Tag Archives: Barack Obama

There should be no debate: we need to talk about guns

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The AR-15 used by the Parkland school shooter is widely available

This past Wednesday was marked by the convergence of a number of happenings on the same day. Lovers and wannabe’s were celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Western Christianity was marking the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. And at camps in Florida and Arizona, many Major League Baseball teams were opening their spring training.

But for many in America, those happenings were overshadowed by one of the worst school shootings in history which took place at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

A former student, 19-year old Nikolas Cruz, entered the school with an AR-15 in the middle of the afternoon and proceeded to murder 17, including three faculty members and 14 students. Numerous others were injured, many remaining hospitalized today.

Per a piece by Bart Jansen at USA Today, Cruz legally purchased the weapon himself in 2017.

“Cruz lawfully bought the semiautomatic rifle last February, according to Peter Forcelli, special agent in charge of the Miami office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The gun, a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 .223, was purchased at Sunrise Tactical Supply, according to the Associated Press. Federal law allows people 18 and older to legally purchase long guns, including this kind of assault weapon. With no criminal record, Cruz cleared an instant background check via the FBI criminal database.”

In the immediate aftermath, a number of students and others came forward making statements that they were not surprised if such a thing were to happen, that Cruz would be the attacker.

At least three students made reports regarding Cruz to adminstrators at the school, per Max Greenwood for The Hill. According to that report, the attack may have at least partially been set off by jealousy and a fight over an ex-girlfriend.

Cruz’ mother had died back in November, his father years ago. The couple who took him in at the urging of their own son stated per a piece by Katherine Lam for Fox News that, though they knew he was depressed, they never saw this type of outcome.

“We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead, 49, said. “We didn’t see this side of him.” James Snead, 48, added that he and his wife didn’t know what “everything, everybody seems to know.” “Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know,” Snead said. “It’s as simple as that.”

That is actually not very unusual, as Erica Goode, a visiting professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, wrote in a piece for The New York Times.

“Tony Beliz, a consultant to schools and corporations on violence prevention who for many years ran the mental health side of the Los Angeles program, which was started by the Los Angeles Police Department, has noted that parents often have no idea what their children are up to. In more than a few cases, a team visiting a home has found weapons or other indications of deadly intention.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation had received a tip regarding Cruz nearly six weeks prior to the shooting. You’ve heard of the public “See Something, Say Something” campaign, perhaps? Well, someone saw something and said something. And the FBI dropped the ball.

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) made this very observation as related in a Kyle Feldscher piece for the Washington Examiner:

“We all say if you see something, say something. And Parkland community, we saw people reporting, there were 20 calls to the sheriff’s department, they responded. The FBI received a legitimate, credible tip and it was not followed up upon. What we have seen in three major atrocities is that the system that was in place simply was not followed.”

The FBI had also received a tip on Cruz as far back as last September that the disturbed man had made a threat via YouTube. This per a piece at Townhall by Matt Vespa:

“They knew, folks. The FBI knew and didn’t follow proper protocols on a tip about Nikolas Cruz, the shooter in the recent high school shooting in Florida. FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau was still investigating this matter, along with reviewing the processes in which such information from citizens offering tips are analyzed.”


Within hours of the shooting, the usual political battle lines were being drawn. Gun control advocates lined up on one side. Those supporting the 2nd Amendment lined up on the other.

Fingers were pointed in many directions. Of course, liberals pointed at President Trump and the Republican controlled U.S. Congress, demanding that “something needs to be done!” 

Of course, these liberals had no such questions for former President Barack Obama, who had a Democratic Party controlled congress for two full years and never even looked at the issue.

We really need to do a better job at making sure we have strong gun laws in every state in the country, because we are losing our most valuable resource, which is our children, said Jeremy I. Stein, the executive director of CT Against Gun Violence, a nonprofit advocacy group per Lisa W. Foderaro and Kristin Hussey for The New York Times.

I’m a conservative Republican, and unashamedly so. My fallback position is usually to rally around any Republican politician or position that comes under attack. There are many reasons for this, all of which any supporter of any candidate or political party can understand.

However, on this one, I am lost. I worked in law enforcement for nearly three decades. I saw firsthand the devastation that violence on the streets, gun and otherwise, has on our communities.

