Wendy Long

GOP NY Senate Candidate Speaks To Militant Oath Keepers Group

Wendy Long, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in New York, spoke on Saturday to the state chapter of Oath Keepers, a radical anti-government group whose founder has called for the execution of Republican Sen. John McCain.

At the New York Oath Keepers event, Long thanked Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes “for founding this whole organization” and appealed to her audience by declaring that Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democrat whom she is hoping to unseat, is “one of the greatest enemies of the Constitution.”

“I am running against one of the greatest enemies of the Constitution, Chuck Schumer, in the United States Senate,” she said. “He’s an enemy not only of the Second Amendment — which, you know, everyone knows he’s the face of the anti-Second Amendment movement, which, by the way, is in great peril.”

Mentioning the recent Ninth Circuit ruling on concealed firearms, Long said, “The Second Amendment’s in great danger, as is the rest of the Constitution, as you all know.”

As it happens, Schumer was named at the event as one of the group’s “dirty dozen” of “great Marxist traitors in America.”

Long is the former leader of the Judicial Confirmation Network, a right-wing advocacy group that pushed for the confirmation of conservative judicial nominees during the Bush administration. The group is now called the Judicial Crisis Network and is leading the effort to obstruct President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center has explained, the “core idea” of the Oath Keepers “is that its members vow to forever support the oaths they took on joining law enforcement or the military to defend the Constitution.” But the reality of the organization is a constant stream of conspiracy theories feeding the idea that the federal government is out to get ordinary citizens and can only be stopped by armed Oath Keepers who answer directly the Constitution (or their interpretation of it).

As we wrote last month, “Rhodes, the group’s founder, regularly turns to the far-right media to promote conspiracy theories about a coming civil war in which the federal government will use some combination of race war, Jade Helm 15, gun laws, Ebola ,death campsBlack Lives Matter and radical Islamists to subdue an unarmed and unprepared population.”

The Oath Keepers were a major player in the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014, which Rhodes said afterward nearly “kicked off a civil war” between armed militias and the federal government. Last year, Rhodes said at an event in Arizona that McCain should be tried for treason and “hung by the neck until dead” for going “along with the program of the destruction of this country.”

Also speaking at the New York event was Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, a rising star in the conservative media, who accepted a Leadership Award from the group. Clarke, seemingly taking a page from Donald Trump, began his speech with several minutes of haranguing the media in attendance, to the delight of his audience, before saying that he would do “everything I can” to get Trump elected. He slammed Black Lives Matter as a “hate group” while comparing groups like the Oath Keepers to the Founding Fathers: “The Founding Fathers of this great nation were also once dubbed as a dangerous ‘Patriot group’ by the crown after they declared their independence.”

Rhodes also spoke, repeating his frequent warning that America is being “divided and conquered on racial lines” in a deliberate liberal attempt to undermine the country. John Faso, a former state assembly minority leader who is now running for a U.S. House seat, also spoke to the group.

JCN Cries Crocodile Tears For Senate Bipartisanship

After President Obama was elected, the right-wing Judicial Confirmation Network changed its name to the Judicial Crisis Network and altered its mission from “working to ensure a fair appointment process of highly qualified judges and justices” to blocking anyone Obama appoints to the bench.

The group’s name and mission statement aren’t the only things to have changed under a Democratic president. JCN’s chief counsel Carrie Severino appeared last week on Sandy Rios In The Morning to decry the Senate’s recent move to modify the filibuster to allow a simple majority to end debate on most nominees – a rules change that the JCN once said it supported “regardless of what party’s in power.”

“The 60 vote majority is there because we need to have both parties working together,” Severino said. “You don’t want to do things by a bare majority vote all the time, and it is actually a benefit to get something that has a larger consensus. I don’t know if Thomas Jefferson initiated it but I wouldn’t be surprised because those kinds of consensuses things that our founders thought were important.”

