is an interesting story about how Judge Gregory got his job.  It contains a warning for Republicans.

They'll Say Anything, Part Ten Zillion

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The Brennan Center is a far left organization that occasionally tells us the truth, as it did in revealing the extent of the murder spike over the last two years:  "With violence at historic lows, modest increases in the murder rate may appear large in percentage terms. Similarly, murder rates in the 30 largest cities increased by 13.2 percent in 2015 and an estimated 14 percent in 2016."

Oh, OK. That would be that, in our 30 largest cities, murder has increased by more than a quarter in the last two years  --  the biggest spike over the shortest time in American history.

But the Brennan Center is undeterred.

Voter ID Case Fizzles

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What should the Supreme Court do when a state has asked it to take up a case but after an election the new governor moves to dismiss the certiorari petition?  Dismissal is generally a given when the party who asked the court to take the case no longer wants it taken, but in the North Carolina voter ID case, North Carolina v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the legislature moved to intervene, muddying the waters.  The simplest thing to do is what the high court does in 99% of the cases it is asked to take, deny the certiorari petition without comment.

In this case, though, Chief Justice Roberts did add some comments, individually and not for the court.

Fabio For Governor?

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Stuart Varney has this interview with actor Fabio Lanzoni.

He also spoke out against California Governor Jerry Brown's Proposition 57, which modifies the state's prison system.

"He is releasing tens of thousands of criminals back in the streets and also he lowered the crime into misdemeanor," he said, and added that "cops are very demoralized."

"You saw it happen to Europe, the politicians in Europe--they neuter the law enforcement and now they have to be shot before they can even return the fire... you don't want this movie coming to a theater near you," he said.
Hmmm.  Should we elect him governor in 2018?  California's record with actor-governors is mixed, but they have been better than some of the non-actors.
Siobhan Hughes reports for the WSJ on the deal to fund the government through September 30:

The deal also includes $1.5 billion for border security, with the money to be spent on technology and on repairing existing infrastructure, the aide said.
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But the package says explicitly that the money can't be used to pay for the construction of the new border wall that Mr. Trump has made a signature project, a blow to the White House.

Fine with me.  Border security is the true need, and in many places on the border the best bang for the buck may not be a physical wall.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and border security won't be either, so doing the non-wall parts first is fine.

And maybe come September 30 we could have an actual, annual federal budget instead of continuing resolutions with periodic shutdown threats.  Wouldn't that be nice? 

How would we get that past filibustering Democrats?  Here is my suggestion.
From Michael Ramirez:


Adam Liptak and Matt Flegenheimer report from the parallel universe of the New York Times on the Gorsuch confirmation vote:

Friday's vote was only possible after the Senate discarded longstanding rules meant to ensure mature deliberation and bipartisan cooperation in considering Supreme Court nominees.
Here in this universe, the requirement of a supermajority to terminate debate has never been a significant factor in Supreme Court confirmations.  Abe Fortas in 1968 did not have even majority support, so while the filibuster was used it was not necessary.  All the Supreme Court nominations since then have either gone to a vote or been withdrawn when it was clear that the nominee did not have even majority support.  The number of Supreme Court nominees in American history who have been denied confirmation because they had majority support but less than the supermajority required for cloture is precisely zero.

Gorsuch Confirmed

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The Senate this morning voted to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to fill the seat left open by Justice Scalia's death 14 months ago.  All the Republicans and three Democrats (Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelly) voted for confirmation, with one Republican absent due to illness.

Democrats sharply criticized their Republican colleagues for refusing to seat Judge Merrick Garland, a man well qualified by traditional criteria but who would have swung to the left what had been, for the most part, an ideologically balanced Court. Yet those same Democrats voted to refuse to seat Neil Gorsuch, whose qualifications were at least as good as Garland's, and who is likely to restore the balance that had been there for years with Justice Scalia.  They will then complain about how it was only Gorsuch's backers who were political hacks.

Senate Eliminates SCOTUS Filibuster

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By a straight party line vote, the Senate has eliminated the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees, who can now be confirmed with a simple majority.  Judge Gorsuch will therefore be confirmed tomorrow at about 7 pm and, I am told, will be sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court about an hour later.  I believe the confirmation vote will be somewhere from 52-48 to 55-45, depending on the decisions of Sens. Manchin (WVA), Heitkamp (ND), and Donnelly (IND).  All are Democrats from states that voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

There are reasons to regret that it came to this, but reasons to applaud it as well. A discussion of these competing reasons would be worthwhile, but I will not undertake it here, because, for one thing, it's moot.

