Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America slam California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for filing 15 felony accounts against the pro-life activists who recorded Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the price of aborted baby body parts. They also shake their heads as Pres. Trump tweets about fighting the House Freedom Caucus in 2018, most likely in response to their opposition to the GOP health care bill last week. And they get a kick out of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley suggesting any 5-4 Supreme Court decision with Neil Gorsuch in the majority would be illegitimate if Republicans kill the filibuster on nominees to the high court because he says Gorsuch would be an illegitimate justice.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for doing his best to limit civilian casualties while explaining that are often unavoidable in wartime as the U.S. dramatically ramps up the military action against ISIS. They also discuss how Democrats are boxing themselves into a corner by trying to filibuster Neil Gorsuch – a move that could lead to rule changes that make the Democrats powerless to stop anything. And they react to Pres. Trump telling senators a deal on health care legislation will be “easy.”
One of the Senate’s most conservative members says Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch showed lawmakers and the nation this week why he is a tremendous choice for the high court, while also rejecting the attempts of Democrats to discredit Gorsuch and promising President Trump’s choice will be confirmed.
Thursday was the third marathon day of questions for Gorsuch before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, was already impressed with Gorsuch but says this week is further evidence Gorsuch belongs on the high court.
Lee says his biggest takeaway from the hearings is the consistency of Gorsuch.
“This judge is the same in every setting in which I’ve interacted with him, whether it’s in a courtroom when I was a lawyer, or whether it’s been in my office as he’s come by in anticipation of his confirmation process, or whether he’s on the hot seat in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he’s been this week,” said Lee, who is a former federal prosecutor and argued cases before Gorsuch at the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“He provides the same answers, the same thoughtful approach. He doesn’t change from one moment to the next. He’s considerate of the law. He has great respect for the Constitution. That’s exactly the kind of person we need on the Supreme Court,” said Lee.
Democrats spent three days prodding Gorsuch on everything from his own record to how Republicans treated Merrick Garland last year to his political opinions on issues that could come before the court.
Lee says Gorsuch handled the fire well.
“I think he handled every question that was thrown at him with grace and with a great deal of composure, even when things got heated,” said Lee.
Democrats are pursuing a number of strategies to slow down or stall Gorsuch. That includes a call for a delay on final confirmation until the investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign concludes.
Lee is having none of that.
“I don’t see any reason, as much as some would like to delay this particular vote on him, this is something that doesn’t need to be affected by circumstances,” said Lee.
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would vote to filibuster Gorsuch and would urge other Democrats to do the same.
Despite that effort, Lee thinks Gorsuch will sail past any filibuster.
“I think he’s going to get through. I think he’s going to get through with, perhaps, a whole lot of Democratic support. By the end of the hearing process, it felt like a love-fest, certainly on the Republican side of the aisle. And I sensed a tone of resignation on the part of some of my Democratic colleagues on the committee,” said Lee.
Democrats changed Senate rules in recent years to kill the filibuster for all nominees except for those tapped for the Supreme Court. Will Republicans change that rule if Democrats can muster a filibuster?
“Without engaging in hypothetical speculation about exactly what mechanism will be deployed here, I will say this very confidently, we’re going to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed. One way or another, he will be confirmed,” vowed Lee.
During the hearings, Democrats deployed a number of strategies, starting with the complaint that the Supreme Court seat should already be filled by Judge Merrick Garland. Garland was nominated by President Obama but Senate Republicans did not hold hearings or votes, contending the next president should get to make the choice.
Lee says it’s time for Democrats to move past the Garland controversy.
“Some of them can choose to be upset if they want to, but I think it would be best for everyone if we focused on what’s before us, what’s happening now rather than what happened a year ago. If they look at this judge on the basis of his record, I think what they’re going to find is a sincere judge who just wants to find the right answer under the law,” said Lee.
Democrats also tried to get Gorsuch to speak out about his personal opinions on political issues that could wind up before the Supreme Court, including campaign financing and same-sex marriage.
While Gorsuch’s deflections frustrated Democrats, Lee says every nominee has taken the same approach in confirmation in recent years in order to maintain their impartiality.
“The fact that something like that comes up in a judicial confirmation hearing can itself be a cause for recusal if the judge engages in a significant discussion of the issue at hand. If we’re not careful, this can end up undermining the ability of our Supreme Court justices to do their jobs,” said Lee,
“The fact that Democrats pushed Judge Gorsuch as often as they did, as many times as they did, to wade into as many hot-button controversies as they chose to do doesn’t change the fact this is the standard. This is the rule and this has been the historical practice,”
In addition to seeking ammunition against Gorsuch, Lee says the political questions expose how Democrats seem to view the courts.
