RealClearPolitics Articles

Supreme Court Rules Against Immigrants in Detention Case

Jessica Gresko - March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday against a group of immigrants in a case about the government’s power to detain them after they’ve committed crimes but finished their sentences.

The issue in the case before the justices had to do with the detention of noncitizens who have committed a broad range of crimes that make them deportable. Immigration law tells the government it must arrest those people when they are released from custody and then hold them while an immigration court decides whether they should be deported.

But those affected by the law aren’t always picked up immediately and are sometimes not detained until years later. In the case before the Supreme Court, a group of mostly green card holders argued that unless they’re picked up essentially within a day of being released, they should be entitled to a hearing where they can argue that they aren’t a danger to the community and are not likely to flee. If a judge were to agree, they would not have to remain in custody while their deportation case goes forward. That’s the same hearing rule that applies to other noncitizens the government is trying to deport.

But the Supreme Court disagreed with the immigrants’ interpretation of federal law in a 5-4 ruling that divided the court along ideological lines. Looking at a statutory provision enacted by Congress in 1996, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that “neither the statute’s text nor its structure” supported the immigrants’ argument. The court’s conservative justices sided with the Trump administration. The administration argued, as the Obama administration did, that those affected by the law aren’t entitled to a hearing where they can argue for their release, regardless of whether they are arrested immediately after being released from custody or not.

Trump Buddies up With Bolsonaro, the ‘Trump of the Tropics’

Peter Prengaman - March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump welcomed Brazil’s new far-right leader to the White House Tuesday and made clear that flattery pays.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — the “Trump of the Tropics”— ran an unabashedly pro-Trump, pro-American campaign last year, emulating Trump in tone and style. It seems to have paid off for Bolsonaro on his first official trip to Washington.

At a joint news conference, Trump announced that he’d agreed to designate Brazil a “major non-NATO ally” — something Brazil had pursued to smooth U.S. weapons purchases and military coordination. Trump even said he’d be open to granting full NATO membership to Latin America’s largest and most populous nation, even though Brazil doesn’t quality to join the North Atlantic alliance.

The showing was the latest example of the premium Trump puts on personal relationships and the extent to which he’s willing to work with those who sing his virtues. And it renewed focus on the growing wave of populist strongmen who have captured voters’ support with blunt admonitions of “political correctness” and hardline immigration views.

Trump: Never Was, Never Will Be Fan of Sen. John McCain

Catherine Lucey - March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Carrying a bitter personal feud beyond the grave, President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on the late Sen. John McCain on Tuesday, declaring he will “never” be a fan of the Vietnam war hero and longtime Republican lawmaker who died last year of brain cancer.

“I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

The fresh vitriol followed Trump’s weekend tweets insulting the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, with whom he long had a fractious relationship. He repeated some of those attacks, complaining about McCain’s vote against repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law.

“He campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years and then it got to a vote and he said thumbs down,” Trump said, adding — without citing evidence — that the repeal would have “saved a trillion dollars.”

Trump Keeps a Sharp Focus on Ohio for the 2020 Campaign

Zeke Miller - March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is returning to the state that foretold his 2016 victory and serves as the linchpin of his re-election effort.

Trump’s visit to Ohio on Wednesday marks his first trip to the state since last year’s midterm election campaign , when the state was a rare bright spot for Republicans in the upper Midwest. But with Trump’s path to another four years in the White House relying on a victory in the state, his nascent campaign is mindful of warning signs that Ohio can hardly be taken for granted in 2020.

Perhaps no state has better illustrated the re-aligning effects of Trump’s candidacy and presidency than Ohio, where traditionally Democratic-leaning working-class voters have swung heavily toward the GOP, and moderate Republicans in populous suburban counties have shifted away from Trump. It’s for that reason, administration officials said, that Trump keeps returning to Ohio — this week’s visit mark’s his 10th to the state since taking office.

The visit is part of a 2020 Trump strategy to appear in battleground states in his official White House capacity as much as possible this year, said a person with knowledge of the plans who was not authorized to speak publicly. Trump is expected to make similar trips throughout the year as he seeks to boost enthusiasm to counter an energized Democratic base. It’s a strategy employed by previous presidents, both to leverage the prestige of office for political purposes and to offset the steep costs of presidential campaign travel with corresponding taxpayer-funded events.

Delaney's Gambit; Newsom's Meddling; Lamb's Vision

Carl M. Cannon - March 20, 2019

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, March 20, 2019. One year ago on this date, Sen. Bernie Sanders led the Senate in a debate over the War Powers Act.