I am also a gun owner. But I am one who has never been a major public advocate for any particular interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. I believe that individual gun ownership is important. I believe that our Founding Fathers created the amendment for vital reasons.

But, and this is a big “but”, I don’t necessarily believe that every American has the right to keep and bear any weapon that they wish in their homes. I shouldn’t be allowed to have a working cannon in my backyard. Certainly most would agree that individual citizens shouldn’t have a working nuclear ICBM in their backyard.

So where are the limits on what you should own as an individual? Should there be any limits whatsoever? The common sense answer is obvious. 

So now comes the difficult part: what are those limits? Despite the wishes of some on the very far Left, individual citizen gun ownership is here to stay in America. Gnash your teeth all you want, that will never change. Not without a major battle. And I’m not talking just a political or philosophical battle either.

If we are to allow certain high-powered weapons to be owned by individuals, what exactly are the limitations? What, if any, investigations of and controls should there be on individuals who wish to purchase and own these weapons? How should the weapons be handled once an approved owner passes away?

There are many legitimate questions raised by what happened in Parkland this past week. Of course, those questions were also raised many times previously. Most Americans are familiar with what took place at Columbine, Nickel Mines, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook, among others.



Fact is, we need to have a national discussion. We need to have it without pointing fingers at politicians and parties. We need to have it regarding every issue surrounding guns: mental health, crime, personal, home, and business security, etc.

I have heard gun owners say things along the lines of “I laid my gun down on the ground and told it took go kill somebody. It just laid there.” These things are said to support the position that guns don’t kill people, that people kill people.

This is very true. People have been killing people since the dawn of mankind. Rocks. Sticks. Fire. Knives. Swords. Bombs. Guns. Nukes. Not only that, but men will continue to kill men. If you take away every lawfully owned gun in America, that will remain the case.

It is also true that a great many murders by firearm are committed by people who did not lawfully purchase the weapon that they used. Criminals will indeed continue to find a way to purchase ‘black market’ firearms if we took them all away.

No, the answer is absolutely not to end lawful gun ownership in America. But there does need to be a better answer for the survivors of Parkland.

What can be done to make it much more difficult to have a repeat anywhere in the country of what happened at their school this past week?

I’ve seen others write pieces that include checklists of things that could allegedly solve the problem. I don’t provide such lists or answers here because frankly, I don’t know the answers. I do believe there are many components, and that the guns themselves are but one.

Despite what some on the far Left have stated, despite what a few emotional Parkland students blurted out this week, prayer is indeed an important component of what needs to be done. We do need to pray for the souls lost, for the ultimate recovery of the survivors, and for our nation as we wrestle with these issues.

We need to talk about the violence that we expose our children to at younger and younger ages in the “entertainment” media. We need to talk about the stability of the American family. We need to talk about mental health care. There are many other issues involved in seriously addressing this problem.

We desperately need to have the conversations. Our politicians need to have them, both among one another and with their constituents. Individuals need to have the conversations with one another, among families and friends.

Most importantly, we need to find a way to have these conversations civilly and realistically. If we cannot find a way to do that, then all that will happen in the end will be the usual nothing. If we continue to make this a partisan political issue on both sides, then nothing will change.



No matter what, there will be more school shootings in America as we move forward. There will be more shootings, period. There will be beatings, and stabbings, and explosions. That will be the case no matter what we do. 

But the idea of the necessary national conversation was expressed eloquently by Jody L. Modeira as published at The Hill:

“Our growing reluctance to talk about firearms and firearm violence doesn’t respect the Second Amendment; it turns it into a club used to bully others into silence and submission. This is the opposite of what the Second Amendment is intended to be — the constitutional provision that, as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia put it in District of Columbia v. Heller, has “protected the rights of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”

We need to talk. We must be able to find a way to make the Parkland’s, the Columbine’s, and the Sandy Hook’s more difficult, and even more rare than they are already. About that, there should be no debate. 

Let’s talk. Not shout one another down. Let’s open our ears, minds, and hearts. Let’s not be afraid to start the conversation. As with most things, we may not end up with everything we want. But together for once, let’s come up with some answers.

2017 American of the Year: Donald Trump

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It’s hard to imagine any first-year American President having to cope with partisan trials such as Donald Trump was forced to endure in office during 2017.

