Senate

Senate Rebukes Harris and Hirono on Knights of Columbus

On Wednesday the Senate approved a resolution that rebuked two Democratic senators for questioning judicial nominees about their membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. The resolution, introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), affirmed “the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates the Constitution of the United States.” The Senate proceeded to affirm the resolution without objection. Last month, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii), both on the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned a judicial nominee about his membership in the Knights of Columbus and whether it would affect his ability to fairly judge cases. Brian Buescher was nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. Hirono sent written questions claiming “the Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions. For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.” She also asked if Buescher would quit the group if confirmed “to avoid any appearance of bias.” Harris described the Knights as “an all-male society” in her questions, and also asked if Buescher knew the Knights “opposed a woman’s right to choose” and were against “marriage equality” when he became a member. Sasse’s resolution also referenced the anti-Catholic bigotry Democratic president John F. Kennedy faced during his presidency, and cited the Knights of Columbus’s “proud tradition of standing against the forces of prejudice and oppression such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Germany.” The resolution asked the Senate to express its sense “that disqualifying a nominee to federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates Clause 3 of Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States which establishes that senators ‘shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution[; but] no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.'” Sasse urged his fellow senators to rebuke the anti-Catholic attacks against Buescher. “If a senator has a problem with this resolution, you’re probably in the wrong line of work because this is what America is. This is a super basic point, no religious test. If someone has a problem with this resolution, what other parts of the Constitution are you against: freedom of the press, women’s right to vote, freedom of speech? This isn’t hard. No religious test for serving on the federal bench. We should, in this body, rebuke these anti-Catholic attacks,” Sasse said. After the resolution was affirmed, the Nebraska senator said he would report back to Buescher “that he can ignore those questions that he received about whether or not he would resign his membership in the Knights of Columbus.”

Dem. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) are nauseating, self-righteous, religious bigots.  Kudos to Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb) for calling them out like this publicly on the floor of the Senate and getting this resolution passed.  Excellent!!   🙂

Senate passes bill to pay federal employees — after shutdown ends

Senators passed a bill Thursday to ensure all federal employees, whether they are still working or were furloughed, will be paid in full when the partial government shutdown ends. The shutdown will cross the three-week mark on Friday, which is also the same day that they will miss their first paychecks. Senators said they had to find something to do to send a signal of comfort. “When we reopen, they will be paid,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat. Under federal law essential employees who worked during the shutdown would be paid once government reopens, but those who were furloughed and did not work are not guaranteed pay. Every previous shutdown has been ended with a deal to pay them anyway for work they did not do, and the Senate’s bill Thursday does the same. It cleared without objections, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offering the motion. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat. Democrats have blocked other floor action this week as they insist the Senate focus on the shutdown. The partial shutdown has struck nine federal departments and dozens of agencies, leaving more than 400,000 essential workers on the job without pay, and 350,000 others furloughed.

Lindsey Graham elected Senate Judiciary Committee chairman

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was elected Wednesday to serve as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. The role was previously held by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who announced in November that he would be stepping down. Grassley became the Senate Finance Committee Chairman on Wednesday, according to a news release. “I’m honored to be selected as chairman of the Judiciary Committee,” Graham said in a separate news release. “I will do my best to continue down the path charted by Senator Grassley of having a fair and vibrant committee process.” He said that “the confirmation of conservative judges will be one of my top priorities as chairman.” Graham said he looked forward to collaborating with fellow lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., “to make this new Congress successful.” Feinstein is the ranking member on the committee. Earlier Wednesday, Graham revealed that under his leadership, the committee plans to probe allegations of government surveillance abuse amid ongoing concerns over FBI and Justice Department efforts to surveil Trump campaign advisers during the 2016 race.

 

Kavanaugh accuser referred to DOJ for false statements, Grassley’s office announces

