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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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Commentary: Trump’s rubber stamp on Supreme Court would threaten voting rights (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 03/14/17)
Guest Columnist, Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota: Gorsuch currently sits on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Colorado, New Mexico and other states, and has generally landed his judicial gavel on the opposite side of rights for workers, women, students or those who do not have the big money to influence elections. In other words, people who look to the courts to provide relief for wrongs committed by people and corporations in more powerful positions.... Gorsuch once wrote that “the left” uses the courts too much to protect rights instead of going through the political process, without acknowledging intimidation tactics that deny equal access to the ballot. So far, the federal courts have rejected the 2011 Texas voter ID law. But how would Gorsuch vote if the case reaches the Supreme Court? The nation should not face that prospect, and that is why we urge the Senate to reject Gorsuch.

Commentary: Trump’s rubber stamp on Supreme Court would threaten voting rights (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 03/08/17)
Guest Columnist Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota: Donald Trump’s election delivered a new line of attack against equal access to voting, not just with his unsubstantiated voter fraud claims, but because of his pick to head the U.S. Department of Justice: Attorney General Jeff Sessions.... Gorsuch has likened himself in judicial philosophy to Scalia. If that is true on voting rights, we have much to fear. In 2013, Scalia led the court’s 5-4 vote decision to dismantle the core provision of the Voting Rights Act ... we urge the Senate to reject Gorsuch.

Letter: GOP abdicates its moral and civic responsibilities (Bend Bulletin [OR], 03/07/17)
Shawna Smith: We have watched, bewildered, as you scold the Democrats for their reluctance to confirm Neil Gorsuch, after you set the precedent with your childish refusal to even consider Barack Obama’s objectively qualified nominee. The hypocrisy is truly mind-boggling, and yet you continue to clutch your metaphorical pearls and declare that you can’t imagine why the Democrats would do such a thing.

[Editorial] Looking for the truth (Hawk Eye [Burlington. IA], 03/06/17)
"Truthfulness counts. Even among our politicians. Yes, often it is shaded, obscured or even twisted, but a kernel of honesty is a requirement. When it’s not there, liars generally are punished, often severely, as they should be. Attorney General Jeff Sessions finds himself mired in a controversy arising from his less-than-truthful testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing....Sessions has recused himself into any inquiry regarding Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. That’s good enough Sen. Charles Grassley, who oversaw Sessions’ exchange with Franken as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley said Friday he has no plans to compel Sessions to revisit the body to clarify the matter. That’s unfortunate, especially since truth is being knocked around pretty hard during the protracted confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks."

Editorial: Trump's Russian connections require special prosecutor (Quad City Times [IL,IA] , 03/05/17)
"The excuses and double-speak matter little. The fact is, Sessions either accidentally mischaracterized his mingling with Russian government officials or, at the very worst, committed perjury. For the second time in as many months, Trump found himself defending a cabinet member for being less than honest about confabs with officials from a country that was actively attempting to handicap the presidential election. Yet Grassley made clear Thursday that he had no intention of seeking charges against Sessions for the false testimony offered to his Judiciary Committee. The least he can do is assure that any probe is legitimate and not some political facade. ... Sessions' recusal alone, which Grassley lauded, won't do. This flap perhaps should cost Sessions his job, regardless of how "ridiculous" Grassley finds the idea. ... Sessions is the second member of the administration to falsely describe his contacts with the Russians. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's downfall last month applied the heat to Republicans wanting this story to die. Sessions' lack of candor could cook them.... Grassley ... built a reputation for bipartisanship, one that was damaged last year when he stonewalled President Obama's Supreme Court pick."

[Editorial] The Justice Department to black voters: Don’t bother [Print headline: Indifference to voting rights, Mr. Sessions shrugs at a blatantly discriminatory ID law in Texas] (Washington Post, 03/05/17)
"In one of his first significant moves since taking office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions threw cold water on long-standing efforts by the Justice Department to clean up a blatantly discriminatory Texas law clearly designed to suppress African American and other Democratic-leaning votes. The move was in keeping with Mr. Sessions’s long-standing hostility to civil and voting rights"

Editorial: Fifty shades of Faso now playing in Capitol (Times Herald-Record [NY] , 03/05/17)
"Sessions, the nation's top lawyer, is expected to provide a clear example of lawfulness, and Faso, also a lawyer, should know that perjury is a simple concept. You take an oath, you tell the truth. Anything else is a lie.... Democrats who want to follow the law and follow previous examples of perjured testimony believe that Sessions cannot continue to serve in his important job."

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions must go: Deceptive behavior disqualifies attorney general from position (Watertown Daily Times [NY], 03/05/17)
"Sessions’s tenure as head of the U.S. Department of Justice cannot continue. He should resign his office immediately.... He cleverly evaded a question during his confirmation hearing about contacts he had with Russian officials. And now he’s trying to parse words to make it appear as though he did not intend to mislead senators as they reviewed his credentials for this position.... This kind of deception is unacceptable coming from our attorney general."

