Judicial Watch has filed a bar complaint against counsel for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. The complaint follows the issue raised earlier on this blog on the statement made by Ford that she was never told that the Committee had offered to fly to California. Attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks, and Michael Bromwich deny the allegation and say that Ford was fully informed. These are very accomplished lawyers and I am inclined to believe them. That however raises serious questions about Ford’s sworn testimony and the attorneys offer a rather tortured explanation of the conflict. Continue reading “Bar Complaint Filed Against Counsel For Dr. Christine Blasey Ford”
The National Constitution Center and the Old Parkland Debate Series has announced that a debate will be held on November 12th between George Washington Professor Jonathan Turley and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on impeachment. The debate will occur a week after the 2018 midterm elections and many have called for the impeachment of both President Donald Trump and Judge Brett Kavanaugh following a Democratic takeover of the United States House of Representatives. The debate question is: Resolved, the framers designed impeachment as a political, rather than a legal process. Toobin will argue that the Framers intended impeachment to be a political judgment while Turley will argue that the Framers intended more of a legal judgment. Turley was the last lead counsel in an impeachment trial in the Senate and Toobin previously worked for Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh.
I have been critical of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on social media and the campaign trail. The attacks are often personal and, in my view, often unsettling. That was the case yesterday at an Iowa rally where the crowd chanted “Lock her up, lock her up” after Trump taunted ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) over the leaking of a letter from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. It is a chilling development in a mass rally to have supporters calling for the jailing of Trump’s political opponents. That is not what this country represents and should be condemned by Democratic and Republican leaders alike. Continue reading “Iowa Rally Chants “Lock Her Up” After Trump Taunts Diane Feinstein”
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation. It is not that there is no winner and loser as much as both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh are both winners and losers.
It will take time to decide which party will benefit, but there is clearly Brett bump for Republicans going into the midterms. Yet, the confirmation will also continue to resonate Democratic voters.
In 2010, I (and others) criticized the Democratic leadership (including then Majority Leader Harry Reid and many of the continuing Democratic senators) for their use of the “nuclear option” in curtailing the power of the filibuster. I was equally critical of Republican leaders who previously suggested such a course of action. The Democrats acted with little concern that they might ever be in the minority and need this critical power. They muscled through the Affordable Care Act on a marginal vote that cost various members their seats and passed a highly flawed bill that was plagued by problems of bad drafting and poor planning. Moreover, they secured relatively few confirmations to federal office. The result was the final demise of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees when the Republicans took power. The result for the Democrats is Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed by a 50 to 48 vote. Continue reading “A Bill Comes Due: Reid’s Folly Becomes The Democratic Nightmare”
Below is my column in USA Today on what appears now to be a clear perjury strategy against Judge Brett Kavanaugh that focuses more on his credibility than his alleged criminality. There are many who have questioned whether Kavanaugh testified truthfully on the meaning of well-known sexual terms as well as his statements on his prior drinking habits. Clearly, any false testimony would be a barrier to confirmation regardless of the subject. Yet, this confirmation could create a new term for future nominees: “boofed.” The questioning on high school lexicon and conduct is a new element in confirmations — precedent that could further degrade our process for selecting Supreme Court justices.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the growing pledges from House and Senate Democratic members to investigation and possibly impeach Brett Kavanaugh if he is confirmed this week. It would constitute a dangerous and reckless precedent for Democrats to pursue with any new majority.
Charles Ludington, a college friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, released a statement that directly contradicted the testimony of the judge on this drinking in college. Ludington told The Washington Post that he gave a statement to the FBI that Kavanaugh was “belligerent and aggressive” as a drunk in college and once threw a beer in the face of someone who insulted him. He is the third college friend who described Kavanaugh as a belligerent drinker in college.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper that looks beyond this immediate controversy over the Kavanaugh nomination toward three basic reforms of the confirmation process. With the FBI investigation interviewing witnesses on the first two allegations of sexual assault, it is not clear what new information may surface at the end of the week. In the interim, it would be useful to discuss the now obvious failure of our confirmation process. I have been a long critic of the process, but the Kavanaugh confirmation process has magnified these flaws to a grotesque degree.
