Judge Kavanaugh Will Help Restore Our Government to the Way the Framers Intended

In drafting the United States Constitution, the framers intended a nation with three equal branches. In large part due to judicial and executive ‘activism,’ America has lost its way and the effectiveness of the legislative branch has suffered as a result. As Peter Wallison explains, the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court will go a long way in restoring the framer’s initial aim. 

Brett Kavanaugh—President Trump’s most recent nominee for the Supreme Court—could return legislative authority [to] Congress. His confirmation will add a fifth vote to a conservative group in the Court that seeks to take power away from the agencies of the administrative state and put it back where it belongs, in the legislative branch. 

In the past seventy years the liberal movement in the United States has done everything it can to decrease individual liberty and increase the size and scope of government.

The reason for Congress’s weakness today is a failure of the courts over many years to carry out a role that the Framers expected them to perform: to keep the elected branches within their assigned responsibilities. 
The Framers designed a system of separated powers—a Congress to make the laws; a president and executive branch to enforce or execute the laws; and a judiciary to interpret the laws—because they believed that was the only way to preserve the peoples’ liberty against the encroachments of government.

In his recent op-ed, Wallison details exactly when the progressive left began its assault on the constitution.

The Framers’ structure remained in balance for almost 150 years, but everything began to change during FDR’s New Deal. In 1935, the Supreme Court declared two congressional actions unconstitutional because they violated the separation of powers by delegating legislative power to the executive branch. But after his landslide election in 1936, FDR retaliated with a proposal to increase the size of the Court to 16, allowing him to appoint seven new members.
This opened a wide field for both the creation of new administrative agencies and empowering them with wide-ranging rule-making authority.
Completing the Court’s surrender to the executive was the 1984 unanimous decision in Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council. In this case, the Court directed lower federal courts to defer to administrative interpretations of their own authorities, if that interpretation was “reasonable.” This allowed administrative agencies to reinterpret existing statutory authority in new ways and again substantially increased administrative power.

The confirmation of the highly qualified Judge Brett Kavanaugh would reverse the massive growth of bloated government agencies and overreaching executive power. Judge Kavanaugh would cement an ‘originalist’ view of the Constitution and restore our republic to its initial ideals centered on liberty and freedom from government.


Recent Left-Wing Attacks Distort Judge Kavanaugh’s Views on Voting Rights

In modern Democrat politics, anyone who supports measures to enhance voting integrity and decrease the likelihood of voter fraud should be labeled an ‘extremist.’ Hillary Clinton went as far as to say Judge Kavanaugh will bring the United States back to times of slavery. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker said if you support Judge Kavanaugh, you are ‘complicit with evil.’  As election law expert Hans von Spakovsky points out, these vicious attacks by top Democrats are totally baseless.

The latest bizarre claim laid against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is that his confirmation would “spell the end of voting rights.” This ridiculous charge has been spun up from two of Kavanaugh’s writings: a 2012 opinion upholding South Carolina’s voter ID law and a brief he filed as a private attorney in a case challenging Hawaii’s practice of preventing residents from voting based on their ancestry.
In both cases, Kavanaugh’s views were — and are — quite mainstream. More importantly, they have been affirmed.

In fact, Judge Kavanaugh’s key rulings on voting rights have all beenaffirmed by the Supreme Court.

In South Carolina v. Holder, Kavanaugh (joined by two other judges) held that the state’s voter ID law was not discriminatory and did not violate the Voting Rights Act.
Kavanaugh noted, South Carolina made it even easier to vote by providing a “reasonable impediment” exception to its ID requirement. This allows those without proper identification to vote anyway. All they need do is sign a simple affidavit stating the reason they have not obtained a photo ID. Do that, and they can cast a ballot immediately, no questions asked.

Hans von Spakovsky's recent piece for The Hill illustrates the sad state of our political climate. For supporting a measure that would actually make it easier to vote and increase election safety, Democrats and major left-wing organizations have labeled Judge Kavanaugh a ‘racist’ trying to take away voting rights. Thankfully, history and facts have proven Judge Kavanaugh right.

Opponents of the law claimed it would “disenfranchise tens of thousands of minority voters,” but it never happened. The law has been in place since 2013 with no problems and no effect on turnout. No disenfranchisement. No voter “suppression.
Oddly enough, none of Judge Kavanaugh’s critics has bothered to mention that, in a subsequent voter ID case, the Obama Justice Department agreed that an ID law with a “reasonable impediment” exception was not discriminatory. On Aug. 3, 2016, the parties in Veasy v. Abbott penned a “Joint Submission of Agreed Terms” in which they agreed that Texas could apply its photo ID law in the 2016 election as long as any resident who signed “a reasonable impediment declaration” would “be permitted to vote using a regular ballot.”

Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most qualified nominees for the Supreme Court in modern history. Democrats have no viable explanation for opposing his confirmation. However, they have so much animus for President Trump and the American people who voted for the president that they are willing to harm the judicial system and attempt to trash the reputation of an honorable public servant for political gain. Thankfully, it does not appear their scorched Earth tactics will work and Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed.


Letter from RNLA Founding Chair Bob Horn on Ron Hicks Winning Chairman's Award

Dear Michael,

I am especially pleased that the Republican National Lawyers Association has selected Ron Hicks to be the second recipient of the Robert J. Horn Chairman’s Award.  Ron personifies the attributes and skills that all of us at RNLA value in terms of insuring the accuracy and honesty of elections and the election process.  The RNLA has a targeted set of missions - all complementary, and none of which duplicate missions accomplished elsewhere.  From my perspective, its most important mission is to ensure open, fair and honest elections at all levels of American society in a non-discriminatory manner and to provide access to the polls to all qualified and eligible voters.


Your participation in this Seminar evidences your desire to accomplish this mission by receiving election law training from our members who are among the most qualified election law professionals from all over the country. Through the efforts of volunteers like Ron Hicks, we have been able to respond to requests for assistance from Republican Party organizations and its candidates by communicating the requests to all of you and having you volunteer and work pro bono to address these concerns.

I was introduced to Ron by Heather Heidelbaugh, on election day 2004, when I went to Pittsburgh to help out by working in the call center they created to protect the honesty of the presidential election process. What I discovered, was an efficient and well run operation that anticipated many of the issues that arose or could have arisen as a result of Democrat initiatives to change the outcome of the electoral process. Ron and Heather were the lead counsels at the time and Ron represented the campaign by requesting expedited decisions from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court under the Pennsylvania Election Code.  His success in handling these matter before Democrat Supreme Court Justices contributed greatly to ensuring a positive electoral outcome.

Since then Ron has continued to contribute greatly to the Republican Party in Pennsylvania and to the RNLA. In addition to having a successful  private practice, Ron has worked as Co-General Counsel and as a member of the Board of Governors for the Republican National Lawyers Association.  He is a founding board member and former chair of the RNLA’s Pittsburgh Chapter.  He serves as the Deputy Solicitor for Western Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee, and is an elected member of the Republican Committees of Allegheny County and Pittsburgh, and the County Committee’s Solicitor and chair of the City Committee’s 3rd Council District in Pennsylvania. 

As a result of what he accomplished and for everything he has done, I am especially pleased and honored that Ron has been selected as the second recipient of the RNLA’s Robert J Horn Founding Chairman’s award.  Although I am saddened that I cannot join you at the conference this year, I wish you great success and hope that I can join you next time.   Best wishes to all of you, especially Ron and hope that all of you will find the time to help the Republican cause in the upcoming mid-term election.  

Sincerely,

Bob Horn


The Importance of Protecting the Privacy of Non-Profit Donors

The IRS recently defended the privacy rights of non-profit organizations by declaring they would no longer collect the names and addresses of donors. Detractors of this new policy, mainly coming from the far-left, argue this will lead to an increase in foreign spending and so called ‘dark money’ in American politics. The Institute for Free Speech's Luke Wachob explains in The Hill why this complaint is not based in reality. 

First, nonprofits can accept money from foreign sources, but they are legally prohibited from using it to support the election or defeat of candidates. The ban also applies to broadcast ads that mention the name of a candidate in the time near an election.
Second, a donor name and address does not tell you whether it is a U.S. citizen or green card holder. Many Americans live abroad, and many people in the United States are not citizens or legal permanent residents.

One of the most important results of the new IRS policy is groups will no longer be targeted for their political beliefs or agenda, something conservatives say was commonplace during the Obama administration. 

The rule. . . should prevent the IRS and partisan state attorneys general from targeting conservative groups, Republicans say, such as the government scrutiny of tea party groups during the Obama era. 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the move was a victory for free speech and a “straightforward, common-sense policy decision.”
“It’s particularly welcome news to those of us who are intently focused on defending the First Amendment, for those of us who raised concerns during the last administration about activist regulators punishing free speech and free association,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor. “The IRS will no longer pointlessly demand private contributor lists from whole categories of tax-exempt organizations.”

