by Krystle Gabele
February 10, 2009
Here’s what we are reading today.
The substitute “compromise” made cloture* tonight with a vote of 61-36. Beyond the Terrible Trio (Senators Collins (R-Me.), Snowe (R-Me.) and Arlen Specter (R-Penn.)) no Republicans voted for the measure. No Democrats voted against cloture. Senator Cornyn (R-Tex.) missed the vote, but one can safely assume he would have voted against it, and Senator Gregg abstained because he is going to be the next Commerce Secretary (I am assuming he is getting a head start on abstaining from all fiscal responsibility for the next four years.)
From the Senate: “Under the previous order, at 12:00pm tomorrow (Tuesday), the bill will be subject to another 60 vote hurdle by either waiving a budget point of order (if it is raised) or a 60 vote threshold on the amendment. If the amendment is agreed to, the Senate will then proceed to final passage of the Stimulus bill.
Majority Leader Reid also said this evening that additional votes on Executive Nominations may occur tomorrow.”
I’ve talked to several offices and between this and the David Ogden nomination Senate offices are getting swamped with phone calls - so keep them coming. It inspires those on our side and sends a strong message to those who are not.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new estimate tonight on the “compromise.” CBO estimates that the package will cost $838.2 billion (not including interest which puts it over a trillion dollars). This is $18.7 billion more than the House-passed bill.
I also updated the greatest quotes (HERE) with the help of some FRC and Senate staffers.
*Cloture is the process by which debate can be limited in the Senate without unanimous consent. When invoked by roll call vote - three-fifths of those present and voting - it limits each senator to one hour of debate.
I joined about 200 people yesterday in Annapolis for a re-tracing of President Lincoln’s February, 1865, walk. He came to Maryland’s capital only once—to catch a ship to steam down the Chesapeake Bay. He went there to discuss peace terms with Confederate commissioners at Fortress Monroe. Annapolis’ Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission was determined to make a great event of Lincoln’s brief encounter with our town. Lincoln had to get off his special one-car train at the depot and walk across town to the Naval Academy to embark on his short sea voyage.
The handsome tribute booklet published by our Maryland State Archives titles Lincoln’s sojourn “The Extra Mile.” They tell us everything we could want to know about his cross-town walk except where they got the phrase the extra mile. It comes from the Bible. Jesus tells us we should “walk the extra mile” when required to go one mile. In Jesus’ time, Roman soldiers could force Israelites to carry their heavy armor and gear one full mile. Jesus wanted us to do more than what was minimally required of us.
This fine booklet is another example of what the late Prof. E.D. Hirsch wrote on cultural literacy. Hirsch believed that we could not be culturally literate without a working knowledge of the Bible. I don’t know if Hirsch believed the Bible, but he certainly understood its influence on our culture. He cited India as an example. That giant nation has more than 450 language groups. Only the English language unites the people of India, and only the Bible enables them to understand the language they use.
President Lincoln was literally walking the extra mile for peace. He knew that the peacemakers are blessed. Lincoln had read the Sermon on the Mount. His trip was a spur-of-the-moment thing. He slipped out of the Executive Mansion without his faithful secretary John Nicolay even knowing he was gone. General Grant had persuaded the President that he was needed at Fort Monroe. Even if the Confederates’ peace offerings were unacceptable-and so they ultimately proved to be-Lincoln needed to show his own Union soldiers that he would spare no effort to bring peace.
So Lincoln strode purposefully through Annapolis, a distance of 1 14 miles. He passed by the Union soldiers’ hospital at St. John’s College on his left. As well, he passed the Old State House on his right. The Maryland legislature was in session then, debating ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. Lincoln worked hard to get Congress to approve the Thirteenth Amendment. Lincoln went so far as to sign the Thirteenth Amendment, even though the President’s signature is not required for a constitutional amendment.
Our little town of Annapolis made the most of Lincoln’s briefest of walk-throughs. They did a fine job. We learned who carried Lincoln’s toothbrush and the fact that he always got seasick. But if the program organizers had noted the origins of that beautiful phrase, “the extra mile,” they might have given us a better insight into the Great Emancipator’s heart.
Here’s some of today’s buzz from the blogosphere.
