Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lynch Must Answer Questions and Prove She Will not be Another DNC AG

Today at 10 a.m. eastern begins the hearings to replace arguably the most partisan Attorney General in History.  Loretta Lynch should be highly scrutinized to ensure she will not continue the shameful practices of Eric Holder.  A number of questions that she should answer.

Jonathan Keim of National Review has a list of questions for Lynch including:
4. Will you adopt changes to the principles of federal prosecution that would eliminate prosecutions based on political considerations?  The current Attorney General, Eric Holder, has been criticized for running a Department of Justice that is oriented toward partisan politics. Urgent action is needed to ensure that the Department of Justice will enforce the criminal laws against lawbreakers across the political spectrum, not just those who happen to be out of power.
As Hans Von Spakovsky and Christian Adams write:

Lynch has an obligation to answer questions about the decisions made by Eric Holder on a host of issues not only to provide guidance on how she would act as attorney general, but also because she has been a member of Holder’s advisory committee of U.S. Attorneys. It is entirely appropriate to ask her what advice she gave Holder on his many questionable decisions and whether she agrees with the legal positions and actions he has taken over the past six years. . . . .
Bias in Hiring
A devastating report by the Department of Justice inspector general in 2013 found deep polarization, mismanagement, and harassment of conservative employees as well as a litmus test imposed in hiring attorneys in the Civil Rights Division — namely, experience with liberal civil-rights organizations, which translates to experience working for the institutional Left. In short, only ideological allies need apply. As a result, the inspector general’s report found that the Civil Rights Division “passed over candidates who had stellar academic credentials and litigation experience with some of the best law firms in the country” and recommended that this litmus test be abolished.
Keim also asks a series of questions on the Constitution, one of which RNLA spent some time fighting.
 
6. Do you agree or disagree with the Obama Administration’s expansive view of its recess appointment powers? In NLRB v. Noel Canning, the Obama Administration expansively interpreted the recess appointments power to allow presidential recess appointments without Senate confirmation when the Senate was, by its own rules, not even in recess.  The administration argued that the power provided a “safety valve” in the face of Senate “intransigence.”But even Justices Kagan and Ginsburg, perhaps the two most liberal justices on the Supreme Court, criticized the government’s position and joined the Court’s opinion rejecting President Obama’s lawless recess appointments
.

These and many more questions are important in the hearing today.  Ms. Lynch needs not only to answer these questions but she needs to prove she will be the United States Attorney General and not the Democrat Party Attorney General as Holder was.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

ICYMI-Voting Tony Soprano Would Approve of

Sometimes we are reluctant to talk about vote fraud for we may give some on the left new ideas.  A great example of that is the infamous messenger ballot system used in New Jersey.  As the Press of Atlantic City details in an editorial entitled “Messenger ballots/Invitation to fraud”:
The law allows a voter to use an authorized messenger to hand-deliver a ballot instead of mailing it. Under the law, a single messenger can deliver up to 10 ballots. And the family of former Atlantic City Council President Craig Callaway - who served nearly a year in prison in 2010 for his role in a scheme to blackmail a city councilman - has been remarkably effective at providing this "service" to voters.
So the family of a corrupt New Jersey politician is in charge of providing a voting “service” to voters.  Sounds like something out of the Sopranos.  As the editorial goes on to describe:

In the recent Pleasantville school-board election, three candidates who appeared to have lost at the polls won after the mail-in and messenger ballots were counted. One of the victors was Carla Thomas, the daughter of Maurice "Pete" Callaway. Ten people with the last name Callaway were the authorized messengers for 96 ballots in that election.
With dubious results like these, we fully expect the Brennan Center to come out in support of messenger ballots. (We’re joking, we hope.)  Messenger Ballots are another example of a potential dirty trick that has been seemingly abused.  Don’t take our word for it listen to the The Press of Atlantic City:
But considering the questionable role that hundreds of hand-delivered messenger ballots have played in local elections, why should the state sanction that process?
The risk would seem to clearly outweigh any benefit. The messenger-ballot system simply invites vote fraud.