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday referred a woman who’d accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of raping her “several times” in the backseat of a car to the Justice Department for “materially false statements” and “obstruction.” Kavanaugh, confirmed to the high court on Oct. 6, was infamously accused by multiple women of sexual assault and misconduct before the confirmation. Judy Munro-Leighton, according to Grassley’s office, “alleged that Justice Kavanaugh and a friend had raped her ‘several times each’ in the backseat of a car.” Those accusations were made via a “Jane Doe” letter provided to Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat and committee member, Grassley’s office wrote. Upon further investigation, however, inconsistencies in the story emerged. “Given her relatively unique name, Committee investigators were able to use open-source research to locate Ms. Munro-Leighton and determine that she: (1) is a left-wing activist; (2) is decades older than Judge Kavanaugh; and (3) lives in neither the Washington DC area nor California, but in Kentucky,” Grassley’s office wrote. “Under questioning by Committee investigators, Ms. Munro-Leighton admitted, contrary to her prior claims, that she had not been sexually assaulted by … Kavanaugh and was not the author of the original ‘Jane Doe’ letter,” Grassley’s office wrote in a Friday referral to the DOJ. “When directly asked by Committee investigators if she was, as she had claimed, the ‘Jane Doe’ from Oceanside California who had sent the letter to Senator Harris, she admitted: ‘No, no, no. I did that as a way to grab attention. I am not Jane Doe . . . but I did read Jane Doe’s letter. I read the transcript of the call to your Committee. . . . I saw it online. It was news.” “In short, during the Committee’s time-sensitive investigation of allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, Ms. Munro-Leighton submitted a fabricated allegation, which diverted Committee resources. When questioned by Committee investigators she admitted it was false, a ‘ploy,’ and a ‘tactic,’” Grassley’s office wrote. “She was opposed to Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.” Friday’s referral to the DOJ was not the first time Grassley has asked for an investigation into Kavanaugh’s accusers. Last week, Grassley referred attorney Michael Avenatti and client Julie Swetnick — who’d accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct — for criminal investigation regarding a potential “conspiracy” to provide false statements to Congress and obstruct its investigation.

As more evidence comes to light, we realize that the whole effort to derail (now Justice) Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was a coordinated effort by Democrats in the Senate based on lies and false statements.  Keep this in mind tomorrow as you cast your vote.

Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris accused of breaking fundraising rules over Kavanaugh vote

A watchdog group filed a Senate ethics complaint Monday against Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren for sending out fundraising emails asking for donations to support their votes against Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh — even before they cast their votes against him. While voting and then asking supporters to back that decision with cash is common, the watchdog group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), says asking for money ahead of time crosses the line into vote-buying. FACT asked the Senate ethics committee to probe fundraising emails sent by Ms. Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, and Ms. Harris, California Democrat. Ms. Warren’s email said she was demanding a delay on the judge’s confirmation vote and asked for donations for her 2018 election campaign, while Ms. Harris’s emails detailed several of her actions as a member of the Judiciary Committee, including her questioning of the president’s pick for the high court, and asking for contributions. The Senate’s rules prohibit senators “cashing in” on using their official positions for personal gain. FACT said that linking a promise of official action with campaign contributions violates that principle. “This is a clear violation of the Senate Ethics rules which safeguard against the appearance or actuality of elected officials ‘cashing in’ on their official position for political purposes,” said Kendra Arnold, executive director of FACT. Spokespersons for Ms. Harris and Ms. Warren didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Of course not..   They’re huddled with their attorneys.  Senate Dems and the dominantly liberal mainstream media made it clear even before (now) Justice Brett Kavanaugh was even officially nominated,  that they’d do anything and everything possible (even illegal), to fight his nomination.  So, this shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Kudos to FACT for looking into this potential ethics violation on the part of Sens. Warren and Harris.  This story is developing…

Senate confirms 15 Trump judges after GOP leaders, Democrats strike deal

The Senate confirmed 15 of President Trump’s judicial picks Thursday night after GOP leaders reached a deal with Democrats, clearing about a third of the backlog and closing up shop through Election Day to give senators a chance to campaign. Three of the judges are for the powerful circuit courts of appeals, while the other 12 were for district court positions. Many cleared on near-party line votes, while others were approved by voice votes. They were the first judicial confirmations since last weekend’s vote on Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. Some Republicans had hoped senators would stay in town to work on all 49 judicial picks who’d been ready for floor votes. But the 15 was the best deal the GOP could get, representing the amount of judges who could realistically have been confirmed if the Senate had devoted full time to confirmations over the next few weeks. Liberal activists were incensed that Democratic leaders agreed to the votes. “This deal was totally unnecessary and it is a bitter pill to swallow so soon after the Kavanaugh fight that so many progressive activists poured their hearts and souls into,” said Chris Kang, chief counsel for Demand Justice. Conservative activists had been hoping for even more judges, but were enthusiastic about the 15 who did clear. “I’d love for them to stay and grind them into the ground over the next four weeks, but truth be told, if you got 15 — that’s huge,” said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government. The three circuit court nominees confirmed were David Porter for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a 50-45 vote; Ryan Douglas Nelson for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 51-44; and Richard J. Sullivan for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 79-16. Hours before the floor vote the Judiciary Committee approved eight more judicial nominees and readied them for the floor. That means there will be 34 judicial nominees waiting for votes when the Senate returns in November for a lame-duck session.

This was a smart deal..  For more, click on the text above.

French: Do Democrats Really Believe Christine Blasey Ford Doesn’t Have to Prove Her Claims?

