Fighting the Right

Jeff Sessions: Keep 'Secular Mindset' Off The Supreme Court

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned in a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference today that “the courts are at risk” in the upcoming presidential election, lamenting that at least one current Supreme Court justice displays a “secular mindset.”

Sessions said that as the committee’s ranking member during the confirmation hearings of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, “I felt, like so many of you, the court hasn’t been performing in a way we like it to.”

He repeated a criticism of Sotomayor that conservatives had leveled at her during her confirmation hearings, expressing dismay that she had approvingly quoted legal scholar Martha Minow’s observation that in the law "there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives — no neutrality, no escape from choice in judging," an acknowledgment of the hidden assumptions and biases that all judges bring to the law.

Sessions said the quote “still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.”

“You see, this is a postmodern, relativistic, secular mindset and I believe it’s directly contrary to the founding of our republic,” he said.

“So I really think this whole court system is really important,” he added later in the speech, “and the real value and battle that we’re engaged in here is one to reaffirm that there is objective truth, it’s not all relative. And that means some things are right and some things are wrong, and we’re getting too far away from that in my opinion and it’s not healthy for any country and it’s really not healthy for a democracy like ours that’s built on the rule of law.”

Trump: Hillary Will Flood America With Terrorists

Donald Trump told Religious Right activists today that, as president, he will stop refugees from coming to America and will instead focus on the real victims of persecution: American Christians.

Trump, who read the majority of his speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference off a teleprompter, kicked things off by bragging about how well he has “done with the evangelicals and with the religion, generally speaking.”

He went on to talk about the need “to restore faith to its proper mantel in our society” and “respect and defend Christian-Americans” along with the need to reject refugees fleeing war and violence.

“Hillary will bring hundreds of thousands of refugees, many of whom have hostile beliefs about people of different faiths and values and some of whom absolutely and openly support terrorism in our country,” he said after demonstrators briefly interrupted his speech. Trump later added: “We have to take a rest. We have to take a timeout.”

Hillary Clinton has said that the U.S. should accept 65,000 refugees escaping the war in Syria, while Trump has consistently lied throughout the campaign about the refugee crisis.

Trump also repeated his vow to appoint conservative judges to the bench, boasting that the judges on his list of potential Supreme Court nominees “are all pro-life.”

Benghazi Select Committee Interviews Sean Hannity Caller, Learns Nothing

At the end of April we learned that the Benghazi Select Committee had become so desperate in its quest to uncover groundbreaking information on the 2012 attacks on Americans in Libya that it had requested that the Department of Defense track down a caller to a right-wing radio show.

Specifically, the committee sought to speak with “John from Iowa,” a drone camera operator who had called into Sean Hannity’s radio program to talk about what he saw on the night of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi.

Yesterday “John” testified before the committee and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the committee’s Republican chairman, issued a press release trumpeting the accomplishment. However, Gowdy left out one significant detail.

Committee Democrats noted that “there is a gaping hole in the Republican press release—it completely ignores the fact that ‘John from Iowa’ provided virtually no substantive information we didn’t already have.” They continued, “To the contrary, he referred us back to the same videos the Pentagon made available to the Select Committee more than a year ago.”

The vast majority of the Republican release simply complains about not getting access to “John from Iowa” quickly enough, without noting they waited 18 months to even request the interview.

The argument stemming from “John from Iowa’s” testimony fits a continued pattern for the Benghazi Select Committee. Gowdy complains about process, while after more than two years of work and $7 million spent, his investigation produces no new information about the Benghazi attack or its aftermath.

Carl Gallups Calls Upon Sheriffs To Threaten To Arrest Target Store Managers

Donald Trump-loving right-wing pastor and conspiracy theorist Carl Gallups appeared on TheDove TV's "Focus Today" program yesterday, where he called upon sheriffs to tell managers of Target stores in their communities that they will be arrested if they follow the company policy of allowing transgender individuals to use facilities that match their gender identity.

Bragging that he is a "sworn special deputy" in Arizona under extremist Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, Gallups also called upon sheriffs all over the nation to arrest anyone who follows Obama administration guidelines for respecting the rights of transgender students.

