Ford’s Prepared Testimony Before The Senate Judiciary Committee

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Earlier today I published the prepared testimony of Judge Brett Kavanaugh which contained his unequivocal denial of participating in any and all sexual assaults. Needless to say, I believe him.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney has now posted her prepared testimony which is scheduled to be delivered before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow. If this were the court of law instead of the court of public opinion, this case would never have even gotten to trial. As it is, this was meant to be the Democrat’s bombshell revelation that would take down a good man and destroy his chances of serving on the Supreme Court. I imagine it was also intended to force him to step down from his position as a judge on the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. I think it will fail as well it should.

The Committee Vote Is Friday

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September 25, 2018
 
RESCHEDULED NOTICE OF COMMITTEE EXECUTIVE BUSINESS MEETING
 
        The Executive Business Meeting originally scheduled by the Committee on the Judiciary for Monday, September 24, 2018 at 10:00 a.m., in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building has been rescheduled for Friday, September 28 at 9:30 a.m.
 
        By order of the Chairman.

I. Nominees

Brett M. Kavanaugh, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Jonathan A. Kobes, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit
 
Kenneth D. Bell, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina

Stephanie A. Gallagher, to be United States District Judge for the District of Maryland

Mary S. McElroy, to be United States District Judge for the District of Rhode Island

Carl J. Nichols, to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia
 
John M. O’Connor, to be United States District Judge for the Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Oklahoma
 
Martha Maria Pacold, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois
 
Mary M. Rowland, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois
 
Steven C. Seeger, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois


II. Bills

S.2785, DETER Act (Durbin, Graham, Blumenthal, Cruz)

S. 3178, Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018 (Harris, Scott, Feinstein, Leahy, Durbin, Whitehouse, Klobuchar, Coons, Blumenthal, Hirono, Booker)   

Tidbit From Judge Kavanaugh’s Questionnaire

All nominees for Federal judicial nominations submit answers to a standardized questionnaire from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The questionnaire has answers to questions regarding everything from date of birth and education to significant cases in which the nominee participated.

The questionnaire for Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been received by the Senate Judiciary Committee is now online. Scanning through it I found this tidbit. Question 13 (i) asks the nominee to provide citations to significant opinions that he or she authored on federal or state constitutional issues.

Number one on Judge Kavanaugh’s list is his dissent in Heller II (Heller v. District of Columbia, 670 F.3d 1244 (D.C. Circuit, 2011) (Kavanaugh, J., dissenting). These citations are not listed in chronological order which would seem to indicate that Judge Kavanaugh considers this dissent one of his most important opinions.

I like that and it speaks well to where he stands on the Second Amendment. It gives me hope that future Second Amendment cases might just get a hearing once Judge Kavanaugh becomes Justice Kavanaugh.

The Vote To Confirm Justice Gorsuch

The Senate voted this morning to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The final vote was 54 yea and 45 nay. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) is recovering from back surgery and was absent from the vote.

Here is how the Senate voted:

YEAs —54
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Capito (R-WV)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Daines (R-MT)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Gardner (R-CO)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kennedy (R-LA)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Perdue (R-GA)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rounds (R-SD)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Shelby (R-AL)
Strange (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC)
Toomey (R-PA)
Wicker (R-MS)
Young (R-IN)
NAYs —45
Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Coons (D-DE)
Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Duckworth (D-IL)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harris (D-CA)
Hassan (D-NH)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Hirono (D-HI)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Markey (D-MA)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Peters (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-NM)
Van Hollen (D-MD)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
Not Voting – 1
Isakson (R-GA)

Senators Donnelly (D-IN), Heitkamp (D-ND), and Manchin (D-WV) were the lone Democrats that crossed party lines to vote for Judge Gorsuch. I presume the other Democrats were either supportive of their leader Chuck Schumer and scared of offending their progressive money sources and thus did not vote for a supremely qualified jurist to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court.

Senate Judiciary Committee Posts Material On Andrew Traver

The Senate Judiciary Committee has posted the material they have received in support of Andrew Traver’s nomination to be the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The materials include answers to the Committee Questionnaire, press releases involving Traver, speeches and appearances made by Traver, and finally interviews with the press by Traver while he has been serving as SAC of the Chicago Field Division.

Included are the official letters of support on the nomination from the following law enforcement groups:

* February 8, 2011 – Major Cities Chiefs Association
* January 24, 2011 – Major County Sheriffs’ Association
* January 18, 2011 – National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
* January 12, 2011 – National Sheriffs’ Association
* December 9, 2010 – National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition
* December 9, 2010 – International Association of Chiefs of Police
* December 7, 2010 – Women in Federal Law Enforcement

Most of the law enforcement groups have a record of being anti-gun rights. For example, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) passed a resolution in support of the Brady Campaign. The IACP, Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the National Sheriffs Association all are on record as opposing the Tiarht Amendment.

