Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 4)

The (alleged) Oppostion Research on Donald Trump

“One thing is clear about Donald Trump, there is only one person he has ever looked out for and that’s himself. Whether it’s American workers, the Republican Party, or his wives, Trump’s only fidelity has been to himself and with that he has shown that he has no problem lying to the American people. Trump will say anything and do anything to get what he wants without regard for those he harms.”

5th District Democrats officially pick Jane Dittmar

Jane Dittmar officially received the Democratic nod for the 5th Congressional District nomination Saturday at the district convention in Nelson County.

Dittmar, a former Albemarle County supervisor and professional mediator, plans to build her campaign on an economic message, including introducing a jobs plan.”

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PERSPECTIVE: Judge Garland deserves a hearing

By Mike McClary

Judge Merrick GarlandThe president of the United States has performed his Constitutional duty, under Article II, Section 2, to nominate a replacement, Judge Merrick Garland, to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Now, it is the duty of the president to appoint Judge Merrick to the Supreme Court, “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.”

Senators don’t have to approve the nomination, but they shouldn’t draw salaries for doing nothing. The Majority Leader, Senator Do-Nothing Mitch McConnell, only “speaks” for 54 Republicans, not for every senator, but so far, he has refused to allow the Senate to act.

The cases that come before the Supreme Court are as wide and varied as our people and say volumes about our ideals over the past two centuries. March 1857’s Dred Scott decision ruled that Americans of African descent, whether free or slave, were not American citizens and could not sue in federal court. The Court also ruled that Congress lacked power to ban slavery in the U.S. territories. Finally, the Court declared that the rights of slave owners were constitutionally protected by the Fifth Amendment because slaves were categorized as property.

It was not a stellar moment in American history.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, almost 100 years later in Brown v. the Board of Education, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark unanimous decision declaring state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. The court stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,” and as a result de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Cases that come to the Supreme Court often have high stakes and are not without controversy: Roe vs. Wade, marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act, personal ownership of handguns, eminent domain, to name just a few instances. We all know that various groups feel passionately about these important issues. There are a number of very important and controversial cases now before the court that are of particular interest to Virginians: Republican gerrymandering of Congressional districts, and “prison or not” for former Governor Bob McDonnell, to name just two. If the court splits four-to-four, the lower court rulings will stand – McDonnell will go to jail and we’ll all be voting in redrawn districts in November. Apparently, throwing the former governor under the bus is a small price to pay for blocking the president’s nomination.

The current controversy, ignited unnecessarily by McConnell before Scalia’s body was even cold, seeks to preserve the previous conservative advantage on the court by denying the president the opportunity to appoint his own nominee, with the hope that a conservative will win the presidency in November and nominate somebody like Scalia to fill his vacancy. The first part of McConnell’s strategy, to deter through political bombast the president from even making a nomination, has already failed.

Despite his continued posturing, there appear to be cracks in the wall of opposition (the second part of McConnell’s strategy) to even giving the nominee a hearing, as several Republican Senators have indicated a willingness to talk with Judge Garland.

Everyone agrees that Garland is eminently qualified, though the Freedom Caucus would rather have a nominee to the right of Attila the Hun, and progressive Democrats would rather have a nominee far to the left of Teddy Kennedy. Incredibly, McConnell recently expressed his opinion that any nominee would have to win the approval of the National Rifle Association. Really? Really?

Bloomberg Politics reports that the Republican blockade “isn’t about Garland, or even really their newly invented talking point that the public should get a chance to weigh in in November. It’s about the balance of power at the court. They don’t want to let it swing from a majority of Republican-nominated justices to a majority of Democrat-nominated justices for the first time in decades if they can do anything to stop it.

In fact, the voters have already spoken, by reelecting the president to a second term that does not end until Jan. 20, 2017. McConnell’s desire to reverse the 2012 election or shorten the president’s term is pure House of Cards political fantasy. He is trying to gamble with America’s future. Several polls have shown that the American people do not want the Supreme Court to remain toothless for the next several months.

