Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Trump Can and Will Pardon All

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Scheming liberals think they have checkmated Republicans by charging them with crimes in state court, last week in Atlanta and before that in Michigan. Scary terms like “unpardonable” littered the airwaves on the Sunday morning talk shows, misleading the public to think that President Trump cannot pardon crimes prosecuted in state court.

This is more fake news by the Left. In 17 months a reelected President Trump will pardon all who have been victimized by these politically motivated prosecutions, including those criminally charged in state court.

Many presidential pardons over more than two centuries have fully protected the recipients against “all prosecutions and judicial proceedings,” as President Washington broadly stated in his first pardon in 1797. No one credibly doubted then or now that a presidential pardon protects against state court prosecutions.

The text of the Constitution and decisions by the Supreme Court support a broad pardon power as a prerogative exclusive to the president. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that “pardon and commutation decisions have not traditionally been the business of courts; as such, they are rarely, if ever, appropriate subjects for judicial review.”

It will be up to President Trump, not the courts, whom to pardon and he has indicated that he will be generous and merciful with this power, unlike other Republicans. Chief Justice Rehnquist explained on behalf of the Supreme Court that “the clemency and pardon power is committed, as is our tradition, to the authority of the executive.”

The Pardon Clause is set forth in Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, and applies to all “Offenses against the United States.” All of the election integrity conduct by Republicans is viewed by Trump-haters as an offense against federal elections, and thus the conduct is pardonable regardless of where charges are filed.

Moreover, rights guaranteed by the Constitution have been expanded to apply against state infringement on them, as the Bill of Rights protects citizens against the states today. The liberal suggestion that a pardon would not apply against a county prosecutor is the opposite of what liberals have long insisted for the Bill of Rights.

The presidential pardon power in our Constitution was copied from the boundless pardon authority enjoyed by the King of England in 1787. Just three years ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the “Framers modeled this provision on the pardon power of the English Crown,” which of course was vast.

Only one narrow limit existed for pardons by the King of England, and only that same restriction was copied into the pardon power inserted into our Constitution for our president. That prevents the issuance of a pardon to undo an impeachment, which makes sense because impeachment is a legislative rather than judicial power.

Last year the Supreme Court, in ruling against New York gun control, emphasized that “the Constitution cannot be interpreted safely except by reference to the common law and to British institutions as they were when the instrument was framed and adopted.” The King’s vast pardon power confirms that this same pardon power in our Constitution is nearly endless.

One reason Trump is far ahead of his flailing rivals is that they refuse to pledge to pardon Trump, let alone the many other victims of these politicized prosecutions. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), himself running for reelection in Texas, chastised the unsuccessful rivals to Trump for how they refused at last week’s debate to pledge to use the pardon power.

On Monday, the Obama-appointed federal judge in D.C. absurdly set the trial date for the sham prosecution there against Trump for the day before the Super Tuesday primary in early March. Trump immediately vowed to appeal and the Supreme Court will likely shut down this and other prosecutions of Trump because they interfere with American voters selecting our next president.

The phrase the “United States” is chanted 71 times in the recent indictment of 19 Republicans in Atlanta. It begins by falsely stating that “Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”

This sham Fulton County indictment asserts offenses against the United States within the meaning of the Pardon Clause. Of course Trump can pardon everyone falsely charged in this politicized persecution, and he will.

Liberals further insist that President Trump cannot pardon himself, but fifty years ago President Nixon was advised by some that he could pardon himself. Nixon then chose not to.

The victims of the Left’s political prosecutions should take solace that a re-elected President Trump can and will pardon them. If timid Republican governors and legislators fail to stop political prosecutions then, once again, it will be Trump who singlehandedly overcomes this.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Republicans Should Unite Against Georgia Travesty

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The attempt in Georgia to ruin the lives of 19 Republican leaders with a sham indictment should not be accepted by Americans nationwide. Georgia taxpayers should not be looted by the Fulton County prosecutor with this travesty foisted on the rest of the country, and the American people should not go along with this abuse of power.