Democratic intransigence left Sen. McConnell no choice.  McConnell is actually a traditionalist, and in other circumstances would have been more reluctant to end the SCOTUS filibuster.  But Sen. Schumer made it clear that any nominee who did not genuflect before the race-huckstering, grievance-mongering anthem that has become modern liberalism would never get confirmed under the old rule.  (I should note here that criminals are increasingly being brought into Righteous Grievance tent).

I do not expect to agree with Justice Gorsuch in every instance any more than I agreed with Justice Scalia in every instance.  But for those looking to maintain fidelity to law and a rules-oriented approach to judging, the about-to-be Justice Gorsuch is good news indeed.

Nuked

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The WSJ has live coverage of the Senate confirmation fight.  Siobhan Hughes posted about 12:30 pm EDT:

The Senate has gone nuclear, throwing out the 60-vote filibuster threshold on Supreme Court nominees. The nomination of Judge Gorsuch can now proceed with just a simple majority of 51 votes.
The final vote is expect tomorrow, Friday.

The Supreme Court's next conference day is Thursday, April 13.  Justice Gorsuch has a stack of reading to do, and Justice Kagan no longer has to answer the door if someone knocks.
The WSJ has this editorial on the looming filibuster of Judge Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court and the likely use of the "nuclear option" by the Republicans.

The WSJ says, "At least 41 Democrats led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have also committed to filibuster Judge Gorsuch on the Senate floor, so he will need 60 votes to be confirmed."  Um, I'm pretty sure that if 41 are committed against cloture, there is no possibility of getting 60 votes.  Unless maybe we go back to the 1845 plan of breaking up Texas.

"Mr. Schumer is howling that Republicans stole this Court seat because they didn't give a vote to Merrick Garland last year."  I previously noted that Senator Biden said he was prepared for exactly the same kind of blockade in the last year of President George H.W. Bush's presidency.  But wait, there's more.

This story in Politico from July 27, 2007 reported:

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President [George W.] Bush "except in extraordinary circumstances."

Stupid Gets Stupider

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I noted here that a Democratic filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch would be stupid. Gorsuch is well qualified ("very well qualified," according to the distinctly non-conservative ABA); he has proven to be independent-minded (perhaps more so than I, strictly as an advocate, would prefer); and he is the least doctrinaire candidate that President Trump can be expected to nominate if, as seems probable, he has at least one more vacancy to fill.

None of this is exactly a secret; indeed, I think it's known all over town. Notwithstanding, the Democrats are now going to go forward with their filibuster.

They will thus unite Republicans while dividing their own party; pave the way for a more conservative Supreme Court than we probably otherwise had coming; paint themselves as dead-end partisan just when they had Mr. Trump in the corner; and possibly open the door to ending the legislative filibuster just as the Republicans, for the first time in years, control both the Senate and the White House.

If any of my students were this stupid, I would recommend pursuing a different career.  Under the present circumstances, however, my recommendation for Sen. Schumer is this:  Keep on keepin' on.  Please!

Democracy Returns to the Senate

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The New York Times has this editorial, with the above title.  The NYT blasts the filibuster as an "undemocratic procedure" and the Senate's "most infuriating rule."  It is "unthinkable," says the Times, that federal judges should be subject to supermajority requirements for confirmation.

But the Constitution gives presidents the right to nominate top officials in their administration and name judges, and it says nothing about the ability of a Senate minority to stop them. (The practice barely existed before the 1970s.) From now on, voters will have to understand that presidents are likely to get their way on nominations if their party controls the Senate.
Wait a minute ... This editorial is from 2013.

Never mind.
Arian Campo-Flores has this article in the WSJ with the above title.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott notched a legal victory Tuesday in his dispute with a state attorney over her refusal to seek the death penalty, when a state judge ruled that the governor had the authority to remove her from a case.

Aramis Ayala, the state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties, announced earlier this month that she wouldn't pursue capital punishment for Markeith Loyd--charged with killing his pregnant former girlfriend and a police officer--or any other defendant.
George Soros pumped big money into the campaign of Ms. Ayala, among other prosecutor candidates around the country, to influence the prosecution of capital cases.  If a candidate wants to announce in advance that, if elected, she will never seek the death penalty in any case, that is one thing.  To get elected with that secret intent and then spring it after the election is something else.  That is fraud on the electorate.

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