Monday, January 30, 2017

 

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Trump

By Nancy Thorner – 

The future of the Supreme Court was the most important issue for pro-life voters when they voted overwhelmingly for Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the U.S. on November 9, 2016.  Throughout his campaign, Trump repeated promised he would appoint pro-life justices, in contrast to those pro-abortion Hillary Clinton would select. Based upon the next president’s nominations, the Supreme Court could determine whether 58 million more abortions would take place, or if pre-born children will once again enjoy legal protection. 

In Donald Trump’s op-ed published on November 6, 2016, at USA Today, “Why you should vote for me,” he put the spotlight on the importance of the Supreme Court.  Included was this statement:  “I will restore the constitutional rule of law and nominate Supreme Court justices who will do the same.”

Of merit is Trump’s pro-life pledge made in his third debate with moderator Chris Wallace, noted here, in which Trump tells Wallace that the judges he will appoint will be pro-life.  Trump’s response when Wallace asked Trump specifically if he wanted the court, including the justices Trump would name, to overturn Roe v. Wade:

If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that is really what will happen. That will happen automatically in my opinion. Because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this. It will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination.

Trump’s letter addressed to Dear Pro-LIfe Leaders in September of 2016  lays out Trump’s pro-life commitments in an even stronger form addressing these four specific commitments: nominating pro-life justices; signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; defending Planned Parenthood; and making the Hyde Amendment permanent. 

Trump to be held accountable to his pro-life pledge

To insure that Trump does live up to his promise to appoint pro-life judges and that he is held accountable if he errs, Andy Schlafly, a director of Eagle Forum and son of its great founder, Phyllis Schlafly, drafted a coalition letter (read here) that was delivered to both President-elect Trump in New York and Vice President-elect Pence in D.C. on Thursday, December 29, 2016. A remarkable 90 groups have signed onto Schlafly’s coalition letter. Paul Caprio of Family Pac Federal and David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute were signers here in Illinois.  More groups continue to ask to join Schlafly’s coalition letter. Additions are welcomed.  

A segment of  Schlafly’s coalition letter was read on Fox News Sunday.  The segment was aired again later on Sunday. This widely-viewed news show likewise used Schlafly’s evaluation of the candidates.  It is is important that you view Schlafly’s chart to garner how he rates the Supreme Court candidates.  

Tony Perkins recently said, “There’s clearly some on the list that are better than others.”  There are, indeed, vast differences among candidates on the list, especially with respect to Trump’s pro-life pledge.  Some of the candidates (including Sykes and Colloton) have even repeatedly taken the pro-abortion side. 

The importance of pro-life judges

Why is it so important that Trump does nominate someone who will fill the vacancy left by Scalia’s death with a candidate in the image of Scalia? 

The biggest prize in the presidential election was always the Supreme Court. President-elect Donald J. Trump is now positioned to make it more conservative, possibly for generations to come.  Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, vacant since he died in February, will almost certainly be filled by a conservative nominee.  Thus, the Court will be back to its full strength and will again tilt right, as it has for decades, emboldening Chief Justice John Roberts and leaving Kennedy as the ultimate decider.   

Of note is that the man or woman who replaces Scalia on the bench won’t change its balance of power.  Trump’s more lasting impact is dependent on the other eight justices, particularly those old enough to favor retirement or risk dying in office. Liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer are 83 and 78, respectively, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who often sides with liberals on major cases, is 80.  If the president-elect gets to replace any of these three after taking office, the court will shift to the right.

It is therefore important that Trump’s not only upholds his pro-life pledge in making his selection of the first U.S. Supreme Court vacancy to replace Scalia, but that All of Trump’s expected 100+ judicial nominees should be pro-life.  The advisers to the first President Bush thought he could get away with breaking his “no new taxes” pledge, but he couldn’t. It’s a mistake for anyone to recommend, even implicitly, that Trump break his pro-life pledge.

