Ponnuru Uses Discredited Arguments on DC Circuit

For one of the newest entries in the Republican spin war on the D.C. Circuit, check out conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru's column in Bloomberg yesterday. The title alone – Republicans Shouldn't Let Obama Pack the Courts – tells you something important: A column that calls the simple act of nominating people to fill existing judicial vacancies "packing the courts" should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

As just about everyone has pointed out, "court-packing" refers to the FDR scheme to add seats to the Supreme Court in order to achieve desired rulings. Filling existing vacancies is run-of-the-mill constitutional procedure. The closest we've seen to court-packing in a long time isn't President Obama's nominating three qualified nominees to the D.C. Circuit, but the Republican Party's scheme to strip multiple judgeships from that court in order to maintain its current far-right tilt.

Ponnuru also writes that:

Starting in 2003, the Democratic minority embarked on an unprecedented series of filibusters to stop President George W. Bush's appointments to appeals courts. Back then, Republicans said there was a crisis of judicial vacancies needing to be filled. Democrats replied that the courts, especially the D.C. Circuit, were underworked and that the Republicans were trying to pack the courts with like-minded judges. Now the sides are reversed, and so are the talking points

In fact, the situations are hardly similar. Democratic filibusters of a few Bush-43 nominees were all based on their records. Whether it was Janice Rogers Brown, Brett Kavanaugh, or Miguel Estrada, the conversations during committee hearings and floor debates were about their records, not whether President Bush had a right to nominate anyone at all to the court. In contrast, Republicans signaled their intent to block President Obama's three nominees even before knowing who they would be.

Ponnuru writes that the D.C. Circuit has less work than it did when Bush's nominees were confirmed. In fact, Tenth Circuit Judge Timothy Tymkovich – the conservative, Bush-43-nominated jurist who is the chair of the Judicial Conference's Committee on Judicial Resources – testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee just a few weeks ago that this simply is not true. But even if you used the definition of caseload that Ponnuru's statement is based on (raw case filings without regard to the complexity of the cases), it still serves only to highlight GOP hypocrisy on the issue: As we have pointed out before, President Bush and Senate Republicans worked to fill these same seats in 2003 when the number of case filings was less than it is today.

Ponnuru also mischaracterizes an anonymous letter Senator Grassley claims to have received from a D.C. Circuit judge, suggesting that the letter somehow supports the notion that the current judgeships should not be filled.

First, legislators shouldn't be basing their decisions on edited comments from anonymous sources that are not even entered into the formal record or made available for public inspection and questions from senators. Secondly, it's clear from Grassley's rendition of the letter that it was talking about creating new judgeships, not filling existing vacancies. Here's what Sen. Grassley has said the anonymous judge wrote:

I do not believe the current caseload of the D.C. Circuit or, for that matter, the anticipated caseload in the near future, merits additional judgeships at this time. . . . If any more judges were added now, there wouldn't be enough work to go around. [emphasis added]

Since no one is talking about adding new judgeships to the D.C. Circuit, the quote has nothing to do with the situation before us.

Ponnuru also says that the court is actually balanced between Democratic and Republican appointees. While that is true for active judges, five of the court's six senior judges are Republican appointees. These senior judges sit on the three-judge panels that do most of the court's work, and they maintain a strong influence over the court. So when you draw a three-judge panel, there is a high likelihood that it will have a conservative majority, because Republican nominees outnumber Democratic ones 9-5, a nearly 2-1 ratio. Senate Republicans like those numbers and would like to keep them that way.

But there is a bigger picture: Even if everything that Ponnuru said was accurate, Congress has by law has established the D.C. Circuit as a court with eleven active judgeships. Senate Republicans don't like that, so they are using obstruction to make it de facto an eight-judge court. There are proper, constitutionally mandated ways of changing the law: Get Congress to pass a bill and the president to sign it. Nullifying and rewriting the current law through obstruction is not what the Founders had in mind, and it would make a lousy Schoolhouse Rock bit.

Cross-posted from PFAW.

Robertson: Ask Your Gay Son If His Coach Molested Him

Televangelist Pat Robertson today told a parent who asked him how to talk to her gay son “to be understanding,” but also to ask her son if he was molested by his coach. “Is there a biological thing going on or has he been influenced, has a coach molested him?” Robertson asked, a comment based on the anti-gay myth that children are “recruited” into homosexuality.