“Mr. President, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states in no uncertain terms … that it is Congress that has the power to declare war,” Sanders said. “The Founding Fathers gave the power to authorize military conflicts to Congress -- the branch most accountable to the people. Not to the president, but to Congress. That is the issue we are going to be debating today.”

That debate, of course, can be found on C-SPAN, which reached a notable milestone this week: 40 years of bringing congressional deliberations to the American people.

Ostensibly, the Vermont senator was raising the issue about U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military involvement in the Yemen civil war, a bloody incursion that Sanders and many other Democrats oppose. He began by arguing the question on constitutional grounds, not the first time this debate has taken place on Capitol Hill.

Delaney's Fundraising Tactic Raises Abortion Issue

Philip Wegmann - March 20, 2019

John Delaney has been running longer and with less media attention than any other 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Hence his latest “novel idea”: The former congressman from Maryland, who declared his candidacy two summers ago, will campaign by fundraising for Planned Parenthood. 

The need to do so became obvious “when the DNC said the debate required [each candidate to have] 65,000 small-dollar donors,” Delaney told RealClearPolitics. His campaign doesn’t have those numbers yet “because I have not spent a large amount of time throughout my congressional career or this presidential campaign trying to solicit small-dollar donors,” he explained.

To earn a spot on stage, the businessman-turned-politician has launched “the Delaney Debate Challenge.” Here is how it works: Make a donation to his campaign, and he will cut a $2 check to one of 11 nonprofits and charities ranging from Everytown for Gun Safety to the ASPCA to Planned Parenthood.

“It is a real simple equation,” Delaney said. “I’d rather give money to charity than give it to digital marketing firms.”

Don't Give Jihadi Brides Victimhood Status. Try Them.

Farahnaz Ispahani - March 20, 2019

As the Islamic State caliphate’s last redoubt of Baghouz falls to U.S. allied forces, more than 50,000 women and children have recently streamed into camps run by Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria. Among them is a 24-year-old Hoda Muthana, a former Alabama student and a three-time jihadi bride. This summer, a United States federal court will decide her appeal concerning whether she and her 18-month old son are American citizens and whether they can resettle here.

Wherever Muthana ends up — in a Syrian Democratic Force evacuation camp, an Iraqi detention center, or the U.S. — Washington should ensure that she and other women who flocked to ISIS face charges. They threw their support behind a terror group that the U.S. government officially designated as responsible for religious genocide against the Middle Eastern Yazidi, Christian, and ethnic Shiite minorities. These minorities will struggle for generations to recover, and they yearn for justice.

Muthana may no longer shout Allahu Akbar while flashing the IS sign, an index finger pointing upward for monotheism, but she rushed to join ISIS’s caliphate in its early months in 2014 and stayed until its bitter collapse. She enthusiastically answered ISIS’s call to be a wife for its militants and a mother for its next generation of holy warriors, and she played an important administrative role in the caliphate.  

An extensive 2018 Netherlands intelligence study found that “in many cases, jihadist women are at least as dedicated to jihadism as men and they … form an essential part of the jihadist movement.” That is demonstrably true for Muthana. On her social media posts, Muthana served as an IS propagandist under the name “Umm Jihad” (mother of jihad).  “Wake up u cowards,” she incited, “go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood.” She urged truck-ramming attacks against American veteran parades, like the 2016 Bastille Day gathering in Nice, France.  She joined IS’s al-Khanssaa Brigade, a female religious police unit led by Western women and known for lashing local Sunni women with cables for dress-code infractions.

Newsom's Unwelcome Stirring of Democrats' 2020 Pot

Bill Whalen - March 20, 2019

Quicker than you can sing “Oops! I Did It Again,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom has interjected himself into national Democratic politics with his moratorium on capital punishment in America’s nation-state.

That’s “oops” as in: Every Democrat who wants to unseat President Trump now must figure out where they stand on the death penalty. For some triangulating Democrats, that’s a tricky balancing act given that capital punishment is despised by the party’s progressive base but is far more popular in the crime-and-order Heartland.

And “again” as in: It’s the second time in a presidential cycle that Newsom has complicated the lives of his Democratic brethren. Think back to 2004 and marriage licenses being handed to same-sex couples in San Francisco (Newsom was the city’s mayor at the time), while John Kerry played rope-a-dope with what all was happening in the City by the Bay.