Trump’s list of 21 scrutinized

In a few brief remarks to reporters at Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday, November 17, Kellyanne Conway said the president-elect will make a Supreme Court pick from the list of 21 candidates he identified during his campaign. What should we make of Trump’s much-publicized list of 21 potential high court nominees 

In an interview with Steve Deace of Conservative Review on December 12, 2016, Andy Schlafly expressed misgivings about the list of 21 potential Supreme Court candidates, raising the question as to why pro-life advocates should be skeptical of Trump’s list. Schlafly, believing that the Supreme Court has more influence than the president does, at least within our country as it currently stands, is in the forefront of making sure that Trump isn’t fooled or mislead into nominating a Supreme Court candidate who cannot be certified as 100% pro-life. 

Regarding the list of 21, Schlafly explains that the 21 names were put forth by the Trump campaign to calm people down and to reassure them he would pick a good, strict constructionist to the Supreme Court.  Some of names did come from The Heritage Foundation, while others came from the Federalist Society.  As a member of the Federalist Society, “Schlafly points out that the Federalist Society is not a pro-life organization.”

This has led to multiple nominees to the Supreme Court who voted with the pro-abortion side.

Even so, pressure is building to deflect Trump away from his pledge by the Federalist Society.  The Institute for Justice just published an article in USA Today here that says nothing about Trump’s pro-life pledge and ends up endorsing the most pro-abortion judge on the list of 21 given to Trump, Diane Sykes.

Trump transition team identifies the eight front runners

A report from Politico on January 1, 2017, did narrow down and identify the eight front runner that the Trump transition team has identified to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  The profiles are here on the eight possible nominees:  William Pryor, Diane Sykes, Raymond Kethledge, Joan Larsen, Neil Gorsuch, Steven Colloton, Raymond Gruender, and Thomas Hardiman. 

 According to Andy Schlafly, most of the candidates in the Politico report are names we should be worried about.  Of concern to Andy are Diane Sykes, Steve Colloton, Joan Larson, Neil Gorsuch, Raymond Kethledge, and William Pryor, who recently decided to grant homosexual groups access to middle schools as young as sixth grade to establish their “clubs.”  Charles Canady from the Florida Supreme Court most impressed Andy on Trump’s list of 21, yet Canady didn’t even make the narrowed down Politico Trump list which identified the eight front runners.

Organized opposition will attempt to undo Trump’s pro-life pledge

Self-described “pro-life” groups in D.C. must be held more accountable.  Some don’t even say they support Trump’s pro-life pledge, while others are obviously not speaking out as they should be.  Some even tried to talk others out of speaking out.

Yesterday the Democrats in opposition said they would try to block whoever the nominee is.  So we should continue to insist on a pro-life nominee worth fighting for, because it is going to be a fight regardless.  If Trump’s advisers persuade him to break his pro-life pledge, then it will become a disastrous replay of the first President Bush’s breaking of his famous “no new taxes” pledge. 

The media and senators will push for a woman because all four women on the list are not pro-life.  But there are plenty of pro-life women judges having better qualifications than those on the list.  The most-qualified pro-life women should be interviewed for the job.   Judges Jennifer Elrod and Edith Jones, both recommended in Schlafly’s coalition letter, should be interviewed by Trump for the job.

Trump’s pledge to the American people in the final debate and afterwards was to pick only pro-life nominees, not to pick only from the list.  For a job that lasts 30+ years, we should not accept anything less than the best. 

Nancy Thorner is a citizen journalist and conservative activist from Chicago’s northern suburbs.

Monday, February 22, 2016

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By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

The passing of Justice Scalia on Saturday, February 13, while a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch luxury resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, is a tragedy for the entire nation.

This commentary, “What Scalia Taught Us”, by Paul J. Larkin Jr., director of The Heritage Foundation’s project to counter abuse of the criminal law was published on the day Scalia’s death was announced and expresses the esteem and high regard held by many upon hearing of his death:

For some, it is the painful loss of a husband or father. For those who knew him, it is the loss of a good friend. For law students, it is the loss of a justice who wrote opinions with rigorous analysis, clarity of expression, and at times an acerbic wit.

