PowerLine -> Roy Moore For Senate? + Another prophet of affirmative action

PowerLine -> Roy Moore For Senate? + Another prophet of affirmative action

powerline at HoaxAndChange.com

powerline at HoaxAndChange.com

Daily Digest

  • The Dems are back, baby
  • Roy Moore For Senate?
  • Another prophet of affirmative action
  • The bedroom phone that wasn’t
  • (DHS) Magical mystery tour: Tentative finale
The Dems are back, baby

Posted: 12 Nov 2017 04:31 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)And celebrating their return on Saturday Night Live.

If only the Democrats’ leaders were as young as the comics who portray them in this skit…


Roy Moore For Senate?

Posted: 12 Nov 2017 04:19 PM PST

(John Hinderaker)The mood I’ve been in lately is reflected in the fact that most of my posts end with question marks. But why should I be the only person in America who hasn’t expressed an opinion about Judge Roy Moore? For what it’s worth, here goes:

I agree with Paul that the Washington Post’s allegation that Moore tried to seduce a 14-year-old girl 38 years ago is more likely false than true, particularly given the gaping hole in the accuser’s story that has been attested to by her own mother. Beyond that, I question whether a newly-surfaced, 38-year-old allegation should ever–short of murder or something nearly as heinous–be grounds for defeating a political candidate.

There is a reason why our criminal laws include statutes of limitation. After decades have gone by, it is often impossible to prove (or disprove) an allegation. The accuser in the present case remained silent for 38 years, during most of which time Moore was a prominent figure in Alabama politics. Now, a few weeks before a U.S. Senate election, at the importuning of a team of reporters from the Washington Post who are obviously determined to bring down the candidate, she sees fit to accuse Moore. One of the kinder words we apply to this sort of conduct in the law business is “estoppel.” It is much too late to dredge up an accusation from the 1970s.

The accusation, if it were true, would be relevant as an indictment of Moore’s character. Of course, low character has never been much of a bar to political office. Consider, to name just a few examples from modern history, John Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. Say what you will about Roy Moore, his name has never appeared on the flight logs of the Lolita Express. On the contrary, he has been married for more than 30 years and the only act of moral turpitude alleged against him dates, ostensibly, from the 1970s.

Some say that Moore’s case is different, because he is a Republican, and Republicans are held to a higher standard. That is true as a statement of fact, but it is not a principle to which Republicans should stipulate. The Senate seat at issue is important. When Jeff Sessions ran for re-election in 2014, the Democrats didn’t even field a candidate against him. For the Democrats to steal that seat now, by recruiting a troubled woman to tell a 38-year-old story that is probably false, would be outrageous.

I am not a fan of Judge Moore. I would not have voted for him in the primary election. But control of the Senate is important. It is far better that Moore represent Alabama for the unexpired three years of Sessions’ term than that the seat goes to a Democrat on the basis of a smear.

Whether Alabama’s voters will agree remains to be seen. Poll results are mixed, but so far, at least, it doesn’t appear that the Post’s last-minute, desperation attack has been fatal. Let’s hope that proves to be true when voters go to the polls next month.


Another prophet of affirmative action

Posted: 12 Nov 2017 03:09 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)In a post called “The Prophet of Affirmative Action,” John cited and quoted extensively from a letter written in 1969 by California appellate judge Macklin Fleming, a Yale Law graduate, to the dean of Yale Law School. The letter questions the wisdom of the new quota system in terms that, as John says, are remarkably prescient.

I want to give credit to another, even earlier, the prophet of affirmative action — John Kaplan of Stanford Law School. In 1966, Professor Kaplan wrote an article for the Northwestern University Law Review called “Equal Justice in an Unequal World: Equality for the Negro — The Problem of Special Treatment.”

Kaplan, as this professor puts it, “acknowledged that the moral claims of blacks for special treatment rendered overbroad any simple call for a single principle of colorblindness.” However, he argued that the negative consequences of affirmative action militated against race-based preferences. Among the negative consequences, Kaplan cited were the exacerbation of racial divisions, the stigmatization of blacks, the dampening of the motivation of blacks, and the involvement of the state in racial classifications.

Kaplan’s article has been cited at least twice by the Supreme Court, including by Justice Powell in Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke (1978), the seminal opinion on the constitutionality of using race in college admissions. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court failed to heed Kaplan’s warning.

