by Tom Fitton –
We send our condolences to the family of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She had a wonderful judicial temperament that will always be remembered.
President Trump now has a historic opportunity to nominate yet another constitutional conservative who will honor the Constitution and the rule of law across the full spectrum of constitutional issues.
And the Senate should move quickly to work with President Trump to consider and approve a new justice who will faithfully apply the U.S. Constitution. There is no reason we cannot have a new justice by Election Day.
Regarding the Supreme Court vacancy, my belief is that if Democrats can impeach in an election year, Trump can certainly fill a seat on the Court in an election year. President Trump is set to announce his nomination this weekend. It is important that your share your views about the confirmation battle with your senators at 202-225-3121. Don’t presume any outcome is preordained or that even senators you don’t support won’t be pleased to hear from you! This is what I wrote for Fox News.
When karma lands, it lands hard. This is the lesson Democrats are now learning with the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the reality that President Trump will move forward to fill her seat this week.
In years past, Democrats might have had the tools to stop the process in its tracks, or the comity and goodwill to be able to reach a compromise with Senate Republicans or the White House. But they have squandered their goodwill and disarmed their senators, leaving them with little to do but fume and threaten.
Democrats say they are angry about the precedent and propriety of a hurry-up nomination process. They invoke Ginsburg’s supposed “dying wish” she “not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., threatened that “nothing is off the table for next year” if Senate Republicans move the process forward. And Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III tweeted his contempt for the Supreme Court, saying: “If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021. It’s that simple.”
But this is a case of “coup karma.”
If the Left can unilaterally impeach and try to remove a president during an election year, a Supreme Court justice can certainly be appointed during an election year. Democrats can hardly stand on principle regarding election year nominations when they were more than willing to engage in a partisan, election-year impeachment fiasco based on a contrived pretext that had no chance of prevailing.
The impeachment followed other failed attempts to sabotage Trump – illicit spying, the “insurance policy,” seeking to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, and the Mueller “witch hunt” investigation that harassed him despite almost everyone in D.C. knowing that there was never any evidence of Russian collusion.
After the Mueller fiasco flamed out, Democrats weaponized the whistleblower process to create a fake scandal out of a harmless July 25, 2019, conversation between President Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. This became the basis for what George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley called “the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.”
Recall that the impeachment moved out of the House based on an unprecedented party-line vote!
The fact that the coup impeachment was occurring as an election was looming made no impression on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her minions, who were eager to leave Trump “impeached forever” (though he was also acquitted forever).
Byron York called it “an election-year gambit” using the impeachment as “the most audacious opposition research maneuver of all time.” And Berkeley law professor John Yoo cautioned that the Founding Fathers would have rejected the idea of an election-year impeachment because they “expected that the American people would hold a president accountable for any abuses of power at the ballot box.”
So it is ironic to hear Democrats saying that the people should decide who gets to choose the next Supreme Court justice when they were more than willing to deny voters the opportunity to judge President Trump’s fitness for office.
Defenders of the election-year impeachment also argued that the timing was valid since the “crimes” under investigation might affect the outcome of the election itself. A similar argument can be made regarding filling Ginsburg’s vacant seat.
The Left has hired 600 hundred lawyers for the Biden campaign and intends the Supreme Court to be an active participant in the 2020 election. The stakes going into November are frankly too high to have a Supreme Court not at full strength.
Democrats have pushed for a mail-in election that virtually guarantees fraud and chaos and subsequent urgent litigation. They have instructed Democratic nominee Joe Biden not to concede under any circumstances and have threatened violence if they do not win.
The country cannot afford to have an eight-member Supreme Court that could deadlock on critical questions coming from these dangerous circumstances. We are staring down the barrel of potentially the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War, and we need nine justices on the bench. As then-President Obama tweeted in October 2016, “the need for a ninth justice is undeniably clear.”
There is plenty of time. Justice Ginsburg was confirmed only 42 days after she was nominated by President Bill Clinton. President Trump’s nominee should get the same speedy consideration by the Senate.
A confirmation vote by Oct. 30 is completely doable. Especially since a cabal of corrupt politicians tried to ram through an election-year impeachment and failed. Again, coup karma.
It is absurd to suggest a president whose party controls the Senate should jointly decline to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat – ever. Fill the seat.