Unsurprisingly, since the decision was announced liberal outlets have painted the picture that this move favors conservative organizations in a disproportionate manner. CNN recently ran a piece insinuating this policy change only benefits the NRA and other conservative groups. This is flat out not true, and Charles Cooke at The National Review explains how the change benefits the majority of non-profits on both sides of the political spectrum.

The change applies to every single 501(c)(4) in America. CNN could just as easily — and just as misleadingly — have placed the story under the headline, “NAACP will no longer need to identify their donors to the IRS.” Or it could have mentioned, say, Planned Parenthood. Or SEIU. Or Everytown for Gun Safety. Or the Sierra Club. Or . . .

Regardless of how the media is portraying this important policy change, non-profit organizations finally have their privacy rights protected. American elections were always meant to defend against intimidation and discrimination against a set of political beliefs. Thankfully, the IRS moved our nation a step closer to that goal.


Not Just Kavanaugh: Democrats Obstructing Virtually All Trump Nominees

In order for our country to function, the executive branch must be able to appoint qualified nominees to critical positions. It appears, however, that Democrats have no interest in what is best for the effectiveness of our nation. They have one goal, obstruct President Trump at all costs. As Hans von Spakovsky and Thomas Jipping explain at Fox News,

More than a year and a half after the inauguration of Donald Trump’s presidency, the left continues to obstruct the confirmation of nominees to critical posts in both the executive and judicial branches. The unprecedented obstructionism denies leadership to executive branch departments and agencies and impedes the fair and swift administration of justice.
It is also an abuse of the Senate’s constitutional obligation to provide “Advice and Consent” regarding presidential nominations of judges and key “Officers of the United States.”

How bad has the obstruction gotten when compared to President Obama’s nominations?

As of July 17, the Senate had confirmed 515 presidential nominations. That may sound like a lot, but it’s nearly 30 percent less than the number confirmed at this point in President Barack Obama’s first term.
And it’s not that Trump hasn’t given the upper chamber plenty of nominations to act on. A whopping 371 nominations are now pending in the Senate, including 90 judicial nominees.  

Trump Judicial and Executive confirmations have not just slowed compared to Obama.

According to a one-page White House memo obtained by the Washington Examiner, each of the last four presidents had confirmed hundreds more judicial and executive nominees than Trump by the second July of their presidency. For instance, the Senate had confirmed 75 and 87 percent of former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton’s picks by this time in their term. They have confirmed just 58 percent for Trump.
Democrats have forced Republicans to dot every procedural I and cross every parliamentary T before getting their nominee a vote. As the New York Times reported last year, that means calling for a cloture vote which in turn requires an “intervening day” to allow the request, in parliamentary parlance, to "ripen." After that, the rules require 30-hours of “post-cloture” debate before a final vote.

This Democrat obstruction does not only hurt President Trump, it harms the country and the American people most importantly. Let’s hope the Democrats rethink this politically motivated tactic before too much damage is done.


More Obstruction: Democrats Demand Millions of Documents on Judge Kavanaugh

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit after being nominated by President Bush in 2003. It took all the way until 2006 to confirm him due to the heavy scrutiny that included two Senate hearings levied against the Bush appointee. As Tom Jipping wrote in the National Review,

[Judge Kavanaugh] also spent “four years in private practice, one year in the Office of the Solicitor General, four years in the Office of Independent Counsel, two years in the White House Counsel’s Office, and three years as staff secretary to President Bush.” 

Judge Kavanaugh is a Yale Law school graduate and has taught at Yale, Georgetown and Harvard Universities. Even the left-leaning American Bar Association gave the Judge its highest qualification in 2006. One could argue there has never been a nominee with more exposure than Kavanaugh over the past decade of his work. Yet this is still not nearly enough information according to Senate Democrats. They want millions, yes millions, of documents. The USA Today explains just how unusual this search really is.

Senators have begun the deepest dive ever into the writings of a Supreme Court nominee, digging into a record 1 million-plus pages of legal opinions and emails from Brett Kavanaugh's career as a federal judge, White House attorney, and assistant to the prosecutor who investigated former President Bill Clinton.
The massive volume of Kavanaugh's records dwarfs those of the last two Supreme Court justices to be confirmed – Neil Gorsuch and Elena Kagan. Senators reviewed about 182,000 pages of documents on Gorsuch and about 170,000 pages on Kagan.

Even with the unique volume of documents the Senate already has on Judge Kavanaugh, Democrats even want more.

Despite the mound of electronic paper that senators will soon get on Kavanaugh, Democrats and Republicans are battling over whether they should have access to more as they debate the merits of President Donald Trump's nominee.
The fight centers on whether senators should see emails and other documents from Kavanaugh's time as staff secretary to former President George W. Bush, from 2003-2006.