For conservatives, it is the loss of a standard-bearer and icon. For liberals, it is the loss of an opponent who always fought hard but fair.

For those who never had the opportunity to know him, it is the loss of one of our greatest legal minds, of a judge and justice who had made, and will continue to make, legal history. And to those who were privileged to know him, it is the loss of a wonderful human being.

Larkin goes on to note that 100 men and women have been justices of the Supreme Court. While Joseph Story, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Hugo Black, Earl Warren, William Brennan, and William Rehnquist will be remembered for moving the Supreme Court in one direction, thereby establishing the Supreme Court as one of the most powerful institutions in our nation, fewer justices have changed the course of the law. Antonin Scalia, along with John Marshall, were cited in the latter category of judges.

Scalia voiced disapproval of a Constitutional Convention

In a speech to the Federalist Society in Morristown, N.J., Scalia presented the following reason why America’s basic freedom has endured for more than 200 years:  “It is the Constitution, not bill of rights, makes us free.”  Why?  Because it is the Constitution that imposes structure upon our government.  Scalia considered the 7th Amendment — passed on April 8th, 1913, when Woodrow Wilson was President of the U.S., and which provided for the direct popular election of U.S. senators — the most profound and significant departure from our nation’s constitutional structure, contending that it removed a key plank of the constitutional structure the framers put in place to protect federalism and state interests.  Furthermore, at a time when conservative leaders and groups are calling for a constitutional convention (Con-Con), during the question-and-answer session Scalia had this to say about whether such a convention would be in the nation’s interests:  “A constitutional convention is a horrible idea. This is not a good century to write a constitution.”

If you look at issues which have divided the Supreme Court on a 5/4 basis, it is clear that all parties are not reading from the same page, to wit, the United States Constitution. This is why the death of Antonin Scalia constitutes a grave threat to our liberty. Scalia was the bastion of “originalism,” which interprets the Constitution according to the founding father’s original intent.

Cases presently on the docket could alter American life on many issues, especially in closely divided cases where Justice Scalia was expected to serve as a lynch pin of a conservative majority.  With 8 justices a majority decision would be 5-3 rather than 5-4, and if and when there’s a 4-4 split, the lower court’s decision is upheld. But there’s an important caveat to that latter point: that decision isn’t automatically considered legal precedent.  

The potential replacement of Justice Scalia by a liberal judge would shift the balance of power away from individual rights to collective rights in general, but the right to keep and bear arms in particular. Loss of these freedoms would be very difficult to recover, if ever. A liberal court would serve to keep liberals in power throughout the government by denying rights to those who oppose them. Among them, the right to support candidates by word and deed under the First Amendment.

Cases remaining on Supreme Court docket with questionable outcomes without Scalia’s voice

Following are eight important cases that remain on the Supreme Court docket and their possible outcomes without the voice of Justice Scalia.   

Abortion:  In what is considered the most significant abortion case since 1992, this term’s abortion case centers on restrictions placed on providers and clinics by Texas and will again test how far states can go to limit abortion.  The Court was expected to be divided along party lines, with Kennedy as the possible swing vote.

Health care:  Religious nonprofits, including charities, schools, colleges and hospitals, may have to live with the decisions of seven appeals courts, which ruled against their challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate in Zubik v. Burwell.  How will religious freedom stack up when pitted against a woman’s right to choose?

Unions:  Public sector-unions may get a reprieve.  What appeared to be an all but certain 5-4 ruling against unions in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in regard to “fair share” fees that unions charge nonmembers to cover costs associated with collective bargaining, could end up with a 4-4 decision without Scalia.  Labor unions want to hold elections by acclamation in open meetings. They are supported in this by President Obama and the Board of Labor Relations packed with his sycophants.  Currently, elections are conducted with private ballots where everybody in the company has a right to participate.  Election “meeting,” on the other hand, are limited by the size of the hall and subject dissenters to public humiliation or worse.

Affirmative Action:  The use of affirmative action in college admissions could now survive a challenge.  If so, a lower court decision will remain in place that favors the University of Texas in using race as a factor in admissions.