Friday, January 23, 2015

RNLA Quoted in Politifact on Online Voter Registration

RNLA Executive Director Michael Thielen was quoted today in Politifact about online registration, particularly regarding claims that it can help prevent fraud, save money, and is more efficient than paper based registration. RNLA articulated its position on online voter registration in detail in its response to the report of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) which can be found here. Thielen's quote in Politifact summarizes RNLA's position nicely, that RNLA supports online registration only under specific conditions: "When designed and implemented properly, online registration can be a more secure, accurate and cost-efficient way of doing voter registration."

It appears that Florida is seriously considering adopting online voter registration and that can be a very good thing if they design the system with proper safeguards to ensure the integrity of the system. It can make registration easier while protecting the syste from fraud. It is imperative Florida lawmakers  review RNLA's conditions for online registration found in its PCEA response to avoid making mistakes. In sum:
[W]hile the RNLA Task Force supports online registration, the system used to undertake online registration must include certain safeguards to protect the integrity of the electoral system. It is imperative that states take steps to design a system that positively determines the identity of online applicants, ensures only eligible voters can utilize such a system, protects against cyber-attacks, leaves the registration determination in the hands of the proper registration official, and ensures the transmission of a valid signature.
Most states have followed these steps but some liberal groups are complaining that the same security measures needed to ensure online voter registration's integrity leave some voters out of the process. These liberal groups ignore the fact that the traditional paper-based registration system available to all eligible voters is not going anywhere. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Conservative and Libertarians on Citizens United After 5 Years

The White House and protesters yesterday went after Citizens United on its fifth anniversary in mostly fact free attacks. As Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice writes in Apocalypse Imagined:
The most memorable moment of [all of President Obama’s] the State of the Union address was the reaction of Justice Samuel Alito to inaccuracies in the President’s remarks about a recent Supreme Court decision.  President Obama is hardly alone in mischaracterizing the January 21 ruling in Citizens United, which struck down as a violation of First Amendment freedom of expression, a federal ban on campaign ads and related communications paid for by corporations and labor unions.  Never has a Supreme Court decision been misconstrued by so many people in so many ways.  Before Congress “corrects” the Court’s ruling, as the President urged, it is crucial that a series of misconceptions about the decision be cleared up. .  . .
Critics’ apocalyptic descriptions of Citizens United – a return “to the robber-baron era of the 19th century” said the New York Times – have focused almost entirely on giant, for-profit corporations, with some mention of labor unions.  Americans are left mostly unaware that the Court’s ruling applies equally to charities, advocacy groups, trade associations, and other non-profit corporations, not to mention small businesses.  In fact, because non-profits are cause-oriented and typically more willing to openly jump into the political fray, they will be most impacted by the decision.
Corporations will have to take explicit ownership of each and every campaign ad they are behind.  Contrary to the widespread impression that corporate dollars will be funneled into candidates’ campaign chests, the total ban on corporate contributions to candidates, political parties, and political action committees remains in place.  Any coordination between corporations and campaigns remains unlawful as well.  And even completely independent corporate expenditures must be publicly disclosed.
The continuing ban on corporate contributions is just one reason why the ubiquitous descriptions of Citizens United as a sea change are greatly exaggerated.  You would never know that billionaires have always been permitted to spend unlimited amounts on independent campaign ads, or that corporate campaign ads masquerading as issue ads – for example, “call candidate Smith and tell him to end his support for killing baby seals” – were already protected by the First Amendment.  In fact, a majority of states already permit unlimited corporate spending for explicit campaign ads in state races.  Seven even allow unlimited corporate contributions to candidates.  Yet there’s no evidence of greater corruption in those states.
Cato’s Illya Shapiro breaks down why President Obama should turn in his law professor card for his attacks on Citizens United:
These laments echo President Obama’s famous statement during his 2010 State of the Union Address: “The Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates of special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections.”
In that one sentence, the former law professor made four errors that are all too common.
First, Citizens United didn’t reverse a century of law. The president was referring to the Tillman Act of 1907, which banned corporate donations to campaigns. Such donations are still banned. Instead, the decision overturned a 1990 precedent that upheld a ban on independent spending by corporations. That 1990 ruling was the only time the court allowed a restriction on political speech for a reason other than the need to prevent corruption. . . .
Second, the “floodgates” point depends on how you define those terms. In modern times, nearly every election cycle has seen an increase in political spending, but there’s no indication that there’s a significant change in corporate spending. And the rules affecting independent spending by wealthy individuals, who are spending more, haven’t changed at all.
Third, Citizens United said nothing about restrictions on foreign spending in our political campaigns. In 2012, the Supreme Court summarily upheld just such restrictions.
David Keating at the Center for Competitive Politics sums it up this way.
"Five years ago today, the Supreme Court greatly expanded the ability of individuals through corporations and unions to participate in our democratic process." said Center for Competitive Politics President David Keating. "We should all celebrate the fact that the First Amendment protects our right to speak out about politics. The more political speech that is allowed in our democracy, the stronger our democracy becomes, because citizens learn more information about the candidates which in turn allows them to make a more informed decision about who to vote for -- regardless of who spends more."

