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GOP Stays the Courts With Nominees

Tony Perkins · May 16, 2018

If all Donald Trump did with these four years was balance the courts, his presidency would still be a success. Lucky for us, he’s got his sights set on a lot more than that — and a pile of accomplishments to prove it. But in an age when more decisions are being snatched out of his hands and put in the courts’, this president understands there’s only one way to protect that progress: confirming men and women to the bench who respect and uphold the law.

Thanks to Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA), he’s racked up an impressive list. With laser precision, he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are guaranteeing that no matter what happens in November or 2020, the people who have the last word on some of America’s most important issues will be strict constructionists the country can trust. Moving faster than almost any Senate in history, the duo of Grassley and McConnell have blown through nominations with a speed that even Democrat Dianne Feinstein (CA) says she hasn’t seen before in 25 years. “They are just rolling them out. This is a real effort to stack the appellate court, there is no question about that,” she said.

On Monday, the Senate confirmed another two judges to the circuit courts — the final stop before the U.S. Supreme Court and usually the final word. Believe it or not, only two percent of cases ever make it past the appellate level to SCOTUS, meaning these men and women are the next best thing to Neil Gorsuch. While SCOTUS grabs all the headlines, these judges are just as responsible (if not more so) for making key decisions on everything from immigration and religious liberty cases to Second Amendment conflicts and life. And in just a year and a half, President Trump has sent 19 more judges to those circuits — a major coup for an appellate system with 179 seats.

Thanks to the quick action of Grassley and McConnell, Michael Scudder will be heading to his new home on the Seventh Circuit with fellow rookie Amy St. Eve. What’s notable about these two is not only that they were Trump’s 36th and 37th judicial confirmations but that they were both confirmed unanimously — proving what a farce the Democrats’ objections have turned out to be. In most cases, Senate liberals don’t actually object to these nominees, they’re just desperate to gum up the process. Like us, they know that judges who are bound by the Constitution spell disaster for an agenda like theirs that depends on the courts.

No wonder McConnell told Hugh Hewitt, “This is my top priority in the Senate. By appointing and confirming these strict constructionists to the courts who are in their late 40s or early 50s … I believe we’re making a generational change in the country.” Unfortunately for the GOP, a lot of this record-setting progress has been flying under the media’s radar. While Senate Republicans plowed through two more circuit court judges yesterday — Joel Carson and John Nalbandian — some conservatives think even more could be done. In a letter to GOP leaders, 16 senators urge McConnell to think about how many more nominees they could confirm if he canceled the August recess.

“There’s about 30 district court people on the agenda right now,” Grassley said, “and I have pleaded with McConnell to work nights, to work Saturdays and weekends, and put the pressure on the Democrats.” Right now, the Democrats are insisting on 30 hours of debate for every nominee, just to eat up the clock. Maybe if McConnell threatened to work through their vacation, they’d have a sudden change of heart.

Either way, the Republicans’ methodical approach to nominees is paying off. And someday, very soon, Americans will find out for themselves just how significant the GOP’s investment in the courts has been. Until then, we agree with Grassley: Keep it up!

Originally published here.

Media Negatives or Trump Positives?

It’s been a year and a half of record animosity between the media and President Trump. But the irony, says White House advisor Kellyanne Conway, is that the negative coverage may have actually had the opposite effect. And it takes just a quick glance at the ratings and Americans’ trust in the media to see why.

For President Trump, who never backed down from a fight, the one the U.S. press is waging on him is fierce. Just last week, the Media Research Center released its latest report on bias and found that a whopping 90 percent of the media’s coverage of this president is negative. That’s interesting, MRC points out, since his approval ratings actually climbed. The public is warming to the administration — thanks to the White House’s breakthroughs on taxes, judges, national security, Israel, North Korea, and Iran.

Still, MRC explains, “There’s no precedent for a President receiving such a sustained level of negative press over such a long period of time. The fact that the public has become more favorable towards the President in this environment is the latest sign that the media watchdog’s bite isn’t as menacing as their bark suggests.” Kellyanne agrees. In an interview about the inroads that President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have made with Kim Jong Un, she shakes her head at the liberals who insist on criticizing progress no other administration has made.

John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, lashed out at the president for being “duped” by Kim Jong Un. Kellyanne fired back: “These are decidedly nonpartisan issues… And I would hope that someone who was involved in the previous administration could at least see the prospects, the prospect, of opening up relations there and denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. North Korea has already, in the gift of this president’s leadership, released those three Americans back here, and even then people couldn’t just applaud it and say isn’t that a wonderful day for those three men to be free. They had to make it partisan and political, and I think that’s partly why the president’s poll numbers are improving because people are so tired of the reflexive invective and … the irrationality of not being able to say today was a good day for America.”

