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Here’s What SCOTUS Just Did – and Did Not Do – in Its ‘Unanimous’ Trump Ruling: Experts

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The U.S. Supreme Court Monday morning handed down a unanimous 9-0 decision determining the State of Colorado cannot kick Donald Trump off the presidential ballot, but legal and constitutional experts caution it’s not quite as unanimous as initial reports state, and there’s a lot the justices did, and did not do, that makes this ruling important, but also, makes some extremely concerned.

First, Trump stays on the 2024 ballot and any other current challenges to his ability to remain on other states ballots are likely, effectively dead.

“It’s a win for Trump,” notes former Obama acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal. “At the same time, remember that the Supreme Court’s decision today did not do what Donald Trump had asked: clear him of insurrection.”

That’s critical.

“The Colorado court found that he so was, and Trump had an entire section of his SCOTUS brief arguing he was peaceful on 1/6,” Katal continues. “The Court didn’t do what he asked; it did not clear him. And the act’s decision leaves space for his criminal trial about Jan 6 to proceed, should the Court dispose of the other Trump immunity case quickly in the Spring (as it can and must).”

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Professor of law and popular MSNBC and NBC News legal contributor Joyce Vance points out that the Court specified Trump is a “former” president, and more importantly, “the Court didn’t say he was not an insurrectionist.”

Noted civil rights and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler quickly responded to the decision, observing that Special Counsel “Jack Smith could — today — charge Trump with inciting insurrection in response to this order.”

“It is,” Wheeler adds, “the one Constitutional means to disqualify him, according to this order.”

Meanwhile, Katyal also notes that the Supreme Court justices “took 25 days to render this decision. Anything longer in the immunity case would be deeply inconsistent with what it did here.”

Many experts pointed to the portion of the Supreme Court’s ruling that found for the 14th Amendment’s declaration that those who have engaged in insurrection cannot hold office can only be decided by Congress — something the 14th Amendment doesn’t specifically state.

NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor of 30 years, wrote: “Supreme Court rules that an adjudicated insurrection[ist] can still be president, unless Congress acts. Not unexpected, but more proof that our institutions of government are not up to the task of saving American democracy. Once again, it’s up to We The People.”

National security attorney Brad Moss appeared even more vehement than Kirschner. He declared: “This is awesome. Constitutional amendments are meaningless unless Congress acts to enforce them. To hell with the 22nd amendment.”

The 22nd Amendment, ratified in 1951, essentially says you can only be president for two terms, depending one certain situations: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”

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(So, if a vice president become president due to the incapacitation, resignation, or death of a president, they could run for president and be elected twice, depending on when they first became President.)

Others pointed to that provision, arguing that former President Barack Obama could in theory serve as president again, unless Congress stops him – based on today’s SCOTUS ruling.

“Anyone have a good point of contact for former President Obama? I have a legal memorandum to send him,” Moss quips.

“Even better,” Moss continues sardonically, “as it just occurred to me: you know that whole requirement in Section 1, Article II of the Constitution, that the president has to be a natural born citizen? Guess what? Absent Congressional action, that provision is meaningless.”

“So under the Court’s legal analysis,” he adds, “if Trump wins but Democrats take the House and hold the Senate, Congress can invalidate Trump’s victory and throw us into chaos? Oh goodie.”

Moss still was not done.

“Here is the craziest part of the majority ruling in the Trump ballot case: it places the burden on federal district attorneys, who are appointed by the incumbent president, to somehow initiate a civil action against the incumbent president for holding office in violation of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That way, madness lies.”

As for that “unanimous” claim, professor of law and former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman points out the three liberal justices, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson, “concur on ground that court goes too far in deciding future possible cases. Barrett similarly but more narrowly says court shouldn’t opine that federal legislation the only way to enforce section 3.”

Or, as The New Republic’s Greg Sargent, explains, Kagan, Sotomayor and Jackson, “all dissent from the view that only Congress can disqualify.”

Litman continues to tear apart the “unanimous ruling” claim.

“Court spoke in one voice on result, but on rationale hardly a kumbaya moment. The 5 [conservative justices] restricted future enforcement of §3 of the 14th Am[endment] in ways the other 4 (3 libs + Barrett) felt unnecessary and unwise. And the 3 libs cited Breyer dissent in Bush v Gore–the ultimate bete noire.”

Professor of law Anthony Michael Kreis put it even more succinctly: “Originalism: but only when we like it!”