Judicial Watch Will Appeal
Decision on Clinton Email Testimony
Anything to keep the full truth about Hillary Clinton’s emails hidden …
The State Department just asked a judge to overturn a court order authorizing additional discovery in our FOIA lawsuit that led directly to the 2015 disclosure of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton personal email system.
We have now filed our opposition to this latest effort.
The State Department’s motion seeks to avoid the depositions of Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills as well as current and former State Department Information Technology Officials Brett Gittleson and Yvette Jacks.
We argue that the State Department is wrong to try to expand an August 2020 appellate court ruling blocking Clinton’s deposition. The ruling did not bar the deposition of Mills or any other witness. We intend to seek further review of the ruling.
The lawsuit seeks records about the Obama administration’s public statements regarding the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In addition to exposing the Clinton email system, the lawsuit uncovered “talking points” drafted by Obama administration officials demonstrating that then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s statements on the eve of the 2012 presidential election were false (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)).
On December 6, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered that Rice and senior Obama State Department officials, lawyers and Clinton aides be deposed or answer written questions under oath in the lawsuit. Judge Lamberth called Clinton’s email system “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
In May 2019, Rice admitted under oath that she emailed Clinton on Clinton’s personal email account and “in rare instances” received emails related to U.S. government business on her own personal email account. Rice claimed she “took steps” to ensure that official emails were “also on her government email account” but did not identify those steps. Rice’s 2019 sworn answers are available here.
On March 2, 2020, Judge Lamberth ordered us to depose Clinton and Mills, under oath, regarding Clinton’s email system and the existence of records about the Benghazi attack. Clinton and Mills filed an emergency mandamus appeal to avoid testifying.
It is shameful that we still must battle Hillary Clinton, the DOJ, and the State Department in court over the Clinton email scandal. President Trump should demand answers about these efforts to avoid accountability and the truth.
Judicial Watch is Suing Illinois
for Refusing to Disclose Voter Roll Data
A key issue this year (and, frankly, every year!) is clean voter rolls. Toward this end, we filed a lawsuit against the state of Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Elections, and its director for failing to allow public access to its voter roll data in violation of the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).
State officials refused to allow the non-profit Illinois Conservative Union and three lawfully registered Illinois voters to obtain a copy of the state’s voter registration list, despite their lawful request for those records under federal law. We filed the lawsuit on their behalf in the United States District Court in the Northern District of Illinois (Illinois Conservative Union et al v. Illinois et al. (No. 1:20-cv-05542)). Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper is the director of our election integrity initiative. We are being assisted by attorney David J. Shestokas of Orland Park, Illinois.
Federal law provides that states “shall make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters.”
On July 24, 2019, the Illinois Conservative Union sent a public records request under this provision to the Illinois State Board of Elections, requesting information about the maintenance of voter rolls, including the most recent voter registration list for Illinois. The request noted that the records “would be used solely for purposes intended by federal law, namely, to ensure the accuracy and currency of the official list of eligible voters,” the complaint said.
The State Board of Elections denied the request, claiming that only political committees or governmental bodies may receive copies of records. The State Board did allow a few Illinois Conservative Union members to travel to Springfield, Illinois during working hours and afforded them the opportunity to review Illinois’ millions of voter records one at a time on a computer terminal, with no ability to sort or organize records. By this lawsuit the Illinois Conservative Union seeks meaningful access to the records it requested.
As several federal courts have recognized, the public records provisions of the National Voter Registration Act were intended to enhance the ability of private groups to monitor whether states are removing ineligible voters from their voter rolls. In April, a federal court in Maryland noted that organizations “such as Judicial Watch” have “the resources and expertise that few individuals can marshal. By excluding these organizations from access to voter registration lists,” the purpose of the federal law is undermined. That court ordered Maryland to produce complete voter registration records we requested.
In Illinois, our research found that 14 out of 102 counties (14% of all counties) have more registered voters than citizens over 18, while Illinois as a whole has 660,000 inactive registrants.
So our lawsuit aims to open up Illinois voting records so private groups can tell whether they are dirty. Illinois voters and citizens have a right to review election rolls under federal law and Illinois’ refusal to make them available suggests the state knows the rolls are a mess and won’t stand the light of the day.
Thanks to your support, we are a national leader for cleaner elections.
