Overlooked in the Immigration Debate: Gender-based Violence

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security released a report this week showing that 3 out of 4 individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2016, are foreign-born individuals who entered the United States through our immigration system.

Recent reports from DOJ and DHS also draw attention to an issue often lost in the immigration debate: gender-based violence.

  • A 2011 Government Accountability Office report found that criminal aliens were convicted of 69,929 sex offenses between fiscal years 2003 and 2009.
  • A 2014 study estimated that approximately 1,500 forced marriages occur in the U.S. every year.
  • That same 2014 study showed there to be an average of 23 to 27 honor killings in America each year—with 90 percent of victims murdered for being “too westernized.”

Numbers like these show that regardless of political affiliation, all Americans should want an immigration system that supports and defends our values.

Read more about how our current immigration system jeopardizes American security.

Six Convicted Felons Are Running for the U.S. Congress in 2018

There is no law that prevents a convicted felon from running for the U.S. Congress. Six convicted felons are running during the 2018 midterm elections, two for the U.S. Senate and four for the U.S. House of Representatives. Four are Republicans and two are Democrats.

They are in alphabetical order:

  1. Democrat candidate David Alcorn who was convicted of stalking. Alcorn is one of nine candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.
  2. Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio who is running in the Republican primary the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona. Then Sheriff Arpaio was convicted of misdemeanor criminal contempt of court in July 2017 for defying a court order requiring him to stop detaining people he suspected of being illegal aliens. President Donald Trump pardoned him one month later.
  3. Don Blankenship, the former head of the coal mining company Massey Energy who is running in the Republican primary to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Blankenship served one year in prison on a misdemeanor conviction for conspiring to evade safety laws after the death of 29 miners at his Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010.
  4. Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) is running for re-election. Gianforte plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assaulting a reporter in 2017.
  5. Former Rep. Michael Grimm, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) Grimm is a former FBI agent who pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion in 2014.
  6. Bradley Edward (Chelsea) Manning who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013, of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents. Manning’s sentence was communted by former President Barack Obama in 2016. Manning is running in the Democratic primary in Maryland for the U.S. Senate.

Perhaps the two most interesting candidates are Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Democrat Bradley Edward (Chelsea) Manning.

Both have something in common. Both are convicted felons and both have been pardoned by a U.S. President. Control of the U.S. Senate is critical to furthering any president’s agenda. President Trump has taken strong positions on rebuilding the military, border security, immigration and growing the economy by reducing taxes and regulations.

It is clear that the Democratic Party is not and will not help further President Trump’s agenda of making America great, again.

The Family Research Council in an article titled “Chelsea Manning: The Voice of Treason” notes:

Chelsea Manning had a chance to serve his country — and betrayed it. Now he wants to serve in the U.S. Senate. The former Army private-turned-transgender-activist stunned everyone this week by announcing a run for elected office, one year after he was pardoned for treason. Welcome to the new Democratic Party.

For most people, the idea would be outrageous even if Manning weren’t sure which gender to identify with. This is, after all, a man who was convicted of war crimes against the very country he’s running to represent. “All Manning would have to do,” a Fox News commentator pointed out, “is swear another meaningless oath and promise to obey it this time to once again gain access to our national security secrets, which [he] could leak again if [he] wished. That should fill you with confidence.”

Read more.

In a Huffington Post column titled “Republicans Have 4 Convicted Criminals Running For Congress In 2018” Paul Blumenthal notes:

When Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff, announced his Senate candidacy on Tuesday, he became the fourth viable Republican 2018 congressional candidate who’s been convicted of a crime. And like two of the other GOP cons running for office, he has cited his criminal record as a partial justification for his candidacy.

Arpaio was convicted of misdemeanor criminal contempt of court in July 2017 for defying a court order requiring him to stop illegally detaining people he suspected of being undocumented immigrants based on their race. President Donald Trump pardoned him one month later.

The midterm elections will be notable is many different ways, the idea of convicted felons running is just one more anomaly.

This reminds us of the Capitol One commercial. What’s in your Congress?

What You Can Do to Fight Sex Trafficking

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. There are an estimated 20 to 30 million human trafficking victims in the world today, with an estimated 4.5 million of those forcibly involved in sex trafficking. In the U.S., an estimated 640,000 are being trafficked for sex.

These numbers are profoundly disturbing, and it can be tempting to feel discouraged that ordinary citizens like us are powerless to help these victims and to help stop the demand for paid sex. In reality, there are a number of ways that all of us can help in the fight. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation and Fight the New Drug have both published a list of practical ways we can all join the cause. Here is a brief summary of what you can do:

1. Do Not View or Pay for Porn

As we have written about previously, porn and sex trafficking are inseparably linked. Each click of pornography creates a demand for more pornography and brings in a profit to the industry. The demand causes traffickers, pimps, and those involved in the sex industry to abuse their victims by filming them in sex acts.

2. Learn How to Identify Potential Victims and Report Suspicious Activity

If you think you see suspicious activity happening wherever you are, be sure you have learned about what to look for. The Department of Homeland Security has published Indicators of Human Trafficking—be sure to look for these warning signs particularly in airports, gas stations, rest stops, and hotels. If you think you see something suspicious, call local law enforcement, or you can contact the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

3. Use a New App to Take Pictures of Your Hotel Room

Hotel rooms are a hotspot for sex trafficking. Victims are often advertised online through pictures taken of them in hotel rooms. As Fight the New Drug has written on, there is a new app called TraffickCam that catalogs details of different hotel rooms like wallpaper and furniture to help create a database of identifiers, which can then be used by TraffickCam’s algorithm to match images of sex trafficking victims that will help law enforcement identify the possible locations of victims.

4. Participate in Online Activism

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) has organized a number of ways that you can participate in online activism. Here are two:

  • Joining NCSE’s #TACKLEDEMAND social media campaign before the Super Bowl is a way to bring awareness about the problem of large commercial sporting events being used by sex traffickers and buyers for sexual exploitation.
  • Netflix is producing a show called “Baby” that normalizes the sexual exploitation of young teenagers by portraying it as a kind of “edgy” coming of age story. You can protest this repulsive show by sending an email or Facebook message to Netflix executives demanding that they stop producing it.

Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLE: Public School Kids Get Assembly on Sex Changes

DACA: The Immigration Trojan Horse — Cost $25 Billion

How the original DREAM act was designed to cover 90% of the illegal alien population in the U.S.