READ MORE: ‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

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Wisconsin’s Cedar Grove-Belgium School District Board of Education postponed a scheduled public event to share with the community its narrowed-down list of candidates to become the next superintendent of schools after a former schools superintendent raised concerns about the process. The school board cited a “shift in the timeline” as the reason for the delay.

Retired St. Francis Superintendent Carol Topinka pointed out the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District’s job posting listed “Christian values” and “conservative politics” as desired characteristics for candidates to be considered by the board, as Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) reports.

“Help me understand how a public school district can legally limit its hiring to people who are Christians?” Topinka wrote in an email to the Illinois-based firm hired to conduct the search for the schools superintendent, WPR reported. A friend of Topinka who applied for the job pointed out the “desired characteristics.”

“My mentee is not a Christian and is frankly gobsmacked that a public school district can blatantly and prejudicially flout the law,” Topinka wrote.

“Thanks for your email,” responded Mike Richie of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. “That was a comment made during the focus groups and you are correct that should not have been in the report. It will be removed. Thanks.”

School Board President Chad Hoopman “said as part of the process of hiring the superintendent focus groups met and ‘any characteristic mentioned by any participant in attendance is recorded and appears on the list of traits for that particular focus group for complete transparency to any potential candidates to review.'”

An undated post on the school district’s website announcing the search states, “base salary range expected to be $140,000-$180,000 (based on experience).”

It adds, “As the district looks ahead, it seeks a leader who aligns with its values and shares a commitment to preserving the traditional principles that have made Cedar Grove-Belgium a unique and cherished educational community.”

The ACLU is raising concerns.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of religion, including in the recruitment phase,” Ryan Cox, legal director with ACLU of Wisconsin told WPR. “The ACLU of Wisconsin is extremely concerned that a public body might be attempting to apply a religious test as a condition of employment, or even as a preferred ‘qualification.’”

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan called it, “a complete disregard for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can’t hire based on religion for a public position.”

Meanwhile, the chair of a Wisconsin chapter of Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-government extremist group, falsely claimed Christians are now being excluded from the search.

“In the era of woke ‘inclusive’ paganism, everyone is welcome… except for Christians,” Scarlett Johnson wrote on social media. Stating the ACLU “plans to investigate” the district “for their heresy,” Johnson added, “Imagine stating that ‘Christian Values’ in a superintendent might be good! How dare this community in Sheboygan, WI, stray from the qu-er gender-bending multicultural god to whom leftist wing radicals worship and sacrifice!”

Johnson also claimed ACLU attorneys “will investigate and deconstruct whiteness wherever they find it and look into past actions taken by the board as well.”

“Don’t worry, folks,” Johnson continued. “Christians will not have a voice in YOUR public school. The WPR and ACLU will be sure to take appropriate action. Rest easy and watch a drag show with someone else’s kids.”

 

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‘Spoiler’ Questions Swirl as Trump Says He Would Vote for RFK Jr. ‘If I Were a Democrat’

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Embracing polls and reports that claim independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could take more votes from President Joe Biden than from Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee is effectively “endorsing” RFK Jr., but only for Democratic voters.

“RFK Jr. is going to be taking away votes from crooked Joe Biden and he should because he’s actually better than Biden,” Trump says in a rambling nearly three-minute video posted to his Truth Social page. “He’s much better than Biden. If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats.”

Trump’s remarks come as multiple news reports and the DNC this week suggest RFK Jr. could be a “spoiler” to help Donald Trump, and as the Kennedy campaign announced it had fired a New York State staff member whose remarks suggested the goal was to “get rid” of President Biden, throw the election to the House, which, she said, would choose Trump. RFK Jr.’s campaign manager has denied that is their plan.

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In his video, Trump calls RFK Jr., “the most radical left candidate in the race,” while saying, “he’s a better man than Joe Biden,” “great for MAGA,” and, “I happen to like him.” He ends the video repeating his claim: “I do believe he’s going to take a lot of votes away from crooked Joe Biden.”

Noting that “RFK Jr. sounds like Trump as he courts MAGA voters,” Axios this week reported, “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is making targeted appeals to Donald Trump supporters, pledging to “seal the border” from undocumented migrants and investigate the prosecutions of pro-Trump rioters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.”

UC Berkeley Professor of Public Policy Robert Reich warns, “Don’t be fooled: RFK Jr. has received funding from big Republican donors.”

“Steve Bannon urged him to run! Why? Because he’s there to play spoiler. The MAGA world knows that a vote for RFK Jr. is a vote to help Trump win, plain and simple,” he added.

Is RFK Jr. a threat to Biden?