Leftists are exploiting a weakness in our political system that for too long has given nearly unlimited and unaccountable power to low-level prosecutors. A county prosecutor has no business interfering with the election for president of the United States, yet Democrats are so determined to hold onto the White House in 2024 that they are willing to go there.

Their single-minded purpose is to prevent – at all costs – the election of a Republican as president. If they succeed at blocking or even imprisoning Trump, no other candidate is likely to take on the Establishment ever again.

The notion that one partisan Democrat county prosecutor can paralyze our presidential election by indicting 19 Republicans, including the front-runner for president, would be comical if portrayed in a movie. Two defendants have already removed their cases to federal court, and Trump is expected to do likewise soon.

In addition to trying to destroy the 19 named defendants, the Democrat county prosecutor in Atlanta absurdly smears 30 more Republicans as unindicted alleged co-conspirators. CNN has identified most of them, including a former New York City police commissioner and even the head of the well-respected conservative group Judicial Watch.

A bright political future awaits Republican leaders who stand against this misuse and abuse of prosecutorial power by a Democrat county prosecutor. So far, too few Republican officials have spoken up against it, which if allowed against Trump would be replayed against other conservative candidates.

But grassroots Republican voters have been energized by this latest assault on President Trump, and his primary rivals should form a united front so that Trump can focus on overcoming this 19-ring circus in Fulton County, Georgia. The Republican dollars being wasted by the GOP candidates campaigning hopelessly against Trump should be reallocated to provide a legal defense to the Republican victims of this atrocity.

The First Amendment rights of Trump and his supporters are not to be burdened by political hacks disguised as county prosecutors. Political speech rights should be better protected against an out-of-state indictment by a partisan prosecutor, and laws should be strengthened to prevent this sordid spectacle from ever happening again.

Only one question is worth asking the eight Republican candidates assembling at the GOP debate on Wednesday, which Trump is properly skipping: What would these candidates do to prevent the ongoing abuse of prosecutorial power by Democrats to try improperly to win elections?

Voters deserve more than mere platitudes about the weaponization of government by the Left. Congress should begin by issuing subpoenas on prosecutors who misuse their offices to interfere with a presidential election.

The Republican candidates should be criticizing the Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for his hands-off, see-no-evil approach to the crisis, even after a state senator asked him to call a special session of the legislature. Apparently these political indictments were timed to drop after legislators had adjourned for the year, but they can be called back.

The hardship imposed on 19 Republicans by this political prosecution is immense and nearly unbearable. Most of them lack the resources to fund their own legal defense, and some of them are not even in Georgia at all.

If a Republican county prosecutor had done this to 19 Democrats, then Democrat governors around the country would be rallying to their defense. There would be howls of protest about such a blatant misuse of prosecutorial power for political gain.

If Georgia will not restrain the misuse of its taxpayer dollars to infringe on First Amendment rights, other states should defend the rights of their own residents against this wrongful attempt to chill political activity in a national election. Objecting to an election as a fraud is no crime, yet that is all these indictments allege.

Racketeering laws invoked by the Democrats in Georgia against Republicans have been misused before against conservative groups. The Supreme Court finally shut down that improper use against a pro-life group under the federal racketeering law, but only after multiple appeals to the high court.

In 1964, Phyllis Schlafly wrote about the perennial battle between powerful liberal insiders and grassroots conservatives in her timeless classic, A Choice Not An Echo. The flagrant misuse of prosecutorial power becomes the latest chapter of interference with the American people in selecting our president.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Delusional Jack and Dems Haven’t Learned

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Jack Smith has been unanimously reversed before by the U.S. Supreme Court, over his contrived and overzealous prosecution of the Republican Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell. That decision came too late to save McDonnell, whose promising career was derailed by Democrats misusing prosecutorial power against Republicans.

