Textualists and Originalists Are Again AWOL in Wars on Syria and Yemen

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_cropped220px-B-2_spirit_bombingBelow is my recent column in The Hill Newspaper on the increased U.S. involvement in the fighting in Syria and Yemen.  As usual, there is little concern (beyond Sen. Rand Paul) over the sending of troops into foreign conflicts without congressional approval or anything resembling a specific declaration of war.  Indeed, when members insist that modern national security threats do not make specific declarations or authorizations practical, they sound much like “living constitution” advocates.  Yet, we have now engaged in hundreds of military actions with only a small number of declarations and a small percentage of authorizations.  As the Framers feared, war has become a continual and unilateral exercise of executive authority.

In recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary hearing, I supported the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, despite my disagreement with some of his opinions. I specifically noted that his textualist approach to statute and the Constitution is no vice in a federal judge. While I hold many liberal views, I also believe in a formalist and fairly textualist approach to interpretation.

What is curious, however, is how the supporters of such textualism and formalism are largely silent this week as the Trump administration is planning to send more troops into Syria and to intervene in Yemen … all without the declaration of war required by the text of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Hundreds of more troops are planned for the Syrian conflict even though the government in the country has declared that any U.S. military operating in the country are “invaders.” We have been conducting extensive bombing raids with troops on the ground in Syria for many months. We have spent billions of dollars on the effort. All without a formal declaration by the Congress.

Now, Defense Secretary James Mattis has reportedly asked the White House to lift restrictions on U.S. military support in Yemen. The war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels  has not been going well for our Persian Gulf allies, particularly Saudi Arabia. The United States wants now to play a bigger role, but notably, the military is asking permission not from Congress but the president. It is his call. That is precisely what the Framers wanted to avoid.

The Constitution has long had its own unreliable allies in Congress. Adherence to the text of the document seems to be a forgotten value when it would take politicians to uncomfortable or inconvenient places. Politicians hate to declare wars. It is not that they hate wars. Wars are popular. Wars can be profitable.

The problem is that they can be blamed if wars do not go well. As a result, they have used open-ended resolutions that can be used by presidents to conduct wars at their whim while allowing politicians to later deny that they ever really supported interventions or were misled if the wars go badly.

This issue most famously came up with Hillary Clinton during her presidential runs. She was eager to express her support for the wars in Iraq and Libya until they became unpopular. Clinton then blamed others and insisted that she was misled, adding, “I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong.”

Of course, the spin ignored the objections at the time that Clinton and others were unwilling to even listen to objections or demands for substantive hearings. These calls were ignored because the members did not want to hear anything that would make it difficult for them to vote for a popular war.

She is certainly right that she was not alone in discarding her duties under Article I. The vote was a popular choice and paraded before cameras … until the war dragged on with thousands of casualties and hundreds of billions in expenditures. Democrats and Republicans share equal responsibility for reading out Article I, Section 8 from the Constitution.

The courts are equally at fault. They have accepted resolutions as substitutes for declarations and, more importantly, have allowed resolutions to become increasing general and vague, thus allowing (as we are now seeing) open-ended power to intervene militarily in virtually any country at any time. Indeed, challengers rarely get any judicial review at all. Years ago, I represented both Democratic and Republican members challenging the Libyan War, but the federal court barred consideration of the merits by the members as lacking “standing” to be even heard in federal court.

We were bombing the capital of a foreign power with a recognized government. We were spending billions in war funding. Yet, the Obama administration was allowed to simply call it not a “war” but a “time-limited, scope-limited military action” or a “kinetic action.” Indeed, the Administration insisted to the court that the President alone defines what is a war. Thus, as long as he does not use that noun, Article I effectively does not apply. You can call it a “police action” or a training exercise or a bean bag and that is all that you need to claim the right to go to war on a president’s sole authority.

Does that track with anyone even remotely familiar with our Framers? These were brilliant men who created a system of carefully balanced powers. Yet, Congress and the courts have made them into the world’s biggest chumps who can be circumvented by simply a change in nouns. Where the Framers wanted Congress to take ownership of any wars, courts now allow members to delegate that authority to presidents and sit as pedestrians watching whether wars prove to be popular or problematic.

History is now repeating itself. No one in Congress wants its own new intervention, but no one wants to be seen opposing interventions against terrorists. Suddenly all of the moral outrage over non-textualist readings of the Constitution are silent … just days after the last hearing. This is why moral outrage in Washington is something of a performance art. This performance, however, is nothing but a tragedy for those who believe in adherence to the text of the Constitution.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He has litigated various national security cases.