There is something extremely curious about the course of the Brett Kavanaugh sexual-assault controversy thus far. At least based on the evidence and her conduct through today, Christine Blasey Ford seems to be making minimal effort to prove her case. In fact, with a strong assist from her Democratic allies, she seems to be making every effort not to prove her case. Absent an FBI investigation that’s not forthcoming and not necessary, she’s refusing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in essence asking that a single, unsworn letter be allowed to stand as the heart and soul of a claim that could alter history and destroy a man’s reputation. Democrats are only too happy to play along. At the foundation of our system of justice is the notion that accusers don’t just have to state a case against the accused, they have to prove their case. The burden of proof varies depending on the situation. At one end is the proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a criminal trial. At the other is the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard of civil court. But in virtually any court, when a person first states their case against an accused, that is just the beginning of the process of proof. Thus, when you hire an attorney as a plaintiff, it is to go on offense, to build your case, to substantiate your claims. What you cannot do — under any circumstances, in any competent court — is file your complaint, refuse to submit to questioning, fail to produce additional evidence or witnesses, and hope to prevail. In such circumstances, your case will be dismissed as a matter of law, tossed out of court for legal insufficiency — especially if, as in Ford’s case, not even the initial claim is submitted under oath. Yet from the beginning, Ford’s team — including her attorney, who is known to be aggressive in the service of her clients — has behaved as if she doesn’t have to prove her case, and as if the very request that she do so is itself fundamentally oppressive. She’s submitted her unsworn claim and then immediately gone into a defensive crouch, with allies such as New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand even claiming that having her testify at a Senate hearing would somehow “silence” her. The consistent demand for an FBI investigation — even when the FBI lacks jurisdiction over the alleged incident — is not by itself problematic. But conditioning her own testimony — the centerpiece of her case — on such an investigation is not what a person intent on proving her allegations would do. Kavanaugh, by contrast, has submitted to a formal interview, meaning he can be convicted of a felony if he lied. He’s stated that he’s willing to testify at an open hearing. Two other individuals have come forward to rebut Ford’s claims, including Mark Judge, the other man alleged to have been in the room during the attack. Their statements were also offered under penalty of legal sanction for lying. At present they and Kavanaugh are the only people on the record and at criminal risk if they lied. Unless Ford changes that fact — after being given ample opportunity to testify in public or private, in the Senate or at her home — Kavanaugh should be confirmed, and her claims against him shouldn’t be considered. They should be treated in the same way we treat claims that can’t survive a motion for summary judgment, claims not supported by any evidence in the record. Those are the stakes. By conditioning testimony on an FBI investigation, Ford and her Democratic allies are attempting to bring the worst possible form of campus “justice” to the national stage. As of this moment, they are actually seeking to derail a Supreme Court nomination and impugn the nominee’s character without a single piece of sworn evidence. Indeed, all the legally binding statements on the matter contradict the accuser. This cannot stand. Ford’s team has to either reverse course or drop its complaint. Yes, of course, testifying before the committee would be “partisan.” No, the members of the committee are not “neutral.” But that’s not just the reality of the Senate, it’s the fundamental reality of the justice system itself. It is an adversarial system. If you seek to prove your claim under any standard, you have to expose yourself to the most partisan possible scrutiny — cross-examination by a lawyer trained to find flaws in your testimony and paid to work relentlessly until he discredits your case. If Ford testifies, she’ll face a heightened version of the reality every plaintiff must confront. She’ll have adversaries, and she’ll have allies. It will be difficult, but it is necessary. Now, some caveats. It’s entirely possible that the instant we publish this piece, the next shoe drops, and it turns out that the defensive crouch was a delaying tactic, that Ford and the Democrats were busy investigating all along, and corroboration and substantiation are just around the corner. Or it’s possible that Ford was simply trying to apply as much pressure as she could, to achieve the most favorable circumstances for an interview possible before finally agreeing to testify under oath. But even if that’s true, it doesn’t change the fact that those now saying her testimony isn’t necessary — those claiming Kavanaugh should be rejected on the basis of her unsworn claim, a claim completely lacking in contemporary corroboration and contradicted by substantial evidence — are wholly and completely wrong. And it’s dangerous to our very system of justice to create or impose a standard that permits accusers to make accusations and then stand aside as suspicion alone is used to destroy reputations and ruin careers. Instead, those who make serious allegations — just like those who make claims in court — must be forced to support those claims. They must endeavor to substantiate their case, even under the lowest burden of proof. As of today, the energies of the Democrats are directed at denying that fundamental requirement of American justice. They cannot be allowed to prevail.

Agreed!  And well said, David.  David French is an attorney and Army Reserve officer (Major) who received the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.  Dr. Ford needs to either testify under oath Monday, or the Senate should move forward with Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.  It’s that simple.  Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) who head’s up the Senate Judiciary Committee has been more than accommodating to Dr. Ford and has offered her and her attorney’s multiple venues (both private and public) to testify under oath about this alleged incident 4 decades ago.  It’s time to move forward and confirm this extremely qualified federal judge and be done with this nonsense.