Falsely claiming that the Obama administration's policy allows male teachers or janitors to take showers with female students, Gallups declared that he "is calling upon sheriffs all over this nation: man up!"

"Sheriffs needs to go to Target managers operating in their counties," Gallups proclaimed, "and say, 'I am the chief constitutional law enforcement officer of this county. If a man purposely goes into the women's room in your store, I will arrest the man and I will arrest you, mister manager, for aiding and abetting in a crime."

Rep. Virginia Foxx: 'I'm Not Willing' To Leave America 'To the Philistines'

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., devoted her speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference today to telling activists not to lose faith in the political process and to remember that elected officials — or, more specifically, Republican elected officials — know that America needs a “moral and spiritual foundation in order to survive and thrive.”

She had a message for those who think that “politics is a dirty business”: “If people of faith are not involved in political life, then you’re leaving it to the Philistines. And I’m not willing to leave it to the Philistines.”

Jeff Sessions: My Immigration Position Is the 'Biblical' One

Speaking today at the Road to Majority conference, an annual event hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a fierce immigration opponent in Congress who helped craft Donald Trump’s immigration policy, referred to a handful of Bible stories to declare that immigration reform advocates’ position, which he characterized as that nations can’t “establish who can and can’t enter,” is “not biblical.”

Sessions spoke of the biblical figure of Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls in Jerusalem after obtaining traveling papers from the king of Persia, and referred to another story, which although Sessions seems to have gotten the details mixed up, seems to be the tale of the Israelites being barred by the king of Edom from crossing his land.

“So the idea that nations don’t set laws, establish who can and can’t enter, is not biblical in my opinion. Nations do that and they’ve done it since time immemorial and there’s nothing wrong with it,” he said.

 

Louie Gohmert: Oppose Transgender Rights To Save Veterans' Lives

Today, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, went on yet another anti-trans rant, this time at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference in Washington, D.C.

The congressman spent most of the time criticizing sex reassignment surgery, saying that the practice will “destroy people’s lives.”

“Now this administration says, ‘We’re going to have the V.A. do sex change operations.’ Really?!” he asked. “Do we not have enough veterans committing suicide without you increasing that 20 times? Enough is enough! We have to stand up for our veterans. We’re the adults. We have to stand up for our children.”

More Profound Insights From Glenn Beck: Parting The Red Sea Was 'God's Empire State Building'

Every few months, Glenn Beck gets worked up as he attempts to deliver some message that he believes contains profound insights but which ends up being little more than incoherent nonsense, as he demonstrated again on his television show last night.

After spending the entire program telling his studio audience that America is utterly doomed regardless of whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president, Beck tried to leave them "with a little bit of hope" by explaining that the parting of the Red Sea was "God's Empire State Building."

Just as man took things that already existed and used them to construct the Empire State Building, God took the wind and used it to part the Red Sea, Beck explained. He said that God is also capable of taking nothing and turning it into something, as He did with the atom, but both efforts require God's full attention because if He turns away, they collapse.

Similarly, Beck has been trying to build some "revolutionary" things, but they require his full attention because "when we want do to a revolution, we had better stay in all the time — go, go, go, go, go, go, go — because if you let go and you turn your face, it goes back to its natural space."

"God really helps those who are doing a revolutionary thing," Beck declared. "As long as we are putting all of our power into it, He has to be there every step of the way, putting all of His power in us as well."

Pat Buchanan: Trump Just Saying 'What He Believes To Be True' About Mexican-American Judge

Pat Buchanan, who wrote a column earlier this week decrying the “lynching” of Donald Trump over his racist remarks about a federal judge, discussed the issue further in an interview yesterday with talk radio host Mike Gallagher.

Gallagher asked Buchanan if he found “any merit” in criticism of Trump for saying that the judge hearing a fraud suit against his Trump University is biased because he’s Mexican-American.

“I really don’t,” Buchanan said. “I mean, I can I understand why they would say that Donald Trump shouldn’t have suggested that it’s because he’s a Mexican-American that he’s biased against him, but I think that’s Trump’s point.”