Today DACA (Deferred Action-Childhood Arrivals) is a major issue for the Trump administration, with politicians from both parties attempting to persuade President Trump to provide lawful status for the illegal aliens who had been granted temporary lawful status in an ill-conceived and, indeed, illegal program that had been implemented by President Obama, a politically adept manipulator of language and a master of deception.

On December 18th I participated in an interview on Fox News to discuss DACA and the fact that according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) legalizing the estimated population of “Dreamers” would cost an estimated $26 billion.

On January 9th President Trump conducted a bi-partisan White House meeting to consider a compromise that would provide lawful immigration status for the approximately 800,000 illegal aliens who enrolled in DACA. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, Trump seeks a “bill of love” from Congress for “Dreamers”

The “deal” would require funding a border wall, ending “chain migration” and perhaps, making E-Verify mandatory.  Of course without an adequate number of ICE agents, mandatory E-Verify would be of limited value since unscrupulous employers could simply hire illegal aliens “off the books” and without agents to conduct field investigations these criminally deceptive employment practices would not be discovered.

President Trump’s previous call for hiring an additional 10,000 ICE agents was not mentioned by the participants in the meeting.  This is extremely worrisome.

A lack of effective interior enforcement of our immigration laws, has for decades, undermined the integrity of the immigration system. In fact the 9/11 Commission cited the lack of interior enforcement as a key vulnerability that terrorists, and not only the 9/11 hijackers, had exploited to embed themselves in the U.S. in preparation to carrying out deadly attacks.

DACA was a travesty foisted on America and Americans by the Obama administration, from its inception, was a scam based on lies and false suppositions. Legalizing these 800,000 illegal aliens would, in point of fact, legitimize Obama’s illegal action.

Obama claimed that he was invoking “prosecutorial discretion” when he stood in the White House Rose Garden on June 15, 2012 and announced that “since Congress failed to act” (to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform) he was going to act by creating DACA. But in reality Congress did act: it voted down legislation known as Comprehension Immigration Reform and, in so doing, took an action that is consistent with the role of Congress as established by the U.S. Constitution that created the system of “checks and balances.”

For Mr. Obama, however, the problem was that Congress did not act the way he wanted it to act.

Two days after that speech in 2012, I wrote an Op-Ed, “Obama Invokes Prosecutorial Discretion to Circumvent Constitution and Congress,” in which I noted that what Obama had referred to as “Prosecutorial Discretion” should, in reality, be referred to as “Prosecutorial Deception.”

Legitimate use of prosecutorial discretion can provide a pragmatic solution to real-world limitations of law enforcement resources in a manner comparable to a triage.  For example, law enforcement officers frequently ignore relatively minor violations of law so that those limited resources can be available to address more serious violations of law.  Consider, for example, the police officer operating speed radar who ignores cars that exceed the speed limit by a small margin, but are being otherwise driven in a safe manner.  This enables the police officer to focus on vehicles that are being driven dangerously.

Under DACA, however, illegal aliens were not ignored to conserve limited resources.  In fact, limited resources were not conserved but were squandered to provide temporary lawful status to a huge number of illegal aliens without legal authority or justification.

Moreover, DACA constituted the de facto creation of law without the legislative process, but by unconstitutional executive fiat.

Let’s now consider the notion of “deferred action,” the foundation upon which DACA was purportedly created.  There are legitimate provisions in the immigration system to provide aliens with “deferred action” when it is a matter of compassion, for humanitarian purposes.  The key word is “deferred.”  What is deferred is the ultimate required departure of non-immigrant aliens.

For example, if a family from another country lawfully came to the United States as non-immigrants for a temporary visit with friends or relatives in the United States and one of the members of the family was injured in an accident or became ill, those aliens could apply for deferred action so that they would not have to leave the United States until the family crisis was resolved.

As an INS agent I dealt with such cases.  Generally the doctor who was treating the injured or ill family member would provide documentation to immigration authorities to verify the medical situation, with periodic updates.

As an INS special agent I was responsible for conducting investigations to make certain that applications were not fraudulent.

Generally these aliens would not be granted employment authorization except under the most extraordinary of circumstances if they needed to remain in the United States for a protracted period of time. However, DACA essentially “dropped a net” over 800,000 illegal aliens, not out of humanitarian concerns because of an unforeseen emergency but as a means of achieving a political objective.

Obama claimed that his action was to help young people who were brought to the United States by their parents and, consequently, were the victims of their parents’ actions over which they had no control.

Obama was counting on the fact that Americans are among the most compassionate people in the world, especially where children are concerned.  Media reports furthered this narrative and, to this day, many ill-informed Americans believe that all aliens who participated in DACA were teenagers. But in fact, the age cutoff was actually 31.  These aliens simply needed to claim that they had been brought to the United States prior to their 16th birthdays.  Those aliens today might now be as old as 36 years of age.  DACA should have been called DACCA (Deferred Action- Claimed Childhood Arrivals).

There were virtually no interviews or field investigations to verify any information or claims contained in the applications.

(The DREAM Act would have allowed aliens as old as 35 years of age to apply to participate in the amnesty that would have been created had the legislation passed.)

It is vital to note that even the term DREAM Act and the derivative term “Dreamers” is hypocritical.  Ever since the administration of Jimmy Carter, the term “Alien” has been eradicated from the immigration debate, not out of supposed “political correctness” but as a means of Orwellian thought control and Newspeak.

However, the “DREAM Act” is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.  It is maddening that when the imagery of the “American Dream” can be exploited, the term “alien” becomes palatable — but only when used in conjunction with this bit of Orwellian deception.

If the purpose of the DREAM Act was to help young illegal aliens, why did the politicians and “Gang of Eight” not simply limit it to aliens who had not yet attained the age of 21 and who could provide immigration authorities with their current school transcripts and report cards to verify their status as students in good standing?

What was never discussed in the mainstream media is that the whole point to the DREAM Act, pushed by some members of Congress and particularly the “Gang of Eight,” was to construct a legislated immigration “Trojan Horse.”

The DREAM Act established 35 years of age as the cutoff age for this amnesty because it would have covered an estimated 90% of the illegal alien population in the United States.  Furthermore, without the ability to conduct interviews, let alone field investigations, aliens could easily lie about their identities, their dates of birth and even their dates of entry into the United States.

There would be no way for adjuration officers to refute the claims of the aliens who participated in the program.

The DREAM Act was a carefully disguised version of failed legislation known as Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

In 2007, after I testified about Comprehensive Immigration Reform before several hearings in the House and Senate, I wrote an Op-Ed for the Washington Times, Immigration bill a ‘No Go’ in which I suggested that the legislative disaster be renamed the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act” because under that legislation, millions of illegal aliens who had entered the United States surreptitiously and without inspection, would have been provided with lawful status and official identity documents.

This would have violated the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, to which I provided testimony.

I was gratified when then-Senator Jeff Sessions quoted my Op-Ed from the floor of the U.S. Senate during the contentious floor debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform on three separate days, in which he shared my concerns and my proposed new name for that legislation.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) created a massive amnesty program that ultimately led to the greatest influx of illegal aliens in the history of our nation.  It has been said that insanity is doing the same things the same way and expecting a different outcome.

As a highly successful real estate magnate, President Trump must especially understand that just as it is unwise to erect a building on a swamp, legislation must be constructed on morally and legally solid ground.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

Another Liberal Activist Judge Rules — Congress Can Stop The Madness

In another striking judicial development, Judge William Alsup, a Clinton appointee from San Francisco, issued an injunctive order Jan. 9 prohibiting President Trump from moving forward rescinding President Obama’s DACA order.

Although it only applied to established DACA applicants, and left untouched the ban on future applications, the order is offensive nevertheless, and demonstrates the terrible problem plaguing our country resulting from the actions of activist judges.

Essentially, the plaintiffs, which included the State of California, argued that President Trump had acted randomly and capriciously in removing the DACA order because, among other reasons, he did not give notice and did not allow for a period of public commentary prior to issuing his rescindment.

But here’s the thing, neither did Obama.

Obama himself issued his own DACA order single-handedly, without due process, and outside any compliance with any statutory requirements — and after saying he did not have the Constitutional authority to do so. Therefore, when President Trump acted to discontinue the DACA order, he was actually rescinding an illegal act, making Alsup’s ruling even more egregious — and overtly political.

The inescapable conclusion of all these actions is that Judge Alsup was less informed in his ruling by the law, than by his disdain for the President’s policies, and possibly, for the President himself. Relevant to this: Just two weeks before this political ruling, the Supreme Court overturned a different DACA-related Alsup order.

Additionally, the judge applied his order to the whole nation. This latter issue is particularly problematic as it is allowing individuals in the judiciary to paralyze policy decisions on a national scale even though the district of any particular judge does not encompass a large geographical area.

This latter problem is actually one that can be fixed by Congress.  Congress has the authority to create and define the powers of the lower courts.  As evidenced by the results of this case, it is time for Congress to limit the scope of judicial orders to only the geographical extent of their district.

And as for the greater problem of an overzealous judiciary, it is high time that the American people enact some sort of check on America’s increasingly partisan courts.

EDITORS NOTE: This column appeared on The Revolutionary Act. Also, check Dr. Gonzalez’s YouTube channel.

VIDEO: Trump’s ‘Purging’ the Deep State — Do you Approve or Disapprove? Take the survey.

Christian Ziegler, State Committeeman representing the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Florida appeared on ABC Channel 7 to discuss President Trump and the “deep state.”

Ziegler notes:

The media is worried about President Trump “purging” the federal government. Excuse me, but If ANY employee of ANY federal agency is actively working to undermine the President, that employee should be FIRED!

The President doesn’t just have a right to do so, he has a DUTY to make sure his entire team – at every agency – is staffed by those who will execute on the President’s priorities.

Watch the debate:

SURVEY

Do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President? (Click on a response below to have your voice heard.)

Approve

Unsure

Disapprove

Killing Trump is Deep State’s ‘Plan C,’ Warns Advisor Roger Stone

It’s a shocking claim made by a political insider: The Deep State is so opposed to draining the swamp that it will, if necessary, kill President Trump to prevent it.

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump advisor and confidante, certainly knows his way around Washington, having worked as a senior campaign aide to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Senator Bob Dole as well as having held many other political positions. This proximity to the Deep State is what makes his claim, expressed in a recent wide-ranging interview with The New American magazine’s Alex Newman, that much more eyebrow-raising. Stone outlined three plans the Deep State has for eliminating the president, as Newman relates:

The Deep State’s “Plan A,” Stone said, is the imploding “investigation” into alleged “Russian collusion” by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. If and when that fails, which Stone suggested was likely, the establishment would move to “Plan B.” In essence, that plot would involve trying to get a majority of Trump’s cabinet to declare him unfit for office. This would allow Trump to be removed under the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment — another scheme Stone said would probably flop. Last but not least, though, if all else fails, Stone warned of “Plan C”: Killing the president.

Interesting here is that Newman’s piece was published January 1, just before talk of President Trump’s alleged mental instability became the month’s big news story. In fact, released just four days later was journalist Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, which makes the case that Trump is psychologically unfit to hold office. Note, too, that Wolff has boasted that his book will bring down the president.

Yet this bold claim will more likely just bring up book sales. It’s not only that Wolff has said that he can’t be sure everything in his book is true, that it contains factual errors and that he is, as ex-Trump strategist Sebastian Gorka put it, “a partisan self-promoter with credibility issues….” It’s that removing a president for inability to discharge his duties isn’t easy.

As per the 25th Amendment’s Section IV, Vice President Mike Pence would have to declare Trump unfit, 13 of the 24 cabinet members would have to agree, and then two-thirds of both houses of Congress would ultimately have to vote to uphold the decision. Unless Trump starts fainting right and left and throwing behind-the-scenes temper fits like Hillary Clinton, Stone is correct in saying this is unlikely.

This leaves the alleged “Plan C.” But is such a Deep State course of action really in the cards? Calling Trump “a shock to the system,” Stone explained his thinking to the New American: “It’s easy to forget that the shocking upset that Donald Trump pulled off has never been forgotten or acknowledged by the globalist cabal that has really infected both of our major parties.” And with the economy flourishing and public confidence up, “it’s easy to misread the deep enmity and hatred that the globalists and the [i]nsiders have for this president, and to underestimate their resolve to remove him,” said Stone.

“If all else fails,” writes Newman, “Stone believes the Deep State would, in fact, attempt to murder the president.”

Stone emphasized that if “Mueller should fail in his illegitimate coup d’état to take down the president,” he thinks “you will see an uptick in the ‘Trump-is-crazy’ talk,” reported Newman. Again, we’ve already witnessed this.