I took two courses from Professor Kaplan at Stanford. He was one of the best professors at the law school in those days, and hands down the most entertaining. Indeed, Kaplan is probably the funniest person I’ve ever know.

He was exceptionally quick. I would love to have seen Kaplan do those quicky debates on cable news. He probably would have taken the side he disagreed with — as he sometimes did — just to give his opponent half a chance.

John Kaplan died in 1989 at age 60. His New York Times obituary is here. It omitted mention of his remarkable 1966 article on racial preferences.


The bedroom phone that wasn’t

Posted: 12 Nov 2017 02:23 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)When I read the Washington Post’s account of Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misdeeds towards Leigh Corfman, one detail rang particularly false. Corfman told the Post that she spoke with Moore on her phone in her bedroom. As one woman of my acquaintance who lived in the deep South during that era guaranteed, 14-year-old girls in Alabama didn’t have phones in their rooms back then.

Corfman, it turns out, was no exception. Aaron Klein reports that Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, told Breitbart News that her daughter did not have a phone in her bedroom during the period when Moore allegedly called the girl.

However, Wells stands by the rest of the story reported by the Post.

Does Corfman’s faulty recollection about the phone undercut the thrust of that story? I spent decades working with and examining witnesses. In my view, Corfman’s mistake about the bedroom phone is the kind of error people often make when trying to remember details from the distant past. I don’t think her mistake regarding this detail bears much on her overall credibility.

Corfman’s claim of sexual misconduct by Moore is not a detail. If she is erring about this matter, she’s not failing to remember something incidental. Her “error,” if she’s making one, is of a different nature — a lie, a delusion, or a substantial embellishment.

I think there are substantial reasons to disbelieve Corfman’s claim of improper sexual touching. I discussed them here. I don’t think her mistake about the location of the phone provides much additional reason to dispute her claim.


(DHS) Magical mystery tour: Tentative finale

Posted: 12 Nov 2017 06:26 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)The editors of City Journal have given me permission to post my account of the 2016 Somalis-only security tour of the Twin Cities airport. The City Journal piece includes links I have omitted. My account represents 18 months of work off and on. It took a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on my behalf here in federal district court earlier this year by Dorsey & Whitney attorneys Theresa Bevilacqua and Tiana Towns to spring the documents I have posted at the bottom. I am grateful for the efforts of Theresa and Tiana on my behalf. It took a question from Weekly Standard editor Richard Starr to help me understand the story recounted here. I am grateful to Richard for his help. If you haven’t read my account, please check it out:

A sidebar to the story of the ISIS-affiliated Somali men convicted on terrorism charges last year in federal district court in Minneapolis: one of the men who pleaded guilty and cooperated with the prosecution had worked on the tarmac at Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and could have done serious harm. So had the one who turned informant and was never charged in the case. When his FBI interlocutors persuaded him to turn, he had a question for them: “Can I get my job at the airport back?”

That’s not all. In his March 29, 2016, Star Tribune story, Stephen Montemayor reported in passing that local imams and Muslim “community leaders” had received a “behind-the-scenes security tour” in February last year at MSP. Montemayor mentioned the tour when he noted that Hassan Mohamud—also known as “Sheikh Hassan,” an imam working as a legal assistant for one of the defendants—had been “uninvited” from the tour.

What was that tour for Muslims only all about?

I asked MSP spokesman Patrick Hogan, who Hogan referred me to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agencies under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A TSA spokesman denied knowledge (wrongly, as it turned out). Several calls to CBP led me to Midwest CBP spokesman Kristoffer Grogan, in Michigan. Grogan explained by email:

Per our conversation U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducted a community engagement tour at the St. Paul International Airport on February 18th. The tour included roughly 20 community members from the greater Minneapolis area and was facilitated through the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. The tour showed the participants the process that all arriving passengers go through when arriving at the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) area at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. CBP conducts these types of tours regularly as part of our outreach efforts to improve ties between CBP and our community members.

The tour was conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership assigned to the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. I currently do not have a list of those who attended the tour. You would need to reach out to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties for that information.

I followed up with calls and inquiries to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the number provided by Grogan. I received an unilluminating response from DHS press secretary Marsha Catron, who advised me of the department’s procedure for submitting a Freedom of Information Act request. Catron didn’t respond to further inquiries.