201 thoughts on “Textualists and Originalists Are Again AWOL in Wars on Syria and Yemen

  1. @ MIC apologist Jeff Davis:
    “As always, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.”

    “Activist groups that operate in IS-held territory and are opposed to the militants have reported increasing numbers of civilian deaths from U.S.-led airstrikes in recent weeks. The coalition is providing support to a Syrian Kurdish-led force that is on the offensive against the extremist group. [Emphasis added]

    “Thousands of people in areas held by IS are trying to flee the violence as preparations are underway to capture the northern city of Raqqa, the extremists’ de facto capital. Activists and residents have said the militants are forcing civilians to stay in order to use them as human shields once the offensive on Raqqa begins. [Yeah, like that will work.]

    “Leaflets dropped by coalition warplanes in recent weeks gave confusing directions — one suggests areas closer to the Euphrates River are safer, but another warns that boats crossing the river will be struck.

    “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, an activist group opposed to IS, said a boat carrying about 40 people was hit as it was crossing the Euphrates River in Raqqa province. It said the bodies of a woman and her six children were recovered, while the others are still missing. The Sound and Picture group, which tracks killings and other abuses in IS-held territory, reported the same casualty estimates. [Emphasis added]
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/activists-coalition-airstrike-boat-kills-7-civilians-144711792.html

    Apparently, it’s necessary for the humanitarian interventionists of the Exceptional Nation and its erstwhile lackies to kill a whole lot of civilians in Syria in order to protect them from Assad and IS. Unfortunately for any winning-hearts-and-minds advertising purposes, their gratitude must necessarily be of the posthumous variety.

  2. @ JT:
    “As usual, there is little concern (beyond Sen. Rand Paul) over the sending of troops into foreign conflicts without congressional approval or anything resembling a specific declaration of war.”

    I’ve just now run across and watched this interview of Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, regarding Trump’s attack on Syria.Those who are reluctant to credit the geo-political thinking of US Government outsiders should avail themselves of the insights of this major player in the Bush Administration:

    • It’s just as likely that support from both sides of the aisle for Trump’s missile strikes and rhetoric about suffocating children’s gruesome deaths was meant to cover the fact that this nerve gas was a Syrian rebel stockpile (unwittingly) bombed by the Syrian government. It may have even originated from the former Libyan stockpile co-opted by Obama & Co.

  3. @Steve Groen, April 8, 2017 at 10:04 am
    “Trump’s good. He’s really good. He has to go.
    “Are we going to reign (sic) in executive usurpation of authority, or aren’t we?”

    if Trump is ever impeached, it won’t be because he’s offended members of either the Republican or Democrat wings of the US War Party, who seem to have no problem whatsoever with inflicting death and destruction on men, women, and children in foreign countries of “strategic interest” to the US Oligarchy.

    One can readily imagine the Republicrat War Party’s reaction if Iran, say, were to have struck with missiles a US base in Iraq in retaliation for the recent civilian carnage in and around Mosul:

    “On Tuesday, Amnesty released a report detailing the destruction that US-led airstrikes have left in their wake. ‘Evidence gathered on the ground in East Mosul points to an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside,’ Amnesty senior advisor Donatella Rovera said.

    “More than 3,000 civilians are believed to have died since US-backed government forces launched their onslaught into the city.[This is, of course only the latest in a series of mass extermination of civilians, and in just one country, Iraq.]

    Amnesty said the US is not taking adequate precautions to ensure the safety of non-combatants, though on Monday the US publically denied that it had loosened its rules of engagement on airstrikes against IS.”
    http://www.dw.com/en/us-military-launches-formal-investigation-into-civilian-deaths-in-mosul/a-38197930?maca=en-vam_rsstaboolaenglish-23151-xml-mrss&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral

    Regarding the incredibly dangerous (See “Russia”) and illegal (under both US and international law) attack on a sovereign nation that had not attacked the US, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis stated:

    “As always, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.”
    https://ru.usembassy.gov/statement-pentagon-spokesman-capt-jeff-davis-u-s-strike-syria/

    Well, then, US Military-Industrial Complex victims everywhere should be awfully grateful. This MIC spokesman would have everyone understand, in other words, that “collateral damage” from illegal and immoral military operations is regrettably inevitable, but is, after all, just another (externalized) cost of conducting US Government Business around the world.

