Trump’s Judge-Shopping Flop.
Plus, The Easy, Ugly Impulse to Ban Books and Punish Librarians and Teachers.
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CHARLIE SYKES: Are The Sanctions Stopping Putin? 🔐
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CORBIN BARTHOLD on Trump’s Judge-Shopping Flop.
The two judges in West Palm Beach were appointed by Presidents Clinton and Obama. The judge in Fort Pierce was appointed by President Trump. You see where this is going.
The lawyers of southern Florida are instructed to sue in the division where the “incident” underlying their lawsuit “occurred,” or, failing that, in the one where their client lives. Trump is sure to have a theory as to why the pertinent “incident” in his case “occurred” throughout the country, enabling him to sue where he likes. (Put to one side the very real problem of whether the court has personal jurisdiction over the defendants.) Regardless, it is impossible to shake the suspicion, Trump being who he is, that filing in Fort Pierce was a calculated decision. Trump apparently wanted a judge appointed by Trump.
It didn’t work out that way. Sometimes, usually to balance caseloads, a court shifts filings in one division to a judge sitting in another. That happened here, and Trump drew Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who is stationed back in Trump’s Palm Beach stomping ground. In a delicious bit of irony—assuming that plaintiff Donald Trump indeed reached for a Trump-appointed judge—the lawsuit is now before a judge appointed by the husband of defendant Hillary Clinton.
When one-third of the House GOP is voting against NATO, McCarthy’s lost control. Meanwhile CPAC will meet in Budapest, in an SNL skit come-to-life. Plus, how to stop Putin — and “globo-homo’ lands in the lexicon. Tom Nichols joins Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast.
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Mona Charen, Eliot Cohen, Cathy Young and Ben Parker join tonight’s edition of Thursday Night Bulwark to discuss the latest developments in the war in Ukraine, the west’s response and an isolated Russia. Welcome to our new Cold War.
In a handful locations around the country, individuals have filed criminal complaints against librarians or educators—as if by bringing criminal charges, one could limit disagreements. One such proposed charge was sought against a public library in Wyoming; another was advanced in a school district in Florida. To date, law enforcement and prosecutors have (thankfully) declined to pursue any charges, yet the push continues.
Meanwhile, a group called Moms for Liberty in Williamson County, Tennessee, objected to a number of children’s books in the local elementary school, including a picture book about seahorses that they alleged to be “social conditioning” because it explains that male seahorses “are the only male fish to get ‘pregnant’ . . . growing their young inside their own bodies”—as if banning the books would change the science.
While it is easy to dismiss these efforts as those of a vocal minority (and they really are a minority of Americans), the truth is that the impulse to censor increasingly finds purchase among elected officials.
SHAY KHATIRI: Biden’s Defense Budget Pretends Ukraine Wasn’t Invaded.
The cut in the requested budget comes in spite of the new burdens on the Department of Defense. From the forward deployment of more troops to Europe, to the new sexual harassment prosecution required under the National Defense Authorization Act, to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, the Pentagon is spending more money on new programs and initiatives rather than on capabilities.
The exception is the Space Force, which receives a 12 percent boost from the previous year’s enacted appropriations under the president’s request. That makes sense given the service’s youth, and some space domain experts have pointed out that this is too low of an increase exactly because the infrastructure for the force is just being built. Cyber and nuclear weapons capabilities—distributed across the services—are also big winners of this budget, as they too receive large increases.
Conventional forces, on the other hand, are the big losers, which indicates that the administration doesn’t appreciate the current moment. As the largest European war in three-quarters of a century is still happening, the fact sheet relegates Russia to a secondary priority. As tanks are once again rolling across European borders, the budget request cuts the Army’s budget in real dollars by 5.8 percent. To account for this cut, the budget request calls for a reduction in the Army’s size. Ditto the Navy and the Marine Corps—less money, fewer people, more responsibilities, and a less stable world.
Happy Thursday! BASEBALL is back. I am a bit shocked the Dolans sprung to pay Jose Ramirez, but I am glad such a talent got his due. Go Indians! Er, Go Tribe! Er, Go Guardians! It’ll take some getting used to.
Proliferation of the mini-Trumps. Molly Jong-Fast has this to report.
Ketanji Brown-Jackson is confirmed. An historic day for America, and a meme-worthy day for Senate Republicans.
And while we’re on the topic of bizarre, unanswered law-enforcement questions… We have this to to noodle over.
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