On the day of the beginning of the 115th Congress, January 3, 2016, I have finalized the decision to run for congressional office. I seek to run and campaign in the 2018 midterm elections for the office of U.S. Representative from Virginia’s First (1st) District.
I will be running on a Republican platform, but as an outsider to the incumbent Republican, Congressman Rob Wittman.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia has a semi-point. The thesis: why have men who have naturalized from the District of Columbia and have died for their country in the past four wars been taxed, like any other state in the union, without representation? In other words, the District is taxed without being a state in the union. In this C-SPAN video clip (about three minutes) she developed a lineage of military people who have died or who have distinguished themselves in high military status.
Time imagines that there is a reason why the District of Columbia has not become a state. One of them might be that according to the Constitution of the United States, there is to be a federal district designated to be the nation’s Capital, and that federal district is the present District of Columbia. This District is to be exclusively governed by the U.S. Legislature. In answer to Ms. Norton’s point, if military people who have been born in this district died for their country or have distinguished themselves, they have done so defending the Constitution of the United States because they have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. The following quote is taken from the U.S. Constitution.
Clause 17. Congress shall have power *** To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings. http://law.onecle.com/constitution/article-1/48-district-of-columbia.html
To see the clipped video: http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4495168/del-eleanor-holmes-norton-dc-statehood
Congressman Trey Radel (R-FL) decided to resign his service for the Florida District 19. My previous post actually recommended that Congressman Trey Radel continue his service and not resign. I based my opinion on the need for Radel working to convince his constituency for their pardon and support.
I also recommended that Republicans and his constituency be open-minded in considering his second chance, albeit in an indirect way.
On both counts we see a meltdown.
I try not to edit news and literally accept the opinions of newspaper editors and television anchors who try to decide for me what the best course of action is.
Taking on the merit of the case alone, Radel obviously screwed up. But, he was nominated by the middle class and wealthy of Fort Myers and Naples, Florida; was heavily supported by the Republican Party in general; was charioted by the Tea Parties – although it won’t admit it in unison – and he was elected to Congress.
In garnering the campaign support for Radel in the first place, it didn’t matter that he had a party drug and alcohol problem that possibly was there for more time than we care to digest, and it didn’t matter that he was a conservative talk show host.
I only needed to view one video reported by Amanda Hall of WINK NEWS, Fort Myers, Florida, to understand Radel. He had sworn to this constituency that he would serve his constituents, his country, and his family. He had promised his Republican party that he would be conservative. Yes, Radel became a congressman and got in very deep. Then, he was surrounded by power, greed, corruption, and a party drug atmosphere in Washington. What is a congressman supposed to do?
What he did do was circle himself into a real DuPont. How so? one asks. Positively, he couldn’t lie to himself about his own party drug use and alcoholism. Negatively, Radel had not thought about his exit strategy.
In Washington, when you screw up, you need an exit strategy. The United States Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH); the United States House Committee on Ethics; the middle class and wealthy constituents of Fort Myers and Naples, Florida; the Republican Party; the Republican National Committee; the Republican Party of Florida; the Florida Governor, a Republican; and even the Democratic Party were all pressuring Mr. Radel to resign.
What could have been Radel’s exit strategy? He should have kept his mouth shut. And by following this simple strategy, what could he have lost by following it?
There is no way he could have been fired from Congress in the time he had remaining to serve, which would have been one year in a two-year term office. As I understand it, the United States House Committee on Ethics, headed by Mike Conaway (R-TX), is very forgiving. He would have been investigated and reprimanded, and perhaps censured, but not expelled.
I think Mr. Radel should have hammered it out by staying to full term in office. The term would have gone by quickly. By studying the numbers, he would have soon realized that the odds for re-election would be minimal. He could have been a good servant, got back on track, and voted for his constituents according to their needs. At the same time, he could have achieved one full term in Congressional office, with a small blemish, and made his family proud of him.
He would have analyzed the Republican dismal uproar and the Tea Party dishonorable discharge. One must ask how the Republican Party is going to salvage a spent term by specially electing a replacement in time to do any good. Additionally, the extra taxpayer expense is reckoned to be at approximately $500,000.
Although Radel had fallen on his own sword, he quickly removed it and fell backwards on it. Nevertheless, the pressure was there to do so.