“They don’t know what they’re doing, they’re teenagers,” Robertson said of gay youth.

Erik Rush Wonders If Obama Is In A Satanic Cult

Conservative columnist Erik Rush believes that celebrities such as Jay-Z and Beyoncé are part of a “little know satanic cult group” and therefore, President Obama might be involved in Satan-worship too.

“Other than Obama himself being manifestly evil and a supporter of Muslim Brotherhood killers,” Rush writes. “I have it on very good authority that satanic worship has gone on quite close to the sphere of this White House.”

Now, this really pisses me off. Not just as a Christian, (as such, I take Luciferianism very seriously), but given the moral ambivalence and social decline America is facing, to have inordinately revered celebrities (idols) embracing and advancing satanic cults is just too over the top. Wake the hell up, America.

Back in the 1960s, of course there was a pack of celebrities who foolishly hooked up with Anton LaVey, the author of the Satanic Bible (he published it in 1969). Many wound up regretting it, because contrary to their initial impression, it wasn’t all fun and games and a lot of sex.

LaVey had picked up where British occultist Aleister Crowley left off. Crowley styled himself as “The Great Beast 666,” and was so dark and freaky that the Masons kicked him out. Crowley’s motto was “do what thou wilt,” which LaVey also adopted.

According to recent reports, quite a few Hollywood celebrities and music artists are members of a little known satanic cult group called Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), which has picked up where LaVey left off. Rapper Jay-Z, his mentally deficient wife Beyonce, and rap artist Peaches are among those celebs who are reportedly members of this group; Beyonce routinely flashes satanic signs and her latest album cover features the satanic goat’s head of Baphomet. Jay-Z’s clothing line, Rocawear, is replete with OTO imagery (such as sigils and the legend “do what thou wilt”).

Nice, huh?

These are not only people who millions of American youth idolize, but guess what – they’re President Obama’s good friends to boot! Other than Obama himself being manifestly evil and a supporter of Muslim Brotherhood killers, I have it on very good authority that satanic worship has gone on quite close to the sphere of this White House.

Barber: 'The Military Has Been Homosexualized' And Christians Are The Victims Of 'Religious Cleansing'

Mat Staver and Matt Barber honored Veteran's Day yesterday by declaring that President Obama was engaged in "religious cleansing" of Christians in order to promote "the secularization of the United States military."

As Barber explained, the purge of the military started "around the time of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and "now that the military has been homosexualized" that means "the homosexual agenda has taken over the United States military" to such an extent that Christians soldiers are being intimidated, discriminated against, and forced out of the service:

GOP Congressman Trent Franks To Appear At Rally Calling For Obama's Overthrow

Update: Molly Redden of Mother Jones reports that despite Klayman’s claim, Franks’s office says the congressman will not be attending the rally.

Larry Klayman, the right-wing activist who hopes to literally overthrow President Obama, claims that Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) will address his upcoming coup d’état rally.

Franks and Klayman will be joined by right-wing leaders such as Larry Pratt, Bob Barr, Pamela Geller, Alan Keyes, Bradlee Dean, Joseph Farah and Zeeda Andrews, who believes President Obama might actually be Osama bin Laden :

Among speakers scheduled, according to the Web posting, are Alan Keyes of Declaration Alliance, Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs, Floyd Brown of Western Center for Journalism, Joseph Farah of WND, Joe Kaufman of Americans Against Hate, Klayman, Bradlee Dean of Sons of Liberty, Vincent Forras of Gear Up Foundation, Belinda Bee of 2 Million Bikers to D.C., Zeeda Andrews of Ride for the Constitution and Larry Ward of Constitutional Rights PAC.

Klayman told WND that Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., former Republican congressman Bob Barr and Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America also are scheduled to attend.

According to the Reclaim America Now website, groups such as Accuracy In Media, GrassTopsUSA, Gun Owners of America, Pacific Justice Institute and several Tea Party organizations are cosponsoring the rally.

Klayman has suggested that there may be a violent revolution if his November 19 rally fails.

He issued a new Declaration of Independence to promote the rally:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these States; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the current president of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world and a list of demands that require resolution.

