“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” —Thomas Jefferson (1823)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Roberts Rules of Disorder
- MSM Spins Russia Bounty Into a Scandal
- Atlanta’s Aftermath
- Trump: Getting It Right
- The Cuomo/de Blasio Tag Team of Failure
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Chief Justice John Roberts seems to have one guiding principle: Uphold the integrity of the Supreme Court. As Erick Erickson puts it, Roberts “is more about protecting his turf than preserving an ideology.” Ironically, his methods of doing so are frequently yielding the opposite result. Roberts has become, as National Review’s editors write, “the most politically calculating of the justices,” all while claiming he wants to steer the Court clear of politicized outcomes. The damage to our Constitution and Rule of Law is hard to overstate.
Roberts still does deliver some better decisions, such as in yesterday’s ruling in Selia Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau declaring the Consumer Financial Protection Board structurally unconstitutional. The CFPB was Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild and a centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank “reform” bill that accrued to Washington vast power over the nation’s financial institutions, and it was effectively unaccountable to either the executive or the legislative branches. But even this win was limited. Roberts, on the narrowest possible ground, found that as long as the president can remove the CFPB director, the constitutional conflict is resolved.
Meanwhile, Roberts delivered another body blow to Rule of Law and to judicial standards with his ruling in June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo, the case in which Roberts joined the Court’s four leftists to strike down a Louisiana law that put “health and safety” regulations on abortion clinics. Four years ago, Roberts ruled the opposite way in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case that dealt with a similar Texas law.
Why the change?
This time, Roberts explained, he had to follow precedent, not the Constitution. In other words, though he disagreed with the Court’s left wing on its reasoning, he reached the same result because of the Court’s previously ruling in the Texas case. “I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided. The question today however is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it,” Roberts wrote in his concurring opinion. “The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike.”
The trouble with this is glaringly obvious. Supreme Court decisions on slavery and segregation would still stand if precedent were the ultimate authority. Roe v. Wade was a travesty of judicial reasoning. It’s a ruling Justice Clarence Thomas called “farcical” in his Louisiana dissent, because it “created the right to abortion out of whole cloth, without a shred of support from the Constitution’s text.” And the result has been 60 million dead children. Planned Parenthood v. Casey was arguably even worse for following Roberts’s guiding principle here. As Dan MacLaughlin explains, Casey “upheld Roe v. Wade on stare decisis grounds while completely rewriting its theoretical basis and its practical guidance for lower courts.” In these most recent cases, the Court continued the trend of upholding precedent while shifting the reasoning.
We ask this both rhetorically and with a bit of hyperbole: Why is Roberts ever in the minority? Why dissent at all if the majority’s will becomes precedent and therefore binds future rulings? Of course, Roberts has ruled in plenty of cases against precedent, including on abortion law. He’s quite selective.
Roberts doesn’t want the Court doing the job of the legislature or the executive. That’s all well and good, but justices and judges have an obligation to rule based on the Constitution first. The man who once called himself an umpire has called far too many balls as strikes, and it’s inflicting lasting damage on Rule of Law.
In this era of tabloid journalism, where “unnamed” sources of leaked information are considered to have greater credibility than (some) named government officials, the mainstream media has little trouble ginning up a political scandal almost entirely out of whole cloth. Even as it is patently clear that the MSM’s objective is to do everything possible to damage President Donald Trump, “journalists” still feign being concerned for reporting the truth. Thus with this latest Russia bounty “scandal,” the real story is the politicization of the MSM and its unending crusade to paint Trump as a Russian stooge despite strong evidence to the contrary.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that as far back as March of last year, Trump was briefed on Russia’s “bounty” deal with Taliban militants to kill American soldiers. The AP further asserts that Trump’s then-National Security Advisor John Bolton gave at least one in-person briefing on the intelligence while suggesting at the time that it was not considered “actionable.” Bolton is actually the first named official to be reported as having briefed Trump. Bolton has neither confirmed nor denied it, only offering a coy response: “[Trump] can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it.”