Trump was sworn-in back in January as the first-ever President of the United States to not previously have been an elected politician or serve in the American military ranks.

The new President was under attack from the opposition Democratic Party and liberal-slanted media outlets from day one.

On the television airwaves, networks such as CNN and MSNBC, programs like “The View”, and talk hosts led by Jimmy Kimmel continually bashed the President and his ideas and programs. While these same outlets and individuals had treated the last Republican President, George W. Bush, in much the same way, they chose to take it to a new level with Trump.

Meanwhile the Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren attacked Trump through their media friends as often as possible, and on every issue. Their hatred, and that is what it is, pure hatred, came largely due to their shock that Trump was in office at all.

They had collectively believed that their idol, the socialist-leaning Barack Obama, would be followed to the highest office in the land by Hillary Clinton. The first black POTUS to be followed by the first female President. Even more importantly to them, the liberal progressive agenda would continue on.

When it didn’t happen, the Dems and the media were legitimately shocked. They responded by lashing out in an open, obvious, childish tantrum never seen previously. It is a whining, crying, stomping feet tantrum that continues today.

Trump had established during his campaign in 2016 that he was never just going to sit back and take it from the media. He continued taking to Twitter to get out his message unfiltered. Often those messages were direct counter-attacks at the media.

The media had never experienced anything like it. They were used to controlling the message heard by the vast majority of Americans. Here was a President not only going around them to deliver his program and policy ideas, but also his personal thoughts on a wide range of issues.

Donald Trump is the first POTUS to make such aggressive use of social media to reach the masses. It has backfired on him occasionally. He has at times come across as petty and vindictive.

However, there is not doubt that he has also kept his base fired up. And there is no doubt that his Twitter account has been a major public relations and messaging tool.

Thanks to the President’s past as a businessman rather than a politician, he is beholden to far fewer special interests than normally chip away at the energy of other administrations.

His personal wealth allows him an independence of thought, speech, and action rarely seen in occupants of the Oval office. And his life experiences as a public figure for decades have left him unafraid of how he is perceived.

Because of the uniqueness of the man, he has won the year by successfully labeling as “fake news” that old school media. That the moniker has stuck is largely their own fault.

The media has often gotten away from its reporting responsibilities to actually become a second form of opposition. So instead of simply battling Democrats, the President has to battle an ego-shattered media.

However, defeating a biased media that has largely abandoned any expectations of impartiality in reporting is not the reason that he has been selected as the 2017 American of the Year. That’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s really a minor factor.

There have been a series of big victories during this first year for President Trump that have led to his selection for the honor. In many ways, his has been one of the most effective freshman season’s in POTUS history. Let’s examine this substantive list of accomplishments.

We’ll begin from the end: the President was a pivotal voice in getting tax reform done for the first time in more than three decades. As Sarah Westwood and Gabby Morrongiello at the Washington Examiner stated: 

“In addition to slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, the landmark legislation cut individual rates for all income tax levels, doubled the child tax credit to $2,000, and dramatically increased the standard deduction.”

President Trump also began to change the face of the American judiciary, consistently and insistently pushing the courts toward the right with his nominations and appointments. This was led by the appointment of Neil Gorsuch, an originalist in the mold of his friend and idol, the late Antonin Scalia, to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The appointment of Justice Gorsuch, a dozen judges to the federal appeals courts, as well as a host of lower court appointments made and to come, will be a legacy that will positively effect the nation for decades after he leaves office. And again, that’s only year one.

All year long, Trump signed executive orders rolling back Obama-era regulations which had handcuffed the American economy. He had promised during the campaign to cut two regulations for any new regulation put in place. Here at year’s end, the administration has announced that it has saved billions by actually slicing 22 regulations for each new one.

Trump pushed for the FCC to end so-called “net neutrality”, withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and set aside policies aimed at normalizing relations with the dictatorial Cuban regime.

These were all in keeping with another of Trump’s campaign pledges: “America first.” Those Obama-era programs, policies, and deals were not good for America. We were always being asked to carry the burden for the rest of a world that often seems disinterested in changing to help themselves.

President Trump showed the leadership spine necessary to call out the international community, as well as to once again set free the vital communications and information services of the Internet.