Newsom’s intrusion this time around may not be as serious as it was 15 years ago – that is, if you believe the 2020 election is as simple as Democrats winning back Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The first two of those states don’t impose the death penalty. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on his state’s death penalty four years ago.

Nikki Haley's Latest First Won't Likely Be Her Last

Ann Corkery - March 20, 2019

Nikki Haley broke another barrier late last week. The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations became the first woman to address the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick at its annual membership dinner in New York City. The first female speaker in the 235-year history of an organization that only recently invited women to join.

Haley is making a career of firsts – notably, first female governor of South Carolina – but her most significant first may have come in the Trump years. That trail-blazing achievement may herald a “yuuge” first still to come. As South Carolina governor and ambassador to the U.N., Haley successfully negotiated her way through the tweet-tossed waters of Donald Trump’s candidacy and presidency. She has emerged with a solid record of accomplishment at the U.N. and her dignity intact. 

That’s no mean feat in either venue. The United Nations, where talk is often a substitute for action, or the Trump administration, where not having the door (or a dismissive presidential tweet) hit you in the rear on the way out is rare. In short, Ambassador Haley is one Republican who seems to have mastered the wild politics of the Trump age.

She not only left on her own terms, but served on them, too. Whether representing U.S. interests at the U.N. or responding to the latest Trump controversy, Haley combined savvy and subtlety with principled toughness and measured scrappiness. She made her case, marshaled her arguments, with facts and fierce precision, dignity, and even elegance.

Never Forget: CAIR's Dirty Deeds

Michelle Malkin - March 20, 2019

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is having a banner month. The militant Muslim group never lets a crisis go to waste. That means Americans should beware. When unappeasable CAIR is ascendant, our free speech rights, religious liberty and national security are at risk.

Following the horrible massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, CAIR flacks were out in full force decrying "Islamophobia" and calling for crackdowns on "hate speech" (by which they mean any and all negative thoughts or words about CAIR or Islam). CAIR executive director Nihad Awad was first out of the gate to blame President Donald Trump; target Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson, whom the left wants to silence; and renew opposition to White House efforts to tighten our immigration and entrance policies, including the travel ban affecting terror-sponsoring countries upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

One of the most vocal critics of policies to guard American sovereignty is radical Somali-born Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. CAIR leaders and members poured thousands of dollars into her campaign. This weekend, the America-bashing, Israel-deriding congresswoman will headline a sold-out fund-raising banquet in Southern California. It will be a triumphant celebration, no doubt, of Rep. Omar's escape from Democratic leadership sanctions (with an invaluable assist from the CAIR lobby) for her nasty swipes at Republicans, Jews, and, of course, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump.

While they drape themselves in the mantle of "civility," the CAIR brigade speaks viciously and cavalierly about their enemies. Omar says Trump is not "human." On an Arab-American talk show, she mocked a college professor who treated terrorist organizations al-Qaida and Hezbollah with gravity. She cackled at how he named them with a sternness in his voice and questioned why the words "Army" and "America" are not uttered with equal contempt. I can hear the ululations of agreement at the CAIR banquet now.

How to Silence Debate, New Zealand Edition

Ben Shapiro - March 20, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has unleashed a barrage of openly anti-Semitic commentary. She suggested that Israel had "hypnotized the world." She recently suggested that Jewish money lay behind American support for Israel. Finally, she suggested that American Israel supporters are representatives of dual loyalty. Her fellow Democrats shielded her from blowback by subsuming a resolution that condemns her anti-Semitism within a broader resolution that condemns intolerance of all types. Many of them suggested that labeling Omar's anti-Semitism actually represents a type of censorship -- an attempt to quash debate about Israel, though none of Omar's comments even critiqued the Israeli government, and though many on the left have made anti-Israel arguments without invoking anti-Semitism.

Now Omar's defenders have come out of the woodwork to suggest that criticism of her anti-Semitism was somehow responsible for the white supremacist shooting of 50 innocent people in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Two protesters, New York University students and best friends Leen Dweik and Rose Asaf, confronted Chelsea Clinton, who had gently chided Omar for her Jew hatred. "After all that you have done, all the Islamophobia that you have stoked," Dweik screamed, "this, right here, is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words you put out in the world. ... Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there." Dweik, it should be noted, has called for the complete elimination of Israel.

Her message was parroted by terror supporter Linda Sarsour, who tweeted: "I am triggered by those who piled on Representative Ilhan Omar and incited a hate mob against her until she got assassination threats now giving condolences to our community. What we need you to do is reflect on how you contribute to islamophobia and stop doing that."

