Checks and Balances

Editors at The Wall Street Journal correctly decry a Federal district judge’s ruling that ex-White House counsel Don McGahn must testify before the House of Representatives in response to a House subpoena.  As the editors put it,

the sweeping ruling essentially eliminates a right to confidentiality between a President and his most senior advisers.

Thus:

A federal judge says White House aides must answer to Capitol Hill.

Not just any Federal judge: an Obama judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The Jackson’s ruling, though, goes far beyond that.  The judge has asserted absolute supremacy of the Legislative over the Executive.

The Left and Judging

President Donald Trump has nominated Sarah Pitlyk for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, and the Senate is about to take up her nomination for the confirmation process.

The American Bar Association thinks highly of Pitlyk’s great intelligence, high character, and experience researching and writing briefs, but it says she’s not qualified to be a judge.  After all, this textualist judge nominee

worked for the Thomas More Society, a nonprofit organization, on cases involving contract, employment and tax disputes, as well as on religious liberty and pro-life matters.

A Judge Got One Wrong

Recall Florida’s citizens, by a 2:1 margin, voting up a State constitutional amendment restoring to convicted felons (except murderers and sex offenders) their right to vote on completion of their criminal sentences.

Recall, further, Florida’s government passing a law that required these felons to pay off their outstanding fines, fees or restitution—in other words, actually to complete their sentences, including court-imposed financial requirements.  This law went further: it provided mechanisms for relief from those financial penalties so the felon could complete their sentences more quickly after release from jail:

  • payment of the financial obligation in full

Threats

Progressive-Democrats are nakedly trying to intimidate the Supreme Court to get their own way—and they’ve made their threat overt, in an Amici Curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court concerning New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc v City of New York, which is a case involving New York City’s ban on transporting “licensed, locked and unloaded handgun[s] to a home or shooting range outside city limits.”

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI), Richard Blumenthal (D, CT), Mazie Hirono (D, HI), Richard Durbin (D, IL), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) made their threat thusly:

A Misbehaving Judge

PG&E is in a world of hurt, still, over the California fires that its shoddy power line maintenance contributed so heavily to starting.  However, the Federal district judge overseeing a related court case has overstepped his own bounds.

William Alsup, a US district judge in Northern California, ordered PG&E to respond “on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis” to the Journal article published July 10.

This is just plain wrong.  Leaving aside the fact that newspaper articles, no matter how seemingly well-documented, are not evidence of anything—they’re only allegations, and they were not brought to Alsup by any parties to that case; he went and got them all by himself.

A Misunderstanding

In a house editorial concerning the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding President Donald Trump’s authority to reallocate some DoD funds toward building a border wall, The Wall Street Journal expressed the hope that the ruling—which lifted a nation-wide injunction issued by a Federal district [sic] judge—would send an appropriate signal to district judges regarding nation-wide injunctions.  The editors also had this remark regarding such injunctions.

The proliferation of national injunctions has inserted judges into policy debates in ways they should avoid….

This is a misapprehension of the situation and a mischaracterization of what the judges are doing.

In Which the Court Gets One Right

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Bladensburg Peace Cross is not an unconstitutional favoring by government of a particular religion, reversing the 4th Circuit. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

This is the privately done monument that was

built in 1925 and paid for by local families, businesses, and the American Legion to honor 49 World War I veterans from Prince George’s County [in Maryland]. But the 40-foot cross sits on a now-busy highway median owned since 1961 by a state commission that pays for its maintenance and upkeep.

“Radical-Right” and the Left

The Washington Post ran a panic-mongering op-ed about the Supreme Court last week.

Last month, the new conservative majority—being driven by Justices Neil M Gorsuch and Brett M Kavanaugh—signaled that this change is coming. In overruling a 40-year-old precedent governing how state governments can be sued, the new court majority, all of whom pledged reverence for precedent during their Senate confirmation hearings—sang a different song: “stare decisis is ‘not an inexorable command,’ … and is ‘at its weakest’ when interpreting the Constitution.” This was the second time in less than a year that the conservative majority has tossed aside decades-old precedent.

Appeals to Courts Vice Voters Vice….

Wisconsin’s Progressive-Democrats failed at the polls, for all that they won the Governor’s and Attorney General’s chairs in 2018, so they tried to get the courts to impose their policies by judicial fiat.  That failed, too, so now what?  How can these Know Betters get their plans imposed on the unwashed citizenry?

It seems that the duly elected State legislature and duly elected State governor had passed a number of laws that limited the power of the Governor and the State Attorney General.  The fact that these laws were enacted after those 2018 elections and before the new Governor and Attorney General took office was somehow supposed to delegitimize those laws.  Or so the Progressive-Democrat Governor and AG insisted.  The people were still speaking, but they should not be listened to.