“Look, let me just say this,” he said. “Donald has a perfect reason to believe he might be having this thing stuck to him right in the middle of a campaign, this guy dropping all these documents, etc. Secondly, and it might well be because the judge is a Mexican-American that he really does not like Donald Trump. There’s an awful lot of Mexican-Americans and, indeed, former presidents of Mexico who have said that they can’t stand the guy. But the basic point is, if Trump believes this, and it may be true, what is he supposed to do if he said what he believes to be true and now everybody wants him to apologize for a statement he believes to be true?”

Buchanan made a similar argument in his column today, adding that because “Hispanic rioters” have protested outside Trump rallies, Trump is right to be suspicious of a Mexican American judge.

He also favorably compared Trump’s stand against “political correctness” to Barry Goldwater’s refusal to vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

Assume, as we must, that Trump believes what he said.

Why, then, should he apologize for speaking the truth, as he sees it?

To do so would be to submit to extortion, to recant, to confess to a sin he does not believe he committed. It would be to capitulate to pressure, to tell a lie to stop the beating, to grovel before the Inquisition of Political Correctness.

Contrast Trump with Paul Ryan, who has buckled pathetically.

The speaker says Trump's remark about Judge Gonzalo Curiel being hostile to him, probably because the judge is Mexican-American, is the "textbook definition of a racist comment."

But Ryan's remark raises fewer questions about Trump's beliefs than it does about the depth of Ryan's mind.

We have seen a former president of Mexico curse Trump. We have heard Mexican-American journalists and politicians savage him. We have watched Hispanic rioters burn the American flag and flaunt the Mexican flag outside Trump rallies.

We are told Trump "provoked" these folks, to such a degree they are not entirely to blame for their actions.

Yet the simple suggestion that a Mexican-American judge might also be affected is "the textbook definition of a racist comment"?

The most depressing aspect of this episode is to witness the Republican Party in full panic, trashing Trump to mollify the media who detest them.

To see how far the party has come, consider:

After he had locked up his nomination, Barry Goldwater rose on the floor of the Senate in June of 1964 and voted "No" on the Civil Rights Act. The senator believed that the federal government was usurping the power of the states. He could not countenance this, no matter how noble the cause.

Say what you will about him, Barry Goldwater would never be found among this cut-and-run crowd that is deserting Trump to appease an angry elite.

These Republicans seem to believe that, if or when Trump goes down, this whole unfortunate affair will be over, and they can go back to business as usual.

Sorry, but there is no going back.

The nationalist resistance to the invasion across our Southern border and the will to preserve the unique character of America are surging, and they have their counterparts all across Europe. People sense that the fate and future of the West are in the balance.

Larry Pratt: Gun Owners Keeping Hillary Clinton From Imposing Tyranny

Larry Pratt, the former executive director of Gun Owners of America, added Hillary Clinton this week to the list of public officials who he has warned will face violence from gun owners if they impose regulations on guns.

Pratt, who said last month that if conservatives lose at the “ballot box” they might “have to resort to the bullet box,” said in an interview on the “Crosstalk” radio program on Tuesday that Clinton’s support for some gun regulations may be an attempt to disarm civilians so that she can impose tyranny.

The Second Amendment means, he told Clinton, that “if you even try to go off in a tyrannical direction, the Constitution protects the people’s right to protect the people themselves against people like you.”

What she’s telling me is that she may understand the meaning of the Second Amendment, which is even scarier, because the Second Amendment is meant to tell people like her that might be thinking about going off in a tyrannical direction: ‘Don’t even think about it.’ Because the Second Amendment has recognized the right people have to possess the kind of firearms that your protectors have, Mrs. Clinton, and if you even think, if you even try to go off in a tyrannical direction, the Constitution protects the people’s right to protect the people themselves against people like you.

Pratt has made similar comments about other public officials including President ObamaRep. Carolyn Maloney and Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Gary Heavin: God And Donald Trump Inspired Me To Talk About '9/11 Truth'

In an appearance yesterday on “The Jim Bakker Show,” Curves gym founder and “Amerigeddon” producer Gary Heavin once again promoted debunked claims about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, while at the same time insisting that he was just asking the question, a favorite rhetorical tactic of conspiracy theorists like Donald Trump.

Heavin said that he was inspired by God (and Donald Trump) to start speaking the truth about the terrorist attacks, but then went on to say that he was merely asking questions about the attacks.

