Monday, September 17, 2018

TheRepLawyer Blog Has Moved!

TheRepLawyer blog has moved to the RNLA's new website:  This site will remain active as an archive of the RNLA's historical blog posts.  

We invite you to visit the new blog at  The first blog post on the new website is now live, and all future blog posts will be posted there.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sen. Collins Will Not Be Swayed by Abhorrent, Potentially Illegal Intimidation from Liberals on Kavanaugh

Radical liberal organizations are trying to intimidate Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine into voting against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, even resorting to potentially illegal bribery and threatening her staff members.  The Wall Street Journal described the abhorrent campaign of intimidation against Senator Collins:  
A crowdfunding website is trying to strong-arm Senator Susan Collins, the Republican from Maine, by giving more than $1 million to her 2020 opponent—unless she opposes Judge Kavanaugh. . . . It isn’t clear this is even legal. We’re all for citizens exercising their free-speech rights, including campaign donations, for or against political candidates. But federal law defines the crime of bribery as “corruptly” offering “anything of value” to a public official, including a Member of Congress, with the intent to “influence any official act.” The crowdfunders in this case are offering something of value—withholding funds from her opponent—in return for a Supreme Court confirmation vote. . . . 
Another pressure tactic, one Ms. Collins says she finds “incredibly offensive,” is “the out-of-state voicemails being left on the answering machines of my state offices.” Many of the messages are profane. “In one case—and we are going to turn this over to the police, but unfortunately, of course, the person didn’t leave a name or number—but they actually threatened to rape one of my young female staffers.” 
The Senator’s office also has been receiving coat hangers in the mail, a grisly attempt to insinuate that a Justice Kavanaugh would restrict abortion rights. About 3,000 have arrived so far. “I am pleased to say,” Ms. Collins says with a small chuckle, “we had a group that has a thrift shop that helps low-income women ask us for 300 of the hangers. So at least 300 of them have gone to a very good cause.”
But Senator Collins will not be intimidated.  Instead, she will do her job under the Constitution's advice and consent requirement and evaluate Judge Kavanaugh based on his qualifications and his record:
Even diehard opponents of Judge Kavanaugh must recognize the unseemly nature of this bid to intimidate a U.S. Senator. Not that it will work. “I’m going to do what I think is right,” Ms. Collins says. “I am going to cast my vote—as I have done on all of the other Supreme Court nominees that I’ve been called upon to consider—based on his qualifications, his character and integrity, judicial temperament, his record, and his respect for the rule of law and fidelity to the Constitution.”
The lengths to which liberals and Democrats are willing to go to oppose Judge Kavanaugh show that they have no genuine basis for their opposition in either his qualifications or record and the depths to which they will descend to resist President Trump.  They are even willing to make unsubstantiated allegations of perjury against Judge Kavanaugh and mischaracterize his testimony during the hearings last week to such an extent that even The Washington Post's Fact Checker awarded the description four Pinocchios and said that "Democrats should drop this talking point." 

But Senator Collins deserves credit for not giving into the intimidation and remembering that her duty as a senator is to do what is right and represent the people of Maine, not bow to the radical liberal interests controlling the Democratic Party.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kavanaugh's Post-9/11 Decisions Prove His Commitment to the Rule of Law

RNLA Executive Director Michael Thielen wrote today in the Daily Caller about how Judge Brett Kavanaugh's personal experiences on and after 9/11 and his subsequent actions demonstrate his independence and his respect for the rule of law:
In response to questions from Senators Lindsay Graham and John Cornyn, Brett Kavanaugh described how he was at the White House that Tuesday morning, in the West Wing, when the second World Trade Center Tower was hit and the world realized that this was not an accident but a deliberate act of terrorism. . . . Kavanaugh recounted how . . . the focus of President George W. Bush on September 12 was that this sort of attack would not happen again, and how he was with Bush every day from 2003 to his confirmation in 2006, seeing firsthand the former president’s commitment to preventing another terrorist attack.
Brett Kavanaugh favored a race-neutral approach to protecting Americans against a future terrorist attack and specifically rejected racial profiling just four months after 9/11:
Security measures that might seem unthinkable to us now, including racial profiling, enjoyed widespread support among people, politicians and government staff alike. Brett Kavanaugh had the integrity and moral courage to stand against the popular fervor to provide security at almost any cost and only support security measures that were correct both legally and morally.
After joining the D.C. Circuit, Judge Kavanaugh overturned the conviction of Osama Bin Laden's bodyguard and driving because the conviction violated the Constitution's prohibition on ex post facto laws (in Hamdan v. US):
When Sen. Cornyn wondered how Judge Kavanaugh could possibly do that, he responded, “The rule of law applies to all who come before the courts of the United States.” He said even enemy combatants and non-citizens are entitled to “equal justice under law.”
Mr. Thielen concluded:
As we pause this week to remember the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11, the lives lost and the heroic sacrifices of many Americans on that morning seventeen years ago and in the years since, let us not forget that respect for the rule of law is what sets us apart from so many other places where terrorism flourishes and what makes us a target for violent extremists in the first place. . . . America is great because a judge who experienced the effects of and response to terrorism firsthand can follow the Constitution, even when it compels an unpopular result in favor of a terrorist.
On this day and every day, let us remember that the "rule of law and respect for the Constitution creates the freedom that protects us all."  By protecting that freedom, we honor the memory and sacrifice of those who died on September 11, 2001, and all who have given their lives since to protect us from the threat of terrorism.