Notably, Kavanaugh now has been given the SNL treatment with a performance by Matt Damon that is that type of comical portrayal that hits hard in public controversy.
Here is the column:
As I discussed in yesterday’s earlier in a column, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., RI) going through the yearbook entries of Brett Kavanaugh was one of the most bizarre moments of confirmations in our history. Whitehouse was attempting to undermine Kavanaugh’s account of not being a black out drunk or participating in sexual exploits at parties with his friends. The hearing devolved into a discussed of the terms “boofing” and the “Devil’s Triangle.” The terms are widely defined on the internet to mean anal sex and a threesome (with one male and two females). Kavanaugh insisted that they meant farting and a drinking game. That led many to question his veracity (I am thankfully ignorant of either term but I have come to realize that my high school and college years were monastic in comparison to most everyone else). One person using a congressional computer however decided to try to add at least some support for Kavanaugh on the Internet by changing the definition on Wikipedia. He or she only succeeded in causing a row that highlighted the controversy over Kavanaugh’s answers.
Yesterday’s Kavanaugh hearing left many questions on both sides, including the ultimate question of the alleged attempted rape of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. However, for lawyers, one exchange sticks out from a professional standpoint. Ford was questioned why she delayed the hearing due to her alleged fear of flying and, more importantly, why she did not simply meet with committee staff in California. Ford admitted that, while she does not like to fly, she does in fact routinely fly around the world, including frequent trips to nearby Delaware. The most striking statement however was the suggestion that she was never told by counsel that she did not have to fly to Washington and the Committee was ready to fly to her — a prospect that she said she would have welcomed. That left a lingering question of whether her counsel did not tell her of a material offer or whether she misrepresented the reason for her delay in speaking to the Committee.
In a new twist, Committee staff has reportedly interviewed two men who say that they were actually the two teens who may as assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in 1982 and not Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It is not clear what further information will be released on this latest disclosure but it raises an obviously serious matter for both sides. I remain leery of this lat minute leak and the lack of details — unfortunately a common element in this ongoing controversy.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) filed for an injunction in federal court to stop a final vote on Brett Kavanaugh. The filing claims that the Republican majority is obstructing his constitutional duty to give advise and consent on nominees. The filing is entirely and utterly meritless. It will be dismissed and is unlikely to receive a hearing on the claim.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has announced the identity of the lawyer who will conduct the primary questions of both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, is someone with considerable experience in not such sex crimes but delayed sex crime prosecutions. It is an unusual step for the Committee but not unprecedented. Congress will hire outside counsel or allow counsel to question witnesses on some occasions, particularly at fact-finding stages. I was hired a lead counsel to represent the United States House of Representatives in the successful challenge of the unilateral funding decisions of the Affordable Care Act by President Barack Obama. Continue reading “Arizona Sex Crimes Prosecutor Hired To Question Ford and Kavanaugh”
With the addition of a second woman alleging sexual misconduct of Brett Kavanaugh, it is still not clear what factual disputes will have to be addressed before a final confirmation vote occurs in the Senate. Putting aside questions over late timing of the allegations, there is agreement that the Senate will have to consider both the allegations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the new allegations of Deborah Ramirez. What is far more troubling is the continued disagreement on the standard that Senators should use in considering the allegations. While objecting that their Republican colleagues are not prepared to give the women an “impartial hearing,” various Democratic senators have declared (before any testimony is heard) that they believe Dr. Ford – and thus do not believe Judge Kavanaugh. That is troubling enough, but Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., HI) has introduced a far more troubling element in suggesting that she may decide the factual question on the basis of Kavanaugh’s jurisprudential views. Continue reading “Hirano’s Hedge: Kavanaugh Not Entitled To Presumption Of Innocence Due To His Ideological Views”