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Firing Sally Yates Was Not A “Monday Night Massacre”

Department Of Justice Seal

Proving yet again that there is little time off in following politics in the Trump Era, drama unfolded over several hours last night that ended with the naming of a new Acting Attorney General. It started when Sally Yates, the Acting Attorney General who has been serving in a traditional caretaker role until Attorney General Designee Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate, announced that she could not and would not defend the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on immigration from certain majority Muslim countries in Court against the many challenges that had been filed against it. Within hours, Yates had been fired and replaced as Acting Attorney General by the U.S, Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia:

WASHINGTON — President Trump fired his acting attorney general on Monday night, removing her as the nation’s top law enforcement officer after she defiantly refused to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries.

In an escalating crisis for his 10-day-old administration, the president declared in a statement that Sally Q. Yates, who had served as deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, had betrayed the administration by announcing that Justice Department lawyers would not defend Mr. Trump’s order against legal challenges.

The president replaced Ms. Yates with Dana J. Boente, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, saying that he would serve as attorney general until Congress acts to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. In his first act in his new role, Mr. Boente announced that he was rescinding Ms. Yates’s order.

Monday’s events have transformed the confirmation of Mr. Sessions into a referendum on Mr. Trump’s immigration order. Action in the Senate could come as early as Tuesday.

Ms. Yates’s order was a remarkable rebuke by a government official to a sitting president, and it recalled the so-called Saturday Night Massacre in 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon fired his attorney general and deputy attorney general for refusing to dismiss the special prosecutor in the Watergate case.

Mr. Boente was sworn in at 9 p.m., according to White House officials, who did not provide details about who performed the ceremony. In a statement, Mr. Boente pledged to “defend and enforce the laws of our country.”

At 9:15 p.m., Ms. Yates received a hand-delivered letter at the Justice Department that informed her that she was fired. Signed by John DeStefano, one of Mr. Trump’s White House aides, the letter informed Ms. Yates that “the president has removed you from the office of Deputy Attorney General of the United States.”

Two minutes later, the White House officials lashed out at Ms. Yates in a statement issued by Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary.

“Ms. Yates is an Obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the statement said.

The firing of Ms. Yates came at the end of a turbulent three days that began on Friday with Mr. Trump’s signing of his executive order. The action stranded travelers around the world, led to protests around the country and created alarm inside the bureaucracy.

Ms. Yates, like other senior government officials, was caught by surprise by the executive order and agonized over the weekend about how to respond, two Justice Department officials involved in the weekend deliberations said. Ms. Yates considered resigning but she told colleagues she did not want to leave it to her successor to face the same dilemma.

By Monday afternoon, Ms. Yates added to a deepening sense of anxiety in the nation’s capital by publicly confronting the president with a stinging challenge to his authority, laying bare a deep divide at the Justice Department, within the diplomatic corps and elsewhere in the government over the wisdom of his order.

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” Ms. Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers.

Mr. Trump’s senior aides huddled together in the West Wing to determine what to do.

They decided quickly that her insubordination could not stand, according to an administration official familiar with the deliberations. Among the chief concerns was whether Mr. Sessions could be confirmed quickly by the Senate.

After Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, received reassurances from Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, that the confirmation was on track, aides took their recommendation to Mr. Trump in the White House residence.

The president decided quickly: She has to go, he told them.

The official statement from Mr. Spicer accused Ms. Yates of failing to fulfill her duty to defend a “legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States” that had been approved by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“It is time to get serious about protecting our country,” Mr. Spicer said in the statement. He accused Democrats of holding up the confirmation of Mr. Sessions for political reasons. “Calling for tougher vetting for individuals traveling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”

Former Justice Department officials said the president’s action would send a deep shudder through an agency that was already on edge as officials anticipated an ideological overhaul once Mr. Session takes over. One former senior official said that department lawyers would be unnerved by the firing.

Democrats, meanwhile, hailed Ms. Yates as a principled defender of what she thought was right. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said in a statement that the “attorney general should be loyal and pledge fidelity to the law, not the White House. The fact that this administration doesn’t understand that is chilling.”

Mr. Boente has told the White House that he is willing to sign off on Mr. Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration, according to Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va., where Mr. Boente has served as the top prosecutor since 2015.

Mr. Boente, who has been a prosecutor with the Justice Department for 31 years, had no hesitation about accepting the acting attorney general’s job given his “seniority and loyalty” to the department, Mr. Stueve said in a telephone interview on Monday night.

As acting attorney general, Ms. Yates was the only person at the Justice Department authorized to sign applications for foreign surveillance warrants. Administrations of both parties have interpreted surveillance laws as requiring foreign surveillance warrants be signed only by Senate-confirmed Justice Department officials. Mr. Boente was Senate-confirmed as United States attorney and, though the situation is unprecedented, the White House said he was authorized to sign the warrants.

Ms. Yates’s decision had effectively overruled a finding by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which had already approved the executive order “with respect to form and legality.”

Ms. Yates said her determination in deciding not to defend the order was broader, however, and included questions not only about the order’s lawfulness, but also whether it was a “wise or just” policy. She also alluded to unspecified statements the White House had made before signing the order, which she factored into her review.

While I tend to agree with Yates about the legality and propriety of Trump’s Executive Order, the fact that she was fired and replaced should not be surprising, nor should it be seen as improper.

In the immediate aftermath of last night’s events, many commentators drew analogies to what came to be known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” in October 1973 when the White House and Justice Department clashed over the ongoing investigation into the break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s office in the Watergate complex and the White House’s involvement in that affair. In an obvious effort to throw the investigation into chaos, President Nixon ordered then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Archibald Cox, the Special Prosecutor who was investigating the affair and had convened a local Grand Jury. Richardson refused to carry out the order and resigned in protest, at which point Nixon ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused to carry out the order and similarly resigned. This left the Justice Department nearly leaderless except for Solicitor General Robert Bork, who was next in the line of succession. In what he later said was an effort to maintain a functioning Justice Department, Bork ended up following Nixon’s order. Cox was fired and replaced by Bork with Leon Jaworski, who continued Cox’s investigation and eventually won several key legal victories, including the landmark Supreme Court case United States v. Nixon, that eventually led to Nixon’s resignation ten months later.

While the form and context of the Yates firing may look similar to what happened in October 1973, the circumstances were far different, and the President was well within his authority to take the action he did last night. First of all, the law at the time said that the Special Prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal could only be fired “for cause,” meaning some neglect of duties, and there were no such grounds on which basis could be fired. Under current law, Yates, like most other political appointees in the Executive Branch served at the pleasure of the President and, indeed, was only serving at Attorney General on a temporary basis. Second, what Yates was refusing to do was far different from what Richardson and Ruckelshaus refused to do. In the second case, the men were being asked to fire a Special Prosecutor who was investigating a scandal that it was already clear had stretched into the White House and who had been appointed for the specific purpose of ensuring that the investigation itself was free of political interference. By contrast, Yates had taken it upon herself to attempt to lead a rebellion at the Department of Justice even though it was clear that she was merely serving as a caretaker in the Department and that the Executive Order in question had already been reviewed by the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.  Arguably, one might say that as an attorney Yates has the right and obligation as an attorney to refuse to enforce laws that they believe to be unconstitutional or to obey orders they believe to be illegal. While that may be true, that doesn’t mean that she had the right to be able to continue as Acting Attorney General once she made it clear that she wouldn’t defend the government in court as the Justice Department is generally required to do. In the end, the Attorney General serves at the pleasure of the President and if the President believes his Attorney General either can’t or won’t do their job, then he is free to fire them.

None of this means that I believe that Trump’s Executive Order was either proper or legal, but as Josh Blackmon explains in Politico, Yates went about her protest in the wrong way:

Yates acknowledged that there was a credible argument that the executive order was constitutional—she said only that she was not convinced by the OLC’s determination that it was lawful, hinting at the president’s campaign-trail calls for a “Muslim ban.” But many laws of dubious constitutionality are routinely, and zealously, defended in court by the Justice Department. Her objection, instead, was that the order was unwise or unjust. These may be valid points for a public citizen to raise, but the attorney general has a statutory duty to “[r]epresent the United States in legal matters generally,” regardless of her personal proclivities. Herman Pfleger, former legal adviser at the State Department, once explained, “‘You should never say ‘no’ to your client when the law and your conscience say ‘yes’; but you should never, ever say ‘yes’ when your law and conscience say ‘no.'” If Yates’s conscience said ‘no,’ but the law said ‘yes,’ her choice was to proudly voice those opinions. Doing so would have been essential to maintaining the independence of the Justice Department. But if her entreaties were rebuffed, she should have resigned, and then publicly voiced her dissent.

Given her long years of service at the Justice Department and her legal education, Yates was probably aware of all of this when she choose to speak out last night. Realistically, she probably also suspected that making her feelings known publicly would lead to her removal from office. Whether she did or not, though, there was nothing improper in the circumstances that led to her removal and replacement and any analogies to the events of October 1973 is entirely misplaced.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. drach says:

    She has a right to her opinion, that does not mean that her opinion is right.

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  2. Hal_10000 says:

    Yeah, I have to agree. If Yates had resigned or been fired because she thought the order was unconstitutional or illegal, I’d be calling her a hero. But she refused to defend it (and ordered others not to do so) because she didn’t agree with it. I’ve often defended former AGs when they run for office and are criticized because of bad legal arguments they made in defense of policy. I point out that arguing the state’s position is the AGs job. Criticizing them is like criticizing a defense attorney because they gave a slimy client the vigorous defense they aren entitled to. If they feel the state if violating the Constitution or acting illegally, they can resign.

    That having been said, this is another demonstration of the Keystone Cops theory of governance Trump appears to be pursuing. A President who knew his backside from his elbow would have had the AG in on this much earlier, where she could express her reservations behind closed doors and be brought on board.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    Arguably, one might say that as an attorney Yates has the right and obligation as an attorney to refuse to enforce laws that they believe to be unconstitutional or to obey orders they believe to be illegal. While that may be true, that doesn’t mean that she had the right to be able to continue

    Arguably. Really? Isn’t that the primary responsibility of the AG? Not being a toadie to the president.

    And of course you put the conservative spin on the toadie Bork’s behavior, but that’s just fluff. Bork in his ambition and his personal corruption did what he knew was improper in an attempt to cover up a criminal president’s bad actions. Putting conservative lipstick on won’t make him any less of a pig.

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  4. rachel says:

    Getting rid of her like that was dumb, though, because it makes people suspect his honesty.

    Hey, speaking of suspect honesty, have you seen this yet?

