Patterico's Pontifications


Black Lives Matter Issues Demands

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:01 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Black Lives Matter, a movement which sprung up in the wake of some high-profile deaths of young black men at the hands of police officers and other security personnel, has long been criticized for lacking both a unified front and any concrete agenda items that they want to see implemented. Yesterday they attempted to address this problem by releasing a list of demands on their website which they intend to use as a policy platform going forward.

The demands themselves consist of six overarching themes:

1. End the war on black people.
2. Reparations for past and continuing harms.
3. Divestment from the institutions that criminalize, cage and harm black people; and investment in the education, health and safety of black people.
4. Economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure our communities have collective ownership, not merely access.
5. Community control of the laws, institutions and policies that most impact us.
6. Independent black political power and black self-determination in all areas of society.

But lest you think that these six items — broad and overarching though they may be — makes up their entire demand list, you should know that each of these six themes contains between three and ten sub-demands, and that even some of the sub-demands can be broken out into further sub-sub demands so that the entire effect is a manifesto that is as long as witless as a spoiled child’s letter to Santa.

You will note that reparations is naturally on the list. The whole document is a recitation of Marxist cant leavened with a dollop of whiny grievance-mongering and subtle racism (the adjective “black” is spelled with a capital letter as in “Black people” while the adjective “white” always remains lower-case). It curiously contains a great deal of special pleading on behalf of the LGBTQ movement and a few overtures to other supposedly maligned groups, most prominently Latinos. The entire compendium reeks of radical academic claptrap, and indeed, it would appear that by and large the authors of the manifesto come from the world of higher education or from the various nonprofits which house the even less-accomplished subset of the racial/ethnic/sexual studies credential holders. For what it is worth, too, the vast majority of them have women’s names (though, to be fair, I haven’t asked any of them for their preferred gender identification), suggesting that the more rancid ideas of angry hard-left feminism have worked their way into the document as well.

The drafters and supporters of this list of demands acknowledge that their chief aim is to influence the 2016 elections, but I don’t see why any Republican candidate would read this litany of self-involved griping and feel any need to address it, nor does it seem that anyone who would support this misguided mess could ever be persuaded to vote GOP. Instead, this seems to be a marker thrown down at Hillary! and her Democrats, to see how far left they are willing to drift in order to keep their huge share of the black vote. It will be interesting to see if the Clinton Machine is forced to take these petitioners seriously. The ball is now in her court.


Legal Experts Opine On SCOTUS And Trump

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:29 am

[guest post by Dana]

Over at Reason, some noteworthy “libertarian and conservative legal experts” weigh in on whether the Supreme Court is a good enough reason to vote for Trump.

Orin Kerr sums up the results:

Five of the 10 answers were some form of “no.” Most of these responses argued that while Trump’s judicial nominees might be marginally better than Hillary Clinton’s, that possible benefit is outweighed by the damage Trump would do as head of the executive branch. (Jonathan Adler, Alan Gura, Orin Kerr, Roger Pilon and Timothy Sandefur)

Two of the answers were some form of “maybe.” Generally, they argued that Trump’s judicial nominees would be better than Clinton’s and that reasonable people will disagree on whether other concerns about Trump outweigh that. (Randy Barnett and Michael Rappaport)

Finally, three of the answers were some form of “yes.” Generally, they argued that Trump’s judicial nominees clearly would be better than Clinton’s. These answers did not take a clear position on whether people should vote for Trump, but instead responded only to the question of whether Supreme Court appointments provide a good reason to do so. (David Kopel, Glenn Reynolds and Carrie Severino)

Here are a few of the interesting opinions:

Jonathan Adler
Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University

The future of the Supreme Court is of tremendous importance, particularly given the number of likely retirements in the next several years. Concern for the Court, and lower federal courts, is often a good reason to ignore a Republican presidential candidate’s other inadequacies. A sound court appointment far outweighs a few silly spending programs. Many say this justifies supporting Trump. Not me. Trump is beyond the pale and there’s no guarantee Trump’s nominees will be any good anyway.

Roger Pilon
Director of Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute

Assuming Trump were to follow through on his list of possible Supreme Court nominees, that would be a reason to support him, but there are countervailing reasons to oppose him that are, I believe, far more important. The Court will correct itself in time, I hope, but it is the character of the Republican Party and, more broadly and crucially, of our very nation that is at stake in this election. Hillary Clinton is a deeply flawed candidate, to be sure, but the election of Donald Trump would so defile the party of Lincoln and America itself that it must be resisted. He is an aberration that we must get past, and quickly.

Michael B. Rappaport
Director of the Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism at the University of San Diego School of Law

I certainly believe that the future of the Supreme Court is “a reason” to support Trump. There are no assurances, but I do believe it is likely that he will choose someone from the list he issued previously (or someone similar). Is it strong enough reason to overcome the other reasons not to vote for him?

To me, it depends on one’s perspective. If one is simply voting for the candidate whose views are closest to your own, then most libertarians will vote for Gary Johnson. Trump’s Supreme Court appointments are unlikely to affect that.

But if you are (for some reason) choosing between Trump and Clinton, then Trump’s likely appointments are important. Both Trump and Clinton are so flawed that any significant chance that one of them will do something good is pretty important. So I would say that if one is choosing between Trump and Clinton, then Trump’s likely appointments are a strong reason for preferring him. Of course, that strong reason might be outweighed by other considerations, depending on your views of the two candidates.

In a separate column titled “It’s the Supreme Court, Stupid,” Hugh Hewitt also claims that because of the Court, voters should support Trump:

[T]here is a positive case for Donald Trump, a third prong in the case for working for Trump’s election: He brings 3,000 political appointees with him, and the first two — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as VP and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has chief of the transition — telegraph that the vast majority of his team in the executive branch (and his appointees on the courts) will be conservatives.

Back in May, the Trump campaign released this list of potential Supreme Court justices.

This isn’t a new subject of discussion, certainly, but it’s interesting to read the compilation of views. And the fact remains that there will be at least one, if not more vacancies filled by the next president.


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