    • “if Trump is ever impeached, it won’t be because he’s offended members of either the Republican or Democrat wings of the US War Party, who seem to have no problem whatsoever with inflicting death and destruction on men, women, and children in foreign countries of “strategic interest” to the US Oligarchy.”

      You may be right. I’d imagine he’ll have to be caught red-handed with his hand in the cookie jar with no plausible deniability. I’ll enjoy watching Sean Spicer try to get his boss out of that one.

  4. Here’s a ray of light in an otherwise dark and foreboding landscape:

    “Trump’s alt-right fans bail after Syria strikes”

    “Ann Coulter @Ann Coulter
    Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV.”

    “Paul Joseph Watson @PrisonPlanet
    I guess Trump wasn’t ‘Putin’s puppet’ after all, he was just another deep state/Neo-Con puppet.
    I’m officially OFF the Trump train.”

    “Mike Cernovich us @Cernovich
    Today over 500,000 people have watched my videos and streams. 90% are @realDonaldTrump supporters, none want war with Syria. #NoMoreWars”

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-alt-right-fans-bail-syria-strikes-130839954.html

    • From Wikipedia:

      “On 6 April 2017, 59 Tomahawk missiles were launched from the USS Ross (DDG-71) and USS Porter (DDG-78), targeting Shayrat Airbase near Homs, in Syria. The strike was in response to a chemical weapons attack, an act allegedly carried out by Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad. Initial reports indicate that the Syrian airbase was ‘almost completely destroyed’ after the US strike. Subsequent reports, however, showed that the runways were untouched, and that the Syrian military resumed flying sorties out of the airbase the very next day.”

      Trump sure is making America great again:

      1) An impeachable violation of federal law in failing to seek a congressional declaration of war by which to attack a foreign sovereign;

      2) The plausibility of the Syrian government’s position that its attack had hit an insurgent chemical weapons stockpile; and,

      3) At roughly a million dollars per Tomahawk, and excluding the cost of maintaining ships on station, $59M didn’t destroy the airbase runways.

      Trump’s good. He’s really good. He has to go.

      Are we going to reign in executive usurpation of authority, or aren’t we?

      • Steve Groen – do you read any WWII or Vietnam War history? Check out the bombing stats. You will find they were lucky to get near the enemy or even the city they were supposed to bomb. The fact that they hit the airport at all is a miracle.

        • He’s a low rent lawyer who accomplishes flat nothing constructive in his work and has spent his late adolescent and adult life complaining about how people more capable than he accomplish things in realms of human endeavour he knows nothing about.

        • “The fact that they hit the airport at all is a miracle.” Why the rhetoric?

          Paul, let me know, would ya, just when we used a ship-to-shore missile in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam, let alone one with a price tag of ~$1,000,000.00, a 1,500-mile range, and apparently with promised accuracy to within 25 feet using satellite telemetry.

          Not that I’m condoning the manner in which it’s being tested, but if we spent $59M to find out the Tomahawk doesn’t do what its manufacturer says it does, the taxpayer just got another glimpse of MIC impropriety, so a big BOHICA to you, too.

            • Setting the telemetry? It could just as easily have been an explosion in the main housing:

              Carl: There’s been an explosion in main housing.

              Brian: Listen, we’ve got to release the number three or that pump’s gonna blow.

              Carl: If the pump blows that could mean a meltdown.

              Brian: What is happening?

              Matt: I’ll tell you what’s happening. The Pepsi Syndrome.

              Brian: Pepsi Syndrome? I’ve never heard of it.

              Matt: Only a handful of people know what the Pepsi Syndrome means. Maybe soon, everyone will know it.

              Carl: But, what is it?

              Matt: Well, the Pepsi Syndrome. If someone spills a Pepsi on the control panel of a nuclear power reactor, the panel can short-circuit, and the whole core may melt down.

              Brian: But, you spilled a Coke.

              Matt: It doesn’t matter. Any cola does it.

              Carl: Any cola? What about RC Cola?

              Matt: Yeah, RC does it.

              Brian: Canada Dry?

              Matt: Sure.

              Carl: 7-up?

              Matt: It’s harmless. It’s an un-cola. Oh, wow! I could have had a V8!