Monday night in Georgia, Democrats launched yet another political prosecution of Trump. Tacked onto this indictment by the Democrat-controlled county were 18 other Republicans as defendants, illustrating how this is about politics rather than law.

Democrat allies of President Joe Biden have piled up a string of 91 bogus felony charges against their Republican opponent, Donald Trump. That’s in addition to dozens of similarly contrived charges against lawyers, colleagues and supporters of the leading Republican candidate.

This unprecedented abuse of the legal system for political ends, a process known as lawfare, presents an existential crisis for “democracy in America,” to quote the title of Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous book. Previous generations of Americans met their challenges with our Constitution mostly intact, but this abuse of prosecutorial power threatens our Republic.

Democrats like to recite the mantra that “no person is above the law,” but the Supreme Court has long held that the president is effectively immune from oppressive legal harassment during his term of office. Prosecutions can be so demanding and distracting that no president should be expected to discharge the duties of that high office while under the thumb of a judge.

The leading candidate for president has been ensnared in a judicial process controlled by his political enemies. This unprecedented crisis requires extending the well-established immunity of the president to candidates for that office, such that the American people remain free to select our next president in a free and fair election.

Ignoring that, last Friday the Democrat-appointed judge presiding over Smith’s persecution of Trump in D.C. threatened him with censorship and an accelerated trial if Trump speaks out freely. The pretext for this censorship is to protect the jury pool, which is absurd because that group voted 95% against Trump in 2020.

The D.C. culture is the most hostile in our country to free speech, particularly criticism of its federal officials in the media. Judges and others there constantly obsess with the media, and are notoriously opposed to the First Amendment rights that allow mockery of them.

Early Monday Trump posted on TruthSocial that the Obama-appointed Judge Tanya Chutkan, who presides over his case in D.C., is biased against him as reflected by her comment in court last year while punishing a Trump supporter. “It’s a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day,” Judge Chutkan declared then.

The inference from her lashing out against Trump because he “remains free to this day” is that she thinks Trump should be imprisoned as his supporters have been. That’s bias, to say the least, and not the appearance of impartiality required by federal law.

The liberal goal of gagging Trump overlooks that the American people have their own First Amendment right to hear what Trump has to say. He’s the front-runner for president, and there is no free speech right more important than that of voters to hear the views of our future president.

Yet Judge Chutkan declared at a hearing on Friday that “the fact that the defendant is engaged in a political campaign is not going to allow him any greater or lesser latitude than any defendant in a criminal case.” Ignoring the First Amendment right of Americans to hear from Trump, the judge said he “is going to have restrictions like every single other defendant.”

Thousands gave Trump a hero’s welcome when he arrived on Saturday at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, an essential part of presidential campaigns. Accompanying Trump was an overwhelming cast of endorsing congressmen, including Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Byron Donalds, Matt Gaetz, Carlos Gimenez, Brian Mast, Cory Mills, Anna Paulina Luna, Greg Steube and Mike Waltz.

House Republicans should consider serving a subpoena on any judge or prosecutor who attempts to wrongly censor Trump while he campaigns. Rep. Jim Jordan has this subpoena power as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, as do other Republican committee chairmen who should make this crisis their top priority now.

Federal judges and prosecutors take an oath to abide by the U.S. Constitution, which includes several protections against muzzling Trump. The Qualifications Clause prohibits adding any new conditions on a candidate becoming president, while the First Amendment protects the right of a candidate to speak freely and the right of the American people to hear whatever he has to say.

The aphorism that no one is above the law applies against prosecutors and federal judges, too. Defiance of a congressional subpoena by a judge can result in contempt and, for federal judges and prosecutors, impeachment.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

DC Power Grab Invites a Shutdown

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Three ostensibly unrelated events last week are more connected than the media have acknowledged. Trump was unjustifiably indicted in D.C., the credit rating of the U.S. government was downgraded, and leading House conservatives signaled they are fine with defunding the federal government after September 30.