“I’m just sayin,’” he said. “I’m just wanting to ask some questions.”

“Donald Trump is giving us permission to speak freely to ask these questions,” he added.

Heavin raised false claims including that no plane wreckage was found at the Pentagon and that Building 7 was brought down by a controlled demolition.

His new movie, “Amerigeddon,” discusses a future in which the U.S. government collaborates with the United Nations to launch a false flag attack on America, in the form of a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, in order to impose a dictatorial form of government.

In a previous edition of this post, we mistakenly referred to Gary Heavin as "Mark Heavin." We regret the error.

House GOPer: Investigate Planned Parenthood Just Because They Provide Abortions

Rep. Dianne Black, R-Tenn., spoke today at the Family Research Council about her work on the House’s “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives” that House Republicans convened in response to the Center for Medical Progress’ smear of Planned Parenthood but that has a broad mandate to investigate basically anything involving abortion providers.

In her opening remarks, Black acknowledged that she saw the panel as an extension of her efforts to “go after” Planned Parenthood that began even before the Center for Medical Progress released its videos that claimed, falsely, that the women’s health organization illegally profits from the small amount of fetal tissue it donates to medical research. In fact, she said, the fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortion is evidence enough that “we must expose them.”

“Even before last summer’s videos were exposing Planned Parenthood and their role in the trafficking of aborted baby body parts,” she said, “their own annual report told us in black and white why we must expose them and go after what they stood for: They’re the largest abortion provider in this nation. They perform more than 320,000 abortions annually while they receive over $500 million of taxpayer dollars to perform these abortions.” (This last figure is incorrect: Planned Parenthood is barred by federal law from using taxpayer funding on abortions except in very limited cases.)

Black recalled how the very first law she introduced in Congress was a 2011 measure to cut funding from Planned Parenthood in a short-term spending bill but that her project met with “tepid” reception on Capitol Hill until David Daleiden’s videos provided an “opportunity” to further that goal.

Earlier this year, President Obama vetoed legislation that would have cut all federal funds from Planned Parenthood, which Black said means “if we had a willing partner in the White House, this is possible, so we cannot give up.”

She said that the select panel was designed as an alternative to this legislation: “We wanted to focus, since this didn’t become law, on the first steps that we can take to hold the abortion industry accountable that don’t require the signature of a president. And that was the genesis, really, of the [committee.]”

Remarkably, after explicitly saying that the panel grew out of her years-long fight against Planned Parenthood, Black said that the panel is not actually meant to target Planned Parenthood.

“They’ve called us a witch hunt against Planned Parenthood, though Planned Parenthood is never named anywhere in the resolution that authorizes the panel’s formation and was not called to testify at either one of our two public hearings that we have head to this point,” she said.

Later in the speech, when asked by an audience member what medical providers can do to help prevent abortion, Black responded that doctors should “help to educate young women with prevention first, using healthy practices to prevent pregnancies before they’re ready for that family” — which is, incidentally, the exact kind of medical care that much of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding goes toward.

Black’s full presentation is here:

Michael Savage: Donald Trump Is 'The Antidote' To 'Crazy' 'Stupid' Obama's 'Toxic Snake Poison'

Far-right radio host Michael Savage was incensed yesterday by the Secretary of the Air Force’s recent comments suggesting that transgender military service members “will be allowed to serve in a more open way” within “the next few months.”

Savage said that a review of the military’s policy on transgender service members will cause the armed forces to ignore the needs of the troops, and is just another sign that America is witnessing “the meltdown of our culture under Barry Hussein Obama like you could never imagine.”

“Think of your most radical, crazy professor,” Savage said. “Think of the nuttiest, the most stupid professor you’ve ever had, totally locked into the left-wing shibboleths of the time, and you learn to listen to it in order to just get through the course. Now take that professor, put the professor into the presidency, give him all the power in the world and let that professor take all the power it can because of a supine Congress and a nonexistent press, and now you know what’s going on in America. We have an out-of-control, lunatic, left-wing college teacher running the country.”

“That’s why we need the antidote,” he continued. “The antidote to this toxic snake poison is Donald Trump. Trump is the antidote to the Hussein snake poison.”

