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Posts tagged ‘Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.)’

GOP senator embarrasses Biden nominee for federal appeals court with basic question about Constitution

By: CHRIS ENLOE | May 18, 2023


Image source: YouTube screenshot

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) stumped yet another Biden judicial nominee on Wednesday with basic questions on constitutional legal doctrine.

At a hearing to consider federal District Court Judge Ana de Alba for a spot on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Kennedy asked de Alba to explain the Dormant Commerce Clause doctrine and the Commerce Clause, which is found in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

“This has been in the news a lot lately, and you’ll probably see it if you’re confirmed to the Court of Appeal. Tell me about the Dormant Commerce Clause,” Kennedy quizzed.

De Alba responded that she is only “somewhat familiar with the Commerce Clause,” indicating where to find it in the Constitution — but said nothing about the Dormant Commerce Clause.

Kennedy responded by helping her. He explained that “there was a big Supreme Court case” dealing with the Dormant Commerce Clause that just came out of California (which came from the very appeals court to which de Alba is nominated). De Alba then apologized for not being able to answer his question, justifying her knowledge gap by explaining that she has never dealt with it as a practicing lawyer or judge. She then promised to research it.

But things got worse when Kennedy asked de Alba to discuss the Commerce Clause broadly.

“So, my understanding about the Commerce Clause, like I stated, senator, is that it is under Article 1 of the Constitution, and it allows the legislature to create laws that allow for movement and things related to commerce in the United States and anything crossing state lines, things like that,” de Alba explained.

In follow-up questions, Kennedy asked “between whom” the clause permits Congress to regulate commerce.

“Between states, for example,” de Alba said.

“Anybody else?” Kennedy asked.

“It’s not coming to mind right now, senator,” de Alba admitted.

Kennedy questions de Alba, Ramirez in Judiciary

The Commerce Clause, found in Article 1, Section 8, grants to Congress the power to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The Dormant Commerce Clause doctrine, on the other hand, “refers to the prohibition, implicit in the Commerce Clause, against states passing legislation that discriminates against or excessively burdens interstate commerce,” Cornell Law explains.

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in a case involving California Proposition 12, a state law that says pork products important into the state must meet specific animal welfare standards. The federal government challenged the law, arguing it violated the Dormant Commerce Clause. But the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, disagreed, upholding the law.

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GOP senator detonates pro-abortion professor with one simple question: ‘I refuse to be shackled by your question’

By: CHRIS ENLOE | April 28, 2023


Image source: YouTube screenshot

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) outraged a congressional witness on Wednesday with a simple question about her perspective on abortion.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about “the assault on reproductive rights in a post-Dobbs America,” Kennedy asked University of California-Irvine Chancellor’s Professor of Law Michele Goodwin whether she supports unfettered abortion.

“I think this a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. Do you support it being legal to abort an unborn child up to the moment of birth?” Kennedy asked.

Goodwin, however, seemed uninterested in answering the question. She told Kennedy the question is more complicated than he believes, to which he said he simply wants her personal perspective.

“I’m just trying to understand your perspective, and I’m not accusing you of this. But, you know, people sort of talk around this issue,” he responded, before asking his question again: “If there were a bill that said that a woman has an unfettered right to abort an unborn baby for any reason up to the moment of birth, would you vote yes or would you vote no?”

Senator Kennedy, I refuse to be shackled by your question,” Goodwin shot back.

Democrat witnesses refuse to answer Kennedy: “Do you support abortion up to the moment of birth?”

After several moments of back-and-forth in which Goodwin and Kennedy talked over one another, Kennedy asked, “You’re advocating a law that says that an unborn baby can be aborted up to the moment of birth for any reason, are you not?”

“Let me clarify what the 14th Amendment says in the first sentence that citizens of the United States are individuals that are ‘born.’ That is what our Constitution says,” she responded. “Do you support our Constitution?”

It’s not exactly clear what Goodwin was trying to say with her reference to the Constitution. Either she was suggesting that the 14th Amendment does not apply to unborn children because they are not yet born, or she was making a reference to the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

The exchange ended when Kennedy reassured Goodwin that he didn’t want to argue with her, opining that he believed Goodwin was “afraid” to admit her support for “unfettered” abortion.

“You’re not going to answer it and that’s your right,” he said. “But I would respect you more if you would just say, ‘Here is my answer.'”

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