There are no major surprises in the material submitted. One does get a sense of Traver’s willingness to demonize certain firearms as seen in this from a 2006 press conference announcing prosecutions of gang members:

THESE FIREARMS ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FIREARMS SEIZED DURING THIS INVESTIGATION. THE AK-47 TYPE ASSAULT RIFLES ARE DEVASTATING, HIGH-CAPACITY WEAPONS THAT FIRE A ROUND EASILY CAPABLE OF PENETRATING POLICE BODY ARMOR. WE CONDUCTED A TEST WHERE WE PLACED A BALLISTIC VEST IDENTICAL TO THOSE WORN BY ATF AGENTS ON THE STREET ON A TARGET ST AND AND SHOT IT WITH A .40 CALIBER HANDGUN. THE VEST EASILY STOPPED THE BULLET. THEN WE SHOT THE VEST WITH AN AK-47 – THE BULLET COMPLETELY PENETRATED THE VEST AND EXITED THROUGH THE BACK LEAVING A GAPING EXIT WOUND THE SIZE OF TWO CLENCHED FISTS.

The same could have been said about a Winchester Model 94 lever action carbine in .30-30. The average bulletproof vests worn by law enforcement are rarely capable of stopping any centerfire rifle bullet.

I did get one question answered. I had wondered in the past why Traver’s Navy career appeared to be so short. According to the answers he submitted to the Committee’s Questionnaire, Traver received a hardship discharge/resignation and left the Navy as an Ensign (O-1) in May 1987. He had only been assigned to his first duty assignment, USS Benjamin Stoddart, for approximately 9 months. The next month he started working in law enforcement for the Crystal Lake, IL Police Department and for ATF a few months later. I don’t know enough about Navy Bureau of Personnel (BUPERS) operations to know whether his hardship discharge was unusual or not. (If anyone does know about BUPERS hardship discharges for officers, I’d be interested.)

There is no hearing date set for Traver. There is some speculation that the delay is due to Project Gunwalker and the fear of the questions that Sen. Charles Grassley would ask of Traver. As David Codrea notes in his Gun Rights Examiner column:

The only question seems to be is the decision to hold off on what the anti-gun choice lobby deems a “crucial position” was initiated by Chairman Leahy, by the nominee himself, or by his Justice Department handlers.

The answer to David’s question would be interesting.

Will Obama Poke Gun Owners In The Eye Again?

The Senate adjourned on December 22nd. With that adjournment, the nomination of Andrew Traver to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives fell by the wayside. The Senate neither voted to confirm nor deny his appointment so if Obama still wants Traver as Director of ATF he will need to resubmit his name to the Senate.

According to the Congressional Research Service:

Nominations Returned to the President

Nominations that are not confirmed or rejected are returned to the President at the end of a session or when the Senate adjourns or recesses for more than 30 days (Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6). If the President still wants a nominee considered, he must submit a new nomination to the Senate. The Senate can, however, waive this rule by unanimous consent, and it often does to allow nominations to remain “in status quo” between the first and second sessions of a Congress. The majority leader or his designee also may exempt specific nominees by name from the unanimous consent agreement, allowing them to be returned during the recess or adjournment.

Checking the Congressional Record (page S11071) for December 22nd, Andrew Traver’s nomination was specifically mentioned as being returned to the President. Along with him were a number of other nominations including many judicial nominations.

The website, Main Justice, first reported on this yesterday, noting that Traver had faced “strong opposition from the National Rifle Association.” David Codrea notes that we are not out of the woods yet in his Gun Rights Examiner column.

Gun owners dodged a bullet—but only one. Without individual senators, including nominally “pro-gun” Democrats, taking a stand and publicly opposing Traver, and without them pledging further opposition and consequences if Obama attempts a recess appointment end run, we’re not out of the woods yet.

Joe Huffman at the View from North Central Idaho offered this wry assessment of the situation.

I think this means we will have a more gun friendly Senate to review Traver’s background with the Klan Joyce Foundation.

Two questions remain regarding Andrew Traver. First, will Obama renominate him now that Rahm Emanuel is no longer Chief of Staff? As reported earlier, Emanuel was the person in the Obama White House who was pushing Traver. Without Rahm as his champion, is the controversy over Traver worth it to Obama?

The second question is whether Obama is so committed to sticking it to us “bitter clingers” that he will make Traver a recess appointment. He has until 11:59am on January 5, 2011 to make that decision. My gut reaction is that he punts and there won’t be a recess appointment. The Brady Bunch and their ilk are just not worth the bad will that would ensue.