“They’re trying to make something where nothing really exists. They’re trying to convert the Supreme Court, perhaps, into an organ of public policy making,” said Lee.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America begin by discussing the interesting circumstances surrounding the discovery of Tom Brady’s stolen Superbowl jersey, but then get to the real news. They are excited to see Neil Gorsuch begin his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. They also react to the heads of the FBI and NSA say they have no evidence suggesting Pres. Obama ordered surveillance on Trump Tower. And they shake their heads as only 43 percent of Americans can name one Supreme Court justice.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to hear Senate Democrats have found no good reason to oppose Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. They also react to the Congressional Budget Office scoring of the GOP health care bill. And they shake their heads as the Middlebury College professor assaulted by students says she understands their anger and blames Trump for it.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are encouraged by some of the budget tightening the Trump administration wants to do but are concerned that there seems to be no appetite for entitlement reform. They also wonder why George W. Bush is coming forward to criticize Trump after virtually eight years of silence on the Obama administration. And they have fun with Sen. Tom Udall’s suggestion that the Senate confirm Neil Gorsuch AND Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss a good day for judicial conservatives as Neil Gorsuch distances himself from some of Trump’s tweets on the judiciary, the Senate confirms Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General and Sen. Tim Scott exposes the racist messages he got for supporting Sessions. They also cringe as Tucker Carlson suggests Elizabeth Warren would have defeated Donald Trump. And they slam Kellyanne Conway for blatantly promoting Ivanka Trump’s products in a national television interview.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see nine Senate Democrats claim to want an up or down vote for Judge Gorsuch. They also applaud Missouri passing right to work legislation but wince as opponents may be able to stall the law from taking effect for almost two years. And they scold President Trump for tweeting about Ivanka’s battle with Nordstrom.
The woman behind recent videos that decimate Planned Parenthood’s claim that it needs to receive taxpayer dollars to meet vital pre-natal needs says congressional Republicans are poised to remove funding from the nation’s largest abortion provider and Democrats will be powerless to stop it.
On Tuesday, Live Action released a video showing activists calling Planned Parenthood clinics all around the U.S. seeking an ultrasound to ensure the health of their unborn children. Time after time, the Planned Parenthood workers explain that the clinics only use ultrasounds in preparation for abortions and not to confirm a pregnancy or evaluate the health of a baby.
The video follows on the heels of others that undermine Planned Parenthood’s contention that it needs over half a billion dollars a year in taxpayer money because of the vital services it provides outside of abortions. Officially, Planned Parenthood is forbidden by law from using any public money to perform abortions, so the group insists the money goes towards pre-natal care, mammograms and other women’s health needs.
But Live Action President Lila Rose says the videos are pulling the mask off the Planned Parenthood facade.
“We’ve known that Planned Parenthood is an abortion-first corporation, that they commit about 34 percent of all abortions in this country every year. Yet, they provide less than two percent of the breast cancer screenings, less than one percent of pap smear tests and the numbers go on,” said Rose, who founded Live Action when she was just 15 years old.
She says Planned Parenthood entire argument for receiving federal dollars is now gutted by its own employees.
“They use [ultrasounds and pre-natal care] as a justification for their over half a billion dollars a year in tax payer funds, which led us to do this investigation, to really use Planned parenthood’s own language, their own staff explaining and admitting on tape that they don’t actually provide pre-natal care and they don’t actually provide ultrasounds even though they advertise those things,” said Rose.
Rose, who was in Washington Thursday building support for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, says the GOP is getting ready to yank taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood.
“There’s a lot of willpower right now on the Hill. There’s a lot of clarity of focus that we need to get this done. The American people want it. Many of the folks who got into office in the Senate and the House – the most pro-life House ever – campaigned on defunding the abortion industry. So a lot of folks are behind it, a lot of energy and momentum,” said Rose.
It won’t come without a loud fight.
“This is the holy grail for the abortion lobby and for the folks in Congress they have bought with lobbying dollars,” said Rose.
But Rose says the Republicans are ready to defund Planned Parenthood as part of the Obamacare repeal effort. And she says it will happen in a way that Democrats cannot stop.
“It looks like the Planned Parenthood defunding and then the redirecting of that money to federally qualified health centers will be included in the reconciliation bill. That’s what happened last year so this means that it will pass the Senate filibuster because the pro-abortion groups in the Senate right now would filibuster a law that they would try to get through the traditional way,” said Rose.
Reconciliation is a budgetary tactic that removes the 60-vote threshhold to get to a final vote. A simple majority would pass the repeal and the attached defunding language.
As Rose mentioned, the Republicans did that a year ago. But now there is an ally at the other end of Pennsylvania Ave.
“So it’s looking really hopeful. We just have to get that same bill now to President Trump because it’s looking like he would actually sign it into law,” said Rose.
Democrats defend the Planned Parenthood funding by saying millions of low-income women rely on those clinics for non-abortion related care. Rose says that money would still be available for women’s health care.
“If taxpayers are going to be funding anything, the money should be redirected to more worthy health care providers that provide more comprehensive care than Planned Parenthood. There are 13,000 federally qualified health centers who provide better care and don’t focus on abortion. They should get that money, not Planned Parenthood,” said Rose.
Live Action is also launching a petition to urge Congress to follow through on the defunding promise. Over half a million signatures have been gathered so far.
Rose is also optimistic about Trump’s nomination of Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch. She says Gorsuch’s commitment to the original intent of the American founders gives her confidence Gorsuch would protect the right to life. While Gorsuch has not issued any abortion-related rulings, Rose says his record is pretty clear.
“He’s someone who has advocated against euthanasia, saying any intentional taking of human life by a private party is wrong. So I think it’s really hopeful and I think he deserves all the support we can give him,” said Rose.
“I really hope there’s not a fight in the Senate and that he’s able to be properly confirmed and we have someone who’s really going to defend the right to life and the Constitution on the Supreme Court, in place of (the late Justice Antonin) Scalia, who was dearly loved,” said Rose.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. They also get a kick out of flailing liberals showing up to protest the Supreme Court nomination with fill-in-the-blank signs so they could protest anyone who was chosen. And they fully support the push from Vox to cancel the Oscars, although their reasons are somewhat different than those offered by Vox.