Newman further relates, “Stone warned that even some of Trump’s most senior officials would throw him under the bus if given the opportunity. ‘I can tell you, there are members of Trump’s cabinet that would stick a dagger in his heart,’ he warned, echoing other warnings that he has offered publicly in recent weeks. ‘There are globalist insiders who, for one reason or another got into this cabinet, who do not share the president’s vision of reform, and are not loyal to him as I am and so many Americans are.’”

Explaining the presence of these dangerous establishment figures within the administration, Stone said, “Unfortunately, I think that the president misunderstood early in the process that personnel is policy.” Stone also believes that Trump’s lawyers are doing him a disservice, saying that they’re currently “walking him into the blades.”

Stone, a colorful political operative known among other things as a “dirty trickster,” further explained the Deep State’s enmity for Trump. As Newman reports, “‘Trump is a real American, a patriot, he’s a real believer in Americana, and also in American superiority — American exceptionalism, if you will — and a believer in American sovereignty,’ Stone said. ‘He’s always been deeply suspicious of the international types that he was happy to sell condominiums to at inflated prices, but he never shared their politics.’” Stone also emphasized that, unbeknownst to most, Trump comes from “a long line of anti-communists.”

Moreover, because of Trump’s wealth, Stone says he’s “unbought and unbossed….. Anybody who has tried to boss Donald Trump around knows that that won’t work. He’s very much his own man.”

So, a patriot and a believer in Americana, sovereignty and American exceptionalism who can’t be bought or bullied — that certainly is the Deep State’s worst nightmare. The question is: Would it resort to murder to end it? Is Stone’s warning risible or realistic?

All I can say is that it’s a striking claim, and it certainly warrants more media exposure than a questionable book written by an attention-seeking journalist.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Here’s the History of the 25th Amendment

After failing to gather any real momentum to impeach President Donald Trump, some Democrats are now floating the idea of using the 25th Amendment to oust him.

This little-known constitutional amendment serves as an escape-hatch measure for removing the president if he is incapacitated. It is quite different from impeachment.

Impeachment is the method that the Founders set up to prosecute cases of presidential criminality. It requires members of Congress to bring specific charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

But absent these charges, some of Trump’s detractors are now embracing other methods to overthrow him.

Anti-Trump commentators and the few Democrats now suggesting use of the 25th Amendment have suggested that the president is mentally unstable.

“The judgment [about the president’s mental state] is not mine to make,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said to reporters after proposing a commission to examine Trump’s mental health, according to Politico.

“The judgment constitutionally is to be made by the vice president and the Cabinet, or the vice president and a new body. We have an institutional responsibility to set that body up.”

Pulling out the 25th Amendment is the logical next step for those who have been looking for a way to depose Trump since he entered office, though it’s a serious departure from the intent of those who passed the amendment.

Democrats have trotted out psychologists on Capitol Hill to prove that Trump is unstable and should be removed from office.

This alone seriously flirts with violating the “Goldwater Rule,” which prevents psychologists from offering a “professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”

The American Psychiatric Association created this rule after Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater successfully sued a magazine that had published a survey of psychologists deeming him unfit for office.

The survey was misleading, clearly partisan, and damaged the reputation of psychologists as a profession. Moreover, the idea of removing a president based on the whims of an elite group of supposedly neutral psychologists is an affront to democracy.

This is not to say the 25th Amendment doesn’t serve a valuable purpose. If a president suffers a disability that would make him unable to perform his duties, this tool is an emergency stopgap to solve the problem.

It was never conceived of as a partisan tool to depose a hated president.

‘We Stumbled Along’

Perhaps been the most obvious case where the 25th Amendment was needed occurred a generation before it was actually passed.

On Sept. 25, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a collapse and a massive stroke while campaigning in Colorado for the U.S. to enter the League of Nations.

The League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations, had been Wilson’s pet project, and despite warnings from doctors he had pushed himself to the limit on its behalf.

After the stroke, Wilson went blind in one eye, was paralyzed on the left side, and lay unconscious. While he eventually awoke from the coma, he was never the same. For the most part, he was a barely-functioning invalid.

Incredibly, Wilson’s wife practically ran the White House for the two remaining years of his term, only leaving the most serious acts of policy and politics to her husband, which by that point he was barely able to perform.

“This is the worst instance of presidential disability we’ve ever had,” said historian John Milton Cooper. “We stumbled along [for eighteen months] … without a fully functioning president.”

Few around the country even knew that the West Wing was in such bad shape, as both the press corps and the White House carefully kept the truth of the president’s condition from coming out.

Wilson even considered running for what would then be an unprecedented third term, but Democratic Party leaders carefully selected a compromise candidate who would run instead.

While Wilson’s Cabinet and the Washington political establishment were wary about forcing the president out of office, many fretted about what could be done if a president couldn’t perform his duties in an emergency.

The debate went more or less dormant for half a century until the assassination of a president forced the nation to seriously reconsider legal ways of replacing—either temporarily or permanently—a president for health-related reasons.

A Re-Evaluation

While health scares for President Dwight Eisenhower led to some informal agreements about transmitting the duties of the president in a time of crisis, nothing was enacted until the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The line of succession had been laid out by the Presidential Succession Act, but some began a push to clearly define these ambiguous rules in the Constitution while also addressing what could be done if the president was alive but experiencing a sudden health crisis.

The idea of being without a functioning president, particularly in the rapid-response world of instant communication and the Cold War, concerned Americans in a way that it hadn’t in earlier times.

“In an age of nuclear weaponry—and now, global terrorism—America can ill afford to be leaderless for long, or to have unclear rules about who is in charge,” wrote constitutional scholars Akhil Reed Amar and Vikram David Amar.

“The 25th Amendment, proposed and ratified after JFK’s assassination, fills many of the gaps left open by the Founders.

The 25th Amendment, enacted in 1967, set up a clear line of succession in case the president or vice president died, and included the section that some anti-Trumpers are now looking to: the method for removing, or putting a pause on, the official powers of a debilitated president.

The crucial Section 4 states:

Whenever the vice president and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting president.

Congress then has 21 days to determine if the president is able to continue performing his duties and can remove him from office with a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Since its passage, the 25th Amendment has been used several times, but never for the purpose of removing the president from office.

Some have alleged that officials wanted to remove President Ronald Reagan from office using the 25th Amendment after his attempted assassination—but those allegations have been debunked.

The amendment has only been used to temporarily transfer power from presidents to vice presidents during medical operations that would leave them incapable of responding to an urgent crisis.

Reagan himself did invoke Section 3 of the amendment on himself during a routine medical procedure in 1985, in which Vice President George H.W. Bush assumed the powers of the presidency for several hours.