Tom Jipping points out that this is pure obstruction.

Unfortunately, many of Kavanaugh’s critics have already announced their opposition, some even before President Trump announced his selection. That makes their demand for documents and other material unrelated to Kavanaugh’s judicial service more than a little odd. Obviously, the information will have no effect on their position. 
So here’s the current state of confirmation play: Senators and groups that already oppose Kavanaugh are demanding access to the least relevant part of his record, much of which was available during the extensive scrutiny he faced for his appeals-court appointment. If that’s not obstruction for its own sake, what is?

The RNLA has always supported a proper vetting process for every judicial nominee, particularly one for the highest court in the United States. However, in this case it is obvious to any objective observer that the current tactics used against Judge Kavanaugh are a politically motivated obstructionist strategy. Unfortunately, the nation and the integrity of our judicial system is being harmed as a result.


Chuck Schumer's Obstruction Tactics Failing as Three Democrats Set to Meet With Judge Kavanaugh

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to do everything possible to block the confirmation of President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Unfortunately for Schumer, it appears a handful of his Democrat colleagues are ready to break ranks and consider voting to confirm the highly qualified Kavanaugh. The Hill reports,

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democratic-allied advocacy groups are using the lightest of touches on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) as he considers voting for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Manchin will meet with Kavanaugh at 2:30 pm Monday and could embolden other Democrats to announce their support for President Trump’s conservative nominee.

Since the U.S. Senate currently consists of fifty-one Republicans, Democrats will almost certainly need zero defections to have any chance of blocking President Trump’s second SCOTUS nominee. As the Washington Examiner reports, things are starting to look grim for Schumer and his obstruction strategy thanks to a handful of Democrats in states that President Trump carried in the 2016 election.

At the moment, Manchin is one of . . . two Senate Democrats who have scheduled meetings with the judge. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., is scheduled to meet with the Supreme Court hopeful Aug. 15. 
Others are in the process of scheduling meetings, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., whose office is working with the White House toward setting up a meeting with Kavanaugh. With the upcoming meetings, the ballgame for Kavanaugh will begin in earnest.

With President Trump winning handily in all three states of the aforementioned three Democrat Senators, it would be politically risky for them to disregard the wishes of their constituents and cave to the liberal elite and oppose a nominee as qualified as Judge Kavanaugh in such a pro-Trump state.

What is clear is that the Democrat obstruction strategy is beginning to crumble right before our eyes, and that is bad news for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.


ICYMI: Majority Leader McConnell Defends Judge Kavanaugh From Vicious Democrat Attacks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke from the Senate floor yesterday regarding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. McConnell not only explained his personal views as to why Judge Kavanaugh is ‘uniquely qualified, and a brilliant legal mind’ but the Majority Leader also shared similar sentiments from a number of his Senate colleagues.

Unfortunately, Majority Leader McConnell was also forced to address the loud minority of senators who have expressed unhinged opposition to President Trump’s nominee. Speaker McConnell said this,

Here is how the junior Senator from New Jersey [Cory Booker] characterized this nomination with the senior Senator from Massachusetts [Elizabeth Warren] right beside him.  And here's what he said: “We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. You are either complicit in the evil, you are either contributing to the wrong, or you are fighting against."
This, from a member of the Judiciary Committee. He has not even met with Judge Kavanaugh.  He hasn't heard a word of testimony and he is citing Scripture to proclaim that this nominee is pure evil of biblical proportions. He is claiming that the Senators and the American people who have an open mind on this nomination are complicit in the evil. This is truly outrageous and not a single Democrat has come forward to condemn what he had to say. 

Leader McConnell brings up an important point that speaks to the radical commentary from Democrat leaders. While Republicans have in the past opposed the nominees of Democrat presidents, not once has a Republican Senator called a Supreme Court pick ‘evil.’ Perhaps even more disillusioned was what California Senator Kamala Harris said of the pick,

The junior Senator from California [Kamala Harris], another member of the Judiciary Committee, said Judge Kavanaugh would bring a . . . “destruction of the U.S. Constitution.” She made up her mind before there was even a nominee.

Leader McConnell brings up specific instances of extremist rhetoric coming from important leaders of the Democrat Party. Instead of scrutinizing Judge Kavanaugh in an unbiased and open-minded manner, Senate Democrats have resorted to petty political tactics and extreme commentary to bash a longtime public servant’s character. To continue to be the greatest nation in the world with the most fair legal system, this practice of hyper-partisanship from the left must end.