My wife and I took our teenage children to London ten years ago. We tried to get in to Westminster Abbey for Easter sunrise service, but England’s ancient church was filled to overflowing. So we darted in to the smaller, more accommodating St. Margaret’s Chapel next door. Following a powerful resurrection sermon, we stepped out to be greeted by the booming bells of the Abbey. We could not hear the vicar’s Easter greeting for the din. We could not hear one another’s voices as the pealing of the Abbey bells was so thunderous. With a motion of my head, our family trooped off, marching a mile away before we could speak and be heard.
Those bells are the voice of Britain’s past. In 1940, they were silenced by order of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. With the daily threat of German invasion, no church bells sounded in the island fortress for three years. Church bells ringing during the Battle of Britain would have signaled Hitler’s landing. Only with the defeat of Rommel’s Afrika Korps at El Alamein in November, 1942-where “the glint of victory” reflected off their soldiers’ helmets-did the church bells of Britain joyfully ring forth.
Britain’s Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali returned to that theme of church bells during his recent visit to Washington. The Pakistani-born prelate was asked whether Muslim muezzins should be permitted to call the faithful to prayer in British cities. “Certainly,” the Anglican leader said, “as soon as church bells ring out in Mecca.” Bishop Nazir-Ali came to sound an alarm-but for a different kind of invasion. He said Britain’s national existence is menaced by a cringing Establishment. Britain is a Christian culture supported by centuries of English law. Both of these elements are being undermined by a quiet surrender to the demands of political correctness and relentless Muslim pressure.
Should Britain expel the Muslims already there? Should Britain cut off future Muslim immigration? No, the Bishop replied. As Christians, Britons have a duty to welcome the alien, a duty to show him hospitality and not contempt.
“The European Union is all for human rights,” he said, “but they are unwilling to say where human rights come from.” They come, he maintains, from the Judeo-Christian ethic. Jews and Christians believe that we are made in the image and likeness of God. Thus, we are endowed with our fundamental human dignity. It is from this source, and not from the Koran, that we derive our laws.
To Bishop Nazir-Ali, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s acceptance of Muslim shari’ah law probably reflects the opinion of the Britain’s deracinated elites, the Establishment. Nazir-Ali said that many times, Muslim women who are coerced into so-called cousin marriages plead for help from the police. In their distress, they are handed over to Muslim police officers, who simply return them to the very families that threaten them with death. “All people in Britain must have access to British law,” Nazir-Ali firmly said.
London is now the center of international Muslim investment, fueled by petro-dollars. The power of that moneyed interest is driving many government decisions.
There is something else at work here. The secularists in Britain and Europe can give no reason why humans should have rights. They cannot say that one culture recognizes human dignity and another crushes it. Their cringing before Muslim threats only encourages more concession. Already, there are vast areas of British and European cities where the police fear to go.
In lands where Islam has predominated, the status of Christians and Jews has been clear for centuries. They are tolerated at best, but subordinated. They are called dhimmis. This Arabic word is often translated as “second-class citizen,” but it is hardly that. It is best understood as a caste system to which the dhimmis are consigned-and to which they are forced to consent. In this caste system, dhimmis are forever marked with the badges of servitude-legal and spiritual inferiority.
The very enlightened secularists of Britain, Europe and the U.S. still hold nominal power. Increasingly, however, they use that power to give way, to salaam, before the daily growing power of their demanding guests. While holding temporary sway, these cringing elitists can best be described as dhimmicrats-empowered only to be impotent.
Listening to Bishop Nazir-Ali-who has received death threats for his fearless Christian witness-you have to wonder why the rest of the Church of England clergy are not standing up and speaking out—or at least ringing their church bells.
Here’s what we are reading today.
POSTION: SOLICITOR GENERAL
NOMINEE: Elena Kagan
Born: April 28, 1960
Occupation: Dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University.
Education: BA summa cum laude, Princeton University, 1981; MPhil, Worchester College, Oxford, 1983; JD magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1986
Clinton White House: 1995-1996 associate counsel to the President; 1997-1999 deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy; 1997-1999 deputy director Domestic Policy Council.
