Friday, April 28, 2017

Four of President Trump's Huge Successes in His First 100 Days

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 29, 2017, will mark 100 days since President Donald J. Trump was sworn into office. Despite what "Mainstream Media" might say, President Trump has actually racked up a number of successes in just one hundred days--just over three months, including:

Carrie Severino in National Review earlier this week proclaimed the Gorsuch Confirmation was President Trump's greatest accomplishment:
Assessments of a president’s first hundred days are largely a meaningless metric invented by story-hungry media.  But in this case, President Trump has been able to rack up such a significant accomplishment in this short time that we can already be confident it will be remembered as one of the landmark accomplishments of his entire presidency: he appointed a superbly qualified, highly principled jurist to the Supreme Court.  To pull off a wildly successful Supreme Court confirmation in the face of unprecedented partisan opposition is hard enough.  To do it starting only ten days after taking office is exceptional.  But this confirmation was important for an additional reason as well: putting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court fulfilled one of Trump’s most important campaign promises.  Big-league.

The Atlantic, just yesterday, noted:
President Trump’s Cabinet is finally full. The Senate on Thursday evening confirmed Alexander Acosta to be labor secretary on a broadly bipartisan vote, installing the president’s last Cabinet secretary just shy of his 100th day in office. The vote was 60-38, as most Democrats opposed Acosta’s nomination to no avail. Acosta, a former federal prosecutor who led the Justice Department’s civil-rights division in the George W. Bush administration, was Trump’s second choice for labor secretary. His original pick was Andrew Puzder, the restaurant executive who withdrew his nomination in February after Republicans raised concerns over allegations that he abused his ex-wife and the risqué commercials he approved as CEO of the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr... In the end, Puzder was the only senior Cabinet pick who Trump could not get the Republican-controlled Senate to confirm….Democrats succeeded in dragging out the confirmation process for many of Trump’s initial choices for weeks, but because of a rules change they engineered in 2013 to eliminate the filibuster for most presidential nominations, they did not have the votes to block any of the president’s picks on their own.

Politico Magazine opinion reported on April 19:
In the first few months of this year, illegal border crossings have dropped precipitously, according to federal statistics and anecdotal evidence. It is an early proof of concept that, yes, it is possible to secure the border and a victory, even if a provisional and incomplete one, for President Trump's enforcement agenda….[The] core of his message was a commitment to crack down on illegal border crossings…This is happening. It has been reported in the media, but it almost never makes it into the conversation about Trump's first 100 days in office, despite the fact that it is one of his central agenda items.If Trump had promised to almost immediately reduce illegal border crossings from Mexico to a 17-year low, it would have been dismissed as characteristic Trump bombast. But here we are. On the border, there is cause to be, if not tired of, at least encouraged by all the winning.

The Hill reported back in late-February on President Trump's efforts to reduce Obama Era Regulations:
“Every regulation should have to pass a simple test: Does it make life better or safer for American workers or consumers?” Trump said as he signed the executive order. “If the answer is no, we will be getting rid of it and getting rid of it quickly.”. . .Trump’s agency heads will appoint regulatory reform officers to ensure the agencies are following the president’s orders, including his 1-in-2-out executive order that encourages agencies to repeal old rules before the publish new ones… “Each task force will make recommendations to repeal or simplify existing regulations,” Trump said.Trump said the order will solve an “impossible situation” for businesses when it comes to complying with regulations.
We look forward to seeing the list of accomplishments in the next hundred days and beyond. But so far, President Trump is making good progress in just one hundred days.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rest in Peace, Kate O'Beirne

