Whitaker, Acosta, Snipes and Abrams. What do they have in common?
Each of the persons named in the headline has made news lately. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Chief-of-Staff Matthew Whitaker became the center of controversy when President Trump named him to be Acting Attorney General after Sessions resigned – or was fired, if you prefer.
Jim Acosta is the petulant and pushy CNN White House reporter who got into a not-so-pleasant physical confrontation with a White House intern attempting to reclaim the microphone from Acosta after an unprofessional exchange with Trump.
Brenda Snipes is the embattled Supervisor of Elections conducting the Florida recount in Broward County, which has a long history of voting “errors” and “mismanagement” over the many years of her incumbency.
Stacey Abrams was the Democrat candidate for governor of Georgia who lost by a fairly wide margin on Election Day.
Outside of being involved in the government/political arena and having become controversial figures subject of extensive news coverage, there appears to be no apparent link between the trio – no seemingly common issue. They represent different ethnicities, genders and political affiliations.
There is a very important common thread that involves all three. It is the courts.
Ruling Outside the Rule-of-Law
While most Americans are under the impression that our courts are there to interpret or apply the law, the more conservative folks have expressed a growing concern that the liberals have become too eager to use the courts to make law in situations where they lack the political gravitas to pass legislation. And that the so-called activist judges placed on the courts by the left are more than willing to extend the judiciary’s power into law making – violating the existential balance created by the constitutional separation of powers.
For very local issues – such as jail overcrowding in Cook County, Illinois – to such monumental decisions as Roe vs. Wade, the federal courts have literally taken over executive management of government agencies (the Cook County case) or created laws or nullified laws (Roe vs. Wade) without apparent constitutional justification.
In each of those cases, Democrats are asking the courts to ignore the law – to issue orders that themselves would be violations of the law.
The Whitaker Case
It is and has been perfectly clear that under the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, the President of the United States has the right to appoint anyone he pleases to fill-in executive vacancies until a duly nominated person is confirmed by the Senate. The Democrat Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has filed a lawsuit to have the Whitaker appointment declared null and void. According to Frosh, the words of the law and the intent of Congress in passing that law should be discarded by a local federal judge for political advantage.
The Acosta Case
CNN has filed a suit against President Trump, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, the Secret Service and various and sundry other administration officials because the network’s showboating White House correspondent had his credentials pulled – effectively barring him from entering the grounds of the Executive Mansion. CNN claims that Acosta’s and their First Amendment constitutional rights have been violated and they cite a couple of old cases that almost, but not quite, fit this situation.
Under the law, the press operates on the property of the White House at the invitation of the President. There is no constitutional right access to the White House to be imposed. The White House has stated that some other reporter could represent CNN – but that is not good enough for the newsies at Ted Turner’s folly.
The press corps – which generally supports the CNN suit – could find an unhappy outcome. If the judge declares that Acosta being singled out is a violation of something or other, Trump could even the playing field by saying that the entire White House press corps should find facilities in some other non-government location – like holding press conferences in hotel meeting rooms as is a very common custom of many newsmakers. The right to freely report and opine does not carry a secondary right of access.
What CNN is asking is for a federal judge to set aside the Constitution and established law to grant their network – and by extension all other networks – an extraordinary right to weasel into the sanctum sanctorum of government at any time they wish.
The Snipes Case
In the case of Snipes and the recount in Broward Florida, Democrat lawyers have made repeated attempts to have ballots counted that are not legal under current laws. They also want to extend legal deadlines by judicial edict.
Specifically, Democrat lawyers want thousands of ballots that were not delivered, found or processed before the legal deadline should be counted in violation of the law. They are asking the court to allow the counting of all provisional ballots – those cast by people who were not registered to vote – even though history has shown that between 50 and 90 percent of them are not legal ballots. They want to extend a deadline for recounting all the legal ballots for lack of time. In other words, ten days is not sufficient to do something they do within 24 hours of the close of the polls on Election Day.
The Abrams Case
In Georgia, Democrat Abrams has been successful in having a federal court to block this issuance of a certification of the election, as is legally required, to her Republican opponent Brian Kemp until a number of “issues” have been resolved. The issues to be yet decided are similar to Broward County – the setting aside of the law to create more favorable political outcomes.
The case in Georgia is particularly egregious because Abrams is trailing Kemp by more than 57,000 votes – a number that far surpasses any election in American history where a recount changed the outcome. Another federal judge ordered the counting of ballots in which the voters gave the wrong date of birth. That decision effectively nullifies the law requiring accurate information. Abrams is engaging in publicity-seeking self-aggrandizement and abuse of the rule-of-law and the federal courts often too eager to be so abused.
One can certainly argue whether, in specific instances, the laws are problematic, but that is for the legislative branches to decide and change, not judges to simply rule outside the rule-of-law. Judicial abuse is not something that we see at the top of the news. It is evolutionary and insidious, just the same. That is why for all his faults and controversies, Trump’s greatest contribution to the Republic is his determination to appoint as many strict constructionists to the federal benches as he can.
So, there ‘tis.