Federal prosecutors have brought charges in cases far less serious than Sessions’s [Print headline: Sessions shouldn't get a free pass] (Washington Post, 03/05/17)
Op-Ed By Philip Lacovara and Lawrence Robbins: Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a seemingly false statement under oath during his confirmation hearing.... as lawyers at the Justice Department and attorneys in private practice who have represented individuals accused in such cases, we can state with assurance: Federal prosecutors have brought charges in cases involving far more trivial misstatements and situations far less consequential than whether a nominee to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer misled fellow senators during his confirmation hearings.... As any number of witnesses have learned the hard way, it is a federal felony to lie to Congress. ... Those elements all appear to be present.... Certainly there is precedent for a prosecution in this context.

Editorial: Pride, lies and hypocrisy (Kingman Daily Miner [AZ], 03/05/17)
"Jeff Sessions needs to resign as the 84th Attorney General of the United States. The chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. doesn’t get to lie, and he especially doesn’t get to commit perjury in front of the Congress of the United States."

[Editorial] Hits & Misses: Sessions steps away (Virginian-Pilot, 03/04/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the least right thing by recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 American presidential election. Especially since he should certainly become a subject of inquiry as investigations move forward."

[Editorial] Sessions questions: The attorney general spreads smoke from the Trump campaign's Russia-fueled fire. (Houston Chronicle, 03/04/17)
"The question about Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is whether he lied under oath about his dealings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. U.S. intelligence officials have described Kislyak as a top spy and spy recruiter. During a Senate confirmation meeting, Sessions said he, as a campaign surrogate, "did not have communications with the Russians." That is not true."

[Editorial] Answers due on any Russia connection (Times and Democrat [SC], 03/03/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions twice talked with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the campaign, meetings that are now being acknowledged by Sessions, though in doing so he appears to be contradicting testimony made before the Senate during the confirmation process. Sessions and the administration contend he met with the envoy in his role as a U.S. senator and member of the Foreign Relations Committee, yet there is no denying that Sessions was an ardent supporter and policy adviser of Trump’s. He was deeply involved in the campaign when the meetings occurred.... Claims that he perjured himself are extreme, but there remains the question of why he did not acknowledge meetings with the ambassador from the offset.... An independent investigation is warranted"

Editorial: Recusal only a start (Boston Herald, 03/03/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions got it half right. Recusing himself from any ongoing or future investigation of the 2016 presidential campaign and any possible Russian interference in that campaign is a first step in assuring the integrity of any probe. It is necessary but not entirely sufficient in this particular case, which cries out for the kind of independence and distance only the appointment of a special prosecutor can assure."

Editorial Jeff Sessions recuses himself from any investigation into Trump's Russia ties. Better late than never (Los Angeles Times, 03/03/17)
"It long has been obvious that Sessions should play no role in any action related to what intelligence agencies say was an attempt by Russian intelligence to promote Trump’s campaign at the expense of Hillary Clinton. As this editorial page said last month, “Sessions needs to leave this issue to someone else.”... Sessions had said under oath that he’d had no contacts with Russian officials about the campaign, but in fact he’d met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak"

Attorney General Sessions' recusal far from the end of the story (Editorial) (Republican [Springfield, MA], 03/03/17)
"Depends on whom you ask, but if you watched the attorney general's press conference on Thursday afternoon, you might well have reason to believe that he won't be long on the job. ... Sessions, answering a question from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., about contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, said: "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn't have - did not have communications with the Russians." Well, if you don't count those two meetings with Kislyak, that is."

Editorial: Republicans, Russians, Sessions (Journal Star [Peoria, IL], 03/02/17)
"Indeed, not only is Sessions now a potential subject of any such investigation because of his false testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing regarding contacts he or others in the Trump campaign had pre-election with representatives of Moscow, he now faces accusations that he lied under oath.... Sessions is not exactly known as a guy who cuts others much slack, and arguably he made his own bed here."

Editorial: Bring on a special prosecutor to probe Russia scandal (Chicago Sun Times, 03/02/17)
"Jeff Sessions did the right thing by recusing himself. Whether he might now be compelled to resign remains an open question. The more pressing matter is to appoint a superb special prosecutor who gives no quarter."

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions just proved he can’t investigate Russian meddling (San Francisco Chronicle [CA], 03/02/17)
"In his mind, Sessions did nothing wrong. The meetings were tame events that had nothing to do with the campaign and weren’t worth mentioning, he says. But that easy explanation isn’t convincing, not when the then-senator was a major Trump backer and Russian intelligence agencies were reportedly operating on behalf of the Republican candidate. Any hint of contact deserved to be disclosed, not brushed off. Should more damning details of the meetings emerge, it would be time for him to depart. Lying and misleading behavior can’t be tolerated, especially by the nation’s top cop."

Editorial: Connecting the dots between Russia and Trump’s team (Record [NJ] , 03/02/17)
"Sessions’ performance before the Senate was, at best, extremely misleading, and, at worst, an outright falsehood.... The president must be prepared to make a hard decision about his attorney general if the dots connect Sessions to Russia in conversations about the 2016 campaign."