And President George W. Bush also used the law to transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney during a couple of operations, again for only a few hours.

Dangerous Precedent

While some are now itching to use Section 4 of the 25th Amendment on Trump, many have urged caution or outright blasted the move as nothing but naked partisanship.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway suggested that this overheated effort to boot the president with the 25th Amendment is akin to a “coup.”

“Talk of mental health and a 25th Amendment removal, ‘by force if necessary,’ is talk of a coup,” Hemingway wrote. “Responsible parties should consider how this is perceived by the part of the electorate they rarely speak to and cease.

Harvard Law School professor emeritus and lifelong Democrat, Alan Dershowitz, also denounced the movement as “dangerous” and a “fool’s errand.”

“Now that they couldn’t criminalize political differences, they’re trying to psychiatrize political differences,” Dershowitz said on Fox News.

Right now, this push is little more than creative fan fiction, since impeachment would require a majority vote in the House and a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove the president, while the 25th Amendment would require a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Yet this won’t stop left-wing activists from trying to wield this amendment as a weapon against the Trump presidency.

At least they’re arguing from the Constitution. If only they cared for its intent.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman is an editor for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Read the Heritage Guide to the Constitution’s Explanation of the 25th Amendment

Can the Cabinet “remove” a President using the 25th amendment?

This Case Against Western Ranchers Shows Why Americans Are Right to Fear Government

Governments are prone to abuse, especially when unchecked.

Recently revealed actions by the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency under the Department of Interior charged with managing federal land, are reminiscent of the IRS scandal in which that agency targeted conservative tea party groups for extra scrutiny.

A federal judge ruled Dec. 20 that she was throwing out the Bureau of Land Management’s case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy because the prosecution withheld key facts.

On Monday, the same judge ruled that the case could not be tried again due to the actions of the prosecution, which she said had been “outrageous” and “violated due process rights,” according to azcentral.com.

The story broke before Christmas, but hasn’t received the attention it deserves. It perfectly underscores the pernicious problem of unaccountable agencies and how quickly they can become abusive to citizens.

The trial involved a dispute over grazing rights between Bundy and the federal government, a persistent problem in western states.

The government claimed Bundy owed money for public land use fees going back to the early 1990s, which the Bundy family refused to pay.

After years of trying to recoup the fees, the Bureau of Land Management, working in conjunction with the FBI, tried to impound Bundy’s cattle in 2014.

The story hit national headlines after Bundy, his family, and supporters got into an armed standoff with authorities that fortunately ended without violence. Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan eventually were arrested and chargedwith various offences.

However, the actions of government agents badly damaged the credibility of the case and raised questions about the power of supposedly independent agencies to deliver justice responsibly.

What is particularly worrisome is that the Bureau of Land Management appears to have acted punitively against political and religious groups they simply didn’t like.

An investigative report by one of the bureau’s own special agents revealed that the agents in the Bundy case acted with “incredible bias” and likely broke the law, as The Daily Caller News Foundation reported

The level of malfeasance of which one of its own accused the Bureau of Land Management is stunning.

Dan Love, the Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officer who led the 2014 raid on the Bundy compound in Clark County, Nevada, was fired recently amid charges of corruption. That was something prosecutors denied until pressured to release his fellow agent’s report to the defense.

Worse, an investigative report by one of the bureau’s own special agents revealed that the agents in the Bundy case acted with “incredible bias” and likely broke the law, as The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.

In the memo, lead investigator Larry Wooten explained how agents acted maliciously toward the Bundys. He said the “punitive” and “ego-driven” campaign against the ranchers was all an effort to “command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale, and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible.”

Wooten wrote: “The ridiculousness of the conduct, unprofessional amateurish carnival atmosphere, openly made statements, and electronic communications tended to mitigate the defendant’s culpability and cast a shadow of a doubt of inexcusable bias, unprofessionalism, and embarrassment of our agency.”

The agents called Bundy and his supporters “deplorables,” “rednecks,” and “idiots” among many other worse names, Wooten said. They also insulted the Bundy family’s Mormon beliefs.

Their behavior showed clear prejudice toward “the defendants, their supporters, and Mormons,” Wooten wrote.

Wooten claimed that fellow agents put him through a “religious test” of sorts on several occasions.

“You’re not a Mormon, are you?” they asked.

Wooten’s memo suggested that the attitude and ambition of Bureau of Land Management agents led them to inappropriately militarize the operation against the Bundys, even after the FBI had conducted a threat assessment and concluded that the Bundys weren’t dangerous.

The day after U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro’s declaration of a mistrial, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for an investigation into the matter.

However, there is some frustration over the Navarro’s decision, especially among environmental groups that generally would like to boot ranchers from government-owned western land.

Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project, an environmental conservation organization, blasted the mistrial decision in The Hill.

“These federal agencies have been patient and cautious to a fault in their prosecution of the Bundys and their accomplices,” Molvar wrote. “It’s long past time to stop playing games with the prosecution of federal crimes, and instead lay all the facts on the table and let the judicial system work.”

But one doesn’t need to think the Bundys acted appropriately in the dispute to understand why the case had to be thrown out. Nor is it out of line to think it’s worrisome for government agents to act in such an aggressive and abusive manner no matter the guilt or innocence of the citizen.

As columnist Debra Saunders wrote, the disturbing facts that have come to light point “to the sort of federal prosecutorial abuses that give the right cause for paranoia.”

There are better ways of of dealing with Western land. Reducing the federal footprint would certainly help.

Ranchers have been using government land for grazing for many generations, as individuals generally don’t have the financial means to acquire the amount of property necessary to run their business.

But this setup is not a free ride or “welfare,” as some have suggested.

Studies show it is generally more expensive for ranchers to use public land, which, in addition to fees, they are required to maintain, than to use privately leased land. In fact this land use helps the government save a significant amount of money on management costs.

Many ranchers would much rather contract with private entities and pay for services rather than deal with the headache of negotiating with the federal government. In many cases, however, this is impossible.

In Nevada, the federal government owns over 80 percent of the land and creates serious problems for ranchers and others who want and need to use it.

In the past, the federal government was more likely to give ranchers freer use of this land. Government actually encouraged western migration and frontier settlement through policies such as the famed Homestead Act of 1862.

But pressure from environmentalists outside and inside the agencies during the 20th century led to more restrictive policies on how ranchers may use the land.