In perhaps his boldest statement to that international community, the President finally did what numerous predecessors had promised but fell short in having the courage to actually deliver. I’m talking here about his public recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In his statement announcing the move, the President also let it be known that he planned to have the United States embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital.  This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago. Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.”

Key themes during his campaign were tougher immigration policy, increased border security, and more aggressive action against criminal illegal immigrants. Check, check, and check.

President Trump immediately removed the handcuffs which had been placed on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) by Obama. As reported by Avery Anapol at The Hill, this was made plain in a statement made by ICE director Thomas Homan in early December:

“This president has done more for border security and public safety than any of the six presidents I’ve worked for. Just since his leadership in January, border crossings are at a 45-year low. Now that’s not a coincidence. That’s because this president has let the men and women of Border Patrol and ICE do their job.”

The goal of radical Islam is nothing less than the establishment of a worldwide caliphate under Sharia law spread through jihad in its various forms. The U.S. military virtually dismantled ISIL (also known as ISIS) this year, largely thanks to greater freedom provided through President Trump’s leadership.

All year long, the President battled liberal judges on the federal bench over the issue of a travel ban aimed at restricting traffic into the U.S. from a number of Muslim-majority nations. Despite the best efforts of these jurists, a version of Trump’s ban is now in place. Per Mark Sherman of the AP through Fox News, the ban “applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

The President formed a lasting, positive relationship with a number of foreign leaders during the year. However, he also battled it out with a number as well, none more publicly and menacingly than North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

In the administration’s list of foreign policy achievements for 2017, the actions against the North Koreans are front and center. They include designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, banning more than 90% of that country’s exports, and encouraging other nations to join with tougher actions, especially China. 

During his first year in office, the President visited the Middle East and Europe, met with the Pope in Vatican City, and undertook the longest trip to Asia by any POTUS in the last quarter century.

Through his own statements and those of his appointed U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the President made it known that America would always act in its own self interests first.

The President is still fighting to get a full, secure wall built along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. But not waiting, his unleashing of the Border Patrol has resulted in the fewest attempted illegal crossings in decades. His newly appointed Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, let it be known that going after the violent MS-13 gang was a top priority.

President Trump has delivered on many of his promises already, and it was only the first of at least four years. Shackles have been removed from both the economy and homeland security that will benefit all Americans. The courts are gradually returning to the Constitution. The world is learning that “America first” is real, not just a campaign slogan.

The President has accomplished all of these things with absolutely no help from that opposition Democratic Party. He has accomplished them despite mischaracterization and at times outright character assassination from leftist media. 

For his accomplishments on behalf of the United States of America this year, President Donald J. Trump is selected as our 2017 American of the Year.

The following are the previous 11 honorees (there was no selection in 2014 or 2015 due to a temporary change in direction by the website):

2004 – Pat Tillman, 2005 – Bill O’Reilly, 2006 – Rev. Billy Graham, 2007 – P/O Chuck Cassidy, 2008 – President George W. Bush, 2009 – Glenn Beck, 2010 – Senator Ron Paul, 2011 – U.S. Navy Seal Team 6, 2012 – Michael Phelps, 2013 – Senator Ted Cruz, 2016 – Kellyanne Conway

Articles written on these prior honorees can be viewed simply by clicking on the “American of the Year” tag following this article.

Dems keep throwing curves, Trump keeps taking them deep

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Democrats have tried nearly everything within their power during 2017 to discredit President Donald J. Trump. Still obviously butt-hurt after Hillary Clinton’s stunning (to them) defeat last November, they have refused to simply play the role of gallant opposition party.

The Dems could have decided to put forth their own agenda, their own vision for the future, pushing those programs into the public consciousness through their media cohorts.

They could have chosen to work with the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress to gain something, no matter how small, for their own constituents until the next opportunity to win control for themselves at the ballot box.

Instead, they chose a MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) scorched Earth policy of no-holds barred, relentless attacks against the Trump administration.

They did so in some cases knowing full well that it would mean some of their own stars would fall, such as U.S. Senator Al Franken. It has been a year of nothing else but “take down Trump, at all costs” for the liberal progressive Democratic Party.

They have pulled one trick pitch after another out of their arsenal. Trump collusion with the Russians helped enable the November 2016 election upset. Trump’s anti-immigration goals would prove reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.