This downgrading last Tuesday of the federal credit score stunned the Biden White House, which howled in response. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a statement calling it “arbitrary and based on outdated data.”

But House Democrats are predicting some defunding of federal programs and agencies after September 30, when the federal fiscal year ends, because Republican resolve has strengthened to halt runaway government spending. Congress has adjourned until September 12, leaving the divided legislature only a dozen session days to enact a dozen spending bills to keep the lights on in D.C.

Fitch Ratings, which lowered the credit score for the federal government, has been highly respected for more than a century, as one of the so-called Big Three credit agencies. It issued a warning earlier this year; subsequently many mistakenly assumed that the bipartisan deal in June to suspend the debt ceiling until 2025 had allayed concerns.

The sham indictment of Donald Trump in D.C. has given many Republicans no alternative to defunding a federal government weaponized for political gain against them. The army of prosecutors going after Trump includes campaign donors to Biden, and their indictment is as contrived as any ever seen in federal court.

Biden’s politicized DOJ recently demanded that the court gag Trump while he campaigns for president, which would infringe on the First Amendment rights of Americans to hear what the leading candidate has to say about vital national issues. “So, based on yet another Radical Left Hoax, I’ll be the only ‘Politician’ in American history not allowed to SPEAK,” Trump posted early Tuesday on Truth Social.

The charges against Trump pretend that he entered into a conspiracy, which means an actual agreement with others to do something unlawful. Disputing an election, speaking out against suspected election fraud and encouraging others to do likewise, is protected by the First Amendment and not unlawful.

The Biden donor-prosecutors misuse the conspiracy charge to litter the indictment with statements and actions by people other than Trump, and then wrongly accuse Trump of them. Charging someone with criminal conspiracy based on the actions of someone else can be a trick misused by prosecutors when they lack criminal evidence against their target.

Instead of convincing voters as Democrats hoped, Biden political hacks have poisoned the well in D.C. such that more Republicans are ready to stop funding federal agencies and departments misused by Democrats. Fitch’s lowering of the credit rating reflects the reality that the gravy train for unproductive activity in D.C., at the expense of working Americans nationwide, will not chug along forever.

Far from repelling voters from Trump, all indications are that his support grows stronger with each abusive indictment. The disconnect by the D.C. establishment is unsustainable, and inevitably Americans will realize that they need not continue to pay for this misuse of prosecutorial power by Biden campaign donors.

The House controls the purse strings, and one of its conservative leaders is the former college wrestler Rep. Bob Good (R-VA). He stated last week that “most Americans won’t even miss” the federal government if its funding were cut off, which will happen automatically if a new spending plan is not enacted by September 30.

Republicans who opposed the June compromise on the debt ceiling feel vindicated now, as almost immediately after that deal was struck Democrats began prosecuting Trump in Florida at a waste of millions of dollars. The political hacks being funded by Congress even indicted two low-level employees of the former president, presumably to terrorize them into turning against their boss.

This outrageous misuse of taxpayers’ money by federal prosecutors justifies conservatives opposing continued bankrolling of a federal government hijacked by the Left. The conservative House Freedom Caucus has already blocked one of the dozen spending bills needed by October 1 to continue the status quo in D.C.

The most recent indictment against Trump is in D.C., where 95% of its residents and jury pool voted against Trump in 2020, while the remaining 5% fear retaliation if they side with Trump. He cannot possibly obtain an impartial jury in that city, and this case should be moved immediately to nearby West Virginia where people actually work for a living.

House Republicans can selectively defund actions by the Department of Justice, as they did two decades ago in repeatedly prohibiting the use of federal funds to remove a large Latin cross in the Mojave Desert. The House should not be funding this harassment by DOJ of Trump as he campaigns for reelection.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Putrid, Crime-Inducing Cannabis Spreads in Midwest

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

In the first few months since passage of a ballot initiative last November, Missouri has become home to a billion-dollar recreational marijuana industry. With virtually no money available to oppose the $10 million spent by the cannabis industry to fully legalize the weed, the initiative passed by 53-47% in this traditionally conservative state.

