Students at the City University of New York School of Law tried to shut down a guest lecture from South Texas College of Law Professor Josh Blackman this week. Professor Blackman, who was named to Forbes‘ “30 under 30” for “Law and Policy,” spoke this week at the CUNY School of Law. Blackman was scheduled to give a lecture entitled “Importance of Free Speech on Campus.” Blackman was met with a horde of protesters shouting “shame on you!” when he went to enter the event room. “You wrote that I supported the president’s decision to rescind DACA. I actually support the DREAM act. I actually think the DREAM act is a good piece of legislation…my position is that the policy itself is not consistent with the rule of law, which teaches a lesson: you can support something as a matter of policy but then find out that the law doesn’t permit it.” “Fuck the law,” one protester shouted. “It’s a bizarre thing to say, ‘Fuck the law,’ when you are in law school,” Blackman responded. Shortly after Blackman began his speech, the protesters dispersed. Many left the room and a few stayed behind and engaged in a back and forth with Blackman. One protester held a sign that read “oppressors are not welcome here,” while he pressed Blackman on his views on various topics. Blackman claimed in his blog post that the student protesters who left the event marched over to the dean’s office to complain that they allowed the event to take place. Only a few students attended the event. In his blog post, Blackman explained that some students were pressured by their peers into skipping the event. “I learned that some students were either ashamed, or intimidated, and did not want to be seen as attending the event,” Blackman wrote. “A number of students thanked me after the event, and explained that conservative speech is stifled on campus not by the faculty, but by the students. The students swarm on anyone who does not toe the progressive line.”
Typical liberal, college “snowflakes..” They’re all for free speech…until you say something they don’t agree with. Then, they want to censor you, and intimidate those who might want to espouse, or even listen to, an opposing view. And God forbid that view be a conservative person/viewpoint! These protestors actually stood behind Professor Blackman with signs about “Free Speech”…while trying to shout him down and prevent him from, well, exercising HIS right to free speech. The sad thing is that they’re too stupid to understand the irony and hypocrisy of their actions. To see a video of this exchange and the way Mr. Blackman was treated by these obnoxious kids, just click on the text above. Unreal..
In terminal medical cases, doctors often deal with patients who move through “stages” that begin with denial. These so-called Kübler-Ross stages can be a long road toward acceptance. A weird form of Kübler-Ross seems to have taken hold of the media. Rather than refusing to accept indicators of impending death, many journalists and analysts seem incapable of accepting signs that the Trump presidency could survive. That painful process was more evident Tuesday night when the Washington Post reported that special counsel Robert Mueller told the White House last month that Trump was not considered a “target” but only a “subject” of the investigation. After a year of being assured that “bombshell” developments and “smoking gun” evidence was sealing the criminal case against Trump, the dissonance was too great for many who refuse to accept the obvious meaning of this disclosure. The U.S. Attorney’s manual defines a “subject” as a “person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation.” It is a designation that can change but it is also a meaningful description of the current status of an individual. Mueller at this time apparently does not believe Trump meets the definition of a target or a “person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant.” That would have been less notable when Mueller was appointed in 2017 than it is now, after more than a year, dozens of criminal counts, hundreds of thousands of documents, and a bevy of cooperating witnesses. That Mueller does not believe there is “substantial evidence linking [Trump] to the commission of a crime” would seem to merit some, albeit grudging, recognition. However, there has been a disturbing lack of objectivity in the coverage of this investigation from the start. Throughout it, some of us have cautioned that the criminal case against Trump was far weaker than media suggested. Fired FBI Director James Comey himself told Congress that Trump was not a target of his investigation. Indeed, Trump was reportedly upset with Comey largely because Comey would not say that publicly. When Trump fired Comey, I supported the call for a special counsel, and I still support Mueller in completing his investigation. However, the case of criminal conduct by Trump has not materially improved over the last year. Last October, Mueller brought the first indictments against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Richard Gates. Notably, none of the indictments were linked to the campaign, let alone Trump. When that obvious point was raised, we were told that it meant nothing and Mueller was likely holding back the really damaging indictments while pressuring Trump aides. Commentators continue to announce “bombshell” disclosures