Getting information about the tour from DHS has been like pulling teeth without benefit of anesthetic. After two FOIA requests, two appeals of the responses to my FOIA requests, and one FOIA lawsuit filed in federal district court here, I have received 78 heavily redacted pages about the 2016 tour. (I’ve posted the documents below.) Two pages listing the tour participants and their nationalities are blacked out. The text of the invitation, however, was provided:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would like to invite you to participate in a tour of the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport as part of our ongoing efforts to engage with community leaders and members. During the event, participants will be provided with a step-by-step tour of our operations, designed to offer a greater understanding of airport processes and procedures. Throughout the event, we will discuss traveler expectations, rights, and procedures. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of representatives from DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration. . . . Participants will be met by airport officials and led into the secure area of the airport. . . .

Please note that this event will be closed to the press and participants will not be allowed to take pictures or video recordings during the event.

I wrote to DHS, seeking a spokesman or officer who would give me background on the rationale for the tours. I heard back again from Grogan, who responded: “Every year CBP conducts numerous events and programs around the country in which civic, religious and community leaders, as well as interested residents, are afforded an inside look at how CBP secures the border at and between ports of entries. CBP is committed to fostering a positive relationship with the communities we live and serve.”

One such group, it turns out, is the immigration-law section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, whose members I joined for the tour given on October 12 by Minneapolis CBP Chief Brian Nevanen and Officer Abby Hair at MSP. Walking us through the international arrivals area on the west end of MSP, the CBP officers explained the current processing of passengers arriving at the airport for admission to the United States. The officers took us to an area that I hadn’t seen before, where passengers get interviewed by officers. The immigration lawyers asked technical questions about forms, detention and removal procedures, attorney-client communications, and other such matters. Nevanen and Hair answered every question, including one asking about the officers’ strangest experience. Answer: an arriving physician slit his throat awaiting an interview (his life was saved). We received some useful advice regarding the CBP’s protection of trademarks. CBP officers seize trademarked product knockoffs, we were told, but one knockoff per trademark is allowed. (Rolex is an exception: none is permitted.)

In truth, the lawyers’ tour only occasionally escaped the mundane. The documents produced in response to my FOIA request, however, show the lawyers’ tour to be something like a poor man’s version of the 2016 edition given to local Somalis. They received the deluxe version.

Invitations to take the February 18, 2016, tour went out to selected imams and Somali community leaders. It was a big event: unlike the bar association tour, the Somali tour included TSA representatives to provide an overview of their operations and process and address what the memo calls “stakeholder community questions.” After the tour, “community members . . . shared comments about their experiences with DHS” at a roundtable discussion. TSA representatives discussed “steps being taken to improve ties with local Somali community members.” CBP and TSA job vacancies were also discussed: “Attendees responded with requests for DHS outreach efforts during Somali community events to further advertise these positions to interested individuals.”

Security concerns permeate the documents. Those Somalis invited to attend the 2016 tour were required to submit passport and other such identifying information. (The bar association required us to submit only our full names and birthdates.) Some did not submit the required information; if they failed to supply it on further request, they were excluded from the tour.

The documents refer to “four closed cases” involving those invited and “a man who gave Chicago CBP a hard time after attending the last outreach event—guessing that they might bring it up so whoever is going to be there might want to read over the [redacted].” One case is described as “open, but barely.” The United States Attorney was to be consulted on that one. At least two of those invited failed the security screening. We know that one who had already taken the tour the year before (Hassan Mohamud) failed it. The Star Tribune reported that a group of 50 had been invited on the tour; the documents show that, after vetting, just 17 were permitted to take it.

All of which raises the question: Why was this tour given in the first place? Grogan told me that tours like the one I took with the bar association have been given at MSP since 2005, but he could not tell me how long the deluxe version, given to Somalis only, has been conducted. As usual, my inquiry to Marsha Catron in the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties went unanswered.

Chief Nevanen told us that the tours are intended to educate the public and publicize the agency’s good work at the airport. DHS’s approach to my requests for basic information regarding the Somali tour, however, suggests a reluctance to get the word out. The tour given to Somali community leaders appears to be little more than another extraordinarily foolish legacy of the Obama era of good feelings.

Ruling on administrative appeal of CBP FOIA request about 2016 MSP International Airport tour for Somalis o… by Scott Johnsonon Scribd


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