Connect with us

Politics

Opinion: The Supreme Court's conservatives onstage, unplugged, unrepentant

Published

on

Opinion: The Supreme Court's conservatives onstage, unplugged, unrepentant

It’s that time of year when the life-tenured denizens of America’s imperial court, otherwise known as the Supreme Court, come down from their bench to mix with the masses.

Just kidding. The justices limit their appearances to friendly audiences, to elite folks too well-mannered to ask them about matters like gifts from billionaires with business before the court or misleading confirmation testimony to the Senate.

With oral arguments for this term’s cases ended in late April, the justices are now writing the decisions that will trickle out through June, including on whether to withhold gun rights from domestic abusers; limit access to mifepristone, the pill used for two-thirds of abortions; gut federal agencies’ regulatory power; and immunize Donald Trump from criminal prosecution. Amid their opinion-writing, they accept a few invitations to speak, cracking a window into their thinking as well as their gripes.

Opinion Columnist

Jackie Calmes

Advertisement

Jackie Calmes brings a critical eye to the national political scene. She has decades of experience covering the White House and Congress.

Four of the court’s six-member conservative supermajority were on the stump in recent days. Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett M. Kavanaugh spoke to groups of lawyers and judges in the congenial South. Samuel A. Alito Jr., one of the court’s six Catholics, was commencement speaker at “passionately Catholic” Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Ohio. And Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. gave a purposely anodyne address to a Washington-based judicial group.

The other three were more interesting. Kavanaugh defensively suggested that the unpopular court’s unpopular decisions — ending a half-century of abortion rights, for example — would be seen more favorably with time. Thomas whined to a sympathetic crowd about “the nastiness and lies” in the news media about himself and his would-be insurrectionist wife, Ginni; much of that coverage recently won a Pulitzer Prize for ProPublica. And Alito enjoyed a standing ovation when he was introduced as the author of the 2022 Dobbs antiabortion ruling, despite overwhelming opposition to it nationwide.

Advertisement

Kavanaugh spoke Friday in Austin, Texas. The city is a progressive oasis in the red state, but Kavanaugh appeared before judges, attorneys and court officials connected with the most conservative of the federal appeals courts, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, covering Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. At a time when the Supreme Court is polling at record lows on job approval and public trust, Kavanaugh was appropriately asked during a question-and-answer session how to boost confidence in the judiciary.

He didn’t seem to see the problem. Instead Kavanaugh blithely compared the current Roberts court — which has greatly expanded rights for gun owners, police and corporations, limited those for voters, consumers and women, and eroded the wall between church and state — to the court of the 1950s and 1960s led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, whose landmark rulings desegregated public schools, expanded voting and other civil rights, ended mandatory Christian prayer in schools and established new rights for criminal defendants.

The Warren court’s decisions were “unpopular basically from start to finish,” Kavanaugh said. And yet “a lot of them are landmarks now that we accept as parts of the fabric of America.”

He’s right about the Warren court legacy. But Kavanaugh is kidding himself if he thinks that Dobbs and other decisions that he has backed will eventually gain widespread favor. The Warren court is remembered for expanding individuals’ constitutional rights; the Roberts court, in overturning Roe, is the first to take one away. (Kavanaugh’s support for Dobbs provoked Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the decisive vote for his confirmation, to complain that he’d “misled” her during the Senate’s consideration of his nomination.)

Thomas spoke the same day at a conference of the conservative U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, covering Georgia, Florida and Alabama. His most noteworthy remarks reflected the Roberts court’s other legacy: ethical indifference. The event was held at a luxury resort on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, appropriate given Thomas’ affinity for such places, which has been well documented by ProPublica and other media. Republican donor and billionaire Harlan Crow provided Thomas with yacht trips, real estate deals and other benefits.

Advertisement

Also appropriately, Thomas was with his wife, Ginni, who not only shared the largesse but also is central to Thomas’ other ethical transgression. She worked behind the scenes to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election, yet Thomas has refused to recuse himself from three cases before the court dealing with Jan. 6 and Trump’s role in conniving to stay in power.

To hear Thomas tell it, the problem isn’t his conflicts of interest but the critics and we journalists who report on him. “Especially in Washington, people pride themselves in being awful,” he said.