NOTE: From 1986 to 1987 Ms. Dean Kagan served as a judicial clerk for Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. From 1987-1988 she also served as a judicial clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Dean Kagan briefly served as a staff member for Michael Dukakis’s presidential campaign. During the summer of 1993 she served as Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee to work on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Gays in the Military
“Last year candidate Barack Obama repeatedly opined that students should have military service opportunities on campus. However, President Obama’s nominee for solicitor general, Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, believes the military should be barred from campus. In fact, she fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court, trampling on students’ constitutional rights all the way there, in order to deny qualified students the opportunity to serve our country … Kagan’s staunch ideological opposition to the military and providing qualified students the opportunity to serve puts her well outside of the mainstream. Even Bill Clinton, who dodged a military draft during Vietnam, signed the law Kagan opposes, the Solomon amendment, with overwhelming congressional and public support.
Solomon, simply put, seeks to facilitate voluntary military service by asking colleges and universities to allow students to meet with military recruiters on campus and to participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Schools whose policies or practices obstruct students from taking part are ineligible for federal funding.
Yet, Kagan, who has categorized the law as “immoral” at a 2003 Harvard student forum, argued in support of the position of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, the so-called FAIR coalition, claiming elite schools have a right to taxpayer largesse while simultaneously barring the military - a radical view the Supreme Court unanimously struck down … Yet, leftwing views like Kagan’s still disparage the sacrifices our military makes and cause real, quantifiable harm to students and to our nation at taxpayer expense. According to Harvard’s annual financial statements, the school received $473 million of our hard-earned dollars during the 2003-4 school year, while FAIR, with Kagan’s help, won an injunction against the military in the Third Circuit. Harvard took another $511 million during the following school year and, for 2005-6, $517 million more as the Supreme Court heard and rejected FAIR’s claims.
Even Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and centerpiece of the liberals’ high court coalition, couldn’t find a way to justify these spurious, anti-student claims and recognized Congress’ ability to condition taxpayer spending.” Flagg Youngblood, “Solicitor General Flimflam,” The Washington Times, January 30, 2009.
Believes courts should support hate crime laws and that when reviewing regulations of speech, courts could “evaluate motive directly, they could remove the lion’s share of the First Amendment’s doctrinal clutter.” Elena Kagan, Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Government Motive in First Amendment Doctrine, 63 U. Chi. L. Rev. 413, 516 (1996).
“In her 1993 University of Chicago Law Review piece, she wrote that proposed regulations on hate speech and pornography failed to adhere to the fundamental First Amendment principle of viewpoint neutrality - that the government cannot favor certain private speakers or viewpoints over others. Her 1996 article on government motive in First Amendment cases has been cited more than 115 times - an enviably high number for a secondary source. In that article she declares that “the application of First Amendment law is best understood and most readily explained as a kind of motive-hunting.” David Hudson, Jr., “Solicitor-general nominee: impressive First Amendment resume,” FirstAmendmentcenter.org.
On Questioning of Presidential Nominees
“Kagan herself has called for the Senate to use confirmation hearings “to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues.” In her 1995 review (62 U. Chi. L. Rev. 919) of Stephen L. Carter’s The Confirmation Mess, Kagan argues that the “critical inquiry” that the Senate should conduct on a Supreme Court nominee “concerns the votes she would cast, the perspective she would add (or augment), and the direction in which she would move the institution.” Kagan draws as “the fundamental lesson of the Bork hearings … the essential rightness-the legitimacy and the desirability-of exploring a Supreme Court nominee’s set of constitutional views and commitments.”
Although Carter’s book and Kagan’s review focus heavily on Supreme Court nominees, they also address DOJ nominations (especially Clinton’s 1993 nomination, subsequently withdrawn, of Lani Guinier to be AAG for Civil Rights), and Kagan’s view of the Senate’s role applies fully to those (and other executive-branch) nominations. That, of course, is hardly surprising, as the case for careful scrutiny of the legal views of DOJ nominees, even if combined with greater deference to the president, seems widely accepted.” Ed Whelan, “Obama’s SG Pick Elena Kagan,” NRO’s The Corner, January 7, 2009.
Despite being asked to be America’s Solicitor General, who argues cases before the Supreme Court, Ms. Kagan has never argued before the Supreme Court. In fact, she has never litigated a case to verdict or trial.