    President Trump’s nominee for education secretary, in written responses to questions from senators, appears to have used several sentences and phrases from other sources without attribution — including from a top Obama administration civil rights official…

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  5. Jack says:

    Yates did not argue that the executive order was unconstitutional, but that it did not represent a “wise or just” policy. Policy is the discretion of the executive, not the acting AG. If Yates was unable or unwilling to defend the policy of her boss she should have resigned.

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  6. Pch101 says:

    So you want an attorney general to be compelled to enforce an order that she does not believe to be lawful? Really?

    Conservatives love to talk about the “rule of law” when they don’t get their way, yet are utterly indifferent to it when they are in power.

    It would seem that one law that has been suspended is Godwin’s. Comparisons to fascism are now completely appropriate, without any hyperbole.

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  7. Joe says:

    I assume she was packing her office as she sent the letter. Or, more likely, it was already packed as she probably expected to resign (or be fired) in due course when the new AG arrived. This was perhaps an overly dramatic but reasonable refusal to follow an order she deemed unlawful. And I take no umbrage at the President firing her. I am curious – and just don’t know – how her successor was chosen and I am a little surprised if he needed no Senate confirmation.

    I think the Administration’s failure to consider how Obama holdovers would react to this EO (and other recent actions) was just another badge of incompetence. A little forethought would have suggested that they needed their own people (henchman) manning the affected offices before they started implementing their policies. Implementing orders that many career administrators, let alone Obama appointees, would likely actively object to without Trump bosses on site was just more incompetence.

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  8. Hal_10000 says:

    (Note: despite the above, Trump’s statement on the firing was childish and stupid, saying she’d “betrayed” him. Ten days and he’s already paranoid.)

    Slightly OT point: a lot of people are now following a Sally Yates feed on Twitter that is clearly fake. This is part of a recent trend of following obviously fake accounts that claim to be from inside the Parks Service or even the White House. I wish people would stop following and RTing this garbage. It’s not helping.

    One user today argued that these accounts seem to be based in Russia. If so, it could get scary if Trump figures that out.

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  9. mantis says:

    She made the calculated decision that refusing to defend the EO and getting fired would get more attention than resigning and speaking publicly against it. And it seems to have worked. She could not have expected to keep her job after the new AG takes office, and she certainly didn’t expect to keep her job after refusing to defend the order.

    Would it have been more proper to resign and object publicly as a private citizen? Surely. Would it have made the same impact? Probably not. Did it in any way harm the nation for her to do so? Not at all.

    Expect to see many more examples of unorthodox defiance from officials as our new president attempts to transform the US into an autocracy. And expect them to be seen by many as heroes and a bulwark from tyranny.

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  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Joe:

    She has 30+ years of service, so she’s covered / her pension is secure. What this does, at its most basic, is serve to make Sessions confirmation about immigration. He will, without question, now be hammered on that topic (on live television!) and his predictable responses will take the opposition / outrage to a whole new plane.

    If they had any concept of crisis management, they would have allowed her to retire or (preferably) just kept her onboard for the few days that she would have remained in office anyway. Instead they’ve breathed new life into a self-inflicted PR disaster and created a martyr. It’s amateur hour at the White House.

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  11. @HarvardLaw92:

    Sessions’ appearance before the Judiciary Committee was last week, it is not at all likely that the Republican majority will agree to delay a committee vote for another day of questioning.

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  12. Pch101 says:

    Incidentally, this bit from Politico:

    Yates acknowledged that there was a credible argument that the executive order was constitutional—she said only that she was not convinced by the OLC’s determination that it was lawful, hinting at the president’s campaign-trail calls for a “Muslim ban.”

    is utterly moronic.

    How can anyone suggest with a straight face that everything that is not specifically addressed in the constitution is lawful? Am I now allowed to litter in a national park because nobody made references to littering in Article 1 Section 8 and littering is not otherwise unconstitutional? Yeah, that’s pure genius.

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  13. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    *It may have been proper, but it certainly shows that the DOJ is going to be doing Trumps bidding, and not the bidding of the people.
    Having the DOJ act as a pitbull for a childish narcissistic meglomaniac will not end well.

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  14. pylon says:

    @Jack:

    I’ve seen this argument before, but here statement does not say what you say it does. It in fact says she was not convinced the order was lawful.

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  15. Rob says:

    I can see both sides of the argument, and certainly Trump was in his rights to fire her, but calling her a “traitor” is over-the-top rhetoric that sends a chill.

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  16. pylon says:

    @Jack:

    I’ve seen this argument before, but her statement does not say what you say it does. It in fact says she was not convinced the order was lawful.

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  17. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    and then that refusal on the part of Republicans to delve into the issue will become the story. Dems will gleefully make it be, and a news media already in combat mode with the administration will cheerfully play along.

    “Senate Republicans desperately try to rush Sessions confirmation through in order to avoid questioning about this important issue”

    The headlines / narrative practically write themselves.

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  18. Jack says:

    @pylon: Her specific statement was,

    On January 27, 2017, the President signed an Executive Order regarding immigrants and refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries. The order has now been challenged in a number of jurisdictions. As the Acting Attorney General, it is my ultimate responsibility to determine the position of the Department of Justice in these actions.

    My role is different from that of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which, through administrations of both parties, has reviewed Executive Orders for form and legality before they are issued. OLC’s review is limited to the narrow question of whether, in OLC’s view, a proposed Executive Order is lawful on its face and properly drafted. Its review does not take account of statements made by an administration or it surrogates close in time to the issuance of an Executive Order that may bear on the order’s purpose. And importantly, it does not address whether any policy choice embodied in an Executive Order is wise or just.

    Similarly, in litigation, DOJ Civil Division lawyers are charged with advancing reasonable legal arguments that can be made supporting an Executive Order. But my role as leader of this institution is different and broader. My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful.

    Consequently, for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.

    That statement implies that she must substitute her own definition of wise and just. That’s not her job.

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    Yes, Doug, you’re quite likely right. Yates probably had offers in hand when she invited Trump to fire her by making her protest, as was his prerogative.

    Now will you please quit facilitating Trump.

    Please see C. Clavins’ comment on your last post and read the linked David Frum article. You might even read my comment seconding C.. One quite specific point Frum makes is that the McDonnell decision will yuugely facilitate Trump’s graft. IIRC you applauded that decision. We’re all going to have decisions to make over the next couple years, and you have a pulpit.

    They are coming first for the Muslims, not because Muslims are the enemy, but because they need an enemy. Will history record us as saying, “and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Muslim.”? Or will history record that we said, quoting the protest sign, “NOT TODAY M**********R”?

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  20. Jack says:

    An article by Jack Goldsmith, a former deputy AG.

    https://lawfareblog.com/quick-thoughts-sally-yates-unpersuasive-statement

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  21. @HarvardLaw92:

    Since I tend to believe that Presidents are entitled to the Cabinet they want unless the person they select is either manifestly unqualified or corrupt in some way, I think they should just move to an up-or-down vote on Sessions and be done with him.

    I don’t like him, but Trump won the election and as Steven Taylor has written elsewhere here at OTB, elections have consequences.

    Additionally, I am afraid that those of us who oppose the E.O. are likely to be disappointed when the polling about the immigration E.O. is released in the coming days.

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  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Actually, it is the AG’s job to do precisely that.

    You’re trying to play lawyer again. You know why that’s a bad idea. It never ends well for you.

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  23. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Second, she says that OLC did not “address whether any policy choice embodied in an Executive Order is wise or just.” True, that is not OLC’s job. But nor is it the Attorney General’s—at least not if the President has decided that the policy choice is wise and just. The Attorney General can personally advise the President about an EO’s wisdom and justness. And the Attorney General can decide to resign if she thinks the President is pursuing a policy so unwise and unjust as to be morally indefensible. But an Attorney General does not typically (I cannot think of a counterexample offhand) refuse to defend an Executive Order in court because she disagrees with the policy basis for the EO.

    From the article linked above. I’m guessing Jack Goldsmith has a tiny bit more experience than you…the ambulance chaser.

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  24. Gustopher says:

    Other than scale and consequence, I don’t see this as different. The President is undermining the independence of the Justice Department — and it doesn’t just affect this one decision, it affects the Justice Department going forward through the Trump Presidency.

    Part of that is through the language used by the Trumpeters — she “betrayed” them — which suggests that this is how they will handle differences of opinion going forward. A more measured response, noting the special case of a holdover official days from retirement (my god, what if Lethal Weapon was a courtroom drama?!?), wouldn’t have served as a warning to Justice in the future. (“We thank her for her years of service, other lawyers believe she is wrong on this issue, and rather than letting confusion continue until Sessions is confirmed in a few days, we have politely instructed her to begin her retirement now.” — that would be a very different message)

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  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Of course a Republican would want it to simply go away. We now have the admin and its proxies whining about its nominees being held up for political purposes, which opens the floor for endless chatter about Republican hypocrisy in that vein.

    You’re more than bright enough to understand why Dems will extract every ounce of political mileage they can get from this before he’s confirmed. Nobody expects Sessions not to be confirmed. Nobody expects to prevent it from happening. The goal is to use it to harm the administration – to layer any and every variety of stink available on the GOP – to the advantage of Dems as much as possible before that happens. This is how the game is played.

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  26. Argon says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Since I tend to believe that Presidents are entitled to the Cabinet they want unless the person they select is either manifestly unqualified or corrupt in some way, I think they should just move to an up-or-down vote on Sessions and be done with him.

    Heh. It’s a bargaining tool. The business of much of Washington DC is bargaining. The ‘Art of the Deal’ author should understand this. Cabinet appointments are frequently thwarted for less marginal reasons.

    To paraphrase: We know what they are. They’re just haggling about the price.

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  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Goldsmith is expressing his opinion, which is steeped in expanding executive power. I simply disagree with him. Trump was certainly within his scope of authority to fire her, but the AG has the power to determine what the DoJ will and will not defend in a court of law. That’s his/her job.

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  28. @HarvardLaw92:

    I’ve held this position about Cabinet selections since at least the Clinton Administration, probably eariler than that.

    The only really controversial selection that I’ve lived through was John Tower’s nomination for Defense Secretary in 1989 and the concern there wasn’t his position on policy but his history of drinking.

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  29. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jack:

    Yates did not argue that the executive order was unconstitutional, but that it did not represent a “wise or just” policy.

    Actually, what she said was that;

    At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful

    If you have to lie to make your point…then you are a liar and hove no point to make.

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  30. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Trump was certainly within his scope of authority to fire her, but the AG has the power to determine what the DoJ will and will not defend in a court of law. That’s his/her job.