On Sunday, one of the giants of the conservative movement passed away.  We had a Throwback Thursday post on Facebook early today linking to Kate O'Beirne's speech to RNLA.  Like others, we found her to be incredibly gracious with her time and we can agree in our limited exposure with what Ramesh Ponnuru wrote:
She enlivened every party, taking special care for the people who seemed shy or left out. This same impulse led her to take in young colleagues, or classmates of her children, who had nowhere to go for holidays.
Kate was a true conservative who fought on all fronts, as detailed in this story on school choice:
As an early board member of the organization I founded, the Center for Education Reform (CER), Kate was intensively dedicated to CER (even though education reform wasn’t the issue that grabbed her most). She was steadfast in her commitment to conservative principles and never hastened to argue, with great diplomacy, that focusing on only certain segments of society for educational choice ignored the hard-working middle classes who also deserved to have choices (prescient for 25 years ago, no?).
At her speech to RNLA, while all enjoyed her presentation, it was the women, especially younger women, who were particularly inspired.  The reason should be obvious: she was a true conservative role model for women
Kate O’Beirne came of age in the 1960s, amid the second wave of feminism, but in a characteristically pungent quip, the conservative commentator said she “learned more about self-worth, ambition and opportunity from my conservative parents and Catholic nuns than I ever did from Eleanor Smeal and Gloria Steinem.”  
Such luminaries of the women’s movement were to be looked on with a gimlet eye, she said. Instead, she lionized the nun who coached the debate team at her all-girls’ high school and “encouraged us to go in for the kill” against male opponents. The nun also urged her to go to law school.
RIP, Kate O’Beirne. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Judge Thapar: ABA Unanimously Well Qualified -- Not Good Enough for Senate Judiciary Dems

Today, Judge Amul R. Thapar, a U.S. District Court Judge from Kentucky, had his Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing. Judge Thapar is the first circuit court nominee by the Trump Administration.

He earned the ABA's highest rating of unanimously Well Qualified to be a judge on the 6th Circuit, which at one time was called the "Gold Standard" in judicial nominations by Democratic Senator Pat Leahy (VT) and echoed by Democratic Minority Leader Senator Schumer (NY).

Judge Thapar faced a line of questioning reminiscent of the recent hearing for Justice Gorsuch, albeit slightly more subdued. Politico summarized the hearing as follows:
Asked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to address the denigration of federal judges, Thapar evaded any direct comment on Trump's rhetoric, but he said it was unlikely to have much impact because federal judges are thick-skinned and have lifelong tenure. . . ."I am a proud Article III judge. We've been criticized from the beginning of this great country," Thapar said. "What I will say about me and my colleagues is it doesn't matter to us." . . . 

Thapar also faced pointed questions from Democrats about his affiliation with the conservative Federalist Society. Trump last year had included both Gorsuch and Thapar, 47, on a list of judges he said he would choose from when making nominations to the Supreme Court, and the possibility Thapar could someday be elevated to the high court was a subtext of Wednesday's hearing. Thapar was one of four individuals reportedly interviewed by Trump for the Supreme Court vacancy. 

Under questioning by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Thapar said Wednesday he was surprised to learn from a law clerk after a court session last fall that he'd been named to Trump's list. "I have no idea how I got on the list. I wasn't notified ahead of time," Thapar said. . . . Whitehouse and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) noted that the list was prepared by the Federalist Society and by the conservative Heritage Foundation, but Thapar insisted he'd made no pledge of ideological fealty to those groups. "I'm my own judge, and I hope my track record speaks to that," he said. He called the Federalists "an open-debate society." Durbin appeared skeptical of that explanation.
Also, entered into the record, by Chairman Senator Grassley, was a written statement signed by a diverse group of 23 lawyers who all clerked under Judge Thapar:

Each of us spent a year working closely with Judge Thapar in his chambers, and we can each attest that he is an exemplary judge, a devoted mentor, and a great person. First, and most importantly, Judge Thapar is an exceptional jurist. There is only one rule in his chambers: get the law right. Judge Thapar works diligently with his law clerks to ensure that every decision he makes is in accordance with what the law requires. Judge Thapar gives equal attention and a fair hearing to every litigant in every case that comes before him. From individual social security 2 disability claimants, to incarcerated inmates, to large multinational corporations, every party gets a fair hearing from Judge Thapar. . . .
We firmly believe there is no one better than Judge Thapar to fill the open seat on the Sixth Circuit. If confirmed, we are confident that Judge Thapar will approach his job on the appellate court the same way he has approached his job on the district court—with dedication to the law, with a prodigious work ethic, and with respect for all parties who appear before him. We hope the Senate will confirm Judge Thapar quickly. 
According to The Washington Times, there are some 19 circuit court vacancies and more than 100 district court vacancies in need of nominees, perhaps giving President Trump the opportunity to reshape federal courts. However, it looks like this line of questioning will likely be repeated against most, if not all, of President Trump's judicial nominees.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Democrats Continue to Oppose, Delay and Obstruct Non-Controversial, Qualified Nominees

He has the support of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and was an Obama appointee.  He is the longest serving U.S. Attorney in the nation.  Yet, Rod J. Rosenstein has waited almost three months to finally get a chance to be confirmed as Deputy U.S. Attorney General, the number 2 position in the Department of Justice.  Cloture had to be invoked as six Democrats opposed him even getting an up or down vote!   
While the delay in confirming Rosenstein for the number 2 position at DOJ is inexcusable, the treatment of the nominee for the number 3 position (Associate Attorney General), Rachel Brand, is even worse.  As Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley stated:
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he wasn’t sure why the nomination of Brand became a partisan issue. Brand’s nomination cleared through the judiciary committee on an 11-9 vote among party lines. 
“It’s a little more controversial than I thought it would be,” Grassley said Thursday. “She’s a pretty low-key person. ... I think she’ll get some Democrat votes on the floor of the Senate. I can’t give you a reason why it’s become somewhat partisan, because she’s well qualified.”
Chairman Grassley is understating the case.  Brand, like Rosenstein, should be non-controversial as she is extremely qualified and even an Obama appointee.   A few details from her bio as a Board Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board from August 2012 to February 2017:
Rachel Brand has served as a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board since 2012. Her prior government experience includes serving as the Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice after being confirmed by the Senate and appointed by President George W. Bush. In that capacity, Ms. Brand served as chief policy adviser to the Attorney General, handling a broad range of national security, law enforcement, and civil justice issues. She also oversaw the development of all regulations promulgated by the Department of Justice and managed the Department's role in selecting federal judges, including running the confirmation hearing preparation for Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Earlier, Ms. Brand served as Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush at the White House. She was a law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States and to Justice Charles Fried of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
Rosenstein was finally confirmed this evening, and the Democrats should stop their delay tactics and confirm Brand soon also.  It is time for Democrats to stop obstructing such qualified nominees. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Recent Voter ID Legislation News

Here's what has been happening with voter ID legislation in the states, as more states recognize the importance of this important protection of election integrity or seek to improve their existing laws to ensure that every eligible voter is able to vote while protecting the votes of all eligible voters.

Iowa: Contentious voter ID bill gets final OK; heads to Branstad 
The Iowa Senate gave final approval Thursday to contentious legislation that will require voters to show government-issued identification at the polls . . . . 
House File 516 passed on a 28-21 vote with Republicans casting all the yes votes. Democrats and one independent all voted no. The bill now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad, who is expected to sign it.
Nebraska: Resolution to require voter ID at Nebraska's polls advances but is expected to stir debate among lawmakers
The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee voted 6-2 to advance to the floor Legislative Resolution 1CA, which asks Nebraskans whether they want to put a photo ID requirement in the state constitution. 
If adopted by the full Legislature, ballot language on the constitutional amendment would appear before voters in November 2018. If voters approve the amendment it will be left to state lawmakers to pass legislation spelling out what constitutes an acceptable ID and whether the state will pay for IDs for those who cannot afford them.
North Dakota: North Dakota attempting to fix voter ID rules after lawsuit
After altering voter identification laws in previous legislative sessions, North Dakota's Republican-led Legislature now is attempting to fix them after a group of American Indians sued in federal court, alleging the state requirements are unconstitutional and disenfranchised tribal members. 
The House passed a bill Monday that allows those who don't have proper ID to cast a ballot that's set aside until the voter's eligibility is confirmed. The Senate still must agree to the measure before it goes to GOP Gov. Doug Burgum for his signature.
Texas: House committee approves bill to make changes to voter ID law
The House Elections Committee on Monday approved a bill that would make court-ordered changes to the state’s controversial voter identification law, moving the proposal to the House floor under the looming specter of federal action. 
Senate Bill 5, written by Rep. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, would give more leeway to people who show up to the polls without one of seven state-approved photo IDs. They would be allowed to use other documents that carry their name and address as proof of identity, such as a utility bill, if they sign a "declaration of impediment" stating why they don't have an approved ID.
If you'd like to receive a weekly email with the week's voter ID and mandatory voter registration news, sign up for Lawyers Democracy Fund's update here.