Separation of church and state:  Religious schools could continue to be denied publicly funded grants. Scalia, along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy had indicated a willingness to accept the argument that banning state lawmakers from funding religious schools, if a democratic majority wants to, would impede the free exercise of religion.

Climate Change:  Obama’s Clean Power Plan could return back to the hands of the D.C. Circuit Court. One of Scalia’s last official acts as a justice was to deliver a large dent in Obama’s climate legacy by providing one of five votes to stay the Clean Power Plan, which regulates carbon emissions from power plants. A 4-4 ideological split on the Supreme Court raises the stakes for the more liberal D.C. Circuit’s eventual decision on the Clean Power Plan.

Immigration:  Scalia’s death may not have a big impact on one of the most significant cases the court has agreed to take up: a challenge to Obama’s latest round of executive actions on immigration to be argued in April, unless the administration can win the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy or Chief Justice John Roberts.

 The Second Amendmen:  Last but not least, Justice Scalia was the foremost supporter of our rights to keep and bear arms. The Heller decision established that the Second Amendment gave individuals these rights, rather than a collective right. The MacDonald decision applied these rights to supercede state and local law, subjecting these laws to strict scrutiny in most cases. The New York Times expresses this threat in a near joyful manner. “Instead of overruling precedents outright, he said, a liberal majority might hollow some of them out, notably in the area of gun rights. “The five would narrow Heller to the point of irrelevancy,” he said, speaking of the law that said Americans had a constitutional right to keep handguns at home – Eric Segall, Georgia State”

American people must decide Scalia’s replacement, via our next president

The Founders faced nearly medieval tyranny in the form of George III, who taxed the colonists heavily in order to pay for his foreign wars, and collected these taxes under force of arms. To make matters worse, colonists were required to feed and house those troops at their own expense. The King and Parliament forbade colonists to do for themselves, rather purchase basic materials like cloth, paper and other items from England, because it suited the King to favor monopolies which he created. In order to silence opposition, it became a crime to publicly disagree with his orders (restrictions which still exist in England and most of Europe). In order to forestall resistance to these draconian orders, he ordered arms and gunpowder seized. Fortunately he wasn’t entirely successful. 

We face a different tyranny today, not from a king but from self-serving “liberals,” whose title inappropriately stems from “liberty.”   As such liberals (Liberalism) look to government for basic needs, largely as enumerated in Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights.  These items include housing, jobs, medical care and wages. If this sounds somewhat familiar, look at the UN’s version of human rights, and before that august body, the Marx/Engles “Communist Manifesto.”  

President Obama was entitled to two terms of office, won in free elections. He is not entitled to encumber the nation with 30 years of an unbalanced Supreme Court which disregards the Constitution and rights under God in favor of a worldly fabrication of “rights” which in fact stand in direct opposition to the rights our fathers fought and died for. We are better off living with a dead tie in the Supreme Court until Obama is out of office than subject ourselves to judicial tyranny from the Left.

It would be a tragedy for our Constitution if the Senate simply confirmed an anti-Constitution judge to replace Justice Scalia’s seat. Confirming a new judge the year of a Presidential election is unheard of, especially with rampant judicial activism. Democrats would never go along with nominating a Conservative judge if the roles were reversed.  It’s likewise folly to expect that Obama would nominate a judge other than a liberal one to fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death.

The Constitution does grant a president the right to recommend a Supreme Court appointee; however, the Constitution likewise gives the Senate power through the confirmation process to stop the process, and there is nothing the President and Senate Democrats can do about it to get the president’s nomination confirmed. 

It must be left up to the American people to decide who the next Judge will be, via our next President.  If Republicans in the Senate don’t hold the line against an Obama nominee as a betrayal of Conservatism, the Republican spirit and the Constitution, it will likely signal the end of the Republican Party as a viable political party.  If there is anger now over the way Republican legislators repeatedly cave in to Democrats, the anger will turn to pure rage and disassociation with the Party if the majority Republican Senate confirms what is sure to be a liberal Obama Supreme Court nominee. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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Friday, March 13, 2015