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What the Senate Should Ask Judge Gorsuch

What the Senate Should Ask Judge Gorsuch

A few good questions could rescue the Supreme Court hearings from the charade they’ve become.

Read more at Politico: What the Senate Should Ask Judge Gorsuch

When Judge Neil Gorsuch faces the Senate Judiciary Committee today, will we see a series of crisp, clear exchanges on the nature of the Constitution, the role of precedent, the limits of presidential power? Or will we see what one legal scholar called “a vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis”?

If the last 30 years are any guide, put your money on the second option.

Read more at Politico: What the Senate Should Ask Judge Gorsuch

Ever since Judge Robert Bork offered the Senate an honest account of his judicial philosophy in 1987 and watched it torpedo his chances, nominees have steadfastly refused to engage on controversial legal issues—insisting that they must avoid prejudging cases by remaining silent about any significant issue that might conceivably come before the court. Those nominees include Elena Kagan, the legal scholar who authored that 1995 jab at the process, and who notably lost her enthusiasm for revealing questions and answers when she was the one being questioned as a nominee.

Read more at Politico: What the Senate Should Ask Judge Gorsuch

Civil Rights and American Government – The Top 12 Highlights of Chapter 16

Civil Rights and American Government – The Top 12 Highlights of Chapter 16

Watch the Top 12 Highlights of Chapter 16. From origins of the Civil Rights movement to anti-discrimination laws and actions today, the Top 12 Highlights from Chapter 16 addresses the issues facing minorities in America today. From the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to the Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, from the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s to the anti-discriminatory lending practices of financial institutions with steering and redlining in America today, we examine the impact American Government has had on providing equity and equality to minorities in the U.S. — and the ongoing struggles today.

Watch the Top 12 Highlights of Chapter 16

CBO: 24 million fewer insured under House bill repealing Obamacare

CBO: 24 million fewer insured under House bill repealing Obamacare

Roughly 24 million more people would be uninsured over a decade if the House Republican Obamacare repeal bill is enacted, according to a much-anticipated Congressional Budget Office analysis that could threaten GOP hopes of getting the measure through the House in the coming weeks.

The legislation would lead to 14 million more people being uninsured in 2018 alone. The nonpartisan scorekeeping office also forecast the GOP plan would cut the deficit by $337 billion over a decade, primarily because of the legislation’s cuts to Medicaid and private insurance subsidies.

Read more at Politico: CBO: 24 million fewer insured under House bill repealing Obamacare

Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD) led Congress in contributions from lobbyists

Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD) led Congress in contributions from lobbyists

Sen. Chris Van Hollen‘s (D-Md.) star has been on the rise in the Democratic party: After seven terms in the House, he won a Senate seat last November, and now occupies a much-coveted spot on the Appropriations committee while also chairing the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the party’s fundraising arm for its Senate candidates.

Read more at Open Secrets: Van Hollen led Congress in contributions from lobbyists – OpenSecrets Blog

A knack for raising money has helped propel Van Hollen’s steady ascent, which in turn has attracted more donors — many of whom are lobbyists. They like him so much that, in the 2016 election cycle, Van Hollen was the top congressional recipient of campaign contributions from federally-registered lobbyists.

In fact, the median member of the 100 congressional candidates who received the most lobbyist money in the 2016 cycle got less than one-seventh of Van Hollen’s haul.

Read more at Open Secrets: Van Hollen led Congress in contributions from lobbyists – OpenSecrets Blog

Read more at Open Secrets: Van Hollen led Congress in contributions from lobbyists – OpenSecrets Blog

Of the top 100 recipients of lobbyist money, 40 were Democrats and 60 were Republicans — but that ratio wasn’t represented among those who received the most cash. Van Hollen raked in the most money from lobbyists in the 2016 cycle, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) was next, but a wide gulf separated him from Van Hollen.

Read more at Open Secrets: Van Hollen led Congress in contributions from lobbyists – OpenSecrets Blog

You have that right! Chapter 15: Civil Liberties and Mr. Rodman’s Top 12 Highlights

You have that right! Chapter 15: Civil Liberties and Mr. Rodman’s Top 12 Highlights

What protected civil liberties do you have? Do you have that right? In chapter 15, we differentiate between civil rights and civil liberties (we cover civil rights in the next chapter, so stay tuned next week!). Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98bHbQnFiSQ&t=7s

In this chapter, we also look at selective incorporation — how the the US Supreme Court applied the Bill of Rights to the states, on a case-by-case, amendment-by-amendment basis. We also discover the difference between the establishment clause and the free exercise clause, the significance of Engel v. Vitale, and the ban of a religious test in Article VI of the US Constitution.

We also look at significant school cases, such as Tinker v. Des Moines (symbolic speech is free speech), Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (administrators can censor student publications), West Virginia Board of Ed. v. Barnette (Jehovah’s Witnesses, or anyone, including teachers, are not required to say the pledge of allegiance), Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut (seizing of private property by the government for public use is constitutional), Miller v. California (community standards of decency establish obscenity laws), the SLAPS test, and Morse v. Frederick (speech endorsing illegal drug use may be prohibited).

