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2018 Could Be Bigger For Trump Making Nominations

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(Via Fox News)


One of the most transformative years in the federal judiciary began with uncertainty and ends on a political high note for President Trump.

The White House, after winning confirmation for Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat held by the late conservative icon Antonin Scalia, has moved with record speed to fill vacancies on the lower federal courts – a surefire way for a president to help cement his legacy.

As of mid-December, 19 of Trump’s 66 total nominees this year have been confirmed by the Senate.

By comparison, then-President Barack Obama had made only 26 choices – including Justice Sonia Sotomayor – half of whom were confirmed by mid-December 2009.

The impact under Trump is especially being felt on the appellate level, which could act as insurance of sorts if those judges are more inclined to support his policies as they face legal challenge across the country.

“The importance of this dramatic reshaping of the entire federal court system cannot be overstated,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Fox News contributor. “While it is easy to focus on the U.S. Supreme Court, lower and appellate court judges will make decisions that impact ordinary Americans on a daily basis for decades to come.”

It has not been all smooth for the Trump team. Three nominees were withdrawn by the White House in recent days after questions were raised about their record and temperament. In a confirmation hearing that essentially went viral, then-nominee Matthew Petersen stumbled repeatedly under questioning as he acknowledged not knowing basic trial court terminology, essential if he were to be a trial judge, say legal experts.

Yet, with 143 current vacancies — almost half of them considered “judicial emergencies” with shorthanded courts and heavy caseloads — more opportunities await the new president in the new year.

ANOTHER SUPREME DECISION?

Of those opportunities could be another early-term Supreme Court appointment.

With the unusually influential help of outside advisers, Trump made an immediate impact on the country just 11 days after taking office in 2017, choosing Justice Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s Supreme Court seat. The 50-year-old Colorado native — and youngest justice — quickly displayed that promised “reliable” conservative record.

Now, White House aides are quietly hopeful they might soon get another chance to move the shaky conservative majority on the bench solidly to the right.

“If a vacancy should arise again, this White House is going to be ready to go. They already have a working list of candidates to fill a seat. They’ve been through the process once before,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official and now an appellate attorney. “So I would say, take the Gorsuch model, and do it again.”

Trump might get the chance as early as spring, when retirement announcements from the high court are typically made. Justice Anthony Kennedy — a moderate-conservative and powerful deciding vote on so many hot-button issues — tantalized Washington last summer, amid unfounded rumors he would step aside after three decades. The tight-lipped 81-year-old senior associate justice still has given no public indication he is ready to go.

But Trump already has a list. When Gorsuch was selected, he was among a list of 21 names then-candidate Trump promised he would rely on exclusively to complete the high court. The list of possibles has since expanded to 25, with the latest four added in November.

‘The importance of this dramatic reshaping of the entire federal court system cannot be overstated.’

– former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Among those newly added was Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who sits on the same high-profile D.C. appeals court as Merrick Garland – the Obama pick stalled and sidelined by Republicans. Three current justices (and Scalia) came from that appeals bench. Government sources and court watchers say the 52-year-old Kavanaugh, a former law clerk for Kennedy, would be among those seriously considered for any near-term Supreme Court vacancy.

Also in the mix:

Judge Amul Thapar, 48, on the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit federal appeals court. While still a district court judge, Thapar was interviewed in January by the president for the Scalia seat, and would become the first Asian-American Supreme Court justice.
Judge Thomas Hardiman of the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit federal appeals court. The 52-year-old Pittsburgh native was the remaining finalist for the seat Gorsuch now holds.
Judge Joan Larsen, also of the 6th Circuit, also was a former law clerk for Scalia, speaking at his memorial service. Some sources say Larsen, who turns 49 this month and served on Michigan’s high court, may need some more federal bench experience before ever reaching the high court.
Judge Diane Sykes of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit appeals court, has long been a favorite of conservatives, having been considered for the high court in the Bush years. She too was a Trump high court finalist, but her age — she turns 60 this month — may be a factor for a president seeking a justice with a potentially longer tenure.

The planning, of course, all presumes a new vacancy will occur in Trump’s first term. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 84 the oldest member of the court, has privately indicated she has no intention of leaving. Kennedy too may decide to stay for another year at least.

“He is aware, as we all are, that Trump promised to put justices on the court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, who would perhaps undermine equal rights for gays and lesbians,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center. “So he is not going to be eager to throw away that legacy away. The best steward of Justice Kennedy’s legacy is Justice Kennedy, and that will give him an impetus to stay on the bench.”

VACANCY STARES

Conservative activists concede having Kennedy on the bench creates a measure of uncertainty into the new year, concerning whether many of the president’s legislative priorities will survive judicial scrutiny.