McConnell’s strategy may backfire. If he continues his practice of obnoxious obstructionism, strident partisanship, and mindlessly blocking every single thing the President proposes, including this nomination, it could likely result in an electorate that grows tired of the Ship of State not only being dead in the water, but in danger of sinking during the next eight months. It would serve the Republican Party right to lose, not only the presidency, but their majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. Enough, indeed, is enough.

Editorial: Don’t fire Justice Roush

Editorial: Don’t fire Justice Roush

Judge Jane Roush

By Virginia Lawyers Weekly

Last week’s front page reported that Gov. Terry McAuliffe had tapped Fairfax Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush to fill a seat on the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The choice of Roush was widely applauded. She had become the go-to judge for the Supreme Court to handle tough assignments by designation when other jurists had conflicts. Some of the cases, including the Beltway Sniper prosecution and the complicated Kyanite mining case, were high profile. By all accounts, Roush handled those assignments with grace and excellent judgment.

The Fairfax delegation, both Republicans and Democrats, strongly and vocally backed her for the high court opening created by the retirement of Justice LeRoy F. Millette Jr. After the governor called, Roush quit the circuit judgeship she had held for 22 years and prepared for the new opportunity.

This week’s front page reports that Republican leaders in the General Assembly have announced that they plan instead to select Court of Appeals Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. to fill Millette’s seat when the legislature convenes in special session later this month.

Did Roush fail a background check? Was she caught doing something illegal or immoral during her first week on the court? Have her 22 years on the Fairfax bench been a carefully calculated ruse?

No, Republican leaders say the governor didn’t consult them on the appointment. They apparently want to teach him a lesson, using a highly respected judge as a bludgeon.

Set aside for a minute your incredulity: You mean McAuliffe didn’t consult them and make sure his pick would get through? And you mean the Republican leaders would be that petty?

Apparently not and apparently so. The #GOP leadership inexplicably seems willing to make Roush collateral damage in their effort to embarrass McAuliffe and teach him a lesson.

But even if the governor failed to practice basic politics before the appointment, it’s just wrong to dump Roush at this point.

The Republican leaders, from House Speaker Bill Howell to Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, have no objections to Roush or her qualifications. In fact, they acknowledge her accomplishments. They simply seek to punish McAuliffe.

To say this act of pettiness is unprecedented is an understatement. The General Assembly has rejected interim judicial appointments by a governor maybe two or three times ever; the last time it happened at the high court level was in 1901.

The GOP leadership needs to think about the impact of their threatened move on the future of the process. The Republicans won’t run the General Assembly forever; there will be a time when a revenge payback will take out a highly qualified candidate backed by the GOP.

This dustup involves one of only seven seats on the highest court in the commonwealth. Does the GOP leadership think this unseemly dance will somehow increase respect for the law and the judicial system?

Roush has built a stellar judicial career after leaving a nice, no doubt well-paying, job at Hogan & Hartson in 1993 to join the Fairfax bench. If the GOP leadership follows through with their stated plan, Roush will be unemployed. Her gig in Fairfax is over.

She could hang out a shingle or take a spot at a mediation company. At 58, she is too young simply to retire, and she has too much to offer to the commonwealth.

And what of Judge Alston? He too has built a fine judicial career as a member of the Prince William circuit bench, then the appeals court. Does he want to go on the high court and hold a seat that will be a lasting example of petty politics?

Here is a simple plea to the Republican leadership in the General Assembly: You’ve made your point. The governor no doubt gets it by now. Don’t let your pique at McAuliffe end the judicial career of an excellent jurist. Don’t let the commonwealth’s highest court become a repository for the basest of politics.

Don’t fire Justice Jane Marum Roush.

Office of Governor Terence R. McAuliffe
Press Special Assistant

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