  5. “Goodbye, U.S. Senate

    “When the Republicans ‘went nuclear’ on Thursday and changed the rules of the U.S. Senate to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations, Congress started down a path to destroy what makes that body special. The Republicans’ win-at-all-costs strategy will almost certainly lead next to the end of the filibuster for legislation, not just nominations, which would fundamentally change the culture of the Senate and be a tragic loss for our democracy.”

    “Republicans with a long memory will also recall the many years in which the Democrats were in power, a cycle that is sure to repeat. Rendering entirely ineffective the voice of the minority party will come back to bite them, maybe sooner rather than later.”

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-gluck-filibuster-20170407-story.html

  6. “Goodbye, U.S. Senate

    “When the Republicans ‘went nuclear’ on Thursday and changed the rules of the U.S. Senate to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme
    Court nominations, Congress started down a path to destroy what makes that body special. The Republicans’ win-at-all-costs strategy will almost certainly lead next to the end of the filibuster for legislation, not just nominations, which would fundamentally change the culture of the Senate and be a tragic loss for our democracy.”

    “Republicans with a long memory will also recall the many years in which the Democrats were in power, a cycle that is sure to repeat. Rendering entirely ineffective the voice of the minority party will come back to bite them, maybe sooner rather than later.” http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-gluck-filibuster-20170407-story.html

  7. @Steve Groen, April 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    “Ken: you were saying the Republicans wouldn’t change the cloture rule because they have too much to lose?”

    No, what I said , in response to your assertion that “the Republicans have nothing to lose” by changing the cloture rule,” was that they have as much to lose from that ploy as do the Democrats, when the Republicans are again in the Senate’s minority.

    If you’re going to engage me, please try to attend more closely to what I actually say.

    Schumer’s being grotesquely wrong about the missile strike is an altogether separate issue from his position on the filibuster of Gorsuch.

    Don’t you recall my pointing out that you were committing the logical fallacy of argumentum ad hominem with regard to Schumer?

    Well, you’re still doing it.

    • Ken: “what I said, in response to your assertion that ‘the Republicans have nothing to lose by changing the cloture rule,’ was that they have as much to lose from that ploy as do the Democrats, when the Republicans are again in the Senate’s minority.”

      I think that means the Republican majority wouldn’t change the cloture rule because they have as much to lose as the Democrats by doing so. Put another way, what do the Republicans have to lose that the Democrats don’t in getting their favored nominee confirmed? Nothing, and that’s why they changed the rule. Obviously, your argument that changing the cloture rule would somehow be as bad for Republicans and therefore prevent them from doing it didn’t hold any water.

      And frankly, as I’ve mentioned before, the argument that Gorsuch doesn’t follow the law so that he can get a desired result is met head on with dozens of more liberal decisions that find rights hidden away until discovered like colored Easter eggs to obtain ::voila!:: a desired result. Both conservative and less conservative judges want a result they can live with and equally as much it seems to me.

      Interestingly enough, next Thursday, April 13th, at the next Supreme Court conference, the Court may very well address the petition filed by Edward Peruta for a writ of certiorari to answer the question whether California’s ban on openly-carried firearms requires concealed carry permits issue under the Second Amendment.

      https://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/16-894.htm
      https://www.supremecourt.gov/docket/PDFs/11-400%20Cert%20Petition.pdf

      Justice Neil Gorsuch will likely be sitting in on that conference, and the result may four Justices willing to take a closer look at what the individual right to “bear arms” actually means. At a minimum, Heller says it means home defense, but does mean every state shall issue handgun permits? It seems as though changing the cloture rule may even have been better for Republicans than Democrats with regard to one fundamental right. This is certainly my desired result.

      Not that I have any interest in the case but my CCW application has been sitting in San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore’s office in-basket underneath no-doubt thousands of others for literally two years awaiting a final decision in the Peruta case.

  8. @JT
    “We were bombing the capital of a foreign power with a recognized government. We were spending billions in war funding. Yet, the Obama administration was allowed to simply call it not a ‘war’ but a ‘time-limited, scope-limited military action’ or a ‘kinetic action.’ Indeed, the Administration insisted to the court that the President alone defines what is a war. Thus, as long as he does not use that noun, Article I effectively does not apply. You can call it a ‘police action’ or a training exercise or a bean bag and that is all that you need to claim the right to go to war on a president’s sole authority.”

    Or you can call it something like “a decisive humanitarian retaliatory response based on a purported belief” or on “We don’t need no stinking approval”:

    “It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president just over two months ago. The strikes also risk thrusting the U.S. deeper into an intractable conflict that his predecessor spent years trying to avoid.