Meanwhile, the White House has stuck to its claim that the president was never briefed on the issue, suggesting that this was due to the fact that the intelligence in question has yet to be verified. As Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman explained, “To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports. Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats.”
The White House held a meeting with top Republican congressional leaders yesterday and, following the meeting, Texas Congressman Michael McCaul said that while a brief may have been written, the intel was deemed not credible at the time and therefore was not raised to Trump’s attention. McCaul further stated, “If the intelligence review process verifies the reports, we strongly encourage the administration to take swift and serious action to hold the Putin regime accountable.”
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany sought to add needed context to the story, noting, “The U.S. receives thousands of reports a day on intelligence. There is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations. There were dissenting opinions within the intelligence community.” She also claimed that intelligence “would not be elevated to the president until it was verified.”
Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) blasted the Times for using “unconfirmed intel in an ongoing investigation into targeted killing of American soldiers in order to smear the president.” Banks asserted, “The blood is on their hands,” adding, “Now it’s impossible to finish the investigation.”
Predictably, Democrats began calling for congressional hearings yesterday. Even Senator Todd Young (R-IN) joined the chorus, thundering, “I believe that you would have wanted to know this critical intelligence information and be provided with the resources necessary to save the lives of our men and women in uniform. I stand ready to hold any members of your administration accountable for their gross negligence in performing such a grave responsibility.” Memo to Young: The intelligence has yet to be verified as credible.
Once again, it should be obvious to all that this is little other than another political setup aimed at taking out Trump. On the one hand the MSM is spinning the narrative that the commander-in-chief was at best asleep on the job or at worst unconcerned with the welfare of American soldiers, while completely ignoring the fact that Trump has been thus far successful in working to broker a peace deal with the Taliban in order to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and bring an end to America’s longest war.
The request from the city councilman to the interim police chief was both matter-of-fact and jarring: “I was just notified there was a young man who was just shot and killed. … Can you get a unit out there? He’s been on the ground and there’s no police who have come. He’s dead already. He’s on the ground and the residents have put a sheet over him.”
Bill Torpy has worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 1990, and we imagine him thinking, prior to Monday’s virtual meeting of the City Council Public Safety Committee, that he’d already seen and heard it all. But not quite all. “It sounds like Afghanistan,” he writes, and then he recites an incomplete list of local murder and mayhem.
“The carnage coincides with the protests of George Floyd’s killing in Minnesota,” Torpy writes. “On May 29, demonstrations started in downtown Atlanta and things got crazy. Squad cars burned, stores were looted, and protesters and police clashed.”
Then he gets to the root cause of it: “Many cops have taken a more hands-off approach to policing following the arrests of six officers for using tasers on two college students this month, and the arrests of two officers in the killing of Brooks. Cops are reticent to get out and deal with angry people in the streets.”
And who can blame them for this hands-off approach? Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by an Atlanta cop after resisting arrest, punching the officer, stealing his taser, and firing it at him while attempting to flee. For having made a split-second decision to use deadly force against a violent assailant, the officer, Garrett Rolfe, was charged with felony murder by Fulton County DA Paul Howard, who happens to be up for reelection this fall.
“The upsurge in violence is likely the result of plummeting police morale,” writes Paul Mirengoff on Power Line, “which the city’s mayor [and Biden VP short-lister], Keisha Lance Bottoms, admitted ‘is down ten-fold.’ And why shouldn’t morale have plummeted? It’s clear that, as the head of the police union in Atlanta says, the city doesn’t have the officers’ backs. Scores of cops have called in sick, and ‘proactive’ policing is now largely nonexistent. According to the union chief, ‘officers will respond to high-level calls and protecting each other,’ but that’s about it. Criminals know this.”
And there it is. Call it Newton’s Third Law of Reactive Policing: For every action to demonize cops, there’s an equal and opposite reaction of hands-off policing.