We also differentiate between procedural due process and substantive due process, as well as look at search andn seizure rules outlined in the 4th amendment — including cases like Mapp v. Ohio (illegally seized evidence may be excluded from a case and cannot be used in court), Kyllo v. US (thermal imaging of a home without a warrant is a violation of the 4th amendment), Board of Ed. v. Earls (drug test of students for extracurriculars is constitutional), and New Jersey v. TLO (reasonable cause for a students search on a school campus is all that is needed – no warrant).

In the 5th amendment, we address Miranda v. Arizona (you DO have the right to remain silent — and should be made aware of your rights prior to police questioning). In the 6th amendment we address the right to counsel in Gideon v. Wainwright, and in the 8th amendment we see the Court (SCOTUS) has ruled the death penalty as constitutional and not cruel and usual punishment. It’s a LOT of great content in this chapter, so please check it out!

Good luck! Live the 5! – Mr. R.

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98bHbQnFiSQ&t=7s

WaPo: In the Trump administration, it’s always ‘A Day Without a Woman’

WaPo: In the Trump administration, it’s always ‘A Day Without a Woman’

(OPINION) — By Dana Milbank — Let’s hope there’s generous funding in Republicans’ new health-care bill to prevent and cure tone-deafness. Wednesday was International Women’s Day, and to observe this annual commemoration House Republicans formally took up their legislation defunding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of health services for women.

Read more at The Washington Post: Opinion | In the Trump administration, it’s always ‘A Day Without a Woman’

House Speaker Paul Ryan, at a news conference Wednesday morning, boasted about ending the funding of Planned Parenthood, listing it as one of the things “we’ve been dreaming about doing.” And what better time to make this dream come true than on International Women’s Day, on the eighth day of Women’s History Month?

Read more at The Washington Post: Opinion | In the Trump administration, it’s always ‘A Day Without a Woman’

Speaker Ryan issues Namath-like ‘guarantee’ on Obamacare repeal (Legislative process)

Speaker Ryan issues Namath-like ‘guarantee’ on Obamacare repeal (Legislative process)

“We’ll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor,” Ryan pledges.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday he can “guarantee” the GOP’s Obamacare alternative bill will get the 218 votes needed to pass the House.

“We will have 218 votes,” he said. “This is the beginning of the legislative process. We’ll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor. I can guarantee you that.”

Read more at Politico: Ryan issues Namath-like ‘guarantee’ on Obamacare repeal

Ryan said the health care reform legislation would go through the committee process, instead of forcing it on “an unsuspecting country,” which he accused the Democrats of doing with the Affordable Care Act.

“I believe in regular order,” he said. “I believe in going through the process the way it was meant to go through.”

Read more at Politico: Ryan issues Namath-like ‘guarantee’ on Obamacare repeal

Hillary coming to terms with her new life

Hillary coming to terms with her new life

“She’s in a much better place than she was in two months ago,” said one confidant.

For months, in private conversations, Clinton has griped about Trump’s connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin and suggested that no one seemed to care about it during the election.

At a gathering with donors in December, she was blunt. “Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people … that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election,” Clinton said, according to audio obtained by the New York Times.

Read more at The Hill: Hillary coming to terms with her new life

Months later, the former secretary of State is still plotting her next moves. It’s unclear if she will continue the work she started at the Clinton Foundation prior to launching her presidential campaign or if she’ll take on other work, those around her say. And while some have suggested a run for mayor of New York is possible, those close to her say she isn’t interested.

In the meantime, she has made several appearances on the speaking circuit, including one this week at Wellesley College, her alma mater.

Read more at The Hill: Hillary coming to terms with her new life

And even all these months later, she can’t escape questions about what went wrong.

Asked at Wellesley what she’d change about her campaign, Clinton replied: “I’d win.”

Read more at The Hill: Hillary coming to terms with her new life

Revised executive order bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas (Executive Orders)

Revised executive order bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas (Executive Orders)

President Trump signed a new travel ban Monday that administration officials said they hope will end legal challenges over the matter by imposing a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations, authorities said.

In addition, the nation’s refu­gee program will be suspended for 120 days, and it will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.

Trump signed the new ban out of public view, according to White House officials. The order will not take effect until March 16, officials said.

Read more at The Washington Post: Revised executive order bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas

Knives are out for Reince Priebus (White House Chief of Staff)

Knives are out for Reince Priebus (White House Chief of Staff)

Trump’s chief of staff is becoming a singular target of criticism as persistent controversies plague the presidency.

With the White House struggling to gain its footing almost two months into Donald Trump’s presidency, administration officials are increasingly putting the blame on one person: Reince Priebus.

Read more at Politico: Knives are out for Reince

In interviews, over a dozen Trump aides, allies, and others close to the White House said that Priebus, the 44-year-old chief of staff, was becoming a singular target of criticism within the White House.