And that’s why he and Ginni like RV-ing across the country to see “regular people.” Thomas didn’t mention that an investigation by the New York Times found that his luxury 40-foot motor home was underwritten by another rich pal.

Alito, another billionaire’s beneficiary, received an honorary degree in Christian ethics on Saturday at Franciscan University. Like Thomas, he groused about his critics; fittingly, he quoted Rodney “I don’t get no respect” Dangerfield. Alito has become known for fussing that Christian conservatives get no respect, even as he and other conservative Catholics dominate the court. Free exercise of religion is “a disfavored right,” he’s carped in the past, and “you can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.”

In that spirit, Alito warned the Franciscan grads, “When you venture out into the world, you may find yourself in a job or a community or a social setting when you will be pressured to endorse ideas you don’t believe or to abandon core beliefs. It will be up to you to stand firm.”

Advertisement

God knows he does. And so do Thomas and Kavanaugh. The rest of us, the masses, are worse off for their supreme myopia.

@jackiekcalmes

Advertisement

Politics

Biden rakes in big bucks last month, but haul is far short of Trump's massive May fundraising

Published

on

Biden rakes in big bucks last month, but haul is far short of Trump's massive May fundraising

President Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised a combined $85 million in May, which is their second-best month of fundraising this election cycle.

But the money raised by Biden and the DNC is far short of the staggering haul raised by former President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee last month.

In announcing their May fundraising figures on Thursday evening, the Biden campaign also highlighted that they had a massive $212 million cash-on-hand as of the end of May. 

“Our strong and consistent fundraising program grew by millions of people in May, a clear sign of strong and growing enthusiasm for the President and Vice President every single month,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement. 

BIDEN STRIKES GOLD IN CALIFORNIA, ONE WEEK AFTER TRUMP’S MASSIVE HAUL IN THE BLUE BASTION 

Advertisement

President Biden’s re-election campaign scolded MSNBC and CNN on Wednesday for ignoring a “Black Voters for Biden-Harris” rally in Philadelphia. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Biden’s announcement came on the final day the presidential campaigns had to file their May fundraising figures with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

But the Trump campaign didn’t wait for the deadline to tout its May fundraising haul.

The former president’s campaign announced two and a half weeks ago that they and the RNC, fueled in part by the former president’s guilty verdicts in his criminal trial, combined hauled in a stunning $141 million in fundraising in May.

That was up from the $76 million they raised in April when they topped President Biden and the Democratic National Committee for the first time in their 2024 election rematch. 

Advertisement
Donald Trump arrives to Trump Tower after being found guilty

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower on May 30, 2024 in New York City after being found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. (Felipe Ramales for Fox News Digital)

Spotlighting their grassroots appeal, the Trump campaign said that the average dollar donation was $70.27 with 25% of the donors in May being first time contributors to the former president’s 2024 run.

The Trump cash announcement came in the wake of what his campaign showcased as “record-shattering” fundraising immediately after he was found guilty of all 34 felony counts in the first trial of a former or current president in the nation’s history.

The former president’s campaign highlighted that in the first 24 hours following Thursday evening’s verdict, they and the RNC hauled in nearly $53 million in fundraising, which counted towards May’s total. 

BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON HELP BIDEN RAISE BIG BUCKS 

The Biden campaign also raised funds off of the Trump verdict, and a source familiar told Fox News that “the 24 hours after the verdict were one of the best fundraising 24 hours of the Biden campaign since launch.”

Advertisement

Biden’s May haul came without any major fundraising events headlined by the president. The Biden campaign says that a majority of its May fundraising came from grassroots donors. 

The campaign has been using its funds to build up what appears to be a very formidable ground operation in the key battleground states and announced hours earlier on Thursday that they had hired their 1,000 staffer. The Biden campaign enjoys a large organizational advantage over team Trump when it comes to grassroots outreach and get-out-the-vote ground game efforts.

Biden v Trump

File photos of President Biden (left) and former President Trump ((AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson and Evan Vucci))

“The money we continue to raise matters, and it’s helping the campaign build out an operation that invests in reaching and winning the voters who will decide this election,” Chavez Rodriguez highlighted.