As we’ve previously noted, Savage “believes that God is lifting Trump to victory, hailing the candidate as 'the Winston Churchill of our time' and hoping that he will become a dictator who rules by decree and stop Obama before he begins arresting and killing Americans en masse.”

Paul Blair Claims The Ancient Israelites Lived Under A Constitutional Republic

Glenn Beck dedicated much of his television program last night to interviewing Paul Blair, a radical right-wing activist who is now seeking a seat in the Oklahoma state Senate.

Blair, who was reportedly responsible for the recent legislation that sought to make it a felony to perform an abortion in the state, which was vetoed by Gov. Mary Fallin, echoed right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton when he claimed that the Bible provides guidance on how to establish elections and a constitutional republic.

"From a biblical perspective," he said, "Exodus 18 gives us the criteria by which we're supposed to evaluate candidates when Jethro, the father-in-law, said to Moses, 'Choose out from among you capable individuals that fear God, love truth and hate covetousness, teach them the law' — of course, they had a constitutional republic, quite frankly; they were 12 sovereign tribes working together as one and they weren't ruled by a king, they were ruled by the Torah, the Constitution. 'Teach them the law and have them be judges over tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands.' Quite frankly, that was the birth of republicanism, the republican form of government."

As we and others have noted before, the idea that Exodus 18 lays out the framework for voters on how to choose candidates for office is absurd as it was Moses who appointed these judges, not the people who chose them freely. On top of that, for Blair to claim that the Israelites "had a constitutional republic" is laughable considering that they were living in the desert under what was a literal theocracy that was being directly controlled by God, who ruled over them through Moses.

Religious Right activists are always insisting that they have no desire to impose any sort of theocracy on America because they deeply respect our constitutional republican form of government, but that is a little hard to swallow when they insist that an actual ancient theocracy was the ideal form of a constitutional republic. 

James Dobson: Trans-Inclusive Bathroom Policies Violate Levitical Prohibition On Prostituting Your Daughter

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson invited Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porters on to his “Family Talk” radio program this week to discuss transgender-inclusive facilities policies in schools and stores like Target, which Dobson said violate the Levitical prohibition against selling your daughter into prostitution.

“Let me share a Scripture with you all that I came across that speaks to this issue,” he said. “It’s addressed directly to parents, I think. It’s Leviticus 19:29. Listen to this: ‘Do not degrade your daughters by making them a prostitute or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.’ That comes right to the heart of this. It sort of feels like that’s where we are. We’re taking our little, vulnerable kids and we’re saying in the name of political correctness, ‘Here are our children. Do with them what you want.’ And I’m here to say that I’m going to fight that as long as I have breath in my body.”

He added that he was worried not only about children but also about his wife, Shirley, “being in a bathroom where some grungy guy comes in there and zips down the zipper and does things that she will remember the rest of her life.”

“I mean, where is manhood that we don’t stand up and defend our own families?” he asked. “And I think that we’re going to be responsible before the Lord if we don’t do it.”

Porter heartily agreed, saying that while some are staying out of the issue because they’re “afraid of being called a mean name,” it’s time for “men of courage” to “stand and fight.”

Dobson’s cohost, Meg Meeker, chimed in to say, “Woe to us who do not intervene on behalf of our kids, that’s all I can say.”

“They’re sitting ducks,” said Dobson.

Porter then invoked another Bible verse, the passage in Luke where Jesus tells his disciples that "it would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

“You know, the Bible says it’s better to have a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble,” she said. “And I think … that this applies not just to those in the schools that are doing this, those in the White House and the Target corporation, but I think it applies to parents. Because if you don’t vigilantly watch what they’re teaching your children, if you don’t stand now, school administrators, if you don’t stand now and fight this, then this verse, I believe, applies to you. Because these children are being led astray, they’re being harmed, they’re being violated and the only thing that can protect them is for those adults in authority to stand now and fight.”

Sandy Rios Criticizes Miss USA For Her Support Of Gender Equality

On her radio show Tuesday, American Family Association official Sandy Rios criticized Deshauna Barber, the newly crowned Miss USA, for praising gender equality in the military at Sunday’s pageant.

