Planned Parenthood's Ark. Rival
Planned Parenthood’s biggest nemesis isn’t the GOP — or even pro-lifers. Lately, it’s the democratic process. When abortion groups started moving into the extreme territory staked out by Barack Obama — pushing late-term, taxpayer-funded, and unregulated abortions — most Americans didn’t move with them. So, like most liberals with unpopular agendas, Planned Parenthood turned to the only place capable of giving the organization victories it couldn’t win legislatively: the courts.
But America’s benches aren’t what they used to be. The crop of activist judges willing to do the abortion movement’s bidding is shrinking — thanks to the growing number of originalists nominated by Donald Trump to fill the federal courts’ vacancies. Suddenly, Cecile Richards and friends are faced with an unpleasant reality: voters who don’t agree with their far-left fanaticism and courts less willing to sanction it.
That has serious ramifications in places like Arkansas, where state Medicaid funding (which is one of the biggest pots of Planned Parenthood’s money) has kept the group afloat through one scandal after another. Like several Republican governors, Asa Hutchinson (R) ended Arkansas’s forced partnership with the group in 2015, when David Daleiden released his first string of undercover videos. With the image of tiny beating baby hearts burned into taxpayers’ minds, the legislature pulled the plug on the group’s cash and redirected the money to other health clinics.
Frantic to keep her grip on the state’s money, Richards sued. While the case wormed its way through the courts, Arkansas was forced to put its law on hold. This, despite U.S. House, Senate, FBI, and state investigations into the group’s criminal baby-parts-for-profits scheme. In a major win for pro-lifers and the legislative process, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals saw the ridiculousness of unelected judges telling states how to spend their money and ruled that Arkansas could stop payment to Planned Parenthood.
On Monday, leaders did exactly that, announcing that the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services had officially cut off Planned Parenthood. “Every individual ought to have the freedom to choose their health care provider,” an organization spokesman argued. But what about the freedom of states to choose where their money goes? Women are welcome to go to Planned Parenthood any time they want — but they aren’t free to force Arkansas into paying for it.
Thanks to this common-sense decision, other states may soon be able to celebrate the same autonomy. Leaders in Texas, where activist courts struck down a similar law, are thrilled for Arkansas because it means there’s finally a split in the decisions of our federal appeals courts. On issues of this magnitude, that’s almost always a one-way ticket to the U.S. Supreme Court, where pro-lifers would be more than happy to have new Justice Neil Gorsuch weigh in. In the meantime, the evidence would suggest that Americans can thank Donald Trump for his efforts to bring balance to the bench. People who voted for this president based solely on the courts certainly haven’t been disappointed!
Originally published here.
GOP Iffy on ‘Neil Gorsuch of Louisiana’
The Senate doesn’t hurry to do anything, but on President Trump’s judges, it’s certainly trying. Moving at a record-setting pace, GOP leaders like Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are a well-oiled confirmation machine in a chamber that’s usually more sluggish than a group of teenagers on a weekday morning. Making the most of the busy days before year-end, Republicans are hosting another string of hearings on the president’s nominees.
Kyle Duncan’s turn came Wednesday, as Grassley and other Republicans moved to give the White House another victory in one of the more conservative appellate courts in America: the Fifth Circuit. As they have with most of the president’s nominees, conservatives lavished praise on the Louisiana native for a resume that includes everything from successfully challenging Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate for Hobby Lobby to serving as the state’s solicitor general.
“In addition to Hobby Lobby,” Louisiana Attorney Jeff Landry pointed out, “Duncan has served as counsel for parties and friends of the court (amici) in some 40 cases before the Supreme Court. Again, his work has not gone unnoticed. The National Association of Attorneys General awarded him its Best Brief Award for his written advocacy. Twice.” Even the American Bar Association, which isn’t exactly nonpartisan, labeled Duncan “well-qualified.”
Everyone seems to understand what a great addition Duncan would be to the Fifth Circuit — everyone except Republican Sen. John Kennedy (LA). For reasons no one seems to understand, Kennedy continues to drag his feet on the nomination, even going so far as to criticize Duncan in Wednesday’s hearing for assuming a job in the nation’s capital. “I have received scores of phone calls from experienced, accomplished, whip-smart, pro-life, pro-religious liberty Louisiana lawyers and judges,” Kennedy said, “who have asked me why I would support a Washington lawyer for this seat over them.”