Earlier this year, we sued Pennsylvania and North Carolina for failing to make reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from their rolls as required by federal law. The lawsuits allege that the two states have nearly 2 million extra names on voter registration rolls.
In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a voter-roll cleanup program that resulted from a Judicial Watch settlement of a federal lawsuit with Ohio. California settled a National Voter Registration Act lawsuit with us and last year began the process of removing up to 1.6 million inactive names from Los Angeles County’s voter rolls. Kentucky also began a cleanup of hundreds of thousands of old registrations last year after it entered into a consent decree to end another Judicial Watch lawsuit.
Our 2019 study found 378 counties nationwide that had more voter registrations than citizens old enough to vote, i.e., counties where registration rates exceed 100%. These 378 counties combined had about 2.5 million registrations over the 100%-registered mark.
Feds Can Shut Off DC Cash Over
BLM-Defund the Police Street Painting
I hope you’ve been following our challenge to the District of Columbia government over it turning a prominent street into leftwing propaganda.
Here’s the latest. We have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit against the U.S. Department of Transportation for records of communication between the Federal Highway Administration and the District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation about the painting of “Black Lives Matter” on and the reopening of 16th Street NW near the White House in Washington, DC (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Transportation (No. 20-cv-02667)).
We sued after the Federal Highway Administration failed to respond to an August 19, 2020, FOIA request asking for:
• Emails between the Federal Highway Administration and the District Department of Transportation about the painting of “Black Lives Matter” on 16th Street, N.W. between H and K Streets, N.W.
• Emails between the Federal Highway Administration and the District Department of Transportation about the closure of 16th Street, N.W. between H and K Streets, N.W.
• Records identifying policies or procedures for closing streets deemed part of the District Evacuation Route.
On September 15, 2020, it was reported that the Federal Highway Administration informed Washington, DC, officials that it wanted them, “to remove the Black Lives Matter plaza sign so that part of 16th street in downtown Washington could be re-opened to traffic.”
Further, there is “nothing in writing right now because no one wants to come down on the side against … the Black Lives Matter movement,” and there have been closed door meetings between the Mayor’s office, the Federal Highway Administration, and local businesses affected by the road closure.
On June 5, 2020, after days of protests and riots in Washington, DC, led by the Black Lives Matter movement, a team of artists, residents, District employees, and demonstrators painted “Black Lives Matter” and the District’s crest, which resembles three stars above an “equals” sign, on 16th Street NW. The following day, demonstrators painted “Defund the Police,” a key demand of the Black Lives Matter movement, alongside the “Black Lives Matter” message.
On July 1, we filed a civil rights lawsuit against Mayor Bowser and other officials for First Amendment violations over their refusal to allow Judicial Watch to paint the message “Because No One Is Above the Law!” on a DC street.
In August, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against Bowser, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation and the District of Columbia Department of Public Works for records about the painting of “Black Lives Matter” and “Defund the Police” on a DC street in front of the White House.
DC Mayor Bowser shut down a major street near the White House to make a political statement for the BLM/Defund the Police agenda. Our lawsuit highlights how and why federal dollars should not be used to subsidize this abuse.
New York to Doctors: Hand Over
Private Patient Information
The various state government responses to coronavirus have undermined and, in some cases, shredded our God-given liberties and constitutional rights. Consider New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s latest move, as our chief investigative reporter, Micah Morrison, reports in our Investigative Bulletin.
Big Brother wants more about you from your doctor—and fast.
Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered health care professionals across the state to provide the “full residential address and phone number, occupation and employer name, full work address and employer phone number as well as race and ethnicity” of all patients tested for Covid-19.
On Monday, he upped the ante. The new order, obtained by Judicial Watch, mandates that doctors “collect and report whether a patient attends or works in a school and if so, the name and location of the school. This includes elementary, secondary, and post-secondary/higher education. It is also critical to list the patient’s local address if different from their permanent address.”
Health care providers must report “within three hours.” Three hours! The price of non-compliance? “Civil penalties of up to $2,000 per day.”
No mention in the advisory of privacy safeguards or limits on what can be done with the information. Medical professionals in New York understand the need for Covid-19 testing, but concerns are mounting that Cuomo is using a March state of emergency declaration to trample patient rights.