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American Bar Association gives Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett its highest rating

The American Bar Association on Sunday announced that it has given Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett its highest rating. Monday is the start of Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings.

In a Sunday letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the American Bar Association advised that Barrett is “well qualified” for a position on the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, DC Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy shared the letter on Twitter, writing, “The American Bar Association released its determination that Judge Amy Coney Barrett is ‘Well Qualified’ on the eve of the start of her Supreme Court confirmation hearings.”

A portion of the letter reads, “The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the federal judiciary has completed its evaluation of the professional qualifications of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who has been nominated by the President to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.”

“As you know, the Standing Committee confines its evaluation to the qualities of integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament,” the letter continues. “A substantial majority of the standing committee determined that Judge Barrett is ‘Well Qualified,’ and a minority is of the opinion that she is ‘Qualified’ to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.”

The letter concludes, “The majority rating represents the Standing Committee’s official rating.”

As noted by the Daily Wire, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in 2001 referred to the American Bar Association’s judicial ratings as the “gold standard by which judicial candidates are judged.”

On Sunday night, Barrett released the opening statement she plans to issue on Monday morning.

A portion of her remarks read:

Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society. But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.

That is the approach I have strived to follow as a judge on the Seventh Circuit. In every case, I have carefully considered the arguments presented by the parties, discussed the issues with my colleagues on the court, and done my utmost to reach the result required by the law, whatever my own preferences might be. I try to remain mindful that, while my court decides thousands of cases a year, each case is the most important one to the parties involved. After all, cases are not like statutes, which are often named for their authors. Cases are named for the parties who stand to gain or lose in the real world, often through their liberty or livelihood.

You can read the remarks in their entirety here and below.

Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearing greeted by rival protests outside Supreme Court

They held up signs supporting the Affordable Care Act, which Democrats believe is in jeopardy if she is on the highest bench, and one protester held up a sign of a clothes hanger with the phrase “Never Again,” a nod to Roe v. Wade, the prevailing law on abortion. Democrats are fearful that Barrett, who is pro-life, could swing the court the other direction if the case comes in front of the court again.

They left the Supreme Court and began marching toward the Hart Senate Office Building when they briefly encountered a larger group of pro-life protesters who want Amy to “fill the seat.”

“No confirmation until inauguration!” the anti-Trump group chanted as they passed by the pro-life organizers. Most protesters in both groups were wearing masks, but neither was actively trying to keep six feet between themselves and others.

The group in favor of Barrett’s confirmation, which included many young adults, walked around the Hart Senate Office, and they congregated outside one of the entrances to the building. With protesters holding up Barrett versions of Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster of Barack Obama, and others waving signs reading, “I am the pro-life generation,” they chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go!”

Barrett’s hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee will go on until Thursday. The senators on the committee and Barrett herself are set to testify on Monday, while lawmakers will then question her on Tuesday and Wednesday with outside witnesses both in her favor and against her speaking on Thursday.

Senate Republican leadership plan to get Barrett confirmed to the Supreme Court before Election Day.

‘In a category of excellence’: Graham praises Barrett and warns Democrats against Kavanaugh repeat

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, described Barrett as “in a category of excellence” that should make the nation proud but warned that the confirmation will take place in an election year.

“My Democratic colleagues will say, ‘This has never been done,’” he said, countering, “The Senate is doing its duty, constitutionally,” even though no justice has been confirmed so close to an election.

Graham said there have been 19 justices confirmed in an election year, 17 of them when the White House and Senate parties were aligned.

Monday’s hearing will be composed of opening statements by senators and Barrett, who is now a court of appeals judge for the 7th Circuit, having been confirmed to that bench by the Senate in 2017. Senators will question Barrett on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Graham said the hearing is not about “persuading each other, unless something really dramatic happens,” but said it would give Democrats a chance to “dig deep into her philosophy” and serve the same purpose for the GOP.

“Most importantly, it gives you, the American people, the chance to find out about Judge Barrett,” Graham said. “Find out for yourself.”

Graham warned Democrats that Barrett “doesn’t deserve” the treatment of Kavanaugh, who was scrutinized in an additional hearing to air accusations by a former high school acquaintance who said he sexually assaulted her.

“Let’s remember — the world is watching,” Graham said.


EXCLUSIVE: House Intel Committee Has Received All Docs On Trump Dossier From DOJ, FBI

Reported by Richard Pollock | Reporter | 5:04 PM 01/08/2018

Rep. Devin Nunes Briefs Reporters At The White House On Intelligence Cmte Russia Investigation

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence members gained access to all Department of Justice and FBI documents it possesses on the Trump dossier, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The committee was able to review Friday all FBI and DOJ documents on the Trump dossier, former MI-6 British agent Christopher Steele who authored the dossier, and Fusion GPS, the political opposition firm that hired Steele. DOJ also provided Obama administration applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which could approve the surveillance of the Trump transition team, according to a source with direct knowledge of the case.