His reversal of Barack Obama regulations, as well as ill-conceived tax reform, would benefit the wealthy while hurting the “little guy” and prove devastating to both the economy and the environment.

Relentless attacks on Trump on these and many other issues, all aided by their liberal media sycophants, were sure to eventually wear down the President. There would be a major slip-up, some irreversible damage would occur. This would lead to a Democratic Party takeover of the U.S. Senate and Congress in 2018, and then the White House in 2020.

Heck, perhaps the inevitable Trump gaffe would be so major that it would lead to impeachment, and a Nixonian resignation. Then a weakened Pence administration would be dominated by the new Dem-controlled congress over the next couple of years.

That was the plan as inning after inning, the Dems took turns on the mound making their pitch, tossing curve balls and spit balls at the President and his team.

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jimmy Kimmel. CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post. Much of their pitch financed by deep-pocketed ownership in the person of George Soros, along with other wealthy liberals.

And yet here we are, more than a year after that election, and Donald J. Trump is still standing, perhaps stronger than ever. Nearly every exaggerated curve tossed by the Dems to date, every fabricated spitter that has slipped from their grip, has been taken deep by POTUS.

Russian collusion on the election? About as big a nothing burger as has been offered up on the liberal menu in decades. When the liberal progressives couldn’t nail Trump with that one, they went after his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Then his son, Donald Trump Jr. The result? Two more wild pitches in the dirt.

Immigration? There is still no wall, even though the President continues to tout it’s inevitability. Big city liberal mayors such as Philly’s Jim Kenney continue to thumb their noses at federal immigration law by establishing their municipalities as “sanctuary cities” while taunting the President with vitriolic rhetoric. But there have also been huge wins.

An empowered and emboldened ICE made more than 143,000 arrests, with a 92% “win” rate. The proportion of removals resulting from ICE arrests rose from just 27% in FY2016 under Obama to 36% in FY2017 under Trump.

ICE has taken down hundreds of members of the notorious MS-13 gang. The CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol) has stated that due to President Trump, we have seen a “historic shift” in attempted illegal border crossings. Also, SCOTUS just upheld President Trump’s travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries. All of these moves are helping make America more secure.

The economy? Come on now. The DOW and NASDAQ break records almost daily. Unemployment and jobs figures consistently reveal the success of this President. He has returned the U.S. economy to basic capitalist principles from Obama-era socialist policies. Both the Keystone and Dakota XL pipelines have been fast-tracked by President Trump.

Unburden private industry from the yoke of government over-regulation and taxation, and business will blossom, expand, and hire. Real business owners in their actual hiring practices and stock market speculators betting on the future of the American economy under Trump continue to react favorably.

Justice Neil Gorsuch has been seated on the U.S. Supreme Court, and 10 more judges have been appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Still another half-dozen judges have been appointed to the U.S. district courts. And there is more to come, as 42 more Trump court nominees are awaiting Senate action. Over 150 more judicial slots are up for appointment during President Trump’s first term.

It hasn’t been all home runs for POTUS. His Twitter feed continues to be a frustrating mix, even for his most ardent supporters. There are clever retorts and tough responses to political and media challenges, as we saw play successfully in the campaign.

However, he also chooses to engage for too frequently on social media with negative commentary and insults that are unnecessary, and which occasionally take focus away from more important issues.

Still, as 2017 draws to a close, this has clearly been a strong season for the rookie politician. And it could get even better if tax reform is actually finalized before Christmas, as the President has stated he hopes.

Even if those tax reform negotiations flip over into early 2018, Trump continues to swing from the heels, connecting with the liberal flutter-balls for a rising number of policy and appointment home runs.

Who Are These Federal Judges?

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Much frustration has been visited in recent weeks upon those who support President Donald Trump in his efforts to better secure our nation.