They described a micro-manager who sprints from one West Wing meeting to another, inserting himself into conversations big and small and leaving many staffers feeling as if he’s trying to block their access to Trump. They vented about his determination to fill the administration with his political allies. And they expressed alarm at what they say are directionless morning staff meetings Priebus oversees that could otherwise be used to rigorously set the day’s agenda and counterbalance the president’s own unpredictability.

Read more at Politico: Knives are out for Reince

The finger-pointing further complicates life in an already turmoil-filled West Wing, one that has been hobbled by dueling power centers and unclear lines of command.

“There’s a real frustration among many — including from the president — that things aren’t going as smoothly as one had hoped,” said one senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “Reince, fairly or not, is likely to take the blame and take the fault for that.”

Read more at Politico: Knives are out for Reince

Lawmakers stunned, baffled by Trump’s wiretap allegations

Lawmakers stunned, baffled by Trump’s wiretap allegations

The White House, meanwhile, is pushing for a probe of the Obama administration.

Congressional Republicans were flummoxed Sunday by President Donald Trump’s and his White House’s continued assertions — provided without evidence — that President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A day after Trump made the charge, Hill Republicans were largely mute, and those who spoke out were perplexed at the source of Trump’s information, which the White House has yet to disclose.

 Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday he had seen “no evidence” to back up Trump’s wiretap claims. Rubio is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Trump’s ties to Russia and has received classified briefings on the issue.

Source: Lawmakers stunned, baffled by Trump’s wiretap allegations

AG Sessions recuses himself from Trump-Russia probe

AG Sessions recuses himself from Trump-Russia probe

The attorney general is removing himself following reports he met twice with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he will recuse himself from any investigations related to campaigns for president, including any probe into contacts between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

“I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign,” Sessions told reporters Thursday at a news conference at the Justice Department.

Sessions, who maintained support from Trump himself, said he consulted senior Justice Department staff for their “candid and honest opinion about what I should do.”

“My staff recommended recusal,” he said. “They said that since I had involvement with the campaign, I should not be involved in any campaign investigation. I have studied the rules and considered their comments and evaluation. I believe those recommendations are right and just.”

Read more at Politico: Sessions recuses himself from Trump-Russia probe

Trump tries on normal

Trump tries on normal

Sticking to the teleprompter, he embraces a more polished and traditionally presidential tone.

President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress was remarkable for how unremarkable it was.

Stately, scripted and subdued, Trump delivered perhaps the most traditional speech of his political career on Tuesday night. Sounding much like so many of the other presidents who have preceded him, he drew on history and the personal narratives of his hand-selected guests as he recited a prosaic laundry list of policy proposals, interrupted with spurts of soaring rhetoric and paeans to American exceptionalism.

Read more at Politico: Trump tries on normal

Democratic FEC commissioner resigns, appeals to POTUS

Democratic FEC commissioner resigns, appeals to POTUS

Ann Ravel, a Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission, submitted her resignation letter to President Donald Trump on Sunday with a plea to embrace campaign finance reform.

Ravel’s last day will be March 1.

In her letter, which she posted on Medium, Ravel blasted the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which she said has made political campaigns “awash in unlimited, often dark, money.” She also noted Trump had criticized the role of money in politics during his campaign, including the influence of wealthy donors and rise of powerful super PACs. And she urged him to prioritize campaign finance reform.

Read more at Politico: Democratic FEC commissioner resigns – POLITICO

Four weeks into his presidency, Trump returns to campaign mode

Four weeks into his presidency, Trump returns to campaign mode

The president used an adoring crowd in an airport hangar to project his strength after a rocky first month in the White House.

President Donald Trump’s rally here on Saturday featured all the classic signatures of his campaign: boasts about his poll numbers and magazine appearances, grandiose promises of quick action, protesters lining the streets, stinging attacks on the media, false statements and a large, roaring and adoring crowd that loved every minute.

It was a raucous campaign appearance — light on specifics and heavy on braggadocio — just four weeks after he was inaugurated and almost four years before he faces reelection.

Read more at Politico: Four weeks into his presidency, Trump returns to campaign mode

Who Told Flynn to Call Russia?

Who Told Flynn to Call Russia?

Let’s stop focusing on the resignation, and start focusing on the real issue here: The mystery of Trump’s Russia ties.

Hours after national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned amid reports that he misled top officials about his pre-inauguration talks with the Russian ambassador, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to encourage everyone to move on. “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” he tweeted out Tuesday morning.

In a sense, Trump is right: The real story is not Flynn. But it isn’t government leaks, either. No, the “real story here” is Trump himself—and the continuing mystery of his ties to Russia.

Read more at Politico: Who Told Flynn to Call Russia?

As official Washington and the press home in on the permanent disarray in the White House, whether the disgraced Flynn broke the law and who will succeed him after his three-week tenure, the key question is getting lost in the shuffle: Who told Flynn to call Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States? Because I’m convinced Flynn didn’t do it of his own accord. Flynn is a bit player in a much larger story regarding the president’s relationship with the Kremlin, and it’s this story the press needs to focus on.

Read more at Politico: Who Told Flynn to Call Russia?