Editorial: Sessions gave false testimony about his Russia contacts. He must go. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 03/02/17)
"Now we discover that the new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, met twice last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while the then-U.S. senator headed the Donald Trump presidential campaign’s foreign policy committee. During his confirmation hearings, Sessions gave false testimony about the meetings.... Sessions announced he’d recuse himself from any Justice Department investigations involving the presidential campaign. Recusal is good. Resignation would be better. Sessions may well have perjured himself. ... Trump should fire Sessions and support the appointment of an independent prosecutor. Whatever their politics, Americans should demand it."

Postpone the Gorsuch Hearings: His nomination to the Supreme Court cannot be separated from the serious questions that plague the Trump presidency (, 03/02/17)
Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West: the Senate must postpone Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings until the investigations of the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia are resolved. We know that Michael Flynn lied about his conversations with the Russians. It now seems likely that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the same. Thus, it makes exactly zero sense to take the position that Obama’s presidency was too tenuous to hold hearings while President Donald Trump’s is on solid footing—and we must proceed with haste. Nobody in the Senate can plausibly take the view that Trump’s claims to the White House are more legitimate, more publicly accepted, and more robust than were Obama’s in March 2016.... Having one justice serve under a cloud of doubt also threatens to harm the entire court.

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions' evasions: Our view (USA Today, 03/02/17)
"Maybe in some lawyerly, hair-splitting context, Sessions didn't perjure himself. But citizens expect more from the nation's top law enforcement officer. Whether Sessions will be able to keep his job, or be forced to resign like former national security adviser Michael Flynn, remains to be seen. The question for investigators is why Flynn, and now Sessions, felt compelled to dissemble about their dealings with Kislyak.... Jeff Sessions' evasions are just one piece of a much larger puzzle."

Now that Sessions is officially slippery, a special prosecutor must probe Trump-Russia ties | Editorial (Star-Ledger Newark [NJ] , 03/02/17)
"We don't know whether Sessions was deliberately evasive on Jan. 10th. "I should have slowed down and said I did meet one Russian official a couple times," he says. But now he's just one of many untrustworthy people authoring this sordid tale, and when one of them is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, you know we're just getting started."

EDITORIAL: Questions remain on Sessions, Russia and the Trump campaign (Minneapolis Star Tribune [MN], 03/02/17)
"U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under extreme pressure, has finally recused himself from any formal investigation of Russian links to the presidential campaign. It is literally the least he could do at this point and may not prove enough. The dilemma is one entirely of Sessions’ own making, starting with his decision to withhold from Congress during confirmation hearings that he had met in his office with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — the same Russian official who met privately with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who also failed to be candid about his meeting.... Sessions’ recusal, as necessary as it was, leaves unanswered a central question: Did he mislead Congress under oath? ... Like Flynn, Sessions is rapidly becoming both a distraction and a liability. The Trump administration should not be expending precious political capital defending someone who withheld information from Congress and who has yet to be fully forthcoming. Sessions should consider whether he should resign."

Editorial: Jeff Sessions' lack of honest disclosure is another calamity for President Trump (Anniston Star [AL] , 03/02/17)
"Sessions’ lack of honest disclosure when pressed by U.S. senators is serious. It damages the credibility of the man who now oversees the U.S. Justice Department, an institution that places a premium on its employees’ integrity."

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions misled the Senate. He should resign. (Charlotte Observer [NC] , 03/02/17)
"Jeff Sessions, under oath, misled the U.S. Senate. He didn’t “misspeak.” He didn’t misinterpret a question. He misled. He should resign as U.S. attorney general.... Jeff Sessions is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. He took an oath before the Senate, then told it something he knew to be untrue. Neither Congress nor the American people can trust what he tells them now. He should resign."

[Editorial] Sessions recuses but won't admit his mistake (Baltimore Sun, 03/02/17)
"Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III misrepresented, under oath, his contact with Russian officials during the campaign. No amount of tortured reasoning, no explanation about what "hat" he was wearing when those meetings took place, whether as a United States Senator or surrogate for Donald Trump, no grasping for broader context or how many foreign officials he met with last year changes that.... At best, it was misleading, but it might also be fairly described as a lie. ... we would not object to his departure, for many reasons. Certainly, it isn't clear why the attorney general should stay when National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had to resign"

Editorial: Sessions correctly recuses himself from election probe (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 03/02/17)
"That should clear the way for an objective investigation either by a special prosecutor or an independent commission to get to the bottom of Russia's interference in the presidential election.... At the very least, Sessions' responses during his confirmation hearing were misleading."

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions, Russia and the truth (Akron Beacon Journal [OH], 03/02/17)
"Sessions chose to mislead. Should he resign for failing to tell the truth with the stakes so high? That would be the honorable course. At the least, the Trump White House now should press Congress for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate fully the Russian intervention."