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When politicians judge jurists
by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
 The Misplaced Compassion of 'Sanctuary Cities' 
Once again the Left's engagement in fantasy instead of fact leaves rationale people shaking their heads in utter disbelief. A mere four days after two illegal alien young men were arrested for brutally raping a 14-year-old girl in a high school bathroom in Rockville, Maryland, the state legislature passed a bill declaring Maryland to be a "sanctuary state" affording illegal aliens more protections from deportation. Maryland's Republican governor Larry Hogan, who promised to veto the bill, angrily responded to the crime and called for Montgomery County to "immediately and fully cooperate with all federal authorities" as they investigate the "heinous crime."
          To add insult to injury, it has been learned that one of the illegals had been previously detained in Texas for illegally entering the country, but was subsequently released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Obviously he should never have been released.
          This past Monday, the Department of Homeland Security released a list, which is by no means exhaustive, of "jurisdictions that have enacted polices which limit cooperation with ICE." A majority of the jurisdictions were located in Texas, but not surprisingly Montgomery County, Maryland, was also included on the list. Donald Trump has been working to expose just how big the problem of lawless local governments aiding and abetting of illegal aliens has become.
          Denying the growing illegal alien crime epidemic will only create more suffering for law-abiding citizens. Lawlessness unchecked leads only to greater and more severe criminal acts, as the Rockville rape case attests. The great fallacy preached by many on the Left is the insistence that to be the truly compassionate one must ignore "lower-level" lawlessness. The assumption being that a nation committed to the Rule of Law is inherently socially unjust.
          Leftists continue to double down and ignore the genuine plight of the innocent victims who have been begging for protection and the enforcement of the law. Where is that great "compassion" from the Left for law-abiding American citizens? 
~The Patriot Post
Democratic Lawmaker Wants to
Fine People For Not Voting
by Jack Heretik  
{} ~ Democratic assemblywoman Deborah Glick of the New York State Assembly has introduced legislation that would fine people who do not vote, and has been promptly criticized on the constitutionality of the measure... Glick's legislation proposes a $10 fine for those who fail to vote without providing a "valid excuse," but she does not specify what a valid excuse would be, the New York Daily News reports. Glick also wrote a memo claiming the bill's intention is to increase voter turnout and force elected officials to better represent their constituents...This is bull. How about finding voter fraud.
The Delusion of the Iran Nuclear Deal
by Mark Dubowitz
{} ~ President Donald Trump promised to rigorously and radically enforce the Iran nuclear agreement, which he called “the worst deal ever negotiated.” It sounds tough, but it’s an approach that plays into the hands of the Iranian mullahs... The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action presents the Trump administration with a bedeviling paradox: The greater the focus on enforcement, the higher the likelihood Iran will emerge with nuclear weapons. The nuclear deal contains limited, temporary and reversible constraints that disappear over time. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog tasked with monitoring the deal, may be able to detect Iranian violations. But Iran doesn’t need to cheat. In fact, it has every incentive not to do so...
In Venezuela’s Toxic Brew, Failed Narco-State
Meets Iran-Backed Terrorism
by John Hannah and Emanuele Ottolenghi
{} ~ As if the political and economic chaos wracking Venezuela wasn’t worrying enough, a couple of recent stories underscore the potential national security threat brewing there... First, last month’s designation of Venezuela’s vice president, Tareck El Aissami, as a drug kingpin by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Second, a CNN investigative report revealing that Venezuela’s embassy in Iraq was allegedly selling Venezuelan passports and identity documents to Middle Eastern nationals — raising the disturbing prospect that Caracas is facilitating the entry of Islamist militants to Latin America. Indeed, the CNN report echoed revelations from 2013 that the Venezuelan embassy in Syria was issuing passports to terrorists under the direction of Ghazi Atef Nassereddine, a Treasury-sanctioned, FBI-wanted Venezuelan diplomat who happens to be a key Hezbollah operative. Put all this together and what do you get? A rabidly anti-American failed state that appears to be incubating the convergence of narco-trafficking and jihadism in America’s own backyard...
Will the West Please Stop Siding with Criminals?

 by Khadija Khan
{} ~ The growth in systematic abuse of women, especially by Islamists in the West, requires democratic governments to introduce strong measures to stop this abuse... before abusive mullahs start harassing women of all faiths, to force them to submit to their wishes. The recent threats and harassment of a British "Hijabi girl" by Islamists in Birmingham, England, merely for a video showing her dance, have re-exposed the ugly face of this autocratic mindset that owes its existence to extremist states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Enslaving women in general and inflicting repressive agendas -- such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, segregation, allowing no say in choosing a partner, education or profession, with abysmal living standards often part of the abuse -- is just a small measure of the jihad that the Islamists have managed to unleash across the globe...
Is This What Nunes Uncovered...?
by Rick Wells
{} ~ There’s been a lot of interest generated by the decision of Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep Devin Nunes, to pursue the path he did with information he was provided  about deep state surveillance of American citizens... The Congressman confirms that the liar-nObama regime spied on members of the Trump administration and transition team and revealed their names in violation of masking requirements. As Nunes pointed out in his news conference, it is important to remember that most of the illegal spying occurred, “from what I’ve seen, in November, December and January, during the transition.” That was after the election and at a time when Trump was the President-elect. He also notes, “I have learned that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked” and affirmed that “none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or activities of the Trump team.” Whatever Rep Nunes learned from his anonymous source was deeply disturbing. He said in his press briefing that he was “actually alarmed” because they “went through this about a year and a half ago as it related to members of Congress. Is it once again happening to members of Congress if they happen to be involved with the Trump camp or part of the Trump transition? Is history repeating itself with US intelligence agencies such as the CIA or the investigators of the FBI again abusing their authority?...
When politicians judge jurists
by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
{} ~ I have spent this past week watching the Senate Judiciary Committee interrogating U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch. Judge Gorsuch is President Donald Trump's nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. The vacancy was created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than 13 months ago. The Supreme Court is currently generally divided between four liberals and four conservatives. As a justice, Gorsuch would probably break many ideological ties.