King & Spalding Decides That Marriage And Democracy Are Indefensible, But Terrorists and Murderers Are Fine | RedState | Brian Wilson
Who deserves legal representation – the American people, or their sworn enemies? To the Atlanta, Georgia law firm of King & Spalding, the answer most emphatically is only the latter.That is the message sent by that firm as we get news that the head of King & Spalding’s appellate practice group, former Solicitor General Paul Clement, has resigned from the firm after King & Spalding backed out of Clement’s representation of the United States House of Representatives in defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act DOMA.DOMA, as you will recall, provides that states do not, under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, need to recognize same-sex marriages in other states. That doesn’t prevent you from getting a same-sex marriage if your state permits it; it just means that, like your gun permit, it won’t be respected across state lines. It also, in Section 3, limits the federal definition of marriage to opposite-sex marriages:
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ’spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.’
DOMA is not some obscure act by a tiny, benighted region of the country, nor a relic of some dim, forgotten past. It is an Act of Congress passed in 1996. It passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin, 342-67, with the support of then-Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, current Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, current Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, current Assistant Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, current Vice Chair of the Conference and Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chuck Schumer, and liberal representatives like Robert Menendez, Ben Cardin, Nita Lowey, Earl Blumenauer, and Bobby Rush. It passed the United States Senate by an even more overwhelming margin, 85-14. Senators voting it into law included the then-Democratic Minority Leader, Tom Daschle; the current Democratic Majority Leader, Harry Reid; the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Joe Lieberman; the current Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden; current Secretary of the Democratic Senate Conference and head of the DSCC Patty Murray; and a battery of other liberal icons – Barbara Mikulski, Bill Bradley, Carl Levin, Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy, Tom Harkin, Frank Lautenberg, Herb Kohl, and Paul Wellstone. It was signed into law by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, without noticeable vocal objection from any of the many members of his Administration now serving in the current White House, Congress or statehouses. President Clinton stressed that DOMA “has no effect on any current federal, state or local anti-discrimination law and does not constrain the right of Congress or any state or locality to enact anti-discrimination laws.” He was handily re-elected six weeks later.
Notice that nothing in Section 3 would prevent Congress from providing, in any statute passed after 1996, the same benefits to same-sex as opposite-sex couples, and for that matter – since it’s a federal statute, not a provision of the Constitution – Congress can always change it if there’s a popular outcry to do so. But President Obama has made no move, either as a Senator or in the White House, to make any legislative changes to DOMA, and indeed both he and Vice President Biden stated during the 2008 campaign that they opposed same-sex marriage; they were elected handily. The Democrats, even with four years of Democratic control of the House under Speaker Pelosi and a period of filibuster-proof majority in the US Senate, have made no serious effort to change DOMA. Even Barney Frank declined to push a 2009 effort to repeal DOMA in the House, noting the absence of support. State referenda have repeatedly shown the voters to oppose same-sex marriage, even in liberal gay-friendly California in the high liberal watermark year of 2008. And now, following the 2010 elections, the current Speaker of the House seeks to defend the constitutionality of DOMA. The House does so against a historical backdrop in which there is no precedent for same-sex marriage in U.S. history prior to the 1990s, no mention of the subject anywhere in the Constitution and no sign that the popular debates over ratification of the Constitution or any of its 27 Amendments ever considered the notion that the American people might be enacting a right to same-sex marriage. The evidence could hardly be clearer that DOMA is now, and has always been, reflective of the will of a bipartisan majority of the American public.
Given the futility and downsides to attacking DOMA through the political process, Section 3 has instead been under intensive legal challenge, mainly under the Equal Protection Clause. Of course, if Section 3 was struck down on the grounds that there is an Equal Protection right to same-sex marriage, the rest of DOMA and all state laws standing in the way of same-sex marriage would instantly be dead letters, so this is a legal battle for all the marbles. Ordinarily, that is the core of what the Solicitor General’s Office of the U.S. Department of Justice exists for: to defend the constitutionality of Acts of Congress. But the Obama Justice Department, in an unusual move, has unilaterally refused to defend DOMA. Thus, the American people, acting through their elected representatives, run the risk of having their views undefended by their own lawyers in the very courts they pay for.
Enter one public-spirited attorney: Paul Clement, a partner at King & Spalding. Mr. Clement, a most distinguished and respected lawyer who served as Solicitor General himself under President George W. Bush, agreed to step in and represent the House of Representatives, under Speaker Boehner, and do so at discounted rates – Clement’s own time would be billed out at probably about half his customary rate. Nancy Pelosi, who will go to the mattresses to defend millions of taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood against the public’s wishes, claims that hiring counsel to defend an Act of Congress is a waste of public money. It is indeed a waste of taxpayer money – these suits would be laughed out of any court that took the Constitution seriously, and the taxpayer is already footing the bill for the Solicitor General’s office to sit on its thumbs rather than defend them – but in order to protect the public’s right to make its own laws, the taxpayer must buy in the market what public servants refuse to provide, Mr. Clement was ultimately going to charge them less than a private company would pay for the same high quality legal representation, and the estimated $500,000 cost is a drop in the bucket in the federal budget.