This resulted in confrontations between the federal government and western farmers and ranchers, most notably the so-called “Sagebrush Rebellion” in the 1970s and 1980s, in which a coalition of westerners demanded that the government privatize land or transfer it to local authorities.

Confrontations and tension between ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management will likely continue as long as the government pursues such tight-fisted policies and insists that it’s more important to close off land use for the needs of the desert tortoise rather than those of ranchers and farmers.

Regardless of policy, Americans have a right not to be targeted by a government created to protect them and mete out appropriate justice.

The unfortunate facts of the Bundy case show how an unaccountable agency can become abusive toward citizens, and strikes at the heart of what we believe about republican government.

The Founders created our institutions to serve us and faithfully uphold the law, not be weaponized to attack individuals and groups in the shadow of darkness.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman is an editor for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: It’s Time to Reduce the Power of the Federal Government Over Western Land

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Religious Freedom in Mississippi, Y’all!

It’ll be tough to top 2017’s string of religious liberty successes — but the Supreme Court doesn’t mind trying. This morning, the justices got January off to a flying start when it rebooted one of the most significant state laws of the last five years: Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act. After a year and half of bottling up the law, the ACLU heard what the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals tried to tell them in June: they have no case.

Like most conservatives, Governor Phil Bryant (R) saw the writing on the wall for Christians after same-sex marriage was invented by the same court handing down this victory. He watched in shock as a county clerk was hauled off to jail for refusing to sign marriage licenses; his heart went out to family-owned bakeries that were closed by the government’s steep fines; he witnessed the pressure on religious groups and schools to cave on their teachings. And despite Big Business bullies, a media misinformation campaign, and liberal scaremongers, Governor Byrant took a stand. The ink was barely dry on Governor Bryant’s signature that April when liberals forced him to defend his state’s decision to protect religious liberty after Obergefell. In the face of some of the stiffest pressure of his career, he fought for the rights of his state to live and work according to their faith.

Months later, that stand is paying off — and a law that should have gone into effect more than a year ago is back in force. While other judges may have taken the ACLU’s bait, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Kevin Theriot celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to leave the statute untouched.

“Good laws like Mississippi’s protect freedom and harm no one,” he said. “We are pleased that the Supreme Court declined to take up these baseless challenges, which misrepresented the law’s sole purpose of ensuring that Mississippians don’t live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union. Those who haven’t been… harmed by this law shouldn’t be allowed to restrict freedom for others by ensuring dissenters are left open to the government discrimination that has already occurred in states without protective laws like this one.”

Theriot was referring to one of the more ironic parts of the suit, which is that liberals went to court — not over what had happened under the law but what might happen if Christians could opt out of ceremonies or jobs that violated their faith. Together with a handful of plaintiffs, they recruited a same-sex couple to suggest that the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act treats them like “second-class citizens.”

No one is quite sure how, since they never applied for the marriage license they’re sure someone in Mississippi would deny them! Besides, the law is clear: “Nothing in this act shall be construed to prevent the state government from providing…any benefit or service authorized under state law.” Under H.B. 1523, no one is allowed to “discriminate” — not against same-sex couples and not against Christians. All the law does is ensure that the government can’t punish someone for their views on marriage or sexuality. There’s no fine print giving people the right to deny services, despite the Left’s bogus propaganda. If coexistence is the goal, then this law lights the way!

For Governor Bryant, who’s never shied away from a fight, this won’t be the last. With more than $93 million in the ACLU’s post-Obama war chest, we can expect liberals to pull out all the stops to put protections like these on ice. Already, reporters have been careful to say the Supreme Court ended the “first” challenge to Mississippi’s law, a hint that the storm is far from over. “People who are refused service once the law is in place may be more likely to be judged to have legal standing to sue,” Reuters argues. But if they’re waiting for a Christian to refuse service, they’ll be waiting a long time. That’s not the intent of believers — or the purpose of the law. Thank goodness for justices who see through every liberal arguing otherwise!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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VIDEO: Justice Clarence Thomas Opens Up on Life, Faith, and His Interracial Marriage

Justice Clarence Thomas has served 27 terms on the U.S. Supreme Court, and agreed to become the 341st leader interviewed for my Daily Caller News Foundation series.

Now at age 69, he is looking back on his life with gratitude and discernment with valuable lessons for others.

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People often want to define you by the bad things that happen in your life, he says, but there has been so much good amidst the challenges he told me, his wife, in this exclusive interview.

From a life that launched from economic deprivation, illiteracy, family dysfunction, and even time as a radical leftist, his accomplishments now reach to the U.S. Supreme Court—where he faces constant vilification and defamation. He says he learned the value of humility, patience, and persistence, but the bedrock of his rules for living came from simple aphorisms from his illiterate grandfather.

At a young age, he learned how to build bridges and find something in common with other people, be it sports, a hobby, religion or experiences, rather than focusing on differences and divisions. “Everyone has inherent value and is worth listening to,” he believes.

Looking back, he credits divine providence for path of his life. From the burning of a house, to being raised by his grandparents, to the nuns who taught in Savannah’s inner city, to attending the seminary and to getting his first job with Missouri Attorney General Jack Danforth, who was interviewing at Yale. Nothing could have foreseen his sitting on the Supreme Court today.

Faith, he says, gives him “the strength to do what I have to do every day, to assert the independence, to be willing to take the beatings, the criticism, the unfairness.” When he attends daily mass, he says, it helps him do his “job, a secular job, in the right way and for the right reasons.” It reminds him that his work has nothing to do with what is said about him, but is rather about doing what he took an oath to do.

“Everyone has inherent value and is worth listening to.” — Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thomas frequently turns to the “Litany of Humility,” which helps focus and insulate him from the distractions, criticisms, or praise that can come from this world. In his view, what really matters is whether you do what you are called to do.

As we talked about the biggest blessings of his life, he named being born in America, his faith, his son, and our marriage. He also spoke of his love of University of Nebraska athletics, motor homing over the last 18 years through “flyover country,” and the gift of being able to read. When you grow up surrounded by illiteracy with adults asking, “What this paper say?” reading becomes a true blessing. “It is like Christmas every day” when he reads.

On interracial marriage, he says, “If I were more progressive or liberal, [our marriage] would be considered progressive to be in an interracial marriage, but if you are not, then you are selling out.” He adds, “I don’t think of it as some statement. You’re my wife.

Only after public outrage and congressional resolutions condemning the Smithsonian Institution’s refusal to honor Thomas in its African-American museum did an exhibit get modified. Ritual defamation by an antagonistic cultural elite who hope to reduce his popular currency and make his views radioactive, especially for any black American to emulate, has become the way of life for him.