against Trump on a daily basis, with experts alleging clear cases for treason to obstruction to witness tampering and other crimes. Then, in November, came the disclosure of plea agreements with former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. However, these pleas were for making individual false statements to federal investigators. Neither the charges nor the narratives in the filings tied Trump or his campaign to any criminal act. Later indictments involving lawyer Alex van der Zwaan and internet operator Richard Pinedo involved a false statement and a single count of identity fraud, again unrelated to Trump or his campaign. Nevertheless, commentators insisted Mueller was just laying the groundwork for his major filing. In February, Mueller handed down indictments of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for election-related crimes, from hacking to identity fraud. Not only did these charges not implicate Trump or his campaign, but the filing expressly stated that no one in the Trump campaign knowingly engaged Russians in these efforts. Now, Mueller reportedly has said he does not consider Trump a “target” of the criminal investigation. Looking at each of the prior filings, the disclosure would seem consistent with a lack of compelling evidence of a crime by Trump. Indeed, it would indicate Trump’s status has not changed from when Comey told Congress that Trump was not a target. Still, some analysts immediately denied that Mueller’s disclosure was anything but bad news for Trump. On CNN, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin insisted that “being a ‘subject’ is a very serious thing” and a “very significant designation” because it is clear “the FBI is investigating the president.” Of course, the only lower designation in a criminal investigation would be “witness.” Moreover, it was confirmed last year that Trump was being investigated. The obvious point is that, after months of investigating Trump, Mueller still does not have sufficient evidence to make him a “target.” True, a “subject” can become a “target” and a “target” can then become a “defendant,” but so can a “witness.” Clearly, Trump is a subject since he was the subject of the election itself and directly involved in the underlying matters under investigation. What is new is that Mueller confirmed Trump’s status has not changed. Later, CNN analyst John Dean declared that an assurance Trump is not a target “does not mean a whole lot.” Dean’s rationale was that a president “cannot be indicted,” so Mueller would never have listed him as a target, regardless of the evidence. First and foremost, some of us believe a president can be indicted in office. While there is disagreement, including within the Justice Department and past independent counsels, the Supreme Court has never accepted such immunity from indictment. More important, even if true, such immunity would not mean Mueller would declare Trump is not a target. Rather, Trump would remain a target as an unindicted co-conspirator or simply an unindicted person pending impeachment. Once impeached, he still could be indicted. Thus, it would be both illogical and unethical for Mueller to say Trump is not a target when he was pursuing possible charges, either as an unindicted co-conspirator or a post-impeachment defendant. CNN analyst Philip Mudd was not satisfied with the “soft” depictions of the Mueller disclosure and declared that it was devastating news that Mueller was now investigating Trump and that, if Trump were declared a subject, “I would wet my pants.” CNN analyst Ryan Lizza went even further, suggesting that this was all a sham and Mueller is playing “chess to get the president into an interview.” Of course, such a bait-and-switch would be unethical in making false representations to the president’s counsel if Trump is already considered a target. This continued refusal to acknowledge positive developments for Trump is a disturbing pathology. Just because Trump is a subject of investigation does not mean he cannot become a target. Moreover, Mueller as expected has indicated he will prepare a report on his investigation. This still is a positive development for Trump. It shows that Trump’s status has not materially changed but neither has the status of much of the coverage. Many media commentators clearly are stuck on denial and are a long way from acceptance in dealing with the legal status of Donald Trump.
Indeed.. The dominantly liberal mainstream media is pathological in its coverage of this issue, and of Trump in general. The man could find the cure for cancer, and they’d ask, “could he have found it sooner? How many lives were lost because he didn’t tell us sooner?” The other day a poll came out which said that over 70% of Americans believe CNN and other similar news outlets put out “fake news” regularly. 70%!! The American people get it, even if the liberal media doesn’t. Thanks to well-respected constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley for that outstanding legal analysis. Professor Turley is a Democrat who voted for Hillary. And, he freely admits he was for the idea of a Special Counsel after Trump fired Comey; something he had every right to do as President. So, the man is hardly on the Trump Train. He’s just an honest liberal calling it as he sees it. And, we appreciate that.