The source of that frustration has been certain federal judges, who have squashed the President’s executive orders to ban immigration to the United States from particular nation’s deemed as security risks.
Many are wondering: who are these judges? How did they get their jobs? Can they be replaced? Why do they decide the issue, instead of the Supreme Court?
A quick primer of the U.S. federal judicial system is in order to help fully understand the issue. Congress has established 13 courts of appeals, divided up based on geographical regions of the country. These are often referred to as the “circuit courts” in the media.
It is the job of the circuit courts to hear appeals of civil and criminal issues brought before them. This is what has been happening with the President’s executive orders. Attorneys General in state’s that disapprove of the orders are appealing their legality to the circuit courts in their geographical area of the country.
For instance, the Attorney General in Hawaii appealed the President’s most recent immigration executive order to the Ninth circuit court, which covers the western region of the United States.
The Ninth is generally known to be one of the most historically liberal circuits as to their rulings. It is also the largest circuit court, covering some 20% of the U.S. population. It is divided, as are each of the other circuits, into smaller geographical “districts”, which oversee any actual federal trials.
The 13 circuit courts do not actually hold trials. Instead, they hear arguments in the form of “briefs”, the arguments presented by lawyers for both sides of any matter brought as an appeal based on decisions in the lower courts. The circuit court judge hearing the case then makes a ruling.
Those circuit court rulings are not necessarily final. Any party not satisfied can appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) by asking for a “review” of the case.
The SCOTUS does not have to rule on every appeal. It could simply decline to hear the case, allowing the circuit court ruling to stand. SCOTUS typically hears only about 2% of the cases brought before it each year.
The Supreme Court tends to take on the most important cases, issues that will have great effect on the nation. SCOTUS rulings are final, and therefore of tremendous importance. Unless they overturn themselves in some future appeal, those rulings effectively stand as the law of the land.
Because the SCOTUS only hears those 2% of cases, the 13 circuit courts are extremely influential. Their rulings set court “precedents”, legal guidelines to follow, that influence lower localized courts throughout the land.
There are a total of 179 judges sitting on the various U.S. courts of appeals. Each of these judges is nominated by the President, and appointed only with the approval of a majority of the U.S. Senate. This includes the nine Justices sitting on the Supreme Court.
The current SCOTUS has been made up of just eight Justices since the death last February of Antonin Scalia. President Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch for that opening. Gorsuch will faces his Senatorial nomination hearing process next week.
Replacing a federal judge is not an easy process. By law, the federal judges serve for life, unless they resign or are removed from office by impeachment. The impeachment process is basically a trial held in the U.S. Senate, and it is rare.
So in effect, federal judges serve for life. This not only provides tremendous job security, but it makes them some of the most important and influential individuals in the nation.
During his eight-year term, President Barack Obama had two successful SCOTUS appointments in the now 62-year old Sonia Sotomayor and 56-year old Elena Kagan.
He was also able to have 55 judges, more than 30% of the total positions, appointed to the circuit courts. Obama has left behind a judicial legacy that will influence the country for decades to come.
The circuit court judge from Hawaii who made the recent ruling on President Trump’s travel-ban executive order, Derrick Watson, was appointed by Obama. The two were classmates at Harvard Law School, graduating together in 1991.
Obama just happened to make an unexpected trip to Hawaii at the time that Watson was considering his ruling. It wasn’t a vacation, as no family was with the former President.
Hawaii is not a small place. It is a series of islands. Yet Obama publicly ate dinner, posing for pictures, at a restaurant just over three miles from the federal courthouse at which Watson would eventually announce his decision.
If you think politics doesn’t come into play in these types of court decisions, you are extremely naive.
So what are President Trump’s options if Attorneys General from liberal states are going to keep appealing his executive orders to liberal judges? The president’s best potential ally would be a reliably conservative Supreme Court.
The hope is that Gorsuch will be confirmed, becoming the ninth Justice on the SCOTUS. This would allow final votes to fall 5-4 in favor of the conservative side if all goes as hoped.
Gorsuch would join Chief Justice John Roberts (62) and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas (68), Samuel Alito (67), and Anthony Kennedy (80) as conservative-leaning judges on SCOTUS.
The current “liberal” SCOTUS Justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg (84) and Stephen Breyer (78), joining Sotomayor and Kagan.
If attorneys for the President can get future executive orders regarding the travel-ban issue to be heard by a conservative SCOTUS, those orders could go into effect, hopefully better securing the nation.
The potential travel-ban appeal is just one issue that should demonstrate exactly how important getting Gorsuch confirmed is to the Trump administration, and to conservatives across the United States.
However, almost as important would be the appointment of conservative-leaning judges to the circuit courts as well.
There are currently 19 circuit court judicial openings. Of the 160 circuit judges seated, 90 were appointed by a Democrat POTUS, 70 by a Republican POTUS. President Trump could nearly even-up that divide by simply making the 19 appointments as soon as possible.
President Trump is going to influence the circuit courts over the next few years. There are 23 judges still seated across the circuit court system who were appointed by the first President Bush (9), President Reagan (12), and even two judges who were appointed in the 1970’s.
When you think of the term “elections have consequences“, this is exactly what you need to be thinking about as future presidential elections approach.