    I never said that the AG did not have the power to determine what DOJ will and will not defend in a court of law, which in this case was subject to a Constitutional determination by the OLC, and if she didn’t like it she should have resigned. I specifically said that it was not her job to substitute her own definition of wise and just for that of the administration.

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  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    And again, I understand why. I just disagree. Article
    II, section 2 is in no way unclear. The Constitution gives the Senate the power to invoke its own judgment with respect to presidential nominees and to decide which officers the president gets to appoint on his own authority. It doesn’t say “advice”. It says “advice and consent.”

    It was intended to be a limitation on presidential authority. The president is not a king.

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  32. Pch101 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Judging from what I’ve seen, Jack isn’t smart enough to lie about these things. He simply isn’t bright enough to understand the argument and merely regurgitates what he reads in the right-wing echo chamber. You may as well scroll past him and read Breitbart, instead, as he will have nothing unique to contribute.

    A hint for conservatives: If you want to genuinely debate Yates on the merits, then demonstrate that the executive order was lawful. If you can’t defend the legality of the order, then you need to get your Shiite together.

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  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Two guesses who the OLC reports to. They advise the AG; they don’t determine DoJ policy.

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  34. Hal_10000 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I remember that. O’Rourke quipped that Tower was too drunk and silly to be on the cabinet but not quite drunk and silly enough to be Senator again.

    Seems like such innocent times when drunkenness was the worst thing about a cabinet nominee.

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  35. @HarvardLaw92:

    I agree, and the Senate can do what it wants. With the GOP majority in place, though, and thanks to what Harry Reid did in 2013, there’s very little Democrats can do to stop any of these nominations.

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  36. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: I specifically posted her entire statement above.

    She did state “And importantly, it does not address whether any policy choice embodied in an Executive Order is wise or just.” That is not a lie, it’s her own words.

    Now, you can say that she also stated “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.” Which is also true, she did in fact state that as well. That does not refute my point that she stated the above.

    Again, quoting Goldsmith,

    First, she believes the standard for defending the EO is “best view of the law,” not reasonable legality, and she is not convinced the EO is consistent with the best view of the law. But as noted above, the typical standard for the Attorney General to defend an EO of the President is not whether she is convinced of its legality. Rather, the standard is something closer to the idea that she should defend the EO unless she is convinced of its illegality–i.e. she defends if there is a reasonable argument for its legality. Second, Yates believes that defending the EO is inconsistent with her responsibilities to interject a policy analysis analysis about the wisdom and justness of the EO independent of the President. For reasons stated above, I do not believe that either of these arguments are persuasive given her role. Nor are they consistent with what I understand the duties and responsibilities of the Attorney General to be.

    Coming from a former assistant AG, I’ll take his word for it rather than yours.

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  37. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: One guess as to whether the OLC was consulted and Yates was not in the drafting and legality of this EO, specifically because she was an Obama holdover.

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  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The goal isn’t to stop them. It never has been. The goal is to use them to use them as a tool of attack to politically benefit the opposition at the expense of the majority. Personally, I’m thrilled with Sessions as AG – because I well know how useful he’ll be as a political tool for the Democrats.

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  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    It doesn’t matter whether OLC was consulted or not. OLC gives its opinion to the AG, who utilizes / ignores it as a matter of prerogative as he / she sees fit.

    OLC works for the AG. Not parallel to. They’re subordinate, not co-equal.

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  40. Jack says:

    @Pch101: From Jonathan Adler over at Volokh

    A few quick observations. First, the statement seems to indicate that the executive order was reviewed by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which apparently concluded that the executive order was lawful. Second, Yates does not claim that she cannot defend the executive order because it is unconstitutional or because the Justice Department would be unable to offer good-faith arguments in defense of its legality. To the contrary, Yates claims she is ordering the Justice Department not to defend the executive order because it is not “wise or just.” This is quite significant. I am not aware of any instance in which the Justice Department has refused to defend a presumptively lawful executive action on this basis.

    Of course the EO was lawful…the law used was signed by Obama in the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015

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  41. Scott says:

    @Hal_10000:

    (Note: despite the above, Trump’s statement on the firing was childish and stupid, saying she’d “betrayed” him. Ten days and he’s already paranoid.)

    Two weeks down, 206 to go. It is going to be a long four years.

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  42. Scott says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Seems like such innocent times when drunkenness was the worst thing about a cabinet nominee.

    I wish they would get back to drinking so I don’t have to.

    Incompetence reigns. Yeah for running the Government like a business. In Trump’s case, into the ground.

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  43. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: And yet, Yates did not say the OLC was wrong in its determination. She simply didn’t want to enforce it for political reasons. As you’ve noted, she was safe and as others have noted probably already had a job lined up. It’s not heroic to make a stand when you already know you are safe.

    This was not an “I am Spartacus” moment.

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  44. Pch101 says:

    Let’s put Jack “logic” into action:

    -Jack gets pulled over for exceeding the speed limit. The cop lectures him about the alleged dangers of his speed.

    -Jack argues to the world that it was perfectly legal to speed because the cop spent time lecturing him about the dangers of speed.

    Yates said that she did not believe that the executive order was legal. The logical rebuttal to her position is to demonstrate that the executive order was legal.

    If you can’t prove that the executive order was not illegal, then you failed. And I haven’t seen anyone demonstrate that it is lawful, which is a big hint that it probably isn’t.

    And no, the constitution is not the sole source of law in the United States, so arguing that something isn’t unconstitutional does not prove that it is legal. This is the sort of thing that people should have learned in high school.

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  45. Joe says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I don’t think the Administration could leave Yates in place this week while numerous federal courts were looking to DOJ to defend the Administration’s EO. The Administration would have has courts acting with no defense (and I am not conceding that the EO is defensible). I think they needed to remove her just to give instructions for someone down the line to try and defend it.

    Yates’ action was not a foregone conclusion, but if Trump’s Administration did not consider it a serious possibility that an Obama holdover would raise a loud public objection, that Administration lacks the imagination and foresight to govern effectively. (Yet another bit of non-news.)

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  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Once again, for the learning impaired:

    It does not matter if it was lawful or not. The AG has discretionary authority to decide what will be defended and what won’t. If the president disagrees, then he/she has the option of ordering the AG to change course & of firing the AG if he/she refuses.

    You’re (as usual) missing the forest for the trees. Yates didn’t have to have any reason at all for declining to defend the EO beyond “I don’t like it”. She made a decision that was within the scope of her authority, which is the prerogative of the AG, and Trump fired her for it, which is the prerogative of the presidency. Neither of them did anything they’re not permitted to do.

    Now please, stop making yourself look like an idiot.

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  47. Jack says:

    @Pch101: Um are you new to the US? The law is presumed lawful unless and until a court determines it is not. See the ACA. No court had determined the EO itself unlawful or unconstitutional.

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  48. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Joe:

    None of those lawsuits will get before a court for some time yet. She’d have been in office at most a few more days.

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  49. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: No.

    Again, I refer you to Goldsmith,

    the longstanding DOJ view is that DOJ will defend a presidential action in court if there are reasonable arguments in its favor, regardless of whether DOJ has concluded that the arguments are persuasive, which is an issue ultimately for courts to decide.

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  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Again, that is Goldsmith’s opinion. He is saying what he believes the AG SHOULD do, not what the AG is REQUIRED to do. The AG has discretionary authority, whether Goldsmith (or you) like it or not.

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  51. JKB says:

    The differences in perspectives on this firing are interesting. I for one am surprised Yates offered her head up on a platter like that. Perhaps she didn’t realize she was no longer dealing with a feckless politician? Or perhaps she thought the FISA issue was a barrier.

    Trump on the other hand needs a few (figurative) public executions. Sure a short-time leftover political appointee from the previous administration isn’t the most shocking head, but it’ll do. As some of the scandalized pundits have said, this will send shockwaves through the agency (and others). As it should. Do your job, or hit the road. Insubordination will not be tolerated.

    This may be a faux pas in DC, but out in the country, where men and women have commanded and led others, in the military or the job site, they understand that when taking command, you have to put down the petty insurrections quickly and decisively. Do so and your tenure is far easier.

    If Trump is wise, he’s got someone deeply familiar with federal personnel laws standing by ready to deal with whatever foolish group of federal employees decide to not do their job in opposition of his policies.

    And let’s look at what Yates refused to do. She didn’t refuse to enforce the EO enforcement falls to Homeland Security, she refused to defend the administration’s position before the Judicial branch, where questions of Constitutionality are suppose to be adjudicated.

    And for those who don’t like the EO, I ask, where were you when Obama imposed a ban in Iraqi entry into the US for 6 months?

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  52. Pch101 says:

    @Jack:

    My backyard wall knows more about the constitution than you.

    Laws come from Congress. This might help, although it will be a stretch for you:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otbml6WIQPo

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  53. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    The Cheeto-Prophet sold himself to fools like Jack by saying that he is this brilliant businessman and manager. And Jack swallowed hard. But these episodes just show how ridiculously easy Jack was.
    Why not just wait a few days until Sessions was confirmed?
    Why set yourself up to get embarrassed by the Mexican President?
    Why eliminate the JCS and DNI from the Nat’l Security Council just to re-instate them?
    Why issue a two-fer regulation order that is impossible to enact.
    Why send your mouthpiece out to lie about inauguration numbers that are easily verifiable?
    Why choose to lie, yourself, about 5 million illegal voters that everyone knows do not exist?
    Clearly, Trump is an incompetent
    It becomes clearer every day. Intelligent people could tell that by reviewing his history; the awful state he left Atlantic City in, his four bankruptcies, settling the Trump U. fraud case, and all the rest of his myriad failures.
    But now lives are at stake and this idiot is going to get a bunch of people killed because he is not capable of performing the duties of the office.
    It’s only day 11, folks. This is going to get far, far, worse; it will not get better.

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  54. john says:

    Whatever happened to #DoYourJob?

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  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Joe:

    I think the Administration’s failure to consider how Obama holdovers would react to this EO (and other recent actions) was just another badge of incompetence.

    I think we are going to see a lot of this kind of misstep. Trump and his co-conspirators mostly come from private industry, where people have to do as they are told or get fired. Many of the actions Trump wants to take are governed by laws (because, you know, government) and smart people know that Trump can make them miserable, but breaking the law can get them sent to jail.

    At a company I once worked for (years before my time) the CEO bullied the manufacturing team into releasing something without the proper approvals, and then lying to the FDA about it. As soon as the investigation started the heads of Quality and Manufacturing were cut loose and all blame was placed on them. They went to jail. Smart employees in a regulated environment know that giving in to a bullying CO only makes it more likely they will be the fall guy when sh*t goes south.