During the Miss USA pageant’s question-and-answer segment, Barber, an Army Reserve officer, was asked about the Pentagon’s decision to make all combat jobs available to women.

Barber called the decision “an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate into every branch of the military. We are just as tough as men… As a commander of my unit, I am powerful, I am dedicated and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army.”

Rios mocked Barber’s response, saying, “So, as a woman, just so you know, cause I say so, I am just as tough as a man, I am powerful, and gender does not matter in the American military. You see the trend? Just, you know, I think it, so it is. I mean, this is incredible fantasy, and it’s just so unhealthy.”

The 7 Most Ridiculous Defenses Of Donald Trump's Racist Attacks

While Donald Trump is trying to walk back his racist attacks on a federal judge by insisting that he never attacked Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s ethnicity or heritage when, in fact, he did several times (a familiar pattern with Trump), his GOP defenders are straining credulity to defend him.

Trump has said that judges of Mexican descent or of the Muslim faith cannot be impartial in a case involving his Trump University scam because of his proposals for building a wall with Mexico and banning Muslims from entering the country, respectively, but according to his supporters, Trump never made such a claims and the real problem is with Judge Curiel.

Here are seven of the most ridiculous defenses of Trump’s comments:

1) ‘It wasn’t racist! He’s calling attention to racism! Hello!’

In what can only be described as a bizarre meltdown, CNN’s resident Trump apologist, Jeffrey Lord, said yesterday that not only is Trump not a racist, but everybody else is racist:

2) Judge Is Like A White Supremacist!

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said today on Sean Hannity’s radio program that Judge Curiel’s membership in a state Hispanic bar association is just like belonging to a white supremacist group, alleging that the group wants to take California “back” from the U.S. “and they’re gonna take it by force if they have to.”

Hunter added that a “Muslim-American judge of Iraqi descent” would not be able to preside over a case involving the late Chris Kyle because he “killed a whole bunch of bad guys in Iraq.”

Hannity, for his part, likened Curiel presiding over a case involving Trump University to a Hispanic or black defendant facing an all-white jury.

Via BuzzFeed:

3) Judge Is Biased!

After insisting that Trump’s claim that Judge Curiel shouldn’t be allowed to hear his case because of his Mexican heritage wasn’t racist, former Gov. Mike Huckabee told Megyn Kelly last night that he believes Judge Curiel is motivated not necessarily by an ethnic bias but by a left-wing political agenda that makes him prejudiced against Trump in the fraud case.

When Kelly asked Huckabee if he has any evidence demonstrating such an anti-Trump political bias, Huckabee conceded that he had none:

4) Obama Is Racist!

While Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., didn’t agree with Trump’s “regrettable” statement, he went on to claim in a rather awkward CNN interview yesterday that he could just as “easily argue that the President of the United States is a racist with his policies and his rhetoric.”

Zeldin said that he would rather talk about what he sees as the racist “micro-targeting to blacks and Hispanics” from the Democratic Party, which is “more offensive to me, what I’ve seen through the years, than this one statement.”

5) Sotomayor Said The Same Thing!

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley invoked remarks made in years past by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in order to defend Trump’s allegation that Judge Curiel cannot be impartial because he’s “a Mexican.”

“I think that you don’t have any more trouble with what Trump said than when Sotomayor said that -- when she was found saying in speeches that, quote, ‘A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,’” the Iowa senator told the Des Moines Register.

While Trump was insisting that Mexican-Americans are inherently disqualified from presiding over a case involving him, Sotomayor was making the exact opposite point, as she was describing the need for a more diverse judiciary that isn’t shaped entirely by the background and experiences of white men.

“I do believe every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge, regardless of their background or life experience,” she said.

6) Be Nice!

When asked about Trump’s remarks on the judge’s ethnicity, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said that it is unfair for the media to cover Trump like any other candidate for office because it is his first time running for an elected position:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) seems to think Trump is being unnecessarily bullied for his remarks. “Be nice to him. He’s a first-time candidate,” he told reporters. “When you’re in a big race, you make mistakes.”

In a separate interview with The Huffington Post, Hatch speculated that Trump just felt like he was “being picked on.”