These are the moments that should unite us as a country. Instead, it’s exposing the press for what it is: irrationally biased and untrustworthy. “The lifeblood of democracy is a common understanding of the facts and information that we can then use as a basis for negotiation and for compromise,” said David Bersoff, the lead researcher for a new Edelman report on the collapse of the media’s credibility. “When that goes away, the whole foundation of democracy gets shaken.”

Reasonable liberals recognize the damage the press’s crusade is doing. “It’s time for the Democrats to stop bashing President Trump,” wrote former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. “Like it or not, a significant number of Americans are actually happy these days. They are making money. They feel safe, and they agree with the president’s protectionist trade policies, his call for more American jobs, even his immigration stance. The jobs growth reports, the North Korea summit and the steady economy are beating out the Stormy Daniels scandal and the Robert Mueller investigation in Middle America, hands down. So you are not going to win back the House by making it all about him.”

The truth is, he argues, “President Trump’s policies remain popular with many Americans, which means Democrats need to find a campaign strategy beyond just bashing him. Trump is more popular than Dems want to admit.” Meanwhile, the media’s strategy is as obvious as it is flawed. What they don’t realize, Allen West warns, is that they’ve “assimilat[ed] their hatred of one man, President Donald Trump, into a hatred of our nation.” And voters, as we saw in 2016, don’t take kindly to that.

Originally published here.

Washington Post Mortem on Evangelicals

First, the evangelical movement was dead. Now, after 2016 didn’t exactly prove that theory, liberal pundits are trying another tack: the evangelical movement isn’t popular.

When Vice President Mike Pence delivered the commencement address at Hillsdale College, The Washington Post’s Eugene Scott had a bone to pick. The vice president, he wrote in his response, seems to think Christians are making progress in America. “We live in a time,” Pence said, “when traditional values even religious conviction, are increasingly marginalized by a secular popular culture — a time when it’s become acceptable, even fashionable, to malign religious belief. I still believe with all my heart that faith in America is rising.”

“Faith in America,” he went on, “is rising again because President Trump and our entire administration have been advancing the very principles that you learned here in the halls of Hillsdale College.” The part Scott took extreme exception to was Pence’s insistence that the percentage of Americans who live out their religion has remained steady. “Religion in America isn’t receding — just the opposite.” In his rebuttal, Scott argues that these were all just pleasant sound bites to distract Christians from the fact that they’re actually becoming more of a minority.

Pointing to some recent statistics from Pew, Scott suggests that the number of Americans who don’t identify with a religion is rising. And although Pence may be right in saying that the majority in our country “pray daily,” fewer younger people do than ever — just 16 percent. “It makes sense that Pence would use a graduation ceremony at a Christian college to promote an encouraging outlook on religiousness in America… It is possible that Pence is attempting to keep the support of the Christian conservatives who sent him to Washington by telling them that they are winning the war, even if data suggests they’re not.”

Scott isn’t entirely wrong. There are a significant amount of Americans declaring that they have no religious affiliation — the “Nones” as pollsters call them. But to suggest that evangelicals — or their influence — is shrinking just isn’t true. Pew’s own research also shows that the percentage of evangelicals who are identifying as Republican has jumped 16 points since 1994 — to 77 percent. Across the aisle, Democrats are reaping one of the only rewards of their anti-faith crusade — a larger share of the religiously unaffiliated vote.

As for the younger generation, the news on Millennials isn’t nearly as “good” as people like Scott might think it is. While most people naturally assume the under-34 crowd is in the Left’s back pocket, liberals got a jolt last month when Reuters surveyed 16,000 of them. Enthusiasm is waning, Chris Kahn warns, with a nine-point slip in the Left’s advantage over the GOP. While the numbers are still on the Democrats’ side (only 28 percent “overtly support” Republicans), they’re shrinking — especially as Millennials age. Among the population’s white voters, the shift to the GOP was even more obvious. “Two years ago, young white people favored Democrats over Republicans for Congress by a margin of 47 to 33 percent; that gap vanished by this year, with 39 percent supporting each party.”

While America’s faith landscape is changing, evangelicals have held surprisingly steady. In Facts & Trend’s March survey, researchers found that “since 1972, evangelical church attenders have grown from 18 percent of the population. After reaching 30 percent in 1993, the share has hovered around 25 percent, ranging from 27 to 23 percent.” Some of that goes to the heart of evangelicalism, which calls us to go and make disciples of Christ. There’s a natural growth component in our faith, as more people are brought to the saving love of Jesus.

It would be a convenient — even satisfying — story line for the Post to dismiss evangelical voters. But as everyone should know by now, it would be a short-lived celebration. By the next election, the press will be back to writing the headline it hates: that evangelicals are just as involved and engaged as ever.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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