This isn’t anything new, either. This is the blowback of Ferguson, and of a lawless thug named Michael Brown, and of a single cop who killed Brown lawfully in the line of duty and was run out of town for his efforts. It’s the blowback of Baltimore, where a career criminal named Freddie Gray died in police custody and where an overzealous prosecutor overcharged the officers involved. It’s the blowback of Chicago, and Philly, and New York, and…
Yes, murders are up — way, way up in some places — but it’s not the cops who are doing the killing. Instead, it’s the cops who are now thinking twice before risking their careers by diving into the fray.
To those on the Left who are demonizing and defunding our inner-city cops, a question: Do black lives really matter to you?
The president has ramped up his media interviews while his opponent, Joe Biden, remains sequestered — apparently his campaign’s strategy is “less is more.” Biden is only popping up from his basement for scripted fundraisers and interviews. That is to say, he’s not risking further exposure of his fumbling non compos mentis remarks, which underscore his diminishing intellectual capacity.
In his interview with Domenech, Trump said Biden was “a Trojan Horse” for leftists pulling his puppet strings, and that if he wins and we lose the Senate, “Schumer will go ‘nuclear option’ on day one.”
Trump declared correctly that our country is in “a political war … where the Left will use anything to win, including the culture.” He said that Republicans have “got to get much tougher … have to be stronger, have to come together,” or the nation’s political leadership will be remanded to the Socialist Democrat Party and its leftist mobs.
While acknowledging the unjustified death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Trump said the protests have morphed into an “anti-cop, defund the police, anti-American” crusade of “vicious” and “seditious” riots. “Police never get the credit they deserve by politicians, who are being weak,” he said.
There are now more than 500 federal investigations into the violence committed by leftist rioters, but as Trump correctly noted, “This should be about the mayor, and then the governor, before it even gets to the president.”
One of the many examples of Democrat-controlled urban centers where violence is now spinning out of control is Chicago. In his recent letter to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Trump wrote: “Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect. … More Americans have been killed in Chicago than in combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq combined since September 11, 2001, a deadly trend that has continued under your tenure.”
As for the political consequences, Domenech noted, “Despite facing serious political headwinds as well as some cautionary recent polling data, Trump’s mood was confident and relaxed. Acknowledging the challenge of proving he can lead the country out of a global pandemic and an economic funk, he said that re-election looked easy ‘as recently as three, four months ago’ before the coronavirus pandemic hit.” Trump noted, “We proved what we could do, cutting taxes, cutting regulations, job numbers like nothing before.”
Trump concluded with a question that could just as easily have been a statement: “I do wonder sometimes if Democrats love our country.”
In a bit of good news from the federal judiciary, U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe rebuked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for their blatant favoritism of mass protests over religious liberty.
Sharpe issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing Cuomo’s harsh statewide coronavirus restrictions on religious services in response to a suit brought by two Catholic priests and three Orthodox Jewish congregants. The suit brought against Cuomo, de Blasio, and New York Attorney General Letitia James argues that the defendants actively went after houses of worship to enforce strict social-distancing and maximum-capacity rules while purposely and openly supporting mass protests that led to looting and violence in New York City and in other locations around the state.
In one particular instance cited in the lawsuit, de Blasio attended and spoke at a June 4 protest (without a mask, by the way), then days later had the police kick a group of Hasidic Jewish children out of a park for not obeying the 10-person limit on “nonessential gatherings.”
“Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have just as easily discouraged protests. … They could have also been silent,” Sharpe wrote in the injunction. “But by acting as they did, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.”
Leftist disdain for religion is well documented, but the way in which Cuomo and de Blasio acted is completely unconstitutional. They cannot uphold one part of the First Amendment while violating another part because it suits them. Christopher Ferrara of the Thomas More Society, who represented the plaintiffs, noted, “This decision is an important step toward inhibiting the suddenly emerging trend of exercising absolute monarchy on [the] pretext of public health. What this kind of regime really meant in practice is freedom for me, but not for thee.”