Meanwhile, mainstream commentators attempted to use the New Zealand anti-Muslim terror attack to blame critics of radical Islam. Omer Aziz, writing for The New York Times, slammed Jordan Peterson for calling Islamophobia "a word created by fascists" and Sam Harris for calling it "intellectual blood libel." Bill Maher has come in for similar criticism; so have I, mostly for a video I cut in 2014 in which I read off poll statistics from various Muslim countries on a variety of topics, concluding that a huge percentage of Muslims believed radical things.

How to Fix the College Admissions Scandal (Warning: You May Hate It)

Robert Samuelson - March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON -- We all know that "getting into the right college" is as traumatic for parents -- or more so -- as it is for their children. But who thought the admissions craze had become so powerful that it had morphed into outright fraud and corruption? Not me.

The recent allegations are surprising, disgraceful and sometimes amusing. According to the FBI, parents or admissions "consultants" falsified SAT scores, made "charitable" contributions that were bribes, and had athletic coaches classify ordinary students as stars worthy of recruiting.

But you might say: They did it all for a worthy cause -- their children's welfare. Gulp, the real lesson is that you get ahead by cheating, exploiting privilege and covering it up. That's just the opposite of what we should be teaching.

Fortunately, there's a morally acceptable and practical exit from this ethical swamp: Auction off some of those scarce spots. To the highest bidder go the admissions places.

Pols Not Telling You About Dangers of Legalizing Weed

Betsy McCaughey - March 20, 2019

Politicians are pushing to legalize recreational marijuana in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, following 10 other states. But the Parent Teacher Association, local health officials and pediatrician groups are pushing back, warning about permanent damage to youngsters' brains. If you have children, trust the PTA, not the pols.

Legalization delivers what politicians want most -- money and power. They're salivating over the tax revenue and the authority to dole out licenses to growers and retailers. New Jersey will tax cannabis growers $42 an ounce. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy pledged to make weed legal right after taking office, but he dragged his feet until the legislation guaranteed gubernatorial control over licensing and enforcement. New Jersey lawmakers will vote on it next week.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo initially promised that legalizing weed would be included in the state budget, due out later this month. Now political infighting is delaying it. Cuomo wants to control the regulatory apparatus himself, while state lawmakers want to have a hand in the pot, so to speak.

New York plans to tax cannabis products at 22 percent. The Citizen's Budget Commission says revenue should be "transparently disbursed, and utilized for general state operating purposes." In your dreams. Pols are already squabbling over divvying up the dough. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes of Buffalo wants the money to go to minority communities, which she claims have been unfairly targeted by anti-drug laws.

Trump's Unrealistic Promises to the Rust Belt May Haunt Him

David Ignatius - March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON -- When General Motors idled its auto plant in Lordstown, Ohio, this month, President Trump adopted a familiar strategy: He issued a nasty string of tweets blaming other people and promised, in effect, that he would restore the past.

Trump's angry, backward-looking approach may still appeal to some Rust Belt voters. But in the Ohio and Pennsylvania towns that helped win the presidency for Trump in 2016, his vow to turn back the clock hasn't worked out very well, and there are signs the Rust Belt may be corroding for him politically.

Lordstown's struggles, like those of other nearby mill towns, illustrate the harsh fact that manufacturing is a dynamic process. Old jobs are disappearing because of changes in technology or consumer preferences; trying to resist change is usually a fool's game. Rust Belt communities that are succeeding are the ones that have adapted by embracing new technologies and innovation.

Presidential leadership in this period of technological transition should focus on the future, rather than the past. But Trump seems almost a technophobe. Axios reported this week that he thinks driverless cars are "crazy." He tweeted March 12, after the crash of a high-tech Boeing jetliner: "Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly ... I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better."

Beto O’Rourke Boasts About $6.1M in Campaign’s 1st 24 Hours

Dino Hazell - March 19, 2019

CENTER LINE, Mich. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke boasted Monday that the more than $6 million he raised online within a day of announcing his White House bid, the most reported by any 2020 candidate, was helping to create “the largest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen.”

The “record-breaking” $6.1 million collected last week came “without a dime” from political action committees, corporations or special interests, O’Rourke spokesman Chris Evans tweeted. The figure is just above what Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reported for his first day as a 2020 candidate.