  1. The National Security Agency's (NSA) over-broad and unconstitutional spying on American citizens needs to be curtailed and limited to those who are legitimately related to terrorism, terrorist acts, or those who are or could be linked to breaches of national security.
  2. The rules of engagement, which favor Muslim jihadists, must be changed in order to preserve the lives of American military units.
  3. The attempt at socializing the United States of America by enacting the unconstitutional health care plan Obamacare must be blocked, and Obamacare as it stands must be repealed.
  4. The current administration must agree to significantly lower taxes for all U.S. citizens.
  5. The Internal Revenue Service must be abolished entirely leaving in place only a reasonable consumption or flat tax.
  6. Immigration reform is critical to our nation's survival. We must seal the borders and not allow any illegal immigrants into the country. We must come up with a plan that does not involve amnesty.
  7. The budget deficit must be significantly reduced.
  8. The president must submit himself to examination and appear in front of a citizens' grand jury to answer questions under oath regarding his illegal, treasonous and impeachable actions during his presidency.
  9. The president must provide a physical, original copy of his birth certificate to We the People and submit himself to the scrutiny of qualified forensic experts.
  10. The United States must not push for a Palestinian State on the West Bank.
  11. The United States must support the Egyptian military and rid all Muslim Brotherhood ties.
  12. The United States of America must support Israel in a pre-emptive strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities.
  13. Pledge that our Second Amendment rights to bear arms will never be abridged and that our weapons of self-defense will never be confiscated.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury and blatant lies. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Now have We been wanting in attentions to our current president. We have warned him and his administration from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded him of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We the People, therefore, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these States, solemnly publish and declare, That these United States are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; free from the tyranny of President Barack Hussein Obama and his compromised and corrupt Democrat and Republican Party enablers in Congress and the courts, that they are Abolished from all Allegiance to the current government's regime, and that all political connection between them and the current government, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, We the People have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, We the People mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to save our beloved nation and preserve the freedoms bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers.

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/8/13

Right Wing Leftovers - 11/8/13

  • Congratulations to Pat Robertson on being named "Bigot Of The Year."
  • Gary Bauer is mad that the GOP keeps losing elections: "The Obama Democrats are socialist to the core. They are expanding dependency on government rather than bringing people into the economic mainstream. They are cultural radicals declaring war on the family and unborn children. They have a foreign policy that reaches out to our enemies and alienates our allies. Yet GOP elites, the professional consultants and the ad men can't seem to figure out that this is a huge opportunity to define them as such and call them out for their extremism."
  • Gary Cass is mad about ENDA: "ENDA opens the door to bizarre behavior. Will you send your elementary age kids to a class with a cross-dressing teacher? This bill would stop schools from barring this behavior. Why are political leaders giving in to selfish adults with emotional issues, and not thinking about the innocent children? Children shouldn’t be the victims of these misguided adults’ desire to live publicly a queer lifestyle?"
  • Speaking of ENDA, it is nice to see that NOM's facade of just trying to protect "traditional marriage" has all but disappeared.
  • "Coach" Dave Daubenmire says young adults shouldn't be shackled with college loan debt so that they can afford to have babies.
  • Finally, the AFA may be losing the war against marriage equality, but the organization can take solace that they are winning isolated victories in the War on Christmas.

Fischer's Fantasies: Democrats Might Impeach Obama In Order To Win Re-Election In 2014

On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer said that even though there are countless reasons for Congress to impeach and remove President Obama from office, it won't happen because Democrats in the Senate will never go along with it ... unless, he speculated, they realize that Obamacare is dragging the entire party "to the bottom of the sea bed."

"What matters to them in November of 2014 is getting re-elected," Fischer stated. "If they begin to think that President Obama represents a liability, that he could actually precipitate this massive, catastrophic defeat for them at the polls, they might be motivated to try to do something about that. We have got to remove this guy from office; we've either got to repeal Obamacare; if he won't go along with that, then we just may have to clean the slate for him":

Beck: Obama, Rob Ford, And The End Of Western Civilization

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck was discussing the on-going saga of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who was not only caught smoking crack but also ranting wildly and threatening to murder some unknown target, which prompted Beck to start screaming that, despite all of this, "Canada still has higher standards than we do!"

Beck is furious that Canadians are demanding that Ford resign while Americans are not demanding that President Obama leave office, saying that "at least their guy hasn't actually killed people! Our guy is flying drones over, like 'yeah, go ahead, hit 'em, take 'em out." 

