Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

Trump is off to a good start with Japan

Featured image What is the most important trait in a U.S. president? Regard for the Constitution, I believe. What’s second? Probably the ability to distinguish between friendly countries and leaders and unfriendly countries and leaders, and to conduct foreign policy accordingly. The distinguishing part isn’t always easy. Every president is likely to make a mistake or two. The second part — conducting foreign policy accordingly — shouldn’t be too difficult. President Reagan »

Michael Flynn on the hot seat [UPDATED — WaPo talks of blackmail]

Featured image White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today that President Trump is still “evaluating the situation” regarding Michael Flynn, his national security adviser. This statement suggests that Flynn is in hot water with Trump. Flynn’s problem arises from allegations that he communicated with Russian officials about sanctions before Trump took office. In response to these allegations, Flynn may have been less than fully candid with Vice President Pence when he »

Liberals bemoan the demise of last-minute Obama regs

Featured image It was never a secret that, once inaugurated, Donald Trump would immediately begin undoing regulations that took effect in the last months of the Obama administration. We knew that, for such regulations, Trump would ask Congress to use the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to bypass filibusters in the Senate to overturn recently issued regs. President Trump and Congress have undertaken this process. The Washington Post is not amused. »

Washington Post solicits anti-Trump activists

Featured image I wrote here about the Washington Post’s solicitation of sob stories from people who say their lives were adversely affected by President Trump’s executive order on immigration. I called it the journalistic equivalent of ambulance chasing. The Post is at it again. Now, it is soliciting activists. Here is the introduction to a questionnaire that follows a silly story about a random woman from Pennsylvania who attended the anti-Trump march »

Washington Post demonstrates importance of voter ID laws

Featured image Little agitates Democrats more than claims of voter fraud. Such fraud is a hardy perennial of American politics. Our history is full of examples, such as Mayor Daley’s Chicago. Yet, Democrats want us to believe that, notwithstanding solid evidence to the contrary, it’s not a problem in modern American politics. The reason is obvious. Democrats don’t want laws and procedures to protect against voter fraud because they want to preserve »

Kellyanne Conway: “counseled” but “unrepentant”

Featured image During an appearance on Fox News, senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway plugged Ivanka Trump’s product lines. Speaking from the White House, she said: Go buy Ivanka’s stuff. . .I’m going to go get some myself today. I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. By saying this, Conway appears to have violated an ethics rule that prohibits a federal employee from “us[ing] his public »

A reform baseball doesn’t need

Featured image Baseball will implement a new, experimental rule this season in the very low minor leagues. When a game goes into extra innings, each extra half inning will begin with a runner on second base. This, of course, will make it easier for teams to score in extra innings and thus make it more likely that games will end sooner. How much more likely and how much sooner will be revealed »

Al Franken triples down on stupid

Featured image I’m not enough of an elitist to believe that only Senators with legal training should serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, the ability to engage competently in legal reasoning ought to be a prerequisite. In his work on the Judiciary Committee, Al Franken has failed to display this ability. Indeed, he shows a lack of competence in basic logic that, in a better world, would disqualify him from the »

9th Circuit balks at split; Jeff Flake calls it out

Featured image Yesterday, in a post about the Ninth Circuit panel’s decision regarding the Trump administration’s executive on entry into the U.S., I suggested that Republicans should consider legislation to split up that court. The reason is simple: the court is too big. It encompasses nine states and has 29 slots (of which 25 are currently filled, I believe). The court’s size means that, unlike with other federal appeals courts, when it »

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling — limited in impact but full of mischief

Featured image Dan McLaughlin at NRO has written a good analysis of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling against the Trump administration’s travel ban. His analysis is comprehensive. In this post, I will quote what I consider the most significant portion: [T]he court found that the government was not likely to win its case – the standard on a preliminary injunction, before all the evidence has been heard – on whether the executive order »

Ninth Circuit maintains suspension of Trump’s order on travel [UPDATED TWICE]

Featured image A unanimous panel of Ninth Circuit judges has just refused to reinstate President Trump’s executive order banning certain travel into the U.S. The ruling, though inconsistent with the law, will surprise few who know anything about the Ninth Circuit. I’m sure we’ll discuss the merits once we have the opportunity to analyze the opinion. For now, let’s consider the administration’s legal options. It could seek rehearing by the Ninth Circuit »

U.S. General: Russia is helping the Taliban in Afghanistan

Featured image Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, testified today that Russia is helping the Taliban. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia has been publicly legitimizing the Taliban by claiming that it fights Islamic terrorists while the Afghan government does not. At the hearing, Nicholson declined to say whether Russia is providing material support — e.g., arms, training, etc. — for the Taliban (who, themselves, are »

Why not the “A Team,” Part Two

Featured image Yesterday, I asked why, during the oral argument before a Ninth Circuit panel, the Justice Department’s “A Team” wasn’t deployed to defend the Trump administration’s executive order limiting entry into the country. By the “A Team” I meant Noel Francisco, the acting solicitor general who until recently was a partner at the law firm of Jones Day. Both Francisco and acting assistant attorney general Chad Readler, also formerly of Jones »

Who won, McConnell or Warren?

Featured image Yesterday, in writing about the Senate’s rebuke and silencing of Elizabeth Warren for disparaging Jeff Sessions, I discussed the rule invoked by Mitch McConnell to accomplish this. Rule 19 provides that Senators are not allowed to “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” I suggested that Rule 19 is an anachronism. It »

Sen. Shaheen sends mixed signals on a Gorsuch filibuster

Featured image Yesterday, in a speech on the Senate floor, New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen disavowed any intention of filibustering the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. She stated: I wanted to respond to my colleague from South Dakota because I think for Senator Thune to come to the floor and castigate Democrats for holding up Judge Gorsuch, who has just been nominated, and for suggesting we are going to filibuster, the fact »

Games people shouldn’t play

Featured image That was the title of a January 1980 George Will column arguing that the U.S. should not participate in the 1980 Olympics, which were to be held in the Soviet Union. President Carter agreed. He said that if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan, the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics. They didn’t; we did. I thought of Will’s column when I learned that, in retaliation for President »

Why didn’t the “A Team” defend Trump’s immigration order? [UPDATED]

Featured image Scott has said that August Flentje, the Justice Department lawyer who defended the administration’s executive order limiting entry to this country, did not argue effectively. Even taking into account how difficult it can be for an appellate advocate to deal with a hostile panel, especially over the telephone, I must agree. I’m told that Flentje won an award from Eric Holder for leading the team that argued that DOMA was »