The so-called “travel ban” cases are working their way through the appeals process and could reach the justices this spring. The third version of Trump’s immigration and visitor policies includes a ban on travel into the U.S. from six mostly Muslim countries. The case could be major test of executive authority over foreign policy and immigration.

Other pending court challenges where Republicans on Capitol Hill and the White House could face court setbacks include gun control, gerrymandering, religious freedom, abortion, transgender service members in the military, and the war on terror.

But those issues may have a harder time reaching the justices if the various lower courts speak with one voice on such hot-button disputes. Since the Supreme Court is a purely discretionary body — taking only those cases it wants to resolve, and typically only when there are differing legal interpretations in the lower courts — many issues remain on the judicial back burner.

That, legal experts say, puts a priority on Trump ensuring the 874 federal judgeships with lifetime tenure remain mostly right-leaning. And they have so far, with the Senate’s help. Gone is the 60-vote, filibuster-proof threshold required to confirm judicial candidates. Gorsuch benefitted from a simple 51-vote majority to earn his seat, after rule changes engineered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky..

Many advocacy groups on the left remain frustrated.

“The judicial nominations process is spinning out of control under the Trump administration,” said Nan Aron, president and founder of the Alliance for Justice. “It is disgraceful that in their stampede to rush through as many judicial nominees as possible, Republican partisans on the Judiciary Committee continue to trample basic standards for nominees, longstanding Senate practice and their own Democratic colleagues.”

Trump has given credit for his third branch successes to several mostly obscure conservative legal minds, who provided outside resources and advice during the Gorsuch selection and confirmation drama. That includes Leonard Leo, who took a leave of absence from the Federalist Society to be the president’s private point man on all things judges. He says Trump would be ready if given another chance to burnish his legacy.

“I think it’s important the president and the Republican Party continue to pick individuals to the Supreme Court who are really committed to the ideals that Justice Scalia stood for. Those play well with the American people, those are the right ideals for moving the court forward, and that worked” with the Gorsuch confirmation, Leo told Fox News.

When it comes to the selection process, “The president is very entrepreneurial, he’s always open to new ideas. But I think the Gorsuch nomination tells you everything you need to know about what he’s looking for, and that I don’t think will change at all.”

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Politics

Biden Lies About Israel’s Involvement in Palestinian Genocide

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President Biden Says Israel is Not Committing a Genocide in Gaza, Denounces the ICC Arrest Warrant Against Netanyahu and Gallant

In a move that has stirred controversy and sparked debates across the globe, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan has applied for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The request is in relation to alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity linked to the war in Gaza. The move has drawn sharp criticism from U.S. President Joe Biden, who has denounced the ICC’s decision as “outrageous.”

The warrants have been sought following a months-long investigation into both Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack on Israel and Israel’s military response in the Gaza Strip. The ICC’s decision to target the top leaders of a close ally of the United States is unprecedented and marks a significant escalation in international pressure against Israel.

President Biden has firmly stated that Israel is not committing a genocide in Gaza. He has condemned the ICC’s decision to seek arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant, labeling the move as “outrageous” and asserting that there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. This stance aligns with the U.S.’s historical skepticism towards the ICC, arguing that the court should not exercise any jurisdiction over citizens of countries that are not a party to the founding treaty that established the ICC.

The ICC’s announcement on Monday is separate from the case that is currently being heard by the the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over an accusation from South Africa that Israel was committing genocide in its war against Hamas following the October 7 attacks. This case further complicates the situation, adding another layer of international scrutiny to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The decision by the ICC has been met with mixed reactions. While some see it as a necessary step towards accountability for alleged war crimes, others view it as a politically motivated move that could damage the court’s relationship with the U.S. and other nations. The ICC’s decision to target both Israeli leaders and Hamas leaders in the same set of arrest warrants has also raised questions about the court’s approach to the conflict and its implications for future international justice efforts.

As the situation continues to unfold, the world watches closely to see how the U.S. and other nations will respond to the ICC’s decision and the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The controversy surrounding the ICC’s actions and President Biden’s response highlights the complex and often contentious nature of international justice and diplomacy in the face of ongoing conflict and human rights concerns.

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President Trump’s Paxton Plan For U.S. Attorney General

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In a recent turn of events, former President Donald Trump has hinted at considering Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for the role of U.S. Attorney General if he were to win a second term in the White House. This announcement, made during a conversation with Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth at the National Rifle Association convention, has sparked a flurry of speculation and discussion among political circles.

The potential appointment of Paxton to the U.S. Attorney General position raises several questions and concerns. Critics point to Paxton’s legal battles and controversies, including accusations of bribery and abuse of office, which led to his impeachment by the Texas House. These allegations were dismissed in the Senate, but they remain a point of contention.