"If the Western World is so corrupt internally," Beck said "that we just sit there and take it and say 'well, there's nothing really we can do so we'll just sit here and take it,' well then we really have lost." 

He continued to lament that, as a society, we have come to tolerate and embrace wholesale corruption, as demonstrated by the recent elections of Bill de Blasio as Mayor of New York City and Terry McAuliffe as Governor of Virginia, saying it signals "the end of the Western way of life as we know it." 

As such, Beck called upon "good men and women need to gather together, buckle down for a storm and stand as one": 

Paranoia-Rama: This Week In Right-Wing Lunacy - 11/8/13

RWW's Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

This week, we learn more about President Obama’s secret gay past and Michelle Obama’s poor spiritual housekeeping, find out the real reason for Terry McAuliffe’s victory in Virginia, and are duly warned about the consequences of health care coverage and U.N. treaties.

5. Obamacare Will Force People to “Suffer and Potentially Die”

Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert, one of Congress’ most creative conspiracy theorists, told the residents of a nursing home in Texas this week that the Affordable Care Act would cut Medicare benefits, causing people to “suffer and potentially die.”

Gohmert’s claim that the ACA “cut $716 billion from Medicare,” repeated frequently by Mitt Romney in his presidential campaign last year, glosses over the fact that the cuts in costs – also recommended by Rep. Paul Ryan – would not affect Medicare benefits.

4. The United Nations Will Snatch Homeschoolers and Kids With Glasses

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee revived consideration of the United Nations Conventions on Persons With Disabilities this week, a year after a right-wing scare campaign managed to prevent the Senate from ratifying the treaty.

Taking the lead in the effort to sink the treaty was Michael Farris, director of the Home School Legal Defense Association, who claimed that U.S. ratification of the treaty would allow the U.N. to “get control” of children with glasses or ADHD and even lead to the deaths of children with disabilities. Invited to testify at this week’s hearing, Farris tried to convince senators that ratifying the treaty – which is based on laws already in place in the United States – would in fact lead to an American ban homeschooling. His only evidence for this fear was a completely unrelated immigration case .

The many right-wing conspiracy theories about the CRPD have been handily debunked by the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, as well as by former Republican senators Bill Frist and Bob Dole.

3. Michelle Obama Invited Demons Into The White House

The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer was shocked to learn that First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a White House event this to celebrate Diwali.

By celebrating the Hindu festival, Fischer warned, the first lady was inviting “demons into the White House,” necessitating a “spiritual cleanse” of the building after Obama leaves office.

Fischer neglected to mention that George W. and Laura Bush had hosted the very same event. He did, however, later in the week provide a helpful how-to on how to rid a home of demonic spirits in case it ever comes to that.

2. Voter Fraud Won the Election in Virginia

Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli thinks that President Obama won reelection through organized voter fraud , so it’s no surprise that some of his supporters were ready to cry “voter fraud” when he lost the gubernatorial election on Tuesday to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

A full week before election day, Virginia conservative commentator Dean Chambers laid out how he predicted McAuliffe would “steal” the election through voter fraud. Meanwhile, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber spent Election Day tweeting about how Cuccinelli would need to win by 7 points “to get within the margin of Democrat fraud.” And after the results came in, the white nationalist site VDARE claimed that McAuliffe must have relied on “black voter fraud” because it was not “plausible” that African-Americans would “turn out for New York Irish American Pol running for Governor with the same enthusiasm that they voted for a Black for President.”

In 2008, Virginia officials prosecuted 39 cases of voter fraud out of 3.7 million votes cast, none of which involved voter impersonation, the alleged target of Virginia’s pending voter ID law.

1. Obama Procured Cocaine Through Older White, Male Lovers

We already knew that during his student days President Obama was married to his male Pakistani roommate, the union from which he still wears a secret gay Muslim wedding ring , but we learned today via anti-gay activist Scott Lively that the president’s secrets go much deeper.

Lively linked on his website to an interview between crackpot preacher James David Manning and a woman named Mia Marie Pope, who claims to have been a classmate of President Obama's back in Hawaii in the 1970s.

Pope recalled how the future president was “very much within sort of the gay community” and “was having sex with these older white guys” in order to procure “cocaine to be able to freebase.”

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