We Resist: Day 697

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One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Earlier today by me: A Letter from the Woman Who Should Be President and Senate Report Details Vast Scope of Russian Election Interference and Trump Again Threatens War on Dissidents.

Here are some more things in the news today...

Late Friday, District Judge Reed O'Connor issued an absolutely ridiculous and heinous ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act.

Jonathan H. Adler, professor of law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and Abbe R. Gluck, professor of law and the faculty director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School, penned a scathing op-ed for the New York Times, "What the Lawless Obamacare Ruling Means," the viciously blunt subhead of which reads: "It's not based on a solid legal argument. It's an exercise in raw judicial power." An excerpt:
In a shocking legal ruling, a federal judge in Texas wiped Obamacare off the books Friday night. The decision, issued after business hours on the eve of the deadline to enroll for health insurance for 2019, focuses on the so-called individual mandate. Yet it purports to declare the entire law unconstitutional — everything from the Medicaid expansion, the ban on pre-existing conditions, Medicare and pharmaceutical reforms to much, much more.

A ruling this consequential had better be based on rock-solid legal argument. Instead, the opinion by Judge Reed O'Connor is an exercise of raw judicial power, unmoored from the relevant doctrines concerning when judges may strike down a whole law because of a single alleged legal infirmity buried within.

We were on opposing sides of the 2012 and 2015 Supreme Court challenges to the Affordable Care Act, and we have different views of the merits of the act itself. But as experts in the field of statutory law, we agree that this decision makes a mockery of the rule of law and basic principles of democracy — especially Congress's constitutional power to amend its own statutes and do so in accord with its own internal rules.

...Friday was another sad day for the rule of law — the deployment of judicial opinions employing questionable legal arguments to support a political agenda. This is not how judges are supposed to act.
I encourage you to read the whole thing. Meanwhile, over at ThinkProgress, Ian Millhiser explains one of the primary reasons that O'Connor's ruling is unlikely to stand: Alito Cut the Legs Out of the Latest Attack on Obamacare — and Didn't Even Know He Did It.
[A] passage in Justice Samuel Alito's opinion for the Court in Hobby Lobby could — or at least, should — take on an entirely unexpected significance after Reed O'Connor, a partisan operative turned federal judge, struck down the entire Affordable Care Act on Friday in a case called Texas v. United States.

Judge O'Connor's opinion is a jurisprudential trainwreck. It misreads the text of the law, draws distinctions that the Supreme Court explicitly rejected, and it feigns ignorance regarding the outcome of a year-long debate where congressional Republicans tried and failed to repeal Obamacare. O'Connor's opinion is such an embarrassment to the judiciary that even Jonathan Adler, one of the architects of the last partisan lawsuit seeking to undermine Obamacare, called the opinion "strained and implausible."

But you don't have to take my or Adler's word for it. You can also take Justice Alito's.

O'Connor's opinion, to the extent that it engages in anything that can be described as legal reasoning, rests largely on statements of fact that Congress wrote into the Affordable Care Act's text when it enacted the law in 2010. Yet Hobby Lobby rejected O'Connor's use of such fact-finding statements. Indeed, the methodology O'Connor used in his opinion is so inconsistent with the methodology Alito used in Hobby Lobby that the two opinions cannot coexist.
There is much more at the link.

The long and the short of it is that O'Connor's ruling is being almost universally received as trash by legal experts. That doesn't guarantee it won't be upheld, but it is much more likely to be overturned. Even this conservative Supreme Court isn't going to be inclined to allow a judge to use faulty reasoning to eradicate the Affordable Care Act with a stroke of his pen.

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Addy Baird at ThinkProgress: As Shutdown Looms, House Republicans Decline to Show Up for Votes. "With just days left before a possible partial government shutdown, a number of retiring House Republicans have been failing to show up for votes in the weeks since the midterms, the New York Times reported Sunday. [Donald] Trump vowed last week that he would 'own' a possible government shutdown in an effort to secure funding for a wall on the country's southern border. ...[But] even if Trump ultimately agrees to a package that will avoid a shutdown, the fact that many retiring Republicans are simply not showing up for votes means GOP House leadership doesn't know if they will have the votes to pass it." Good grief.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is the latest Trump official to hit the road and will leave his cabinet position by the end of the year. Good riddance to corrupt rubbish. Trump tweeted that Zinke's replacement will be announced sometime this week, and I'm sure whoever it is will be even worse than Zinke. Shiver.

Rachel Weiner, Carol D. Leonnig, and Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post: Michael Flynn's Business Partner Charged with Illegally Lobbying for Turkey.
A former business partner of Michael Flynn has been charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy for his efforts to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States.

Bijan Kian made his first appearance in Alexandria federal court Monday morning. According to the indictment, Kian, who ran a lobbying firm with Flynn, conspired with a Turkish businessman to illegally influence government officials and public opinion in the United States against Gulen.

The indictment demonstrates the extent to which Flynn was secretly working to advance the interests of his Turkish clients while publicly serving as a key surrogate to Donald Trump and auditioning for a role in his administration. According to the newly-unsealed court document, Flynn was texting and emailing frequently about how to advance the Turkish agenda throughout the final weeks of the presidential campaign.
[Content Note: Nativism; white supremacy] Frank Dale at ThinkProgress: Stephen Miller Uses White Nationalist Dogwhistle to Push Trump's Border Wall. "White House senior adviser Stephen Miller echoed white nationalist rhetoric to advocate for [Donald] Trump's proposed border wall during a rare television appearance on Sunday. Miller told CBS' Margaret Brennan that Trump is 'absolutely' willing to shut down the government this week if he doesn't receive funding for his border wall, calling it 'a fundamental issue' that will determine 'whether or not the United States remains a sovereign country.' The term 'sovereignty' has been used as a white nationalist dogwhistle for decades." These fucking assholes, pretending to care about the nation's sovereignty while undermining it by colluding with a foreign adversary. JFC.

[CN: Nativism; Islamophobia] Erin Allday at the San Francisco Chronicle: Trump Travel Ban Keeps Yemeni Mother from Seeing Dying 2-Year-Old Son in Oakland. "Abdullah Hassan was born in Yemen with a rare brain disease that initially affected his ability to walk and talk but quickly worsened. He is no longer able to breathe on his own. His father, a U.S. citizen who lives in Stockton, brought him to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland for care about five months ago, and Abdullah is not expected to live much longer. The parents are ready to take Abdullah off life support, but they want his mother to have one more moment to hold him. So far, the U.S. State Department has ignored their pleas for a waiver to get her into the United States, they say." I hate this fucking cruel administration with the fiery power of ten thousand suns.

[CN: Nativism; death; video may autoplay at link] Anne Flaherty and Wil Cruz at ABC News: Border Patrol Head Didn't Tell Congress About Jakelin Caal Maquin to Avoid 'Politicizing' Girl's Death. "The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said he did not disclose the death of a 7-year-old girl at the border during his testimony to Congress because he wasn't sure that the mother had been notified and because he didn't want to 'risk politicizing the death of a child.' ...[Kevin McAleenan], who provided a detailed timeline of the events, called Jakelin's death a 'tragedy.' He went on to defend his agents' actions." Of course he did.

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[CN: Homophobia] Andy Towle at Towleroad: Cory Booker Again Addresses Sexual Orientation: 'I'm Heterosexual'. "Cory Booker addressed his sexual orientation in a profile with the Philadelphia Inquirer, which mulled the New Jersey senator's possible 2020 presidential run as a bachelor. Wrote the Inquirer: 'But there's one factor that might be unique among the two dozen or so Democrats eyeing a 2020 run: He's single. America hasn't elected an unmarried president since 1884 — and only two have ever taken office without having been married first. If he runs, Booker, 49, would try to be the third.' ...Said Booker, who has addressed his orientation multiple times in the past: 'I'm heterosexual. Every candidate should run on their authentic self, tell their truth, and more importantly, or mostly importantly, talk about their vision for the country.'"

To be clear, I'm not including this item in the We Resist thread because I find something objectionable about Booker's response, but because I find it objectionable that he was obliged to respond at all. No one should be forced to announce their sexuality, for any reason, and for fuck's sake in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and eighteen no one's sexuality should even matter. It's irrelevant to whether someone is capable of doing the job of president.

Relatedly, Democrats may have their first openly gay presidential candidate in 2020, as South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg is reportedly contemplating a run.

For the record, I have nothing against Buttigieg, but I don't think he's got nearly enough experience to run for president. And he's not the only person contemplating a run about whom I feel similarly. It's certainly interesting to me how, following the defeat of the most qualified candidate ever, who happened to be a woman, the field is now rife with wildly unqualified men. Cough.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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