Although he knows the difficulty of taking the public beatings for his views, he often remembers his grandfather’s advice in the 1980s of “Boy, you have to stand up for what you believe in.” He acknowledges a certain peace that comes from knowing you did the right thing, and talks about the importance of not allowing the critics to make you into someone you are not by overreacting negatively to them. He quotes the black author Richard Wright who said, “the worst I’ve ever been treated is when I told the truth.”

In an epic speech some 20 years ago to black judges in Memphis, Thomas boldly stated that he came not to defend his views, “but rather to assert my right to think to myself, to refuse to have my ideas assigned to me as though I was an intellectual slave because I’m black.” He wrote that speech, he says today, to draw attention to, “the right, among blacks, to think for themselves, the right to be that invisible man, to be the one who lays claim to his own thoughts.”

On the best part of being a Supreme Court justice, he praises our marriage to share the experiences, but also the joy of his four clerks each term. He promises his clerks that they “will leave this job with clean hands, clean hearts and clear consciences. They are “just a delight.” He enjoys the company of his colleagues, and misses those who have retired and passed away.

Don’t miss his jovial ending where he wanted to turn the tables on the interviewee.

For more, read Thomas’ autobiography, “My Grandfather’s Son,” see these articles or watch any of the 264 C-SPAN covered events of speeches he has given. To me, he is the best man walking the face of this earth!

RELATED ARTICLE: 17 Things on Clarence Thomas’ Mind During Rare Public Remarks

EDITORS NOTE: Videographer Sean Moody is credited with the video work for this story. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

A Special Counsel Must Now be Appointed to Investigate the FBI

This is getting dicey. It is no longer clear that Americans can trust the FBI to conduct a professional, non-partisan, fair investigation — particularly as it concerns Washington politicians. In fact, it is becoming clear that when it comes to high federal officials, they can not or will not do so and may actually be undermining American democracy.

Those are strong words. But this actually is a crisis — not the fake crisis the news comes up with daily, like snowstorms in January or a Trump tweet — but a crisis that affects the fundamental operations and nature of our Republic.

Special Counsels are an ugly and dangerous business and have shown their threat at every opportunity. They are exta-constitutional and answerable to no one, including the American public. But frankly, it’s not clear there are enough Congressional committees to even begin to unwind all of the corruption of the Obama Administration — even if there were the will. And there is not.

That’s why, despite the dangers inherent — and our personal opposition to even the idea of a special counsel that is answerable to no one — multiple special counsels may now be needed to seriously look into the mischief that apparently has been ripe through the federal government under Obama and before that.

But for now, the real and immediate crisis is with the FBI, and that is beginning to look like it requires urgent attention.

The FBI’s credibility storm

Multiple FBI agents and Department of Justice officials appear complicit in using the now largely debunked Fusion GPS Steele dossier to get an investigation rolling on Trump-Russia collusion. This salacious piece of fiction may even have been used to get wire-taps on Trump campaign officials, picking up the president himself at times. And it apparently has formed the basis for the media’s partisanship-driven hysteria over Trump-Russia collusion — about which nothing we know of has been found by the grinding Mueller investigation. There may be nothing to the entire Trump-Russia collusion frenzy.

But there may be very real collusion elsewhere.

The Steele dossier, paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to dig up or make up dirt on Trump, made its way to the FBI by means unknown and agents jumped on it, traveling to Rome to interview former British spy Christopher Steele in the weeks before the election. The FBI was so keen on this discredited and partisan dossier that the Washington Post reports they went as far as to plan a few weeks before the 2016 election to pay Steele to continue his work.

And now we have ongoing obstruction by the FBI in refusing to turn over documents relating to this whole affair after — no other way to put it — lying to Congress that they did not have them.

The Justice Department has proffered a litany of excuses for not producing the documents, but Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is having none of it. He sent a letter Thursday to the Justice Department demanding it comply with Congressional subpoenas issued for information on how the department and the FBI handled the Russia investigation: “As it turns out, not only did documents exist that were directly responsive to the committee’s subpoenas, but they involved senior DOJ and FBI officials who were swiftly reassigned when their roles in matters under the committee’s investigation were brought to light.”

That smells like a coverup in process.

Those Justice officials implicated include former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who was recently demoted because of his unauthorized contacts with DNC-paid Fusion GPS. Ohr’s wife worked at Fusion GPS at the time. The implicated FBI officials include James Baker, the bureau’s general counsel in 2016, and Peter Strzok, the number two counterintelligence official.

Strzok was the energy driving the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, and was also part of the team that found no criminal wrongdoing on Hillary Clinton’s deletion of 33,000 emails that Congress had subpeoned. And he was assigned to Mueller’s special counsel staff investigating Trump. However, it turns out that Strzok is not just a virulent anti-Trumper, he is a careless one as he exchanged 375 nasty anti-Trump text messages with fellow FBI agent and girlfriend Lisa Page — another member of Mueller’s increasingly compromised team.

Strzok was reportedly at meetings in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe strategizing how to stop Trump and discussing having an “insurance policy” in the unlikely event Trump won. For his part, McCabe’s wife was paid $700,000 from close Clinton allies when she ran for the Virginia state legislature in 2015, creating a clear conflict of interest.

Now, with the others being re-assigned, it was announced that McCabe will soon be retiring to his generous government pension.

Nunes and Graham lead the charge

With all of this that has been going on — and this is only what we know so far — Congress’ requests seem more than reasonable. They are necessary. Yet the FBI refuses to comply.

Nunes outlines a ream of evasive maneuvers and obfuscations by the Justice Department to avoid handing over the documents Congress demanded and with which the department is legally required to comply. Most of these documents relate to the dossier.

If this stonewalling continues, the House can and maybe will proceed with contempt charges. But so what? Obama Attorney General Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents and exactly nothing happened to him. He just ignored it and continued on.

Nunes said, “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.”

But that is a non-starter as no one will trust such an investigation with the FBI under such a credibility cloud.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was a bitter critic of Trump as a candidate and remains one as president. But Graham understands what’s at stake. He told Fox News that a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the entire Steele dossier issue.

“I’ve spent some time in the last couple of days, after a lot of fighting with the Department of Justice, to get the background on the dossier, and here’s what I can tell your viewers,” Graham said. “I’m very disturbed about what the Department of Justice did with this dossier, and we need a special counsel to look into that, because that’s not in Mueller’s charter.”