Monday, September 10, 2018

All Citizens Are Entitled to an Impartial FEC

(This is the fourth in a series of five posts on the demonstrated bias of Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub.  The first installment is here, the second here, the third here, and the last installment will be posted in the next few days.)

Former FEC Chairman Brad Smith was the first to warn the American public, detailing the legal problems presented by Commissioner Weintraub's actions in a June 2017 blog post at the Institute for Free Speech.  According to Chairman Smith, "Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub's actions in recent months cast serious doubt on whether she can continue to credibly carry on her duties as a Commissioner.  She should recognize this predicament and do the honorable thing, which is to resign."  Chairman Smith outlined federal law that requires government officials to act without bias and documented Weintraub's violations of that legal duty.  
Chairman Smith also explained the corrosive effects of the anonymous AltFEC Twitter feed in 2017, before it was widely known that the AltFEC twitter feed is sponsored by Weintraub's staff.  

Liberal defenders like Professor Rick Hasen rallied to Weintraub's defense.  Hasen called Chairman Smith "mean spirited" for his analysis of Weintraub's bias.  No doubt Professor Hasen has exhibited some mean spiritedness on his own blog.  More important than his one-sided view of campaign finance discourse, however, apparently liberals like Hasen thinks it's okay for Democratic law enforcement officials like Loretta Lynch and Ellen Weintraub to enforce the law with prejudice.  They are not in the least bit concerned for "good government" when it comes to law enforcement bias, which is its own form of corruption.  

But Chairman Smith was right and it shouldn't take a national controversy like Lois Lerner or Peter Strozk to restore the appearance of fairness and impartiality.  Weintraub's demonstrations of bias are worse than the Peter Strozk controversy.  Her public political jabs at the President go well beyond private texts and emails.  And her votes to punish Trump demonstrate that she will use her public office to get the President.  Yet, there has been little outcry about it.   

The FEC is a law enforcement agency.  Commissioner Weintraub is a law enforcement official.  Nobody looking at this evidence could reasonably conclude that Commissioner Weintraub is unbiased, fair and neutral in her approach to President Trump.  Nor is she known throughout Washington, DC as a dispassionate, objective regulator.  Rather, she has a reputation as a flamboyant, outspoken ideologue, given to partisan infighting and polarization on the Commission.  The strong opinions she and her confidential counsel have expressed about President Trump (and other Republicans) taint everything the FEC does.  

President Trump is entitled to not only actual neutrality but the absolute appearance of neutrality in the enforcement of campaign finance laws by the FEC.  That neutrality does not exist so long as Commissioner Weintraub and her office participate on Trump cases.  Like the FBI fired Peter Strozk, Commissioner Weintraub should do the right thing and remove herself from all cases related to Donald Trump.      

Friday, September 7, 2018

Top Ten Moments and Takeaways from Kavanaugh Hearings

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court adjourned this afternoon at 4:15.  

After four long days of hearings, Americans now have a glimpse of a man and judge who is kind, thoughtful, humble, intelligent, and intellectually curious, possesses incredible endurance, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law, has a consistent judicial philosophy of looking first to the text of the relevant law at issue, works very hard to get the right answer in each case and be fair to all litigants, and has a deep respect for the Constitution, the separation of powers, federalism, and the rule of law.  And we also have a depressing picture of what the next two years of Democratic presidential primary will look like.

Here are the top ten moments and takeaways from the hearings.

1. Judge Kavanaugh's poise, including his serious responses to Democrats' questions that were trying to trap him, have him disclose his personal policy views, or commit on how he would rule in future cases:

2. Judge Kavanaugh's repeated description of the proper role of a judge, including a deep and consistent interpretive philosophy relying on the text of the Constitution and statutes:

3. Judge Kavanaugh's repeated description of the separation of powers:

4. How those who knew Judge Kavanaugh and have practiced before him praised him highly both personally and as a judge, while the third-party witnesses from Democrats largely made policy points:

5. Senator Ben Sasse's civics lesson on Tuesday (and great questions throughout):

6. Senator Cory Booker's "Spartacus" moment that wasn't (but then after Sen. Booker was criticized for claiming courage for releasing documents cleared for release, he then did release confidential documents in violation of Senate Rules):

