Category Archives: Law

Harry Reid’s Nuclear Winter

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During Harry Reid’s tenure as Senate Majority Leader he didn’t get President Obama’s nominees approved at a pace to his liking. Democrats had a simple majority but not the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. So Harry invoked the “nuclear option”.  Which is to say he changed the rules. Now, under the new Senate rules, only a simple majority of 51 votes is required to approve most presidential nominees. Supreme Court appointments not included.

Nuclear Option

Until the November 8 shocker, the Majority Leader had expected Hillary Clinton to win the presidency. In October  he bragged that he had set the table for easy approval of  future Supreme Court nominees too. And so he had.

But what he didn’t count on was a Republican president and 52 Republican senators.

Now, as Harry Reid retires to his own personal nuclear winter, he leaves his colleagues glowing in the dark.

Flag Burning

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Trump tweet of the week: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences, perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!”

The Huffington Post reported that most people think President-elect The Donald goes too far. They think flag burners should keep their citizenship. However, they’re cool with the jail part.

Flag Burning

Justice Scalia, for his part, wasn’t cool with either jail or loss of citizenship for burning a flag. Here are a few lines from a Pittsburgh Post Gazette editorial on Scalia’s opinion of flag burning:

“If I were king,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said in an interview, “I would not allow people to go about burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged. … Burning the flag is a form of expression. Speech doesn’t just mean written words or oral words. … Burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning is a protected form of free speech. And Salon said Trump was cool with that when he appeared on The David Letterman Show in 2015.

Of course, the court also ruled that campaign issue advocacy spending by corporations and unions is  a protected form of free speech.   We know Hillary’s not cool with that. The Citizens United case involved  a movie critical of her. Here’s the trailer.

My favorite example of the exercise of free speech by flag burning occurred at the RNC convention in Cleveland last summer. The burner became the burnee. He caught himself on fire.

 

 

Court of Public Opinion

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FBI Director Comey recommended that Hillary not be prosecuted by the Justice Department. But he presented her case on national TV anyway. A verdict was rendered on election day. Hillary was convicted in the court of public opinion. Her sentence was loss of the White House.

She’s Suffered Enough Already

Now President-elect Trump has  issued a get out of jail free card. He doesn’t want to see her prosecuted in a court of law either.

Court of  Public Opinion

Meanwhile, some Democrats don’t believe there were enough Deplorables in the court of public opinion. They want a recount.

Green candidate Jill Stein is leading the charge. She wants a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. She’s raised more money so far than she did for her presidential campign.

Oops. She can’t guarantee the money will go to a recount.

 

Integrity Beyond Question

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch was caught red handed discussing grandkids with Bill Clinton. Bill’s wife, Hillary, was under investigation at the time for her secret email server. So the AG turned over her decision making authority in the caper to FBI Director James Comey.

When Comey decided not to prosecute, a Greek Chorus of Democrats sang his praises. But when he reopened the case, due to emails found on Carlos Danger’s laptop, they changed their tune.

Integrity Beyond Question

Harry Reid, having pronounced Comey’s integrity beyond question, questioned it by accusing him of violating the Hatch Act. At least he hasn’t accused Comey of not paying his taxes. Yet.

Tarmac Talk Could Influence Election Outcome

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Jane Mayer, in the New Yorker, points out that FBI Director Comey broke with Justice Department tradition:

Attorney General Loretta Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.

Tarmac Talk

He might have felt compelled to do otherwise because the AG turned her authority in the case over to him:

Comey’s supporters argue that he had to act independently, and publicly, because Lynch had compromised herself by having an impromptu visit with Bill Clinton late in the investigation.”

Here’s Andrew McCarthy in NR on Comey’s tradition breaking behavior:

In effect, it became The Decision because Attorney General Loretta Lynch had disgraced herself by furtively meeting with Mrs. Clinton’s husband a few days before Comey announced his recommendation. Comey, therefore, gave Mrs. Clinton a twofer: an unheard-of public proclamation that she should not be indicted by the head of the investigative agency; and a means of taking Lynch off the hook, which allowed the decision against prosecution to be portrayed as a careful weighing of evidence rather than a corrupt deal cooked up in the back of a plane parked on a remote tarmac.

Taking Action

McCarthy says not taking action would also have influenced the election:

But of course, not taking action one would take but for the political timing is as political as it gets. To my mind, it is more political because the negatively affected candidate is denied any opportunity to rebut the law-enforcement action publicly.

Anyway Hillary created the mess so it’s her fault. At least that’s the way Rich Lowry, A. B. Stoddard, Trey Gowdy, Andrew McCarthy, and Piers Morgan’s see it.