During the hearings, Republican senators are doing their best to associate Judge Gorsuch with the popular-in-death Justice Scalia, and Democratic senators are doing their best to try to pin down Gorsuch by making him commit publicly to positions on hot-button issues, such as abortion, gun rights and the use of unrestricted money in political campaigns. Gorsuch has accepted the Republican sobriquets and declined to answer Democratic inquiries with specificity. So, are the hearings of any real value?

Here is the back story.

Prior to the partisan efforts to block the nominations of the late Judge Robert Bork and now-Justice Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, the Senate's "advice and consent" role was mainly limited to a cursory examination of a nominee's qualifications for office. The Bork hearings succeeded in derailing his nomination by portraying his philosophical views as outside the mainstream of legal thought. The Thomas hearings, which failed to block the nomination, centered on the nominee's alleged personal shortcomings, which were directly challenged and mainly refuted.

My point here is that since these two hearings in 1987 and 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee has felt unleashed to probe and prod into any area it sees fit, and the nominees have become unleashed to answer only the questions that they think will advance their nominations.

In the Gorsuch hearings this week, the nominee has argued that should he commit to certain positions on issues, it would not be fair to litigants who might come before him as a circuit judge if his nomination were not to be confirmed or before him in the Supreme Court if it were, as those litigants would have a proper belief that he prejudged their cases. "It would be grossly improper," he argued, for him to commit in advance to how he'd vote on any issue. He's correct.

So, what questions could both Democrats and Republicans put to him and what questions could he answer that would inform their judgment and illuminate his thinking without committing his judgment?

It should come as no surprise that Gorsuch is a traditionalist. The folks who offered his candidacy to the president — and I played a small role in that process — spent weeks examining all his public writings, as well as his speeches and lectures, so as to enable them to conclude safely that his 10-year track record as an appellate judge could fairly be a barometer of his likely behavior as a Supreme Court justice. In the process of that examination, the researchers found many similarities in ideas, tone, attitudes and word choice to Justice Scalia.

The essence of that similarity is an idea called originalism. Though there are many variants of originalism, it generally advances the idea that the meaning of the Constitution was fixed at the time it was ratified and therefore its words mean the same today as they did to those who ratified it; and the same is the case for its 27 amendments.

This fidelity to original public understanding drives judges to the text of the Constitution and the laws — not the principles that underlie the text, not the politics that produced the text, not the social ills the text seeks to cure but the words chosen by the drafters of the Constitution or of a statute, as the case may be. This is not just an obscure academic argument. Originalism, if followed religiously, leaves judges and justices to the narrow role of interpreting the plain text of the Constitution or laws as they were understood when enacted, irrespective of the consequences.

Originalists believe that social progress and new legal structures should come about by the acts of Congress and the president, who are elected for that purpose, rather than by the rulings of unelected, unaccountable judges. If every judge were an originalist, the effect would be that much wonderful social progress in human affairs that could come about through the decisions of courageous jurists — such as public school desegregation and personal privacy and mobility in years past — might not come about.

Yet originalists argue that federal jurists are the least equipped to advance social progress; they are often old, are never elected and have no accountability to the public.

Thus, it is on this philosophical fulcrum, more than on any other, that senators should examine Judge Gorsuch's thinking. In this context, they can also ask him whether our rights come from the government or from our humanity. They can ask how he views fundamental liberties. Can the court pick and choose which rights are highly protected from government interference and thus are difficult for the government to regulate and which are not? If privacy and travel — neither of which is mentioned by name in the Constitution — are fundamental liberties, why isn't freedom of contract, which is mentioned by name?

On these issues alone — originalism and fundamental liberties — the senators could find from his answers a blueprint to his thinking, and Judge Gorsuch could reply in meaningful ways without prejudging any cases.

But the Senate is a political body, and its members are politicians. One of the reasons Justice Scalia gave for rejecting as an interpretive tool the statements made by members of Congress when they passed any legislation under scrutiny is the truism that politicians have only one goal in their work, no matter what they are saying — to get re-elected. The senators examining Judge Gorsuch are probably more concerned with that than with doing the right thing for the court. I hope that in this respect, I am wrong, as I have been before.
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