PowerLine – Biden’s 1992 advice: Don’t nominate Supreme Court Justice in election year

PowerLine –  Biden’s 1992 advice: Don’t nominate Supreme Court Justice in election year

Biden’s 1992 advice: Don’t nominate Supreme Court Justice in election year

Posted: 22 Feb 2016 12:45 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)

Speaking on the Senate floor in 1992, Joe Biden stated that if a Supreme Court vacancy were to arise while the “political season [i.e., the presidential campaign] is underway,” President George H.W. Bush should follow the “practice of the majority of his predecessors” and not nominate anyone to the vacancy until after the election. Biden added that that if President Bush were to ignore that advice, the Senate Judiciary Committee should “seriously consider not scheduling” a hearing until after the election.

Ed Whelan at NRO’s Bench Memos has posted the video.

The first part of this advice is typical Biden hackery. There’s no reason why a president shouldn’t nominate a Supreme Court Justice during a presidential election year.

The second part of Biden’s advice is sound. There’s no reason why one party should confirm the Supreme Court nominee of another party during a presidential election year. And if it’s the best option politically, the Senate Judiciary Committee should decline to hold hearings in these circumstances.

Regardless of its wisdom, Biden’s advice should be quoted freely as President Obama prepares to nominate a successor to Justice Scalia in this highly contentious political season.

What I find most interesting about Biden’s 1992 comment is that it appears to have been gratuitous. There was no Supreme Court vacancy at the time Biden opined, and no reason to believe that a Justice was close to death or about to resign.

Thus, as far as I can tell, Biden didn’t need to make his remark; it was uncalled for. But when did that ever stop Talkin’ Joe?

The Obama administration takes a dive to make sure non-citizens can vote

Posted: 22 Feb 2016 09:02 AM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)

Several left-wing organizations are fighting against efforts by states to make sure non-citizens can’t vote in the upcoming presidential elections. The leftists came up short when the federal election agency charged with resolving such matters ruled against them.

But the leftist groups challenged this ruling in federal court, and the Obama-Loretta Lynch Justice Department has decided to take a dive. It is not opposing the lawsuit to enjoin the election agency’s decision in favor of the sates.

Hans von Spakovsky provides the background. In essence, it is as follows:

The Constitution (Article I, Secion 2 and the Seventeenth Amendment) confers upon states the power to set the “Qualification requisite for electors.” The left, however, would prefer to see this power exercised by federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Their vehicle for the exercise of such power is the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) — an independent federal agency, or so it is supposed to be. Under federal law, the EAC is responsible for designing the federal voter-registration form required by the National Voter Registration Act, known as Motor Voter. While states must register voters who use the federal form, they can ask the EAC to include instructions with the federal form about additional state registration requirements.

Some states now require satisfactory proof of citizenship to ensure that only citizens register to vote. When Arizona sought to do so, the usual suspects — the League of Women Voters, People for the American Way, Common Cause, Project Vote, and Chicanos for La Causa — brought a lawsuit claiming that the EAC hadn’t approved such requirements.

In 2013, a divided Supreme Court said that Arizona could not implement such a requirement unless and until the EAC agrees to change the instructions for use of the federal form to include the Arizona requirements. However, the majority opinion, written by Justice Scalia, stipulated that if the EAC refuses Arizona’s request to accommodate the proof-of-citizenship requirement, the state can sue the EAC and establish in court that “a mere oath will not suffice to effectuate its citizenship requirement and that the EAC is therefore under a nondiscretionary duty to include Arizona’s concrete evidence requirement on the Federal Form.”

Arizona duly asked the EAC to approve its requirement that voters prove their citizenship. The EAC, via a single bureaucrat who was not even a commissioner, but only the acting executive director, denied the request.

According to von Spakovsky, sources in the Justice Department say that this EAC bureaucrat did not make the decision. Instead, partisan, left-wing lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department actually drafted the denial letter.

If so, this seems like a fundamental violation of the EAC’s charter. It is supposed to be an independent federal agency, free from the influence of the executive — an inherently partisan player.

Having lawyers from the highly partisan DOJ Voting Section write agency policy obliterates all semblance of independence and bipartisan balance. It would be outrageous (albeit par for the course) if the Eric Holder Justice Department participated in a decision not to allow a state to verify that only citizens are registering to vote.

In any case, once the EAC regained a quorum of commissioners and hired a new executive director, the agency reversed the previously announced policy and permitted Arizona (as well as Kansas) to include citizenship-verification requirements with the federal voter-registration form.

In response, the leftist groups mentioned above filed a lawsuit in D.C. federal court seeking to reverse the EAC’s decision. They want non-citizens to vote in order to help elect a Democratic president.

The state of Kansas has moved to intervene in order to defend the EAC’s decision. The Justice Department should be the principle defender, however. An important part of its job is to defend federal agencies like the EAC when they are sued.

However, Loretta Lynch and company have decided to tank the case. In a pleading filed today, the Justice Department “consents to plaintiffs’ request for entry of a preliminary injunction” against the EAC. They are trying to make sure that the left-wing plaintiffs win by default.