The information could serve as a key breakthrough in the committee’s investigation of Steele, Fusion GPS and the Russians who influenced the dossiers’ contents.

The only exception to the release was an FBI one FD-302 document that FBI Director Christopher Wray showed only to Nunes. The document pertains to interviews of sources or suspects.  The committee also will have access to interview key Justice Department and FBI officials later in January.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes announced on Jan. 3 that assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein approved committee access to documents pertaining to Steele, Fusion GPS and any applications for surveillance of Trump transition officials. The committee’s document request was re-issued in a Jan. 4 letter from Nunes to Rosenstein.

The Intelligence Committee is seeking a clear understanding of how the FBI and Obama’s Justice Department officials used the dossier, which Steele compiled from unknown Russian sources. The dossier contained unverified and disparaging charges about Trumps activities in Russia.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid Fusion GPS for the dossier. The intelligence committee is also investigating whether the FBI or the Justice Department also agreed to pay Steele for his information, how they used the information and what steps, if any, they took to verify its content.

The documents additionally could provide insights into the Obama administration’s request to “unmask” or force the intelligence community to reveal the identity of Trump transition officials who were in contact with diplomats and foreign principals.

The Justice Department and the FBI have actively stonewalled Congress since 2017 over the Obama administration’s relationship to Fusion GPS, Steele and its use of the dossier to obtain a warrant before the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court, which can authorize surveillance on American citizens.

Nunes expressed frustration with the lack of any response to the requests for documents in a December letter to Rosenstein. “Unfortunately, DOJ/FBI’s intransigence with respect to the August 24 subpoenas is part of a broader pattern of behavior that can no longer be tolerated,” he wrote.

“As a result of the numerous delays and discrepancies that have hampered the process of subpoena compliance, the committee no longer credits the representations made by DOJ and/or the FBI regarding these matters,” Nunes told Rosenstein.

The information also could be used for a criminal investigation of Steele.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, said he believed Steele lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters regarding information in the dossier, and he urged the department to investigate.

“I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation,” he said. “But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review,” he said according to The New York Times.

TheDCNF contacted the White House for confirmation about the matter but has not yet received any response.

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Additional Politically INCORRECT Cartoons for Thursday September 21, 2017

The Star Witness On Sessions’ ‘Racism’ Has Deeply Troubled History

waving flagAuthored by Photo of Kevin Daley Kevin Daley / Legal Affairs Reporter / 01/10/2017

URL of the original posting site:

Thomas Figures, an assistant U.S. attorney whose accusations of racial bias torpedoed Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to the federal bench in 1986, had a history of erratic and disturbed behavior, colleagues and estranged family say.More Evidence

New sworn statements obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation given by former colleagues allege Figures, who died in 2015, was a paranoid figure who, among other things, believed “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather was communicating with him through his television. An office loner with a flair for confrontation, Figures was later indicted by federal authorities for attempting to bribe a witness.

30 years later, his testimony continues to shape press coverage of Sessions’ nomination to serve as attorney general in the Trump administration.typical

The Star Witness

A Democrat who joined the U.S. attorney’s office during the Jimmy Carter administration, Figures was the first black man to serve as a federal prosecutor in Mobile, Ala. Though a stalwart of local Democratic politics — he was vice chair of the Mobile County Democratic Conference and his brother was a state senator — Figures chose to remain on the staff of the district’s new conservative U.S. attorney, one Jeff Sessions, following the election of former President Ronald Reagan. The pair worked together for five years.

Sessions and Figures would part ways, if only for a moment, in 1985. One year later, Sessions was preparing for the exchange of platitudes typical of a committee hearing for a district judgeship, when Figures scuttled his nomination with crippling allegations of racist sympathies.

Invited by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to give testimony to his character, Figures alleged Sessions regularly called him “boy” in private and admonished him to watch his mouth around the office’s white employees. His allegations were not corroborated by any member of Sessions’ staff. He also falsely claimed that Sessions ordered him to close his investigation of the lynching of a young black man named Michael Donald. Democrats on the panel peppered Sessions with biting questions and comments in the ensuing days. (RELATED: Leading Democrats Liked Jeff Sessions Before They Hated Him)

“Mr. Sessions is a throwback to a shameful era, which I know both black and white Americans thought was in our past,” Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy said during the proceedings. “It is inconceivable to me that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a U.S. attorney, let alone a U.S. federal judge.”more-words

Figures was one of two witnesses who expressed concerns about Sessions’ racial politics. The other witness, a civil rights attorney named J. Gerald Hebert, testified that Sessions had made disparaging remarks about the ACLU and the NAACP. He went on to tell the committee he did not believe Sessions to be a racist.

Sessions’ appointment floundered, and the White House withdrew the nomination on July 31.

A Paranoid Streak

Federal investigators and former colleagues say Figures routinely displayed a pattern of erratic and paranoid behavior.

