Archive for March, 2017

Judge Judged

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

If you would like to find out why Democrats are so widely reviled, spend a few hours watching the interrogation of Neil Gorsuch, now under consideration for the Supreme Court by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gorsuch is a Federal appeals court judge from Colorado. Democrats found a half-dozen cases (out of the hundreds Gorsuch has decided) on which to base an orchestrated campaign of character assassination. Their attack was as unpersuasive as it was brutal. They owe the judge an apology.

As citizens, Gorsuch and I are almost certainly on opposite sides of many issues, but as lawyers we share a view of what judges are supposed to do, and Gorsuch, after hours of questioning, is exposed as an exemplary judge. What he does is follow precedent, as he’s required to do. Sometimes, the result is that decent people get hurt. There are deficiencies in federal law that judges have no authority to correct. Democrats turned up three or four such cases and they pounded him incessantly with them. The judge challenged the lawmmakers to remedy the deficiences with legislation, and they pleaded impotence.

Because of Gorsuch’s adherence to judicial precedent, nearly all the cases he has sat on were decided unanimously. He’s been reversed only once by the Supreme Court in ten years on the appeals court bench. His Democratic assailants tried to find something in his record showing political bias, but there was nothing, so they resorted to underhanded tactics like guilt by association (anonymous rich people have spent millions promoting ¬†his nomination) and name-calling (he’s an “originalist” and a “corporatist”).

The Dems’ onslaught was transparently phony, as senators read statements prepared by others pulling quotes out of context from writings Gorsuch published before he was appointed to the federal bench and goading him to agree or disagree with opinions of others on controversial legal issues and to disclose his personal political opinions. As hard as it may be to believe that a clown like Trump could pick a qualified person for the Supreme Court, the hearing–two days of nonstop, repetitive, often disrespectful interrogation–was conclusive: the nominee is an asset and ¬†should be confirmed. C-SPAN has the hearing archived, and if you can watch Feinstein, Blumenthal and Franken without nausea, it’s definitely worth a few hours.

The Brand

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

A few days ago at a high school basketball game here in Connecticut, fans cheering for the mostly light-skinned home team taunted players from the mostly dark-skinned visiting team by chanting the word “Trump.” The school principal correctly interpreted the chant as a comment on the race of the visiting players and disciplined the offending students. The incident made news across the state and embarrassed a number of people.

The media discussion of the incident focused on the racial prejudices that might have given rise to it. What the media missed was the reflection this chant casts on the Trump name. It’s a name that once stood for wealth and status and success that’s suddenly become a shorthand expression of racial mockery. And it wasn’t Trump’s detracters that used his brand in this way–to hurt feelings–but his most ardent young supporters.

What if the Trump brand is being degraded by his presidency? Some would say the brand is his principal asset. If the brand is losing value, the value of the property that bears the brand must also be in decline. That means the monetary worth of Trump’s estate depends critically on what he does as president. We call that a conflict of interests, and there’s only one remedy for it: liquidation.

Trump can’t function properly as president as long as there is a Trump brand. His assets must be sold and the Trump brand must be retired. Sorry, Donald. Nobody forced you to run for president. It’s unfortunate that the mass media didn’t mention this during the election, but that’s fake news for you. You knew about it, and so did many of us.

The home-team school principal did point out that it was a small group in the student cheering section that took up the Trump chant, and it’s probably worth noting that the same is true for Trump support generally. Sixty million people may have voted for him, but over a hundred million didn’t who could have. For some reason, the media never ask him whether he owes any obligation to that majority. He does. The idea that his side “won” the election and is thus entitled to make policy without consulting the majority is delusion. Policy’s just words on paper.

Trump, as the fake news media don’t tell you, faces these two imperatives: he must sell his assets, and he must accommodate the majority who don’t support him. If he fails in either of these, he will have abused the authority of his office and must be impeached and removed.