“He’s the type of a person who will make comments that sometimes you differ with, and then as he gets to reality on things,” the senator said. “He’ll change his point of view and be, you know, more responsible.”

“I think he does feel like he’s being picked on by the courts. A lot of people who go through the courts feel the same way. He just speaks about it.”  

Hatch’s claim that the media should have a lower standard for Trump is as laughable as it is revealing that the GOP believes Trump should get a pass for his racist remarks.

7) He’s A Member Of La Raza!

Last week, Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said that Judge Curiel is biased because he’s a member of the California La Raza Lawyers Association, which she said “is an organization that has been out there organizing these anti-Trump protesters with the Mexican flags… so Mr. Trump is just stating the obvious.”

She added that the group sponsors “criminal rallies” and “criminal protesters” under “the guise of an anti-Trump protest” and “this judge is connected to that.”

“This is not a pro-American group who is out there wanting to get their voices heard, they are out there pushing to destroy, propose anarchy and to stop an American president from running for office,” she said.

Pierson, like many other right-wing commentators, apparently confused the La Raza Lawyers Association with the National Council of La Raza, a Latino group that is a favorite bogeyman of the Right. Aside from the fact that NCLR is not the anarchy-promoting criminal organization that Pierson claims it is, it isn’t even the organization that Curiel is a member of. The two are completely different groups; the lawyers’ organization is nonpartisan and “focuses on the professional development of Latino lawyers and encouraging students to pursue a career in law.”

Grassley Revives 'Wise Latina' Canard To Defend Trump's Racism

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has taken the lead in the Senate GOP’s effort to block Judge Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination in the hope that a President Donald Trump will be the one to name the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement.

Grassley’s blockade became even more problematic this week when Trump launched a racist assault against a federal judge who is hearing a fraud case involving his Trump University. Trump claimed that the judge, who was born in Indiana to parents who emigrated from Mexico, had an “inherent conflict of interest” in the case because he is “Mexican” and Trump is “building a wall.” The presumptive GOP presidential nominee later acknowledged that using the same logic, it was “possible” that a Muslim judge should also be disqualified from hearing a case involving him.

Trump’s comments drew widespread condemnation, including from some of his fellow Republicans, but Grassley, apparently, didn’t see the problem. In a conference call with Iowa reporters today, Grassley equated Trump’s comments with Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s famous “wise Latina” remark that became a right-wing flashpoint during her 2009 confirmation hearings:

“I think that you don’t have any more trouble with what Trump said than when Sotomayor said that — when she was found saying in speeches that, quote, ‘A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,’” he said. “I don’t hear any criticism of that sort of comment by a justice of the Supreme Court.”

Grassley didn’t pull this comparison out of thin air: The same comparison has been popping up all over the right-wing media.

It’s a flashback to 2009, when conservatives latched on to a speech Sotomayor had given in 2001 in which she disagreed with the idea that a judge isn’t influenced by his or her personal background:

Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. … I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, … there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

What Sotomayor’s critics often chose to ignore was that she went on to say that while a judge’s personal experience can’t help but influence how they see the world, a good judge tries to look beyond the myopia of personal experience to understand the lives of others:

I … believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. … [Nine] white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

Sotomayor later clarified in the face of right-wing criticism: “I want to state upfront, unequivocally and without doubt: I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging. I do believe every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge, regardless of their background or life experience."

It shouldn’t be surprising that Grassley and some of his allies on the Right are reviving the “wise Latina” attack on Sotomayor as they attempt to defend Trump. In fact, Trump’s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel are not that different from how the Right attacked Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings, claiming that simply because she had spoken proudly of her Latina heritage and acknowledged that a person’s background can shape how they see the world she would be driven by “identity politics” rather than the law.

Some claimed explicitly, and many others implicitly, that Sotomayor, who had graduated from Princeton and Yale and had served for many years as a federal judge, was not as qualified as a white judge with a similar record. Pat Buchanan, who is now an enthusiastic cheerleader for Trump, was one of those who made the claim explicitly when he wrote that white Americans “pay the price of affirmative action when their sons and daughters are pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors.”

