Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. deserves credit for pushing back — judiciously — against President Trump’s latest attack on the federal judiciary.
Trump had complained that “an Obama judge” in Northern California had ruled against the president’s attempt to restrict asylum applications. He ominously added: “I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore.”
In a statement released by the Supreme Court, Roberts said: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”
With the state Supreme Court having given its blessing, it seems all but certain that Gov. Jerry Brown will pardon former state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), who was convicted of voter fraud and perjury four years ago.
In fact, I would be surprised if he didn’t, and soon. Wright was a popular politician who many believed was unfairly targeted by the district attorney for simply misinterpreting the residency rules for state lawmakers. The law says state legislators must live in the district they seek to represent. But what does “live in” mean?
It’s actually a more complicated answer than you might think. California is a big state, and the job of a full-time legislator means they must spend a considerable amount of time in Sacramento. Many choose to maintain a home in that city, and even enroll their kids in school there. That seems reasonable.
President Trump may be about to make a bad decision even worse.
In the run-up to the midterm election, Trump tried to turn the northward flow of a few thousand desperate Central Americans into a crisis of sovereignty, describing the parade of young men, mothers and children as an “assault” on the border, which he threatened to close.
The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is probably responsible would be a challenge to even the most judicious and thoughtful U.S. president. The U.S.-Saudi relationship is long-standing and important, yet the United States cannot be seen to condone the state-sponsored assassination of a journalist.
Of course, President Trump is far from being that ideal president, as is clear from the embarrassing statement about Khashoggi’s killing he released Tuesday.
Reading more like the transcript of a Twitter thread or a Fox News interview than a considered foreign-policy pronouncement, Trump’s statement opened with his “America First” campaign slogan — followed by an exclamation point — and the likewise exclamation-pointed observation that “The world is a very dangerous place!”
Supporters of Hillary Clinton in 2016 — and even a few non-supporters — are having a good laugh over the report that first daughter/senior advisor Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to transact official business.
On Twitter, John Dean (yes, that John Dean) opined: “Dems should run this to ground given her father thought a very big deal when it involved Hillary. So it’s got to be [a] big deal for Ivanka!” Newsweek in tweeting out its story used the inevitable teaser: “Lock her up?”
The mirth — and bitterness — are understandable. It’s an article of faith among Clinton supporters that the issue of her emails was overblown (including by the “liberal” media). And it’s hard not to chuckle at the irony of improper email traffic ensnaring the daughter of a president who claimed Hillary’s actions were “worse than Watergate.”
It was clear from the start that President Trump didn’t have the legal authority under the Immigration and Naturalization Act to ban asylum requests at any place other than established ports of entry, but the administration went ahead with the order anyway.
In California, businesses that sell products containing known carcinogens must post “clear and reasonable” warnings about the danger of exposure consumers face (remember that brouhaha about coffee?). Look at the side of a can of beer and you find a label warning that “drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects.” Ditto for tobacco products.
But in Washington state, the King County Board of Health (think Seattle) has gone one better about a consumer product with a much more immediate risk of death. It recently ordered all gun vendors in the county to post signs warning of the increased risks of danger from possession of a firearm. The signs read: “Warning: The presence of a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, homicide, death during domestic violence disputes and unintentional deaths to children, household members and others.”
President Trump has a knack for elevating the people around him. Kind of like LeBron James — except, umm, different.
Take Trump’s ongoing feud with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta. For the second time this month, the president has turned Acosta into a sympathetic figure, which is remarkable to anyone who has seen Acosta ask a question in front of a live camera.
After a testy exchange during a press conference at the White House on Nov. 7, Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, announced that Acosta’s security pass to the White House was being suspended. Sanders first accused Acosta of manhandling a female White House intern, then after CNN sued, she said Acosta had hogged the microphone in a disruptive way.
The U.S. government has been after WikiLeaks maestro Julian Assange for eight years, ever since the site published a cache of classified documents it had obtained from U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning. And now we learn, through some sloppy legal paperwork, that Assange has secretly been charged by federal prosecutors.
With what, however, we don’t know. And that’s crucial.
Assange remains ensconced in Ecuador’s embassy in London, so the likelihood of him actually being extradited and prosecuted remain slim for now. But that would change if he wears out his welcome there, as some news outlets have reported he’s doing.