Friday, April 21, 2017

National Policy Conference to Feature Stuart Taylor on His Latest Book

The RNLA is pleased to host Stuart S. Taylor, Jr., of National Journal at the 2017 National Policy Conference on Friday, May 5, for an address on his latest book, The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America's Universities:
In recent years, politicians led by President Obama and prominent senators and governors have teamed with extremists on campus to portray our nation’s campuses as awash in a violent crime wave—and to suggest (preposterously) that university leaders, professors, and students are indifferent to female sexual assault victims in their midst. Neither of these claims has any bearing in reality. But they have achieved widespread acceptance, thanks in part to misleading alarums from the Obama administration and biased media coverage led by the New York Times. 
The frenzy about campus rape has helped stimulate—and has been fanned by—ideologically skewed campus sexual assault policies and lawless commands issued by federal bureaucrats to force the nation’s all-too-compliant colleges and universities essentially to presume the guilt of accused students. The result has been a widespread disregard of such bedrock American principles as the presumption of innocence and the need for fair play.
This book uses hard facts to set the record straight. It explores, among other things, about two dozen of the many cases since 2010 in which innocent or probably innocent students have been branded as sex criminals and expelled or otherwise punished by their colleges. And it shows why all students—and, eventually, society as a whole—are harmed when our nation’s universities abandon pursuit of truth and seek instead to accommodate the passions of the mob.
Mr. Taylor has agreed to sign copies of his book immediately following his address, and books will be available for sale at the National Policy Conference.

We look forward to hearing from Mr. Taylor on this important issue and hope to see you there on Friday, May 5!  There is still time to register or sponsor.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

More Allegations of Vote Fraud, This Time at the Nevada DMV

While the left continues to bash the Trump Administration for daring to find that instances of voter fraud occurred in the 2016 November Election, the state of Nevada has reasons to believe that illegal immigrants have voted at the hand of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske voiced her concerns in a letter to the DMV Director by stating:
It has come to our attention that when offering voter registration opportunities to customers, DMV’s employees offer voter registration materials to DMV customers whom they know to be non-citizens based upon their presentation of a Green Card for identification purposes... 
More specifically, it is our understanding that some DMV employees have been instructed to accept registration materials from all customers, including those who present a Green Card for identification purposes…This practice must cease immediately. Please take appropriate actions, as we have reason to believe that non-citizens have unlawfully registered to vote in Nevada as a direct result of DMV’s practices. Moreover, we now have confirmed that some non-citizens illegally cast votes in the 2016 election.
Cegavske said in a statement that her office "received verifiable evidence of potential illegal votes cast," and also stated that "the integrity of the entire election process, from voter registration to the casting of ballots, is always my number one concern."

The RNLA not only thanks Governor Brian Sandoval for vetoing a bill that would have allowed for automatic voter registration at the DMV which would have only perpetuated this type of fraud, but also Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske for taking appropriate measures to ensure that vote fraud will be stopped in Nevada.