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  56. Scott says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: This whole business was set up on a false premise: That people coming from these countries were not vetted and the country was in grave danger. From that BS, Trump created chaos through a completely incompetently managed policy. He’s been BSing ever since trying to cover up his mess. How many more episodes is he going to create based on bad information, ludicrous beliefs, rancid ideologies, and irrational thinking are we going to, as a country, have to suffer through?

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  57. Jack says:

    @Pch101: “Executive Orders (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. … Executive Orders do not require Congressional approval to take effect but they have the same legal weight as laws passed by Congress.”

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  58. @HarvardLaw92:

    Well, that assumes that the public will oppose what Sessions does as AG and that it will politically hurt Trump and/or the GOP. We’ll see.

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  59. KM says:

    @JKB:

    This may be a faux pas in DC, but out in the country, where men and women have commanded and led others, in the military or the job site, they understand that when taking command, you have to put down the petty insurrections quickly and decisively. Do so and your tenure is far easier

    How the hell would Mr Deferment know anything about that? His “You’re Fired” never seem to stop drama or insurrections from happening in his business or personal life. Truth is he *likes* watching toadies have to scurry for his favor or they get the ax. A King and his Court, ready to please him for the chance to breathe another day. A little chaos is worth it to make them fear the Boss. He like to pretend he’s an Alpha male and is getting visibly frustrated everyone is not bowing to his will.

    Trump on the other hand needs a few (figurative) public executions.

    Of course he does – that’s what dictator does to assert authority. Instead of building a coalition, he busts some heads and then wonders why people spend the rest of his reign trying to kill him. Live by the sword, you die by the sword. The problem is one that ax comes down, it needs to keep coming down. Heads need to be continually sacrificed to appease the image created or rebellion starts when you get soft. The turnover on staff will be incredible; a threat to the stability and independence of government in the face of Trump’s ego.

    I’m ambivalent on the whole situation. Personally, I think she should have resigned if she could not follow directions the same way I think Kim Davis should have. On the other hand, this EO is clearly illegal as implemented (green card holders and dual citizens detained for one) so that to ask her to continue to enforce it without better guidance is knowingly asking her to commit a crime. Your boss doesn’t have the right to make you break the law.

    If he was smart, he would have demanded her resignation stating she cannot fulfill her duties as required. Instead, he makes her a martyr to the rapidly growing discontented staffers that actually do all the real work. Even a loyalist might be concerned they’ll end up crossing the Boss at one point considering how capricious and out-of-left-field his orders are. Using your command analogy, the man is Niedermayer. The troops are just as like to frag him as obey him at this point. More actions like this will push them closer to mutiny then compliance.

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  60. Pch101 says:

    @Jack:

    As expected, even Schoolhouse Rock went right over your head.

    I’m sorry but your woodshop class in high school didn’t equip you to understand the law.

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  61. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @MarkedMan: I basically had that same conversation with some friends who were angry that Sen. Warren voted for Ben Carson at HUD.

    From my time working at a State executive branch agency under several different Commissioners (politically appointed agency head), I learned the difference between being a career professional under an Absentee Landlord (such as Carson) versus a Purposeful Zealot (such as DeVos).

    The Absentee Landlord is much easier to manage and live under. They don’t want to be bothered, and mot of the time they would prefer to be liked than feared when they are around. They may want the career professionals to find a way to help out their golf buddy or provide a reasonable explanation for why the agency is following Governor’s Order #247, but they are not going to get in the way of letting the professional staff complete the mission of the agency unless they are forced into a corner.

    With the Purposeful Zealot, all bets are off. Especially when that Zealot is actively opposed to very existence of the agency. You very quickly learn what “serving at the pleasure of the Governor” means. Trying to fulfill your legal obligations to the public and continue to serve the stated mission of the agency becomes very difficult very quickly, and you spend half of your time making sure that you can cite the specific sections of the State Code that justify everything you do.

    I can feel for Ms. Yates, but there is no way that she didn’t know what was about to happen to her. She almost certainly must have realized from the moment she agreed to take on the role that her DoJ career was likely going to be over within months of the completion of the transition, at best. It would not surprise me if she only took the position because she already had 30+ years in and she knew that if one of her younger colleagues took it, it would almost certainly ruin their chances of reaching Federal retirement age.

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  62. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    Do your job, or hit the road.

    In a world of “religious exceptions” it’s not exactly “do your job or hit the road” anymore, is it?

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  63. Matt says:

    @JKB:

    And for those who don’t like the EO, I ask, where were you when Obama imposed a ban in Iraqi entry into the US for 6 months?

    He did no such thing. In 2011 after discovering a specific threat he did institute extra vetting which slowed down VISA approval substantially but there was never a ban or halt in the process.

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  64. JKB says:

    @KM: The troops are just as like to frag him as obey him at this point. More actions like this will push them closer to mutiny then compliance.

    You might think that, but I can assure you, all across the District today, federal employees are contemplating their “resistance” vs their mortgage. It won’t preclude those who end up in a principled position with real basis in the Constitution or law, but it will pause those whose “principles” are just political agendas.

    The thing about the Constitution is that we each don’t get our own interpretation. What Yates attempted was to impose her views on the President’s actions instead of doing her job of presenting the best argument in defense of the executive order before the judiciary in response to a challenge. If the President says defend, the DOJ defends within the confines of the law. The discretion on what to defend and what to concede in matters concerning the President’s administration is a delegate authority given to the AG by the President.

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  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Because everything else they’ve done so far has benefitted Trump and the GOP? :-)

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  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Speaking as a one-time federal employee, you don’t understand how it works. Federal employees, by and large, don’t act out via direct disobedience. They begin to apply the rules so exactingly, with attention to every minute little detail, that the entire enterprise grinds to a halt.

    Then, if you try to fire them, they avail themselves of MSPB with a vengeance (where they tend to prevail). Trying to fire someone for following the rules TOO closely doesn’t sit well with the board.

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  67. Jack says:

    @Pch101: @Pch101: The Schoolhouse Rock cartoon was about how laws are made. Even Obama’s DACA EO had to be fought in court before it was declared illegal.

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  68. Pch101 says:

    @Jack:

    Executive orders are not laws.

    The attorney general reviewed the order and opined that it was not lawful.

    You are free to argue with the attorney general (although you personally lack the smarts to offer a useful rebuttal, so your own opinion is of no value.)

    It’s not that tough to understand. Except for you, of course.

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  69. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @JKB:

    The thing about the Constitution is that we each don’t get our own interpretation.

    Nonsense…Scalia made shit up all the time.
    In fact the last Republican President, who also didn’t get a majority vote, was appointed based on made-up shit.
    Republicans exist on made up shit.

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  70. KM says:

    @JKB:

    You might think that, but I can assure you, all across the District today, federal employees are contemplating their “resistance” vs their mortgage

    And if you get named in a lawsuit for violating someone’s civil liberties, there goes the mortgage. Or when Trump eliminates your position because the government’s too big or he needs a scapegoat for this cluster, there goes your mortgage. If there’s an incident because of this nonsense and you end up dealing with lawyers or doctors because of some nutcase, it’s your mortgage.

    You don’t seem to understand: this man is causing deliberate chaos with his stupidity. These people on the front lines, who’s “resistance” you deride, are not dumb. It’s their ass that gets fried if this goes wrong. It’s them who get protesters in their faces, who deal with the lawyers and paperwork, who end up having to justify to their boss who then has to cover for *their* boss. They’re already concerned for their jobs and now you want to toss in something that will land them in front of the Supreme Court? I assure you, they do not get paid enough to be the Administration’s fall guy and they are fully aware of it.

    Word’s out: the Boss is a dangerous idiot and it may directly impact you out of the blue. There’s no guidelines, the White House like to pull sh^t late at night on a Friday and they’re more then willing to blame you for not reading their goddamn schizo minds. CYA *is* resistance at this point since he’s made it clear he’s not willing to protect his people.

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  71. Jack says:

    @Pch101: No, they are not laws. They are orders to the executive branch administrative offices on how to put laws into action. They have the effect of law for those agencies under the executive. Period. They are lawful until declared unlawful by a court, not an AG.

    If you need further education on the EO, please see this:
    http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2017/01/executive-orders-101-what-are-they-and-how-do-presidents-use-them/

    An executive order is a directive from the President that has much of the same power as a federal law.

    or this:
    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/executive-order

    or this:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/27/what-is-an-executive-order-and-how-do-president-trumps-stack-up/?utm_term=.7a2460435fa6

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  72. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Like DACA? Yeah, made up shit.

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  73. Pch101 says:

    @Jack:

    Quiz question:

    The President issues an executive order: “Jack is a poopyhead, so he should be shot and killed on sight just because.”

    What is the appropriate response?

    (a) Go shoot Jack in the head, because the prez sez so (and everybody knows that he really is a poopyhead).

    (b) Have the justice department issue a statement that points out that the executive branch hasn’t taken the appropriate steps to justify killing Jack, irrespective of whether he is a poopyhead, so it won’t be cooperating.

    Incidentally, we have a term to describe (a): It’s called the “Nuremberg Defense.” Which, in case you hadn’t noticed, isn’t actually a defense.

    The attorney general opined about the order. The president can respond to her failure to follow the order, but he can’t force her to follow it.

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  74. Jack says:

    @Pch101: While your attempt at comedy may have made you giggle like a school girl, please don’t leave your day job.

    It’s odd how you adamantly oppose this EO but didn’t oppose DACA which was clearly unlawful as it went against current laws

    Congress can overturn an Executive order by a two-thirds vote, just as they can overturn a presidential veto. Also, if Congress disagrees with the way the president chooses to implement a law, Congress can amend the law.

    The United States Supreme Court also checks the power of Executive order. The Court can declare an Executive order unenforceable if it decides the order is unconstitutional. This happened to President Truman when he attempted to seize control of private steel mills in an effort to settle labor disputes. The Supreme Court ruled that the seizure was unconstitutional and exceeded President Truman’s presidential powers.

    It is not up to the AG to tell the president they will not enforce the law once the law is signed. Any doubts should be brought up before the law is signed. Afterward, salute smartly and go about your business.

    While he is unable to “force” anyone to follow it, it’s his prerogative to fire everyone that refuses. It is, after all, law for the executive agencies.

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  75. al-Alameda says:

    @mantis:

    She made the calculated decision that refusing to defend the EO and getting fired would get more attention than resigning and speaking publicly against it. And it seems to have worked. She could not have expected to keep her job after the new AG takes office, and she certainly didn’t expect to keep her job after refusing to defend the order.

