We have been discussing the bizarre situation of the two major parties nominating the two candidates with not just the highest, but unprecedented, negative numbers with voters. The presumptive nomination of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have renewed calls for reforms to challenge the control of a duopoly of power in the country. This week there are new polls showing not only that Trump and Clinton are roughly equal in the high rejection of the majority of the voters, but 58 percent say that they are considering voting for someone other than Trump and Clinton. That could be a huge boast to the Libertarian and Green candidates this election. It also may reflect the dangerous gamble of the establishment in the Democratic party in securing the nomination for Clinton.
United States District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a remarkable opinion yesterday that found that Justice Department lawyers not only lied to him and opposing counsel but “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” What is even more remarkable however is that, after finding such calculated and unethical conduct, Hanen ordered the lawyers to simply take ethics classes rather than refer them to the bar for suspension or disbarment. Many attorneys object that government lawyers routinely escape serious punishment for false or misleading statements. In this case, the judge found that the Justice Department misled him and opposing counsel in a case by Texas and 25 other states that sought to block President Barack Obama’s controversial immigration programs. Hansen blocked the program. Notably, the Justice Department is even opposing ethical classes as a sanction.
It is not every recent law grad who can claim that he appeared before the state supreme court soon after graduation. Unfortunately, this is one appearance that University of Wisconsin law graduate Joshua Jarrett is unlikely to add to his resume. In a close vote, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Jarrett could be admitted to the bar so long as he is supervised for two years. Bar officials sought to block Jarrett after concluding that he had misrepresented his grades and credentials in a job application.
Trump supporters have repeatedly objected to what is viewed as a bias in the media in favor of Hillary Clinton, including the failure to recognize that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have previously said things that are now denounced as hateful or extremist. Now a Clinton surrogate has sounded positively Trump like in his criticism of Trump. Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor had a curious way of analyzing the impact of statements by Trump about women on voters. I will say it again: this election cannot get more bizarre.
We have been discussing the scourge of graffiti and destruction by vandals in our national parks. The lack of deterrence was vividly shown by the laughable fine given to actress Vanessa Hudgens for defacing a rock wall. An exception to this dismal enforcement may be the case of three men who were caught on video drunkenly vandalizing Death Valley National Park and possibly causing the death of an endangered Devils Hole pupfish. Steven Schwinkendorf, Edgar Reyes and Trenton Sargent are all facing felony charges including killing of an endangered species, destruction of habitat, trespassing, and destruction of property. One is charged with the crime of an ex-felon possessing a firearm.
This afternoon, Judge Rosemary Collyer issued a final ruling in United States House of Representatives v. Burwell, the challenge to unilateral actions taken by the Administration under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Judge Collyer ruled in favor of the House of Representatives and found that the Administration violated the Constitution in committing billions of dollars from the United States Treasury without the approval of Congress. The historic ruling reaffirms the foundational “power of the purse” that was given to the legislative branch by the Framers.
The FBI and its director James Comey have been careful not to be swept into the political campaign in comments about the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal server. The Clinton campaign, and the candidate herself, have repeatedly scoffed at any danger of an indictment and insisted that this is merely a “security review” or “security inquiry.” Indeed, close Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal was on CNN this morning stressing that this was nothing more than a security review. Now Comey is being quoted by Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge as directly refuting this core claim by Clinton and saying that this is a criminal investigation. He would also likely disagree with Bill Clinton’s recent claim that the investigation was just a “game” and nothing more.