A total of 23 states have legalized recreational marijuana now. The liberal states of Colorado and Washington were the first to do so eleven years ago, also based on ballot initiatives that have been the central part of the cannabis strategy to become the $30 billion industry that it is today.

Federal law continues to ban this harmful drug, so it remains illegal to transport across state lines. But most of the marijuana sold is grown or imported into each state illegally, and Bible-Belt Oklahoma is overrun with illegal production and related crimes even though Oklahoma voters rejected legalizing cannabis earlier this year.

The harmful potency of pot has tripled from a generation ago, and one study showed a 3- to 4-fold increase in schizophrenia over the last 20 years. One in six teenage users of cannabis will become addicted to it, and those addicted become 3.2 times more likely to inflict self-harm and die from homicide, often after they spark the violence.

The skunk-like smell of cannabis plants and production facilities are rattling liberal regions. The stench of pot smoking is far worse than cigarettes, and a Brooklyn lawmaker who seeks to ban outdoor pot-smoking in cities says that it is the second biggest complaint to his office, after trash.

California journalist Ann Louise Bardach observed the odor of cannabis operations is “like a few dozen skunks letting loose at the same time,” and many have complained about its daily effect on students in California public schools. She told the British newspaper The Guardian that cannabis production causes “respiratory ills now, asthma and weepy eyes” to some residents.

Many of the “grows,” as cannabis cultivations are called, are still illegal to avoid the taxes and regulations. Legalizing pot in California caused the black market for pot-growing to boom to compete in a crowded market that has seen prices collapse by two-thirds in the last year, while many of the cannabis operations are run by out-of-town corporations rather than local farmers.

The mega-spending on ballot initiatives is how the cannabis industry has captured and victimized nearly half of our country, including places like Missouri where the Republican legislature did not want it. Then rampant exploitation and crime flows into a state as cannabis invades.

We literally have thousands of pounds of finished marijuana from an illegal grow and illegal source,” California Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke announced last week. Workers “were forced to process marijuana while staying in horrible living conditions to pay back the individuals that brought them across the border,” his office explained.

"The reality of legal weed in California: Huge illegal grows, violence, worker exploitation and deaths," screamed a headline in the liberal Los Angeles Times last September. More than five years after pot was fully legalized in that state, the vast majority of sales continue to be of illegal rather than legal marijuana.

So it won't be the many family-run farms in Missouri that benefit from this new billion-dollar enticement of violence, illegal aliens, and squalid working conditions. Instead, this will bring more crime to this conservative state, due to its easy ballot initiative process.

On August 8, the people of Ohio will vote on increasing its threshold for passing a ballot initiative to 60%, as has long been required in Florida, rather than merely 50% plus 1 allowed in Missouri. In supporting this Ohio measure, Republicans including Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) seek to protect against out-of-state corporate money enacting harmful laws through the ballot initiative process.

This change in Ohio is the only way to keep pot-by-ballot-initiative out of that key battleground state, as last week the cannabis industry fell only 679 signatures short of the 124,046 total they need to put on the November ballot an initiative to fully legalize pot. They have 10 days to obtain the additional signatures, which is easily done.

Congress rejects corporate pressure to legalize cannabis, as do most state legislatures. But spending tens of millions of dollars to push through a ballot initiative is pocket change to the cannabis industry, which continues to target conservative states like South Dakota and Florida where ballot initiatives are allowed.

There are few lawful profits in the cannabis industry, as ordinary investors and small businesses have been learning the hard way while watching their capital evaporate in smoke. Instead, legalizing pot makes it possible for the illegal operations to sell their weed to the unsuspecting public.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.