Tag Archives: Donald Trump

New Hampshire Attorney General Foster Opposition to Trump EO Based on Falsehoods

Here is New Hampshire Attorney General Joe Foster’s announcement that he opposes President’s Trump Executive Order on foreign entry into the United States:

So according to Foster, Trump’s Executive Order violates the constitution by excluding foreigners from entering the United States based on religion.

But here are the relevant portions of Trump’s Executive Order:

(c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

(f) At any point after submitting the list described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security may submit to the President the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment.

(g) Notwithstanding a suspension pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or pursuant to a Presidential proclamation described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.

There is no mention of religion in the Executive Order.  Rather, entry by the nationals of seven countries identified by the Obama administration as hotbeds of terrorism -Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen- is suspended for 90 days, to allow the development of heightened vetting procedures.

The affected nations are Muslim-majority countries, but other Muslim-majority countries -Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, for example- are not on the list.  Moreover, the Executive Order applies equally to non-Muslims.

In short, there is no targeting by religion.

President Trump Sets a High Bar for Governor Sununu

President Trump has announced that on Thursday of next week he will name his pick to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

It appears that Trump has narrowed his choice to two or three finalists:

“I’ll be making my decision this week, we’ll be announcing next week,” Trump said, after meeting Tuesday with Senate leaders from both parties to discuss the vacancy. “We’ll pick a truly great Supreme Court justice.”

This, as sources close to the selection process tell Fox News the list of possible candidates is now down to three names, all of them federal appeals court judges: Judge William Pryor in Alabama, Judge Neil Gorsuch in Colorado, and Judge Thomas Hardiman in Pennsylvania.

All three of these judges are legal superstars.  For example, from Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy:

All three of the reported finalists are highly qualified, conservative justices. All would make for strong Supreme Court justices, … 

Any of these choices would set a high bar for Chris Sununu when his turn comes in July of this year and October of next year to nominate justices to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  Sununu’s nominations will be a large part of determining his legacy.

Sununu is at a significant disadvantage when compared to Trump, however, when it comes to picking conservative justices.

First, let’s clarify that a judicial conservative is a completely different animal from a judicial liberal and from a political conservative.  A  judicial liberal is a judge who whenever possible will reach a liberal political result.  Essentially, the judicial liberal decides what the “right result” is and then strives to find some plausible way to reason backwards to that result.

A political conservative describes someone’s political leanings, not his or her philosophy of judging.  For example, Justice Scalia, while very politically conservative, reached liberal results in many cases.  For example, ruling that burning the American flag was constitutionally protected free speech.  What made Scalia a judicial conservative was his philosophy of judging – an originalist when it came to interpreting the constitution (giving constitutional provisions the public meaning they had at the time of their adoption) and a textualist when it came to interpreting statutes (discerning legislative intent from the words of the statute, not from extra-textual sources like “legislative history”).

The three judges on Trump’s short-list are all appeals court judges with extensive paper-trails, including judicial opinions, articles and lectures.  These paper-trails allow Trump’s team to determine the judicial philosophy, and the reasoning and writing abilities of the judges.

In contrast, Sununu doesn’t have a similar “bench” from which to draw.  New Hampshire does not have an intermediate appellate court.  Rather, appeals are directly from the trial courts to the State supreme court.  The majority of the work of a trial court judge tells us very little about the judge’s judicial philosophy and whether the judge is otherwise qualified for the supreme court.  Thus, if Sununu wants to tap an lower court judge to fill the upcoming vacancies, he will not have the benefit of the paper trail that Trump has had in filling the Scalia seat.

Moreover, with the exception of two years, 2003-2004, the Democrats have held the corner office and have been appointing judges for the past twenty years.  The three judges on Trump’s short-list, in contrast, were all appointed by President George W. Bush.  It’s safe to say that the Democrat Governors who preceded Sununu were not looking to appoint judicial conservatives to the bench.