O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, jumped into the presidential race on Thursday after months of speculation, shaking up the already packed Democratic field and pledging to win over voters from across the political spectrum.

“Thank you to everyone who’s helping to build the largest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen, funded completely by people — not PACs, not lobbyists, not corporations and not special interests,” O’Rourke told reporters in Center Line, a Detroit suburb. “It’s one of the best ways to bring the country together to make sure that we are listening to one another and not that entrenchment of wealth and power and privilege that defines so much of our politics from before.”

Fox News Hires Donna Brazile as Political Contributor

David Bauder - March 19, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Democratic National Committee chief Donna Brazile, who was fired by CNN for tipping off the Hillary Clinton campaign about debate topics in 2016, has joined Fox News Channel as a political commentator.

Brazile said Monday she knows fellow liberals will criticize her for joining Fox, but that it’s important for people not to retreat to “safe spaces” where they just talk to people who agree with them.

“There’s an audience on Fox News that doesn’t hear enough from Democrats,” Brazile said in a statement.

Her conduct at CNN was revealed as part of emails exposed by Wikileaks. She had contacted the Clinton campaign about topics that would be covered in a March 2016 town hall when the competition was Bernie Sanders.

Brazil’s New President Signals Better Relations With the U.S.

Ben Fox - March 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president of Brazil made an unusual visit to CIA headquarters and later spoke of his admiration for the United States on the second day of a trip that reflected his country’s shift to a more pro-American stance.

President Jair Bolsonaro , a far-right politician who succeeded a leftist who at times had a frosty relationship with the United States, arrived in the country with a half-dozen ministers and a goal of expanding trade and diplomatic cooperation between the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere.

He was expected to meet on Tuesday with President Donald Trump to discuss a range of issues, including ways to increase U.S. private-sector investment in Brazil and ways to resolve the political crisis in Venezuela .

“Nowadays, you have a president who is a friend of the United States who admires this beautiful country,” Bolsonaro told an audience at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

California GOP; Anti-Semitism Coverage; C-SPAN's Unblinking Eye

Carl M. Cannon - March 19, 2019

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, March 19, 2019. On this date 40 years ago, future vice president Albert Gore Jr. stood in the well of the House of Representatives to discuss an innovative development in television programming. There was nothing remarkable about that in itself: At the time, Gore was a Tennessee congressman with a knack for getting himself on TV and someone who possessed genuine interest in new technology and mass communication.

Yet on this day, there was something momentous about Gore’s speech on the House floor. It was the first ever to be televised from that hallowed place, courtesy of a new venture called C-SPAN. Addressing an audience that C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb later joked “was in the dozens,” Gore said, “The marriage of this medium and of our open debate have the potential, Mr. Speaker, to revitalize representative democracy.”

He wasn’t wrong about that, and exactly four decades later, C-SPAN is still going strong, as I’ll explain more fully in a moment. First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

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Your Kid Goes to Yale? So What?

Dennis Prager - March 19, 2019

I have told the following to numerous audiences:

I'm hardly a Hollywood celebrity, but almost no day goes by that I am not stopped by a few strangers who want to shake my hand and say something. Needless to say, I rarely know the religious identity of the individual, but if the person tells me what college their child goes to, I assume the individual is a Jew.

When I relate this to Jewish audiences, it invariably evokes a great deal of laughter. Jewish audiences know how true, albeit slightly exaggerated, it is. As I always add, to more laughter, non-Jews don't tend to tell strangers what college their child attends (which is why non-Jewish audiences don't find the story nearly as funny).

The story is humorous, but it conveys a serious and troubling fact: Many American Jews define their worth by the college their child attends. In American Jewish life, there are no bragging rights equal to being able to say one's child attends a prestigious college.

Beleaguered California GOP Sees Path to 2020 Rebound

Susan Crabtree - March 19, 2019

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- In the days and weeks after California Republicans suffered staggering losses up and down the ticket last November, the party’s outlook for the future was anything but sunny.

Voter turnout across the state in 2018 set a record for a midterm election, which was not a good sign for the GOP. High voter participation traditionally benefits Democrats, and turnout across the state is all but certain to increase even more in the coming presidential campaign year.

Running as a Republican, especially now in President Trump’s long, overbearing shadow, has never been tougher in California, where two out of three voters either disapprove or downright despise the president.

Combined with the GOP’s anemic voter registration here, which last week slipped to a reported 23.5 percent -- five points behind “no-party preference” -- many state Republicans are preparing for another major blow in 2020.