    PLUS … Trump got to reprise his role as a Reality Television Boss-Autocrat by firing Yates and characterizing her as a traitor.

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  76. Pch101 says:

    @Jack:

    The executive branch does not make laws, it enforces them. That’s why we call it the executive branch — because it executes (as in takes action, not just beheading people as you would probably prefer.)

    An executive order is an instruction to agencies to execute laws as interpreted by the president.

    That does not mean that an executive order is a law or that it is even lawful.

    We’ve already had judges negating the order due to problems with it, i.e. it isn’t or may not be lawful. (You probably haven’t read Article 3 of the Constitution nor would you comprehend it if you did, but courts do have some authority in this system.)

    It’s not that tough to understand. Except for you, of course.

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  77. Jack says:

    @Pch101: An EO has the same effect of law until the courts declare it unconstitutional. Trumps EO has NOT been declared unconstitutional. Period. Not a single court has said that. All EOs have the same power as Federal Law. You can try to rebut it as much as you want, but you will still be wrong.

    On Executive Orders
    “Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool.”
    Paul Begala, former Clinton advisor, The New York Times, July 5, 1998

    Executive Orders (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Executive Orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies.

    Please read up.

    http://www.thisnation.com/question/040.html

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  78. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Y’all can downvote what HL92 says here all you want, but it won’t make it any less true.

    Whether done out of defiance or out of pure CYA, government employees that feel the need to make sure that every action they take is fully documented and defensible under existing statutory or administrative law or agency guidance slow down the gears of government simply because it takes time to be that detail oriented on 100% of every action you take.

    Nobody ever got fired from a career government job for meeting due diligence expectations on items that become part of the public record..

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  79. Pch101 says:

    @Jack:

    Obviously, the legal community takes Jack’s interpretations of a website called This Nation quite seriously, with judges issuing restraining orders against the executive order and lawsuits being filed as we speak.

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  80. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Executive orders are not laws.

    Hey, kid…kinda arguing outside your area of expertise again.

    EO’s are, it’s true, not “laws.” But they have the force of law, which means they might as well be. (At least until they are superseded by another EO or actual legislation, which of course, the guy giving out EOs has to sign into law.)

    Maybe you should drop your marketing class and take a poli-sci one.

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  81. Jack says:

    @Pch101: Considering the Emancipation Proclamation was an EO, yeah…it was law…made by the Executive.

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  82. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Personally, I find it amusing that I point out that executive orders are instructions to agencies to execute the law based upon the president’s interpretation of the law, and that Jack thinks that he is rebutting me by posting a quote that essentially says the same thing while obviously thinking that it says something else.

    Some of you folks ain’t too sharp.

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  83. Jack says:

    @Pch101: Considering you said “That does not mean that an executive order is a law or that it is even lawful.”

    Yeah, I was saying something else.

    Maybe you should expand your reading/viewing to something a little harder than School House Rock.

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  84. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92: that the entire enterprise grinds to a halt.

    And that is a great benefit to the prosperity of America.

    But yes, the passive aggressive actions are the norm. Of course, when the leadership is not on board with the bureaucratic inertia things are a bit different. Especially when the order of the day is to roll back the agency authority. The “slow down” only build political support for reform.

    And quite frankly, while they usually win in the MSPB, for the couple to multiple years before the decision, they get a desk in the basement.

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  85. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, I think a number of posters here think that President = King. There are a number of CEO’s in jail who found out that being the top Executive does not exempt you from the law.

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  86. Jack says:

    @JKB:

    And quite frankly, while they usually win in the MSPB, for the couple to multiple years before the decision, they get a desk in the basement.

    Or the get swing- or mid-shift duties. Weekend work is always a nice activity for salaried workers as well.

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  87. Pch101 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    This thread amply illustrates that a lot of those guys who squawk the most about freedom and liberty are actually craving a racist dictatorship. They are not to be trusted.

    The biggest flags are flown by scoundrels and car dealers.

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  88. Joe says:

    O/T, but I am interested in anyone’s thoughts: When the EO at issue allows religious minorities to be treated as refugees, how does it define “religions”? Are Sunnis in a majority Shiite country a minority?

    European history is chock full or religious oppression between “Christian” sects. Christian Americans have very strong views of their religious differences across congregations and many congregations consider other “Christian” congregations to be not even Christian. If you told a Baptist she was the same a Roman Catholic, I don’t think you would get a life-affirming response. So what sense would it make to treat Islam as a single religion when there is so much disagreement and, dare I say, intolerance and oppression among different sects or traditions?

    Also, how are those oppressed for being non-believers treated?

    Finally, what is ISIS if not a putative religious group attempting to oppress anyone who doesn’t agree with its religious views? Do we need to count them to see if they are a majority so that we can then let in all non-ISIS Syrians?

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  89. KM says:

    @Joe:

    So what sense would it make to treat Islam as a single religion when there is so much disagreement and, dare I say, intolerance and oppression among different sects or traditions?

    These are the same kind of people who don’t distinguish between Sikh and Muslim because they’re “ragheads” (the turban vs keffiyeh). They don’t care about differences because that means they’d have to learn about the Other. As far as they are concerned, Islam is a single monolithic “faith” and will stare at you blankly if you mention other faiths from the area like Druze. Arab = Muslim = Not-White = Not Us So Who Cares About the Details?

    For them, the world is simplistic and there’s no such thing as distinct tribes, traditions or faith expressions. The White House is currently being occupied by individuals who don’t give a good goddamn about anything worldly. It never occurred to them, for instance, that people can and will *lie* about their faith to GTFO of a warzone and into safety. If I was trying to get my children to a place they wouldn’t be shot at, my faith is whatever the hell you want to hear till I get them off that plane. If Trumpkins aren’t smart enough to tell the subtle differences apart, how are they going to detect when someone isn’t sincere about their faith? After all, fundamentalists believe if you profess Christ is Lord aloud you are born again so poof! Baby Xtians coming through, clear Aisle 5 for express boarding!

    Seriously though, it speaks to the lack of depth of understanding, thought and GAF they have in governing. This was a poorly worded, poorly thought out and poorly executed POS of an EO. It’s not worth the paper it was written on. If this had to be done, there were better ways. Its proof of incompetence, maliciousness or both.

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  90. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    There are a number of CEO’s in jail who found out that being the top Executive does not exempt you from the law.

    But never a President of the United States, mores the pity. A booking photo of Richard Nixon would have done wonders for government ethics and probably saved us a lot of subsequent trouble.

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  91. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Please do not watch Trumps SCOTUS reality TV show tonight.
    The best way to hurt this turd is for him to get shitty ratings.

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  92. Katharsis says:

    The idea that Yates’ firing was some kind of pro forma inevitability is undermined by a couple of details. In addition to her replacement supposedly to be confirmed any day now, according to Laurence Tribe the administration could instead have hired outside counsel to defend this one EO–a process that has happened before. Also, as I understand, Dana Boente wasn’t even the next person in line to stand in as U.S. AG. So let’s not pretend the White House just followed protocol.

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  93. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Personally, I find it amusing

    Personally I find it amusing that you think you cannot be challenged. You’re a smart dude. The force is with you.

    But you’re not a Jedi yet.

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  94. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    You’re still off on a tangent (which isn’t surprising).

    Sure, EO’s carry the weight of law even though they are not laws.

    That having been said, the AG is NOT bound to defend them if, in his/discretion they are unlawful, he/she disagrees with them, whatever. Discretionary authority. They’re free to say “no, I won’t do it, sorry”.

    The president is then free to fire them, but he can’t compel them to defend something they don’t want to defend. Your beef here seems to be that you believe Yates should have wanted to defend it. That’s your opinion, but it doesn’t change the fact that she had the discretionary option to decide otherwise, which she exercised. This is not a POLICY discussion. It’s a PROCESS discussion. Try to keep up.

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  95. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The president is then free to fire them, but he can’t compel them to defend something they don’t want to defend. Your beef here seems to be that you believe Yates should have wanted to defend it. That’s your opinion, but it doesn’t change the fact that she had the discretionary option to decide otherwise, which she exercised. This is not a POLICY discussion. It’s a PROCESS discussion. Try to keep up.

    No. We don’t disagree at all. We are finally in agreement.

    My argument is not that the AG HAS to defend it, although that is their job description. My only disagreement is that instead of resigning, Yates wrote a letter telling every other DOJ employee that they could not defend Trump’s executive order. That is the POLICY decision.

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  96. Guarneri says:

    Yates reminds me of an employee of mine many years ago, who sat down in my office and proceeded to tell me everything wrong with the business and how it was so poorly run and why would anyone want to work there anyway.

    I simply looked at him and said “I see your point; so when can we expect your resignation.”

    Not the response he expected.

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  97. Jack says:

    @Jack:

    That is the POLICY decision.

    Edit to read POLICY discussion.

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  98. Pch101 says:

    The Executive, except for recommendation and veto, has no legislative power…With all its defects, delays and inconveniences, men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations.

    -Youngstown v. Sawyer

    Then again, who needs the Supreme Court when we have Jack and Guarneri posting live from Moscow?

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  99. Jack says:

    @Pch101: Like I said, The Emancipation proclamation was an EO. Feel free to look it up. Or continue to be retarded.

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  100. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Basic reading comprehension should not be a lofty and unattainable goal.

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  101. Lit3Bolt says:

    @James Pearce:

    Usually I enjoy your insights, but recently you’ve been a mite dickish.

    Liberal protests getting you down? Despair over the clown show that is the Trump admin?

    Just curious to know.

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  102. MBunge says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Not to speak for Mr. Pearce but I’ve cut back on this place because dickish is the only appropriate response to some of the folks around here.

    Some of it is the sheer stupidity. Recently, I checked in on a thread and found a bunch of utter dolts speculating about all the terrible things Mexico could do to retaliate against Trump, as though there could ever be a conflict between the US and Mexico where our southern neighbors don’t suffer a thousand times worse than us.

    A lot of it is depression. This isn’t a comic book. Trump isn’t The Hate-Monger or Baron Zemo. The political, cultural and economic factors that led to his election didn’t appear overnight. Most of them have been festering for decades. And the depression doesn’t come from the people in denial about those problems continuing to be in denial. It’s from the people who just a year ago would have acknowledged both the existence and nature of those problems going deaf, dumb and blind about them because they’re butthurt over being wrong about Trump.

    Mike

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  103. Terrye Cravens says:

    It might not be illegal, but it was wrong. And yes, improper. Needless to say she has been replaced with a lackey who will happily do Trump’s bidding.

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  104. C. Clavin says:

    @MBunge:
    Mike…seems to me you are the one wrong about Trump.
    He’s not an answer to any of your problems.
    He will only make them worse.
    I’m sorry if reality seems “dickish” to you.