We wrote in a report after her confirmation:

Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remarks were taken out of context to imply that she was some kind of ethnic supremacist, and her ruling in the Ricci affirmative action case was wildly distorted to suggest that she was a judicial activist who lived to use the law as a club against white men. Pundits like Rush Limbaugh and elected officials like Tom Tancredo called her a racist. Pat Buchanan charged her with having a “race-based” approach to justice and having demonstrated “a lifelong resolve to discriminate against white males.”

On the first day of Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, columnist Eugene Robinson observed:

Republicans' outrage, both real and feigned, at Sotomayor's musings about how her identity as a "wise Latina" might affect her judicial decisions is based on a flawed assumption: that whiteness and maleness are not themselves facets of a distinct identity. Being white and male is seen instead as a neutral condition, the natural order of things. Any "identity" — black, brown, female, gay, whatever —has to be judged against this supposedly "objective" standard.


Thus it is irrelevant if Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. talks about the impact of his background as the son of Italian immigrants on his rulings — as he did at his confirmation hearings — but unforgivable for Sotomayor to mention that her Puerto Rican family history might be relevant to her work.

This seems to be the attitude of the Trump campaign, whose top operative has said that picking a woman or person of color as a vice presidential nominee would amount to “pandering” and whose list of potential Supreme Court picks were all white and mostly men. According to Trump, it seems, only white men can be unbiased and qualified. And Grassley seems to think that’s just fine.

'We Are Living The Milgrim Experiment': Glenn Beck Blames Obama For Nasty Facebook Comments

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck declared that "we are right now living the Milgrim Experiment" and, of course, it is all President Obama's fault.

Beck was referencing the famous series of social psychology experiments done at Yale University back in the 1960s, which found that many people were willing to inflict increasingly painful punishments upon a subject simply because they were ordered to do so by someone in authority.

Today, the comments being left on Facebook show that this mentality has overtaken our entire society, Beck said, and it can all be traced directly back to Obama.

"Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, they're all, in their own ways, hammering people who disagree with them," Beck stated. "So they are setting for an example for both the left and the right, it's okay to be vile, it's okay to be uncivil. How are we living the experiment? Have you read Facebook lately? Have you read the comments section lately?"

"I contend, if you read Facebook, if you read anything, you read any comments right now, we are living the Milgrim Experiment," he continued. "We are living in a time where people will say, 'It's okay you do that.' And people in authority — Barack Obama is the first one, he's the first president; if you remember, even George Bush treated Cindy Sheehan with respect, she didn't treat him with respect but he treated her with respect. Surrogates might have said things, but the president did not, the president did not. Barack Obama was the first to say, 'You're walking around with your little tea bags.' That was the beginning of the Milgrim Experiment. Somebody in authority was saying it's okay to bash them."

Pat Toomey's SCOTUS Obstruction Backed By Only 18% Of Pennsylvanians

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has joined other Senate Republicans in refusing to hold a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, even going so far as to make misleading claims about Garland’s record as a judge.

Not surprisingly, Toomey’s stance may be hurting him among Pennsylvania voters.

Public Policy Polling released a poll today showing strong support in Pennsylvania — even among Republicans — for Senate hearings on Garland’s nomination.

One issue that continues to complicate Toomey's reelection prospects is the vacant Supreme Court seat. 53% of voters want to see it filled this year, compared to only 38% who think that should wait for the next President. More importantly though, 66% of voters want there to be confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland's nomination to just 18% who think he should be rejected out of hand. Democrats (79/9), independents (56/14), and even Republicans (52/31) think that Garland deserves a hearing. By a 23 point margin voters say they're less likely to vote for a Senator who opposes confirmation hearings on Garland's nomination- just 22% say that stance would make them more likely to vote for someone, compared to 45% who say it would make them less likely to.

Just yesterday, Toomey said that Donald Trump’s racist attack on a federal judge of Mexican descent was “deeply offensive,” “ridiculous” and “outrageous.” He is nonetheless apparently comfortable holding the vacancy on the Supreme Court open for a possible President Trump.

He isn’t the only Republican senator whose re-election chances are being harmed by the party’s decision to block Garland from even being considered for the Supreme Court, with polls in several key states finding the GOP’s stance to be overwhelmingly unpopular.

Syndicate content