President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh was opposed by some conservatives and is not viewed as strongly anti-abortion as Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. However, he is highly intelligent and accomplished. I have a column out this morning in The Hill newspaper.
We have been discussing the controversy at the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia where White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was forced out of a restaurant by the owner due to Trump’s policies. Now we have the inverse controversy at the Black Swan book store in Richmond, Virginia. Former Trump aide Steve Bannon went into the store to look at books when a woman began to berate him and call him “a piece of trash.” The owner, Nick Cooke, called 911 after trying to get the woman to leave. After he called, the woman left, but in her wake came a torrent of criticism for Cooke. Former longtime Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines on Saturday even posted the contact information of the bookstore.
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on why the most creative and productive individuals are often disfavored in our modern confirmation system. With the announcement of the new nominee this evening by President Donald Trump, we will have the state of a counterintuitive process that favors those who are the least forthcoming or open about their views.
Here is the column: Continue reading “Why Big Fierce Nominees Are Rare”
Below is my column in USA Today on politics over Roe and the Supreme Court vacancy. The new vacancy and the the earlier pro-life pledge of President Donald Trump is something of a bill come due for Republicans. It is a bill that some Republicans privately do not want to pay.
Attorneys for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort have asked a federal judge for a venue change on the rather dubious grounds that Alexandria Virginia is simply too liberal. Manafort wants a jury in Roanoke where there are more Republicans. It is an exceptionally weak motion and would be unprecedented to shift jurisdiction based on the political views of the local electorate as opposed to using voir dire to spot bias. Attorneys Kevin Downing, Thomas Zehnle and Jay Nanavati told the “It is not a stretch to expect that voters who supported Secretary Clinton would be predisposed against Mr. Manafort or that voters who supported President Donald Trump would be less inclined toward the Special Counsel.” If it is “not a stretch” politically, it is a stretch legally. In fairness to the defense time, however, it was Judge T.S. Ellis III who raised the possibility of a venue change to Roanoke or Richmond. Ellis however has a reputation for making controversial statements from the bench. In most courts, I would expect this motion to be denied fairly quickly.
Talent agent Ken Kaplan has a curious way of celebrating the Fourth of July. According to James Wood, Kaplan used the holiday celebrating a nation committed to free speech and self-determination by publicly dropping the actor for his conservative views. He said dropping an artist for his political views makes him feel “patriotic.” Notably, none of the artists represented by Kaplan protested the discrimination against a fellow artists for political reasons. Continue reading ““Feeling Patriotic”: James Wood Allegedly Dropped By Agent For Conservative Views”