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  105. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    I’ve got $100 says he was dead-on.

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  106. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jack: Been there, done that, got the hat, the t-shirt, and the souvenir bumper sticker for my car. It’s not as bad as you and JKB make it out to be. For one thing, I can’t hear you guys carp and moan and whine from the basement, on weekends, or on swing shift. That’s worth something all by itself.

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  107. Jc says:

    Another thing I noticed was the dissent channel memo on this ban and reaction by the current administration. Where Spicer stated “”And if somebody has a problem with that agenda then that does call into question whether or not they should continue in that post or not.” – When the prior administration had dissent in regards to Syria policy, I don’t remember backhanded threats being handed out….

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  108. Grumpy Realist says:

    Gorsuch is SCOTUS nominee.

    Given some of the decisions Gorsuch has made in the past, Trump may be very unpleasantly surprised. Especially if he thinks he’s got a “yes, I’ll do anything you want” person.

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  109. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    I can live with Neil, although I admit to personally finding him distasteful on a social level. He doesn’t change the tenor of the court / at worst, his viewpoint about the law isn’t any more outlandish than Scalia’s was.

    We’ll see now if the Dems actually have the cojones to filibuster him.

    I do admit that I was seriously looking forward to seeing Bill Pryor get filleted. Oh well …

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  110. CrustyDem says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I would assume he was hoping to get fired and get out of the hellhole with the shitty boss and collect some unemployment while reorienting to life without a horrible boss in a dysfunctional environment…

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  111. James Pearce says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Liberal protests getting you down? Despair over the clown show that is the Trump admin?

    Both. It’s both. Contrary to Mike Bunge, I don’t think Trump is the culmination of decades of pent-up frustrations and recriminations. We started this century with a Republican government, and well, they screwed up bigly.

    But we have to acknowledge that Democrats screwed up too. We hitched our wagon to the Clinton train, falling in love with first Bill then Hill, and we spent so much time licking their boots that we didn’t develop our bench. There are twice as many Republican governors than Democratic ones. Democrats are a minority in both houses of Congress, and we have our leadership sitting on the courthouse holding fake candles like they’re the powerless rabble who only gets to vote once a year.

    If that’s what our leaders in Congress are doing, it’s not good enough.

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  112. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @CrustyDem:
    Can you imagine working for a nimrod like Guarneri? He would fyck up every single day…as we can see by his comments here…and you know he would just blame everyone else…like he does here. Good on that guy for getting the fyck out of there.

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  113. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: ” I think a number of posters here think that President = King. ”

    Yes, but only if President=White.

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  114. wr says:

    @Guarneri: “Yates reminds me of an employee of min”

    Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

    Dude, you slay me. An “employee.” Sure.

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  115. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    There is some truth to your claims, especially the fact that our bench is woefully short. Dems like to stick with a politician they like as opposed to a Repub who can be flighty in their admiration. I’m not sure how fair it is to pin this all on the Clintons as I see them more a symptom of the Dem thought process, not the ultimate cause. Liberals get complaisant in their surety of victory and run off to fight petty battles, thinking the war won. We are shocked and disheartened when we lose, taking it as a major setback instead of a stumbling block and a change to be re-energized. We don’t have enough good soldiers in this fight and thus get stuck with the same “saviors” over and over again.

    However, the fact that there are more Repub then Dem governors is a quirk of demographics rather then an indication of party failure. Frankly, sparely populated states are going to run Repub specially because they are rural and thus conservative. Unless some rich liberal billionaire wants to start seeding liberal towns all across the vast openness of the midWest / West in an attempt to flip the population, places like ID, MD and OK are beyond our reach. I’ve always found it interesting that we treat the governor of small state with maybe a few million souls with the same gravity as one running a larger state with tens of millions; kind of like comparing the class president with the mayor, one will clearly end up doing more work then the other.

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  116. al-Alameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    But we have to acknowledge that Democrats screwed up too. We hitched our wagon to the Clinton train, falling in love with first Bill then Hill, and we spent so much time licking their boots that we didn’t develop our bench. There are twice as many Republican governors than Democratic ones. Democrats are a minority in both houses of Congress, and we have our leadership sitting on the courthouse holding fake candles like they’re the powerless rabble who only gets to vote once a year.

    What depressed me most about this year’s field – particularly the final top 3, Sander, Clinton, Trump – was that they were all over 70 years old. The Democrats in particular have, as you said, no bench. Frankly, if Marco Rubio was a Democrat he would have won this election.

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  117. The problem is that Democratic Leaders are too worried about protecting themselves inside their party(Take a look at Joe Sestak in PA). Democrats are basically keeping their leadership intact after several years of brutal electoral losses.

    There is an additional problem: Parties on the left are losing elections all over the world because the Left is too reliant on unions to provide them with political infrastructure. As more and more people are working in the services sector(That has fewer and less powerful unions) the leftist parties are losing their traditional political infrastructure.

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  118. Pch101 says:

    @al-Alameda:

    In 2015, Obama was not exactly at the height of his popularity.

    Meanwhile, there is some political theory that would suggest the White House is likely to switch parties after two terms.

    Those factors did not make things enticing for most Democrats, as a nominee who loses the general election will probably never be able to seek the presidency again. That left it to Clinton, who had the choice of either running in 2016 or else never running at all.

    It didn’t help that Obama did not choose a VP who wanted to run. Obama was generally a good president, but he was a poor party leader. He should have been grooming his successor and building the party at the state level, but those did not seem to be on his priority list. (One of the hazards of having a guy who dreamed of being a unifying, post-partisan leader in a system that is as nasty as ours.)

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  119. Gavrilo says:

    @KM:

    However, the fact that there are more Repub then Dem governors is a quirk of demographics rather then an indication of party failure. Frankly, sparely populated states are going to run Repub specially because they are rural and thus conservative.

    I realize you, like most Democrats, have an intense need to believe that, but it’s simply not true. Of the ten most populous states, 5 have Republican Governors. Of the 25 most populous states, 16 have Republican Governors.

    The fact is that the Republican Party is the most dominant it has been in the past 100 years, perhaps ever. But, please keep up with the fantasy that it has nothing to do with policy and it’s just all quirky demographics, gerrymandering, and Republican trickery.

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  120. al-Alameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    The fact is that the Republican Party is the most dominant it has been in the past 100 years, perhaps ever. But, please keep up with the fantasy that it has nothing to do with policy and it’s just all quirky demographics, gerrymandering, and Republican trickery.

    So ‘dominant’ that they lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes.

    There’s certainly no doubt that Democrats have a lot of work to do down on the ground if they’re going to undo years of coordinated Republican-legislated voter suppression and gerrymandering at the state level.

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  121. gVOR08 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    But, please keep up with the fantasy that it has nothing to do with policy and it’s just all quirky demographics, gerrymandering, and Republican trickery.

    This situation represents the success of the Republican Southern Strategy (race) and Rupert Gawdamn Murdoch and the growth of the CEC alternate reality bubble. The one thing it has little to do with is policy. That’s the big Dem mistake, thinking they can win on policy.

    If you think Trump has policy that is going to help working class whites, bend over.

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  122. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    If Republicans are so convinced that they are loved by the people, then it seems odd that they work so very hard to discourage people from voting.

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  123. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    the fact that there are more Repub then Dem governors is a quirk of demographics rather then an indication of party failure.

    I’m moving away from this line of thinking. I think it’s absolutely a party failure when the party can’t find anything at all to say to one demographic or other. Parties should be for interests, not ethnicities. Democrats shouldn’t abandon the interests of white people anymore than Republicans should abandon the interests of minorities. Who’s working for the common good?

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  124. Gavrilo says:

    @Pch101:

    Yes, it’s very odd that Republicans pass laws that are supported by 80% of Americans.

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  125. John D'Geek says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I’m confused by something.

    You said several times in your article that you don’t believe that the EO is legal. Yet, you also reference that the Office of Legal Counsel reviewed it and found it legal.

    Now I know you’re a lawyer — what do you know that we don’t? How is it that a bunch of lawyers reviewed this, said it’s legal (which is separate from “just” or “wise”), and you think it’s not?

    On a related note: how could the acting AG have been surprised by this if the OLC was reviewing it?

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  126. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Thanks, but that doesn’t really address my point.

    Generally speaking, people don’t attempt to prevent their supporters from supporting them.

    Republicans support laws that prevent people from voting. Why would they want their adoring fans to be barred from the voting booth?

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  127. KM says:

    @James Pearce, @Gavrilo:

    I never said we can’t find something to speak to the other demographic, merely that it’s a historic fact that city mice tend to be more liberal and country mice tend towards conservatism. I personally believe it has more to do with personality type since those who are willing to live in rugged areas and sparely populated, limited-luxury small towns tend to favor a certain mindset. You will absolutely find little liberal enclaves in MD and conservative bastions in NH but overall the trend is pretty clear. Pennslytucky is the norm, not a deviation. There are plenty of tiny blue and red states as well as behemoths like TX but their county maps are a patchwork of blue and red.

    I find it interesting that this is being held up as a failing of either party rather then a simple reflection of how this country is settled. The concerns of the rancher on an open plain are going to be very different from a cab driver in a city. Its not a bad thing that we are segregated by space; we’re a freaking continent-spanning nation so of course we’ll have geographic differences come into play in how party lines get shaped. The problem arises when a party tells their people you cannot prosper because someone over there is prospering AKA whites are losing because blacks are gaining or cis-folk lose rights in order for trans-people to use a bathroom of choice.

    You’re not going to convince a sage-brush rebellion type to be a liberal. He’s a conservative till the day he dies. What you can do is break the tribalism hold and convince them to vote for *this* liberal instead of *that* conservative in every election. They’re not going to change parties but you can get them to pull the lever for you on occasion.

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  128. Gavrilo says:

    @Pch101:

    Generally speaking, successful political parties enact laws that have the support of 80% of Americans.

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  129. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Well, that would explain why a few million more people voted for the Democratic presidential nominee.

    Once again, it makes no sense that the GOP would want to keep its adoring fans out of the voting booth.

    A person with some intelligence (read: not you) should be able to figure out that those voter suppression laws are intended to prevent their opponents from voting. And if that’s how you have to play the game, then you’re a vile piece of work.

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  130. Gavrilo says:

    @Pch101:

    A person with some intelligence (read: not you) should be able to figure out that those voter suppression laws are intended to prevent their opponents from voting.