TheDCNF exclusively obtained an affidavit Monday given by former FBI special agent John Brennan, who worked with Figures while he was a federal prosecutor, that claims Figures often made strange claims. In the sworn statement, Brennan says Figures once told him he believed CBS News anchor Dan Rather was signaling to him during his nightly news broadcasts, and relaying information he wanted Figures to use.

“Mr. Figures told me that CBS News anchor Dan Rather and other news anchors would glance off camera and were signaled when he was watching television,” Brennan’s affidavit reads. “Mr. Figures claimed that, once signaled, Mr. Rather, or the other news anchors, would speak directly to him from the television and tell him things they wanted him to do or would give him information they wanted him to have.”

On another occasion, Figures allegedly told Brennan he believed his home was bugged and asked him to execute a search of the house. The ensuing search did not turn up listening devices. In a related instance, Brennan says Figures told him he terminated a road trip from Mobile, Ala. to Dallas, Texas because he believed a truck with a satellite antennae was following him.More Evidence

Brennan’s statements correspond to a second affidavit obtained by TheDCNF given by Cheryl Crisona, an assistant U.S. attorney who worked with Figures from 1981 to 1985. Crisona alleges Figures was confrontational with colleagues, and often made a secretary she shared with him cry. The affidavit mirrors claims Figures’ ex-wife Janice made during divorce proceedings in 1991. (RELATED: Democrats Face Uphill Battle Blocking Sessions)

Crisona says Figures was suspicious of group conversations in the office, for fear he was the subject of discussion. “He was very paranoid about any group in the office talking, always assuming that we were talking about him,” the affidavit reads. “In a nutshell, every one of us in that office was afraid of Thomas Figures,” she added.What did you say 04.jpg


Figures Indicted

Six years later in 1992, Figures was indicted by federal prosecutors for attempting to bribe a convicted drug dealer.

The kingpin, John Christopher, was preparing to take the stand against Figures’ client, Noble Beasley, who was accused of attempting to distribute 11 pounds of crack cocaine. A letter written by Christopher’s lawyer, Joseph Kulakowski, that was obtained by TheDCNF, claims Figures presented himself as Christopher’s lawyer in the docket room of a county jail and gained access to Christopher in a private meeting room. During that meeting, federal authorities alleged Figures offered Christopher $50,000 not to testify against his client.

At trial, when confronted with recordings of his meeting at the county jail, Figures testified that he was attempting to lure Christopher into a criminal scheme so he could report him for attempted bribery. He was acquitted of all charges, though Beasley would go on to serve a life sentence.

Figures has since died, further calcifying a legacy of strained race relations. Accounts of Figures’ testimony have appeared, without reference to his dubious credibility, on CNN and CBS broadcasts, as well as in print through the Associated Press, Vanity Fair, and The Daily Beast, among others.It is a matter of public record that Sessions supported the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which invalidated key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. However, remarks Sessions is alleged to have made behind closed doors, while widely disseminated in media, appear to rest on increasingly untenable grounds.

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Harry Reid: Vote to Amend U.S. Constitution to Limit Political Speech

18 May 2014

On May 15, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on June 3 on amending the U.S. Constitution to limit political speech. If ultimately adopted, it would mark the first time in American history that a constitutional amendment rescinded a freedom listed as among the fundamental rights of the American people.   

The proposed amendment was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-CO) as S.J.R. 19 and if ratified would become the Twenty-Eighth Amendment. It provides in part that “Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect [to] the Federal elections … [and] State elections.”

The proposed amendment includes a provision that “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” So Breitbart News, The New York Times, and the mainstream media would be able to say whatever they want, but citizens and citizen groups such as the National Rifle Association could not.

The American people have amended the Constitution 27 times in the nation’s history. Ten of those happened in a single package when the states ratified the Bill of Rights, and another three occurred between 1865 and 1870 following the Civil War, forbidding slavery and racial discrimination.  

Reid usually opposes amending the Constitution. In 2011, Reid voted against S.J.R. 10, a proposed constitutional amendment by Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee (R-UT) that would require the federal government to balance the federal budget. In 2004 Reid voted against S.J.R. 40 that would have protected marriage as the union of one man and one woman, which would not include same-sex partners or polygamous marriages of three or more people.

Only one amendment has modified a previous amendment. The Eighteenth Amendment was ratified in 1919 and empowered Congress to forbid alcohol nationwide. Then the Twenty-First Amendment was ratified in 1933 to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment and allow alcohol to flow once again.

But the right of Americans to fully engage in political speech is guaranteed by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. If S.J.R. 19 becomes part of the Constitution, it would be the first instance in which a right secured by a constitutional amendment was later scaled back.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promises that the full Senate will vote on the measure later this year.



Breitbart News senior legal analyst Ken Klukowski is a fellow with the American Civil Rights Union. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

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