Don’t expect this to hobble Andrew Cuomo as he takes a completely unjustified post-lockdown victory lap. The governor told a group of
sycophantic fans reporters last week that he is energized and excited by how his state emerged from the pandemic. New York suffered 31,000 virus deaths, far more than any other state, in some cases by large orders of magnitude. While Cuomo doesn’t have anything to brag about, crow he still does.
Cuomo didn’t stop with his self-lovefest, though. He also slung political mud at Republican-led Texas and Florida for their recent spike in COVID-19 cases, claiming this is what happens when states open up too early. Both of these states and others began opening up weeks ago, and healthcare professionals have yet to identify the source of the spike in new cases. Nor is the spike happening universally across all states that opened up early. Surely, nothing matches the 900 fatalities per day that New York experienced at its virus peak.
No matter. Cuomo has announced that people traveling to New York from Florida, Texas, Utah, and other states with statistically important virus spikes must quarantine in the state for 14 days. This is all but unenforceable. Virtually no one who comes to New York for a visit stays for two weeks. Even visitors from Europe only stay an average of nine days.
And how will health officials identify these people? Cuomo suggests random traffic stops of people with license plates from these states. You know, similar to the policy that Rhode Island was going to use against New York in March to prevent the spread of cases in its state. Of course, at the time, Cuomo decried this as discrimination.
Cuomo is really just trying to take the heat off of one of his own failed policies that directly led to the death of thousands of people in New York State — ordering that virus patients be moved into nursing homes, where the most vulnerable people live.
A New York Times study released Saturday concluded that nearly half of all virus-related deaths in the U.S. can be directly tied to nursing homes. Data collected for the study revealed that 282,000 people at 12,000 facilities nationwide were infected. And while nursing homes made up only 11% of all COVID-19 cases, they accounted for 43% of all COVID-related deaths.
Naturally, Cuomo blames Donald Trump, nursing-home staffs, and anyone else that crosses his sites, maybe even the Easter Bunny. But rest assured, as a loud, proud leftist, he sees himself as above reproach.
More Great Analysis
Douglas Andrews issues the latest warning about Our Entitlement Crisis, brought about by serious demographic shifts.
Harold Hutchison says Toppling Statues Could Topple America as We Know It.
Above the Fold
“New York mayor Bill de Blasio has agreed to $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD as part of the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year,” National Review reports. “In the midst of massive George Floyd demonstrations and calls by activists to defund the police entirely, de Blasio has faced pressure from City Council members to enact reforms to the department. While initially skeptical, the mayor has agreed to certain cuts to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget.” Suffice it to say, cutting one-sixth of the NYPD’s allowance will further aggravate its retirement exodus.
According to The Hill, “The House on Monday passed a bill to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as Democrats seek to hammer President Trump and Republicans on health care heading into the November elections. The legislation, which passed in a largely party-line vote of 234 to 179, would increase the 2010 health law’s subsidies that help people afford their premiums and add more federal funding for Medicaid expansion. Democrats timed the vote to contrast with the Trump administration’s legal brief filed with the Supreme Court last week calling for the ACA to be struck down, a move Democrats said would be even more harmful during the coronavirus pandemic.” But as Rep. Kevin Brady put it, “Today’s vote is a messaging vote. It’s political. Politics should not control how we write health care policy.”