    That’s your opinion. One that is shared by a very small minority of Americans. Most Americans don’t believe voter id laws are intended to prevent people from voting. Most Americans recognize that the vast majority already possess a photo id. Most Americans are regularly required to present a photo id in a variety of circumstances not related to voting and they don’t think it’s racist or intended to prevent anyone from doing anything. Most Americans believe that voter id laws foster more secure elections and give them greater confidence in the process, which is a perfectly valid reason.

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  131. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    That’s what I love about conservatives. The truth makes no difference to you; it’s all about your feelings.

    You must be proud of the fact that your overlords have sold a pile of voter fraud BS to the public that isn’t smart to understand that it is a pile of BS.

    That there is no factual support to justify your position makes absolutely no difference to you because facts are irrelevant in the world of the conservative. You are happy to prevent voting simply because it makes you feel good.

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  132. Gavrilo says:

    @Pch101:

    I gave you the factual support to justify my position. Do you need it again? 80% of Americans support voter id.

    Your “fact” is that the public isn’t smart.

    And, you wonder why Democrats keep losing elections.

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  133. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Patting yourself on the back for selling a lie is the sort of behavior that one would expect from a sociopath.

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  134. al-Alameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Most Americans are regularly required to present a photo id in a variety of circumstances not related to voting and they don’t think it’s racist or intended to prevent anyone from doing anything.

    These days I am very rarely asked to provide formal photo identification to perform any commercial transaction, and I have not been asked to provide formal identification at my local voting precinct in over 25 years. In fact, the last time I was asked to provide such identification was this past summer when I traveled to Central Europe, and later to Chicago.

    The current effort to require formal identification in order to vote at your precinct is very clearly a Republican-lead movement to suppress the vote of Democratic constituencies, in particular, Black voters. There is no meaningful statistical evidence of actual in-person voter fraud, period. There are only fact-less, fact-free assertions promulgated by Republicans and mainstream conservative media that there is a significant amount of in-person voter fraud. Trump is latest and most important Republican leader to shill this fact-free assertion.

    It is interesting to note that Republicans are not the least bit interested in the more likely probability that absentee votes could be fraudulently submitted. Why? It’s simple; historically, absentee voters have tended to be Republican constituents.

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  135. Pch101 says:

    @John D’Geek:

    It’s pretty simple: If the executive order is challenged in court (and it will be), then it will become apparent over the course of the proceeding that the executive order was motivated by racism.

    When the court figures that out, the executive order will get tossed because that is not an acceptable criteria for an executive order.

    Is a limitation on visas issued to Country X unlawful on its face? No, there can be completely valid reasons for such restrictions.

    But does that mean every such restriction is lawful? No. The reasons have to be consistent with the intent of the law and the law generally.

    Your Klansman-in-chief had no valid justification for this order. Any decent judge is going to toss it when given the chance because it is obviously based on a bigoted fiction. He could impose a ban on the French, but if it comes out in court that he wanted it because he doesn’t like their accents or smelly cheeses, then the ban is going to be toast.

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  136. Gavrilo says:

    @al-Alameda:

    These days I am very rarely asked to provide formal photo identification to perform any commercial transaction

    Try opening a checking account without a photo id. Is Bank of America trying to prevent black people from banking?

    The current effort to require formal identification in order to vote at your precinct is very clearly a Republican-lead movement to suppress the vote of Democratic constituencies, in particular, Black voters. There is no meaningful statistical evidence of actual in-person voter fraud, period. There are only fact-less, fact-free assertions promulgated by Republicans and mainstream conservative media that there is a significant amount of in-person voter fraud. Trump is latest and most important Republican leader to shill this fact-free assertion.

    Again. 80% of Americans don’t agree with you. Republicans don’t need any “meaningful statistical evidence” to enact laws that 80% of Americans want!

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  137. KM says:

    @Pch101:

    If the executive order is challenged in court (and it will be)

    Proud to say I helped work on two last night. One of my friends is the lead lawyer on one and part of the local team on several more. She was so dead tired she was drafting people to proof-read / double-check her work. I am no lawyer but I did my part for grammar and justice. :)

    They really screwed up on this one, detaining American dual citizens in their stupidity. They’re trying to downplay how much this haphazard implementation damaged them but the truth is if they’d had a modicum of intelligence and planning, there’s be a lot less grounds to litigate over.

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  138. KM says:

    @Gavrilo :

    So i take it you are then in favor a national ID card that can be used for voting purposes? This way, voter registries can be cross-check to help prevent fraud, be kept up to date and have a single set of criteria for voter registration in order to help smooth out this most important democratic process? Since all citizens are constitutionally entitled to vote (barring specific circumstances), the government should naturally provide them free of charge once upon age of majority with a minimal replacement fee should the original be lost. They would be immediately deactivated upon death, incarceration, loss of citizenship, etc so that we wouldn’t have to worry about the dead voting or whatever. As a national ID card, you always wouldn’t have to worry about “illegals” getting licenses and voting as well since the government would dictate delivery, not the state.

    Sound good?

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  139. Pch101 says:

    @KM:

    Good for you for playing a part in this.

    The idiots on the right can’t figure out that justice is supposed to play a role in the justice system. Go figure.

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  140. I’m one of the very few people among the OTB comentariat that HAS to carry a National ID Card. That can be good(ID theft is hard, ticket scalping is much more difficult to do), on the other hand, I understand why many Americans would be opposed to it. Gun owners would hate it, imagine going to a gun store, then the clerk ask you your ID number and doing a complete background check on you. Or imagine cops using ID numbers to check any criminal database during traffic stops.

    Frankly, if you want to curb voter fraud, using State ID cards with no numbers and doing nothing are the same thing.

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  141. al-Alameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Try opening a checking account without a photo id. Is Bank of America trying to prevent black people from banking?

    Three points: (1) I have not opened a new banking or investment account recently, and (2) I do not believe I said that no identification is required for any business or commercial transaction, and (3) .nice try with that unrelated “Is Bank of America trying to prevent black people from banking?” tack.

    Again, we know exactly why Republicans are insisting on new Voter Identification measures – it is to make voting a more difficult process for Black and Hispanic voters, neither group of whom has been shown to illegally vote (no evidence, none, just Republican talk.

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  142. Gavrilo says:

    @KM:

    In theory, I don’t have a problem with that. Although since elections are administered by the states, it probably makes more sense to have state issued photo id accepted at the polls. Although, I have no problem with the use of a State Department issued passport, which is, in a sense, a “national” id.

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  143. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Gavrilo: Considering that j

    a) about 40 million Americans are “unbanked”
    b) the lower one’s socioeconomic status is, the less likely one is to have a bank account
    c) black Americans make up a higher proportion of Americans living in poverty than the proportion of the overall population
    d) the lower one’s socioeconomic status is, the less likely one is to own a car or need a driver’s license
    and e) you can complete an I-9 without a photo ID, purchase a money order without a photo ID, purchase a pre-paid cell phone without a photo iD, and buy a reloadable pre-paid debit card without a photo ID

    your “zinger” seems to have gone flaccid.

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  144. Gavrilo says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    Gun owners would hate it, imagine going to a gun store, then the clerk ask you your ID number and doing a complete background check on you. Or imagine cops using ID numbers to check any criminal database during traffic stops.

    That’s pretty much exactly how it works now.

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  145. @Gavrilo: State issued Ids without any ID numbers and nothing would be the same thing. You’d need a National ID card with numbers to curb voter fraud. Go try selling the idea to the NRA.

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  146. Pch101 says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    State-issued IDs have individual numbers and photos. We do not have the issue that you are describing.

    There are three problems with voter ID laws:

    -There is no voter fraud problem to fix, so voter ID laws impose a needless burden on a particular group who happen to be disadvantaged

    -The idea is politically motivated. Republicans don’t want minorities to vote because they know that most of those people will vote against them.

    -Voter restrictions are tied to a long legacy of racism, so imposing them turns back the clock

    Of course, all of these are related. It is no coincidence that the party that goes on about Mexican rapists and evil Muslims is the same party that doesn’t want blacks to vote. This is Jim Crow 2.0.

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  147. Scott says:

    @Gavrilo: I have opened many a checking account without a photo ID. Haven’t stepped into a bank in ages. It’s all done online.

    No, the problem isn’t photo IDs; it is making it inconvenient to get one. If they really believed in our democratic system, then legislature would greatly facilitate the Photo ID process. But they don’t. One shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to be able to do their patriotic duty.

    And speaking of online, let’s turn the banking example always used backwards: If you can get a banking account online why not register and vote online.

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  148. grumpy realist says:

    @Gavrilo: So what are you going to do about absentee ballots, which at present don’t require any photo ID at all?

    If you really were worrying about voter ID falsity as much as you claim you do, you would be insisting that absentee ballots be banned.

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  149. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    It is no coincidence that the party that goes on about Mexican rapists and evil Muslims is the same party that doesn’t want blacks to vote.

    It’s also no coincidence that the GOP knows that all you have to do to “suppress votes” is to pass voter ID laws.

    I mean, as always, the lefty mindset says that the problems that “disproportionately” affect the black community don’t affect the white community at all, even though there’s 2 poor white Americans for every black Americans.

    The voter fraud stuff is a joke. Trying to suppress votes with voter ID laws is a joke. But you know what else is a joke? That the left doesn’t embrace voter ID laws, endeavor to help underprivileged people get IDs, and then say, “Now what, MFers?” as you vote all those people out of office.

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  150. James Pearce says:

    A revision:

    even though there’s 2 poor white Americans for every black Americans.

    should read as “even though there are 2 poor white Americans for every poor black American.”

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  151. Monala says:

    @James Pearce: One of the big challenges in getting people IDs is that the same states that enact voter ID laws also enact other laws to make it harder to get IDs – such as closing locations where you can get IDs in areas with large minority populations, or reducing the hours of those places, etc. Or not allowing alternative forms of ID to acquire the state ID in the first place (a lot of older African-Americans have no birth certificate because they weren’t allowed to be born in hospitals), or requiring that you appear in person to get a state ID in a different city, etc.

    So yes, if states stop putting up obstacles to acquiring ID, then yes, Dems should work on helping people get them.

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  152. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Your idea is on the right track, but it needs tweaking.

    I would like to see the Democrats in Congress propose a “voter fraud prevention” law that would require states that require IDs to provide free IDs and supporting documents such as birth certificates, allocate staffing and open offices to administer the program, etc.. If the Republicans balk, then complain about their lack of commitment to the integrity of the election process.

    Of course, this won’t actually do much. Dupes such as Gavrilo will go along with whatever ride that the GOP provides for them. Republican hypocrisy does nothing to sway those voters.

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  153. James Pearce says:

    @Monala:

    So yes, if states stop putting up obstacles to acquiring ID, then yes, Dems should work on helping people get them.