7. Refreshingly serious questions and dialogue with Judge Kavanaugh from Senators Chris Coons and Amy Klobuchar, even if their interpretations of cases and legal theories were often misguided. But unfortunately for Sen. Klobuchar's presidential ambitions, it's unlikely that deeper thinking about the law will mean much to the increasingly liberal, outcome-oriented Democratic base:

8. Senator Kamala Harris' bizarre questions about conversations with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, a law firm with over 350 people, that ultimately proved to be only an attempt to cast unfounded aspersions at Judge Kavanaugh:

9. Judge Kavanaugh's tattered pocket Constitution, which Senator Harris disparagingly referred to as "that book that you carry":

10. Chairman Grassley's leadership throughout, from being gracious to the Democrats despite their obvious lack of good faith to correcting many of the Democrats' misstatements using his prerogative as Chair to allowing Judge Kavanaugh to respond at the end of a questioning period when a Democrat hadn't allowed the Judge to answer. Likewise, the good points and questions made by the Republican members of the committee:

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Highlights and "Low" Lights from Day 3 of Kavanaugh Hearings

The morning of Day 3 of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings began with an hour of debate / grandstanding about the documents.
Sen. Booker stole the show (it was very clearly a "show") by saying he was going to release documents designated as "committee confidential," inviting the consequences for the release of the documents and calling himself "Spartacus":

The only problem is that the documents had already been approved for public release just before 4 AM, due to the hard work of the staff overnight. Not to be deterred from his moment of resistance in the limelight, Sen. Booker started releasing still-confidential documents.  
But Sen. Booker's original document release showed that Judge Kavanaugh was opposed to racial profiling:

Sen. Tillis warned of the consequences of making Senate Judiciary a untrustworthy body for receiving confidential documents:

The senators starting asking questions an hour into the hearing, with Democratic Senators largely trying to have Judge Kavanaugh commit to ruling in a certain way on future cases or share his personal views.  Judge Kavanaugh once again avoided all the Democrats' traps and shone with his vast and detailed understanding and knowledge of the law and legal theory:

The RNLA will continue live-tweeting the hearing tomorrow, when the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from invited witnesses on Judge Kavanaugh.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Day 2 - Kavanaugh Shines on Legal Philosophy and Role of a Judge

The second day of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing is ongoing and expected to end after 10:00 PM.  During this marathon day (fortunately for his endurance, Judge Kavanaugh has run actual marathons), Judge Kavanaugh has remained poised and engaged in substantive discussions of cases and legal theories with senators, often recalling specific citations (down to sections of opinions) without referencing his notes.  He has shown why he is extremely well-qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, as the ABA itself acknowledged.  While protestors continued to interrupt throughout the day, Democratic senators have not engaged in the indecorous grandstanding of yesterday.

You can review the hearing's event on RNLA's Twitter feed, and we will continue live-tweeting the hearing until it concludes.

Also of note, current and former RNLA women leaders submitted a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee leaders expressing support for Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation:
As educated, professional women, we are often told that we should endorse the progressive policy agenda and support judges who will enact progressive policy changes from the bench and by not doing so, we are betraying our sex.  
Nothing could be further from the truth. The policies and laws that best protect the rights of women are the policies and laws that protect the rights of all people. Therefore, the type of judge who best protects the rights of women is the type of judge who protects the rights of all people who come before his or her court by interpreting statutes and regulations as written, according to the text of the Constitution, with respect for the proper role of the courts in our system of separation of powers.  
Judge Kavanaugh is precisely this type of judge. Throughout his twelve years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, he has consistently evaluated the text of the relevant legal authorities and applied them to the facts in the case. He has done so even when the outcome of the case was one that he personally would not have chosen. It is clear in Judge Kavanaugh’s extensive record that he understands his role of as that of judge, not policymaker.  
In addition to his impressive record, Judge Kavanaugh is the son of a woman lawyer and has been a mentor to women lawyers, hiring women as 25 of his 48 law clerks. Twenty-one of his women clerks went on to clerk at the Supreme Court. As his women clerks noted in a letter to you, they had “uniformly positive experiences with the Judge as a boss on issues of gender and equality in the workplace.” This kind of mentorship is vital to helping young women attorneys succeed in our chosen profession. 
Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated his durable commitment to the rule of law and sought to interpret the Constitution and the law impartially, and he should receive the support of Americans of all political and ideological beliefs.  
Instead, he has been attacked for political gain, and even more bizarrely, attacked for being an enemy of women. This not only degrades the civil discourse in our country and undermines the role of the judiciary in our constitutional system but also wrongly uses women as partisan pawns. These attacks on Judge Kavanaugh by liberals and Democrats have belittled the role and individual beliefs and achievements of women, while ignoring the very real contribution that Judge Kavanaugh has made in advancing the careers of women attorneys.
The hearings will continue all week with further rounds of questioning from senators tomorrow and expert testimony on Friday.  RNLA will live-tweet the proceedings throughout.