Enter the pressure groups. Gay groups announced plans to target King & Spalding for this representation, including through King & Spalding attorneys and clients. Lambda Legal announced that it was pulling out of a pro bono partnership with the firm. And the firm folded, announcing this morning that it was dropping the representation. A clearly appalled and anguished Clement resigned from his high-paying job at the firm in response. A sampling of his letter of resignation:
I resign out of the firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do. The adversary system of justice depends on it, especially in cases where the passions run high. Efforts to delegitimize any representation for one side of a legal controversy are a profound threat to the rule of law. Much has been said about being on the wrong side of history. But being on the right or wrong side of history on the merits is a question for the clients. When it comes to the lawyers, the surest way to be on the wrong side of history is to abandon a client in the face of hostile criticism.
…As I searched for professional guidance on how to proceed, I found wisdom in the place you and I both would have expected to find it: from our former partner, Judge Griffin Bell, in a 2002 commencement speech to his alma mater, Mercer Law School. “You are not required to take every matter that is presented to you, but having assumed a representation, it becomes your duty to finish the representation. Sometimes you will make a bad bargain, but as professionals, you are still obligated to carry out the representation.”
That closing quote from Griffin Bell, Jimmy Carter’s attorney general, should sting. It’s how liberals used to feel – and still feel today – about representation of liberal causes. It’s how King & Spalding still feels about those causes. Its pro bono representation web page is a who’s who of fashionable liberal causes and organizations. The firm is one of a number of high-profile firms defending detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a cause on which the large law firms are unanimous in arguing that no law firm should be punished for giving even terrorists the best defense money can buy, and doing it free of charge (terrorists get this privilege; mere American taxpayers don’t). The firm has represented more than a dozen inmates on death row, and did it get the same kinds of pressure for representing murderers? No, it got an award from the ABA. Democratic Senate candidate Brad Ellsworth tried to make an issue of King & Spalding representing six Yemeni detainees at GTMO in his Senate race against former King & Spalding partner Dan Coats; a proxy for the Ellsworth campaign noted that “[t]his is something they’ve highlighted as one of their achievements for the firm” in their annual report. And of course, we know how gay-friendly those Yemeni Islamists are – but at least they aren’t something really horrid, like Californians. When lawyers’ representation of GTMO terrorists was questioned, the New York Times thundered:
If lawyers who take on controversial causes are demonized with impunity, it will be difficult for unpopular people to get legal representation – and constitutional rights that protect all Americans will be weakened. That is a high price to pay for scoring cheap political points.
But let the unpopular cause be one that’s unpopular within the legal profession, like social conservatism or national security, and suddenly the so-called defenders of the bar stop quoting John Adams and start sounding more like Joe McCarthy. When California Proposition 8 was attacked in federal court, Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown (now the Governor) refused to defend it; the opponents of the publicly-voted proposition were represented by former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson (Clement’s predecessor), while the outgunned forces defending the voters have had to fight to even have the right to present evidence, and may yet face a ruling that nobody who was willing to defend that provision of the California Constitution has the right to appeal the order overturning it. This is collusive litigation at its worst – the legal profession agrees to hear only one side of the story and then pronounces that there must be no evidence supporting the other side. The voters don’t even enter the picture.
Or consider the situation of Bush Administration lawyers who gave advice to the Executive Branch on the proper legal scope of rules against torture. Disagreeing with the advice they gave, the Democrats ominously threatened a variety of retributions against these men, ranging from threats of impeachment pushed by Congressman Jerold Nadler against Judge Jay Bybee to a threatened criminal investigation emanating from Attorney General Holder, a man who is clearly unsuited to be either an attorney or a general. When a Spanish court threatened to use “universal jurisdiction” to indict these lawyers for writing legal memoranda to the President of the United States, the same American Bar Association that gives out awards for representing terrorists, rapists and murderers went curiously silent. (UPDATE: Ben Smith notices a former ABA president bragging about the benefits of representing the Libyan regime, with which we are presently at war, against victims of terrorist acts like Pan Am Flight 103).
As a lawyer, it appalls me to say this, but the legal profession’s view of what are and are not clients worthy of representation is seriously backwards, and the hypocrisy of its stated ideals reeks in the nostrils. If you want a public target to blame for that, blame King & Spalding, and let that firm try to explain why you are being unfair to one of its clients – the elected Representatives of the American People – who it felt to be a less defensible cause than Yemeni terrorists or death row killers. Only the voters, it seems, are presumed guilty by their own lawyers.