January 31, 2017
Washington—President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court of the United States.
The 49 year old Gorsuch, a graduate of Columbia, Harvard (where he was a 1991 classmate of Barack Obama) and Oxford, has served on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal in Colorado since 2006—a position for which he was voted unanimously.
Gorsuch ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby against Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. He has published both a book and a law journal article against assisted suicide laws. He is also known as a champion of small government, states rights, and the separation of powers. He is an originalist who believes judges should apply the law rather than create law.
However, Gorsuch apparently has not directly written on or spoken to the fateful Roe v. Wade case that opened the abortion floodgates in the United States in 1973, although statements in his book on assisted suicide appear to provide ample foundation for opposing that ruling. Abortion promotion group NARAL considers him pro-life.
A helpful profile on SCOTUS Blog suggests that of everyone on Trump’s list of suggested candidates, Gorsuch was the most natural and obvious successor to the late Antonin Scalia, whose place on the bench he has been nominated to fill.
Any Trump pick will have a gauntlet to run, with Senate Republicans outnumbering Democrats only 52–48, which leaves the process open to filibuster unless Gorsuch can pick up the support of at least 8 Democrats. While some Democrats may retaliate against Republicans’ refusal to bring Obama’s SCOTUS pick, Merrick Garland, to the table, other Democrats outside the Senate have expressed apparent enthusiasm for the nominee.
Mutterings: Let’s be honest and frank: The possibilities for the Court are precisely the reason why a great many conservatives held their noses and voted Trump. There are currently three Supreme Court justices who are 78 and over (at least one of whom is widely expected to retire within the next year or two); Trump has a possible opportunity to reload the Court with judges who are constitutionalists.
January 30, 2017
Washington—In a Monday reorganization memorandum, President Donald Trump shook up his National Security Council. The shakeup brings top advisor Steve Bannon into the Council, and pares the Council’s size. [MORE]
Quebec City—After six people were killed Sunday in shootings in a Quebec City mosque, Alexandre Bissonette, 27, has been charged with their murder, as well as attempted murder of five others who were injured.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Canadian parliament, “Make no mistake, this was a terrorist attack.”
Washington—In the face of protests, the Trump administration continues to back up the President’s recent executive orders relating to immigration. Monday, Trump fired Sally Yates, the federal government’s top lawyer, for defying his immigration policies and instructing the Justice Department not to defend travel restrictions targeting seven volatile nations. Yates was in any case about to be replaced by incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions, provided he gains Senate confirmation.
Meanwhile, although an executive order has imposed a blanket suspension of refugee entry for 120 days, the Trump administration has granted waivers this week for the entry of 872 previously-vetted refugees who were already in transit.
While Trump’s orders have occasioned the questioning of nearly 400 legal permanent residents, the Department of Homeland Security indicated such green card holders will be permitted to board U.S.-bound flights, but can expect “additional scrutiny.” DHS also said that some exceptions are being made on a case-by-case basis to allow entry from the seven banned nations.
While critics complain of the ban as anti-Muslim, the President responds that the order is not anti-Muslim, but anti-terrorism. “This is not about religion—this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”
January 29, 2017
Melbourne—A day after an all-Williams women’s final reminiscent of bygone days, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal clashed in an unexpected epic men’s final, with Federer becoming oldest male Slam winner since Ken Rosewall in 1972. [MORE]
January 27, 2017
Washington—The 2017 March for Life drew massive numbers Friday, as hundreds of thousands marched to voice support for protection of the preborn, and to mourn the millions lost to abortion.
The 2017 March featured prominent members of the new administration, with both Vice President Mike Pence and key counselor Kellyanne Conway speaking. President Donald Trump also posted twice on Twitter, affirming his full support and stressing the importance of the March. On Wednesday, in an interview with ABC News, Trump had castigated the media for largely ignoring the March for Life.
Some 58 million babies have been aborted in the USA since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that invented a “right to privacy” which essentially forbade the federal government from outlawing abortion.
At this time, no numerical estimates are available, but a time lapse video (below) of the march event shows something of the massive number of participants. The 2013 March, perhaps the largest ever, was estimated to have drawn 500,000–650,000.
January 25, 2017
Washington—President Donald Trump announced via Twitter today that he would launch a “major investigation” into voter fraud, targeting people voting in multiple states and those not legal to vote, as well as use of deceased people in balloting. [MORE]
Washington—President Donald Trump today ordered go-ahead on his promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He also ordered punitive measures for so-called “sanctuary cities.” In addition, he is expected to sign an executive order in the next few days that would block entry of refugees from Syria, and temporarily suspend immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Punishment of sanctuary cities would involve removal of federal funding. Trump’s directives also increased powers granted immigration agents.
January 24, 2017
Washington—South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has received overwhelming Senate support for confirmation as ambassador to the United Nations. The vote passed 96–4, [MORE]
In another action bound to anger environmental activists, the Trump administration reportedly has instructed the EPA to remove a page on climate change from its web site.
January 23, 2017
Washington—On President Donald Trump’s first full working day in office, he took a page out of President Obama’s playbook and started signing executive orders and presidential memoranda. Three significant actions:
- Reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” which bans federal funds from going to international non-government organizations (NGOs) that promote or provide abortion
- Imposing a hiring freeze on all non-military workers
- Withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal
January 21, 2017
Washington—The much-reported Women’s March on Washington is slated for today, with media outlets suggesting hundreds of thousands of participants. The march is heavily tilted toward the pro-abortion message (pro-life groups have been blocked from participating) and generally reflects opposition to new President Donald Trump. Its self-described mission revolves around “diversity” regarding immigration, sexual orientation and gender identification. A major 2017 is “Women’s rights are human rights.”
While today’s event is drawing massive media attention, most news outlets will largely ignore or downplay the annual March for Life, which draws hundreds of thousands of participants nearly every year. (According to some estimates, the 2013 March drew 650,000.) The 2017 March is slated for January 27, with Trump senior counselor Kellyanne Conway one of the keynote speakers.