Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fox analyst: Obama is so divisive he nominated a SCOTUS justice Republicans like


A Fox News legal analyst described Supreme Court nominee as a conservative — even as he urged Republicans to block his confirmation and accused President Barack Obama of politicizing the process.
Andrew Napolitano, the conservative network’s senior legal analyst, described appeals court judge Merrick Garland as “the consummate Washington, D.C., insider who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats.”
“Judge Garland is the most conservative nominee by a Democratic president in the modern era,” Napolitano said.
He said Garland’s 19-year track record as a federal prosecutor during President George H.W. Bush’s administration and then as an appellate court judge could offer plenty of ammunition for GOP senators to keep him off the Supreme Court.
However, he said Garland does not share the same legal philosophy as previous Obama nominees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who now serve on the court.
“He does not think about the law the way Barack Obama does, so Barack Obama does not get the opportunity to appoint Antonin Scalia’s opposite member,” Napolitano said. “If he does not get on the court, we’re still at a stalemate — so in my view, this is a lose-lose for the president.”
He said Obama’s choice was more intended to “pry loose Republicans who actually like Judge Garland and agree with him, than the president is interested in his own philosophical legacy on the court.”
Which, in Napolitano’s view, is a bad thing.
“The president is more interested in the politics of the process,” he complained.
Napolitano described Garland’s voting record as “center-right” in his tenure on the appeals court, saying he ruled “almost always on the side of the government — not what you would expect from a Democrat.”
Even so, Napolitano rejected any argument that the U.S. Senate had a constitutional duty to hold hearings or vote on Obama’s nominee.
“The law in the Constitution is, the Senate makes its own rules at its own pace, (and) it cannot be told what to do by the president,” Napolitano said.
He predicted the Senate would “stand firm” and oppose Obama’s nominee and wait until after a new president was elected to consider a Supreme Court nominee.
“They have the constitutional and legal right do so,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, may have a self interest in seeing the process stalled until after the possible election of Donald Trump as president.
Roger Stone, a conservative political consultant and casino lobbyist recently banned from CNN over his sexist and racist tweets, said earlier this month that Napolitano was “probably Trump’s number one pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Republican foreign policy veterans rebuke Trump world view

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sixty Republican foreign policy veterans released a letter on Wednesday pledging to oppose Donald Trump and saying his proposals would undermine U.S. security, in the latest sign of fissures between the Republican presidential front-runner and the party establishment.
"Mr. Trump’s own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world," the letter says.
"Furthermore, his expansive view of how presidential power should be wielded against his detractors poses a distinct threat to civil liberty in the United States," it says.
The signatories include Robert Zoellick, a former World Bank president and deputy secretary of state; former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; and Dov Zakheim, a top Pentagon official under President George W. Bush.
They represent both centrist Republican foreign policy circles and neoconservatives who favor a robust U.S. international role and wielded clout during Bush's 2000-2008 tenure.
Billionaire businessman Trump won the largest number of state nominating contests on Tuesday, intensifying moves by the party's establishment wing to derail his path to the nomination.
Bryan McGrath, a retired U.S. Navy officer and adviser to Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign who helped organize the effort, called the signatories "the right set of people". He said that at least two people declined to sign the letter, citing concerns it would only fuel Trump's campaign theme of being an anti-Washington candidate opposed by the establishment.
Eliot Cohen, who served as counselor to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, also helped spearhead the letter, several people familiar with the effort said. Cohen would not comment.
Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The signatories did not include several high-profile former officials such as Rice, Bush national security advisor Stephen Hadley and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. It was not known if they had been asked to sign.
The letter, which was posted on a blog site called War on the Rocks, rejects numerous Trump foreign policy statements, including his anti-Muslim comments; his demand that Mexico fund a wall to control illegal immigration across the U.S. border; and his insistence that Japan pay much more for U.S. security assistance.
"As committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a Party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head," the letter states. "We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office."
The War on the Rocks blog calls itself a platform for former diplomats, military and intelligence officers and scholars to comment on global affairs "through a realist lens."
Trump has alarmed mainstream Republican foreign policy and economic thinkers with comments vowing to tear up international trade deals. Many fear a Trump presidency would severely strain ties with allies, and are concerned about his stated willingness to work more closely with authoritarian Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump also has criticized the Republican party for its backing of Bush's 2003 Iraq invasion.
"I would sooner work for (North Korean dictator) Kim Jong Un than for Donald Trump. I think Donald Trump is objectively more dangerous than Kim Jong Un and not as stable," said Max Boot, who was a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign and supported the Iraq invasion.
Boot is among the letter's signers, who also include David Shedd, who was acting director of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency.
Kurt Volker, who was a permanent representative to NATO under Bush, said he did not sign the letter out of concern it could end up backfiring.
"My concern is that it’s not smart for the intelligentsia – the national security intelligentsia – to come out and bash Trump, the candidate, partly, he would use that as a tool, saying: ‘Here’s the establishment. More of the same. They’re afraid of me. I can do better.’ He would actually use it as a bragging right."
Volker said he had no intention of working for Trump. But he also cautioned he wanted to be free to offer his advice to any future president, and that such a letter could prompt Trump to hold a grudge against signatories.
Several others who declined to sign, and asked not to be identified, said they did so because they feared such an effort could help Democrat Hillary Clinton win the presidency.
Trump's campaign has yet to release a full list of his foreign policy and national security advisers.
Those Trump has spoken with on foreign policy include a retired U.S. general and intelligence official, Michael Flynn, who favors closer ties with Russia. Flynn has declined to comment on whether he is advising Trump.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who won popularity for his handling of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, has said he has been having regular talks with Trump, but not in a formal role.
(Additional reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by David Rohde and Stuart Grudgings.)