Further: “What I’ve gathered in the last couple of days bothers me a lot, and I’d like somebody outside DOJ to look into how this dossier was handled and what they did with it…After having looked at the history of the dossier, and how it was used by the Department of Justice, I’m really very concerned, and this cannot be the new normal.”

“New normal” is to be highlighted. What he’s saying is that our highest and most powerful investigative agency cannot be be allowed to be actively working to undermine a duly elected American president. Ever. Regardless of the president. That is one mere step from an actual coup and it cannot stand. Graham is exactly right.

Congress should appoint the Special Counsel

While traditionally these Special Counsels or Special Prosecutors have been appointed by the President or Attorney General, the politics of Trump doing it are awesomely bad while the likelihood of Sessions doing it is remote as he is part of the stonewalling now.

There is, however, precedent for Congress to appoint a Special Prosecutor. A joint resolution of the House and Senate resulted in the appointment of one to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal in 1923 — called the “greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics” before Watergate.

The only way to get to the bottom of this scandal and root out the rot that is infesting the FBI, is through a Special Counsel, using non FBI and Department of Justice investigators. It’s a mess. But it cannot remain. If it is as it appears, it could be worse than Watergate. Either President Trump or Congress must step up.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

SURVEY: Senior Attorneys and Executives saw ‘Litigation Environment Improving’ in 2017

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform issued its 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey, which found that “senior attorneys and executives see the litigation environment improving generally.”  The survey found a jump of 13% in 2017.

The survey by the Harris Poll to explore how fair and reasonable the states’ liability systems are perceived to be by U.S. businesses. Participants in the survey were comprised of a national sample of 1,321 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys, and other senior executives at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue who indicated they: (1) are knowledgeable about litigation matters; and (2) have firsthand, recent litigation experience in each state they evaluate.

The 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey noted:

The 2017 survey reveals that the overall average scores of the states are increasing, and senior attorneys and executives see the litigation environment improving generally; more than six in ten respondents (63%) view the fairness and reasonableness of state court liability systems in the United States as excellent or pretty good, up from 50% in 2015 and 49% in 2012. The remaining 36% view the system as only fair or poor, or declined to answer (1%).

Moreover, a state’s litigation environment continues to be important to senior litigators, with most respondents (85%) reporting that it is likely to impact important business decisions at their companies, such as where to locate or do business. This is a significant increase from 75% in 2015 and 70% in 2012.

According to respondents, the five worst jurisdictions (with others very close behind) were Chicago or Cook County, Illinois (23%); Los Angeles, California (18%); Jefferson County, Texas (17%); New Orleans or Orleans Parish, Louisiana (14%); and San Francisco, California (13%).

Along with the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey, the Institute for Legal Reform released its study on how states can improve their lawsuit climates. The study, “101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems,” lists key legal reforms that states can adopt and includes specific examples recently enacted by some states.

Florida Lawyer caught making ‘suspicious campaign contributions’ to Democrats

Michael J. Fuller, Jr.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) uncovered an investigation conducted by the West Virginia Secretary of State into suspicious campaign contributions made by Michael J. Fuller, Jr., a partner in the Mississippi-based McHugh Fuller Law Group, and Steven Edwards of Plant City, Florida.  The McHugh Fuller Law Group website biography on Fuller reads:

Mike Fuller has extensive experience in nursing home, medical malpractice and criminal prosecutions and trials. He has worked with a top national law firm and the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office in Florida.

[ … ]

Mr. Fuller is licensed to practice law in Florida, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.

Specific subjects of the investigation were: identity theft, forgery/uttering, computer fraud and falsifying accounts and similar felonious violations of West Virginia law, according to official law enforcement files.  These files, including email, letters, minutes of official meetings and electronic recordings of witness statements, were obtained through the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act.  The recipients of the money, the campaigns of Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis, former Democrat Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Letitia Chafin for Supreme Court, were not the targets of the investigation and are not accused of any violations of law.

Fuller also made a $2,700 contribution to the 2016 presidential campaign of Democrat Martin O’Malley. Fuller’s contribution to O’Malley Presidential Campaign was made 8 days before O’Malley’s announcement to run to become the Democratic nominee for President.

The report from West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, referring the matter to Kanawha CountyProsecutor Charles Miller, described a series of “unlawful ‘strawman’ campaign contributions made through a scheme orchestrated by Michael Fuller, Jr. and Steven Edwards. The facts and circumstances are contained in the report and supporting documentary evidence.” The evidence includes copies of suspicious checks and a confession from one of the straw donors who claimed that Mr. Fuller asked for the donations and would repay the donors – which is a conduit contribution and crime.

“The Secretary of State gathered evidence describing felonies and misdemeanors, so why aren’t there any files to show the prosecutor presented the evidence to a grand jury, as required by law?  Why did the prosecutor instead brief former Obama Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole, now in private practice, when his client was not implicated in the case? Why did the prosecutor alert Jim Cole when we submitted a FOIA request,” asked Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

“Lawsuit abuse around the country costs honest businesses millions each year and makes it difficult to create economic opportunity for anyone except the trial lawyers.  Trial lawyers with business before the courts should not be able to continue to finance the elections of the very judges who preside over those courts.  Reform is just common sense and way past due.  That is why we filed the FOIA request and why we continue to demand transparency and accountability,” Stauffer concluded.

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE

West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) is a non-profit citizen watchdog group committed to equal justice for all West Virginians. WV CALA has been fighting lawsuit abuse in the state for more than 10 years, and our organization now has more than 30,000 members located in every county throughout the state.

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Germany: Muslim Migrants Caused 92% of Increase in Violent Crimes

The Voice of Europe reports:

study in the German state of Lower Saxony has clearly linked the increase of violent crime with the arrival of migrants in the area.

Lower Saxony saw an increase of 10.4 percent in reported violent crimes in the years 2015 and 2016. According to the two-year study of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, 92.1 percent of the increase was attributable to migrants.

Screenshot ZDF / Facebook video

Two thirds of the victims of migrant crimes are Germans, the study says. Migrants from North Africa were most likely to commit violent crimes compared to migrants from Syria and Iraq.

An earlier study showed that the crime rate among migrants in Germany rose by more than 50 per cent to 174,438 in 2016.

The findings show what a lot of people had predicted: There’s a (strong) relationship between crime and Migration from Muslim majority countries in Africa and the Middle East.

RELATED ARTICLE: US Catholic Bishops received over $95 million from U.S. taxpayers in 2016 for refugee/migrant care