“Election spoiler?” writes USA Today on Friday. “Seven months from the election, Kennedy has the support of 11.7% of likely voters, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. That doesn’t make him a serious contender to win the election. But Kennedy’s current double-digit standing is more than enough to swing outcomes in battleground states.”

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The Hill on Friday also asked, “Will RFK Jr. be a spoiler in November?”

“Kennedy and other independent candidates ‘certainly could be spoilers,’ conceded No Labels chief strategist Ryan Clancy, who cautioned that much could happen before November.”

Bloomberg Opinion‘s Patricia Lopez this week slammed No Labels and RFK Jr.

“Let’s Call No Labels and RFK Jr. What They Are: Spoilers,” Lopez wrote. “A rudderless third party and a nepo baby’s vanity run distort the dynamics of a pivotal election.”

Democratic strategist Joe Trippi points to a New York Times report from Wednesday: “Trump Allies Have a Plan to Hurt Biden’s Chances: Elevate Outsider Candidates.” Trippi writes: “Trump Allies, Trump Donors, MAGA Supporting Billionaire all in to make RFK Jr a Spoiler For Trump.”

The liberal Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century has repeatedly labeled RFK Jr. a “spoiler.”

“Trump is desperately trying to prop up RFK Jr.’s spoiler campaign after two straight weeks of negative headlines and zero polling bump after his running mate announcement last month,” the group said on Friday, posting a short clip of the Trump video.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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Pro-Trump RFK Jr. Campaign Staff Member Fired for ‘Misrepresentation’: Report

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Rita Palma, a Robert F. Kennedy Jr. presidential campaign New York State staffer and pro-Trump election denier who attended the pre-insurrection January 6, 2021 rally, has been terminated for “misrepresentation,” according to multiple news outlets and the campaign.

Palma made headlines earlier this week when unearthed video of her promoting a plan to “get rid” of President Joe Biden to help elect Donald Trump went viral.

Palma was identified as the campaign’s New York State director, but RFK Jr.’s national campaign manager, Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, on social media claimed Palma is “a ballot access consultant” and distanced the campaign from Palma’s remarks, saying she was “speaking as a private citizen and her statements in no way reflect campaign strategy.”

Fox Kennedy, CNN reports, “said on Wednesday that New York campaign staff member Rita Palma was fired after she told GOP voters in a meeting last week that preventing President Joe Biden’s victory was her ‘number one priority’ and encouraged them to volunteer for former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania.”

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Fox Kennedy Wednesday night, in response to an RFK Jr. supporter angered by Palma’s remarks, wrote on X: “We terminated her contract for misrepresentation immediately upon seeing the longer video in which she gave an inaccurate job title and described a conversation that did not happen.”

Palma had told Kennedy supporters the goal is to use RFK. Jr. to block President Joe Biden from obtaining 270 Electoral College votes, throw the election to the Republican-majority House of Representatives, which she said would put Trump back in the White House. She also declared President Joe Biden the “enemy” of both the Trump voter and the “Bobby” Kennedy voter.

“We’re all on the same team right now, and we’ll be on the same team later, as long as Trump or Kennedy wins,” Palma said, CNN had reported. “If it’s Trump vs. Biden, Biden wins. Biden wins six days, seven days a week. With Bobby in the mix, anything can happen.”

Responding to the video, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison wrote: “As we have been saying… RFK Jr. = Trump,” and added, “They share the same donors… the same extremist agenda.”

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Earlier this week CNN’s KFile reported Palma “previously promoted false claims that the 2020 election was rigged and attended ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies after the election, including the rally on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC, that preceded the deadly riot at the US Capitol.”

She “also repeatedly called Trump her ‘favorite president,’ according to tweets along with comments she posted on the conservative social media site Parler that have since been made private.”

On Wednesday, Vanity Fair‘s Eric Lutz wrote, “The big question here is whether Kennedy is knowingly playing into Trump narratives, or if he’s actually buying into some of this as a noted conspiracy theorist himself.”

“But whether this is gullibility or bad faith, the effect in November could be the same: to create chaos in November that could ultimately help Trump, an aspiring authoritarian, reclaim the White House. ‘RFK Jr.’s campaign isn’t building a plan or a strategy to get 270 electoral votes,’ Matt Corridoni, spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, told CNN. ‘They’re building one to help Trump return to the Oval Office.'”

READ MORE: ‘Disinformation’: Greene Pushes Pro-Putin Propaganda in ‘War on Christianity’ Rant

 

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