Government & Politics
Twitch and Reddit crack down on Trump-linked content (Politico)
Democratic National Committee tweets then deletes post linking Trump’s Mt. Rushmore event to “glorifying white supremacy” (Fox News)
Supreme Court refuses to block upcoming federal executions (AP)
John Hickenlooper condemned by liberal groups after photo of him dressed as Native American surfaces (Washington Examiner)
Department of Health and Human Services secures new supplies of the coronavirus therapeutic drug remdesivir (HHS.gov)
“Our luck may have run out”: California’s case count explodes — Los Angeles County, which has been averaging more than 2,000 new cases each day, surpassed 100,000 total cases on Monday (The New York Times)
Jacksonville, Florida, to require face masks to slow rising coronavirus cases (CNN)
China study warns of possible new “pandemic virus” from pigs (Reuters)
Culture & Heartland
At long last, black man is charged with felony assault after attacking Macy’s employee in viral video (Disrn)
First of four cops charged in the death of George Floyd will plead not guilty to second-degree murder and manslaughter (UK Daily Mail)
Why no outrage? Atlanta shootings surge, but it’s not the cops (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Latest Seattle CHOP shooting kills 16-year-old boy, critically wounds 14-year-old boy — both of whom are black (Fox News)
Rainbow Mafia lawyers already using Supreme Court ruling to demand hysterectomies for men (The Federalist)
China passes security law giving it sweeping powers over Hong Kong (The New York Times)
ChiComs cut Uighur births with IUDs, abortion, and sterilization (AP)
Russia denies nuclear plant leaks as mysterious radiation spike reported over northern Europe (Washington Examiner)
Conservative groups see abortion ruling as catalyst for reelecting Trump (Politico)
The Daily Beast tries to cancel Van Jones for being effective (The Federalist)
John Wayne’s family has defended the screen icon amid calls for his name to be removed due to “racist” comments made in 1971 (UK Daily Mail)
Why West Virginia hasn’t canceled its Democrat senator from the KKK (RealClearInvestigations)
Policy: Why rioters will eventually turn their rage on Christianity if not stopped (The Federalist)
Policy: Chief Justice John Roberts’s lack of courage is damaging the Supreme Court (National Review)
Humor: Crest introduces new socially conscious tooth-blackening paste (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Black Journalist Calls Out America’s Racist Newsrooms — New York Times reporter Wesley Lowery says America’s newsrooms need racial justice.
Dennis Prager: Why I Love America — No country is more open, more generous, and has done more for the cause of freedom than America has.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “What shall be done with the four million slaves if they are emancipated? … Our answer is, do nothing with them; mind your business, and let them mind theirs. Your doing with them is their greatest misfortune. They have been undone by your doings, and all they now ask, and really have need of at your hands, is just to let them alone. They suffer by every interference, and succeed best by being let alone.” —Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
Observations: “It is not enough that Americans have Constitutional rights to free speech. We can’t live with each other unless we have a culture of rights, in which we respect each other’s rights to say things we don’t like. That’s disappearing incredibly fast, which is spectacularly dangerous.” —Ben Shapiro
For the record: “Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect…. More Americans have been killed in Chicago than in combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq combined since September 11, 2001, a deadly trend that has continued under your tenure.” —Donald Trump in a letter to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot
Belly laugh of the week: “Barack Obama was looking forward to retirement away from the grind of politics and campaigning. But slowly, reluctantly, he is being drawn back.” —The New York Times
Race bait: “Trump has disrespected Native communities time and again. He’s attempted to limit their voting rights and blocked critical pandemic relief. Now he’s holding a rally glorifying white supremacy at Mount Rushmore — a region once sacred to tribal communities.” —Democratic National Committee
The BIG Lie: “[The Russia/Taliban bounty allegation] is a scandal. I mean, [Republicans] wanted to make a big deal about Benghazi? This makes Benghazi look like playing with toys. This is a big deal, and they are not treating it like it’s a big deal.” —former Senator Claire McCaskill
Non compos mentis: “While we await details of this tragic killing, it highlights capitalism’s brutality & endemic violence. Our movement rejects insinuations & falsehoods perpetuated by corporate & conservative media that this violence is outcome of CHOP or of our movement.” —Seattle councilwoman Kshama Sawant on the news that another person was murdered in that city’s “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest”
And last… “The Left is now at the point of getting sincerely offended if you don’t just lay down obediently and let them assault you and burn your house down.” —Matt Walsh
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