The matter is being heard today before Judge Richard Leon. It seems clear that Kansas should be allowed to intervene in the case, particularly given the dive that the Lynch Justice Department is taking.

In addition, Judge Leon should explore the potential conflict of interest that may plague the Justice Department in this case. Kansas cites the alleged participation of DOJ lawyers (described above) in the original EAC denial of permission to require proof of citizenship. If the DOJ wrote the original denial for the EAC and is now charged with defending its subsequent approval, that seems problematic — all the more so, since it has chosen not to defend it.

Is DOJ refusing to defend the EAC due to a good faith belief that the agency’s ruling cannot be defended? Or is it doing so because its lawyers participated (improperly) in the original ruling and now are invested in the seeing the original ruling restored? That, it seems to me, is a fair question raised by allegations of DOJ involvement at the EAC level.

Legalisms aside, I believe that DOJ is refusing to defend the EAC due to raw partisanship and ideology. DOJ wants non-citizens to vote because they are likely to vote Democratic. It’s as basic, and disgraceful, as that.

That Click you hear, cont’d

Posted: 22 Feb 2016 07:04 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)

University of Missouri Professor Melissa “I need some muscle over here” Click is a liar of Clintonian proportions. Watch her at work in the devastating interview with CBS News’s Anna Werner in the video below. Werner herself shows up Click’s lies. Ed Morrissey continues the dissection in “Mizzou prof: You’re missing all the good I’ve done.”

Via Ed Driscoll/InstaPundit.


Peak Esposito (2)

Posted: 22 Feb 2016 05:28 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)

In today’s New York Post Betsy McCaughey draws attention to a striking episode of the Obama administration’s rank lawlessness. As it has been frequently in the past, Obamacare is the occasion:

In 2014, the White House tried to avert that disaster by promising insurers a taxpayer-funded bailout, but public outrage and quick action by Sen. Marco Rubio put a stop to it. Now the administration is at it again.

Desperate to keep insurers on board, the administration scrambled to find another pot of money. Unfortunately, once again, a big part of that money pot belongs to the public.

President Obama doesn’t seem to care. On Feb. 12, the administration announced that the money will be handed out to insurers — a whopping $7.7 billion this year alone.

But it’s not just expensive: That huge handout to the insurance industry is also illegal.

This is money you and everyone else who already has insurance are forced to pay, called a reinsurance fee. You pay the fee whether you buy your own plan or get covered at work, even if your employer self-insures. You may be clueless about it, but the fee is buried in your premium or taken out of your compensation.

The text of the Affordable Care Act is clear as a bell on what this money can be used for.

Some of these annual fees — adding up to billions a year — belong to the public, not the insurance companies. The law states a fixed share “shall be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury of the United States and may not be used” to offset insurance companies’ losses.

But the administration gave all of it to the insurance companies last year, and got away with that heist. So now they’re trying it again.

In her conclusion McCaughey takes a useful look back at the origin of the Esposito phase of the Obama presidency:

ObamaCare was sold on lies: You can keep your health plan if you like it. And keep your doctor if you like your doctor. Then, once it was passed, the administration resorted to a long string of lawless executive actions to keep an unworkable scheme going, despite the damage being done to employers, doctors and consumers.

The administration’s diversion of public funds to its insurance-company cronies is just the latest defiance of the law.

The president has illegally delayed the employer mandate repeatedly. He’s handing out free ObamaCare plans to illegal immigrants. Statutory deadlines are routinely ignored, and funds are slyly shifted from one program to another — the law be damned.

Ultimately, ObamaCare is imperiling not only our health and our nation’s economic growth, but even our nation’s most precious asset — the rule of law.

Whole thing here.

Peak Esposito

Posted: 22 Feb 2016 04:27 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)

While it is difficult to date the onset precisely, we entered the Esposito phase of the Obama presidency within the past few years. It is the phase in which Barack Obama’s barking leftist mania for rule by decree became manifest. In late 2014, for example, The Hill took a look back at “Obama’s ‘pen and phone’ barrage.”

The barrage continues. Since then we have grown accustomed to it.

In Woody Allen’s Bananas (1971, written with Mickey Rose), it is the phase in which the revolutionary Esposito achieves power in the fictional Latin American backwater of San Marcos. The power promptly goes to his Esposito’s head. Esposito starts issuing proclamations such as this one: “From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now… 16 years old!” Video of this scene is below (with Greek subtitles).

Bananas is a comedy that plays it for laughs. Barack Obama is about as funny as cancer. We probably entered into the Esposito phase of Obama’s presidency long ago, around the time Obama started rewriting unambiguous provisions of Obamacare on his own say-so.

Now we seem to be reaching peak Esposito. The thought comes to mind in connection with Rowan Scarborough’s mind-boggling Washington Times report “Pentagon orders commanders to prioritize climate change in all military actions.” Scarborough explains:

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.

A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”

It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.”

The Department of Defense directive is posted online here. In his mania for destruction Obama exceeds Esposito. Esposito would never put his forces to such vacuous tasks.

Quotable quote from Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado: “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century. No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin. In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”



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