    “Announcing the assault from his Florida resort, Trump said there was no doubt Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the chemical attack, which he said employed banned gases and killed dozens.

    ” ‘Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,’ Trumped declared.

    “The U.S. strikes — some 59 missiles launched from the USS Ross and USS Porter — hit the government-controlled Shayrat air base in central Syria, where U.S. officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off. The U.S. missiles hit at 8:45 p.m. in Washington, 3:45 Friday morning in Syria. The missiles targeted the base’s airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, officials said.

    ”Trump approved the strikes without approval from Congress or the backing of the United Nations. The White House said about two dozen lawmakers from both parties were briefed on the actions.” [My emphasis]
    http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/US-United-States-Syria-The-Latest/2017/04/06/id/783045/?ns_mail_uid=603350&ns_mail_job=1722703_04062017&s=al&dkt_nbr=racstwau

  9. @Brooklin Bridge, April 6, 2017 at 8:09 pm
    “Also notice how the very language in opinion piece articles is almost a direct copy, sometimes literally word for word of what comes out of the state department or a press conference.”

    Can you provide an example or three of what you’re referring to?

    Do you mean something analogous to this example of the Corporate Media’s valorizing their candidate, Hillary Clinton?

  10. @Steve Groen, April 5, 2017 at 2:27 pm
    “Your argument that if he doesn’t follow precedent at the circuit court of appeals level, then he won’t as a member of the Supreme Court seems specious.
    “I know you understand the irony here, but for some reason you are unwilling to acknowledge it. Will you?”

    What I don’t understand is what you’re talking about. I have never made the “argument that if he [Gorsuch] doesn’t follow precedent at the circuit court of appeals level, then he won’t as a member of the Supreme Court.”

    My sole argument has been that the great preponderance of evidence indicates that Gorsuch is a judge whose political ideology, as reflected in his lower court decisions, his disingenuous and evasive answers during his confirmation hearings, and in the multi-million dollar campaign by corporate interests in support of his appointment to the SC, is that of a corporatist, not that of an individualist, i.e., he has bought into the fallacy of misplaced concreteness (See A.N.Whitehead) that corporations are persons which enjoy all the Constitutional protections that real, individual people do. Inasmuch as corporations already control approximately fifty-percent of the world’s wealth, they do not need any more representation by a Supreme Court Justice of Gorsuch’s ilk.

    The “bordering on political idiocy” to which I referred in my earlier comment is that of denying the legitimacy of a filibuster of Gorsuch because its participants are politically impure and on other issues do not have spotlessly “progressive” voting or campaign-contribution records.

    I hope that helps to clarify my position.

    • Ken: you were saying the Republicans wouldn’t change the cloture rule because they have too much to lose?

      By the way, Chuckie Schumer is now a pom-pom girl for missile strikes against Syria. He’s probably running around the hallways shouting, “Remember the Maine!” He’s just another great American in a long line of great Americans trying to make America great again.

  11. Horuss, April 5, 2017 at 11:54 am
    “There’s a reason the so called “textualists” and “originalists” are absent on these questions. It’s because almost everyone in government and the courts who claim to be those things is merely lying to achieve convenient political ends. They no more believe in these positions than the man in the moon. The blazing hypocrisy of the alleged adherents to these phony judicial philosophies is apparent every time they depart from their alleged approaches when it suits their right wing political agenda. One need go no further than the right wing political hacks on the SCOTUS to see how clear and obvious this is. Anyone who believes otherwise is living in a fantasyworld where the past 40 years or growing numbers of right wing extremist judges making such claims of “philosophy” have proven themselves liars and hypocrites.”

    Thanks for what you wrote, here. My only reservation regarding the truth value of your otherwise excellent post is your apparent undervaluation of the human capacity for rationalization in general, and of many members of the legal profession’s expertise in rationalizing their behavior, in particular.

    In other words, by rationalizing their behavior to themselves, they allow themselves an out from consciously being hypocrites and liars.

    • “In other words, by rationalizing their behavior to themselves, they allow themselves an out from consciously being hypocrites and liars.”

      Not to be a thorn in your side, and politics aside, here are a few thoughts that you’ve labelled “idiocy”:

      1) In 2013, Democrats removed the filibuster from Senate deliberations over advice and consent to lower federal court positions with no choice but to decide thousands of cases each year. It’s hypocrisy to argue that removing the filibuster from Senate deliberations over Supreme Court nominees is “rationalizing [Republican] behavior” when the Supreme Court decides about ninety cases a year and only then if four votes exist to determine any case.

