Hacking and the Politics of Moral Outrage

The_ScreamWith the chorus of calls for an “independent counsel” or “special prosecutor” to investigate the Russian hacking scandal, there has been one element that remains rather ambiguous: what is the specific crime to be investigated?  Clearly there is the hacking but that crime is well-known and was committed by Russians who are unlikely to be subject to any real investigation.  A special counsel, as opposed to a bipartisan commission, would require the articulation of a crime and the basis for the investigation.  I am all in favor of independent investigations of this and other issues. However, if we are going to move beyond a special commission to special counsel we need to have more evidence and a notion of what we are investigating. That may come but we are not there yet.  Below is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the subject — and the moral outrage over hacking.

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Trump and The Courts: Presidential Attacks On The Courts Have A Long History

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedSupreme CourtBelow is my column in USA Today on the continuing controversy over President Trump’s attack on judges who have ruled against his executive orders.  I have been critical of Trump’s attacks on the media and the courts, which undermine not just those critical institutions but the White House itself.  As discussed below, presidents have learned that attacking the courts tend to diminish their own credibility over time.  Having said that, Trump is not as much as a departure from other presidents as some have made out.  Indeed, public discord between the executive and judicial branches has a long history in our country.  Of course that is no license to continue a bad practice and most modern presidents have avoided direct personal attacks on judges and justices.  Most importantly, the criticism of the judges in the Ninth Circuit in my view are unwarranted and unhelpful.  The executive order on immigration was, as I have previously stated, poorly drafted, poorly executed and poorly defended.  The law favored the President and still does.  Yet, through remarkably causal drafting, the Administration gave judges a target rich environment in the first executive order. While I disagree with fundamental parts of these opinions, the result had more to do with the sloppy drafting of the order than any bias of the judges.

Here is the column.

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Supreme Court

I recently published a column in the Los Angeles Times on reforming the Supreme Court with three fundamental changes that could be accomplished without a constitutional amendment.  Below is a longer version of that column on the three reforms and their implications.

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ap17024739756097donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the nomination of Tenth Circuit Neil Gorsuch.  If President Trump sought to change the subject from immigration, I doubt this will do it. However, as I discuss in the column, if he sought to quiet restless Republicans over a truly dreadful performance of the Administration in the first week, the nomination should do so. He is a jurist with impeccable credentials and will be very impressive in the upcoming hearings.  He is, to put it simply, a game changer.

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donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is today’s column in USA Today on the protests against President-Elect Donald Trump and why, despite having a house full of family members and friends who have come to protest Trump, I will not be joining them. Instead, I will be home with my kids as we have been in every inauguration – celebrating the peaceful transfer of power in our democracy and wishing the newly elected president (and our country) the best with an inaugural toast. I criticized Trump (and Hillary Clinton) during the campaign (and I will not hesitate to criticize Trump again for policies or actions that I disagree with). However, I find the claims of illegitimacy and attacks this week to be highly disturbing. I totally respect the right of people to come to protest Trump and his policies. However, there appears to be a concerted effort to delegitimize his presidency and create a type of political mythology about this election.

In this column I discuss that mythology and, more importantly, the meaning of the day of inauguration for many of us. Regardless of my criticism of both Trump and Clinton, I always knew that on January 20th I would raise a glass to the 45th President of the United States and wish him or her . . . and us . . . the best of luck in the coming years. It is a time when we reaffirm our commitment not so much to a politician but to each other. We reaffirm a common article of faith that, despite our disagreements and divisions, we remain one country joined by our belief in democratic transition and government. There is much to celebrate this week as a glance around the world at places like Gambia will readily confirm. Donald Trump will be the 45th President. Our President.
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