Senator Cornyn Rightly Calls Out “Unhinged” Cory Booker over Judge Kavanaugh

Cory Booker called Facebook racist and in an unprecedented and repugnant moment in Senate history testified against then-colleague Senator Sessions when he was nominated to become Attorney General. Senator Booker has now taken his outlandish attacks one step further (emphasis added).
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said Tuesday that senators who don’t oppose President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are “complicit in the evil.”Booker, speaking at a press conference with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and religious and moral leaders, said that Kavanaugh’s nomination “has nothing to do with politics” but with “who we are as moral beings.”“I’m here to call on folks to understand that in a moral moment, there is no neutral. In a moral moment, there is no bystanders,” he said. “You are either complicit in the evil, you are either contributing to the wrong, or you are fighting against it.”

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn has rightly called out Senator Booker for this (emphasis added):

Cornyn said remarks like Booker's were "unhinged" and"detached from any reality" during a Senate floor speech."My advice to some of our friends across the aisle who are engaged in this kind of superheated rhetoric, my advice is get a grip," he said. "Get a grip.". . ."What in the world? [Booker] needs to get a grip," he said. "Everybody’s trying to outdo everybody else."

At this point no one should pay any attention to Senator Booker, who is ignoring his duties as a Senator to shrilly yell for the support of the far, far left in a desperate bid to be relevant in the 2020 Democrat Presidential primary.


The Real Growing Foreign Influence in Our Elections

RNLA Vice President for Communications Harmeet Dhillon wrote today in the Daily Caller about San Francisco's new policy of allowing non-citizens to vote in its School Board elections.  Ms. Dhillon explains that liberals see non-citizens as a powerful force to support their radical policies:

Why are noncitizens — legal and illegal — being invited to vote in the first place, in school board elections or, as in some other jurisdictions, other municipal elections? The reason is clear: Liberal politicians, devoid of ideas and with dwindling support among Americans, see a promising voter pool in foreign nationals who might be future citizens, and have decided to cut out the waiting time and just let people vote whether they meet established criteria or not. . . .

The School Board in San Francisco controls a massive bureaucracy with a huge budget, with enormous power and influence:

San Francisco politicians are trying to play this alarming development off as no big deal, “just” a school board election because after all, some of these children are born here and are citizens themselves (some, of course, are not) and why shouldn’t the parents have a say? — so the argument goes. But make no mistake – if Americans stand by and allow foreign citizens to control our schools, the next step will be foreign citizens voting for Mayor, District Attorney, Sheriff, Board of Supervisors, judges, and more — after all, they live here — why shouldn’t they have a say in local government? Note as well how carefully San Francisco politicians avoid making any distinction between legal and illegal immigrants – for such distinctions contradict the open-borders extremism of the left. 
Focusing on the San Francisco school board elections, the implications are alarming enough. San Francisco Unified School District is the seventh largest in the nation, educating some 55,000 students annually, and very demographically diverse, with 36.3 percent Asian, 26.5 percent Hispanic, 13.3 percent white, and 7.6 percent black students. The 136 total schools in the district employ 10,000 employees, and had a budget for the 2016-2017 school year of a whopping $823,841,337 — averaging $10,182 in unrestricted funds per student ($566,065,162), with an additional quarter billion dollars in restricted funds. Over this massive government machine reigns the seven-member, liberal, San Francisco Board of Education, responsible, in its own words, “for establishing educational goals and standards; approving curriculum; setting the district budget … confirming appointment of all personnel; and approving purchases of equipment, supplies, services, leases, renovation, construction, and union contracts.” The Board of Education also appoints the county superintendent of schools.

Ms. Dhillon concludes by pointing out the obvious fact about real foreign influence on our elections that is being completely ignored by the mainstream media:

If our apathetic citizens continue to turn out at barely 50 percent in off-year elections, the chances of motivated non-citizens having a substantial impact on the outcomes of entry-level political races such as Board of Education, will increase as both politicians and non-citizens see a path forward for real foreign influence in our elections, far more tangible and potent than the specter of Russian bots tweeting propaganda in a social media echo chamber. While we are distracted by such issues at the national level, on the ground, non-Americans are having a growing impact every day at the polls. The Russian bots aren’t voting on the billion-dollar school board governance – but foreign nationals surely are, and the movement is coming to a city near you.

The entire Op-Ed is well worth a read.  Ms. Dhillon will be speaking at theRNLA's National Election Law Seminar on August 3 and 4 in St. Louis, Missouri.  There is still time to register to hear Ms. Dhillon and many other expert speakers.