A California judge refused this week to order a baker to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, ruling that to do otherwise would be to trample on the baker’s free speech rights. Superior Court Judge David R. Lampe said in his Monday ruling that wedding cakes run to the core of the First Amendment. “It is an artistic expression by the person making it that is to be used traditionally as a centerpiece in the celebration of a marriage. There could not be a greater form of expressive conduct,” the judge wrote. His decision contrasts with a ruling out of Colorado, where a court ruled that a baker could not refuse to bake for a same-sex couple, arguing the state’s public accommodation law trumped that baker’s First Amendment claims. That case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. David Mullins and Charlie Craig filed a complaint after Colorado baker Jack Phillips told them he wouldn’t create a custom cake for a party celebrating their union in 2012, because it violated his Christian faith. After feeling rejected, the couple filed a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission. As a result of the ruling, Mr. Phillips has not been making wedding cakes at all in order to appease the court’s order and not violate his faith, which has cost him a large portion of his profits. His case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
And, we hope he is successful at the Supreme Court. Kudos to Judge Lampe in California for his excellent decision! Freedom of speech and expression go BOTH ways, and these bakers have every right to bake what they want for whom they want (or don’t want) without some fascist governmental body (as in the case of Colorado) telling them to support activities or individuals they don’t want to. It’s beyond ridiculous…and a clear violation of Constitution.
In April 2014, America was transfixed by an armed standoff in the Nevada desert. On one side was a collection of dangerous, out-of-control armed men who were deliberately provocative, prone to saying unhinged things in a single-minded quest to destroy their enemies, and who lied time and again to cover their misdeeds. On the other side was Cliven Bundy. If you think that’s an unfair and inflammatory attack on the federal government, consider that yesterday a federal judge, Obama appointee Gloria Navarro, dismissed the federal government’s criminal case against Bundy and two of his sons on the basis that the government was guilty of “flagrant misconduct” in the trial. Its conduct was so “outrageous” that “no lesser remedy” than dismissal with prejudice “is sufficient.” The government, you see, lied. It withheld evidence. It concealed the truth from the court and from the American people. To say this isn’t to whitewash Bundy’s misdeeds. He broke the law. He defied the government without any legal justification, and his own conduct helped precipitate a crisis that could have led to a horrible tragedy. Bundy was wrong. But so was the government, and the government’s conduct, given its enormous power over the lives and liberty of its citizens, was far more troubling than anything Bundy did. It’s worth taking a short trip down memory lane. The Bundy standoff at the time appeared to be a straightforward example of crazy anti-government protesters courting violence in an effort to evade the law. Bundy’s cows grazed on federal land, and he owed the government substantial grazing fees. He also apparently ignored orders limiting the number of cows that could graze and the places where they could graze. He harmed the habitat of a protected tortoise. The government sued Bundy twice, and Bundy lost each time. Yet he still refused payment. He claimed that the government had a vendetta against him and that it was more interested in harming him than protecting endangered species. When the government came to seize his cattle, Bundy called out the right-wing militia. Within days, armed federal agents confronted armed “patriot” groups, and only an agreement by the feds to return Bundy’s cattle defused the standoff. To most of the country, the lessons were clear. White rednecks (“Y’all Qaeda”) fought the law, and the white rednecks won. Since virtually every controversy in this country is racialized, the standoff was seen as the ultimate expression of white privilege (could any black American get away with similar defiance?), and when the feds finally got around to arresting and trying Bundy, the case seemed open and shut. In its indictment, the federal government claimed that Bundy used “deceit and deception” to recruit its allied “gunmen” to defend his cattle from government seizure. As Mother Jones’s Stephanie Mencimer outlined in a lengthy report on the case, the alleged deceptions included claims that officers abused David Bundy when they arrested him a few days before the standoff and claims that the Bureau of Land Management had surrounded his property with snipers. Here’s Mencimer: “But those claims, dismissed by the government as fiction by paranoid anti-government activists, have largely turned out to be true. And it’s taken the government nearly two years, and three trials, to admit as much in court.” Oops. As