But during the Bush era Severino’s predecessor, Wendy Long, now a Republican politician, said in 2006 that finding a “consensus” over judicial nominees is “not the right thing to do”:

Seeking a 'consensus' candidate is not the right thing to do. It is not what the Constitution contemplates, in our system built on the consent of the governed. Majorities didn't elect George W. Bush and 55 Republican Senators to do that. For the President to choose a Justice on this basis would retroactively disenfranchise the voters in these elections. The people elected the President so that he would exercise his own judgment according to the criteria he stated in two elections. By definition, those will never be 'consensus' nominees. Justices Ginsburg and Breyer were not 'consensus' nominees, nor should any Republican nominees be — particularly when Republicans control the Senate, for heaven's sake.

But the real issue with Severino’s claim is that Senate Republicans didn’t block Obama’s three picks for the DC Circuit Court because they weren’t “consensus” candidates. Rather, GOP leaders explicitly said they would oppose any person President Obama nominated to the court — a position that they took before even knowing who the nominees would be.

Plus, Republicans’ unprecedented obstructionism — cheered on by the JCN — makes it hard to believe that they were merely hoping for “both parties to work together” to find a “consensus” as Severino maintains.

JCN's Wendy Long Resurfaces in Run for Senate

Once upon a time, there was a right-wing group called The Judicial Confirmation Network that was created "to ensure that the confirmation process for all judicial nominees is fair and that every nominee sent to the full Senate receives an up or down vote." 

Such a mission made sense back during the George W. Bush administration, when the group was founded ... but didn't work so well when Barack Obama was elected and suddenly the organization was fighting to ensure that his nominees didn't get confirmed.

Eventually, the JCN realized that it couldn't keep calling itself the Judicial Confirmation Network if it was actively working to prevent the confirmation of judges, so the name was changed to the Judicial Crisis Network and the group likewise wrote up a new mission statement.

Eventually, the original founders left, with Executive Director Gary Marx signing on with Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition and Chief Counsel Wendy Long stepping down in order to "devote her time to her family and other causes."

Among those "other causes" to which Long is dedicating herself is a run for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in November.

Last month, Long won the endorsement of the Conservative Party of New York State and today secured the endorsement of the anti-abortion zealots over at the Susan B. Anthony List:

The Susan B. Anthony List, the influential pro-life organization, offered an early and enthusiastic endorsement for Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long this morning.

“There could not be a more clear contrast between longtime pro-life leader Wendy Long and EMILY’s List poster child Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group's president, in a statement ... “From her days as a Hill staffer to her time at Americans United for Life and her work on behalf of Supreme Court Justices who practice judicial restraint, Wendy has constantly been engaged in the fight for adherence to the Constitution and the right to Life laid out in the Declaration of Independence,” Dannenfelser said in the statement. “We look forward to having her back on Capitol Hill and adding to the number of pro-life women in the Senate.”

...

In her statement, Dannenfelser echoed Long's earlier criticism of Gillibrand for accusing Republicans of waging a "war on women."

“Wendy understands that the only ‘war on women’ is the one being waged against women of faith and conscience by the Obama administration and their allies in Congress and the abortion lobby. She has boldly called on Senator Gillibrand to end the assault on Life, conscience, and religious liberty.”

Themes from the Right -- Nomination Day

Right-wing political and legal groups and pundits responded to President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court by cranking up their well-funded attack machine, following their pre-fab attack script (they have been attacking her for months as a potential nominee), launching ads against her confirmation, and threatening to use the nomination as a political bludgeon against Democrats from more conservative states.

Right Wing Follows Deceptive Script On Supreme Court

A day after news of Justice Souter's planned resignation broke in the news, "dozens" of right-wing leaders representing more than 60 groups got together for a strategy call organized in part by the Judicial Confirmation Network to get everyone fired up and on message. All you need to know about the credibility of this campaign's leaders, and the credibility of their evaluations of potential nominees, is contained in this one sentence from the Judicial Confirmation Network's Wendy Long: "The current Supreme Court is a liberal, judicial activist court."
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