The Republic For Which It Stands

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Every good American knows and has said those words hundreds, if not thousands of times in their lives. Learning and reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance” to our flag is part of our shared civics lesson as citizens.

But do we really think of the detail in those words as we say them? After all, in saying them we are theoretically taking an actual pledge to stand behind it’s principles.

One of the most important and least appreciated of those principles is the simple line “and to the republic for which it stands” which speaks to our nation’s form of government. Did someone tell you that the United States of America was a democracy? That would be incorrect. America is actually a “constitutional republic”, and there is a very big, very important difference, one you should become familiar with if you are not already.

In a true democracy, the majority rules, either by direct voting results or through the decisions of their elected representatives. These are the two basic forms of democracy: direct and representative. The American Revolution was undoubtedly fought in part to form a more democratic society and government, as opposed to the tyranny experienced previously by the former Colonies under the British monarchy.

However, once that freedom was won and our Founding Fathers set to the task of determining and establishing our actual form of government, what they came up with was not a direct democracy, nor was it the representative democracy that many mistakenly believe exists.

These brilliant men such as George Washington, James Madison, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin believed that America should be concerned with the protection of the rights of the individual. This means that people who don’t agree with the majority – and keep in mind that a “majority” will frequently change over time and across various issues – should also have their rights protected.

To truly understand the U.S. Constitution, one needs to read and understand what has become known today as “The Federalist Papers“, the series of articles and essays written by Madison, Jay, and Hamilton in order to promote that effort. James Madison has become known as the ‘Father of the U.S. Constitution’, and his ‘Federalist No. 10’ is considered one of the most important political writings in our history.

Specifically in ‘Federalist No. 10’, the 10th in the series of these important articles, Madison states that democracies tend to become weaker as they get larger, and will tend to suffer more violently from the effects of faction. However, a republic can get stronger as it gets larger, and will combat faction by it’s very structure. The difference and it’s importance should be obvious to anyone paying attention to 21st century American politics, divided into rigid factions as at no other time in our history.

As he exited from a building after helping write the original U.S. Constitution, Ben Franklin was famously approached by a woman who asked him what type of government the group had come up with for the nation. Franklin’s historic reply: “A Republic – if you can keep it.

In a constitutional republic, the officials are indeed elected as representatives of the people. However, those representatives must govern according to existing constitutional law which limits the government’s power over the citizens.

A true constitutional republic, such as the United States of America, is a government controlled by law, not one where that government actually does the controlling. The law does the controlling. That is America. It is the Constitution that rules, not whatever elected officials happen to be in office at any given time.

So when the current President of the United States, who will in fact not be in power any longer just 3 1/2 years from now, and whose political Party may lose effective power as soon as a year from now, makes statements such as “elections have consequences” he is treading on dangerous ground. Winning an election does not give one person or Party absolute power. The power rests in the law, in the Constitution.

If they think about it for a logical minute, supporters of Obama want no parts of “elections have consequences” as a ruling principle. All they need for a perfect example is the eight years prior to the current administration, when a man they still despise, George W. Bush, was the President of the United States. Were they willing to simply sit back quietly because elections have consequences? Hardly. And in fact, their favored politicians and Party will lose elections in the future as well.

No, President Obama and Democrats, it is not we the people who must accept that elections have consequences at all. Instead, it is you who must accept that you swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. You must recognize that many people, more than 60 million who directly voted against you, do not share your values. You must gain as much as you can of your political and social agenda through negotiation, not by force, and must accept that you will never get all of what you want.

The next time that you pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, think of the words as you say them, rather than simply droning on out of some rehearsed obligation. You are pledging allegiance to our “Republic“, to our U.S. Constitution, and are doing so recognizing that we are one nation under God, who guided us down this path in the first place.