Mencimer notes, this information dribbled out over the course of the court proceedings, at least until Larry Wooten, a BLM special agent who worked on the Bundy case, wrote an explosive whistleblower memo outlining a truly stunning series of government misdeeds that went well beyond withholding evidence at the trial. To be clear, Wooten is no fan of the Bundys. He rightly accused them of pursuing an “illegal, uncivilized, and dangerous strategy,” but the same words apply to the federal government — the alleged guardians of the rule of law. First, he outlined vicious hostility toward the Bundys and their allies. Federal agents called them, among other things, “retards,” “rednecks,” “tractor-face,” and “inbred.” Emails insulted Bundy in terms that can’t be reproduced in a decent publication. Wooten also “became aware” that law-enforcement officers “bragged about roughing up Dave Bundy, grinding his face into the ground, and Dave Bundy having little bits of gravel stuck in his face.” Wooten called agents’ behavior “carnival, inappropriate, and childish.” Wooten also claimed that the special agent in charge “ignored” direction from U.S. attorneys and from BLM management and instead chose to command “the most intrusive, oppressive, large-scale, and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible.” Wooten also claimed there existed “excessive use of force, civil rights, and policy violations,” including deliberate efforts to withhold exculpatory evidence. Wooten not only accused the government of misrepresenting the truth about snipers at trial, he specifically described the snipers’ armament and positioning. In her ruling dismissing the case, Judge Navarro noted that the government also withheld information about threat assessments indicating that the Bundys weren’t violent, documents showing that cattle grazing “hadn’t threatened the desert tortoise,” and hundreds of pages of internal-affairs documents about the special agent in charge. (BLM had fired him for, in part, “improperly using his position to get coveted tickets for friends to attend the Burning Man arts festival in 2015.”) Taken together, the evidence demonstrates that sometimes the paranoid are correct. In this case, evidence shows that a federal agency motivated by ego, anger, and prejudice launched the most militaristic and aggressive campaign possible against a rancher whom federal officials had deemed to be likely peaceful. There is evidence they abused that rancher’s son, ringed his property with snipers, and intended to “kick [him] in the mouth and take his cattle.” Then, when it came time to prosecute that same rancher, they withheld the truth and portrayed his accurate claims about federal misconduct as criminal deceptions designed to inflame public outrage. Federal judges do not dismiss federal prosecutions lightly, and Obama appointees are hardly known to carry water for right-wing militias. Moreover, Judge Navarro’s dismissal is in no way a vindication of Bundy’s tactics. His allies, after all, went so far as to put women in the front of the firing line with the express hope that they’d die first in any firefight — and embarrass the federal government in front of the world. Others pointed guns straight at federal officers. That’s not civil disobedience, that’s armed resistance, and it’s entirely inappropriate when — as we see here — the law still offered redress against violations of Bundy’s civil rights. The judge, however, understood her legal obligations. Who is the greater threat to public peace and the rule of law? A rancher and his sons angry that the government is destroying his livelihood in part through political favoritism and vindictiveness? Or a government that acts as if might makes right, abuses its citizens, and uses maximum force when far less intrusion and risk would accomplish its lawful purposes? Bundy’s case teaches a number of valuable lessons. We cannot presume the government’s virtue. Sometimes even wild tales are true. And every American — from the angriest antifa activist to the leader of “Y’all Qaeda” — is entitled to the full protection of the United States Constitution.
Absolutely!! And well said, David. Author David French is an attorney and Army Reserve officer (Major). David was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq. As we said way back when this all happened.. What should have happened is that the local sheriff should have shown up with a deputy and a warrant and talked with Cliven in a non-confrontational manner. There was NOTHING to suggest that wouldn’t have gone peacefully. I mean c’mon.. The man and his family are Mormons, for crying out loud. Instead, the jack-booted thugs at BLM showed up in armored vehicles and their own little SWAT team complete with snipers and on and on…all over some cattle crossing some imaginary line from Cliven’s ranch/property onto federal land. That’s insanity! And, while not legal, the reaction by those “patriot” groups who showed up (many ex-military) legally carrying carrying firearms in what turned into an armed standoff, was completely understandable. Thomas Jefferson said once, ..”a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing.” We agree.