Tag Archives: United States Senate

Donald Trump and the Rule of Law

By Jeffrey Toobin – Richard Nixon earned eternal disgrace for keeping a list of his political enemies, but he, at least, was ashamed enough of the practice to know that he had to keep it secret. Trump, in contrast, is openly calling for the Department of Justice, which he controls, to put his political opponents in jail.

This kind of behavior is a trademark of the authoritarians he admires, like Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Trump’s contempt for the rule of law infects his entire Administration, as illustrated by Jeff Sessions’s newly announced guidance on marijuana policy.

Under the new policy, in much of the country federal marijuana enforcement will be run by officials who are only accountable to Sessions and Trump, not to the broader public.

Senators have a right to ask prospective U.S. Attorneys how they plan to enforce federal law on marijuana, and, of course, the legislators have the right to vote these officials down if they don’t like their answers. But Sessions has installed acting U.S. Attorneys in much of the country—including in such high-profile locations as Manhattan and Los Angeles—and senators can’t exert any oversight of them.

This gesture of contempt for the Senate’s role in confirmations is reflected well beyond the Justice Department. Throughout the government, Trump has nominated many fewer officials to Senate-confirmed positions than his predecessors; instead, Cabinet secretaries have filled these crucial positions with acting or temporary officials who avoid scrutiny from senators. more>

The Battle for the Judiciary

By Joseph P. Williams – Besides depriving the president Obama of an opportunity to shape the lower courts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s gambit denied Obama his right to create, among other things, a left-leaning feeder system for future Supreme Court nominees. The blockade seemed to pay big dividends: When President Donald Trump won the White House, he inherited more than 100 judicial vacancies McConnell forced Obama to leave behind.

The GOP’s well-laid plans to move the federal courts to the right, however, has been ambushed by the Democrats’ counterattack.

Using the political equivalent of guerrilla warfare – insisting on following arcane legislative rules, withholding approval of home-state nominees and generally throwing sand in the Senate machinery – the minority party has ground Republicans’ judicial agenda to a halt.

Those tactics have kept Trump and his Senate allies from addressing a judicial system with so many vacancies that legal experts on both sides have called it a crisis.

Nan Aron says she believes the debate over healthcare – and the fact that some Republican senators allied with Democrats to fight off the GOP’s attempts to repeal a popular government program – could become a watershed moment in the fight over Trump’s nominees.

“It’s important to note that the political winds are shifting,” Caroline Fredrickson says. “That, with Trump’s poll numbers continuing to decline, greater numbers of individuals will want the courts to stand as a check on his excesses. The more people come to understand what courts and judges do, we believe, the more they will begin to weigh in on judgeships” and pressure Republicans. more> https://goo.gl/JTRoqY

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Updates from Senator Marco Rubio

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Updates from Senator Rand Paul

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Updates from Senator Pat Toomey

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CONGRESS WATCH Energy Institute Report Finds That Potential New EPA Carbon Regulations Will Damage U.S. Economy, uschamber.com Democrats Reject Energy Amendments that Would Help the Middle Class, Create Jobs, YouTube [VIDEO 3:25] Veterans Looking for Presidential Leadership on Fixing Growing … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Rubio Introduces Legislation To Bring Greater Accountability To Veterans Affairs, US Senate Days Before Memorial Day, Senate Democrats Block Vote For More VA Accountability, YouTube [VIDEO 13:04] Rubio Promotes His VA Reform Bill On “The O’Reilly Factor”, YouTube … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH John Lahutsky, once a Russian orphan, awarded Eagle Scout badge, Adam Clark, Morning Call Old case is a new rally cry on abuse, Ben Finley, philly.com Sen. Toomey Introduces Legislation To Protect Children From Sexual Predators, US Congress … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Sen. Paul Statement on Approval of Hemp Seeds Release in Kentucky, US Senate Sen. Paul Opposes the Nomination of Barron, US Senate Sen. Rand Paul Opposes the Nomination of Barron on Senate Floor – May 21, 2014, YouTube … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Isakson Urges Swift Passage of Measure Authorizing $706 Million for SHEP, YouTube [VIDEO 3:24] Isakson Questions Head of Veterans Affairs Over Failure to Address Excessive Wait Times Linked to Veterans’ Deaths, US Senate FOX News: Isakson discusses investigation … Continue reading