Asked how he should respond to those critics, Duncan reminded his home state senator that he grew up in Louisiana, went to LSU for undergrad and law school, and served the state in the executive branch. “I have spent a significant and … prime part of my legal career defending the laws the people of Louisiana passed,” Duncan replied. “Those were not easy cases.” Still, Kennedy went on, “I hope Mr. Duncan can demonstrate to me today that he is the 2nd coming of Justice Holmes or Justice Scalia and not the 2nd the cousin of somebody who is politically connected in the Washington swamp.”
The Louisiana senator, who tried to cover himself by praising Duncan’s pro-life and pro-religious liberty views, already raised plenty of other eyebrows by voting against another of Trump’s picks, Greg Katsas. Pitting himself against Duncan would seem even more absurd. But then, John Kennedy has always had some catching up to do on conservative values. In the early 1990s, before Kennedy switched parties, he worked for Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, a Democrat at the time. As this Times-Picayune article reminded voters, “Now a critic of Roe v. Wade, Kennedy was Roemer’s legal adviser when the governor vetoed a sweeping abortion ban, and he supported abortion rights as a candidates for attorney general.”
Like a lot of observers, Dan Fagan wonders if John Kennedy is actually as pro-life as he says he is. “If Kennedy is the conservative he often boasts to be, he should have no doubts about the Duncan nomination unless he knows something the rest of us don’t.” I agree. Being from Louisiana and having held office there, I know both men. Kyle Duncan is the real deal. Kennedy’s vote on Kyle Duncan will define his record moving forward. Is he a legitimate pro-life conservative who understands the need for judges who respect the Constitution? Or is he a political opportunist in a pro-life state who wants nominees to have “evolving” views like his own?
Landry, who joined me on “Washington Watch” Wednesday, called Duncan the “Neil Gorsuch of Louisiana” — not a shabby comparison for a budding judge.
I think a lot of people in America realize that many of the ills plaguing our country are coming from activist judges. And … we have diverted from … what the law is to what the law ought to be. And of course, one of the things that definitely brought Donald Trump into the presidency was the activist judiciary, and his commitment to put people — men and women — up for appointment to the judiciary who respected the rule of law and were strict constructionists, in the [mold] of Neil Gorsuch and the late Antonin Scalia. Kyle Duncan fits that particular mold [which is especially important] in one of the more conservative circuits we have in the country, and that’s the Fifth Circuit.
President Trump has done his part, nominating excellent constitutionalists to the bench. Now it’s your turn to do yours. Contact Sen. John Kennedy (202-224-4623) and tell him to live up to his pro-life values by voting yes on Kyle Duncan!
Originally published here.
U.S. Shows Muscle After Missile
If anyone backs down in this deadly showdown between the White House and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un, it won’t be President Trump. The U.S. leader is digging in on his pledge to make the dictator pay for launching another test missile Wednesday, which experts claim can reach America’s East Coast.
Tweeting that he’d spoken to China’s president about the latest “provocation,” Trump promised that more sanctions would be imposed on North Korea. “This situation will be handled,” he vowed. And based on my conversation with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on “Washington Watch,” it may be sooner rather than later.
President Trump told me … we’re not going to live our lives as Americans under a threat of attack from a crazy man in North Korea. That he’s not going to allow Kim Jung Un to get a nuclear-tip missile that can hit America. They’re not there yet. They’ve got a missile that’s got the range, but they haven’t perfected reentry and delivering the missile and payload in an accurate fashion. Although it’s just a matter of time.
Like FRC’s Lt. Gen. Boykin, Graham agrees that China holds the keys to a solution short of war.
[W]hat can China do? They provide North Korea’s economy almost all their oil. They can cut off the oil and bring them to their knees. The president talked to the president of China … and President Trump was very firm with the president of China. “I am not going to allow this threat to mature any further — and if I have to use military force, I will.”
But then Graham went on to break some significant news.
I want your listeners to know — by the end of this week, there are going to be some strong signals to China and North Korea that the military option is very viable. Now, nobody wants a war with North Korea. Thousands, possibly millions, could get hurt or killed, but the president has to pick between our homeland security and regional stability. And he’s told me and he’s told the Chinese that he’s not going to live under a nuclear threat, and if he has to use military force, he will. And if there’s going to be a war, it’s going to be in China’s backyard.
Although the missile launch is stoking plenty of fears in places like Hawaii, which is reviving its nuclear drills for the first time in decades, Gen. Boykin is quick to remind Americans that the U.S. intelligence community is laser-focused on the North Korea nuclear program and is watching for any indicators of a nuclear launch. “Every launch has a pre-launch signature that tells the intelligence analyst what is coming. As a result, the U.S. and its allies will get indications and warnings of an imminent launch. The key is that the U.S. is positioned to react preemptively to destroy the threat before a launch.”
For the latest on North Korea, check out Gen. Boykin’s interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.