    Yeah, I know about the obstacles and the bad faith that inspires them. I don’t support Voter ID laws at all.

    Perhaps it’s because I don’t support Voter ID laws that I see a clear path to get rid of them. Jump through the hoops. Secure your franchise. Then vote the MFers out.

    How come we can’t have the attitude that we’ll meet any challenge, tackle any obstacle? I’m to believe that a hundred a fifty years ago, Americans of conscience were able to create an Underground Railroad to help ex-slaves flee the south, but we can’t get old Grandma and Grandpa with no birth certificate over to the county seat to get an ID?

    The opposition is counting on our laziness and lack of will. They made it hard for us. Are we gonna make it easy for them?

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  154. @Pch101:

    State-issued IDs have individual numbers and photos. We do not have the issue that you are describing

    The ID Card that US States issues is the Driver’s License, that´s really different from a ID Card.

    I know my ID number from memory, do you know yours?

    The fact that a f* Driver’s License is the ID Card in the United States creates obvious problem when you require it for people to vote. As far as I know people that don’t drive also vote.

    And if your problem is vote fraud I don’t know how that can be a solution, precisely because there are too much of them.

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  155. Pch101 says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    States also issue ID cards for those who don’t drive.

    And if your problem is vote fraud…

    Voter fraud isn’t a problem. It’s a fake crisis manufactured by the Republicans who aren’t going to admit that they are trying to suppress the vote.

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  156. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    Most states, AFAIK, also issue an official identification card (which looks for all the world like a drivers license), which fulfills the same identification purpose but doesn’t enable one to drive.

    The problem is that they’re typically issued by the same DMV / MVA which issues drivers licenses and require the same substantiating documents. For somebody who has difficulty getting to an office or paying to obtain these documents, it’s the same burden.

    And it was intended to be.

    I’ve said for years that we need an identification card, issued for free at the national level. Heck, throw PKI on it and you have an excellent way of securing internet voting as well. (I’m told anyway. I am not a tech guy, so that could be completely wrong. I’m taking the word of folks who know much more about it than I do on that aspect of the proposal).

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  157. dxq says:

    And speaking of online, let’s turn the banking example always used backwards: If you can get a banking account online why not register and vote online.

    indeed, I have Ally bank, which has no branches. It’s fantastic.

    I’ve said before that voting by app was coming, and the GOP will resist it Mightily, because seniors vote like 90% and young people vote like 45%. When it gets so convenient it’s in app form, and young people go to 90%, the GOP will go from getting 45% of the vote, to 25% of the vote.

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  158. @HarvardLaw92:

    The problem is that they’re typically issued by the same DMV / MVA which issues drivers licenses and require the same substantiating documents.

    Yes. From what I’ve heard it’s easier to get your Driver’s License Card in Brazil than in the United States.

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  159. Monala says:

    @Gavrilo: From the same link you cited, most Americans also believe in things that help make voting easier, such as early voting (80%) and automatic voter registration (63%). Meanwhile, many of the Republican lawmakers pushing voter ID are also trying to get rid of or prevent things like early voting and automatic registration.

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  160. Monala says:

    @Pch101: Excellent suggestion!

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  161. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Really guys?!?!?–this is the type of stupidity and condescension that iritates me and other black people. Why even make voter ID a battle? You think Black People don’t have IDs? GOT DAMMIT PEOPLE! Really?!?!?!

    The amount of black people that would be affected by a voter id law is statistically insignificant and overcomable. 99.8% of us have IDs and use them for all types of things. I know the white commentariat above list all sorts of things they’ve done and never been asked for id. Great, enjoy your privilege. Black folks don’t get such benefits of the doubt. If you’re black you BETTER have identification on you. We’ve known this for decades. This is a ridiculous issue. If anything, you should go after absentee ballots as Grumpy Realist suggested as the potential for fraud is greater and is a better counterpoint.

    Heres a secret: A huge part of Republican messaging is done though liberal and democratic outrage. IT DOESNT MATTER THE ISSUE. If liberals get angry about it–it signals to the GOP base that their leadership is fighting the good fight. If you want to affect their “virtue signalling”–counter-attack them on something related that they haven’t made an issue. Voter ID is ridiculous-but pointing out facts and evidence along with the hand-wringing and “oh but the poor blacks” plays right into their hands. Some of you have some really poor assumptions about black america–which is one reason why black support isn’t a given anymore.

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  162. Pch101 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Your 99.8% claim is completely bogus. Not even close to being true:

    http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2012/jul/11/eric-holder/eric-holder-says-recent-studies-show-25-percent-af/

    Why you would dedicate a lengthy post to promoting a lie, I don’t know. But it’s still a lie.

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  163. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Pch101: Do you understand statistics? Go back–look at the survey samples–which are now 11 years old and too small to begin with–and tell me if they are large and thorough enough to make national level inferences about. Holder didn’t even respond to comment when asked where he got his numbers from. Better yet, if you know black people, ask em how many people they know that don’t have some sort of state or federal ID. If 25% is accurate–they should report significant numbers. They wont. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze for voter id.

    But you demonstrated a larger point that I already made. 99.XXXX was clearly an exaggeration on my part…but you latched on to that and ran to politifact to disprove a point of fact not relevent to the real issue. Which is that the amount of black americans that don’t have an I.D. is insignificant to elections. These people aren’t likely voters.

    Anecdotally, I’ve been black all my life and associated with underpriviledged black people in multiple states–mostly because I grew up underprivilidged. Hundreds of people—maybe 5 didn’t have ID. Mostly because they were trying to stay OFF the radar.

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  164. Pch101 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I can either believe the research or else I can believe you.

    You’re an anonymous guy on the internet with some kind of agenda and nothing factual to back you up. So I’ll take the research, thanks.

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  165. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Pch101: The point’s that its NOT GOOD RESEARCH by any measure of statistics.

    Nice deflection to make it about me however. Enjoy your alternate reality–and keep losing elections.

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  166. Pch101 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    There’s no deflection. You’re an anonymous dude on the internet with worthless opinions.

    The research does have value, and it contradicts you. So I’m going with the data, thanks.

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  167. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: And you’re not? (Please understand, I don’t care; I’m just goading you into another double down.)

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  168. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    It’s not an anonymous dude on the internet versus me.

    No, this is an anonymous dude on the internet versus researchers from NYU, the University of Washington, American University and other credible sources.

    Nobody has to believe me. But what kind of idiot would give more credibility to an anonymous dude on the internet than to NYU?

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  169. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Pch101: Yes because if it has a university label on it….No one…not even someone that has done graduate-level economics work can ever question the methodology. Classic Appeal to Authority. Enjoy the Alt-Left, where they care about science and data only when it support liberal positions. You’ve more in common with Trumpkins than you think.

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  170. Pch101 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I hate to break it to you, but your alternative facts aren’t actually facts.

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  171. KM says:

    @Jim Brown 32 :

    The reason liberals are anti-voter ID as it is currently being voiced is it’s an answer in search of a problem. More accurately, it’s an answer looking to *start* a problem. Demanding ID be required without simultaneously making damn sure everyone has ID so they are not screwed out of their constitutional rights is deliberately trying to make sure people can’t vote. I’m sorry but there’s no other explanation for why there isn’t a push by pro-voter ID for universal ID or free ID programs. I’d love a national ID and support its creation as long as *everyone* entitled to it gets it for free at their majority so no one can use it to hurt another’s rights.

    Now, as to anecdotal evidence, the town I came from has quite a few white residents with no ID or birth certificate because their family wanted to live off the grid. They also want to vote and see no contradiction between their support for voter ID and the fact that they have no such thing. If asked, they will be quite frank with the belief that no one will ask *THEM* for ID since it’s clear they “belong here”. Its very clear that in their minds, its a way to harass, impede, and otherwise attempt to deny the Other their rights while they cheerfully get a pass for being pale as the driven snow.

    Liberals see this for what it is: an attempt to screw over part of the public. That should always be opposed by any legitimate political party. Perhaps harping on the fact that some individuals do not have the proper ID can insulting to the majority that do; its not intended to be. The fact remains that these people exist and will be mistreated for political gain. But I find it odd that you’re complaining someone’s trying to ensure there’s less hardship in your life. Why are you yelling that we’re being condescending and not yelling at the guys who are actively trying to put another road block in your life?

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  172. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @KM: It boils down to this–human beings, and by extension organizations and movements have a limited amount of focus and mental acuity to go about their tasks. Consequently, there must be a priority of effort to ensure enough time, talent, and resources can be focused at the point of attack in order to realize the goal.

    I belong to a politically neglected group–a group that is even neglected by the political party they support at 85% on a bad day. We don’t have the luxury of devoting focus to extraneous efforts that don’t affect our likely voters. In a perfect world with perfect resources–sure. We don’t live in that world. Voter ID has several easy counters for Dems: Encourage Absentee voting; focus on programs that would make getting an ID really easy for indigent citizens that may decide to vote; expand the acceptable types of IDs–then move on.

    If you’ve ever seen the Election Night SNL bit with Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle–you’d see some relevant comedic chiding of the tone deafness of liberals when it comes to AA community priorities. Voter ID is not a place to plant a flat–it gets you no significant infusion of new voters–you’re not losing voters. You do get to unwittingly make my community out to be witless vagrants that need a savior to take care of basic civic responsibilities. Newsflash: Most of us are not poor, have jobs, etc. Therefore we have ID. Its just that a higher percentage of us compared with other communities have challenges. Some caused by the system, some self-inflicted. If you want to fight for something-fight for a few things that have impact across the community that keep us from reaching parity with other communities: War on Drugs, Childhood Education, Home Ownership. The War on Drugs is the only non-debatable item on this list. If I had to yell at someone putting up this roadblock–I’d yell at as many democrats as republicans

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  173. Matt says:

    @Gavrilo: Over 70% of Americans think that crime has been getting worse the last few decades….

    BTW the FBI crime database shows a steady decrease in all crimes over time.

    Reality and what people think aren’t inherently the same thing.

    EDIT : Oh and while we’re on the subject Police deaths are down massively from the 90s and even early 2000s despite vastly more police and people in general. Deaths are even lower than in the 2010s but not as much.

    Turn on the TV and you’d think there was a war on cops or something though…..

    http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/year.html

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  174. Matt says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: No it’s not.

    ID cards display the same information as a driver’s license (excluding information like required corrective lenses and such). The Realid act has strict requirements as to what has to be on those cards.

    Just do a google search for “texas id” and then “Texas Driver license” and you’ll see how they are so similar you can easily mix them up when handing them over.

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