      2) It’s hypocrisy to call textualists and originalists hypocrites when they’re the conservative response to a written constitution less conservative judges interpret to give us Commerce Clause jurisprudence that swallows the 10th Amendment whole, substantive due process per se (remember Chief Justice Taney’s Dred Scott opinion?), incorporation of selected portions of the Bill of Rights into the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause and reverse absorption of 14th Amendment equal protection into the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment, Miranda warnings as a constitutional prerogative, etc. The textualist/originalist jurist masks ideology as well as the less conservative jurist that finds additional words where there aren’t any, leading to interpretations of the Constitution, statutes, and case law offensive to the other.

      3) As for Judge Gorsuch’s failure to follow precedent and how that might reflect his behavior when seated on the Supreme Court, remember Brown v. Board’s failure to follow Plessy v. Ferguson? Isn’t that a failure to follow precedent? Your argument that if he doesn’t follow precedent at the circuit court of appeals level, then he won’t as a member of the Supreme Court seems specious.

      I know you understand the irony here, but for some reason you are unwilling to acknowledge it. Will you?

  12. Steve Groen, April 5, 2017 at 10:17 am
    “When Kerry was asked why he voted to go to war in Iraq, Kerry apparently said, ‘Anyone who didn’t vote for the Iraq War was dead meat politically.’ I’ve never come across a more defining and unabashed self-serving sentiment. Mike wrote, ‘It wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear.’ ”

    I don’t have time at the moment to find the exact quotation, but many years ago, Kerry said that the reason he had volunteered for duty in the Vietnam War was to burnish his political credentials, so prostituting himself for political gain seems to be an habitual posture for John.

    Although I hadn’t thought of it until just now, his being “swiftboated” during his unsuccessful run for President was beautifully karmic.

  13. There’s a reason the so called “textualists” and “originalists” are absent on these questions. It’s because almost everyone in government and the courts who claim to be those things is merely lying to achieve convenient political ends. They no more believe in these positions than the man in the moon. The blazing hypocrisy of the alleged adherents to these phony judicial philosophies is apparent every time they depart from their alleged approaches when it suits their right wing political agenda. One need go no further than the right wing political hacks on the SCOTUS to see how clear and obvious this is. Anyone who believes otherwise is living in a fantasyworld where the past 40 years or growing numbers of right wing extremist judges making such claims of “philosophy” have proven themselves liars and hypocrites.

  14. @Personanongrata, April 4, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    “There is also very little concern as to whether any members of the US governments death worship cult can articulate a viable American national security interest at stake in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia (etal) all of which are thousands of miles from the continental US and had never attacked…[the US].”

    That’s a pretty harsh assessment of the Military-Industrial-Governmental Complex, P.

    Have you forgotten so soon their need to wage never-ending war on terrists around the world, spread them some democracy, and kill them there so they don’t have to kill them here?

    Have you forgotten so soon what the terrists did on 9/11, when they totally destroyed Buildings 6 and 7 and pulverized into microscopic dust the WTC Twin Towers, using nothing but aluminum airplanes and jet fuel, such were their demonic powers?

  15. As usual, there is little concern (beyond Sen. Rand Paul) over the sending of troops into foreign conflicts without congressional approval or anything resembling a specific declaration of war.

    There is also very little concern as to whether any members of the US governments death worship cult can articulate a viable American national security interest at stake in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia (etal) all of which are thousands of miles from the continental US and had never attacked (exceptions being in 1987 USS Stark when Iraq which at the time was very friendly with the US mistakenly attacked the USS Stark in a missile attack in the Persian Gulf and Libya’s state sponsored terror attacks in Europe) or seriously threatened any US interests in the world before having their nations torn asunder by the US and it’s European band of stooges in NATO.

    There is a scene from the near the end of the movie Apocalypse now when Martin Sheen’s character Capt Willard is speaking with Marlon Brando’s character Col Kurtz when the following dialogue occurs:

    KURTZ
    ” Are my methods unsound?”

    WILLARD
    ” I don’t see any method at all, sir.”

    The DC death worship cult and it’s European lackeys should stand back and reflect upon 30 years plus of wanton blood lust and butchery and ask themselves:

    “Are my methods unsound?”

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