In conclusion as Heritage Scholar John Malcolm states in US News:

While Obama and others on the left blame Citizens United for allowing corporations to politically overwhelm small, independent voices, Malcolm waved off those concerns: “The blogosphere is full of concerned citizens … nobody is being silenced. The little guy with a computer has a lot more power to get his message out” than ever before.
Bottom line, he says: Citizens United may have rearranged the trees, but it didn’t alter the landscape. And “the way to get at the truth is more speech, not less speech.”


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RNLA 30th ANNIVERSARY RECOGNIZES PAST LEADERS

As part of its celebration of 30 years, RNLA has created a special task force of past Chairs and Presidents.  RNLA has come a long ways since 1985. 

RNLA Board Chairman Randy Evans and President Larry Levy appointed David Norcross, RNLA Chairman from 2009 to 2011, and JC Boggs, RNLA President in 2007 and 2008 as cochairmen of the Special Leadership Advisory Task Force. Together they will offer a vehicle for the extraordinarily talented lawyers who have guided RNLA through the last thirty years to provide focused guidance, and assistance in program development and outreach.


To read more about the task force and the press release click here.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

RNLA Chair Randy Evans on Why the RNC Chair was Re-Elected

RNLA congratulates the newly elected RNC Leadership Team.  Also, RNLA Chair Randy Evans wrote in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Why RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was re-elected.  A few highlights below:
Yet, behind the scenes, Priebus has built a political juggernaut capable of winning elections from county courthouses to statehouses to both houses of the Congress. The distance from where the party began when he took office to where it is today is by all accounts monumental. Now, with a third term to do it, he has set his sights on the ultimate prize for a political party chairman the White House in 2016. . . . 
Every election cycle, Priebus has taken the lessons from the last to build toward the next. When the RNC was so heavily in debt in 2011, he spent the year laser focused on raising money. When Republicans lost the Presidential election in 2012, Priebus ordered a top-to-bottom review. 
In 2014, Priebus not only led a winning team at the ballot box, but he looked beyond the fall elections and focused the RNC on changes to increase Republicans’ chances of winning in the 2016 Presidential election. These changes were not minor tweaks aimed at pacifying unhappy candidates

Friday, January 16, 2015

RNLA Announces New Members to its Board of Governors

The Republican National Lawyers Association has added six members to its prestigious Board of Governors. Please join us in congratulating these top attorneys to RNLA's Board: Jake Curtis, John Fogarty, Eric Lycan, Beverly Weiss Manne, Peter Schalestock, and David Warrington. The press release with biographical information is available here.