So Sununu is going to have to look outside the bench if he wants to put judicial conservatives on the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  It is imperative that he understand that a political conservative is not necessarily a judicial conservative.  And that a nominee who does not present himself or herself as a judicial conservative, i.e. an originalist and a textualist, and is able to explain why it is important that a judge be a judicial conservative will, once exposed to the rarified air in Concord, begin moving to the left.

The ideal candidate would be someone with a paper trail.  So Sununu will not have to wonder if the candidate is just talking the talk to get nominated, but will not walk the walk if confirmed.

No more Souters.

2016 Winners and Losers — Biggest National Political Loser

So we’ve named the Biggest Local Political Winner of 2016 – Governor-elect Chris Sununu, and the Biggest Local Political Loser of 2016 – #StinkyJoe McQuaid.  And we’ve named the Biggest National Political Winner of 2016 – President-elect Donald J. Trump.  So all that’s left is to name the Biggest National Political Loser of 2016. Continue reading 2016 Winners and Losers — Biggest National Political Loser

A Flawed Analysis of New Hampshire’s Senate Race

Jason Sorens, the creator of the Free State Project, recently blogged that Yes, Aaron Day Probably Cost Kelly Ayotte Re-Election.  According to Sorens:

Now, Kelly Ayotte lost by 1,000 votes, just over 0.1 percentage points. My estimates suggest that without Aaron Day in the race, Kelly Ayotte would have won her race by about 15,000 votes, similar to Republican Chris Sununu’s margin of victory in the governor’s race.

So here are the results of the Senate race and the Governor’s race: Continue reading A Flawed Analysis of New Hampshire’s Senate Race

Donald Trump is Just Like Ronald Reagan …

Donald Trump is just like Ronald Reagan … in the sense that his opponent can only win by convincing the public that Trump is too uninformed and reckless to be President.  Hillary’s unpopularity and the unpopularity of Obama’s policies (as opposed to Obama’s personal popularity) forces her to take the lesser-of-two-evils approach: “I may have a dirty-hand, but it’s a steady-hand that won’t launch nukes because some foreign leader gets on my wrong side.”

There is an urban myth that Reagan trailed Jimmy Carter in the polls until their one and only debate, then pulled ahead and eventually won because he won the debate and showed the voters that Carter’s attacks were false. Continue reading Donald Trump is Just Like Ronald Reagan …

What NH’s GOP Candidates Should Learn From Success of Trump

The lesson to be learned from Donald Trump’s success in the GOP primaries is that the majority of voters even in the GOP do not care about ideology for the sake of ideology.  Stated differently, it didn’t matter a bit to Trump voters that Trump is not a traditional conservative.  For example, in Indiana, where Ted Cruz -an ideologue’s ideologue- got his long awaited one-on-one with Trump, a majority of the voters supported Trump: Continue reading What NH’s GOP Candidates Should Learn From Success of Trump

The Most Effective Argument That Trump Can Make Against #NeverTrump

It’s either me or Hillary is not a very effective argument for Donald Trump to use against #NeverTrump.  They already know that, yet they believe that Hillary Clinton is the lesser of two evils because Clinton would leave conservatism to fight another today as opposed to co-opted.

Without getting into the argument whether conservatism is better or worse in the long run with a Clinton presidency versus a Trump presidency, let’s agree that Trump has to give #NeverTrump a better reason to hold their noses and vote for him than otherwise you get Hillary

What Trump should do is say that his first act as President will be to nominate Ted Cruz to the Scalia seat. Continue reading The Most Effective Argument That Trump Can Make Against #NeverTrump

#DyingPaper (aka Union Leader) Embraces Supreme Court’s Upholding Obamacare

Say what you will about Donald Trump, but I can’t remember any other Republican Presidential candidate ever standing up to Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid:


Indeed voters everywhere owe Trump a thank you for exposing that the “coveted” Union Leader endorsement required taking #StinkyJoe golfing (in the case of Trump and who knows what else in the case of the others).  But this post isn’t about Trump.  I just wanted to explain the title.

Recently, the Union Leader editorialized glowingly about a New Hampshire Supreme Court decision Continue reading #DyingPaper (aka Union Leader) Embraces Supreme Court’s Upholding Obamacare