Biden’s campaign appears to enjoy a large cash-on-hand advantage over Trump, whose campaign didn’t report their cash-on-hand amount in announcing their May fundraising. The campaigns are not legally required to report those figures until the end of July, following the close of the second quarter of fundraising.

Biden enjoyed a $146 million to $88 million cash-on-hand advantage over Trump at the end of March, following the close of the first fundraising quarter of the year.

Advertisement

Trump has been aiming to close his fundraising gap with Biden, who had regularly been outpacing Trump in monthly fundraising.

Trump at a rally

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump walks to the podium at a campaign event Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Racine, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Trump’s April haul was boosted by a record-setting $50.5 million that the former president’s campaign raked in at a single event early in the month with top dollar GOP donors that was hosted at the Palm Beach, Florida home of billionaire investor John Paulson.

Both candidates have held top dollar fundraising events so far in June.

The president set a new Democratic Party fundraising record – according to his campaign – as he hauled in over $30 million at a star-studded fundraiser on Saturday in Los Angeles with former President Obama, Hollywood heavyweights George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and late night TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

Advertisement
Obama smiles with Biden

President Joe Biden (L) laughs with former President Barack Obama onstage during a campaign fundraiser at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on June 15, 2024. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

And he brought in $8.1 million at a fundraiser at the Northern Virginia home of former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, where he was also joined by former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State and former Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was the Democrats’ 2016 standard-bearer.

Meanwhile, Trump’s team touted that they hauled in roughly $27.5 million during a fundraising swing by the former president in California and Nevada a week ago.

Fundraising, along with public opinion polling, is a key metric used to measure the strength of a candidate and their campaign. Money raised can be used to build up grassroots outreach and get-out-the-vote operations, staffing, travel and ads, among other things.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Politics

Fox News and others sign on to carry CNN's presidential debate

Published

on

Fox News and others sign on to carry CNN's presidential debate

Broadcast and cable networks, including Fox News and ABC, are falling in line to carry the simulcast of CNN’s presidential debate on June 27, the first general election face-off of this cycle between President Biden and former president Trump.

The cooperation marks a first among the typically fierce competitors.

Since 1988 and until now, presidential debates were organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates and presented across multiple outlets. The commission controlled the choices of venues and moderators, with different networks handling the technical aspects of the broadcasts.

The campaigns for the presumptive 2024 nominees bypassed the commission this year and agreed to two debates produced by individual networks. The first will be moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash at the network’s Atlanta studio, while ABC will produce and carry the second event on Sept. 10. The running mates — Vice President Kamala Harris and Trump’s to-be-determined veep pick — are expected to meet on CBS.

Some outlets pushed back on CNN’s requirements for the simulcast, which include running the network’s logo on screen and referring to the event as the “CNN Presidential Debate” in all promotional spots and press releases.

Advertisement

But Fox News followed its rival’s conditions, announcing its plans Thursday. The coverage, including analysis and opinion commentary, will be called “Fox News Democracy 2024: CNN Presidential Debate.”

Fox News Media will present the event on the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, the Fox broadcast network and the company’s streaming service Fox Nation.

Shannon Bream, anchor of “Fox News Sunday,” will lead the coverage on the broadcast network. Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will handle the event on cable. Pro-Trump “Fox & Friends” weekend co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy will give her take on Fox Nation.

While Fox News is respecting CNN’s guidelines, its conservative commentators have taken a typically critical tone of the network ahead of the event. In discussing the debate on Wednesday, prime time host Sean Hannity referred to Tapper as “Fake Jake” and the network as “Fake CNN.”

Based on recent history, Fox News may end up with the largest audience for the debate. In the first 2020 debate sanctioned by the commission and airing across multiple networks, Fox News had 18 million viewers, the largest share of any outlet. The total among all networks, according to Nielsen, was 73 million viewers.

Advertisement

ABC News has announced its intent to carry the simulcast — also streaming live on Hulu — with anchors David Muir and Linsey Davis overseeing the analysis. CBS News made its plans official Thursday, with evening news anchor Norah O’Donnell leading the coverage. She will be joined by “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King, chief political analyst John Dickerson, and “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan.

A representative for NBCUniversal News Group said it will carry the event on NBC, MSNBC and Spanish-language network Telemundo. Nexstar’s cable network NewsNation, Scripps News, and right-wing channel Newsmax have also signed on, their representatives said..

