Neil Gorsuch, Natural Law, and the Limits of Judicial Power

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by Samuel Gregg, published at Public Discourse March 15, 2017   

Samuel Gregg  (shown above) is Research Director at the Acton Institute.

What does natural law say about the power of judges in constitutional systems of government?

When President Donald Trump announced his first nominee to the Supreme Court, many observers quickly noted that Neil Gorsuch wrote his doctoral thesis under the supervision of the Oxford legal philosopher John Finnis. Some immediately asked whether Gorsuch’s approach to constitutional interpretation might be shaped by the “New Natural Law Theory” (NNLT) pioneered by Finnis and others.

The columnist George Will, for instance, expressed the hope that Gorsuch might “effect a philosophic correction” to what Will regards as a lacuna in Justice Antonin Scalia’s theory of originalism. In his 1997 book A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law, Scalia wrote, “there is no such philosophizing in our Constitution, which, unlike the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, is a practical and pragmatic charter of government.”

Will takes a different view. Natural rights, he claimed, may be “independent of the Constitution” insofar as they “are grounded in [human] nature.” But natural rights are also, Will stated, what the Constitution exists to protect. Will concluded by suggesting that the fact the Gorsuch studied under the author of Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980)—the book which some believe single-handedly revitalized natural law theory in jurisprudence and philosophy more generally—might foreshadow more attention to natural rights in Supreme Court deliberations.

No one can predict with certainty Gorsuch’s take on any question on which he might be called to deliberate if he receives Senate confirmation. But before too much ink is spilled speculating on whether natural law in general or NNLT in particular will influence Gorsuch’s thought, it is worth reflecting on two important prior questions. How does natural law theory view constitutionalism? And what does this mean for the exercise of judicial power?  READ it HERE.

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Tim Allen on Hollywood’s Anti-Trump Thought Police: It’s ‘Like ’30s Germany’

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by Daniel Nussbaum Breitbart News, March 17, 2017

Tim Allen opened up briefly about what it means to be a conservative in Hollywood in 2017 during an interview with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel Thursday night, explaining that one must be “real careful” in talking about President Donald Trump or else risk being beaten up.

“You’ve gotta be real careful around here. You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes,” the 63-year-old Last Man Standing star told Kimmel when asked about his attendance at Trump’s inauguration in January.

“This is like ’30s Germany. I don’t know what happened,” he added. “If you’re not part of the group, ‘you know what we believe is right,’ I go, ‘Well, I might have a problem with that.'”

Allen told Kimmel he had never been to anything like Trump’s inauguration before.

“This government does stuff big,” he said. “Just so many people, and when they show up, you know, the ex-president gets in a helicopter and there’s jets and marines taking him this way and there’s parades, but it looks like a Cadillac parade, everything was just rows of Cadillacs.”

Read it HERE.

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US Rep. Grothman votes to advance American Health Care Act

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March 16 2017 - Washington DC

Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc 6th Disctrict) today voted to advance the American Health Care Act (AHCA) out of the House Budget Committee, which will allow the bill to continue the process towards a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Grothman voted for the bill with the understanding that changes will be made to the AHCA before it comes to the House floor. House rules prevent amendments from being added to the bill in the Budget Committee.

Changes Grothman would be happy to see made to the AHCA include:

- Implementing work requirements for able-bodied adults on Medicaid without dependents. Medicaid coverage is currently more generous than many of the plans offered by employers to working Wisconsinites. Grothman spoke out about this during today’s committee mark-up.

- Moving up the end date for Medicaid expansions. This will stop the preferential treatment of higher reimbursement rates for working age adults over the more vulnerable populations of children, the elderly and the disabled.

- Lowering the age that young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance plans from 26 to 23. This is the same as the TRICARE age limit for the adult children of our military families who are currently enrolled in college.

- Shifting the allocation of Medicaid block grants from fluctuating amounts that are based on per-capita rates to lump sum amounts. This will reduce spending while giving more control to the states to handle their own Medicaid programs.

“Since the start of this Congress, Republicans’ first and foremost priority has been to repeal and replace Obamacare. The American Health Care Act works towards providing relief for American families who have been saddled with skyrocketing health care costs,” said Grothman. “I believe many of my concerns will be addressed by the time the AHCA reaches the House floor, and I am sure it will be a viable solution to ensure affordable and accessible health care coverage for Americans.”

Read it HERE.

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Loose Canons, Where’s the Trump Doctrine?

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Jed Babbin, The American Spectator,  March 13, 2017

Tomorrow, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet face-to-face with President Trump for the first time, each to take the other’s measure. Mr. Trump has previously criticized Mrs. Merkel for her open-door immigration policy and, by implication in his criticism of NATO, for Germany’s paltry defense spending.

Mrs. Merkel, the European press says, is on the defensive against Mr. Trump’s nationalist-populist positions, including his criticisms of the European Union. A few weeks ago, she floated the idea of more defense spending, but it turns out that her 2018 budget raises defense spending to the lofty level of 1.23 percent of Germany’s Gross Domestic Product, well below the 2 percent that all NATO members committed to a decade ago. Free riders like Germany deserve a repeated dose of “Dutch uncle” counseling by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has a lot on his plate. General Joe Votel, commander of Special Operations Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the Taliban has fought us to a standstill in Afghanistan. It remains a permanent war, a quagmire, resulting from Mr. Bush’s nation-building approach.

Mr. Trump sent about 200 Marines and their artillery to the fight to take Raqqa, Syria, from ISIS. As good as they are, they are far too small a force — even combined with our air forces and special operations guys in Syria — to determine the outcome of the war. And what comes after? Mr. Trump hasn’t said what our plan is for the future of Syria, assuming that ISIS can be defeated there. If ISIS is defeated in Syria, what does he propose to do about ISIS in Libya and elsewhere? How long and large a war is he in for?  READ it Here

 

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Scott Pruitt Challenges Climate Change Orthodoxy

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by Julie Kelly March 13, 2017 National Review Online

The new EPA leader takes aim at the heart of climate-change orthodoxy. It’s hard to overstate the significance of the recent comment by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt that there is disagreement about whether carbon dioxide is the main cause of global warming. In an interview on CNBC on March 9, Pruitt said: Measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there is tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So, no, I would not agree that it [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. But we need to continue the review and the analysis.

This statement is truly extraordinary: A leading U.S. official is taking direct aim at the heart of the international climate-change crusade.. It represents a total reversal of the past eight years, when everyone from the president down to low-level bureaucrats warned that climate change was a bigger threat to mankind than terrorism — to the point where they forced us to endure costly, job-killing federal regulations to stop it. Now the head of our top environmental agency is questioning the whole thing.

Of all the conservative pit bulls in Trump’s Cabinet, Pruitt might be the biggest badass of them all. Right on cue, the climate tribe went ballistic, trotting out the usual platitudes about a 97 percent consensus, settled science, climate deniers, blah blah blah. Obama’s EPA chief Gina McCarthy slammed Pruitt without (of course) refuting his claim head-on: “When it comes to climate change, the evidence is robust and overwhelmingly clear that the cost of inaction is unacceptably high.” Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) — who weirdly asked Mike Pompeo about his position on climate change during his Senate confirmation hearing for the post of CIA director — subtweeted Pruitt’s comments and said: “This is absurd. Denying causes of global warming will hurt our nation and our planet in the long-run.”  READ it HERE

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Roger Stone: CIA Is Using Technology To Subvert The Constitution

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Roger Stone interviews CIA whistle blower on recent Vault 7 Wikileaks dump of CIA data

Watch it HERE

 

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Tucker Carlson GOES IN on DC Politicians, Says They Hate Trump @ IAFF Fire Fighters Conference

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Tucker's speech March 6, 2017 at a Firefighters conference portrays a very clear picture of how rotten DC is. 

Keep praying for Trump team!

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Tucker Carlson takes on Jorge Ramos on whites becoming minority

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March 9, 2017 posted at InfoWars.com

During an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos proclaimed that whites will become a minority within 30 years and that “this is our country.

Watch it HERE at InfoWars.com

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'Am I at risk of being hacked?' What you need to know about the 'Vault 7' documents

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 The Guardian March 7, 2017


WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website run by Julian Assange, has released a cache of documents it calls “Vault 7”, which contains details of hacking tools used by the CIA.
What is in ‘Vault 7’?

WikiLeaks said 7,818 web pages and 943 attachments were published, but were just the first part of more material to come. WikiLeaks said it has an entire archive of data consisting of several million lines of computer code. The documents appear to date between 2013 and 2016. WikiLeaks described them as “the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency”.

The files describe CIA plans and descriptions of malware and other tools that could be used to hack into some of the world’s most popular technology platforms. The documents showed that the developers aimed to be able to inject these tools into targeted computers without the owners’ awareness.

The files do not describe who the prospective targets might be, but the documents show broad exchanges of tools and information between the CIA, the National Security Agency and other US federal intelligence agencies, as well as intelligence services of close allies Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
What does this mean the CIA can do?

A broad range of devices are targeted by the agency. A lot of attention is focused on breaking into general-purpose computing devices, including PCs and smartphones, with malware that affects iOS and Android phones referred to in the text, as well as Windows and Linux computers.

The tools described would allow the CIA to take almost complete remote control of a user’s phone, turning it into a complete spying device reporting back to the agency. But it would only do so on the most important targets, since each time the agency uses the malware, it runs the risk of being discovered, prompting manufacturers to release a fix to prevent future attacks from succeeding.

Exactly that happened in August 2016, when Apple issued a global iOS update after three attacks implemented to try and break into the iPhone of an Arab human rights activist were discovered.

The documents also include discussions about compromising some internet-connected Samsung televisions to turn them into listening posts. That hack, like many others, would only work in an extremely targeted manner: it requires physical access to the TV in question, since the malware is loaded via a USB port.

One other document discusses hacking vehicle systems, appearing to indicate the CIA’s interest in hacking recent-model cars with sophisticated onboard computer systems.  READ it HERE

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Trump and Grandkids -- Photo of the Year

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"Skipping my dear, is definitely important."     Mr. President, you are the best!

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