On the other hand, Paxton’s supporters praise his legal battles against the Biden administration and his unwavering support for Trump. They see him as a strong candidate who would vigorously defend conservative values and push back against perceived liberal overreach.

This potential appointment also raises the question of how it would affect the dynamics within the Republican Party. Some Republicans, like Senator John Cornyn, have been critical of Paxton, suggesting that a Paxton nomination could lead to intraparty battles.

Trump’s consideration of Paxton is not just a political move but also a strategic one. It signals a continuation of his policies and a commitment to his base. It also underscores the importance of loyalty in Trump’s political calculus, a trait he clearly values in Paxton.

Now, let’s delve into why Trump should pick Paxton for the U.S. Attorney General position.

Firstly, Paxton’s track record as Texas Attorney General demonstrates his commitment to conservative values and his willingness to fight for them. He has been at the forefront of legal battles against the Biden administration, challenging policies on issues such as immigration and voting rights. His actions have made him a popular figure among conservatives, a fact that Trump would certainly be aware of.

Secondly, Paxton has shown unwavering loyalty to Trump. He has filed lawsuits to defend Trump’s policies and has been a vocal supporter of the former president. This loyalty is something Trump values highly, as evidenced by his past appointments.

Thirdly, Paxton’s potential appointment would send a strong message to the Republican Party and to the country as a whole. It would signal a continuation of Trump’s policies and a commitment to his base. It would also serve as a reminder of Trump’s influence within the party and his ability to shape its direction.

Finally, Paxton’s potential appointment would likely be well-received by Trump’s base. His conservative credentials and his legal battles against the Biden administration would be seen as a strong endorsement of Trump’s policies and a promise to continue fighting for them.

In conclusion, while there are valid concerns about Paxton’s past controversies, there are also strong arguments in favor of his potential appointment as U.S. Attorney General. His conservative credentials, his loyalty to Trump, and the message his appointment would send to the Republican Party and the country as a whole make him a strong candidate for the position.

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Lucas Gage Returns to X After Exposing Palestine Atrocities & Ban Over Alleged Harassment

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In today’s digital age, social media platforms serve as vital tools for raising awareness and advocating for causes. However, they also present challenges such as harassment and censorship. Recently, actor and activist Lucas Gage faced these challenges head-on when his X account was suspended for several months following harassment from certain groups unhappy with his efforts to expose war atrocities in Palestine. Now, after a prolonged absence, Gage has returned to X, ready to resume his important work of shedding light on crucial issues.

Lucas Gage, known for his roles in various television shows and films, has also been vocal about social justice issues, particularly regarding the Palestinian cause. His advocacy drew the ire of individuals and groups who disagreed with his stance. Gage utilized his platform on X to spotlight the human rights violations and war atrocities occurring in Palestine, which led to backlash from some pro-Israeli factions.

The backlash against Gage escalated into harassment, predominantly from individuals identifying themselves as Zionists. He faced a barrage of abusive messages, threats, and attempts to undermine his activism. Despite his efforts to report and block the harassers, the situation persisted, taking a toll on Gage’s mental well-being and sense of safety.

In a controversial decision, X suspended Gage’s account, citing violations of its community guidelines. Many criticized X for what they perceived as a failure to address harassment effectively, especially given the circumstances surrounding Gage’s case. The ban sparked debates about freedom of expression, censorship, and the responsibilities of social media platforms in safeguarding users from harassment and abuse.

After a hiatus spanning several months, Lucas Gage has made his comeback to X. His return has been met with an outpouring of support from fellow activists, fans, and individuals concerned about censorship and human rights. Gage expressed gratitude for the overwhelming solidarity he received during his absence and reiterated his dedication to advocating for justice and raising awareness about the plight of the Palestinian people.

The incident involving Lucas Gage underscores the significance of advocacy and the hurdles activists encounter, especially when addressing contentious issues. It also highlights the complexities of navigating social media platforms where differing viewpoints often clash, sometimes resulting in hostility and censorship.

As Gage resumes his activism on X, it is imperative to continue discussions about online harassment, censorship, and the necessity for improved mechanisms to shield users from abuse. Social media companies must reevaluate their policies and enforcement strategies to ensure that platforms remain spaces for constructive dialogue and activism, rather than avenues for harassment and stifling dissenting voices.

Lucas Gage’s return to X serves as a testament to the resilience of individuals committed to social justice causes despite facing obstacles and adversity. His experience sheds light on broader issues surrounding online harassment and censorship, prompting important conversations about the role of social media platforms in shaping public discourse. As Gage continues his advocacy, his story serves as inspiration for others to speak out against injustice and strive for positive change.

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