The debate is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. (Pacific) and run 90 minutes with two commercial breaks, another first for general election presidential debates, which in the past have run commercial free. The outlets carrying the simulcast are not allowed to use the breaks for commentary and analysis. CNN has said that the feed will be pulled from any outlet that violates that agreement.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Politics

Biden admin won't say whether it plans to contact family of Maryland mom allegedly killed by illegal immigrant

Published

on

Biden admin won't say whether it plans to contact family of Maryland mom allegedly killed by illegal immigrant

The Biden administration will not say whether it has plans to reach out to the family of Rachel Morin, a Maryland mother of five who was allegedly raped and murdered by an illegal immigrant last year.

Randolph Rice, an attorney for the Morin family, told Fox News Digital on Thursday that Patty Morin, Rachel’s mother, had yet to be contacted by an official from the Biden administration.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the White House seeking information on whether they planned to make contact with the Morin family after Patty Morin told Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham on Wednesday that no one from the administration had contacted her or her family about the death of her daughter.

No response was given to Fox by the White House or DHS about Morin’s comments or whether they are planning to contact the family.

DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR ‘INFURIATED’ BY MURDER OF RACHEL MORIN, REFUSES TO CRITICIZE BIDEN FOR MIGRANT CRIMES

Advertisement

From left to right: President Biden, Rachel Morin and Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas. (Getty Images)

In a statement, a DHS spokesperson said, “The Department cannot publicly comment on an ongoing criminal investigation. That said, anyone who commits a horrific and senseless crime, like the one this individual is accused of, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law. Our hearts go out to Rachel Morin’s family.”

The White House offered condolences to the loved ones of Rachel Morin in a statement this week but would not say what steps it would take to secure the border when asked by a Fox News Digital reporter. 

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Rachel Morin,” a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “We cannot comment on active law enforcement cases. But fundamentally, we believe that people should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be guilty.”

Rice told Fox that former President Trump reached out to Patty Morin on Thursday morning and that the two had a 20-minute conversation about her daughter.

Advertisement

Patty Morin said in a press release offered by her attorney that she was “deeply touched by President Trump’s kindness and concern.”

“He was genuine and truly wanted to know how our family was coping,” she added. “He asked about Rachel and showed honest compassion for her untimely death. His words brought comfort to me during this very difficult time.”

Morin, 37, was reported missing in August by her boyfriend, who said she never returned after going out for a run on the Ma & Pa Trail, a pedestrian trail, in Bel Air, a quiet and typically safe town about 28 miles northeast of Baltimore, on Aug. 5, 2023.

BROTHER OF WOMAN ALLEGEDLY KILLED BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT SPEAKS OUT: SHE WAS A ‘JOY TO BE AROUND’

Victor Martinez Hernandez and Rachel Morin

Victor Martinez Hernandez, 23, was arrested in the murder of Rachel Morin.

Her body was found on a trail the following day.

Advertisement

Victor Martinez Hernandez, the illegal migrant suspected of murdering Morin, was arrested on June 14 after a lengthy 10-month investigation into Morin’s murder. He was charged with rape and first-degree murder.

Hernandez, who has reportedly been in the U.S. since February 2023, was apprehended while “casually sitting” at a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Police said he arrived in the U.S. only a month after he allegedly murdered a young woman in El Salvador. His DNA was also linked to a March home invasion in Los Angeles, where a mother and her 9-year-old daughter were assaulted, according to authorities.

“We all suspected that Rachel was not his first victim,” Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler said during the arrest announcement last weekend. “It is my understanding that this suspect, this monster, fled to the United States illegally after committing the brutal murder of a young woman in El Salvador a month earlier in January of 2023.”

Rachel Morin arrest sign

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland posted signs at Ma & Pa Trail heads on June 17, 2024, announcing the arrest in the August 2023 murder of Rachel Morin. (Harford County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

Hernandez was expected to be extradited to Maryland on Thursday to face charges. He was scheduled to leave Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday morning and arrive at Martin State Airport between 12:30 and 1 p.m., the Harford County Police Department confirmed.

Advertisement

Following his arrival in Maryland, the 23-year-old will be taken to the Harford County Detention Center, police said.

Fox News’ Michael Lee, Bailee Hill and Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending